Friday, 30 April 2010


Back from the Alternative Fashion Show at Spitalfields Market, London. This is the place where young new designers can show their collections and hope to be discovered. Here the audience was an eclectic mix of fashionistas and office workers out on their lunch break , music played courtesy of “The Really Tight Corsettes”; the models were not all stick thin; the surrounding market stalls were teeming with clothes and accessories to buy and there were plenty of places to eat. All in all, a great place to hang out. Here’s a summary of the designers showing on Tues 20th:

Hackney Community College Art Dept – “Telling Tales”.
Maybe not something you could actually wear, and definitely not something you could sit down in as the materials used were stiff plastic and paper. There were prints galore of colourful swirls, photo images, handprints and lettering. Designs included a skirt made from stiff individual petal shapes, a semi transparent dress with hooped hem , and my favourite – a blue and grey photo image print skirt exaggeratedly curved over the hips at the sides but flat at the front and back, matched with a stiff top moulded to follow the model’s curves. The guys were out there too, one in a red ribcage vest with a very high ( over the head) stand up collar decorated with handprints, and red lettering down his bare arms. Unfortunately he didn’t stand still long enough for me to read the message.

4.2morrow – “Ballet versus Armour “
The main colour was black. Lots of black leather – ruffle layered leather mini skirt, leather petal layered mini skirt, and pleated leather panelled jersey trousers and dress. Skirts and tops were teamed with black see through mesh tops. A semi transparent ivory skirt and dress brought contrast to the all black collection.

Charlie Chambers –“Laundry Day”
Using recycled vintage garments, designs included a brightly multicoloured patchwork strapless dress with a slim denim belt and uneven hem (a dress Cinderella would have been proud to wear) and a delicate floral green and white strapless knee length bloomer style playsuit. This was laundry day out in the countryside on a lovely summer’s day.

Stacey Richards – “Acedia”
Acedia – described as “the earliest and oldest meaning of sloth, one of the 7 deadly sins”. The clothes are designed to appear unfinished, disjointed and fragmented in order to mirror sloth.
Silk, cotton and leather were used and the colours were black, red and white.
Handmade metal mask jewellery covered the face of some models like muzzles to represent a restraining mask to silence the patient from rambling in their madness. “Better not get too near those” I muttered to myself. On one model the ensemble looked futuristic with black helmet hairstyle and short white dress wrapped with horizontal black transparent fabric strips. On another the look was an escapee from the asylum with an uneven hemline you get when you button up in the wrong buttonholes and with a few slim leather straps wrapped around the clinically white dress.

Cool Tan Arts – “Twisted Tartan”.
The first designs were of stone coloured plain dresses roughly cut with uneven hems used as the canvas to display the colourful silk batik fabrics worn over the shoulder in the Scottish style and in some cases a more Caribbean style crossed over the front and around the neck. These Batik designs were made using the application of silk and wax. Then models of all shapes, sizes and ages appeared in an array of bold colour combinations of oranges, limes, purples and reds to brighten the more sober start.

Prilly Lewis of Prillywear
Prilly knits and felts using lambs wool with touches of angora.
The fine knit knee length swing coats came in ivory and a yellow-green, accessorized with a large green wool felt bauble necklace. The A-lined coats were panelled with contrasting colours of lilac and burgundy or light brown and burgundy giving a classic and wearable look. Again accessorised with contrasting large wool felt bauble necklaces. Could see Michelle Obama happily wearing one of these coats.

Kimberley Startup- “Come on Now Kimi, Grow Up”
“Once upon a time Kimi sat and attempted to face adulthood but saw only work, debt and death. So she said “When I grow up I want to be a child again”.”
Her collection was themed around the small child’s classic toys. A red and yellow large striped dress styled as a soft spongy ball, a mint green t shirt decorated with the colourful keyboards of a xylophone, a padded dress made of colourful ring stacks, and an orange asymmetrical top with a runaway train over the shoulder. Alphabet blocks made great bangles and head bands, and all were accessorised with candy coloured high heeled platform shoes, worn with a double layer of contrasting coloured ankle socks. It was fun recognising the toys.

