LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

Last Friday, the British Library donned its gladrags for a dazzling evening of fashion. Part of the British Library’s series of after-hours events, ‘LATE’, as well as the Spring Festival, ‘Fashion Flashback’ was a true celebration of style past, present and future. Curated by students from the world-renowned Central Saint Martins, this special fashion-themed LATE was inspired by the British Library’s extensive archive of design resources. One of the main themes of the night was the role of resources – whether that of information or inspiration – and their part in the world of fashion.

There was plenty to see and do, with demonstrators by collectors, hands-on workshops, a history of British fashion press display, pop-up stalls and talks (my personal highlight – more on that later), all inspired by the library’s collection of magazines, books, postcards, photo books, and prints. It was a real testament to the variety and depth of the British Library’s fashion-focused collections.

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

The climax of the evening was the spectacular ‘Paper Fashion’ show, which featured second year fashion print students’ work, inspired by the Library’s images, Japanese and Russian collections. The show saw models strut the staircases and glide up and down escalators in the British Museum’s iconic entrance hall to the sounds of the legendary DJ Princess Julia and Jeffrey Hinton. The space was packed with fashion-lovers keen to see a piece of design history in the making and there was a tangible murmur of anticipation as the designs were unveiled.

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

For me, the talks were the highlight of the evening. GQ editor-in-chief Dylan Jones, fashion illustrator Tanya Ling, fashion academic Iain R Webb and writer Camilla Morton were interviewed by CSM tutors Hywell Davies and Cally Blackman. The speakers offered an intriguing insight into the inner-workings of the fashion world, an industry often considered to be exclusive, aloof and notoriously difficult to ‘crack’, it was a breath of fresh air to have such characters sharing their experiences in such an open, candid fashion. The reality of fashion isn’t all glamour, freebies and fashion shows, but rather a fast-paced, ever-evolving and challenging environment. The talks made some progress to dispel this mystique, showing ‘fashion people’ are still a mostly normal bunch!

Many of the discussions returned to the changing face of the industry, particularly the role of digital platforms. It’s a debate that fashion is obsessed with – and I don’t see that changing any time soon! Dylan Jones made an important point about quality – he thinks there shouldn’t be a different ‘way’ of writing for digital and that good writing will shine in whatever medium. Tanya Ling echoed this sentiment with regards to imagery, describing the huge amount of ‘visual vomit’ online, and the necessity of passion and determination to stand out. The sheer volume of information can be a good and a bad thing, but the joy of research is the unexpected places it can take you – that much the speakers agreed on.

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

Iain R Webb offered a fascinating insight into the process of fashion research and writing, presenting a selection of his research material, sources and notes. He spoke extensively about the editing process and having the confidence to not write something. ‘You have to have passion to survive in this ruthless industry’ he added. I thought this was interesting, as there seems to be the idea that you have to be ruthless to survive it. Camilla Morton definitely showed her passion while highlighting the importance of not over-thinking everything and seeing opportunities in the unexpected. She shared many hilarious anecdotes and her approach to research/ writing seemed less cerebral and more to do with feeling.

In short, there’s no right or wrong answer! What I took from the evening was that three main things are key: (self-)editing, quality writing and the free flow of ideas – in whatever context or format. Research can come from the heart or the head, but often the most engaging results combine the two.

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

LATE at the Library: Fashion Flashback

Paris Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2013

There’s nothing like the escapism of Haute Couture to brighten a dull and seemingly endless January. With workmanship to swoon over, these are some of the most beautifully crafted and exquisitely made clothes that money can buy. For spring/summer 2013 evidence of artisanal effort was in abundance. Designers were inspired by all things botanical and a spirit of romance filled the collections. Here’s my four favourites.


