Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tangerine Tango Cambridge Satchel


PHOTOGRAPH THE CAMBRIDGE SATCHEL COMPANY

The Cambridge Satchel Company has produced a special, limited-edition run of its classic 11-inch satchel in Tangerine Tango. Isn't it amazing?

Named after Pantone's 2012 Colour of the Year, this satchel originally launched at US department store, Bloomingdale's, in February. It's a toned-down take on The Cambridge Satchel Company's fluoro collection, which is great if you want to work brights without going down the Day-Glo route.

There are just 30 satchels available in the UK in this colourway, which makes it highly covetable. Priced at £105, call (01223) 833050 to order yours now. All orders are on a first come, first serve basis.

Note, The  Cambridge Satchel Company posted this on its Facebook page earlier today and tweeted about it, too, so fingers crossed the 30 haven't sold out yet. Let me know if you get one!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Clarks x Liberty footwear collection


Nike x Liberty has long been bringing us trainers in the most delightful Liberty prints – just look at this year's Lagos Laurel and 2011's cool Tom's Jets patterns. But what if you want your Liberty fabric on some other form of footwear? Enter Clarks x Liberty.

This collaboration between two iconic brands has resulted in a limited-edition collection of Clarks shoes featuring a classic Liberty print. And you can take your pick from sandals, shoes, pumps, plimsolls, desert boots and, yes, high tops, too. There's even a canvas bag in the range.

The chosen print from the Liberty Art Fabrics archive is an oriental design created in 1966. Originally inspired by florals from the 1920s, it has been updated for spring/summer 2012 by designer Zandra Rhodes, who has given it a fresh, modern twist in bold blue and soft white.

My favourite is the Scent Bottle wedge sandal (above) in a midnight-blue suede. With the Liberty print snaking around the cork wedge heel, it's such a stand-out shoe and so comfortable, too, thanks to the soft underfoot cushioning. And if you don't fancy blue, it also comes in two choices of leather: coral and white. The price: £54.99.

A nice touch to the Clarks & Liberty Art Fabrics collection is that some shoes have the print on the outside, while others have it as the lining. I love the idea of having a Liberty print lining my shoes. It's seems so luxurious somehow, and it's a detail that turns a simple shoe into something special.

Like the sound of this collection? Well, right now, there are few Clarks & Liberty Art Fabric styles on offer with 25-33% off. 

It's nice to see Liberty prints on a wider selection of footwear than just trainers don't you think? I'd like to see some more Liberty prints, too. So Clarks, if you're reading this, please plan another Liberty collaboration!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo – reissued!


Did you shop the Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo UT collection that I tweeted about in April? If not, you've got a second shot as Uniqlo is reissuing the T-shirts designs by Lulu Guinness OBE tomorrow.

Following a second run of Orla Kiely's collection for Uniqlo, it's now the turn of the sell-out tees by Lulu Guinness. My favourite is this cheeky-faced cat with velvety eyes and whiskers. Isn't it cute? It's £14.90 and comes in black, too. I might be biased as I went for grey, but I do think the features stand out better than on black.

Lulu Guinness for Uniqlo relaunches on Monday 25th June from 9am online and from 10am at the following London stores: 311 Oxford Street, 170 Oxford Street, Regent Street and Westfield London.

Don't you wish more high-street collaborations were reissued? It would be nice, wouldn't it?

Grenson sale shoes


Grenson sale alert! Remember these suede and patent-leather Eliza shoes? Well, they're now £50 on Grenson's website, reduced from £175. That's even cheaper than the sale price I got them for! It's such a bargain I'm tempted to get the all-black pair, too, but as my size is sold out I'm trying to convince myself that my size 6 feet will fit into a size 5.5 shoe!

My black patent-leather Martha brogues are also in the Grenson sale. And yep, they're £50, too. I've worn mine loads and had so many compliments. Since I discovered Grenson's women's styles, I've been a big fan. Both pairs have been comfortable from day one and are great quality, so they're easily my favourite flats.

