Sunday, 30 May 2010

Matalan - Et Vous Autumn/Winter 2010 Collection

Matalan celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and the AW10 collections show that their growth has not just been in the number of stores, but also in design ideas. Read on and make up your own mind:

Et Vous
This is Matalan’s premium range aimed at the older sophisticated woman (25+) who wants a mix of smart daywear, workwear and occasionwear. This range aims for wearable stylish pieces with a fashion edge to them. They are slightly more expensive than Matalan’s other brands but still a bargain!! This season there are concentrating on neutral colours such as black, navy and beige, but adding glamour with a touch of sequin embellishments and interest with a variety of prints. Inspiration was taken from the 60’s style hit series “Mad Men”. Eye catching pieces are the embellished paint splash dress; the zebra print coat and the black tiered embellished dress.

Matalan combine very affordable price tags with well made fashionable clothes – a combination that hopefully will not go out of style.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Generations together - Eco fashion shoot

Through the Hammersmith & Fulham council, ten wonderful ladies over the age of 50 agreed and were happy to put themselves in the hands of hairstylists, make-up artists and fashion stylists for a mini make over.
The event was called Generations Together - Eco Fashion Shoot. The aim,to bring the under 25s and the over 50s together in a social environment and to bring more awareness to eco-friendly beauty and fashion products.
The under 25s were able to put in to practice their hairstyling and make-up skills and help with the fashion styling whilst the over 50s blossomed in to glamorous models.
Here's a few before and after shots:

This olive green empire line dress in organic cotton fine knit from Pingush is the perfect colour and style for this models's colouring and body shape. Using a clutch bag and necklaces in similar shades creates a tone on tone combination ensuring the look stays soft. The khaki clutch is from Bobelle and made of eel skin, a by-product of the food industry in Korea. The necklaces are from Juzi and made of recycled paper.

Wearing a dress and a long cardigan of the same length creates a slimmer silhouette. The reason - the layering is neater and the body line is not broken into two. Using one colour but in different shades creates a low contrast combination and keeps the look soft and sophisticated. The smokey white Bobelle clutch adds just enough brightness to this outfit without taking the attention away from the model.

Here the colours are still soft but this time the shades are deeper and the contrast is higher because this model looks great in the stronger shades. The multi coloured vegetable ivory necklace from Leju keeps the outfit from being too subdued and draws the eye towards the model's face. The darker long cardigan is left open creating a slimmer silhouette whilst allowing you to wear a lighter brighter colour underneath.

Darker brighter skin looks best in bold high contrasting colours such as this black and light red combination. The fitted red jacket from Outsider nips in at the waist and shows off this model's hour glass figure. The length just stops before the hips so bringing attention again to the waist. Layering underneath with a black tunic from Outsider ensures the pattern in model's own skirt is only showing at the bottom and front and so drawing the eye downwards to create a slimmer silhouette.

A black jacket is matched with a maroon empire line dress to give a high contrast in a deeper tone rather than a brighter tone. Although this model's complexion can take strong colours, they need to be in a dull or soft fabric to stay muted otherwise they would be too bright and garish looking. The long necklace from Leju helps break up the space that the dress's high neckline is creating.

The day was a success with the under 25s and the over 50s getting to know each other and everyone leaving with more knowledge of ethical products.

The fashion makeover was organised and sourced by ethical fashion stylist Lupe Castro from, with help on the day by Karen Grace from frumpy to funky.
Useful links:

Monday, 24 May 2010

There’s a bug on her shoe!!!

In ancient Egypt the Scarab Beetle was considered sacred and symbolised hope and the restoration of life. Also known as dung beetles, they were not only represented in clay and stone but also precious gems as the Egyptians fashioned scarab images in to jewellery and amulets.

Now I don’t know if the bug on Kirk Geiger’s Jitterbug peep toe is a scarab but it clearly is impressive and ready to be worshiped and admired by all shoeaholics.
The bugs are nestled in the centre of bows of classic black, light Egyptian blue or an orangey salmon satin, whilst the golden high heels add to the glamorous feel. Is it no wonder my niece fell head over golden heels in love with them?

