Friday, March 30, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

It's been a beautiful, sunny week here in London. Before we hop off for hopefully more of the same (perhaps optimistically), here's our round-up of what's been happening in the world of fashion.
Stefano Pilati is mostly going on holiday in the near future, he said earlier this week (image from

A month after his swift departure from YSL, Stefano Pilati has spoken out about his future plans and career to date. He appeared at La Musee de la Mode et du Textile this week as part of their "Fashion Talks" series. Pilati spoke about his 'dramatic, tragical' start at YSL under Tom Ford. The end of Pilati's tenure was announced just days before the AW12 show. As had earlier been predicted, Hedi Slimane has come back to YSL as his replacement. With no apparent job lined up, it would be understandable if Pilati were reticent about discussing the future, but he had this to say: “I am really happy, which is something very unusual for me in a sense that I never believed that it could have been possible to feel happy, at least under these kinds of circumstances". 

Jospeh Altuzarra has collaborated on  collection with J.Crew- cannot wait (image from

I could barely contain my excitement earlier this week when I spied on Twitter that CFDA/ Vogue Fashion Fund winner Jospeh Altuzarra had collaborated with J.Crew. It seemed like one of those fashion rumours which maybe a little too good to be true. But then I went to the press day of Altuzarra's UK PR who confirmed that it was indeed true. Altuzarra apparently said "So we worked on collaboration which I think will be coming out in a few weeks". Now I just need to find a way to magic myself to the US or pray hard that the pieces will be available to ship to the UK. 

A look from Altuzarra AW12 which was inspired by Italian comic Corto Maltese

Claudia Schiffer's Guess ads in the late 80s are some of the most iconic from the time. They sum up the look of the moment pretty accurately. To celebrate the Guess's 30th anniversary, Schiffer has returned to become the face of the brand, recreating the images with a slightly rockier vibe. The campaign has been shot by one of Guess's original ad photographers Elle von Unwerth. Schiffer models looks from the capsule collection which has been produced to celebrate the milestone. Somehow, Claudia hasn't changed too much at all in the 23 years since the original ads.

Claudia Schiffer in a Guess ad from 1989 (image from
And 23 years later, celebrating 30 years of Guess jeans (
Another of the 80s SUPERmodels is back on our radar this week. Christy Turlington is on the cover of Tatler's May issue and wears an excellent straw boater and painted on moustache, working a kind of 30s riviera photographer look. We love.

Christy on the Tatler cover (image from
What with her constant work outs and healthy eating regimes, Gwyneth Paltrow is probably one of the last people you might think of to take up the role of Dora Maar- the woman Pablo Picasso famously painted in a particularly unflattering, if abstract, way...

Dora Maar by Pablo Picasso, 1939 (from
However, it was announced this week that Gwyneth will be playing Dora in  a new film about one of Picasso's most famous paintings Guernica. And when you see how Dora looked in real life, the Gwyneth choice makes more sense.

The real Dora Maar (image from
Rihanna was the subject of much consternation last week when she explained that she gets more body confident, the more naked she gets. "What do you know?" was the general response. Victoria Beckham has taken RiRi's "What body image planet are you on?" crown by claiming that when she tests out her designs, she says "I’m going to put it on. I stand for the general public here". As if to rub salt into the wound further, the feature in Harper's Bazaar is accompanied by a series of shots of VB in 50s style swimwear. We sort of love that she still thinks she can pull herself off as  a member of the general public. See you in Sainsburys Victoria!

VB just hanging out, being a member of the general public (images from
Who knows how she did it, but Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman has written her first novel entitled Can We Still Be Friends? It will be released on April 12th and was launched this week with a party at Sothebys. The Vogue website published Shulman's great account of how she found time to write and what the book is about. I can't wait to read it.

Alex Shulman with Samantha Cameron at the book launch on Wednesday night (image from
A slightly mysterious announcement this week from H&M who say they will be launching 'a completely new store chain' next year. The new chain will apparently will modelled on Cos which is also owned by the Hennes group. Karl-Johan Persson, H&M's CEO told WWD 'Like COS, which today is very successful with good profitability, the new chain of stores will be independent and complement the other offerings from the group'. We look forward to seeing what they come up with.

