London Fashion Week


Maria Grachvogel

Maria showed a collection that both continued the Grachvogel trend for sleek long lines but also looked to 50s esque lady chic with curves and full skirts and lace. The set back drop for the models was an echo of Paris and Belle Epoque town houses.






























































































































John Rocha

I really loved John's collection. I had lots of energy and still plenty of the neo-gothic Lace themes that have been running through his recent collections.







































































































Caroline Charles

People come to Caroline Charles from all over the world to see designs to suit the traditional English lady. This collection didn't disappoint with clothes to suit ladies of all ages and all tastes.












































































































































































































































The debut show in London was a very hotly anticpated ticket. Before the show I saw Simon le Bon and daughters waiting but the penny didn’t drop until I saw Yasmin go down the catwalk at the end of the show. I thought 'What a wonderful Dad taking his daughters to fashion show on a Saturday afternoon!' I bumped into Yasmin shopping with one of her daughters in Selfridges the next day, I don't gossip but I will say mother and daughter, as you probably know, have a very careful eye for fashion.

Issa’s debut show in London launched in Spectacular fashion. Asside from Catherine Middleton's amazing engagment dress (yes I loved it too), there is a lot of scope in this designers repatoire and I urge as many of you as possible to have a look at her collections. 

Cristopher Kane

He's the man if the moment. After the celebratory British Fashion Council reception he was straight back to work adding the finishing touches to his catwalk show. His girls stepped out onto the catwalk complete with Mermaid Hair and crochet Cashmere. This look was chanelling “More Art School than Old Lady” according to Kane but I think this will really appeal to a wide range of buyers.


Coutts have announced their support for British Designer Meadham Kirchhoff. The British Fashion Council has received generous support from Coutts & Co. Meadham said of himself “I am a little lie that tells the truth" . I think beauty can reveal it's own truth and I'm looking forward to his future collections with interest. 


One of the most innovative and influential designers in London right now. He's really going for it with a pre-fall collection before his Autumn-Winter Ready to Wear. I've got a feeling about him. I think he'll be around for the long term and I think he could be one of the 'Greats'. Just a feeling.

Jean Pierre Braganza.

His clothes are really exciting and there is a lot of energy in them. Here below are some close up images of my favourite pieces from his exhibition at Somerset House.


















































































































































A Blush of Rose


February 2011


Beauty, Grace & Style


All images with kind permission of Maria Grachvogel (C).



Maria launched a collection that for me was looking towards a slightly new direction following the previous collections that I've seen her bring out. I feel like this collection channelling the 30s and 50s movie star look in some of it's inspirations. The beautiful White coat with trim just makes me feel warmer just by looking at it. It envelopes the wearer tied gently at the waist. This could be worn in the day or in the evening and will make you feel extra warm as you sweep through the cold Winter nights.


Maria's trademark prints are everywhere in this collection and the diaphonous blouse in the central image give the perfect contrast to the flowing White skirt below. I love the cut of this skirt it's an inspired idea to play with the length allowing you to show off your pins. 


Prints come into play in the piece to the right subtly contrasting with the colour blocking of the suit. I find the cut of the coat very intersting the large disc like lapels almost folding round the model like flower petals. It's soft and very flattering to the frame.









































 Maria makes wonderful dresses. Simplified designs that will take your from day into evening. They are carfully crafted to show the figure at it's best but still retain a simple modest elegance. This is cutting at it's best and the result is clear cut international Chic. Showing her versatiliy above are two print dresses and two dresses in blocked colour. These dresses will be at home in the Salons of Europe, but also Cocktail Parties and Offices across the world. This is very wearable, versatile collection and these pieces will give you a lot of wardrobe essentials.










































The first look below, to the left, is a very chic evening look. The Black Jacket, White Trousers and Lace Blouse give a clear defined International Chic look. I feel this piece is taking it's que from the 1980s but with a softer, more feminine touch. I love the bold statment earrings that give the piece the extra 'head turining' factor. 


