Beauty, Grace & Style
Autumn in London.
Lavinia Brennan and Natasha Rufus Isaacs opened their new Boutique in Elizabeth Street, Belgravia. Their launch party was fantastic and I really enjoyed looking at the new Autumn-Winter 2013 collection. A lot of people where very interested in the clothes. The colour scheme and designs have a versatility about them where they could dress women across the generations. Here are some of the wonderful dresses for the Autumn-Winter 2013 season.
It's beautiful, luxury women's clothing that is going to work well for you on any upcoming occasion.
All below Beulah images are credited to Bobby Holiday.
CHANEL Autumn 2013 Beauty Vitalumiere Make-up and Blush.
(C) All images with kind permission of CHANEL.
Penhaligon's Iris Prima Fragrance Launch
All images below (C) Penhaligon's except for the store window which is one of my pictures (C) Angela Cliffe.
CHANEL Press Day Spring-Summer 2014 Ready to Wear.
(C) All images with kind permission of CHANEL.
Christopher Raeburn - Studio visit
(C) All images with kind permission of Christopher Raeburn.
Linton Tweed - 100 years of excellence exported to the World and Partner of the House of CHANEL.
Paris collections Spring-Summer 2014 Ready to Wear.
A quick mention of what caught my eye in Paris.
Natasha and Lavinia are both very talented designers. They create classic pieces that are demure, understated yet have a great energy about them.
The collection features flattering lines that create an elongated silhoutette. There's an un-fussy glamour to the looks that are created in the Beulah studio and they do produce something to please everyone. The dress furthest to the left is the Rapunzel style in the Blue Heart print.
The Blue Heart campaign was launched by the UN in 2011 to raise awareness of human trafficking. Natasha and Lavinia established Beulah with the idea of using their fashion brand to help women in India gain a profession and move away from a life of slavery. Partnering with the UN they use Blue Heart symbol for clothing and accessories and it will also appear on limited edition Ballet shoes in a joint venture with French Sole in December 2013.
The Rapunzel in Blue Heart print, the Esther, the Isabella in Black.
The Eleanor in navy, the April Dress in Blue Heart material, the Isabella dress in Blue and another look at the Eleanor in Champagne lace.
A 1970s feel Portrait Jacket Marie and skirt with Blue Heart detail.
Closing this look at the collection, The Maddox and the Penelope dress.
In Autumn 2013 Penhaligon's launched a new Fragrance called Iris Prima, created to capture the spirit and scent of Ballet. This scent was developed with the input of two current stars of the English National Ballet; Nathan Young and Lauretta Summerscales. Alberto Morillas, Penhaligon's lead perfumer sought to create a Ballet dream for Penhaligon's patrons and as their windows show, the dance has well and truly begun.
The Esther and the Isabella above are both beautiful looks. I would take the Isabella in Black and maybe Blue - see to the right. Midnight Blue is one of my favourite colours and the Eleanor in Navy is my favourite dress from the collection this season.
I think it's a colour that works for a lot of people and lends itself well to either day or evening wear. The April dress is again uses the Blue Heart theme and offers a knee length look that would also work well with a jacket, perhaps in Black. The Eleanor dress in Champagne lace has a wonderful - slightly vintage feel about it. Champagne again is a colour that has a warmth to it and suits many people.
The Portrait Jacket in Marie style with a lovely Black hat has echos of the 1960s and 70s era. With a more casual slightly bohemian look this outfit harmonises well.
I also wonder what the jacket would look like with boot-cut trousers and jeans. I suspect it would be a good combination. There are some wonderful Black trousers in the Autumn-Winter 2013 collection.
To round off the look st this season I've included two more dresses, the Maddox and the Penelope. I've been pretty interested in looking at evening wear as for me that's often what comes to mind in Autumn when looking for special purchases.
Beulah do have many more looks in their boutique and there is another wonderful dress in navy print called the Camile that would be wonderful to wear all year round.
In three captivating layers the scent unfolds with Green Amber, Bergamont, and Pink Pepper in the Head. The heart is centered with Iris Absolute (the muse and lead fragrance in this blend) and Jasmine Sambac. Hedione and Paradisone - two new molecular creations complete the composition of the middle layer. The base notes of Leather, Vertiver, Vanilla, Sandalwood and Benzoin bring a strength to the scent.
The leather cleverly brings the pointe shoe and the other base notes recall the lingering floral echos in the theatre spaces and studios that the dancers have trained and performed in over many decades. It's a captivating combination and this scent is now a firm favourite of mine. I would describe the scent as a sophisticated energetic perfume. It definitely captures the life and energy of the ballet. It's strong, multifaceted in it's expression and full of life.