Tanya Smith- “The Natural Look”.
Inspired by a trip to Kew Gardens Tanya was captivated by the gorgeous shapes and colours of the plants and flowers.
Thinking beiges and creams for the natural look, I was pleasantly surprised to see bright purples, dark greens and coral as the colour palette and finding the mixing of these colours working so well. Mainly block colours; a delicate floral pattern was used in pocket linings and lapels. Not sure whether the undone trouser zip showing the floral pattern underneath was intentional, but not a good look. Large exposed zips featured on dresses and the high shouldered short cape. Loved the long dark green slim skirt with the very high funnel neck coral top.

Dorota Damian
A fusion of Eastern European tradition with organically inspired sculptural shapes and embroidered floral patterns.
Colour palette was black and white with emphasis on texture and embellishments. Texture came in the form of ruffles, drapes and bunches of soft folds. Embellishments in the form of metal studs and beading. One favourite was the white asymmetrical ruffled blouse with its long sleeve and billowing folds. Over the knee and knee high socks with strappy studded sandals were worn.

Hayley Trezise from Raggedy – “Compare Readings”
Ethical fashion- Ragged display of scribbly stitch work and asymmetrical sculptural shapes transformed from charity shops clothes to create one off quirky couture for all occasions.
Hayley’s disjointed fairy tale reminded me of a combination of Cinderella and her ugly sisters – mixing the flamboyance of the messy (just been dragged through the hedge backwards)bouffant hairdos, colourful smudged eye make-up and tilted small felt top hats with Cinderella’s patchwork of rags. Colours were earthy greens, browns, off whites, rustic reds and oranges. Skirts were either softly folded cocoon shapes (loved the invisible pockets within the folds), a patchwork of similar colours or ragged layers of different textures. Tweed waistcoats and short sleeved jackets were cropped with uneven lines adding more texture to the outfits. This collection showed even rags could be stylish.

Georgia Nash –“The Nut was too strong to crack”
Inspired by the Nutcracker and each look based on a character. Attention to detail here was key, from the toy soldier tied to the back of high heels to the scattering of pearls within the black beaded coat and bodices. Zips lined the tip of large ruffle layers giving a hard edgy look to a short cream jacket. The long ruffle layered coat combined different fabrics, embellishments and colours to create a spectacular piece. Fabrics used were lace, velvet, silk and satin; embellishments were black beads, zips and pearls; colours were black, turquoise, red and white. Underneath the model wore a sheer black body stocking adorned with pearls and ribbons which added to the drama. For some reason the models didn’t linger on the catwalk to be seen together. A pity because this collection was worth a second look.

West Thames College –“Galactic Summer Holiday” - Resort wear for a galactic summer holiday.
Metallic silver, grey and white were the colours for summer attire on a galactic holiday. Slinky catsuit with long hanging sleeves, stiff A-line metallic mini dress with quilted edging and a funnel necked sleeveless mini dress gave a more retro futuristic look.

At the end of the show I had decided on my favourites, but the question on every designer’s mind was who will be the fashion industry’s favourite?

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Don't want a permanent tattoo, then wear a Bebaroque body instead.

Mhairi McNicol and Chloe Patience’s hosiery designs for Autumn/Winter 2010 include the Priscilla body – hand embroidered with a mixture of cording and beadwork in black silk and cream jersey; luna tights in black coral or cream with scattered crystal and nail head designs and Myrtle tights – a shimmering screen printed foil design on black or cream. Bonnie hosiery made in Bonnie Scotland.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010


