Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Bargainista Fashionista's countdown to Christmas

Bargainista Fashionista's Advent calendar returns tomorrow!

Last year, I played personal Christmas shopper and gave you a blog a day from 1st December to Christmas Eve with affordable fashion ideas. Well, I'm doing it all over again this year, so pop back tomorrow and every day for thrifty fashion, gift ideas and the odd luxe treat (those are the ones you can forward on as a hint to your nearest and dearest!).

See you tomorrow when the countdown to Christmas begins!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Valentino for Gap

Right, let's draw a line under the Lanvin for H&M collection and move on. Because if, like me, you missed out on some designer-collaboration bargains earlier this week, well, there's more just around the corner. Saturday, in fact.

Yep, Italian couture house Valentino hits the high street with its collaboration with Gap, launching a capsule collection of seven limited-edition pieces to celebrating Gap's first Italian stores in Milan and Rome. Following the unveiling of Valentino's designs in Milan on 20 November, the collection comes to London and Paris this weekend on 27 November.

But don't expect Valentino's trademark evening gowns. Unlike Gap's 2006 collaboration with Roland Mouret, there isn't a dress in sight. What Valentino’s designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli have done instead is reinvent Gap’s all-American sportswear with Valentino’s modern femininity. The result? Classic casuals meet ruffles and bows.


Take the khaki parka. Add multiple frills around the neckline, experiment with length and you get a choice of three winter coats: a cropped bolero for £89.95, a jacket for £119.95 and a parka for £149.95.

Meanwhile, khaki cargo pants (£99.95) go glam with the addition of ruffles and the khaki frou-frou skirt (£69.95) is one to rival Lanvin for H&M's tiered lace number.

Even the humble grey T-shirt doesn't escape the Valentino treatment. Draped with a bow, it could almost pass for casual eveningwear, which makes the £49.95 price tag seem more reasonable.

My favourite is the grey hoodie (£59.95), which is transformed with a band of ruffles along the hem into something far more edgy. Not since Christopher Kane added neon frills to a grey hoodie for his Topshop collection has casual looked so cool.

Valentino for Gap is available at Gap's flagship Oxford Street store in London, Dover Street Market in London, Colette in Paris and Gap's flagship store in Milan.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Lanvin for H&M launches tomorrow

Don't forget, Lanvin Hearts H&M launches tomorrow. Set your alarm as it's available from 7am online and 9am in selected stores. Let me know what you get!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Lanvin for H&M

A couple of weeks ago I had a sneaky real-life peek at the Lanvin for H&M collection, aka Lanvin Hearts H&M.

To physically touch, feel and swoon over Lanvin's designs for H&M's latest designer collaboration was a real privilege. Although now I want everything and am getting a bit anxious about the launch-day hysteria (flashbacks to the mob at Viktor & Rolf for H&M still haunt me!).

However, the good news is that Lanvin Hearts H&M will be available online on 23rd November from 7am, while the collection goes on sale in the UK in selected stores at 9am. And I've heard that there will be wristbands allocated to the queue for timed slots so that shopping is a pleasurable experience rather than a scrum.

US readers, you get the collection tomorrow as Lanvin Hearts H&M launches at 8am across the States. In total, H&M's latest designer collaboration will be available in around 200 stores worldwide.

So, why do I love it so? Well, getting a Lanvin dress at high-street prices is reason enough. With beautifully cut dresses in an array of gemstone colours and pieces that are oh-so Lanvin, Alber Elbaz, artistic director of the French fashion house, has followed the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney and Sonia Rykiel by translating the desirability of a high-end fashion label onto the high street. It's glamorous and fun. And affordable.

Dresses, many in luxurious silk, range from £79.99 to £149.99 (for the tulle dress above), with the majority hitting the £99.99 price point. T-shirts with Lanvin's trademark embellishment are £24.99 to £29.99 and a so-this-season faux-feather gilet and faux-fur coat are £59.99 and £99.99 respectively. And, lest I forget, there are shoes, too, at £69.99!

The most expensive item is a silk-satin trench with rough-edged seams and a faux-feather collar for £199.99, while you can bag a organic-cotton tote featuring a Lanvin illustration for a mere £1.99, with 30% of the price being donated to UNICEF.

The menswear collection, meanwhile, features day tuxes, sporty trousers and jogging bottoms, merino knits and metallic-coloured brogues. Plus, there are unisex sunglasses - a snip at £14.99. There's even Lanvin Hearts H&M lipsticks, available in four shades, for £7.99 each.

To launch the collection in style, Lanvin and H&M held a haute couture show in New York last night, sending customised pieces from the collection down the runway. And, those pieces could be yours! Along with original signed sketches by Alber Elbaz, looks from the show are being auctioned at www.lanvinforhm.com with proceeds being donated to UNICEF. The online auction ends at midnight on 26th November, so get bidding now.

For more pictures of the Lanvin Hearts H&M collection, check out my Facebook page and let me know what you're hankering after!

To finish, some words from Alber Elbaz...

'I have said in the past that I would never do a mass-market collection,' admits Lanvin's artistic director, 'but what intrigued me was the idea of H&M going luxury rather than Lanvin going public. This has been an exceptional exercise, where two companies at opposite poles can work together because we share the same philosophy of bringing joy and beauty to men and women around the world.'