Finally, video of the week goes to ASOS who have created this short film as part of their collaboration with designer of super chic sportswear, Ebru Ercon on the SS12 REVIVE collection. The video sums up perfectly the 90s rave with a modern sportswear twist  which is the ethos of the collection. Given that Ercon used to be Head Designer on Stella McCartney for Adidas, it's not surprising that she's nailed the Summer's sportswear trend. The video was styled by the very cool stylist and blogger, Madeleine Ostile and used the music videos of dance acts like Yazz and Inner City as starting points. The collection isn't available to buy until 23rd April, but you can have a sneek peek here

In the mean time, happy weekend!

Thursday, March 29, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

It's a few weeks now since the end of Paris Fashion Week. Everyone is home and has had a few good nights of sleep. Now, the AW12 press days are upon us (I went to NINE yesterday) and we can see how the catwalk trends are being interpreted by retailers, and also how designers have channeled them into their commercial collections. It's all very fascinating but there can be a lot to take in. There can also be huge chasms between the overriding catwalk trends and what people actually want to wear. I attended a trend talk at the beginning of this week where a massive focus was placed on the fact that AW12 is all about covering up your whole body and wearing black and grey. Well, there may have been a lot of that on the catwalks but shoot me now if that's all I have to look forward to come September.

Will this really be what we're wearing in Autumn? Gucci AW12 (image from cat
We posted about EDITD last season. They analyse fashion week data from all angles. One of the best things they do is analyse social media sites , especially Twitter, to find out what fashion editors and internet spectators are really enjoying when they see the shows. Their perspective is that we have to think about how much people actually like what they see, not just how much they see it. This data can then be used by retailers to give them an idea about which trends people are likely to buy once the collections hit the shops. You can read their full reports from each fashion week here but in the mean time, here are EDITD's buzz charts from each city. These show the designers, trends and patterns which people were really taking about...

So, do you agree with the EDITD stats? Are you still massively into vintage references?Will checks be number one on your shopping list for Autumn?

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Posted by Melanie Rickey, Fashion Editor at Large

I’ve been pretty involved with the Mary Portas brand at House of Fraser since its inception in February 2011. After all, I am married to the woman and when it comes to all things fashion, I admit, I like to be the one in charge. I’ve cooked up fashion cocktails, imagined fantasy advertising campaigns with Steven Meisel, Susie Bick and Christy Turlington, sat through dozens of meetings with the grown-up women the collection is aimed at, and its designer and buyers, listening to their needs and desires, and experienced a fast-track learning curve on how to get products from idea to reality to shop-floor in a matter of months.

Neon tee £80 and metallic skirt £199

There have been times when the sheer logistics of getting Product A shipped to destination B and on the shop floor by Time X at Price Y has boggled my mind, and blank faced confusion when the retail lingo used has gone over my head. Now though, I get it, and in gaining this understanding I’ve realised I don’t actually need to get it – not intimately. I’m not doing an A-Level in logistics and options. My thing is the ideas, the fashion, the very important fashion pieces, the style essentials and the seasonal trends they are representing. Basically, the fun stuff.

PJ trousers £99  and dress coat £150

Every week, Bethan and I sit down with the super stylish and knowledgable House of Fraser team- Jakki, the designer and Alex and Jennifer, the buyers. We all discuss what we're thinking and look at colours, sketches and samples. There's always plenty of debate and I love that we all come at it from a different angle but eventually we get to what you see in these lookbook images- all with Mary's golden seal of approval of course!

Pink skinnies £80 and Tatty Devine Melon necklace
What I’ve learned is that seasonal fashion trends can be spun to any age group; the same trend a 20 something will love, will also be adored by the 40 something woman, she’ll just wear it in another way, and don’t fricking well tell her otherwise.

