Fall into Fashion Angela Cliffe in London and Paris
London Fashion Week 17th - 23rd September 2010 : Spring - Summer 2011
My London Fashion Week opened at Maria Grachvogel. As we where lured to hot climbs with the sounds of birds from the tropics Maria launched a fresh minimalist collection full of must-have pieces for next Spring and Summer. Cut to perfection each piece demonstrated a minimalist clarity that drew the focus of the onlooker to the use of colour and versitility of each piece.
The show opened with delicate silk and satin pieces in tantalising Caramel and vibrant Canary. On a voyage of discovery one and two piece outfits delicately covered the body with virtuoso draping that is Maria Grachvogel trademark style. Each piece cut from just one piece of fabric. The effect was almost cinematic and models looked like they have stepped out of a film set perhaps on the Nile, perhaps in the Equatorial tropics.
This is also a collection that lends itself well to the dynamics of modern living. The Transformer blouse and dress combination can be worn in six different ways. Other key pieces from the collection give you the staples of your summer wardrobe, slouchy pocketed shorts, slim palazzo pants and Maria's signature seam free magic trousers can be to teamed up with silk-chiffon t-shirt tops and/or cocoon blouses.
Flashes of colour from the tropics came to us in the amazing prints that Maria personally creates. This turned the colour up from the muted almost cinematic shades in a vibrant contrast. It was wonderful seeing the Wolf, Moth Wing and Phoenix prints flow as the models walked past. Maria herself prints and engineers these designs that add a unique type of elegance to her collection. These clothes fit so well on the body. One style that caught my attention in particular was the Icon dress. This was shown in several colours and print designs and I also particularly admired the Sylph dress. It was stunning to see the move before my eyes, real genious.
For Spring - Summer 2011 Maria Grachvogel's woman is on a journey, perhaps in Eygpt or the Greek islands or Asia Pacific. She expressing her personal journey and confidence as a modern woman through her clothes wherever she may be. There is something hypnotic about the flowing cut of these pieces.
On the day of the show Maria Grachvogel also announced that the label will be opening five more stores over the next two years in Asia in partnership with J&D Investment and luxury lifestyle and branding business based in Singapore. Maria herself said " We have had a growing interest from Asia so it is hugely exciting to be announcing a partnership with J&D Investment Ltd". It was wonderful to hear exciting news for a leading British designer unveiling a wonderful collection at LFW.
This collection got underway in a grand style referencing the tradition of the Grand Tour, travellers from the last century and Deborah Turberville's 'Past Imperfect'. John Rocha unveiled a collection of strong monochrome themes in front of a dazelled audience including Shoe Guru Jimmy Choo, Miliner Stephen Jones and actress Tracey Ullman.
The palette was classical in Black, Nude, Rose and Ivory. I senced an Edwardian influence in layers of fabric, fluid silk crepe de chines swept past in long flowing silhouettes. Traditional shapes where matched alongside modern spantex print and stretch cottons. Corsetry was re-worked and brought up to date to fit with the modern hectic lifestyle. Vinatge echos where given a modern twist by John's ability to create modern structures.
Sheer fabrics suggested bohemian meets boudoir chic with a vagabond air (but not gothic) and many models sported cocoon shaped rucksacks which gave the cue for a journey to be taken. I loved the way that the collection moved through a number of different fabrics such a light summer tweeds, giving them a new lease of life. Flowers where also very evident from the ruffles in the hats and on the dresses to the crochet work in some of the pieces.
Hair was worn long in a care-free ingenue style contrasting to the ladylike sophistication to be found in many of the pieces. Wide brimmed hats hinted at invitations to formal events in the social calendar but John Rocha's Spring - Summer 2011 girl has a carefree attitude to such convention. The mens pieces hinted more strongly at vagabond chic and wandering pilgrim.
This collection brought a fresh take on the romantic bohemian look and showed many key looks that where sophisticed and yet playful. It's a collection that many will be able to pick favourite pieces from to treasure.
This was a celebration of late 1940's/early50s Lady chic for day and evening done in the English way. Playful prints opened the collection.
Hilary Alexander from the Telegraph and a very stylish lady from Coutts and Co who are sponsoring London Fashion Week and Fashion Forward at London Fashion Week. Among many of the early pieces was a wonderful Rose crepe dress.
Bold floral patterns and contrasting single colour pieces where acessorised with chic hats both cloche and broad brimmed for the day-wear outfits. Bags where retro-vintage style in keeping with the mood of the collection.
The collection moved from daytime chic to high glamour evening wear keeping with the vintage theme of the 1940s and 1950s. Dusky Rose, Black and lots of Sparkle typified the collection which played to the House strengths of the traditional British look for women of any age. I was captivated by a dusky Rose piece with a beautifully patterend shawl that looked like flower petals. I hope to bring you an image soon.