Valentino Couture spring 2013

Valentino Couture spring 2013

Valentino Couture spring 2013

Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli made the magic of couture appear almost effortless in their stunning spring/summer collection, their fourth for the house of Valentino. Paradoxically, the level of sheer worksmanship reached staggering heights: the collection’s motif of crepe piping took a reported 500 hours of hand-rolling to produce. Piped rococo scrolls seemed almost like the wrought iron of a garden gate, with the collection’s standout look featuring layer upon layer of organza, embroidered with butterflies and birds and wrapped in a tulle cage adorned with this piping. And all this was somehow achieved without looking too ‘done’ – embroidery and crystal beading nestled within layers of delicate voile so naturally they became part of the whole. Graceful, gauzy perfection was punctuated by regular shots of the house’s signature red.


Dior Couture spring/summer 2013

Dior Couture spring/summer 2013

Dior Couture spring/summer 2013

At Dior, Raf Simons riffed on flowers – a key motif interpreted variously by Dior’s petits mains over the years since the eponymous designer was himself at the helm. Reportedly inspired by reading Dior’s autobiography on holiday last Summer, Simons found they shared a voracious appetite for nature. Serene blooms were rendered with special effects including embroidered and appliquéd flowers that formed a cocoon, a dizzying array of trompe l’oeil pansies and delicate beading. Garments were precisely, almost architecturally constructed and often asymmetric in style. Skirts had pockets and – shock horror – trousers made the cut, all part of Simons’ efforts to make couture more ‘real’. These garments evidenced the power of such couture handiwork combined with Simons’ intense vision.


Chanel Couture spring/summer 2013
Chanel Couture spring/summer 2013
Chanel Couture spring/summer 2013

Chanel’s Couture spectacle transported guests to an enchanted forest in Paris’ Grand Palais, where they wandered until they reached a neo-classical amphitheatre. Inspired by the nineteenth-century Weimar Romanticism of Goethe and Schiller, Lagerfeld’s melancholic collection suffused sparkling daytime tweeds and sequinned evening looks with sylvan romance. The collection’s strong, articulated, and at times almost armour-like shoulders cut a strong silhouette and served to highlight and elongate the neck. Prints were a technical feat, made in fact from the lightest and most delicate embroidery. Notably, the collection ended with two brides – the designer’s nod to the gay-marriage controversy currently hitting headlines in France.

Elie Saab

Elie Saab Couture spring/summer 2013

Elie Saab Couture spring/summer 2013

Elie Saab Couture spring/summer 2013

Elie Saab’s collection, appropriately named ‘An Ode to Delicateness’, saw the designer’s signature beadwork adorn lace and tulle of varying transparencies, at times appearing to float over the body. The collection’s clever use of layering contributed to this illusion, as did the demure necklines, full skirts and long sleeves, which cut an elegant silhoutte. Saab’s signature block pastels were paired with complementary and silvery embroidery and punctuated at times with red and black. Multicoloured florals were covered all over with black beads, creating a unique print – something new for the usually print-averse designer.

All images:

2012 in Fashion: A Year in Review

2012 has been a bumper year for British fashion. Here’s my Fashion News Round-up for 2012.

First off, what were we wearing? For spring/summer pyjamas, peplums, neons and metallics were key trends. Autumn/winter’s new mood was romantic and prints were prolific – from winter florals to tartans. Flats were big news this year, sounding the death knell for the killer heel – Alexa made the smoking slipper instantly desirable and Isabel Marant’s wedge trainers became 2012’s ‘It’ shoe.

The first menswear-only Fashion Week (London Collections: Men) took place this year, firmly putting the spotlight on London’s menswear designers and offering a fantastic platform for British brands. The next volume takes place in February 2013 and is set to be even bigger.

Menswear sales increased this year, from Topman to Mr Porter. In contrast, womenswear showed a unique increase in the success of the ‘middle market’. Shops such as Cos and Whistles reported soaring sales, showing the emergence of a new kind of savvier shopper – less focused on disposable fashion but rather investing in slick, directional and more grown-up pieces.