Mary’s collection is shamelessly about clothes most women can wear for her daily and social life. It combines boldness, drama, sexiness, fun, and no-nonsense chic, but more than anything the range is figure flattering. We want a woman to be able to go to the shop and be dressed by a stylist and walk out dressed head to toe in a new outfit feeling a million bucks for less that £300 quid. We don’t want her to feel crappy – then we would have failed. That’s all really. 

Hyperfloral print dress £160
Animal blouse £95
For Spring, which you are seeing unfurl in some of our lush lookbook images and which is really happening outside both weather-wise and in the shops, we built on the success of the last collection, taking the things that really worked and improving them by offering more ways to play with it. OK, so Steven Meisel and Christy were busy that day, but still. 

Floral jersey top £65
I’ve made sure most of the key trends are incorporated, but not in an in-your-face way. We have neon, florals, digital prints, rich colour, pastels, tapered leg jeans, high waist jeans, silky pyjama style trousers, amazing print dresses and trousers and nipped and cropped jackets. Not forgetting the perfect leather jacket and cool sporty tanks. You know the stuff most of us wear day in and day out. 

Leather biker £300
What do you think of it? I’ll sign off now as I’ve written this on the train to Manchester where Mary’s largest store to date is opening at House of Fraser tonight with a fancy schmancy party. I’m looking forward to meeting people I’ve been communing with on Twitter for ages.

We've linked to most of the products currently available- look out for the rest in the coming weeks and months at the Mary/ House of Fraser website

The floral borders are from a print by Peter Bailey, available in scarf form here
Photography by Jonny Storey
Model- Anna Marie Cseh

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

We probably don't need to tell you that if you're after cool, modern clothes which nod to the season's trends without being carbon copies of catwalk looks then Whistles is the place to head. But Whistles is on our minds this week, mostly due to a new little friend we've acquired courtesy of the PR team. 

Meet our Whistles virtual pet! The little mouse has been distracting me all afternoon, as it demands to be fed, danced and played with. I think I've got more into my Whistles pet than I did my tamagotchi, back 1990-something. Uh oh. Anyway, the little mouse's real purpose in life is to invite us to the Whistles press day which is happening this Thursday. We can't wait to see what Jane Shepherdson and the team have come up with for Autumn/Winter. In the meantime, here's our pibk of the Top Ten from what's in store now...

1. and 2. The Wisteria print pyjamas (there's also a tee which goes with this set). These are arguably the stars of Whistles offering this season. The trousers are pretty much sold out at the moment, although there are some available in department stores and hidden away in some Whistles stores. Luckily, the FashEd ordered hers back in October!

Wisteria jacket £150 and trousers £125
3. Pink striped trousers. A little bit more tailored than a pj plus they combine pastels and brights. A trouser with a side stripe is key for Spring/ Summer but will last well beyond that as well.

Wren striped trouser £125

4. Last Summer, Whistles' Carrie was THE skirt to have. Although, they've continued that style in various new prints and colours, the Lottie is just as lovely, especially in this very chic pale blue.

Lottie Skirt £110

5. This is pretty much a genius bag. Why? Because it will look fab all summer and carry all the sunglasses and buckets and spades you require. Then, come Autumn, you'll discover that it is also the perfect shade of winter turquoise (which will be key, trust us) and you can carry on using it right through to next year.
Fleur tote bag £135
6. It's navy and loose and would look amazing with a neon tee underneath. A summer no brainer for when it's not quite as warm as we'd wish.

7. Whistles have invested heavily in this hot pink colour for Spring/Summer and this dress is a standout. It'll get you through many a summer wedding. The fashion edge comes from that the looser, cropped top part.

8. Sport is a massive trend for SS12, as I'm sure you know already. I love that this sweatshirt could be styled up with silky joggers or just slung over denim cut-offs at weekends. 

Edith drop shoulder sweat £50

9. Fit and flare is here to stay. This dress comes in lots of colours but I like the versatility of the navy. I'm a bit obsessed with the way the waffle cotton this dress is made from feels too. 

Milla dress £95

10. This white guipure top is so SS12 it hurts- the cute Peter Pan collar, chunky lace and scalloped edges. It'll also go with just about anything too.