Lublu (meaning “I love” in Russian) showcased its Autumn/Winter 2010 collection in London at the Metropolitan hotel. The designer and owner of the label, Kira Plastinina, talked passionately about her inspirations behind the designs.
One inspiration was taken from Goethe’s “Faust” a tale of good and bad. She translates this will use of colour and materials: For light and innocence, soft nude beige is used and silks, jersey, chiffon and mohair for the materials. For dark and wickedness, greys and blacks in soft leather, rubber and tulle.
Kira was also inspired by the fashion of the 1990’s – the power dressing, how crosses were used as jewellery and how models were revered. Here she uses the style to translate: with shape-skimming dresses and skirts embellished with layered drapery, swaging, ruffles and beads; jackets with angular origami-style shoulders, and asymmetrical tops. Large crosses are used for necklaces and to adorn the crystal encrusted wide belts
Lublu is a luxury brand for the younger woman (17-30yrs). Because of the use of black, leather, the crosses and rubber this latest collection has a dark gothic feel to it, but the ruffles, silk chiffon roses and beaded designs add a touch of light femininity.
The jackets and waistcoats are fitted and flare out to hip length. Fabrics used are leather or rubber. The rubber gives a smooth line whilst the beaded pattern just off one shoulder at the back adds decoration to an otherwise plain silhouette. Kira explains the pattern is an updated mix of her angel wings design used in her summer collection and the cross used as jewellery in this season. The leather jackets are unadorned and collarless making a great basic to complement the more ostentatious skirts and dresses in the collection. However these jackets would also look great on the older woman or the woman who prefers simple classic lines – matched with a plain pencil skirt or trousers they will bring just the right amount of edge to bring her out of her comfort zone.
The dresses and skirts are short, some are layered, some covered with silk chiffon roses, others have large leather or rubber ruffles cascading down one side and a few are made of transparent mesh adorned with the beaded design.
Majority of the collection is evening wear but there are a few fun t shirts and jumpers. The t shirts are distressed with holes and have the angel wing design or are embellished with the beaded pattern. Jumpers are large, either pale grey with the angel wing designs or black mohair with a scattering of silk chiffon roses.

Although only launched in 2008, Lublu is well established in Russia, Eastern Europe and Los Angeles. And is now hoping to win over the UK – As Harrods is already stocking their Summer collection and discussing orders for their A/W , I think they are on the right track.
Not bad for an upcoming designer with a new label, and oh did I mention that Kira is only 17!!

MEADHAM KIRCHHOFF Autumn/Winter 2010 collection

Inspired by gypsies, junkies and blue roses, Edward Meadham and Benjamin Kirchhoff’s autumn/Winter 2010 collection is a fantasy of red and fuchsia long and calf length floaty dresses layered with embellished shrunken cashmere knits. This is the fairy tale princess who can kick ass.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

William Tempest Autumn/Winter 2010 collection

Titled “Under the Abaya”, this Autumn/Winter 2010 season’s inspiration is Islamic architecture and the legend of the Queen of Sheba’s journey to Israel. The colours of midnight blue, black, sand, peppermint and emerald green was inspired by an old Egyptian postcard of 3 men sitting under a night sky as the full moon reflects on to the sea. The dresses are sculptural, patterns geometrical and fabrics a mix of matt and shine. This humbug dress is made of tightly woven short cut feathers in black and sand.
Rumour has it that Kim Cattrall may wear an asymmetrical silver dress from this collection for the “Sex and the City” premier.


The Cosmetic Executive Women (CEW) hosted their 5th annual Beauty Awards this year at the Intercontinental London Park Lane.
Provided with champagne and nibbles, the beauty industry guests were able to network for half an hour and see the nominated products before going in to the main room for lunch and the awards.
Decorating the stage were faded black & white images of those two iconic stylish actresses: Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly anxiously waiting for their Oscar results. A very apt theme for the awards known as the Beauty Industry Oscars. Decorating the tables were beautiful rose bowls with a scattering of rose petals courtesy of
The opening of the Awards Ceremony began with Caroline Neville, CEW(UK) president, presenting a cheque for £25,000 from CEW(UK) to the Eve Appeal- a gynaecology cancer research fund whose current focus is to raise vital funds for research into prevention, detection, treatment and care of ovarian cancer. More information can be seen on their website

After enjoying a main course of sea bass on crab and squid rice, dessert followed with a pear and praline torte, finished with coffee and petit fours which would satisfy the appetite of any chocoholic. Once wined and dined, the awards began with Marigay McKee, Beauty & Fashion Director of Harrods, acting as Master of Ceremony. Behind stood 27 graceful Lalique female Oscar statuettes awaiting their new owners.

Nominated in four categories and winners of all four awards was All for Eve- a new stand-alone beauty and fashion brand set up to raise funds and awareness for The Eve Appeal charity. In the Mass categories, they won Best New Brand for their actual brand; Best New Bath & Body Product for their body butter; Best New Make-up Product for their lipstick and Best New Hand and Nail Care Product for their hand cream. Here is the chance to not only purchase the best products but also help ovarian cancer research. All for Eve will be stocked in Harrods from May and their website will be launched on 26 April.