The Black dress in the centre is an evening counterpart to the dress above. A broad statment belt defines the silhoutte of the dress and accentuates the waiste, drawing the eye down the figure to the A-Symetric skirt. If you look carfully you can see the dress is covered in a Lace shift layer that gives the effect of a lace fringe around the seam. The long sleeves and cowelled neckline will keep you warm on Winter evenings evenings en route to your dinner or Party.






As day moves into evening Black Lace entered the collection matched with sharp tailored trouseres, discreet Beige shoes and a Black clutch. The lace detail is very reminicsent of my favourite Black Lace that I've seen in it's home Chantilly in Northen France.


The dress to the right is a beautiful sheer design that slides gracfully down over the hips and hugs the figure gently. It's in beautiful muted Fig-Olive shade that will look perfect as you're kicking though the Autumn leaves.


This is a an evening dress that could also be worn in the day time. The sleeves gathered just above the elbow suggest the practicality of the piece and you could easily wear this to the office or a day-time social engagement. 



The fun extravagant cable knit coat above is full of the life and playfullness that we expect in a John Rocha collection. The fur-trim is the only nod to convention here and I love it. Striking and original this piece will keep you very warm this winter.


To follow I've added a few coats cut with a more traditional influence in mind but they lose none of the John Rocha flair for putting a new spin on a traditional garment. The Double Breasted Winter coat gets a modern make-over both at knee and mid-calve length.


The piece in the centre is a beautiful take on the 18th Century Frock Coat. The nipped in, fitted waist opens into a full skirt that flows elegantly over the figure of the wearer. I love the broad lapels that are a feature of many of John's Coats for the coming season. They give definition to the strong structure of the coat. I would love to wear this coat next Winter it's perfect.


The third coat to the right, above, is an innovative take on the well loved Winter Camel - coloured Trench. Double breasted again, it's generous in it's fit across the shoulders and I like the touch of hiding the belt away, at the front of the coat, behind the main front of the jacket.

The dress to the right above is exactly the the dress I would wear to an evening reception or event next Autumn-Winter. It's beautiful a good length and good cut that suit the Hour-Glass figure but also lends shape to women with a more slender look. With a layered shift design the lace moves beautifuly as the wearer glides along. It's on my wish list.


The last piece that I've chosen from the collection is a real Grecian-Goddess look. It's an iridescent Silver, perhaps with a touch of Platinum and is phenominally graceful. This is Maria's classic draping at it's very best.


This is a sensational dress. I love the Broche clasp sitting on the shoulder that twins with the bold cuff at the wrist. I will admit that I havn't always been a fan of of one shoulder or one sleeve dresses, but this piece is definatley something that I would wear. 


This is a very strong evening look and the Jewellery gives extra 'Head Turning' appeal. I think this is a Red Carpet piece.     

All images by kind permission of John Rocha (C).

The knee length Black jacket with Gold Platform shoes is a shorter slightly more modern version of the long Frock Coat above. This is coat to go out on the Town with if you're heading to a Club or a Party on a Winter's evening. Again the belt that cinches the waist is mostly hidden at the front to the eye is simply drawn to it's slimness in contrast to the curving flow of the lines over the hips.

Here are two looks for Occasion Wear for Autumn-Winter 2012. Full of sparkle and dazzle the look on the left will keep you warm and would be great to wear in the Party Season heading towards next Christmas.


This Coat-dress shimmers as it moves and I love the full knee length skirt that gently floats on layers of petticoat underneath.


The Coat-dress to the right uses lots of woollen knit almost like layers of Crochet one on top of the other. This sits over the lower part of the coat that is in a Tweed. It's fun, it's daring and very John Rocha but there are also Hallmarks of traditional Irish tayloring in the coat too.   


John Rocha is a designer who is committed to Ireland and all the wonderful fabrics and skills that are produced in that country. Partly trained in London and building his business from Dublin he's a designer that spans the British Isles who continues to produce highly creative and individual work.



