Sunday, October 28, 2012

Olivia Palermo's Reiss leather skirt

Leather is a big, HUGE trend this season. But take note, this is not leather as you know it. We're talking sophisticated leather rather than the S&M kind. It's still sexy but in a far more subtle way.

What's different this autumn/winter is the elegant, daytime direction that leather's taken. Less after-hours, it's very office-friendly. Plus, it comes in a palette of colours and is paper-thin, soft and supple. Look out for cut-out details, too.

Of course, there are myriad leather biker jackets this season, too. Ditto the perennial leather pencil skirt. And then there's the leather trousers. But there's a whole lot more.

To show you how versatile – and varied – leather can be, see how Team ELLE wears leather. Bags and shoes aside, leather has never played a big part in my wardrobe – probably because I assume leather isn't going to suit me. But even I was swayed. So I put it down to the new mood of leather.

The object of my new-found love for leather? The Barrett olive-green midiskirt, £225, by Reiss. Olivia Palermo's a fan, you know. She wore hers to London Fashion Week.

This Reiss skirt is so ladylike and chic. And the colour is such a refreshing change from black. It's buttery soft and has a surprisingly light thinness to it that I'd not associated with leather before. Yep, my connotations of thick, stiff leather have been completely blown away.

Let me know your thoughts on leather. Are you wearing it this season?


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Nicole Farhi sample sale


Sample sale alert! Put the Nicole Farhi private sale in your diaries now. It's on from Wednesday 24th October to Tuesday 6th November.

And, great news, this is the biggest one-off sale Nicole Farhi has ever held. You'll be able to shop its extensive archive collections, all at up to 75% off.

Nicole Farhi, which celebrates its 30th year in business this year, is known for luxe, laid-back clothes that real women want to wear. A beautifully made coat. An elegant evening dress. Soft, fluid separates. (The designer also launched French Connection 40 years ago.)

So, for French chic and British cool, the Nicole Farhi sample sale has accessories starting from just £20, shirts and skirts from £35, trousers and knitwear from £45, dresses from £50 and outerwear from £90. Imagine, your new winter coat could be a Nicole Farhi one for under £100, which is cheaper than the high street.

With new lines added daily, it's going to be a fortnight of bargains. Oh, and there's menswear, too. The Nicole Farhi sample sale is at 16 Fouberts Place (off Carnaby Street), London W1F 7PJ (cash and credit cards accepted). Weekdays 8am to 8pm, Saturdays 10am to 6pm and Sundays 10am to 4pm.

Let me know what you get!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Elizabeth Lau for ASOS: the interview

In a season of cartoon knits, animal jumpers and statement sweaters, London designer Elizabeth Lau's collection for ASOS couldn't be more timely.

Following my September blog post about this new designer/high-street collaboration and ahead of a shoot she's done for ASOS's Fashion Up iPhone/iPad magazine, I got an exclusive interview with Elizabeth herself (pictured above)...

Describe the Elizabeth Lau girl.
I have always felt the Elizabeth Lau girl is an individual who has an eye for detail and style and is not afraid to have a bit of fun with fashion.

Who do you see wearing your designs for ASOS?
With the ASOS lower price points, I see anyone who likes a witty knit wearing these quirky jumpers. They're just pure fun and will bring a cheer to the grey winter days ahead!

Why did you decide to collaborate with ASOS?
We've been on each other’s radar for a number of seasons. ASOS liked the concept of my a/w 2011 Cockney rhyming collection and invited me to design exclusive jumpers for them in the same vein. It’s an incredible opportunity to reach out to new customers all over the world. The real challenge was to get the price points down to a level that did not compromise the designs and motifs.

And why a jumper collection?
Why jumpers? I guess it’s our signature item and a universally easy-to-wear piece of clothing.

What's your favourite piece in your ASOS collection?
It’s a tie between the Dog & Bone (Cockney rhyming for telephone; pictured above) and the Lizzie smiley face. I am a sucker for kawaii motifs!

Give us some styling tips. How would you wear your ASOS jumpers?
Jumpers go with everything. You can team them with slouchy jeans, skinnies, cigarette pants, shorts or a cute skirt. When I'm in my studio, I wear my ASOS jumpers with dungarees and tough DMs. It's the perfect outfit for autumn/winter.