Running with the Ballet theme the packaging is charming. A soft nude-tone coloured box is embellished with a label inspired by the leather stitched sole of the Ballet slipper.
The Iris Prima name appears pressed firmly into the label and even the stitching patterning gives the appearance of the traditional hand crafted work of the slipper making.
The bottle is dressed with a Scarlet Bow Tie in the Penhaligon's tradition. The colour matching that which is used for the Opera House curtain in many Houses around the world.
It's a great gift that many people of any age would be happy to receive. It's very beautiful.
One of the celebrations of the launch of the perfume was a wonderfully choreographed performance through the International Collections Show rooms at Harvey Nichols in London.
In a flash-mob meets ballet moment the dancers ran through several floors pausing to dance for surprised onlookers it several areas.
Using the escalators for bar work and gliding between collections they gave fleeting performances to celebrate Iris Prima.
It was a great idea for Harvey Nichols to work on collaborativley with Penhaligon's and a great use of their space within the store.
I think many of us girls have a dancer in us somewhere. In London and around Covent Garden there are many stores selling Ballet kit and there is a great Ballet Pop up market stall called Born to Dance not far from Chanel and Whittards English Teas in the covered market area.
But back to Penhaligon's and Harvey Nicks. Iris Prima is a truly wonderful perfume and a great gift to give at any time of the year.
For Autumn 2013 Chanel have launched a new range of the Vitalumiere Aqua Foundations and Blush to protect and enhance the skins of ladies everywhere for the coming season.
With SPF to protect the skin this range of make-up is one of my favourites and one that always impresses me in each new incarnation.
The cream-touch make-up is always easy to apply and blends quickly. The range of skin tones also includes a Rose-Beige which for me is perfect. It's great to be able to match the glow in my skin.
Whether the make-up is in liquid or compact form all the products in this line are very user friendly and I would strongly recommend that you set about trying them out and comparing with the brand that you are using at the moment. The new super-lightweight formula does the trick and doesn't leave the skin feeling tired or drained after wearing it for a number of hours.
CHANEL have a broad colour palette to chose from in Blushes.
The Joues Contraste line of Powder Blushes that come with their own little natural hair brush to give a delicate application.
CHANEL mention a trick that I've used for a while, which is to use a light or satin finish blush colour around the eyes to give them definition. This is a clever/quick alternative to using eye shadow, or for a more stunning look can be used in combination with shadowing.
Belts are another feature of the collection moving into Spring 2014. The Chanel Symbol of the Pearl is present in the circles looped around the waist. These iridescent bands will accessorise a lot of looks well and it adds a special twist to an outfit to have that detail. More symbols from Gabrielle Chanel's world re-appear with the Byzantine coin detail in the two lower belts featured below. Coins embellished with the House logo of the two interlaced C's, the number 5, so special to Gabrielle and an engraving of her portrait cluster in a five-pointed Camelia shape (her special flower) to form the Buckle of the lower belt.
This bag would combine well with a lot of outfits both formal and casual. I could see it working well with a Jacket and Dress or Jacket and Jeans combination and you could take it anywhere; for lunch with friends or a Red carpet evening event.
The stripes give a slight look of the flag theme which is a signal of strength making this a strong statement piece.
Working with Leather in Beige or Black the theme is kept simple and stylish true to the House of Chanel and Gabrielle's vision. These belts will also work with a variety of looks and bring a flash of glamorous energy to a look. Here are a trio of Chanel's Spring-Summer 2014 bags that look good together. Black and White, Silver and Gold they make a subtle statement that will make an event outfit. I particularly like the Art-Deco Black and White BOY bag in leather below. Using the contrast of the classic Black quilting and the Black and White patterning this is an eye catching piece that like the rest of the collection is unmistakeably Chanel.
To the right the Silver Mademoiselle Lock bag and the the Gold Pochette add glitter and sparkle to a look. Both bags are created in the Metallised Leather style and still have the soft texture that we love in this line of bags from Chanel.
Chanel have become increasingly more creative with the Jewellery acompanying their Ready to Wear collections. The Metal and Pearls Broche below is a stunning piece in it's own right. With a slight reference to the Byzantine cross and carefully set with crystal and four large and four small luminous pearls it's a stunning piece.
The glass cuff inlaid with fabric is a fun twist to the art themes of the collection that Karl unveiled in October in Paris. Using fabric like this quietly emphasises one of the corner stones of the business and it's a fun way to keep the Chanel spirit with you.
Chanel used enamel to create more fun Jewellery pieces in the collection that again tied in with the Ready to Wear collection's theme of the international art student muse. Flowers for Spring and Summer time. The necklace to the left and the bracelet to the right are both alive with pastel colours. For the bracelet the enamel flowers are set onto plexiglass that gives the effect of the flowers floating on top of the skin of the wrist.