This collection features hair ornaments on many models and the theme of a hair band. I alos hope to bring you images from Caroline Charles of these too but for now here are some pics of hair band I cooincidently wore at Somerset House that day. My Piece was from Fenwicks of Bond Street and I expect there will be many more hair band themed pieces arriving in the stores early next year. I also thought back to my visit to Chaumet in Paris in July and their Bijoux de Tete. Please check out Haute Joaillerie Autumn - Winter 2010 if you haven't already. HauteJoaillerieA-W2010-2011ablushofrose.html
I love hair bands and diadems, I think the more ways a woman can adorn her hair the better. I think we are living through a time of simply styled hair. I am the same I straighten and blow dry and tie up in a pony-tail or use invisible pins to make it look like it's magically held in place some how but I rarely put anything attractive in it, anything to catch the eye. I maybe need to pay a visit to Stephen Jones. A lady needs sparkle.
The collection closed with some wonderful evening cocktail dresses and a spectacular Scarlet bridal gown, complete with Red Rose bouquet and a trailing chiffon stole. Very chic.
I met a wonderful lady, a photgrapher Anna Malni before this show and we toured some of the exhibitions at Somerset House together. Please check out Anna's website www.annamalni.com . Anna has an amazing energy and loves finding images of beauty and interesting things wherever she goes. She covers many high profile events all over the world. I hope to meet her again one day.
One year on from their win at Fashion Fringe Covent Garden Jena.Theo brought out The Bandoliers collection for Spring - Summer 2011. This had a vibe of the British Empire in India and Victorian colonialism. Models emerged in turbans in both brightly coloures and subtle muted tones. Below are some of my favourite pieces from the collection. I loved the Indian inspired pinks and blues with gold brocade detail. I think this gives such a freshness and colour is going to be a very strong theme next summer. I was delighted to meet Jena.Theo back in April at a press event and I'm glad this new collection has such impact. Please look them up to find out more. It's very exciting to see Fashion Fringe winners go so far in just 1 year, it was wonderful to see the collection live.
(C) All above images JENA.THEO.
Vivienne Westwood Red Label
Mulberry Presentation at Claridges
On a Sunday afternoon I was lucky enough to see the presentation of Mulberry's Spring - Summer 2011 collection in the Ballroom of Claridges. Electric Pink roses where everywhere to be seen and it seemed apparent that Mulberry's signature theme sits very closley to the themes of A Blush of Rose. Sympatico.
Mulberry welcomed us into a Secret Garden where 'Everything is coming up Roses', I couldn't agree more, this collection dazzled. In a forest of flowers and key animal references of the Tiger and the Bunny, oh and a few very handsome Pugs where there as well giving the collection their critical seal of approval. Here are some pics that I took from the event. (C) Angela Cliffe
Craig Lawrence - The Portico Rooms presentation
I arrived at the Portico Rooms and found an
inspirational collection from Craig Lawrence, who as
you can see from these pictures specialises in
Knitware. He worked for Giles Deacon as a student
and has successfully launched his own Label.
This collection draws inspiration from the mythical
worlds of lost Island Kingdoms. The herringbone
style of the knit gave a more than subtle hint of
a life lived close to the sea and the models
themselves where styled as Mermaids, perhaps
waiting for their Hero Odysseus to return.
There is a darker note as the designer says that
he is exploring the themes of life and death.
Perhaps the mermaids are waiting for their Hero
to return, as in the ancient stories or perhaps
they are guarding another mythical island, or
gateway. Perhaps the land of the dead in a
Poseidon meets Hades mix of Mythology.
The whistful mournfull look of the models
captures the feeling of innocence betrayed.
To this student of all things Greek and Ancient
there where endless connotations. It's wonderful
to see a designer working with Knit Wear in such
a cutting-edge way. I saw the BFC Chairman taking
in the collection so Craig is getting noticed in all
the right places.
The presentation created a lot of interest and I was
very pleasantly surprised to find an all day Tea -
Party taking place on the Portico Rooms Balcony.
It must be one of the best views in London.
There we where eating amazing sandwiches
and cakes chatting, looking out across to the
Embankment Centre over the Thames, the beating
heart of London.
I would like to thank Craig Lawrence and BLOW
for the invitation to see this collection and
such a lovely welcome. I can't wait to see what
comes next from this designer and will be dreaming
of visiting sunken Kingdoms in the Greek Islands
Worth Haute Couture at the Ritz
I was very fortunate to be invited to see the Haute Couture collection of Worth at The Ritz in London. This was the Autumn - Winter 2010 collection and was simply breath taking. For the full report please see the Haute Couture Autumn - Winter 2010 page here HauteCoutureAutumn-Winter2010-2011.html.
More to come from Erdem, John Pierre Braganza (JPB),and more fashion News.
