Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mark Fast for Topshop

Yay! Another designer/high-street collaboration is on the cards! Hot on the heels of H&M's announcement that it is collaborating with Sonia Rykiel is the news that Topshop is producing a collection with the British Fashion Council's NEWGEN winner, Mark Fast. The Canadian designer, who graduated from Central Saint Martins with an MA in fashion in 2008, has been showing at London Fashion Week for the past two seasons thanks to the Topshop-sponsored NEWGEN scheme.

You may have already heard of his name as, just last week, Fast caused a media storm by using three plus-sized models for his London Fashion Week catwalk show - a decision that saw his stylist and creative director quit days before the event. ‘I want to prove that my clothes are for women of all shapes and sizes,’ said Fast. I'm sure his team-up with Topshop, which launches in February next year, will do just that. Details are hush-hush, but with Fast presenting cobweb knits and body-con dresses in his s/s 2010 collection, let's hope there's holey frocks and skintight designs in the Topshop range!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sonia Rykiel pour H&M

It was only a few days ago that I mentioned Sonia Rykiel and the high street in one breath. So imagine my surprise - and delight - to hear that H&M has secured the French doyenne for its latest designer/high-street collaboration. What's more, Rykiel is producing not one but two collections for the Swedish chain, bringing Parisian chic to winter 2009 with a lingerie line followed by her iconic knitwear for spring 2010.

Lingerie as a designer collaboration is a first for H&M (although Viktor & Rolf did offer underwear in their autumn 2006 H&M range), so anticipate a touch of ooh la la when Rykiel's designs launch on 5th December in 1,500 H&M stores worldwide. And, as another first, it will be sold in Sonia Rykiel boutiques, too.

As the Queen of Knits (her s/s 2009 catwalk show celebrated the label's 40th anniversary), it's no surprise that Rykiel is offering her distinctive knitwear for her second H&M collection. Comprising knitwear and accessories, it's expected to drop in-store in 250 H&M branches, so put 20th February 2010 in your diaries now!

Until you can snap up some Sonia, Jil Sander's +J line for Uniqlo launches this Thursday (1st October), while H&M's collaboration with Jimmy Choo offering bags, shoes and accessories hits stores on 14th November. Get ready for some designer bargains!

PS. The sweater above is my first Sonia by Sonia Rykiel buy, circa a/w 2005. You can tell from the sequined heart (that was once fuchsia pink!) that this has been well worn and much loved!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's only rock 'n' roll

...but I like it! Especially as this cute sweater dress is a rather bargainous £20 from New Look. What I like even more is that I can just throw on some tights and my Gap biker boots and I'm good to go.

Its monochrome colour palette means I can have some fun with my hosiery, from coloured opaques to lacy tights to the rock 'n' roll classic: fishnets. And the sweater dress looks great with my H&M cobweb tights, too. (Btw, for more punk-goth Rodarte-style tights, check out Cos and Urban Outfitters where they're £10 and £12 respectively.)

But do you know what I love most about this sweater dress? It's got attitude. What's more, the knitted mohair writing reminds me of my favourite Sonia Rykiel slogan knitwear and this season's sweaters from Bella Freud and Markus Lupfer - hers reads 'je t'aime Jane' (as in Birkin) and his spells out 'love' in sequins. Rock 'n' roll, baby.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Plastic fantastic

This statement necklace has barely left my neck long enough for me to blog about it, so I hope it's still in the shops when you read this entry. You must, must, MUST get it if it is. No other piece of jewellery has received so much attention - from men and women alike (all favourable I hasten to add!).

What I love about this Perspex number is that it reflects light and dazzles almost as much as gemstones would. It instantly dresses up whatever I'm wearing, adding a soupçon of cool. Plus, it's the perfect necklace for both day and night. It's been adorning my American Vintage sweater dress lately, although I'm picturing it on red velvet for an evening look (despite not owning anything in velvet!). But that's the thing about this piece, it makes such a statement that you want to wear it to its best advantage. Which means you'll find me - and it - standing under a whole lot of halogen lights!

And the secret to my statement necklace? H&M... for just £9.99. But keep it under your hat - part of the pleasure of being a bargainista fashionista is wearing something so desirable that nobody would think it was high street in the first place.

