By Angela Cliffe in London
Carolina Herrera - New Boutique in London 120 Mount Street Mayfiar
Carolina Herrera has launched a new London Boutique on Mount Street. Many will wonder why, with such an international client base, she waited so long to come to London but they say she has waited for just the right place. At the new location she has settled in well with evidence of her refined South American chic all around. It simply feels like it has been a fixture for many years in Mayfair and looks like a Jewel.
Mrs Herrera grew up in family that was conscious of fashion. I believe that she first traveled from South America to see Haute Couture fashion shows in Paris with her grandmother when she was 14 years old and it is evident that she is passing on received and learned wisdom to her daughters and grand daughters.
She is a woman with a unique place in the fashion industry as a leading designer who was originally herself an astute client. I think this gives her a very special insight into what women want and how to make them look good. I'm sure the store will be a great success. She launched her business in 1980 in New York and since it has grown to cover Wedding Dresses, Couture, Ready to Wear, Accessories and Fragrance. Mrs Herrera also produces clothes for men, and very stylish they are too.
Carolina Herrera herself says, she represents the todays lifestyle, and how she and her daughters live and their spirit and attitude towards life. Women in Carolina Herrera's world are free and modern and the men are unique and active. She has created "a complete universe of elegance." and this is certainly born out by the ambiance of her store and the beauty of her creations.
As many of us are now looking at the Autumn Collections for inspiration here are two key looks from CH Carolina Herrera's Autumn - Winter 2010- 2011 collection below.
These two sets show how you can interchange separates in the same of complimenting colours to create a versatile out fit for work or leisure times. I really like these pieces for Autumn/Winter. I think a key part of style is about organisation and thought about the final effect. Being chic has a lot to do with being tidy and presenting a simplified, composed image. That could be one of key ingredients that those glamourous South American women use to such amazing effect.
Anyway Carolina has brought some of this magic to London and I, for one am very grateful that she has. I'm very taken by her range of occasion and evening wear that she is also bringing out for Autumn. There are lots of chic knee-length dresses to be worn with or without jackets and Cashmere cardigans and you really must see the floor length evening gowns that she has brought out. There is a purple one that is heavenly and many of the pieces are in classic Black with gentle detail of bows and ruch and layering. They are pieces that you could wear this Autumn but also keep and treasure and love for many years.
I would happily put at least half the collection up on the site to show you but I'm not allowed I think.
I must also mention the bags. I'm soon to launch a new part of A Blush of Rose dedicated to bags and I have to say I really love the Matrioshka Collection of bags. The shape and the sizes are a perfect fit for any day time as you go about town. Also they remind me of many things that I love about Russia and it's history, including the dolls I collect. A good all round chic bag. The Audrey bags are pretty special too and they add sophistication to any out fit for the day and complete a very glamorous look for the evening.
Please contact your nearest C H Carolina Hererra representative for more information. All above images with kind permission of C H Carolina Herrera and Front Row PR.
Samantha Cameron and Carla Bruni-Sarkozy. The politics of fashion.
When these two first ladies met recently in London fashion and it's role in Politics and diplomacy came back into the headlines, quite literally. Most of the leading British Newspapers picked up on what Samantha Cameron and Carla Bruni - Sarkozy wore and attempted to read all manner of insights of their relationship (or even if there is one) from it. I don't find gossip interesting but the clothes have their own story to tell.
My take on this is that they where both promoting the fashion of their own countries just as many women in diplomatic roles do all over the world. Michelle Obama has done this, Grace Kelly used fashion to strengthen ties between Monaco and France. Carla Bruni's choice of a Dior tweed outfit came from Christain Dior under the leadership of British Designer John Galliano. Interestingly tweed itself is a British invention that French have adopted and has also been used more famously at Chanel over many years. Therefore Carla was wearing quite an Anglo-French outfit. A lovely sort of silent diplomacy which, if the main is not yours, I suspect is the best route to take.
Samantha Cameron is a very able successor to Sarah Brown and has wasted little time in steping into the role of Great Britain's unofficial Fashion Ambassador to the global market. Samantha has been quick to recognise rising British talent such as Erdem and Joanna Sykes before she entered Downing Street and also from her own background in fashion she has supported the work of Christopher Bailey the Creative Director at Burberry.
Samantha's choice of an Emilia Wickstead dress for the State Visit on 28th June was another example of a clever fashion choice that promoted another British name to the world. I don't think her choice was particularly 'maverick' and in fact for me the black and white dress had a very flattering understated, yet sensuous quality that struck me as quite French. Also the Black and White I thought referenced the classic simplicity of Chanel.