A patriotic spirit dominated Summer 2012 in all walks of life (fashion included) thanks to the Jubilee, and then the Olympics. The Duchess of Cambridge’s patriotic ensembles kept the nation wanting more – and her bump is surely set to be one of the best-dressed in the land in 2013. Sport and fashion were summer partners too, with Stella McCartney designing Team GB’s kit (she went on to win a British Fashion Award in November as well).

At Graduate Fashion Week in June, over 1000 students showcased their designs. In the same week the Scottish Fashion Awards celebrated Caledonia’s fashion talent, with Christopher Kane winning Designer of the Year and Stella Tennant scooping Model of the Year. British Fashion has been in the world spotlight again this year, with London Fashion Week still a hot-ticket event. In the Queen’s Birthday Honours, Emma Hill of Mulberry was awarded a CBE and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton an OBE for their contributions to the industry.

Significant changes in the world of high fashion came to a head this September. With Raf Simons filling John Galliano’s position at Dior and Hedi Slimane stepping into Stefano Pilati’s shoes as creative director of Yves Saint Laurent, the Dior v Saint Laurent showdown dominated the Paris collections in September, and further drama unfolded between Slimane and the fashion press. All eyes will be on Paris in March 2013 for the next instalment.

Fashion seemed to have a bit of a reality check this year (unless open-mindedness is the new black). Lanvin featured a 62-year-old in their autumn/winter campaign and nonagenarian Iris Apfel modelled in adverts for MAC. Vogue pledged only to work with models over the age of 16 (although the Chinese edition went on to break the code in September) and in an interview with Vanity Fair Kate Moss revealed the reality of her life as a young model.

It’s been a stellar year for exhibitions: the V&A’s Ballgowns and Hollywood Costume exhibitions, and the Tim Walker and Valentino retrospectives at Somerset House (more on that soon). Just in time for Christmas, several highly-anticipated fashion books were released – I’m currently enjoying Grace Coddington’s fantastic memoir.

Here’s to another stellar year for fashion in 2013!

Happy Hogmanay and best wishes for the New Year to you all. Massive thanks to all my readers in 2012, I look forward to growing and evolving Everything Looks Rosie in 2013. Here’s a selection of shots from London Fashion Week spring/summer 13: Mark Fast, Margaret Howell, Issa London, Sass & Bide and Paul Smith.







Fashionable Books for Christmas

Fashionable Books for Christmas

In lieu of the prolific seasonal gift guide I thought I would post a bit of a guide to fashionable books for Christmas. I’ve always been an avid reader but it was always the extra special books that were saved for Christmas – the festive season has always been synonymous with reading for me, with the morning of Christmas Day usually spent curled up with a beautiful new book. Here’s a run-down of the stylish tomes that fashion fanatics will enjoy this festive season and beyond.

Grace, Grace Coddington (Chato & Windsum, £23)
Fashion legend Grace Coddington’s hotly anticipated tell-all memoir, ‘Grace’, provides an insider perspective on the Vogue creative director’s prolific career from model to fashion heroine. Accompanied by striking imagery (vintage pictures and Grace’s own line drawings), the book offers a revealing insight into Grace’s world and her unwavering visual instinct, including the truth about her relationship with Vogue editrix Anna Wintour, and the magic that makes her wildly imaginative spreads so iconic.

Love Looks Not with the Eyes: Thirteen Years with Lee Alexander McQueen, Anne Deniau (Abrams, £29.99)
Fashion photographer Anne Deniau’s homage to leading fashion designer Lee McQueen offers an inspiring insight into the designer and his work. As the only photographer allowed backstage with McQueen, documenting twenty-six of his fantastical shows, Deniau captured the visionary at work and conveys the sheer intensity of these spectacles. In this unique collection of previously unseen photographs Deniau records McQueen working with his closest collaborators, including Sarah Burton, milliner Philip Treacy, jewellery designer Shaun Leane and model Kate Moss.