Now, if you'll excuse me I must go and play with my little mouse. 

Monday, March 26, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Sam Leutton and Jenny Postle at FEAL HQ
This post has been a long time coming. Ever since the autumn, Sam Leutton and Jenny Postle have been regular visitors to FEAL HQ,  coming to show us how they were progressing with their AW12 collection and getting advice from the FashEd who always loves to see what new designers are up to.  We've seen the evolution of their ideas from experiments with their quite astounding textiles techniques, into the formation of the collection which was shown at Vauxhall Fashion Scout on the very last evening of London Fashion Week.

A FEAL favourite- the reverse appliqué jacket

The Leutton Postle studio where knitters are constantly hard at work

I'm only in my second season working in fashion, so it's been great to see young designers at every stage from initial thoughts and experiments to showcasing the finished collection in the VFS showroom in Paris. They also helped me out with a talk I recently did about knitting, and how young designers like themselves are pushing the thinking about what can be done with what is sometimes seen as a 'traditional' technique. In fact, that's what Sam and Jenny are all about- they use crafts and look at making them new and right for now. They are sort of the antithesis to the girls who hand knit vintage 1950s patterns of cutesie little jumpers and cardigans.  

Up close: the reverse appliqué technique which runs through Sam and Jenny's work. 

Another of the techniques used by Leutton Postle: E wrapping
For AW12, a face motif became the anchor of the collection. There were 3D knits, with chunky plaits popping out and cascading towards the floor, as well as more abstract reverse appliqué dresses and trousers. On close inspection, you see the faces peeping out at you, and it's a little bit haunting and very clever. For the show, some of the models even wore face masks, just to hammer home the strong theme.  On a visit to their studio a month before the show, Sam and Jenny showed me the mood boards they were working with. There were images of tribal crafts and patterns, face painting as well as colour palettes and scraps of hand knitting experiments. Among their 'inspirational women' were Princess Diana and Camilla Batmanghelidijh. Camilla would look amazing in a piece of Leutton Postle. 

Mood boards in the Leutton Postle studio
Shoes by Chris Delapena for AW12

The face masks used in the show, which was styled by Ellie Brown (image from

Leutton Postle AW12 (image from

Leutton Postle AW12 (image from
The absolute best thing about what Leutton Postle is the creative potential of their pieces, which makes them perfect for visually stunning editorials. If we were doing shoots, we'd be calling in Leutton Postle knits, trousers and dresses all the time. As the images below show, the tufts of wool, beautiful fabric combinations and off beat decoration (we loved that they combined gold tinsel and pom pom yarn in their AW12 knits) photograph fabulously. We're pretty sure that all the coolest, most creative women in London will be wearing Leutton Postle before too long.

This image and above from Idol magazine SS12
Leutton Postle in Phoenix, March 2012
Leutton Postle in Bstore magazine

 Browns obviously think the duo are onto something too because they've bought pieces from Leutton Postle ever since Jenny's graduation collection from the Central Saint Martin's MA course a year ago. If you're not sure about going all sugar sweet, girly pastel for SS12 then Sam and Jenny's super bright, hand crafted pieces could be a just the cool alternative you've been looking for...

Hand crafted applique trousers £415 at Browns

Knitted top £355 at Browns
Knit dress £1,245 at Browns

Friday, March 23, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

First up this week, huge congratulations to British fashion's Fairy Godmother, Lulu Kennedy who made the trip to visit the Queen at Buckingham Palace to receive her MBE yesterday. Naturally, it was up to former Fashion East participants to dress Lulu for the occasion- it was Michael van der Ham and Roksanda Ilincic for the palace and Jonathan Saunders for the Madhatters tea party at The Sanderson. .