I've picked a further four pieces from the collection below to look at in closer detail. The first dress is continuing the Tan coloured theme. With a traditional bodice the top of the dress is structured with clear lines. Moving down into the skirt the A-Symetric style both emphasises the figure and allows a flair of feminine grace in the ruffle detail on the models right hand side.


Next to the right is a Beige rain coat again with flattering tailoring to show a more traditional women's silhoutte. This is a jacket that will find it's way into your wardrobe and easily become a much loved essential in the Autumn. The broad lapels will keep out the chill with help from a scalf and as the models demonstrates it looks great teamed up with a thick scalf.









































Head wear is an important part of this collection and two of the models above wear wonderfully created John Rocha hats. Sitting high on the models heads these hats draw the eye upwards and to me they seem to be actually part of the outfit rather than simply an accessory. There is an echo of the cables of knitted wool in the Coats shown above.


These two Black dresses are both cut to wrap around slender hips and waists and so the figure in it's most elongated elegance.  




Taking her cue from the classic English Gentleman's suit look these two outfits to the left take a stylish look at the traditional suit.


The Grey dress is pretty versatile with or without the neck tie and could also be worn with a Jacket or Cardigan. I think the Bowler-Hat is interesting and back in the 1920s many women did wear hats of this kind.


I love the shoes that rise to anckle but no higher. They have a gentle heel and elongate the leg cleverly by coordinating with the dress.


The second look, the light Chestnut trouser suit again to me looks back to the 1920s and 1930s and the early years of Women's fashion freedom. The cut of the trousers is flattering and high belted waist elongates the figure. 


This outfit is a beautiful colour for Autumn and note the playful Leopard Print chemise under the jacket, it breaks up the single colour of the design and leads me on to the next pieces. 

The stylish hats continue to be a feature of the collection as new looks with animal print come into focus.


The first look to the nearest right is a lose-cut Cat Suit in both Tiger and Leopard print. This would look good on Safari in the evening with a nice jacket or a wrap. It's another versatile piece that you could also wear out to lunch with friends.


I think the broad-brimmed hat is fun and you could wear that and the Cat-Suit all year round if you wished.


The second look on the far right also uses Leopard print in a gently cut Chemise and scalf teamed with a Black skirt.


As in the outfit above Caroline Charles is using the post-Edwardian style hat once more.

To fend off the those cold chilly days and nights the looks below will see you gliding along stylishly. The Grey tartan jacket patch-work jacket and Black trousers, complete with Black Bowler and Gloves is a great piece. I think you could be pretty daring and just wear it as a Coat Dress possibly with 70 denier Black tights.


Another touch of animal print teams up with a light Caramel/Oatmeal coloured Jacket and a Black knee length skirt that tapers around the knee. The cut of the skirt and the impression that it gives of wrapping round the figure are very flattering to the wearer.









































I really love this Black suit and it's somthing that I would wear in the office or to a lunch or dinner meeting. I love the structure of the Jacket that gives definition to the figure. Again there is the thin belt defining the waist and this is a look a that's coming up across many designers collections.


To complete my look at the collection from Caroline Charles I chose the Blue Jacket overlayered with Black lace embroidery. It's stunning and as with the Grey Coat above, I think you could be bold and wear it with sheer Black tights as an alternative to Black trousers.



Mulberry at Claridges



I was lucky enough to find myself in the front row with the Photographers at the Mulberry show at Claridges. As ever the clothes had us drooling and there were many, many pieces that we where mentally adding to our wardrobes.



Here below with kind permission of Mulberry (C) is my selection for Autumn - Winter 2011-12. 







































                      Look 1                                                    Look 2                                          Look 3                                            Look 4



The first look above is wonderful combination of Greys, the Grey stretch leggings hug the figure and will keep you warm. The giant Bayswater will keep all your things for a hectic day or an overnight stay smartly together and my favourite item over all? I love the giant Tartan Scalf. Both this one and the scalf in Look 2 will find very welcome places in my wardrobe this Autumn. There is somthing about Autumn-Winter and Tartan, or Plaid as my American readers will call it, that go perfectly together. 