Luckily 10 minutes before she’d also fallen in love with a Ted Baker multi coloured strapless pleat printed dress which was crying out for a pair of orange statement shoes.
However true love never runs smoothly and we had many obstacles to face before our happy ending.
The first obstacle was the store didn’t have her size in the shoes!! So began our quest around London to find the right size. Luckily the South Molten St. store was our knight in shining armour.

The second obstacle was the strapless dress wouldn’t stay in place (note for future strapless dresses – get a light weight one). Due to the pleats the dress had some weight and kept pulling down slightly. We tried several strapless bras but although they supported the weight of the dress, the actual style of the dress went against the new cleavage formed by the bra and flattened the bust. So out went the bras and in came lots of sticky tape. (Note: The dress does come with thin straps for those who don’t want to risk the tape alone.)

Now to accessorize – decided on bangles and wanted to bring out the more subdued blue in the dress so as not to fight with the salmon shoes for attention (as thought the bangles would win??) Could we find blue with gold? No, only with silver (remember golden heels). But perseverance prevailed and we found a better alternative with bangles by Club Mood in Debenhams – several slim bangles of blue, pink, green and light brown with gold, - all the colours in the dress yay!!!
No handbag you may ask? Well she already had a small plain navy shoulder bag with a thin gold chain which was perfect for the outfit – great saving and shows you don’t always have to buy the whole outfit.

Going back to our salmon shoes – not a colour that would go with many outfits. Well I think you’d be surprised and to prove it we found another Ted Baker dress in deep purple with a tropical print tie waist which looks great with them.

So after 5 hours of intensive shopping, we came home, changed and transformed in to an Egyptian Goddess (well my niece anyway). And off we went for a night in Covent Garden, a chance to show off the outfit.

Not exactly a great place for high heels (lots of cobbled stones) but to her credit, she didn’t complain too much.
 Well not that I could hear whilst skipping happily ahead in my pink satin flat ballerina shoes from Cocorose.

Modeled by Jane for

Sunday, 23 May 2010


Matalan celebrates their 25th anniversary this year and the AW10 collections show that their growth has not just been in the number of stores, but also in design ideas. Read on and make up your own mind:

Be Beau

This range is aimed at the 16-25 age group and is inspired by the catwalk trends with a mix of daywear and occasionwear.There are four story themes:

“Sorority Girl” taking inspiration from the American teen drama series Gossip Girl. Here they are aiming for the cute girly look with 60’s mini kilts, skater skirts, military style jackets and stripes or heart embellished knitwear. Pieces that stood out were the Marc Jacobs inspired blue and red tartan zip front bandeau dress; the pale yellow duffle style jacket and the light grey cardigan dotted with black hearts.

“Glamour Looks” story is inspired by the sexy 70’s feminine look, with owl and leopard faux fur, lace and fluid fabrics. Here we see an animal print jumpsuit and dresses teamed with an owl fur jacket or hooded gilet, plus the must have aviator jacket.

“Princess Combat” story is going for the more casual look with a touch of femininity. Camouflage prints and khaki colours are used with black. Key pieces are the silky lux combat trousers, khaki military boob tube dress, and fur trimmed parka

“Gothic New Wave” story’s main colours are black, grey and a touch royal blue. Here there are plenty of embellishments, lace details and leather looks. The print mirrors stain glass in keeping with the dark gothic theme. The leather look main pieces are the black eyelet pu dress and light grey zip stud lapel pu biker jacket.

Which story theme will you go for?

Written by Karen Grace, personal shopper for

Monday, 17 May 2010

Timothy Foxx - Exceptionally Eccentric Ladies Tweed Clothing Co.

I first met new designer Rosalie Eustace in September at the fashion pop-up showcase hosted by micro-boutique hotel 40WiNKS. Here she was exhibiting a sample of her designs from her fashion label “Timothy Foxx”. This new label’s signature look is “vintage modern chic” where traditional British tweed is mixed with other fabrics such as silks and cottons. Her main collection shows funky miniskirts with colourful silk panel slits, shorts with silk/cotton patterned patches around the bottom area, and traditional blazers with quirky patterned linings and silk cuffs. Rosalie’s vision was to keep the tweed’s reputation as eccentric but update it to a youthful and fashionable eccentricity. She has now expanded this vision to include women of all ages who want this playful quirkiness but don’t necessarily want to wear a miniskirt. And so Rosalie’s new collection includes the Hazel skirt – a sexy knee length tweed pencil skirt with the hint of a funky lining showing.
Why did Rosalie choose tweed as her main fabric?