Both Carla and Samantha looked lovely and accessorised well. I notice shoes and I really like smart shoes with a good outfit. I'm not a fashion control freak but I really think sandals only belong on the beach and don't like to see them with formal wear in any setting. It should be noted that as well as promoting British designers Samantha has worked to create her own designs as well at Symthson. The popular Nancy bag is named for her daughter and she is currently a Creative Consultant at Smythson, the Bond Street Stationers, where she has worked for 14 years.
Oxford Red Cross Couture Ball and Auction 18th June 2010
A lot of people have dreams and in the city of dreaming spires some good souls are using dream couture creations to help other people have a better life. I think there is so much positive energy in the fashion world and I love it when events like this come along.
Oxford has it's finger on the fashion pulse along side a vibrant academic life. As well as having some of the best thrift stores this side of the Atlantic and college dinning dress codes that require you to dress up and look good; they also know how to raise money for good causes such as H.E.L.P (Help, Love, Educate and Protect) and Teach a Man to Fish and AIDS related charities.
This year a whole host of designers including Herve Leger (I love), Max Azaria, Temperley, Tina Knowles (Beyonce's Mum) and Francesca Miranda have given couture gowns in my favourite color, Red, to the silent auction. There are also other treats up for grabs such as a chocolate making course for 4, an internship at Escada and VIP tickets to Wimbledon.
I can't wait to see who they will line up next year.
Matthew Williamson gives a lesson in fashion at Oxford.
Also in Oxford Matthew Williamson and Joseph Velosa, CEO of Matthew Williamson gave a lecture to students about the history of the label. A lucky group of Under-Grads heard how Matthew feels that the opening of his store on Bruton Street was probably his biggest achievement to date.
Matthew said that he knew when he was very young where his future would be and he pursued that. For me that's one of the most inspirational parts of his lecture and I certainly believe in following your instincts and pursuing your goals.
Dannii and Tabitha Launch Project D at Selfridges
As well as looking forward to a new arrival, baby Ethan Edward, Dannii Minogue has been working hard launching a new clothes line with her friend Tabitha at Selfridges.
The line features versatile dresses that can be worn in the day or evening for occasion wear or just to feel grat. I'm not always a fan of one-shoulder dresses but they have some nice pieces. Please click the link below adn see their clever Stockists page. It's very handy and shows for a new brand they already have good coverage.
Beauty, Grace and Style with Tabitha and Dannii and lots of fun too. Great collection.
Isabella Blow's collection has been bought 'en bloc' by Daphne Guinness - in an act replicating Isabella's purchase of McQueen's entire graduation show - thus securing a unique part of 20th-21st Century fashion for the future. I would like to thank Daphne on behalf of everyone interested in fashion and art as she has done something wonderful by stepping in like this. There is a film in production about Isabella and I wonder if some of these pieces will be used or copied by the wardrobe dressing the person chosen to play her? Who knows, not even John Galliano as of early July '10, so we will have to stay tuned.
Harvey Nichols Sale Mid to late June 2010
For my this is a biannual highlight as you can get some fabulous things at a huge discount. I've seen a very pretty Dolce and Gabbana Boudoir Print dress that looks stunning. It's worth going to one of the stores. In the past I have made great discoveries and some of my best classic evening dresses have come from here at a pretty generous discount.
(C) Dolce and Gabbana.
An Education in Fashion
This month saw two interesting projects announced in the sphere of Fashion Education.
Harrods Department Store announced that it will give it's staff tha chance to pursue a 24 month B.A. (Hons) Degree in Sales offered in conjunction with Anglia Ruskin University. The courses will be free to all Harrods staff who wish to pursue it and classes will take place during normal business hours. Harrods Learning and Development Manager Arkin Salih said "As a business we are wholly committed to investing in our sales force and by creating a degree tailored to the needs of the luxury retail environment we are proud to be setting new standards in our sector." It sounds like a great idea.
In September the new London College of Style (LCS) will open it's doors for the first time. This is a school to help people build skills in the fashion industry by giving specific training to people who wish to pursue a career as a stylist for magazines or private clients. The course is run over a number of weeks and I think it will suit many people better than some other courses on offer covering this that tend to be one-off sessions.
I enjoy putting looks together for people myself and would love to put together shoots and big editorials.
For more information on course content and bookings click here. http://www.londoncollegeofstyle.com/courses.html.