The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited, Karl Lagerfeld, Carine Roitfeld (Steidl, £45)
Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld has teamed up with former Vogue Paris Editor Carine Roitfeld to celebrate Chanel’s iconic Little Black Jacket. The tome accompanying the touring exhibition features photographs of the classic garment throughout the ages as well as stunning images of famous figures wearing the jacket, styled by Roitfeld and photographed by Lagerfeld. I’ve been itching to get my hands on this book since I saw the Chanel Little Black Jacket exhibition back in October.

Tim Walker: Story Teller, Tim Walker and Ruth Ansel (Thames & Hudson, £45)
Renowned British fashion photographer Tim Walker’s images are the stuff of fairy tales, romantic and enchanting in equal measure. Walker’s whimsical photography has graced the glossy pages of Vogue for over a decade, and won him many high profile fans as well as subjects. His work is currently being celebrated with an exhibition at London’s Somerset House, ‘Tim Walker: Storyteller’. This book accompanies the exhibition, which features 175 of Walker’s images alongside the photographer’s personal observations and many of his extravagant props.

Kate: The Kate Moss book, Kate Moss, Edited by Fabien Baron, Jess Hallett and Jefferson Hack (Rizzoli, £45)
The highly anticipated Kate Moss book conveys a personal perspective of Moss’ career and transformation from teenage model ‘new girl with potential’  into a global icon and one of fashion’s greatest muses. The retrospective is set to become a collector’s item, featuring eight different covers shot by Mario Testino, Corinne Day, Mert & Marcus, David Sims, Inez & Vinoodh, Craig McDean, Mario Sorrenti and Juergen Teller. The text has been produced by Moss herself, edited by Dazed & Confused editor (and Kate’s former lover), Jefferson Hack and illustrated with images chosen by Moss spanning her entire career as well as never-seen-before images from her own archive.

How One Man Changed the World with a Pair of Scissors, Vidal Sasson with Micheal Gordon (Rizzoli New York, £30)
This book tells the fascinating story of visionary hairdresser and style revolutionary Vidal Sassoon. The hairstylist was a key instrument of change during the 1960s: his iconic unisex, low-maintenance haircuts represented liberation from the constraints of class and gender. His iconic haircuts were popular with tastemakers of the day such as Grace Coddington and Mia Farrow, and transformed the ideal of feminine beauty. The book combines memoirs documenting the life of the iconic hairstylist, including recollections by Sassoon and members of his artistic circle such as David Bailey and Mary Quant, alongside personal snapshots and fashion photography.

Vogue: The Editor’s Eye, Anna Wintour and Condé Nast Publications (Abrams, £25)
This special publication, accompanying the documentary of the same name (yet to air in the UK), celebrates the 120th anniversary of Vogue. The book documents the magazine’s iconic past, charting the publication’s aesthetic choices and the resulting images that have changed the face of fashion and its perception from within and outside the industry. This unique, behind-the-scenes perspective gives unparalleled access to the models, photographers, stylists and editors behind the publication and the show-stopping and influential images they create. The book focuses in particular on the often unseen role of the fashion editor in creating these images.

Masters of Fashion Illustration, David Downton (Laurence King Publishing, £17.95)
This beautifully illustrated, carefully designed book by leading fashion illustrator David Downton celebrates the spectacular work of the great twentieth century fashion illustrators, from social portraitist Giovanni Boldini to creator of ’80s New Wave glamour, Tony Viramontes. The compilation also includes a selection of Downton’s contemporary work including drawings from Paris Haute Couture and portraits of modern-day icons such as Erin O’Connor and Dita von Teese. This text goes to show that the often neglected art of fashion illustration is very much alive and kicking.

Happy reading!

Chanel Métiers d’Art 2012: Linlithgow Palace

ChanelChanel reaffirmed the Auld Alliance tonight with the stunning autumn/winter 2012-13 Métiers d’Art collection.