Just one word of warning - it is rather heavy! You know how women were in danger of injury when It bags became supersized? Well, I'm likely to get neck strain if I wear this for more than eight hours straight!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Sweet pea

When it comes to buying a winter coat, you've got to get in there early. There's no waiting around until the first signs of frost - by that time, shops will have sold out of the most popular sizes and be moving on to bikinis (well, almost!).

Top of my shopping list is this classic wool pea coat from Gap, available in chic navy and black. It's made of good quality fabric in a flattering cut, so not only will it keep me snug all winter long, it'll look good, too. From skinny jeans and Converse to sweater dresses, tights and biker boots, this pea coat goes with everything, and its effortlessly cool style screams Alexa to me (she who has just had a Mulberry bag named after her).

Trust me, this pea coat is going to be a sell-out - especially with Gap's 30% discount starting today (you can find the voucher details at www.moneysavingexpert.com). Running until 29th September, this generous saving takes the coat down from £78 to just shy of £55. How great is that? So bargainous in fact, I've gone and got the Stickman a winter coat, too! From Gap, natch (but not his 'n' hers pea coats!).

Btw, the scarf is by Sonia by Sonia Rykiel from a few years ago. Aren't those crocheted cherries the cutest?

Bargainista Fashionista is in Elle!

I'm soooo excited - my blog has made it onto the pages of Elle magazine! (That's me, to the left of the Fashion Notes headline!) Check it out - it's in the October issue that's on sale now.

Lily Allen is Elle's cover star this month, but the magazine has also collaborated on a range of special covers (and posters on London Underground) to celebrate the 25th anniversary of London Fashion Week. My favourite is designed by artist Rob Ryan (below) - he does the most amazing paper cut-outs and screen prints and his work is so whimsically romantic and beautiful. I love, love, LOVE it.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Matches 4 LFW designer tees

My bargainista logic goes slightly skewed when it comes to designer T-shirts, as I'm happy to pay over the odds of what a normal tee would cost - based on who designed it.

My theory is this: there's plenty of designers whose work I admire but can't afford, so a T-shirt of their design at least offers me a piece of their talent at high-street prices. And, while a tee isn't the most tailored or cutting-edge garment, it is versatile. Thrown under a jacket (this season's boyfriend or biker), it's cool, understated style - giving a nod to designer fashion without being a slave to it.

I'm loving Matches pop-up shop at London Fashion Week (in the courtyard of Somerset House). To celebrate the event's 25th anniversary, the London store has collaborated with the capital's hottest design talents (Erdem, Charles Anastase, Nathan Jenden, Preen, Louise Goldin, Julian Macdonald, Hannah Marshall, Sykes, Issa, Dominic Jones and Michael van der Ham) to create a range of T-shirts and bags - for £29 and £15 respectively.

I snapped up the tees with Charles Anastase's screen-printed swan (above) and Erdem's trompe l'oeil jewelled neckline (below). They're both designers I adore, so it's nice to have a small piece of those labels hanging in my wardrobe.

I know £29 isn't as cheap as chips for a T-shirt, but they are stylishly slouchy with cute rolled sleeves, all packaged up in the softest bamboo cotton. And how can you resist those original designs? See - and buy - the whole collection at Matches website now.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Christopher Kane for Topshop

Christopher Kane's 39-piece collection for Topshop hit rails and the store's website yesterday. If you're not familar with his work, I'd strongly suggest snapping up his latest designer/high-street collaboration now - this young London talent is set to be stellar, so it's a case of getting his designs at affordable prices while you can.

Kane's range for Topshop (his third and biggest yet) features heavily on bodycon and embellishment. From eyelets and mirrors on dresses, tops and even a tracksuit to oversized gemstones adorning necklines and rivets on denim, this is a predominantly monochrome collection with bursts of Kane's familiar fluoros (in pink and yellow).

There are also crocodile-print T-shirts and T-shirt dresses (£40 and £65), reflecting his a/w 2009 mainline collection which offers gorilla prints with the same wide-open jaws. And, as these are a jaw-dropping £210 for a tee, you can see why his Topshop range is a bargain!