Well there is a little story to this – are you sitting comfortably? Once upon a time there was a beautiful young princess who loved to sew and one birthday her dreams came true when her fairy godmother presented her with her very own sewing machine. Running out of fabric, the princess decided to raid her father’s (the King,) wardrobe and “borrowed” an old tweed jacket. With the aid of her sewing machine and scissors, she magically transformed the jacket in to a tweed mini skirt with funky silk patterned inserts and lining. She instantly became the belle of the ball and all the other maidens wanted a tweed mini skirt too. As the princess was blessed with a kind heart, she let the maidens borrow her skirt, but found that this meant she never got to wear it again. So she repeated her magic formula and designed another tweed skirt for herself and kind hearted as she was, started designing bespoke skirts for all of her friends. And what of the King? Did he miss his old tweed jacket? Well he may have but as a loving father he never let on. But as a loving daughter the princess made a bespoke jacket to replace the old one.

Why did Rosalie decide on the label name Timothy Foxx?

Rosalie named her new label after a much loved antique wooden horse she had as a toy in her childhood. Now the horse proudly takes centre stage in her fashion show stands.

Now about her collection.

Timothy Foxx has grown to include the long elegant Alexandra jacket (great as a suit with the hazel pencil skirt), and the shorter length Grace Jacket to show off the on trend Livibum shorts and Aimee miniskirts. Other pieces include the Victoria waistcoat, Gregory Union Jack patch flat cap, Maryrose scarves and Timothy Foxx polo shirts.

And what about a collection for all the gentle Prince Charmings?

No immediate plans for a full collection in gentlemen’s wear , but just to keep Prince Charming interested Timothy Foxx is currently creating tweed bow ties, flat caps and casual tops such as hoodies and rugby shirts. But for the moment there is the Timothy Foxx hound silk tie in maroon available.

Where to purchase the Timothy Foxx collection?

Online! The web address is

This is one fairytale designer who will live happy ever after.

Friday, 14 May 2010


Their new Belvada Mascara Noir is a one-handed mascara applicator and was designed to resolve the problem of the traditional tube and wand mascara products.
The unique sliding mechanism ensures consistent and even application every time, keeps air from getting into the formula, even when the applicator is open, and so making sure the mascara inside stays fresh for longer. Makes applying mascara easier.
Belvada didn’t stop there but also created the Belvada Ultimate Gloss, a lip gloss which comes in the same one hand applicator as the Mascara Noir. There are four colours: Bronzed Tan; Crimson Kiss; Fresh Mint and Pink Pearl. All have a mouth watering fruity smell.
Both products can be purchased on

Thursday, 13 May 2010

SCARLETT & CRIMSON, Make-Up for Teenagers

This young girl’s make-up line is the creation of Ruby Hammer and Millie Kendall who saw the gap in the market for teen specific make-up. They wanted to offer a range of make-up products which wouldn’t mask any girl’s youthful glow and would allow them to share their beauty tips in a fun way.
The message is “Be your own scene” and each make-up product sets a scene.
Exciting and innovative products include the felt tipped black eyeliner called “Punk Your Eyes” and the roller ball application eyeshadow called “Roll with It” Eyeshadows also come in stacked pots called “Stacks of Beauty” and bring three perfect mix ‘n match colours together. All Colour pigments in the brand are lightweight offering fresh natural tones alongside edgier fun colours.
No foundations are included in this label (why cover up youthful skin?) but the young girl’s antidote to troublesome skin is the “Double Trouble” – the double ended applicator of concealer and blemish gel. You apply the blemish gel on the problem area first and then cover with a dab of concealer.
Ruby and Millie have not forgotten the make –up accessories and have packaged together make-up brushes, skin shine blot papers , nail minicures, tattoo transfers and eye jewels to name a few.
Here instead of daughters “borrowing” their mother’s make-up, it will be the mothers who will be coveting this brand.
The affordable beauty palettes and self select range can be found in 400 Superdrug stores, and the accessories are available in 258 Superdrug stores.