The ruins of Linlithgow Palace in West Lothian formed a dazzling backdrop to Chanel’s opulent Métiers d’Art show. The historic location – birthplace of Mary Queen of Scots – provided the perfect romantic setting for a collection inspired by Caledonia, featuring tartan, tweed, Fair Isle and some rather fetching tartan blankets to keep the front row cosy.

The annual Ready-to-Wear collection showcases specialist craftsmanship, honouring the talents of the ten expert artisan manufacturers housed under the label’s Paraffection umbrella. In the past, the Métiers d’Art show has taken place in Paris, Tokyo, New York, Shanghai and London. Each collection is a celebration of the fashion house’s incredible ateliers, including costume jeweller Desrues, embroider Maison Lesage, goldsmith Goosens, shoemaker Massaro, milliner Michel, floral finery maker Guilllet, embroiderer Atelier Montex and glove maker Causse.

The skilled craftsmanship of Scottish tweed and cashmere still form an integral part of Chanel’s collections today. Just last month, the fashion brand acquired cashmere mill Barrie Knitwear in Hawick after its owner went into administration, securing the jobs of its 176 staff.

There is always a clear theme to the Métiers d’Art show, such as autumn/winter 2012-13’s Bombay-inspired opulence, or pre-autumn/winter 2011-12’s Turkish tea shop.  This year, creative director Karl Lagerfeld was inspired by the fashion house’s rich – and perhaps less widely publicised – heritage in Scotland. Chanel’s love affair with Caledonia was born of a real life love affair: that of Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel and the (then) Duke of Westminster. They spent a lot of time together in the Sutherland region of the Highlands on the Duke’s estate, Reay Forest, as well as the neighbouring lairds’ estates in the 1920s.

Chanel already used Scottish wool in her atelier prior to meeting the Duke, but the relationship certainly gave her time to appreciate the advantages of Scottish materials (and traditions) – most notably tweed. After seeing the Duke wearing the traditional handwoven woollen cloth whilst hunting and fishing, she began to use the fabric to make suits, coats and sporting attire. Chanel’s iconic bouclé tweed was the result of Coco’s experimentation with the cloth, much to the dismay of her French weavers who criticised its tendency to pull and buckle. Coco loved its imperfection and the fashion house’s signature tweed was born. Chanel also introduced the use of tartan and classic Fair Isle into her collections. All three have continued to be used by Karl Lagerfeld, and featured in the autumn/winter 2012-13 show tonight.

The Métiers d’Art show tonight was truly a love letter to Alba, and all it represents to the fashion house.

Here’s a video of last year’s Métiers d’Art show – as soon as this year’s has been uploaded I will post it too! Edit – see below:


Image: Chanel Twitter

Black Watch Tartan Trews

Black Watch tartan trousers

Black Watch tartan trousers

Black Watch tartan trousers

Black Watch tartan trousers

Last Friday was St Andrew’s Day so, at the risk of being serenaded with “Donald where’s your troosers” all day, I took the plunge and proudly donned my Black Watch tartan trousers as a sartorial nod to my patron saint. I tweeted about them and they got a great response so I thought I would share them on the wee blog too.

On Friday I wore the trews with a black peplum top (as a bit more of a tailored look for work) however this weekend I wanted to play up the vintage vibe with a more casual ensemble. The tapered cigarette style of the trousers and check pattern is reminiscent of ‘sixties Mod style, so I styled them with a retro ‘sixties Aran knit, peter pan collar blouse and leather jacket. A cross between a Mod and a ‘sixties schoolgirl perhaps?!

I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves. How would you wear tartan trousers?

Black Watch tartan trousers

Black Watch tartan trousers

Tartan trews

Black Watch tartan trousersBlack Watch tartan trousers

I wore this outfit for a trip to a very Christmassy Somerset House to see the Valentino retrospective this weekend… more on that soon!