Then there are the accessories, from scarves edged with giant gemstones (£30) to platform sandals and boots created out of mesh or in rivet-strewn leather, all with towering five-inch heels (from £125 to £175). Bag-wise, there are black leather pouches (large and small) with eyelets, mirrors and fringing (from £65) and a statement-making box clutch, in tough eyelet-embellished black leather and fringing (£65).

My favourite piece is the embellished T-shirt dress (above) for £75, available in black and white. With its bejewelled sleeves and hem, it has a 20s flapper feel to it and the jet-black paste stones glisten and twinkle as they catch the light. It's a great little party dress and practical, too, as Kane has purposefully refrained from beading the back hemline. Why so? To ensure it's comfortable to sit down in. Now that's what I call considerate designing.

I also like the hoodie with eyelet and mirror embellishment (below), even though the cold touch of metal as I slip on the sleeves sends me into shivers! Kane manages to make casual look glamorous and cool, so even though £75 seems steep for sweats, based on cost-per-wear this will become a bargain - eventually!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Christopher Kane for Topshop launch

Today was a momentous day. Not only was it the start of London Fashion Week, which attracted the likes of Joan Collins and Boris Johnson to its new venue at Somerset House, it was also the launch of Christopher Kane's third collection for Topshop. It's the Scotsman's biggest designer/high-street collaboration yet, so watch this space - I'll post some pics soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fixated with pixelated prints

I've got a thing about pixels at the moment. I blame it all on a certain s/s 2009 pixel-print dress by 3.1 Phillip Lim that I've been lusting after. Sadly, even at 40% off at TheOutnet.com, it's well out of my price range.

Luckily, there's plenty of pixel prints on the high street. Such as this glam-rock gold and navy brocade miniskirt from H&M for just £19.99. Super-short and sexy, it also works the exposed zip trend that's I've been wittering on about (I've shot the rear view especially to show you!).

I'll be wearing this with a white soft-jersey tee casually tucked in, along with thick tights and my Gap biker boots. It's the perfect day-to-night number, too - just swap opaques for sheer and boots for heels, team with an elegant black top and you're all set for a sophisticated evening look.

This pixel print is also available as a strapless dress - in the same style as the summer frock I blogged about in May - for £34.99, so there's plenty more pixels to distract me from that Lim dress!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Golden delicious

Can you Adam and Eve it? I was only talking about Temperley's apple clutch bag a few weeks ago (when I wrote about my Topshop heart version) and now I've found the high-street equivalent of that lustworthy a/w 2008 piece. And, instead of £495, this one's just £24.99 from River Island.

OK, it might not be made of napa leather and the cute leaf detail is amiss, but I've given into temptation as this fruity number in a hard-cased mock-python skin print is a very convincing replica. It's just as desirable, too - in fact, more so because of the bite-sized price tag.

Like the Temperley original, it comes with a long gold chain strap but, trust me, it's organic shape is so satisfying you'll want to cradle it in your hand. Who cares if you can't fit more than a credit card and a lipstick in it - it's meant to be adored.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Last summer fling

Get your final summer hit with this cute H&M dress for £24.99. Its pretty pixelated print reminds me of both Erdem's s/s 2009 collection and Monet's Impressionist artwork. In varying shades of rich verdant green - from pastel to forest - it's a pretty-as-a-picture frock. Plus, the fluttery waterfall sleeves are so dreamy.

The fact that the hazy floral design is one part Erdem, one part Monet, is its saving grace because, admittedly, the fabric quality does lets the dress down slightly - while it's lightweight and silky, it could afford to be just that tiny bit more luxe. However, a good quality boyfriend jacket and expensive-looking accessories like a bag and a pair of shoes will add gravitas to your look, turning cheap into chic.

This girlie number will see you into autumn, too - just team it with the season's essential leather biker jacket and biker boots. And, when the big chill does finally arrive, simply pack it away ready for festival season 2010 - it'll definitely be a winner with Hunter wellies come next year.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I love Jamie

The Stickman has had a pair of jeans named after him! By Topshop no less. And, pitched as the Ultimate Skinny, it's a case of like name, like nature! At £40, it's a cheap price to pay to have my husband's name printed on my waistband.