Saturday, 8 May 2010


As a professional dancer Tiffany Tuttle understands footwear needs to be comfortable as well as looking good. Her new collection includes flat heeled ankle boots (loving the yellow boot), thigh high boots, wedges and chunky heels. Texture is key with bandaged type leather, patchwork of colours and leathers, and sponge effect crinkles.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Rubber Soles

A former biochemist, Pablo Barclay decided to create a bit of chemistry himself in the shoe industry by creating his own online retail shoe company. Throwing caution to the wind he began his own internet business with only £3000 on his credit card and a bedroom as his office where he had to store his first stock of shoes in his wardrobe. Now after 5 years the business has a turnover of £3million, a large warehouse in the midlands and Pablo’s wardrobe is back to storing his own clothes.

The company name Rubber Sole was inspired from the Beatles album title “Rubber Soul”. Asking whether he was a great fan of the Beatles, he just smiled and said they were before his time but liked the name of the album – oops showing my age!

When asked how he chose which shoe brands to sell, Pablo explained he decided to source the most up to date and fashionable footwear brands such as Ugg and Converse and online just makes them more accessible to the public. He admits that the hardest challenge is to forecast which brand will be the next big trend. But so far Pablo has been successful in spotting these trends and so enabling his company to be one of the first to sell them online. These include brands such as Crocs, Snow Joggers, Fit Flops and Iron Fist.

Exclusive brands to Rubber Sole for the UK market are the Holster’s jelly sandals and Hummel’s ankle boot trainers. Pablo states: Straight from the beautiful Noosa beach in Australia, Holster has set the trend for the diamante studded jelly sandal and has become on one of the hottest buys of the year.” We may not be in Australia, but hey even in our rainy summer days jelly sandals sounds like the ideal footwear and prices between £24.99 and £39.99 you can’t go wrong.

And on the Hummel trainer, Pablo explains “Keeping their focus on quality and technology has ensured that Hummel was always a permanent fixture across sports stores in Europe but have now crossed the boundary into the high end fashion stores as a retro trainer.” When ordering through Rubber Sole, the trainers are shipped direct from the Hummel factory in Germany straight to the customer’s door, ensuring German efficiency comes with the package.

Their next exclusive coup is soon to be available online and comes in the form of a Swarovski crystal embellished rubber flip flop by Havaianas (considered the most fashionable flip flop brand) and will retail around the £100 mark.

Pablo has created a shoeaholic’s delight with Rubber Sole, providing an eclectic fashionable range from the delicate French Sole ballet flats to the sturdier Dr Martens boots. And the great advantage of buying online? – All brands in one place and no blisters from traipsing around the shoe shops.


Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Luxury Handbags by Quentin Mackay

Visiting Quentin Mackay’s handbag showcase in 43 Berkeley Square was exciting in itself as there is no shop front thus giving the aura of entering a secret and exclusive place. You felt like once pressing the buzzer to this wonderful town house you had to say “Joe sent me”. In this case it was Louisa from Neville McCarthy PR.
Quentin Mackay has always believed that for a luxury good to be truly luxurious every aspect in the creation of that good should be of a high standard. So it is not surprising that for his own collection of luxury handbags, not only is grade “A” leather used but the actual process of dyeing and fixing the colour is of a high quality. The hides he uses have been treated with aniline as a dye which produces delicate soft supple leather. Because aniline is transparent, it allows the grain structure of the leather to be seen. All the hardware on the handbag (including the signature ball & claw) is jewellery finished and coated in either one micron of gold or platinum.

A/W2010 is Quentin’s third season and is comprised of two distinct lines – the signature Ball & Claw and the Showgirl.
For his Ball & Claw line there are four bag styles: The Persia, the Jeannie, the Delphine and Daphne. All names were chosen for no other reason than Quentin liked the names – a good a reason as any I say.
The Persia is a smart classic day bag with the ball & claw at the base of the handles and smaller versions attached to the zip ends. It comes in large and medium sizes (called mini Persia). Colours used are two toned racing green with chocolate, brushed gold, burgundy, teal, tan and of course black. Leathers range from calf, python, pony skin, alligator to the most exclusive leather of them all– the Porosus crocodile.
The Jeannie is a casual slouchy bag with one shoulder strap made partly of chain with the signature ball & claw at the base. The chain can be adjusted to create a shorter strap. Here the side pocket zip has a leather tassel zip fastening. Colours used are burgundy, black, and natural. Leathers range from woven buffalo, python to the white tailed deer.