Somerset House

A-Z of Autumn/Winter 2012 Trends (part two)

For the last couple of seasons, I’ve written a sartorial A-Z of the biggest catwalk trends (AW11 here and here, SS12 here). It even got the Grazia seal of approval, featuring in Grazia Daily’s Fashion Blog Round-up. Here’s part two of my summary of the top trends for autumn/winter 12 (you can read part one here).

M – Matchy-matchy

Suddenly co-ordinating your colours and even prints is cool – a matching printed trouser suit is the most dapper take on the trend. That counts for accessories and even make-up too: if your coat, lippy and bag match then you’re winning at fashion.

N – New Season Prints

Unusual prints ruled the catwalk for autumn/winter 12. Mary Katrantzou’s typewriter pattern ignited fashion’s lust for unique retro-referencing design and Burberry’s owl motif has spawned a multitude of high street spin-offs. Seventies inspired eye-popping patterns certainly aren’t for shrinking violets; NB loud and proud physchedelic prints as seen at Marc Jacobs, Miu Miu and Prada.

O – Oversized Outerwear

When it comes to this season’s outerwear, mannish overcoats are big news. Manly, double-breasted and strong-shouldered styles are in, as seen at Céline and Hermès, or draped dressing gown-like designs like Jil Sander and Daks. Balance is key: fitted trousers and high heels balance the volume up top.

Jil Sander AW12

P – Perfect Polos

This season, feather-light polo necks were layered under anything from shirts and suits to dresses. See Paul Smith, Alexander Wang, Louis Vuitton for tips on how not to look like a Geography teacher.

Q – Queens of Quilting

Lovers of the Great Outdoors rejoice – the humble down jacket is à la mode for autumn/winter 12. Posh puffers and quilted jackets were once the reserve of dog walkers and country bumpkins, but have been given a new season makeover in fresh modern cuts and bold hues. If it’s good enough for Burberry…

R – Romance

Floaty fabrics, winter florals, soft necklines and elegant hemlines all channel a romantic, overtly feminine feel this season – as seen at McQ, Christopher Kane and Dior. It must be love.

Christopher Kane AW12

S – Super Shine

Super shiny finishes glistened on the autumn/winter catwalks. Patent leather, PVC and rubberised rainwear at Acne, Jil Sander, JW Anderson lead the way.

T – Trophy Trousers

The straight leg fitted trouser is the go-to cut for autumn/winter 12. The good news is anything goes in terms of colour or print – the more bonkers the better; think clashing colour and kooky prints. Take note from Balmain, Acne, and Christopher Kane.

U – Umbrellas

When an accessory features heavily in Burberry’s catwalk show it’s a safe bet it will become one of next season’s most coveted items. This autumn/winter: the humble brolly. Burberry Prorsum closed the show with models sheltering themselves from a rainstorm of glitter – the forecast never looked so chic.

Burberry Prorsum AW12

V – Va-va-voom Velvet

This season head-to-toe velvet came down the catwalks – think tactile boiler suits, trouser suits and separates. Keep silhouettes modern and accessories fresh to inject some new season pizzazz – as seen at Gucci, Paul Smith and Ralph Lauren.

W – Western

A smattering of Western references were spotted on the catwalks, and this is a big trend on the high street this season too. Think appliquéd western shirts and embroidered detailing as seen in Isabel Marant, Marios Schwab and Proenza Schoulers’ AW12 collections.

X – X-rated

This season it’s all about subtle, titillating details: thigh-high boots under girlish skater skirts, cut-out peek-a-boo paneling and split dresses for the more daring. Versus, Dior and Topshop Unique took the trend fifty shades more stylish.

House of Holland

House of Holland AW12

Y – Yeti Furs

It’s official – shaggy, yeti-esque faux furs are in, as seen at Mulberry, House of Holland and Giorgio Armani. The most fashion forward faux furs this season come in bold hues. This is a trend best approached with caution – fuzzy accessories are a more wearable take on the style if you don’t want to look like an extra from Sesame Street.