Described as super spray-on skinnies, these denims most definitely fit the bill - the bottoms are little over 12cm wide. I'd almost go as far as saying they should come with a public health warning! They'll look great with the Gap biker boots though.

I'm also loving Topshop's cream biker panel skinnies. With ribbed biker-style knee pads and sexy short zips at the back of each leg, this is the stylish way to work the biker trend, as well as being the hottest denim look this season. And for just £45, too.

Monday, September 7, 2009

French connection

It must have been my jaunt to France last week that drew me to the latest Breton stripes in Gap. Or maybe it was the '£10 off all sweaters' sign in the shop. Either way, I couldn't resist this classic crew-neck, long-sleeved number. At a tantalising £12 instead of £22, it's almost half price and an absolute bargain to boot.

This wardrobe staple adds a touch of French chic to any outfit, from a simple black skirt to skinny jeans, and it's versatile enough to wear for both work and play. Plus, being made of the softest stretch-cotton means no creasing and no ironing required, making it the perfect travel companion to sling into your suitcase or weekend bag. I'll definitely be packing it for my next jaunt, wherever that may be!

So go on, bag yourself a bargain - but hurry as this fabulous offer finishes tomorrow. And, if you love Breton stripes as much as I do, this sweater comes in washed-out red, too, along with cardigans and roll-neck versions. You'll be spoilt for choice.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

The must-have biker boots

Last year, Gap's biker boots were every fashion editor's staple. And, with ankle-length boots being a mainstay in wardrobes this year, it was only a matter of time before Gap reissued this classic for autumn. Makes sure you get yours before they sell out. At £69, I guarantee it's a wise investment.

I'll be wearing mine in as much as possible - the more lived-in they look, the better. They're the perfect partner for tights, leggings or jeans - and dresses and skirts, too. In fact, I'm beginning to wonder what I wore without them.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The ones that nearly got away

Don't you just hate it when you see something you like in a shop and they don't have your size? Or you wait until pay day to get it and then it's all sold out?

These three items are things I missed out on first-time around in Topshop last year. But, undeterred, I tracked them down on eBay and got them all for a fraction of their original price. Now that's what I call bargain hunting!

That's the beauty of eBay - someone, somewhere, will be selling something you want. And there's plenty of people offering high-street labels - either because they're hoping to make a fast buck with a sell-out piece or sale item or because they bought it, wore it and got bored of it.

The first two pieces fall into the latter category. But, despite being second-hand, both the ra-ra skirt and heart-shaped clutch bag showed very little signs of wear, so instead of the Topshop prices of £29.99 and £24.99 respectively, I got them for a tenner each. And, considering I couldn't decide whether to buy them when I saw them in the shop, that's a pretty good result.

I was worried the skirt was too short and the bag too frivolous, but eBay prices allowed me to experiment with skirt lengths and a vanity buy became a bargainous one. So I worked the 80s trend with my ra-ra skirt, loved it for its graffiti flower print in the style of Stephen Sprouse and then sold it back on eBay again once I'd had my fun. The hard-cased heart clutch reminds me of Temperley's a/w 2008 apple-shaped version which I lusted after. Impractical but quirky, it's a keeper as tartan is a classic that will always make a seasonal appearance.

Btw, Topshop is doing the solid heart clutch in chainmail this season - although it's rather disappointing that £28 only gets you chainmail on one side. For £30, meanwhile, you can upgrade to a black satin heart with the Union Jack in black and grey diamanté - definitely a look to rock come London Fashion Week's 25th anniversary this month. And, if you're balking at the prices, just take a leaf out of my book and track them down on eBay.

Which brings me to my last eBay purchase - a shop-fresh 40s-style tea dress that was £20 instead of £45. Again, I'd had my doubts in-store - this time because the dress was über-tight - so when I decided I did want it, it was long gone. Luckily, the dress didn't escape me because someone snapped it up in the Topshop sale to sell on eBay. I'm not sure if they made any profit, but I came away with an amazing dress that creates curves in all the right places and makes me look super-svelte. That alone is worth £20!


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