London Fashion Weekend 24th September 2009 Somerset House
Somerset House is the new home for London Fashion Weekend and for lovers of art already familiar with this striking location it’s a happy new union.
A myriad of mostly British and British-based designers where selling pieces directly from past and present collections. Essentially each designer has a pop-up boutique for 3 days within the cavernous interior of Somerset House itself. The central courtyard area is given over to the main undercover catwalk area and guest lounge.
My first port of call was Lulu Guinness. Trade mark purses where being snapped up in quantity, and at a snip of the normal retail price it’s easy to see why. I have several evening clutches that are not too dissimilar from the ones that where fast disappearing off the shelves so I opted for something a little different. I decided to take a small make up bag with a summer-at-the-beach theme. A little out of season perhaps but it set me thinking about planning a return to Greece next year. I went with the good feeling I think you should even if it doesn't always make sense right away.
The clock was ticking so I set about investigating the designer wears on offer. I really liked the cosy country lady style of much of Marilyn Moore. Prints and snug cashmere cardigans carried me off to a country cottage, long walks and horses. Heavenly couture evening wear was on offer from an interesting label called Archangel that I’m keen to know more about. As well as emerging talent there where many big names, Micheal Kors, Juicy Couture and Jimmy Choo and many other well known brands where selling through items from their back catalogue. What struck me was that although there isn’t the glitz of the designer salons or the raw energy of the street markets it’s well worth getting a ticket and wriggling through the crowd to see such a variety of designers under one roof because it’s a pretty unusual opportunity.
As night drew upon Somerset House I attended the evening Catwalk show and saw a review of the main trends from London Fashion Week Spring–Summer 2010. My prediction for Spring–Summer 2010 is a continuation of simplicity in daywear with some flashes of exuberance here and there in occasion wear. I have a feeling that the trend for being restrained will continue in line with currant difficulties in the economy but we will see colour. We all have to carry on through tough times because the better times do come round again. If you keep smiling and keep a rosy blush of colour in your life coming they will come back again all the sooner. Confidence comes in many forms and I think a colourful Spring-Summer 2010 will find us back in the light again.
Fashion Night Out London 10th September 2009 in support of Crisis Charity
French Sole 26 Brook Street
I arrived at the new Brook Street Boutique of French Sole just after 6.00 pm. After pausing a few moments to look at the captivating window display I stepped inside. The store was buzzing as the evening got under way with several ladies eagerly trying on the trademark comfortable ballets shoes before disappearing into the evening with the trademark lilac striped bag.
My eye was drawn to the boots that French Sole have brought out for Autumn and Winter 2009-2010 season. I thought they were smart, chic and cosy looking and would fit in with a working wardrobe, weekend wear or going out in the evening. Altogether a stylish treat for the feet that can be worn in many ways.
I would like to thank the Director of French Sole,
Luci Choi, for allowing me to photograph the
outside of the Brook Street Boutique.I think that
26 Brook Street has created a special charm
that makes this store stand out in the area.
I recommend that you pay a visit.
Chanel 26 Old Bond Street
I arrived just after 6.30 pm at the Chanel store on New Bond Street and found a circle of eager Chanel connoisseurs patiently waiting to enter. Once inside the boutique I was struck by the buzz of energy and laughter. The atmosphere of a friend’s party was evident; a gathering of friends and followers of the house delighted to help a worthy cause.
In the ground floor salon classic Chanel staples such as bags and shoes where being snapped up. Classic pieces mingled with the Autumn – Winter 2009-2010 collection. Since first seeing the collection in January 2009 I’ve been very taken with the use of green and baby blush pink in this Autumn’s collection, many pieces of which reference the formative era of Ms Chanel’s youth at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
I fell in love with two versions of large Classic quilted handbag. One was a ‘dog tooth’ patterned piece sported by one very stylish lady; both au courant and a piece she could step out with many years from now. The other bag followed the seasonal colour themes and was Jade-green with a woolen knitted effect. This looked stylish and also had a classic traditional feel about it. Together with the pink, green and black knitted hats I think there is something altogether cute, comforting and classic in this aspect of the collection. The style a simple modesty and the expression of the garments in wool suggests warmth and a feeling of the continuation of traditional techniques.