What are your high-street recommendations?
I am a high-street magpie and will cherry-pick items from a variety of places. My favourites are COS for its understated yet design-led pieces, Whistles always has great cuts and Uniqlo for reliable basics. Recently, I'm also liking Aubin & Wills – it offers great quality, no-nonsense clothes with a good old British sensibility.

For exclusive behind-the-scenes pictures of the making of Elizabeth Lau's collection for ASOS and to view the whole collection see my previous blog post.

Meanwhile, check out the Instagram pictures (below) from her shoot with ASOS, featuring Elizabeth and her cousins, sisters Susanna (aka Susie Bubble of Style Bubble) and Louisa Lau (of Lust & Found).

Elizabeth Lau wears Treacle Tart jumper, £75
Susie Bubble wear heartbreaker jumper, £65
Susie Bubble and sister Louisa Lau, who wears Dog & Bone jumper, £75
Louisa Lau wears Union Jack jumper, £70. Susie Bubble wears Havin' a Bubble jumper, £75. Elizabeth Lau wears La Di Dah jumper, £75. 

So which jumper is your favourite? The Dog & Bone and Lizzie smiley face designs get my vote. Shop the Elizabeth Lau for ASOS collection here and check out Elizabeth's blog, too.

Friday, October 19, 2012

I heart these Diane von Furstenberg lace shorts

There's a lot of lace in the shops right now. From lace dresses (inspired by Erdem) to lace panels and details (à la Phillip Lim), you can wear as much or as little lace as you'd like and still be on-trend.

For ideas of how to incorporate lace into your wardrobe, see how Team ELLE wears lace. I hope you'll be inspired by the diversity of choices.

As you can see, with my choice of lace I haven't steered far from my workwear favourite of shorts. These are by Diane von Furstenberg. I love how the lace makes them look feminine without losing the androgynous cool of the slouchy pockets and the neat boy shape.

Admittedly, they may be a little expensive (about £165), but the quality of the lace is superb. And, while there will be high-street versions, these feel so luxurious to wear and are made to last. I'm in love with them. More so because they slip into my existing wardrobe so seamlessly.

I've teamed them with my Aubin & Wills jacket and Pierre Hardy for Gap shoes and new River Island suede bag. And you know what, with the lace trend running and running, I'll be able to wear these shorts without tights come next summer. OK, so who's going to buy me a pair then?


Sunday, October 14, 2012

William Tempest for River Island video

If my last blog post about William Tempest for River Island has got you excited about the next designer collaboration to hit the high street, here's some more pictures. As you can see, that glamorous flapper dress (top, £150) comes in black as well as nude. It's so Great Gatsby!

William Tempest's collection for River Island Design Forum, which launches on 22nd October, made a stylish debut at London Fashion Week in September. It was showcased in a short film as part of the British Fashion Council and River Island's Fash/On Film initiative which supports and develops creative film in the industry.

So, take a look and start compiling your partywear shopping list now…

William Tempest for River Island

William Tempest for River Island is the next designer collaboration to hit the high street. Here's a sneak peek of his sketches for the collection.

River Island is on a roll. With Rihanna already designing a capsule collection for spring 2013, it has enlisted British designer William Tempest to create a range for it's Design Forum label this autumn.

Tempest, a London College of Fashion graduate, worked with Giles Deacon and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac before launching his own label in 2009. And he counts Kate Moss, Victoria Beckham and Emma Watson as fans of his luxurious, modern designs. Now you can be, too.

Using his flair for innovative cutting and experimental shape-making, the 26-year-old designer has created a 13-piece collection for River Island inspired by ancient Egyptian mythology, 1920s interiors and the work of graphic artist MC Escher.

Ready for party season, Tempest has designed an eveningwear collection for River Island. It offers effortless gowns, separates and accessories including a beautiful Art Deco plunge-back tasselled flapper dress (below, £150), a sequined chiffon shirt dress, laser-cut heels and elegant evening bags.

Black and nude fabrics with opaque contrasts feature heavily. Plus, there are exclusive textiles for the collection, including a geometric Art Deco pattern and a tessellated design. The scarab beetle, a symbol of wealth and power for ancient Egyptians, has been turned into a motif, too. Look out for the quilted leather bag it features on.

William Tempest for River Island is available in selected River Island stores and online from 15th October. Prices from £40 to £150.