Also making a big impact and taking home three awards in the Prestige categories was Liz Earle. Best New Bath and Body Product for their Superskin body cream; Best New Everyday Skincare Product for their Superskin moisturiser and Best Classic Beauty Product for their Cleanse & Polish hot cloth cleanser. All three products are from their Naturally Active Skincare range which uses the best quality natural ingredients.

St Tropez came away with sunny smiles and two awards: Best New Self Tan or Suncare Product – Mass category for their Wash Off Instant Glow body lotion and Prestige category for their Everyday Gradual Tan Mousse.

Sharing the Best New Everyday Skincare Product in the Mass category was Palmers Cocoa Butter Formula Skin Therapy Oil and Steamcream. Palmers oil for the body and face helps prevent and diminish the appearance of scars, stretch marks, dry damaged skin, fine lines and wrinkles. Steamcream put pure unrefined steam directly in to their cream which loosely fuses the ingredients together allowing the cream to break down immediately on contact with the skin. Packaged in small round tins, some with limited edition graphic art designs by Japanese artist Takayuki Totsuka.

Glowing with happiness (or maybe because they use their own product) Best New Skincare Treatment in the Mass category went to Goodskin Labs Lumecin Overnight Brightness Gluco –Protein Treatment .This treatment helps restore skin’s brightness, reducing pore size and helping to fade brown spots
For the Prestige category of Best New Skincare Treatment it was Estee lauder Advanced Night Repair Synchronized Recovery Complex. An anti-aging serum inspired by DNA research.
And ready to shake hands after winning the Best New Certified Organic Skincare Product- Prestige category was Balance Me for their Super Moisturising hand cream containing two ancient therapeutic skin conditioners, the Egyptians’ embalming agent benzoin,and yarrow, which legend says Achilles used on his wounded soldiers in the Trojan war.

Batiste coloured dry shampoo took the Best new Haircare/Styling/Colouring Product – Mass category award for its winning formula of adding a touch of colour of dark black or brilliant brunette to its time saving dry shampoo.
Best Classic Beauty Product-Mass category went to Aussie 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor, a deep conditioner for damaged hair.
Best New Haircare/Styling Product- Prestige category went to Ojon Restorative Hair Treatment. Containing Ojon oil harvested by the Miskito tribe in Central America , this hair rejuvenator helps hydrate and improve the condition of dry, damaged hair without weighing it down.
Best new Salon Professional Haircare Product was Kerastase Sublimateur Jouris Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein nourishes and forms a protective layer around the hair fibre, whilst Silicones have an anti-drying action allowing the hair’s lipid balance to be maintained.

Filling the air with fragrance were Crabtree & Evelyn India Hicks Island Night for Best Women’s Celebrity Fragrance and Marc Jacobs Lola for the Best New Women’s Fragrance.

Best New Make-up Product went to Diorskin Nude Natural Glow Hydrating Make-up.
Best New Brand went to Dolce & Gabbana The Make Up
Best British Brand went to Elemis
Best Iconic Beauty Product went to the much loved Clarins Beauty Flash Balm.

And for the guys:
A’Kin PureMAN Calming after shave balm took the Best New Men’s Grooming Product- Mass category. Perfect for sensitive, irritable and dry skin. Ingredients such as Aloe cools and calms the skin, vitamin B5 soothes, and orange and cardamon refresh and invigorate.
For the Prestige category of Best Men’s Grooming Product, it was Clinique skin supplies for Men-Age Defense for Eyes. Works to repair the look of lines, wrinkles and reduces dark circles, puffs and brightens dull skin for a younger look.
Best New Men’s Fragrance : Gucci by Gucci Pour Homme. Violet and bergamot create a masculine floral for a natural and timeless appeal.

After the awards Lisa Snowdon from Capital FM picked out the lucky winner of a £50,000 global radio campaign prize draw - La Tweez Professional who were nominated for their illuminating tweezers.
Lisa then went on to pick out the winners for the grand prize draw in aid of the Eve Appeal. Prizes included a Tanner Krolle evening bag with a choice of exotic skin and semi precious stones; £1000 shopping spree at World Duty Free, Heathrow Terminal 5; two night break for two at Champneys ; two year supply of Kao products, John Frieda hair care and Jergens skin care to the value of £500; one night stay for two at the Intercontinental with breakfast.