And, what joy!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lanvin hearts H&M

Can I just say, I'm SO excited about next Tuesday's launch of H&M's latest designer collaboration: Lanvin for H&M. And the clothes are as exquisite as this illustration by Lanvin's artistic director, Alber Elbaz (I know because I've seen them first-hand!). Will try my best to update you before the launch. In the meantime, it's less than seven days and counting...


Monday, November 15, 2010

Check mate

Is it greedy to want yet another cape?

Well, if I count the ones I've already got - my Zara smart camel cape, my H&M casual camel cape and my vintage baby blue cape - the answer's a big fat yes.

But, I'm finding this wool-mix Zara version a little hard to resist. It's the same design as my camel cape but a little more dressed-down, which I like. And it's black, cream and red weave reminds me of Burberry checks (in a good way).

I'd wear it with pencil skirts and skinny jeans alike, as it falls in both smart and casual camps. A veritable trait, given that the cape shape can limit what you wear on the bottom half (volume, longer lengths and maxis can prove tricksy).

The price for versatility? A reasonable £79.99. But given my camel cape looks far more expensive than it actually is (nay, almost designer, in fact), the same applies to this one. I have, after all, compared it Burberry!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Let it snow

This is the season of the snow bunny, thanks to D&G. So you'll be pleased to hear Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana's iconic snowflake knits have fluttered down from the catwalk and settled on the high street.

And, at New Look, there's Fair Isle knits aplenty to keep the snow bunny cosy. Take these fingerless-gloves-cum-mittens for £5.99. The snow bunny has her digits free to access her iPhone or BlackBerry, but she can also flip over the buttoned-down tops to transform them into mittens.

To get the complete look, there's also a matching hat for £6.99 and scarf for £12.99; both with pom-poms. There's even suede and Fair-Isle knit ankle boots for £29.99, while Fair-Isle knit dresses and cardigans help the snow bunny get a head-to-toe look.

Btw, the nail polish is Chanel's Paradoxal (a cool murky shade of purple). It's well worth the £16.50 price tag as my home manicure has lasted all week long. And the navy V-neck jumper is one of Uniqlo's merino cashmere knits I blogged about last month. It's £24.99 and there's free postage online until midnight tonight.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Love actually

It was love at first sight when I saw this cotton-cashmere jumper in Gap. And I was even more smitten when I saw it was reduced from £35 to £24.99.

It's chain-stitched message of 'love' reminded me of the slogan sweaters and T-shirts by Bella Freud, Markus Lupfer and Sonia Rykiel, while its hidden, sewn-in-the-sleeve 'kiss' on the reverse of the right-hand cuff (a surprise discovery while taking these pics!) is a finishing touch that I like to think all three designers would appreciate. Even the quirky left-hand pocket is cute.

Wear it oversized with jeans for off-duty cool, or with a simple black skirt for a preppy work look (don't be afraid to mix navy with black - the two work well together).

Talking of love, other Gap sale items you'll adore are the navy scooped-neck tee with 'je t'aime' spelt out in a sailor-style rope print for £9.99 and a red T-shirt with 'love' printed in big block letters for £6.99. And, sharing the love is Gap, with its 30% discount voucher to everyone on its mailing list, valid from today until 14th November. Happy shopping!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

These boots are made for walking

Who'd have thought the hiking boot would be fashionable? But, add a heel and some shearling and the tough metal hardware of a seemingly ordinary outdoor shoe suddenly becomes stylish.

I'm loving New Look's take on the trend for just £29.99. OK, it may be faux-leather, but with its well-worn look, it easily passes for the real deal. Plus, the faux-shearling lining is as warm and cosy as my Uggs - even if it is only around the neck of the boot. Never has practical been so cool.

The two-tone over-the-knee socks, meanwhile, are £6.99 from Uniqlo. Top tip: for those of you whose shoe size is a UK 8-11, Uniqlo's men's socks are a thrifty £6.99 for four pairs. Colours range from black, grey and earthy browns to red, orange and mustard. Perfect for teaming with a hiking boot.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Follow Bargainista Fashionista on Facebook and win Eclectic Eccentricity jewellery!

Bargainista Fashionista is hosting its very first giveaway, courtesy of Eclectic Eccentricity!

You may remember that I blogged about an Eclectic Eccentricity necklace back in July - a story that was picked up by Cosmopolitan online, no less.

Well, to help celebrate the launch of Bargainista Fashionista's Facebook page, the lovely people at Eclectic Eccentricity have offered the following gorgeous pieces of jewellery (pictured above and below) - worth over £75 - as prizes:

Turn a New Leaf bracelet, £15.50
Rambling Rose hair comb, £11.50
You'll Make Me Blush Rose necklace, £15.75
Winging My Way Back to You necklace, £18.50
Preen Vintage Peacock earrings, £15

To enter the competition, just become a fan of my Facebook page. Winners will be chosen in mid-December and, to share the love, there will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes (I'll decide how to split the five pieces at a later date). Click here to go to my Facebook page now. Thank you and good luck!


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