What are you waiting for? At £50, they're a steal. After all, you'd pay more on the high street for an inferior pair.

Meanwhile, for Grenson's Martha brogues in this season's pastels, check out the my-wardrobe sale where you can pick them up in pink leather and two-tone shades. With reductions of up to 50%, they're now £87 to £105. I like the Claire navy suede loafers, too.

What prompted my footwear frenzy was actually a tweet from one of my followers about Grenson shoes in the style-passport sale (thanks Lizzie!). There are Martha brogues in pastel pink and blue with 30% off. I would have snapped the tan pair if I'd been quicker – they look so good with the cream laces and tan toggles. If anybody sees them in the sales in a size UK 6, please tweet or Facebook me!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The perfect summer dress from Next


This crochet and jersey maxi dress from Next is my favourite holiday item right now. It's easy to pack (I recommend rolling rather than folding – it leaves you with less creases) and easy to wear and looks amazing on.

You could be forgiven for dismissing it as yet another boho sundress. But with a sticker drawing your attention to the 'interesting back detail', it's worth a trip to the changing rooms at least. Then, wow, when you put it on, you realise that crochet back really does look sensational.

The dramatic jewel colour helps. As does the price – just £32. So much so I can overlook that it's a little long – hey, that's what heels are for! – and the cross-over front which isn't my usual style.

It was the perfect evening dress on holiday recently. Casual yet elegant. Simple yet stand-out. I loved it enough to get the black version, too. It comes in coral as well.

New Look has a similar dress in black for £24.99. It's just as floor-skimmingly long as the Next one but the cream crochet back is a little more daring.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Alex Monroe sample-sale purchases


These are the Alex Monroe sample-sale buys that my friend Em and I snapped up last weekend at the Pullens Yards open studios event I blogged about.

Em (and our friend Claire) got the silver and gold-plated tag necklace from The gardener collection for £55 instead £165. Aren't the plant tags which read 'sweetpea', 'with love…' and 'forget me not' so cute? I'm so glad both Em and Claire have bought it as I've now got two people I can borrow it from!

Em also got the extra large feather hoop earrings in silver from the classic feather collection for £105 instead of £216. They are amazing. I remember Amy Winehouse had a pair.

As for my purchases, I was really lucky to find the silver vintage bicycle necklace from the Daisy Bell collection for £45 instead of £196. I only learnt to ride a bike a few years ago so this cycle charm has been on my wish list for awhile. It's so beautifully detailed that I can only imagine it's assembled by magnifying glass! The diamond and ruby front and back lights on the bike are especially cool.

I also got a gold-plated horseshoe and four-leaf clover necklace. It's not on the website, but it was a bargain £35 and I'm a sucker for good-luck charms. I love how Alex Monroe has fashioned the horseshoe from a twig. His little horseshoe necklace which is £108 is similar.

These are all seconds, hence the big reductions. For example, my bicycle necklace should have spinning wheels but they don't. But such small flaws are negligible, if at all identifiable, and don't detract from the beauty of the jewellery. To help, some pieces like Alex Monroe's bumblebee necklaces were labelled 'wounded soldier'. How adorable! Now wouldn't you just want to take one of those home to nurse it?

If you missed out on this wonderful sample sale, fret not. I'll let you know when the next one is on, so follow me on Twitter and Facebook to keep updated. And, because I know you love a bargain, too, this is your last chance to get Alex Monroe's 'All the Best' crown & luggage tag necklace for FREE! My competition closes at midnight tonight, so click here for details on how to enter or visit my Facebook page.

Lastly, Alex Monroe's new London boutique is now open on Saturdays, from 11am to 5pm. It's at 37 Snowfields, London SE1 3SU, just two minutes away from Bermondsey Street and 10 minutes from Borough Market, so there’s lots of foodie treats you can tie in with your visit!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

My fluoro-pink Cambridge satchel

PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHANIE SIAN SMITH

Did anybody spot my Cambridge satchel on ELLE's Facebook page this week? I've had it since February and I've only gotten around to using it now!