A great event and still enough time to rush home and start buying these wonderful products from Boots on:

Monday, 26 April 2010

Ethical fashion show at UK Aware Olympia

The 2010 Daisy Green Magazine catwalk show at UK Aware was styled by eco stylist Lupe Castro and showed a variety of ethical designers.

Ekosense designs a capsule range of organic and sustainable casual clothing inspired by the legendary art of Barbara Hepworth and the rough seas of the Cornish coast. The colours are muted with interesting sculptural elements and twists. On the catwalk was the charcoal and teal striped Suzyloo flick skirt in bamboo jersey with its roll down yoga waistband, teamed with the Lazy Lizzie long sleeved bamboo tee in teal. The Lazy Lizzie was working hard as it made a second appearance in taupe. Loved the long pale silver twisted wrap made from soya bean fibres with a touch of cashmere- a great design to hide the tummy. The strappy cotton cambric smock top underneath the wrap was from and was worn here as a dress.

Puritystyle .com is a women's and children’s organic and fair trade clothing boutique based in Farnham, Surrey. Other designs on the catwalk from Purity were the Luna dress splash print in bright pink and blue, and the green and brown Komodo Prism dress in printed cotton voile.

Izzy Lane provided the knitwear, ethically made from wool predominantly from their own rare breed of Wensleydale and Shetland sheep, most of which have been saved from slaughter. Her fawn Shetland fringe straight skirt was styled with a Susiemaroon “Eyes to the front” pink and brown belt. So called due to the embroidered pair of spectacles design on the front. Susiemaroon sources the leather from a family run Scottish tannery who specialise in tanning Wild deerskin. The hides used would otherwise be discarded as a by-product of the venison industry and be sent to landfill. These quirky belts are available through the ethical online store The smokey white Theia clutch with ruched leather and bow detail was from Bobelle and made of eel skin leather - a by-product of the food industry in South Korea. Eel skin leather is remarkably soft; you just want to keep stroking the bags.

To show a bride who wants an eco wedding what to wear, Tammam had a variety of creations. The fascinators were the creation of Sophia Couture and the ballerina “Rizzo” pumps in soft white with blue contrast elastic details were from Terra Plana. These pumps are lined with eco memory foam for superior comfort, while the recycled sole and vegetable tanned leather add to the sustainability.

Urban Buzz showed a short bridal dress named “Odette”, a white woven frill dress with silver swan print. The fabric has self coloured stripes and is 100% organic cotton with a 100% cotton lining. The dress was matched with pink and white handmade clog sandals from

Urban Buzz also wowed us with their bright green semi-transparent summer Lily dress in 100% cotton for pleats and bottom layer and 100% polyester for top layer; their cute blue Primrose Hill jersey dress with contrast in cream and rose print in 100% Organic cotton; and their Crocus green top with empire line, short semi puff sleeves and pleat detail down the front.

And not forgetting the boys:

Most of the men’s designs were from Credau, an original clothing label using 100% natural cotton.
Smart graphite trousers were worn with a graphite slim jacket and Izzy Lane’s Wensleydale striped jumper.
The slim fit 2 button jacket in petroleum with a touch of graphite on the front was teamed with graphite shorts and a BAM polo shirt.

BAM produces bamboo clothing. Fabric made from bamboo not only feels soft and smooth, it absorbs and evaporates sweat, is antistatic so no unwanted clinginess, is breathable in hot weather and keeps you warm in the cold. Quite a wonder fabric and on the catwalk was shown as the male model’s ocean blue t-shirt and ocean blue polo shirt. One shirt not shown but I think guy’s would love is the reversible two tops in one- one side plain the other stripey –less to pack and you don’t have to think too much on what to wear.

Thank you Lupe for showing how ethical clothing can look great.

Images taken by Nico Dattani.

Models hired through Cosmic Model Management.