The dress in Look 2 is a strong statement, floaty and graceful it captures the natural curvers of a Woman's figure and will look beautiful by itself or with statment accessories. Here it has been teamed up with a small evening clutch but I think it would also look good with a Bayswater of any size.


Looks 3 and 4 that I chose are classic Black Winter Uniform pieces. Look 3 is a figure hugging trench that cinches the waist but also has volume and warmth. The trousers taper to the ankle in a gentle way to keep your legs warm and this look will keep you chic and cosy. Look 4 is a classic day into evening piece that could be worn in the office or to an event in the evening. The draping and wrap effect in both the jacket and the skirt flatter the figure and look incredibly glamourous.   




(C) All images with kind permission of Caroline Charles.

These two looks are great for skipping around town in. The Lilac vest balances well with the clever shimmering Leopard print skirt and belt. This is a great smart or casual outfit.


The long knee-length socks give the outfit a girlish twist and I love the deep purple bag that she's carrying with it. When I saw this look in person on the catwalk I knew it would be one of the Hit Pieces of the collection.


The Berry coloured belted Coat Dress to, the the right, is another essential Winter Uniform piece to add to your wardrobe.

This is a perfect Autumn Colour and I love the big buttons. They somehow amplify the clear simplicity of the style of the piece. The lose belt to sit over the hips as this version of the 'dropped waist' also subtly accentuates the wearers curves. A classic Autumn outfit for working or casual, for the Town or the Country.


Sticking with the theme of Big buttons and a knee length hip-belted Coat, the next look below in Black offers a different take on the jacket above. Again I love the big buttons, they give this outfit an added sparkle.










































The piece in the centre is a pretty combination of Green Tweed and Black. The small Bayswater Satchel is the model bag with it's long body strap handel is both practical and portable. The no nonsence knee high boots will keep your feet firmly on the ground in the icy chill. This is another look that would work well in both the Town or the Country. Fantastic Mr Fox was one of the inspirations behind this collection and I'm seeing his influence in the country tweed mood of this piece.


The piece to the right for me looks very Russian, I'm thinking of Cossack's big coats with lots of buckles and fastenings. Leathers and Velvet together are super snug. The softly flowing knee length skirt offers a gentle contrast to the full bodied coat. 









































 Look 10 above is a lovley Grey tunic dress that has some wonderful embroidery look detail around the decolette and shoulders. This is another look for Autumn and Winter that I would very gladly wear. I love the slim belt tie at the waist giving a bit of definition to the figure. It's a wonderful Occassion/Evening piece. The White Sheep skin dress and Polo neck sweater will keep you very warm this next season and I think this could turn out to e a very popular look from the collection. 


 Lilac makes a retun in the collection in the form of this pleated skirt with matching shirt. The generous pleats give it movment as you walk. To the far right the deep Plum coloured dress with coordinating deep Berry Tweed jacket and bag is another hot look for Autumn. The sash-tie neck detail makes this outfit just a little more special and somthing that you could have sitting in your wardrobe as an occassion piece or a smarter outfit for everyday, at leisure or at the Office. 










































For the last three looks to go into evening I chose glamourous Black. The first look the the left is a simple chemise contrasting with a ruffle detail skirt and buckle belt. Knee length socks keep the chill at bay while gold heeled boots give the look a flexibility to move into evening. Look 15 is a show stopping evening look. This would be perfect for a special date to the Theatre, Dinner or Drinks reception. The waist is chinched with a simple belt and the skirt moves gracefully partly due to the wrap detail.


The final look that I chose from this collection is a beautiful evening dress that is gentle with the silhouette. This is a real investment piece classic that will live on well into the future in your wardrobe. I couldn't take my eyes off the flow of the piece as it moved ont he catwalk at Claridges and lightness was captivating.







         Look 14                                                          Look 15                                                              Look 16

      Look 10                                              Look 11                                               Look 12                                              Look 13

                     Look 7                                                              Look 8                                                             Look 9

                        Look 5                                                                                                                                         Look 6


(C) Angela Cliffe 2009-2013