Z – Zigazgs

Stripes are officially old news – Pringle of Scotland, Missoni and Kenzo favoured zany zigzags. To keep the look modern, it’s all about ziggy lines and colour blocking.


Leather Peter Pan Collar

It’s no secret that I love peter pan collars, in fact a quick glance at my Google Analytics will tell you Everything Looks Rosie and the search term “peter pan collar” have quite the correlation. Recently, my obsession with collars has reached new heights. [I’m currently coveting this pleated velvet – and suitably festive – dress with contrasting peter pan collar from Cos. Take note Santa!]

Say hello to the latest addition to my rapidly expanding peter pan collar collection. A few weeks ago I posted about the beautiful handmade peter pan collars sold by Luminia. The gorgeous detachable collars are made from vintage, reclaimed or end-of-line fabrics (there’s only enough for a couple of each collar, making them truly unique) including velvet, tulle, lace and faux leather. Luminia can even custom make collars to your specification, with either bow or concealed hook-and-eye fastening.

Imagine my delight when a few weeks later a parcel arrived from Luminia containing a lovely faux leather collar with concealed fastening. It was even more stunning in real life: the material is such high quality and the craftsmanship superb – a simple but clever idea executed beautifully. The leather collar is a perfect addition to my autumn/winter wardrobe and such a versatile accessory. As I mentioned in my last post, leather is massive this season and the collar is such an elegant and subtle take on the trend.

Here I let the collar form the focal point of the outfit, pairing it with a basic slouchy knit – it turns what would otherwise be a plain top into a stylish statement. I styled my hair in a topknot to show off the collar and subtly matched it to my beloved pleated leather skater skirt. The collar would look just as good as part of a dressier ensemble and I look forward to playing with contrasting textures – say a velvet fit-and-flare dress with brogues or a burgundy chiffon shirt, fitted pencil skirt and ankle boots.

How would you style this Luminia collar? Are you still as obsessed as I am with peter pan collars?

Collar generously provided by Luminia

A-Z of Autumn/Winter 2012 Trends (part one)

For the last couple of seasons, I’ve written a sartorial A-Z of the biggest catwalk trends (AW11 here and here, SS12 here). It even got the Grazia seal of approval, featuring in Grazia Daily’s Fashion Blog Round-up. Here’s a summary of the top trends for autumn/winter 12.

A – Androgyny

Fashion’s love affair with androgyny looks far from waning. Designers including Chanel, Acne and Isabel Marant took inspiration from menswear: cigarette trousers, crisps white shirts, brogues and even just-borrowed-from-the-boyfriend bow-ties.

– Belt Up

On the catwalk statement over-belts cinched ladylike jackets, bulky overcoats and glamorous gowns. In fact, if you’re wearing clothes – just add a belt. See McQ, Mulberry and Burberry Prorsum for reference.

McQ AW12

C – Check It Out

This season checks, plaids and tartans ruled the runways, with Jonathan Saunders, JW Anderson and Marni all championing the pattern. The key is to keep the rest of the look pared-back and keep the colour palette fresh and modern. A splash of red and black plaid is perfect for the festive season.

D – Downton Dahling

When a designer bases their whole collection on a TV series, you know it’s hit the bigtime style-wise. Downton Abbey’s countrified style inspired Ralph Lauren’s autumn/winter collection – models even walked to the show’s theme. Others were at it too – Matthew Williamson, Paul Smith and Margaret Howells’ collections looked like a Downton shooting-weekend: corduroy, Fairisle and jodhpurs.

E – Elaborate Finish

Give your winter wardrobe a lavish update à la Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane and Dolce & Gabbana with ornate brocade, eye-catching appliqué and bold baroque detailing, or in fact all of the above, at the same time.