Fashion Night Out 8th September in London
Vogue Fashion Night Out returned to London and many other citires around the world this year and I'm really glad it looks to be a regular feature in the global Fashion Calendar.
I began my evening on Bond Street and my first stop was at MAX MARA. They hosted a champagne reception and launched a special 'Tiffany Bag' in conjunction with FNO. This bag was a stylish shopper and free to any customer purchasing a MAX MARA coat. I thought that this was wonderful, going into Autumn with a new Max Mara Coat and a stylish carry-all tote in hand too. A very thoughtful gift.
Bottega Veneta hosted a reception in the classic style of the House and offered clients the chance to purchase one of only 10 Brick Bags in the UK.
At DAKS I had a chance to tallk to the store Manager and DJ Jean Young who kept the shoppers entertained late into the night with a mix of heady rhythms. DAKS offered a wonderful selection of treats for shoppers, 10% off all purchases and each client was given a goody bag and entered into a lottery for a ticket to the Catwalk show on 18th September in London.
DAKS also showed their Autumn - Winter collection in store and on a number of live models in the window through the evening. I love seeing clothes on live models. I also love watching the reactions of crowds passing the stores as they realise the models are real as they move positions after a while. It really is the way to show clothes properly and is reminiscent of the Salon Shows that our grandmothers could see in London (and still in Paris) in years gone by on a regular basis.
Here is a shot from the DAKS Window.
At PRADA I was lucky enough to talk to the delightful Kim Stringer who told me about the limited edition BYO (Bring Your Own) bags that where available to purchase on the night. The designs where very appealing, with lips and lipsticks featuring prominently. A very beautiful collection.
The PRADA party had a great energy about it, guests where treated to gourmet chips and dip
wrapped in PRADA Newspaper giving information about the coming collection. Drinks were on hand to help everyone get into the party mood, followed by PRADA's own Sorbet later on. There was a lot of laughter in the store and the sixties beats took shoppers back in tome to swinging 60's London and Carnaby Street.
PRADA also launched a limited edition Miu Miu tote bag for the evening. This came complete with it's own storage case. Visitors needed no more prompts to shop and the party continued late into the evening.
"Fever" was sizzling at PRADA for A-W 2010-11.
All images (C) PRADA
Van Cleef & Arpels invited three editors from Vogue magazine to select
their favourite pieces from the current collection. Emily Sheffield chose
the Alhambra collection, Emily Zak chose the Alhambra Vintage & Magic
Alhambra collections and Sarah Harris also chose Alhambra Vintage.
Here to the right is a picture of a piece from the limited edition Vintage
Alhambra collection that will be in the Van Cleef & Arples stores from
November. The traditional four-leaf clover shape is crafted from lapis
lazuli, with Yellow Gold and a diamond at the center. Lapis lazuli is
reputed to bring Truth and Friendship. Alhambra collection that struck
a chord with the ladies from Vogue.
Right (C) Van Cleef & Arpels Alhambra Edition de Noel
From their window display my personal choice would be the Lady
Arpels Fairy. I thought she looked very magical.
At Alexander McQueen they where offering a store discount
and as everyone shopped to their hearts content I had a chance
to look at some the amazing pieces in the Autumn ready to wear
collection. Below is a piece from the last Haute Couture collection
designed by 'Lee' Alexander McQueen and it's on display currently
in the window in Bond Street. The pieces change every few days.
You can see a strong Russian influence in this work I think and I'm reminded of the 'Magnificance of the Tsars' Exhibition at the V&A last year. This pieces is constructed on strong military-style lines but also curves beautifully to emphasis the body of the woman. The extraordinary boots also have a strong militaristic feel about them but the Alexander McQueen Woman looks strong. The collection's chief influences are Byzantine Art and Renaissance alter pieces by Fouquet and Botticelli.
Gucci had an in-house DJ and the a heaving crowd who where drawn by an in-house model Miranda who was modelling in a live fashion shoot on the first floor. Miranda was showing the Autumn - Winter 2010-2011 collection which was greeted with great excitment in the store. Visitors to the store saw the whole process of a shoot. The make-up, the stylists, and the photographer directing the model.
I thought this was pretty cool to show the full story behind the pictures that we see and I think it was one of themost filmed events of the evening. I found a wonderful bag at Gucci, that would suit me for travelling. It was an over-sized tote, nice and roomy and a nice discreet design. I hope to bring you a picture soon. The name is the Celarius Cuir TOTE. My dream-chic make-up bag would be the Peonia Rose Make-up bag. It's perfectly shaped for travel or on a dressing table and in a perfect dusky rose colour.
At Smythson the party was co-hosted with Cowshed who gave manicures to anyone who visited the store.They where showing their Autumn colours that looked wondful. Smythson introduced me to the autumn Damson collection. This collection is in the most beautiful plum leather and lined with contrasting turquoise silk. There is a broad product line from Passport Covers, Fashion Diaries, to Travel Clutches and travel Jewellery cases.