Both the Delphine and Daphne are evening baguette shoulder bags with one chain shoulder strap and the ball & claw decorating the front of the bag. On some designs, the ball & claw becomes the actual fastener. The Daphne comes in silver, light gold, black, burgundy and one embellished with Swarovski crystals. The leathers include quilted patent calf and quilted textile effect goat suede. The Delphine colours are gold, black and teal; leathers python and calf
All the bags in the ball & claw line are lined with either the signature red calf suede (why red? Because he likes it and also makes it easier to find items rather than a dark lining) or in a cream.

For the Showgirl line there is the large CanCan bag which mixes luxury and technology which Quentin describes as the “Luxology “philosophy. Inside is a Beetagg multicode which stores information about the brand and can be decoded via your mobile. The handles are made of carbon fibre and chain in palladium. This makes the bag lighter in weight than the ball & claw collection. Also the lining is of a lighter red ottoman fabric instead of the calf suede. The CanCan comes only in black patent which is quilted for a modern take on Quentin’s family tartan. Believing I cracked the reason why it was called CanCan (the sides of the bag’s opening go in and out like a cancan dancer) I was advised yet again it was just because he liked the name – ah well nice try.

Each handbag is individually numbered and crafted by hand exclusively in Italy. Quentin not only wants his handbags to look good but ensures that (where size permits) they have a functional internal zip pocket, two internal slip pockets for mobiles and a unique key/security leash. With this you need never to rummage around in your bag searching for your keys again!
Quentin Mackay handbags can be found in Browns at South Molton Street and online at

Sunday, 2 May 2010


The Australian designer Jeremy Angelis’ passion for designing ladies shoes was fuelled by his Greek grandfather who lovingly created handmade shoes for a living. Jeremy went on to work at an Italian shoe manufacturer before setting up his own high luxury women’s footwear label – Nicolina.
Jeremy didn’t have to ponder too much re the name of his new label – he chose to use his partner’s name stating: "NICOLINA is dedicated to my best friend, partner, inspiration and love of the same namesake. Creating luxurious NICOLINA footwear and accessories is a labour of love, requiring an abundance of energy & vision, imagination, endless passion, and an insatiable desire to create beauty. My objective is to reach a higher level and satisfy the needs of sophisticated women seeking unique, elegant, limited editions. NICOLINA is my tribute to women."
Now that is romantic!!! -But how else can you ensure each woman feels she is wearing Cinderella’s glass slipper if you do not have a Prince Charming to lovingly create beautiful designs? There may not actually be a glass slipper in Jeremy’s designs but he does the next best thing – a single Swarovski Crystal placed in every sole. A good reason to prop your feet on the desk/table so all can admire – not very lady like but who cares?
Nicolina’s SS10 collection is named “Sirena” after the Greek mermaid who realises her songs lead men to their deaths and so banishes herself to live alone. When you see the collection you definitely won’t want to banish your pins away from these shoes.
And Jeremy’s latest exciting shoe news is Pietro Bertolini’s ‘Museo Internazionale della Calzatura’ – Italy’s International Shoe Museum in the historic shoe-making city of Vigevano (Milano) - will add NICOLINA luxury shoe style ‘Confidenza’ in pink embossed suede to its Museum’s collection of over 2,000 pieces. “Being asked to include our ‘Confidenza’ style as part of Italy’s most important and celebrated Shoe Museum Collection is a great honour and a fantastic way for NICOLINA to celebrate our first 5 years! Entering shoe-making history and being exhibited amongst talented creators such as Christian Louboutin, Casadei, Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo is just wonderful. Importantly, being able to share our creativity and passion with luxury shoe lovers and future creators is fundamental for the future of our craft.” commented Jeremy.
Now that is a “happy ever after “ story.


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