NEWGEN Sponsorship announced by the British Fashion Council.
On 15th June the BFC announced would receive catwalk and exhibition sponsorship for the upcoming London Fashion Week in Septmeber 2010 for the Spring-Summer 2011 season. Among the winners of catwalk sponsership where David Koma, Holly Fulton, Mary Katrantzou, Michael van der Ham, and Peter Pilotto.
Further exhibition sponsoship was also given to the following designers; Atalanta Weller, Chau Har Lee, Christopher Raeburn, Craig Lawrence, David Koma, Dominic Jones, Fannie Schiavoni, Felicity Brown, Heikki Salonen, Holly Fulton, Jordan Askill, J. JS Lee, JW Anderson, Louise Gray, Mark Fast, Mary Katrantzou, Michael Lewis, Michael van der Ham, Peter Pilotto, Sykes, Yang Du.
Sarah Mower the BFC Ambassador praised the diversity of talent in London at the moment. Alongside Ready to Wear collections there are also many talented designers working in shoes, bags and jewellery. The total number of recipients of sponsorship was 21, more than ever before showing that London is alive, a hot-bed of creative talent and the launchpad of many of fashion's stars.
Three of the designers that I will be following up in September at Ready to Wear in London are Holly Fulton, who is set to take over the US, Joanna Sykes who is working with label Aquascutum and the wonderfully unique Louise Gray. I can't wait to see what they bring out.
Natalie Portman becomes model for Parfums Christian Dior
Natalie Portman has signed a contract to represent Parfums Christian Dior. Natalie represents the modern young woman, she'a intelligent, well travelled, glamourous and real. He beauty is natural and strong and I think she is going to be a wonderful ambassador for Christian Dior. I believe that the video for her first appearance with Christian Dior will be shot in July 2010 and Sophia Copola is in the frame to direct it.
We should see her on our screens and int he magazones by Autumn/fall 2010 int he lead up to Christmas. She is certainly a wonderful Miss Dior.
Sarah Burton new Creative Director for Alexander McQueen
It's always a difficult time for a house when the founder steps away and the house must carry on. It's even more difficult when this happens suddenly, unexpectedly with a collection of Haute Couture half-finished and more importantly friends and colleagues of the Houses leading light are left in complete shock.
Tragic is word that can be over used and over sentimentalised but the death of Alexander McQueen was a tragedy for his family, friends and colleagues in the fashion industry and for a wider fashion world who saw a bouyant happy character who wanted to give so much to the world through fashion.
Sarah Burton has been chosen to continue her work for the brand. Many of you may not yet know much about Sarah but she worked closely with 'Lee' McQuuen for over 14 years and along with model looks of her own she is an amazingly talented designer.She is the logical successor to continue the vision of McQueen and she has already played a larger role in the designs of the house than many people outside of the Fashion World are aware.
I believe as I write that she will continue to show the House's collections in Paris as Lee did. Robert Polet, President and CEO of the Gucci group said that they did not wish to change anything and are very confident to take the brand forward. This is more than just business business talk affirming their confidence in Sarah as a safe pair of hands. Sarah has been the quiet other half of the house for many years and through this awful tragedy her talent may now come to the attention of people who had not heard of her before.
She will not replace Lee and nobody would expect her to but as happens when all founders of a House move on, this is her chance to add her own unique chapter to a House and brand that will hopfully live on for many decades to come.
Lady Ga Ga and Philip Treacy
Lady Ga Ga has become renown for her amazing costumes that are a central part of her image and stage presentations. She is a mastermind of production in the recording studio and on the stage. As well as working with Dolce and Gabbanna on costumes for a forthcoming tour she has also applied for an internship with Couture Milliner Philip Treacy.
This tells us a lot about her determination as an artist to have the best outfits and strive for the best in her presentation of herself and her work. It's also very revealing about her as an artist. Many people do not know that she has trained as a musician at professional level before becoming a burlesque dancer. The arts are in her blood. I am curious to hear more about what she will be working on in the following months and look forward to seeing some designs of her own.
Many celebrities branch out into other areas of the arts once they have established themselves and many find a place in the fashion world but few go into niche markets such as hats or shoes or bags and actually train at a serious level to practice this art as a real craft. I would love to be able to go into handbag designing myself one day and learn how to make couture dresses to order for my friends from 'Maison A Blush of Rose' :) and I'm fascinated when people start their own projects and produce from their own ideas rather than following others leads.
I can't wait to see what comes of GaGa's collaboration with Treacy and I hope to bring you pictures in due course.