Lulu Kennedy at the palace (image from
Stella at yesterday's launch in her SS12 pjs, with Phillip Odowu and Jessica Ennis (image from
In other big British fashion news this week, Stella McCartney has finally unveiled the Team GB kit for this summer's Olympic and Paralympic games- the very first time that a fashion designer has had the role. This was no quiet launch either- a fashion show starring some of the UK's biggest medal hopes including Victoria Pendleton and Jessica Ennis took place at The Tower of London. It's Stella's biggest collection yet, comprising 590 different items of kit catering for over 900 athletes and all their various sports. So far, it is Stella's reinterpretation of the Union Jack which has caused most concern. The Daily Mail reports that 'there is a worrying lack of red from the Union Jack', while Hadley Freeman at The Guardian noted 'the running pants for women with the flag in a gynaecological spot, (are) surely an offence that could result in one being sent to the tower'.

I'm quite a fan of the red trainers myself. Jessica Ennis in her Stella/ Adidas kit
Madonna by Mert and Marcus (image from

The Mantyhose in action (image from

You thought all fashion hybrids had been explored? The jegging, the tregging and the shoot (shoe boot) to name but a few. Well, this week Emilio Cavallini and Madonna brought 'mantyhose' to the world. That's 'tights for boys' to you and I. Interesting. The new invention is exhibited in the video for Girl Gone Wild, directed by Mert and Marcus. It's the second single from the forthcoming MDNA album.

Ever since Carine Roitfeld left the helm at French Vogue, it's been great fun finding out about her latest project. We loved her book, Irreverent and now it seems that September will be the next time our Carine radars go into overdrive. She told WWD this week her new magazine will be launched then. They also found out the following...

"Although she couldn’t be pressed on the name, she said it will come out twice a year and resemble a book. There will be no “front of the book” section and its emphasis will be “fashion with a lot of freedom.”

Carine at the Chanel couture in Tokyo this week (image from
Karl in the pilot's seat on the Chanel jet plane (from
Chanel has decamped to Japan this week for a series of events to big up the brand in the Far East. Remember the airplane created for the January couture show in Paris? Well, that was transported to a Tokyo park for a repeat performance. Also on the agenda was a party to launch Karl Lagerfeld's collaboration with Carine Roitfeld on a photographic exhibition entitled "The Little Black Jacket'. Sarah Jessica Parker, with son in tow, and Alice Dellal were among those who've joined Chanel for the festivities.

Grazia's Paula Reed has been in Tokyo. Here are a few of her best pics...

Karl with his right hand woman, Lady Amanda Harlech 

Clemence Poesy with the cherry blossom

A guest at the couture show in the traditional Japanese kimono (all images from Paula's instagram)
Barely a week goes by without some new comment on the photoshopping/body image debate, this week's most lovely contribution comes from The Economist's Intelligent Life magazine which has put Cate Blanchett on its cover, completely free from computer aided enhancement. Like she needed it anyway. This is what Intelligent Life editor, Tim de Lisle, had to say about the cover:

"Cate Blanchett, by contrast, appears on our cover in her working clothes, with the odd line on her face and faint bags under her eyes. She looks like what she is—a woman of 42, spending her days in an office, her evenings on stage and the rest of her time looking after three young children. We can’t be too self-righteous about it, because, like anyone else who puts her on a cover, we are benefiting from her beauty and distinction. But the shot is at least trying to reflect real life. It’s a curious sign of the times that this has become something to shout about"

Image from Intelligent Life

Image from
Tonight is Sport Relief in the UK. From a fashion perspective, that means Kate Moss, Stella McCartney and David Gandy on our screens in a special episode of Absolutely Fabulous. That has to be worth a donation, doesn't it?

I heard about the Horniman Museum's The Body Adorned exhibition earlier this week and I can't wait to go. I love walking around London, seeing what everyone is wearing and trying to identify all the style tribes. The Body Adorned looks at how Londonders have come to create their own trends and ways of standing out, as well as the history which has impacted on those decisions. Here's the trailer for the exhibition, I'll hopefully be reporting back from there sometime soon...

We can finally see series 5 of Mad Men from Tuesday on Sky Atlantic- hurrah! We love these ads from the 1960s which The New Yorker has dug up to get us even more excited about the return of Don, Joan and co. Have a wonderful sunny weekend!

What would she say about mantyhose? 

Pyjamas to rival Stella's (all ads from