Dolce&Gabbana AW12

Dolce & Gabbana AW12

F – Femme Fatale

The Femme Fatale was on the prowl at Jonathan Saunders, Christopher Kane and Erdem this autumn/winter. Sheer-paneled pussy bow blouses and skin-tight pencil skirts cut a scandalous silhouette. Pair with elegant (and just a little bit naughty) elbow-length leather gloves, the accessory of the season.

G – Geometric

Make a graphic statement with geometric print knitwear. Jonathan Saunders, Kenzo and Proenza Schouler all took inspiration from graphic shapes and patterns. Work bold prints in the guise of slouchy, oversized knits for maximum impact and an air of arty insouciance.

H – Hip to Hip

This season it’s all about emphasizing curves with panniers, padding and the ubiquitous peplum – which (luckily for peplum-lovers like me) looks set to stay around next season. As seen at Marc Jacobs, Jil Sander, Carven, Stella McCartney, Lanvin… well everywhere really.

Carven AW12

Carven AW12

I – Intricate Accessories

For autumn/winter 12 more is definitely more, so make sure accessories are aesthetic, embellished and dripping in glitz for maximum wow factor. Shrinking violets needn’t apply.

J – Jewels on Top

The hottest clothing-accessory combo this season comes in the guise of enormous statement necklaces paired with clashing patterns and textures. For a look that screams autumn/winter 12 wear an oversized necklace (preferably something blingy) with a brocade top.

K – Kooky Heels

This season, pencil-thin stilettos are out and chunky, kooky heels are in. Squat, triangular heels are the hottest shape around, and comfier than skyscraper stilettos to boot. Dior, Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel put the focus on kooky footwear this season.

Topshop Unique AW12

Topshop Unique AW12

L – Leather

Leather is the key trend for autumn/winter 12 – it’s everywhere this season. From full on leather looks, such as baggy leather trews as seen at Topshop Unique, Givenchy and Mulberry to smaller details, vamp up your everyday ensembles with a touch of leather.

Stay tuned for part two…


Black Watch Tartan

Recently, I’ve rekindled my love of tartan. Checks, plaids and tartans featured prominently on the catwalks for autumn/winter 2012, most memorably in the guise of Black Watch tartan adorning dresses, coats and trousers at McQ.

This inspired me to don my Black Watch vintage Laura Ashley shift dress last weekend. I think this has to be my favourite ever vintage dress. The iconic Black Watch tartan, in a muted blue, black and green check, is probably one of the most widely used and instantly recognisable tartans. There’s something classic about the Black Watch check and the iconic tartan has a historical resonance too, as it was originally a government issue tartan for the Highland Watch.

I spotted the Laura Ashley frock at Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair in Edinburgh at around this time last year. As well as the unusual print (different from the ubiquitous vintage florals – not that I’m complaining!) the striking cut of the dress caught my eye too: the high neck shift top, nipped in waist, full skirt and ballerina length. The dress also buttons down the left hand side all the way to the knee, leaving room for an elegant side split.

I wore the dress as a pinafore, layered over my chiffon lace insert blouse to ramp up the girly, sixties vibe. My leather jacket keeps things modern and adds an element of toughness, and I wore my chunky heeled ankle boots to give a bit of a boost in the height department. There was a chill in the air so I also brought my faux fur muffler with me – a Christmas present from Al last year that makes me feel like some sort of retro starlet/ minor character in Anna Karenina.

Al says this one is my “blogger pose”:

I wore my vintage Laura Ashley dress for a spot of bargain hunting at Judy’s over in Spitalfields. Maybe it’s because we just moved into our new flat, but at this Fair I was particularly besotted with unusual retro furniture and beautiful vintage crockery. Here are a few pictures we took on the day…

I loved this stall with odds and ends including a mangle!

Cake stands and teacups – LOVE.

The coolest retro knitwear around by Vintage Freaks – more on them very soon!

I want it all!

I came away with this gorgeous antique teapot, just made for cosy Sunday afternoons in with endless cups of tea, freshly baked cake and a good book.

And lastly, some witty art in East London (couldn’t resist):