I was also introduced to the Nancy Tote, new to this Autumn. It's a very attractive design and has a soft comfortable appeal about it.
Georgio Armani co-hosted the headline event with Vogue Editor Alexandra Schulman and this was the leading event of the evening, already widly covered in many other places.
Further down the street Mulberry hosted a cocktail party with clients rubbing shouldes with celebrities and Jade Parfit was filiming for Fashion TV. Jade looked amazing in a Chinese style short dress and I enjoyed some campagne and chatted with some of Mulberry's representative's and saw, once again the Autumn - Winter 2010-2011 collection. I left the party and moved on to where the music seemed to be coming from, Bruton Street.
Bruton Street had a lot going on with a street party atmosphere around many of the stores.
Maison Martin Margeila announced it's party with music your could hear on Bond Street. As always if you want to find a good night out you follow the music and this party attracted quite a crowd. I spoke to one of the DJ's called Andy who plays a night called Caligula in north London. What can I say it was an epic party.
Miller Harris launched their own line of wall paper and hosted an in-house workshop for making stools and other craftwork items. I really loved the market stall of Scarlet and Violet in front of the store. They where selling beautiful flowers and candels in jars and lovely things. Please see their web site www.scarletandviolet.co.uk
Moving on next to Matthew Williamson, a host of celebrities where mingling and talking to Matthew while I looked through his amazing collection. There where several pieces that absolutly captivated me, they where in canary and also some beautiful print designs. The fabrics are sheer and float almost over the figure. I am completly in love with the Intarsia Rose Knitwear dresses. Matthew was also selling the Fashion Night Out Bag and T-Shirt Dress and they are still available on the Matthew Williamson Website.
Juicy Couture was also a hive of activity and had one of the most attention grabing windows.
Stella McCartney hosted one of the most popular events of the evening. Many friends of the designer such as Claudia Schiffer and Natalia Vodianova joined her for the evening and another friend Gwyneth Paltrow lauched a line of children's clothes. I think it's really exciting that Gwyneth has decided to make fashionable wearable children's clothes. I think it's a wonderful way to bring children into the world of fashion and children are naturally such happy spirits, they are more likely to engage with clothes in the future if they are dressed well as children.
Harvey Niks & Sloane Street.
Harvey Nichols hosted a Fashion Night with a difference. They opened an in-house habidashery on the first floor where designers and their assistants where customising Fashion Night Out bags. I was lucky enough to talk to ERDEM and he customised my bag (see below). I opted for some simple pink colouring to compliment the signature website design. ERDEM thought it looked fun and I thanked him and wished him good luck for his show on Monday 20th at Fashion Week.
A lot of the stores on Sloane Street where open late and here is a picture of one of my favourite windows, Missoni. Beautiful high colour design. Wonderful wrappables for Winter 2010-11.
Back on Bond Street Anya Hindmarsh hosted a How Do You Wear Yours party. Guests where invited to pose in a modelling shoot with their Anya Hindmarsh bags in a fashion shoot and Anya herself picked the best look of the evening and gave a special prize.
On Brook Street Diptyque (make the most amazing Rose candles, my romanitc dream) hosted an event to launch Eau Duelle, their new fragrance for 2010. It's lovely. Heavenly and light.
LK Bennet hosted an in-house photoshoot and offered a store discount.
Burberry hosted a spectacular party with Christopher Bailey talking to Jasmine Guinness a little way from me as I was learning all about a young jewellery designer called Giullia and the pieces she makes.
I will tell you more about her in the coming weeks but back to Burberry. The party was amazing. The music was by band One Night Only and kept the party mood going even beyond the store. Jaquetta Wheeler and a host of other names in fashion mingled and shopped the night away. Burberry also put on British Bands in their stores in New York and Milan to promote British talent and hosted parties at their stores in New York, Berlin, Milan, Istanbul, Athens, New Delhi, Moscow, Tokyo, Taipei, Seoul, Madrid and Sydney to celebrate Vogue Fashion's Night Out.
Burberry will be beaming their Spring - Summer 2011 collection into 25 flagship stores world wide and hosting special trunk parties where clients can enjoy the show.
The People Tree at Friary Court : START Garden Party to make a difference at Clarence House 11th September 2010
I attended an wonderful event just before London Fashion Week. The Garden Party to make a difference hosted an ethically aware fashion show at Friary Court, as part of the movement to bring evironmental awareness into fashion. People Tree are an organisation that promote sustainable fashion. This involves manufacturers making long term commitments to suppliers and supports the growth of Organic Cotton in India. Organic cotton is produced on a Carbon Neutral basis.
I've picked out some looks that I think are pretty wearable for occassion and relaxation. Please look up their web site www.peopletree.co.uk.