In another twist on the idea of moteifs these Jewellery pieces use the Gold and Pearl theme working in the Gold Coins, Pearls and chains into the design. The Pearl Necklace is in the Long style and can be wrapped around the neck or worn in the long style. The necklace with charms matches the broche placed in the centre.
Pearls for centuries have been a symbol of purity and style and for Gabrielle Chanel they where also an essential part of every woman's wardrobe. The interlacing of the Pearls in strands of different sizes draws the eye even more to their beauty. It's like seeing inside a Mermaid's Treasure Chest.
These little luminescent drops from the ocean are really beautiful to behold. There is something about the way the different strands have been roped together that echos the carefree nature found in the freedom of the oceans.
In 2013 the V&A mounted an exhibition of the Pearl to showcase the Jewel in all it's glory. Ever fashionable this Jewel is embraced by every generation and there is plenty to chose from amongst Chanel's current offering.
There is a lovely collection of shoes with pumps and sandals in a range of looks. Working the classic Chanel quilted theme the first Black Leather sandal below continues the theme of the Houses's signature hall marks. The Red sandal contrasts with embroidered leather flowers. The Two-tone Beige and Black Leather pump and sandal take their inspiration from the traditional Chanel themes incorporating a new twist in the finishing details.
There's a lose military theme running through the inspiration for the looks and this has a strong relationship to the fabrics that he's working with. Designs are modern, utilitarian and sleek. Women's clothes are ultra practical and the looks featured above following the Black and Blue dress look to be influenced by the theme of Desert Camouflage. Subtle, Nude coloured and occasionally sheer, these four looks both carry a feeling of carefree City girl or maybe the traveller off to see the world.
Moving back to the first piece I looked at from the collection, the Black and Blue dress, this is a great dress you could wear for day or evening. Very versatile note the coordinating clutch bag at the models side. He's worked this feature in through much of the collection and I really liked the style of the bags. You can see more below in the further looks.
Christopher is a very modest guy and he's quietly gathering a great many achievements under his belt. I think he's one of the most exciting Young British Designers around. His following is truly global attested by his very frequent travels across the globe to Europe, the US and Japan amongst many other places.
The Navy Blue Suede shoe with Pearls in the heel above is one of my favourite shoes that I've ever seen from Chanel. A classic mix of Navy and sparkling Pearl. I also love the Fuschia sandal with Black chain detail running across the borders. It's a great colour combination that I like and it's very popular around. Again these two sandals are really flexible and could be worn on a variety of different occasions with different looks and give an extra shot of magic to an outfit.
Sitting up in Cumbria not far from the Border of England and Scotland, Linton Tweed has been manufacturing cloth for over a century. For much of this time it has been the renown Tweed supplier to the House of CHANEL after Gabrielle Chanel discovered the quality and care used in the production of these traditional British fabrics.
Chanel was fascinated by the style of the British lady and she formed liaisons with several UK suppliers. To this day Linton is one of the best known and Linton Tweed's have appeared in every CHANEL collection.
I met Margaret and Janice from the Linton Tweed Team and had the wonderful challenge of selecting a group of fabrics to take away. It was frankly stunning to see so much beautiful craftsmanship in front of me and took time to touch many of the fabrics and inspect the detail of the weave.
Linton in recent decades have pushed the brand out globally and have a loyal following in their own right world wide. It's the classic case of a traditional company becoming cool again in it's own right.
Linton is also a great example of an enduring British brand reaching out across the world. Like many UK trade success stories it's a hard working Global ambassador for our textile industry. Running my hands over the cloth the quality to the touch was unmistakeable. I know why the world loves Linton.
I've taken images of some of the Fabrics from the collection that I saw, and some that I bought. It was tough choosing and unrestricted I would buy large amounts of material from them. Their collections of course span the full colour palette but I've lingered around my favourite colour scheme's of Black, Rose and Baby Pink, Magenta, Blush and a little Salmon Pink.
Beyond Tweed, Linton also manufacture a large variety of Crepe cloth and are very innovative in what they do with it. Crepe is a very versatile fabric and can be used for a variety of understated outfits or accessories. But my favourite has to be the tweed, in all it's glorious incarnations. CHANEL are famous for their exploration of what can be done with 21st Century fabric technology matched with Karl Lagerfeld's boundless creative genius.
Watching the show reel from Paris' Spring-Summer 2014 collection around the same time as meeting the Linton team it was great to know that there is a great bond between British and French industry helping to drive along the Paris based Haute Couture industry.
