Thursday, September 27, 2012

Bargainista Fashionista writes for ELLE


Since I started this blog three and a half years ago, I've seen a trend: the rise of the savvy shopper, aka the bargainista fashionista.

She's the kind of girl that loves fashion and gets a thrill when she finds what she wants for a bargain. She lives for designer/high-street collaborations, as well as the designer sales (and the occasional designer splurge), but the high street is her staple.

Obviously, there's a whole lot more to her. Quality counts. But so do pennies, too. So she's savvy in her spending to make her money go further and clever with her clothes so she never looks cheap, always chic.

Looking good for less is easy with a little shopping and styling know-how. So I hope my blog has helped you to be savvy yet fashionable – and to get a few bargains along the way.

For more tips on how to be a bargainista fashionista, see my feature (above) for ELLE. It's in the October issue, with Gwen Stefani on the cover (below), which is on sale now until next Tuesday. I'm so excited! Let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Primark's new Oxford Street flagship store


I used to work around the corner from Primark's London Oxford Street store. I remember when it opened in 2007, when 3,000 shoppers caused a near riot as they stampeded in. And I remember the queues around the block every day I popped out for my lunch break.

Now I've moved office (same job, different location) and Primark's only gone and followed me by opening up a second store at the east end of Oxford Street, nearer my end of town. What can I say, Bargainista Fashionista is where all the action is!

So, now Oxford Street is one long Primark sandwich. And, if you thought Primark Marble Arch was big, wait until you see Primark Tottenham Court Road, as I shall call it (since that's the nearest tube station and there are entrances on both Oxford Street and Tottenham Court Road).

I got a first look on Wednesday, ahead of Thursday's grand opening, and it is HUGE. There's 4 floors, 1 giant LED video wall (pictured above), 92 changing rooms (63 of which are for women; sorry guys you only get 12 – even kids get 17), 111 cash desks, 1,443 employees and 82,400 sq ft of Primarni heaven. Did I mention its the 5th largest Primark in the UK (can there really be four stores bigger than this?) and the 7th largest in the company?

This lace dress is similar to the Zara dress worn by the Duchess of Cambridge back in December

I recommend checking out Primark's Limited Edition collection. It's an exclusive, trend-led capsule range available in 13 UK stores. There's a studded faux-leather barrel bag that's very Alexander Wang for £16 and a faux-leather biker jacker for just £26. Plus, for the first time, there's a Limited Edition collection for menwsear, too, which is stocked in 7 stores around the UK. What's more, The X Factor 2011 winners Little Mix have collaborated with Primark on a kidswear range for girls aged 7-13 years.

From bouclĂ© jackets to duffle coats to studded ankle boots, there's plenty of stock to keep you on trend. Take these faux-leather polka-dot bags for £16 which are a little bit Yayoi Kusama for Louis Vuitton and a little bit Comme des Garçons.


And these cartoon knits are so this season, so if you can't afford the 3.1 Phillip Lim and Markus Lupfer versions, you know where to go. OMG, Primark Tottencourt Road is officially open.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Elizabeth Lau for ASOS


The designer/high-street collaborations keep on coming! The latest on my radar is Elizabeth Lau for ASOS. You might remember that I blogged about designer Elizabeth Lau back in February, having fallen in love with her intarsia stripe heart jumpers and dresses.

Well, now Elizabeth Lau has produced an eight-piece knitwear collection for ASOS. Can you Adam and Eve it? The slogan sweaters are based on Cockney rhyming terms, you see!

Inspired by East End London and graffiti, this collaboration is full of cheeky charm and Cockney swagger. So, if you want a piece of Elizabeth Lau at high-street prices, here's your chance.

Elizabeth Lau for ASOS launches next week and I was lucky enough to get some exclusive behind-the-scenes shots from Elizabeth herself ahead of the launch…

Elizabeth Lau (on right) talking through prototypes at ASOS HQ. (Don't you just love the full-length version of her intarsia heart dress from her a/w 2012 mainline collection? Want, want, want!)
 Preliminary sketches of her designs (above and below)
 Proposed colourways for the collection (below)
The finished results (below)
 

If you're still feeling the swell of pride following the Queen's Diamond Jubilee and the London 2012 Olympics, then the Union Jack jumper comprising embroidered hearts and the hand-beaded Lovely Jubbly sweater are just for you.

The Having a Bubble knit, meanwhile, is a new interpretation of an a/w 2011 design, as worn by her cousin Susanna Lau, aka fashion blogger Susie Bubble. And if you love Elizabeth Lau's sequined Winston bulldog jumper from her current collection, the Dog and Bone design for ASOS is just as cute.

The Lizzie sweater (second jumper below) captures Elizabeth Lau's style for me. That cheeky, sweet face with heart-shaped lips is so adorable – and it's one of her Twitter and Facebook profile pics, too.

This goes to show, she's given this collaboration her all. The same brings-a-smile-to-your-face designs, the same attention to detail and quality and the same quirky coolness. The only difference is the price. Elizabeth Lau for ASOS knitwear starts at £65. Get in there!