***Just checked with River Island HQ and there's been a delay. The new launch date is now 22nd October***

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Introducing Izabel London + Reader Giveaway!

Izabel London is one of the latest fashion brands to launch online. Already stocked at Dorothy Perkins, Debenhams and House of Fraser, the label's website launched this summer bringing its easy-to-wear, trend-led designs into the realm of internet shopping. All, of course, at high-street prices. In fact, the affordability factor is one of Izabel London's big plus points.

I admit, I wasn't familiar with the brand until now. But a quick browse of Izabel London's website and there's plenty of bargains to score. These are the pieces that caught my eye…
Can you believe this laser-cut dress is just £22? It comes in yellow, too.
And here's another £22 dress. I love the contrasting, scallop-edged collar and retro design.
I heart this heart jumper at £30. Knitwear is such a big trend this season and this is too cute!

Like what you see? Visit Izabel London and discover more. Plus, win your favourite piece! Leave a comment below with a link to the item you like best and it could be yours. Don't forget your email so I can get in touch. I'll pick a winner next Friday 19th October. I can't wait to see what you choose! This giveaway is only open to UK residents (sorry international readers!).


Sunday, October 7, 2012

Uniqlo's Fair Isle tank top

This Uniqlo Fair Isle tank top is a bargain £14.90. Cute, isn't it?

If you're thinking you haven't seen this in Uniqlo, then look in the menswear department. That's where I found this Fair Isle gem. It comes in a choice of three colours: brown, grey or navy.

I do love a Fair Isle knit. And I love shopping in the men's section just as much, especially during the autumn/winter collections. There's the cosy knits that the term 'boyfriend jumper' was coined from and the white cotton shirts that look great oversized.

Uniqlo and Gap are my two favourite stops for menswear shopping. Both offer XS, which is good for petite girls wanting to add an androgynous spin to their wardrobes without clothes that drown them. Plus, both excel at cashmere and wool, too.

Also look in the menswear departments of H&M, Cos, Banana Republic and Topman for this season's tux jacket. You'll be thankful for the head start come party season, trust me.

And if you like Uniqlo's Fair Isle tank, check out its Fair Isle cardigans, too. In the men's department, of course.

Monday, October 1, 2012

What to wear on your first day at a new job

In the October issue of ELLE, the team reveal what they wore on their first day in the office in the feature The ELLE Style Stories. My story's included, too!

A first day anywhere can be stressful enough, but a first day on the world's biggest-selling fashion magazine? That makes dressing for work extremely tough.

To illustrate my story, I decided to root about in my wardrobe to find the skirt that I wore on my first day at ELLE a number of years ago. The skirt (above and below) was from London's Spitalfields Market by a designer called Susy Harper.

I'd chosen it because I wanted to champion new talent, and by doing so I hoped that it would show I was worthy of working in fashion. Plus, I wanted to wear something nobody else (hopefully) would be wearing.

I love the simplicity of Susy Harper's design. A single piece of wool, one seam, no hem, no waistband. The result is an asymmetrical silhouette that subtly curves into a longer length at the back. It's good to see it still looks current.

My original first-day outfit included a black Joseph top and Pied A Terre boots. But here I've teamed the skirt with my Sonia Rykiel for H&M jacket, a H&M camisole and clutch bag, a pair of Chie Mihara sandals (another summer sale buy) and my Michael Kors watch. It still works now, don't you think?

If you're starting a new job, here's my top five tips on what to wear on your first day:

1. Wear something you feel comfortable in

2. Make sure it's fuss-free. You don't want to spend the whole day constantly fiddling with your outfit

3. Think of decorum and leave the low-cut tops and thigh-high skirts at home. You don't want to reveal too much cleavage or leg in the workplace

4. Grooming is just as important as clothes. But remember less is more when it comes to make-up and hair styles

5. Lastly, don't forget to smile!

A fail-safe formula is a good-quality jacket worn with a blouse/shirt and skirt/trousers. Add a few well-chosen accessories – a watch and a necklace, say – and finish with a great pair of heels and a bag. The bottom line is to think classic rather than quirky, so consider what first impressions you want to create and go for it.

For more first-day tips, read this feature in the October issue of ELLE and learn from the rest of the team. It's only on sale for one more day, so hurry now! (Or get the digital edition at iTunes).


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