Cloths in many colours - Linton are constantly creating new fabrics and designs and have an ever ready sample pack on standby. Here below is a selection of the 'current' samples that I received this autumn. I picked from a selection of my favourite colour schemes and saw the early makings of a homespun Linton Patchwork quilt. I've included just nine pieces here from the Tweed part of the collection but you can see a great diversity in the textures and the weaves.
After meeting Christopher at London Fashion week I popped along to his studio a few weeks later and was amazed to be lucky enough to see the Menswear collection for Autumn Winter 2014 taking shape as well as the Autumn Winter 2014 Women's collection. Christopher wears many hats and is usually simultaneously designing several collection like most highly successful international designers.
I was deligthed to see the heart of his operations and as you would expect it's a hive of activity. With an office stuffed full of designs, ideas and not the least, the famous animal bags created every season, it was a perfect setting to learn more about Christopher's vision. What he's being doing to date and where he hopes to go to.
Another treat alongside meeting 'Team CR' was seeing the full archive of all his designs to date. It's quite a collection and there are numerous looks for his very early collections that I think would interest many people.
I saw the Chloe show live and I was really impressed by the brave new step they took out-doors in the fashion sense. With Khaki and Dusky Beige being re-worked in a multitude of ways this was a collection that took Chloe's girl across the continents for Spring -Summer 2014.
From looking at the materials it's easy to see how when you look at the bales it's a) difficult to make a choice and b) a fertile creative ground for dreaming up designs to craft into a variety of garments and accessories.
Margaret and her team are very welcoming hosts and I strongly advise anyone who can to get in touch with them. They travel in UK and abroad to Industry shows but if you can visit them in Cumbria you will find the trip very worthwhile. I'm looking forward to my next visit to the Linton Showrooms.
CHANEL held their Spring-Summer 2014 Press Day and showed some wonderful clothes and accessories for the coming Season. The Beauty is under wraps until January 2014 but here I can show you some of the wonderful accessories that will be winging their way to CHANEL stores around the World. I'm very excited about the Red-ish Magenta, Pink, White and Grey bag below. A new take on the traditional CHANEL house 2.55 design has a fun slightly Art-Deco feel about it. It's definitely a bright and addition to the wardrobe for Spring-Summer 2014.
These bags are more examples from the collection that show the Spring-Summer 2014 look in all it's playfulness. Another bag with an Art Deco feel features above while below the Black denim bag and the Navy Blue quilted Tote show both the traditional and contemporary Chanel looks. The Black Denim Tote is perfect for fitting in a lap-top for work and also would double well as weekend or over-night bag.
These are more great looks for the city and for anywhere. There's a very subtle genius in creating designs that look urban and casual yet are also very cutting edge in their design and use of fabric. There are a lot of great combinations of fabric, texture and colour use at work. Once again you can see the simple fold-over clutch that coordinates with the outfits. Essentially in many cases Christopher is using the same fabric for both the garment and the bag. I love all these looks above and think they will suit a lot of girls anywhere in the world. The dress with the T-Shirt stile top second from the right above is also particularly fun.
Chanel's collection felt very new and different. The Muse was an international Art Student enjoying Spring-Summer 2014 and expressing herself in her clothes. I listed to the soundrack oozing confidence and spirit and saw the sparky electric vibe in the outfits.
The colour palette was a theme that was used in a very literal sense through the colection with many designs featuring the brush strokes of the artist. Colour and lots of happy playfulness whcih is what we all like to see in a great collection coming out in the new season.
A feature through much of the collection is the use of a softer version of the military print that looks like cloud print. I was very taken with this especially when it was worked into a light pink. The matching clutch bag from the collection went straight onto my LFW wish list when I saw it.
Christopher has a strong accessories line and many of the bags and ruck sacs blend easily into everyday life. The coordinating wedge sandals also work well with a variety of other looks. They are pretty flexible pieces. Above I picked out the Navy Blue pieces and the contrasting Pink and White looks to give a picture of how diverse the collection is. Coats, jackets, one pieces and coordinating separates all happily intermix.
I really like the idea that Christopher is using of the T-shirt style tops in print and White that grow into the solid colour dresses and morph into the numerous print dresses. I'd like to mention the fabric too. Christopher's military inspiration also extends to the sourcing of materials and in some collection he has used old parachute materials from many decades ago. The softness and flexibility of this fabric lends itself very well to a new purpose beyond it's original use in the military. It's simply very comfortable to wear.
Something that I wasn't able to show you here was the amazing parachute material Christoper has used that had printed maps on it. Christopher has used some of the material for a very innovative lining to his bespoke tailored jackets. One of which he took to the British Fashion Awards. Truly wonderful.