Wednesday, 7 April 2010

A History of the Handbag

Handbags have reached iconic status - we have a handbag for every occasion, and our ultimate (handbag) goal is to own a designer make. We cannot manage without them - where would we keep our basic essentials? - Make up, tissues, diary, purse, keys, mirror, mints, mobile, pen - the list is endless. And the bigger the bag the more essentials we seem to need. I love my dark green Francesca Biasa bag - it holds so much, but unfortunately I can never find the items I want - it's like a bottomless pit. I suppose I need to add a torch to my list. On the other end of the scale, my cute gem encrusted oval evening bag (a bargain from a recent trip to India) holds practically nothing - it just sparkles and makes me feel good. I love it so much, I won't let it leave my side so when dancing it is not left at the table or danced around on the dance floor (a form of handbag worship if ever there was one), it is dangly daintily off my wrist whilst catching and pulling the threads in my silk dress - a small price to pay I say.
I digress; let's get back to the history of the handbag:
It all started in Ancient Egypt where the men were the first to use handbags in the form of a pouch tied around the waist (I suppose they did need both hands free for pushing those heavy stones when building pyramids).
In Medieval Europe, these pouches where used by both men and women and became a status symbol. The richness of the embroidery and quality of the leather used revealed how wealthy the owner was. Was this the start of designer handbags??
In late 18th Century France, the ladies handbag proper began under the name of "reticule". Instead of wearing a pouch around the waist or hidden under their numerous skirts, fashionable ladies started to carry their handbags so as not to ruin the look of their new style empire line clothes. Early reticules were delicate small drawstring purses usually made of net with beading or brocade. The name derives from the word "ridicule" as the earlier bags were ridiculed as strange. It is reputed that the Empress Josephine was the first to carry a reticule - making her the first celebrity to influence handbag designs.
Louis Vuitton opened his first shop in Paris in 1854 selling luggage, but it wasn't until 1959 when the monogrammed handbag appeared. This LV logo has become the most copied in the designer fake handbag market.
The term "handbag" started to be used in the early 1900s to describe hand held luggage carried by men. Designers then began to make smaller versions for women as women became more independent and so did not rely on men or servants to carry items for them. Upper class women still preferred small decorative bags rather than the practical larger ones as they had chauffeurs, carried little money and had butlers so house keys were unnecessary.
Most evening bags before the 1940's were clutch bags until Coco Chanel designed the Chanel 2.5 with its chain strap in 1955 (so much better to handle your champagne and canap├ęs darling). The idea of the padded quilt design was inspired by jockey's padded jackets due to Coco's love of horses.
The first "it" bag was the Hermes Kelly bag renamed in the 1950's after being made famous by Princess Grace of Monaco (formerly the actress Grace Kelly for anyone not in to old movies) who apparently used it to cover her tummy whilst pregnant. This was followed by the Hermes Birkin bag which was designed for the actress Jane Birkin in 1981 who claimed her Kelly bag was impractical for everyday use. Later she would claim the weight of her Birkin bag did not help her tendonitis.
Jackie Kennedy increased sales of Gucci handbags when photographed wearing their shoulder bag - later to be renamed Jackie O. (Both Jackie and the bag).
Lady Diana's preferred designer bag was Dior. In 1995 she was sent a new Dior model as a gift by Mrs Chirac and Dior promptly gave this new model the name Lady Dior in her honour.
Ferragamo was Margaret Thatcher's favourite designer for bags. Her black Ferragamo handbag purchased in the 1980's for £300 attracted a bid of £190,000 at a charity auction in 2000. Just shows the old ones are the best.
The Fendi baguette became the "it" bag of the 1990's and was the signature handbag of Carrie Bradshaw in "Sex and the City".
The Balenciaga Lariat was one of the first "it" bags to have a waiting list (launched in 2001).
We can see handbags have always been a fashion statement, but now there are more choices and they play an important part in the style image we want to portray. They can make or break a look. A large handbag can make us look smaller in size or height; a red or mustard bag can inject a splash of colour in to your otherwise black dominated wardrobe; jeans and t-shirts are transformed in to shabby chic when worn with a designer bag; and basic staples are instantly updated when this season trends are displayed through a bag.
With a bag you do not have to worry: will it fit, is it too young for me, did I wear that the last time I saw them, hope no one else shows up with the same bag - you can just enjoy it. And unlike shoes (that's another story) they age well.


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