The collection launches at ASOS later this month, so earmark your favourites below now.

Uniqlo x Orla Kiely feat. Bargainista Fashionista!


I forgot to say, I was featured in Uniqlo's Orla Kiely launch email recently. If you're signed up to the Uniqlo newsletter, I would have hit your inbox on 6th September. (Thanks so much Uniqlo!) So, if you're a new reader, thanks for visiting and I hope you'll come back often.

I was chuffed to bits when Uniqlo asked me to style its latest Orla Kiely collection my way, not least because it meant I got to preview the collection (which, of course, I then went on to share with you!). And trying it all on was fun, too!

Now over a week since the Orla Kiely x Uniqlo launch, I'd say the hoodie I featured was one of the most popular items. It's sold out online and it's almost gone in stores in both the blue and claret colourways; I had to visit three Uniqlo stores this week to find one for a friend.

I guess its popularity is down to the fact that hoodies generally aren't that exciting. Yet with an Orla Kiely print all over them, they are. It's definitely my favourite piece of the collection, so snap up the remaining designs while you can.

The peplum blouses, meanwhile, did make the launch date after all and will be available online from tomorrow. I got one in the same print as the shirt I got from the first Orla Kiely for Uniqlo collection. This time round, the cotton's softer, the print's bigger and the colourway is retro brown and orange (which looks better than it sounds!). What pieces have you been buying?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

JW Anderson for Topshop launches tomorrow


JW Anderson for Topshop launches tomorrow. The latest designer collaboration to hit the high street, prices start at just 99p (for a JW-brand pencil).

Yes, the JW Anderson for Topshop collection doesn't just feature clothes. There are sweets (above) for £1.99. Lollipops. iPhone cases. Colouring pencils. Notebooks. 'I love promotional products,' says JW Anderson. 'I always loved that as a kid. I like pencils with your name on.' (Me, too!)

Of course, there's more then just stationery. There's JW Anderson's signature tartan and paisley. Zebra and tortoise prints. Varsity jackets and kilts. Crafty knits. With nearly 100 pieces on offer, the 27-year-old designer has certainly fulfilled his ambition: 'I went out to make a brand.'

Here's a preview of my favourite items from the collection. Which JW Anderson for Topshop pieces have you got your eye on? Let me know what you get tomorrow!

Jersey T-shirt £29.99
Denim jeans £49.99
Cotton dress £79.99
Cotton pinafore dress £69.99
Cotton shirt £39.99. Also available in white
Wool jumper £49.99

Cotton trench coat, £99.99
Leather shoes £59.99. Also available in black and navy
Jersey T-shirt £29.99
Denim skirt £39.99
Denim jeans £49.99
Wool jumper £69.99. Also available with ghost or cat's eyes motifs
Wool baseball jacket £129.99. Also available in navy/black
Bag £14.99. Also available in black and cream
Colouring pencils £2.99
Wool scarf £12.99
PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOPSHOP

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

JW Anderson for Topshop launches this Friday!


JW Anderson for Topshop is the next designer/high-street collaboration to put in your diary. Launching this Friday 14th September, it's Topshop's biggest collaboration yet. Above is the poster-strewn window at Topshop's London Oxford Street flagship store that I photographed this morning.

British designer Jonathan William Anderson started with menswear, launching his eponymous label in 2008. At the request of fans and stockists alike, he branched out with a capsule womenswear collection for autumn/winter 2011. And now, to mark the start of London Fashion Week, he's launching his debut collaboration with Topshop, with a second to follow in early 2013.

The JW Anderson for Topshop collection features the designer's signature styles: mannish tailoring, paisley, tartan… think schoolgirl chic meets punk meets American high-school preppy. Alongside classic pinafore dresses, shirts, sweaters and loafers, there's a traditional heritage tartan, varsity jackets emblazoned with the JW logo and playful tortoises, cats and zebra prints.

There's also fun things, too. JW-branded Sharpie pens, colour pencils, lollipops, iPhone cases and disposable cameras are some of the cool collectibles on offer. Prices start at just 99p, going up to £129.99.

JW Anderson for Topshop also marks a new innovative approach to shopping. From a specially designed catalogue available instore customers will be able to shop remotely using the Topshop for iPhone app. By scanning an item's barcode from the catalogue, you'll be taken to the product page on Topshop's website where you can complete your purchase and get it delivered to your door.

'I am very excited to collaborate with Topshop. It gives me the opportunity to reach a much wider audience with my designs,' says JW Anderson. 'It has always been very important to me that my collections are made accessible to anyone interested in fashion and design.' For more of his work, see the NEWGEN T-shirt he designed for Topshop earlier this year.

Pop back tomorrow and I'll give you a further preview of the JW Anderson for Topshop collection. In the meantime, let me leave you with the campaign shots below…

PHOTOGRAPHS BY TOPSHOP

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