Is anybody else like that? I hanker after something so badly until I've got it and then I don't wear or use it for ages. It's not that I love it less once it's mine, it's just that I want to be in the right mood to wear it for the first time or, in the case of this satchel, pluck up the courage to use it!

I'll post some more pictures of what I teamed my Cambridge satchel with soon. In the meantime, see what the rest of Team ELLE wore to work on the What ELLE Wears blog at ELLEuk.com.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Collaboration alert! Maison Martin Margiela for H&M


H&M announced today that its next designer collaboration is with Maison Martin Margiela, confirming the rumours that reached fever pitch yesterday. So put the 15th November in your diaries now!

Typically, the announcement was very Margiela – from the date above replicating its trademark clothes labels to the CV press release below, revealing that the collection will comprise men's and women's clothes and accessories.



So, what can you expect from this avant-garde Paris-based fashion house? Conceptual designs, that's what. Maison Martin Margiela is a label that questions the norms of fashion and presents its pieces through the techniques of deconstruction and transformation. Its collections reinvent volumes, modify shapes, change the original use and movement of garments and derail classic notions of fashion. So, expect the unexpected.

Note, it's not an aesthetic that will appeal to everyone. But as H&M's previous collaboration with Comme Des Garçons showed, there is a place on the high street for avant-garde fashion. And it will sell out.


Maison Martin Margiela was founded by its namesake, the elusive, publicity-shy Martin Margiela. He left the cult label in 2009, but it has continued in the spirit he set: that of a collaborative nature of its team rather than the individual, hence the anonymous team picture above.

Speaking from Maison Martin Margiela HQ, the team said: 'The democracy of our fashion has always been at the centre of our creativity, and the collaboration with H&M allows us to push this instinct further. We will bring together the contrasting universes of the two houses in ways that will surprise all.' I can't wait!

In the meantime, let me leave you with some more Maison Martin Margiela imagery. And, if you can't wait until 15th November, look out for another collaboration: Vogue Japan's fashion editor at large and creative consultant Anna Dello Russo's accessories collection for H&M, which launches on 4th October. Reflecting her taste for ornamentation, the over-the-top jewellery, sunglasses, shoes and bags are unabashedly glamorous and fun, like Dello Russo herself.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Alex Monroe sample sale


Don't miss Pullens Yards summer open studios event this weekend. For starters, jewellery designer Alex Monroe is opening his doors and I've been reliably informed there are serious reductions.

With more than 40 open workshops to visit, selling everything from jewellery, ceramics, painting, photography, clothing, furniture and books, you can buy direct from the designer or artist – at a reduced price.

The studios at Clements, Peacock and Iliffe Yards (Alex Monroe is situated in the latter) are open from 11am to 6pm today and tomorrow. So head on down to south London (Iliffe Street and Crampton Street, London SE17 3LH) for some handcrafted and individual bargains. It's nice just to nosey around the studios, too!

And, if you're not in London this weekend, you can still lay your hands on Alex Monroe's designs by entering my competition to win his Jubilee crown necklace (above), from his newly launched Best of British collection. For details on how to enter my competition, see last week's blog post or visit my Facebook page. Good luck and all the best now!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

My Whistles Jubilee party dress


What did you wear to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee this weekend?

My Jubilee party dress is from Whistles. I'd admired it last summer, adoring its pleated body, dainty polka dots and sexy front splits (very Angelina's Right - and Left - Leg!). Then, in the depths of winter, I snapped up this elegant silk dress for £45 in the sale, reduced from £175. What a steal!


I've been waiting to wear it all year as I love its vintage-y look. So, right now, I'm pretending that orange, cream and navy is a chic interpretation of red, white and blue!

Check out the What ELLE Wears Jubilee Special blog at ELLEuk.com to see what the rest of Team ELLE chose for the festivities.

I've teamed my Whistles dress with Kurt Geiger sandals, a vintage bag from eBay, Boden sunglasses and Alex Monroe's crown necklace below.

PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILL TAYLOR
PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILL TAYLOR

Don't forget you can win this Alex Monroe crown necklace, from his new Best of British collection. (Don't worry, not this one! A spanking brand-new one will wing its way from Alex Monroe HQ to one lucky winner.) For details on how to enter my competition, see last week's blog post or visit my Facebook page.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Trina Turk for Banana Republic launches today


Collaboration alert! Banana Republic has teamed up with American designer Trina Turk.

Known for her bold, bright prints – think a little bit Pucci, a little bit DvF – Turk's designs ooze poolside glamour and has attracted a celebrity fan base that includes Jennifer Aniston, Hayden Panettiere and Eva Longoria.

Now you can have a taste of her colourful Californian style as she brings Palm Springs to the high street.

Launching today, the limited-edition collection has all your summer essentials covered. In fact, there's everything you need to take you from boardroom to beach.

Think dresses, skirts, shorts, bikinis, bags, jewellery and more in bold pops of orange, yellow and turquoise, tempered by cool white. Prices start at £20.

Oh, and did I mention that model Coco Rocha fronts the ad campaign? Doesn't she look gorgeous in these Banana Republic pictures (above)?

And another thing. The latest celeb spot before the collection even launched was actress Selma Blair (below) in a pair of Trina Turk for Banana Republic shorts. Aren't they the cutest? They're just £35, too. I need them in my wardrobe!


Monday, June 4, 2012

Orla Kiely for Uniqlo is back in stock!


Laura Ashley, Orla Kiely, Lulu Guinness and now Orla Kiely again? Uniqlo, you really are spoiling us with your UT collaborations.

Yes, if you haven't heard, the sell-out Orla Kiely for Uniqlo collection is back in stock, having relaunched on Thursday. So if you missed out first-time round in March, here's your second chance to get Orla Kiely's signature prints at high-street prices.

The collection of T-shirts, shirts, dresses and scarves is limited, but when I shopped Uniqlo's flagship London store at 311 Oxford Street on Friday it was very well stocked (piled up to the ceiling, in fact). Plus, selected items are available in the rest of Uniqlo's UK stores and online.

The one thing that hasn't resurfaced is the slippers, which I'm a little sad about as a) I had hoped Uniqlo might resolve the overly large sizing issue and b) they are so very cute. But if anyone is a size 8 or above, 'room shoes' from the first launch remain on sale and they're a snip at £9.90.

Still, I couldn't be happier because the floral cotton shirt that had originally gotten away is now finally mine. It's a budget-friendly £29.90 and comes in a retro brown colourway, too.

Now this is the power of Orla Kiely's designs: a button-up shirt isn't my usual style. Too stiff, too square, I just don't look good in them. But the magic of this pretty print makes me want to give it a try. So watch this space and I'll let you know how I get on!

Meanwhile, if you liked Uniqlo's collaboration with Japanese label Undercover, a second drop of this family collection for men, women, kids and babies is now available. Plus, there are selected pieces in the sale.

Lastly, this is a very late observation I know, but with Jil Sander returning to the eponymous label she left in 2004, it's clear why the Jil Sander for Uniqlo collaboration is no more (sob) – I guess reaffirming her name on the Jil Sander brand is her top priority.

Friday, June 1, 2012

My Whistles wisteria-print trousers

PHOTOGRAPHS BY STEPHANIE SIAN SMITH

My Whistles wisteria-print trousers came out to play when the sun came out last week! The colourful floral pattern has a tropical hint, don't you think?

I teamed them with a simple white tee from Banana Republic and my pretty pastel-yellow Topshop sandals. I think the trousers offer a feminine touch to an androgynous look. Either that, or they make the pyjama trend both chic and relaxed.

Silk trousers in summer? It's the smart way to stay cool.

Here's what I wore:
Uniqlo cardigan
Banana Republic double-layer linen T-shirt
Whistles wisteria-print trousers
Topshop sandals
ASOS necklace
Whistles seed bead ring bracelet
Ring from Paris
Vintage bag from eBay
Michael Kors watch

For more summer workwear ideas, check out the What ELLE Wears blog at ELLEuk.com.

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