I headed to the lower floor Salon and found the manicure bar. While funky electro pop played and the sweetest baristas served champagne, Chanel staff chatted happily with visitors and I took my turn to have a manicure.
I chose the colour of the moment, the much talked about Jade. Only 300 bottles where brought into the country and I am informed that when they went on sale all were snapped up within hours. Ladies in the know who joined the waiting list as far back as August where head of the queue and are now sporting the smartest talons this Autumn.
My manicure was given by the lovely Zaida working alongside Sarah Robson. These two ladies performed wonders (and passed on a few secrets) all night long to ensure many stepped out into the Bond Street air with the best manicures to be had in town.
As I left the store I threaded my way past more happy Chanel friends and I noted a subtle Russian influence in the fur trimmed boots echoing the last days of Imperial Russia and late imperial style and a wonderful follow on from the Paris – Moscow pre-fall 2009 collection. I think the relationship between the Paris Ateliers and Russia has finally been restored to it’s full historical strength.
Burberry 21 - 23 New Bond Street
Fashion Night Out at Burberry was a roaring success. I arrived at the store and found a wonderful ambiance with music and laughter spilling out onto the street. Burberry top brass including Creative Director Christopher Bailey & CEO Angela Ahrendts teamed up with the British Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman to co-host the leading event of the evening.
Proudly flying the flag for British Fashion with support at the highest level Burberry moved its catwalk show from Milan to London for the Spring-Summer 2010 collections. Leading ladies Samantha Cameron and Sarah Brown plus a host of angelic models including Natalia Vodianova, Jaquetta Wheeler, Jourdan Dunn and Jade Parfit joined together with celebrities to promote a very serious message and raise awareness for Crisis. The Crisis T-Shirts sold out quickly and the party was still going strong late into the evening when I left. Guests mingled happily in a relaxed atmosphere as the live band played.
I thought it was a wonderful way for Burberry to herald it’s homecoming by jointly raising awareness for a wonderful charity and celebrating the quality that the brand has sustained for over 100 years. I can’t wait to see what Burberry will put on for Fashion Night Out 2010!
Liberty Store Regent Street
On arrival at Liberty I saw ladies and some gentlemen queuing literally out of the door and onto the pavement to get in. The reason? Hermes the French purveyor of Silken Scarfs and much sought after handbags was offering demonstrations of how to tie their famously flexible printed accessories. With much of the ground floor taken over by a snaking throng of Hermes fans I decided to head up stairs to see what else was on offer.
It had been a few years since I'd realy had a good look in Liberty and I'd forgotten how much the 19 year old me had fallen in love with this store. Liberty still has the unique feel of a country house that was turned into an Aladin's and placed in the heart of London. On the second floor a live DJ was in the house with some fierce tunes and on the second floor a lady was giving Tarot Readings. You won't need such esoteric guidance when in Liberty though as most of the collections on display offer very relevant wardrobe choices for smart, casual or social wear. I'm not sure why I was expecting more challenging designer piece that might not prove wearable on a daily basis but that was not what I found. Liberty Fact: On the second floor their is a painting of the founder Arthur Liberty and his wife Elizabeth is also nearby. Look carefuly at Arthur Liberty's right hand, it's actually been painted as a pig's trotter! Apparently Mr Liberty had a good sense of humour. Lets hope so!
Just about every corner of Liberty is a 'must see' but I would recommend not leaving without going to the perfumery. Lots of interesting scents here that you may be hard pressed to find elsewhere in London and certainly not altogether. I like to see perfume grouped together rather than by brand as in many stores. Visit soon.
(C) Angela Cliffe 2009-2013.