Friday 26 November 2010

SS11 Press Days: Urban Outfitters

A couple of days ago I attended the Urban Outfitters press day located on the top floor of their sprawling Oxford Street HQ. Similarly to last season, I loved everything about the way a select few pieces from their SS11 fanfare were presented with little vintage inspired pieces from brands such as Wild and Wolf (pictured above, centre) really typifying the mood. Naturally I love the navy cable-knit cardigan, and whilst its pictured (above, right) with a rucksack I rather like the look of teaming it with leather braces so shall be trying knitwear and braces at home over the next few days.
Love the chic loosely 70's inspired swimwear, especially the strapless number on the left.
In terms of accessories I spied lots of raffia in the form of the gorgeous beige and brown satchel-type bag (below, left) and the chic buckle detail wallets (pictured below, right).
With lots of Victorian lace, crochet, flapper-esque feathered headdresses and beatnik accessories Urban Outfitters triumphs once again as the one-stop-shop for all things beautiful.

SS11 Press Days: Mint Velvet

Two days ago myself and a fellow blogger descended upon the Mint Velvet press day held in the Music Room. A big fan of Mint Velvet, back in September I attended a blogging event hosted by the brand and was left eager to see the new SS11 collection, with my particular focus being on how the design team would carry the brand into its second year. When I was first introduced to the brand, just after its launch (many editorial fashion roles ago), I wasn't overly sold - in terms of sartorial opportunities for myself - purely because I perceived the brand to be aimed at a sophisticated and successful woman, which at 24, frankly I don't feel - yet. How wrong could my ill-advised perception have been?!
Clearly with every fashion brand the choices we make as consumers are a matter of personal taste, but with a brand such as Mint Velvet, the wrong assumptions can be made, unless you are a) more open minded - initially - than me or b) take the time out to go a retailer and feel the luxury of the garments first hand, as this certainly tipped the scales in my case. The point I'm making is that Mint Velvet is a fantastic British brand that does indeed produce fantastically chic and sophisticated items (think respectable necklines and hem lengths), that successfully appeal to women of all ages, shapes and sizes based on the sheer quality, superior design and subtle sexiness of the garments, which are always bang-on-trend.
Take for example all of these leather looks, in particular the cute waistcoat (pictured above, left) and the really chic tan leather shift dress with the most intricate detailing I've seen at the SS11 press days so far (above, right)!
Also available in the softest and best cut harem pants I've ever come across, I am head over heels in love with the grey silk dress (above, right). Everything from the cut (great volume on top and gathered in tight at the waist - good for busty ladies and those looking to give the illusion of a fuller bust), ditsy print (in the most beautiful charcoal shade) and soft luxurious texture make this garment a great all-rounder in my book.
Lastly I loved Mint Velvet's take on a sport luxe overcoat in a metallic grey, which was perfectly complimented by 3/4 length sleeves, drawstring belts and zips a plenty.

Thursday 25 November 2010

SS11 Press Days: Oasis

At the Oasis press day late 60's and early 70's fashion was the order of the forthcoming season, with a variety of A-line dresses (as seen above), dominating proceedings. Presented in a small showroom at the very top of Oasis House, I absolutely loved the way that the collection was both presented and styled. With old school sweet jars, vintage typewriters and sewing kits strewn about, the word vintage emanated from the outset as I perused.
As you'll already know I'm a huge fan of navy so I'm delighted to see several blue dresses in varying shades represented. Whilst it was more of a royal blue, I particularly adore the crochet number (below, far right).
Whilst elegant pieces and a sophisticated atmosphere ruled the day, I really liked the slightly kookier, in my mind Dirty Dancing take on the era of fashion in question, with lots of red accents.
Lastly, the illustrations painted directly onto the walls outside the presentation space were immense and provided the perfect surroundings for the two rather beautifully dressed mannequins (below), whom were wearing high gloss digital printed silk dresses the latter of which, made me swoon.

Wednesday 24 November 2010

Introducing Pam Glew (to myself at least...)

A cool artist new to my personal ‘art radar’ is Pam Glew who’s eagerly anticipated second solo show in London, Circus opens this Friday at the Red Bull Studios. Recognised the world over for her dynamic portraits painted on vintage national flags, Glew’s works explore a number of cult icons of popular culture manifested in her unmistakable signature style.
Circus takes aim at society’s relentless and faithful relationship with celebrity producing sad, yet striking portraits that pay homage to Pierrot tears – like those of circus clowns.
With raw and gritty effect, Glew utilises dye with bleach to paint, deconstructing and distressing vintage materials and denim in her wake. Glew’s trademark flags hold a particularly strong significance that serves to reinforce her underlying idea that in modern society “we worship people like we salute flags”.
Circus is showing from 26th November-2nd December at Red Bull Studios, 155-171 Tooley Street, SE1.
*Images courtesy of PagetBaker. From top to bottom: Kate Moss, Hunter S. Thompson (author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas) and Debbie Harry.  

Monday 22 November 2010

SS11 Press Days: Jaeger

One of my favourite press days of the season so far is that of Jaeger, who I genuinely feel are getting better and better with each season, deftly balancing their need to keep their stalwart customer base, whilst attracting a new generation of consumers. As soon as I entered the showroom space up on the second floor I spied Jaeger Boutique commissioned illustrations by one of my all-time favourite illustrators, Julie Verhoeven (pictured below). 
With a great range of slightly preppy, playful separates and gorgeous dresses I have many favourite pieces, including the hot pink scalloped edge skirt (below, right).
On the mainline Jaeger London side of things I love all of the beige, which is something I never thought I'd say, as for me its one of the dullest colours around, but as I'm getting older the more I'm understanding its chic properties. I particularly like the loose knit sweater top and navy asymmetric dress (below, right). With sophisticated cuts, sleek digital prints, crochet dresses noless and an array of luxe fabrics, this collection is a winner, so is a good place to invest next SS.
I also loved the strong tailoring present across the evening jackets (below, right and above x2).
Menswear was chic, classic and pretty much exactly what I expected, in the best possible way.

Sunday 21 November 2010

Sanserif Creatius work their magic - again!

One of my favourite design studios is that of Sanserif Creatius who work tirelessly to produce environmentally-friendly furniture solutions amongst other things. Valencia-based, pioneers in social design, Sanserif Creatius have been busy working on a series of biodegradable products (primarily made from corrugated cardboard), which are particularly exciting. As you'll notice from the official product images below, Sanserif Creatius don't take themselves too seriously, which is part of why they're so great.
Last month saw the release of MyScreen frames; a decorative picture frame that defines the limits when projecting images onto a wall. This new product is conceived to resolve a need in contemporary spaces, where tube TVs and even flat screen plasma or LCD screens are giving way to Home Cinema. Using a video projector on a vertical surface is an increasingly more popular system for viewing images and audiovisuals.

“MyScreen recreates the corners of a virtual screen and ensures that the space we use for projections on a wall or another surface at home or in the office are clearly demarcated”, explains the designer and director, Ana Yago.
More recently, this month the design studio have created a table called Duduá, drawing its inspiration from typography (pictured above and below). Duduá is an n-shaped module that can be put to many uses and follows the Sanserif Creatius philosophy of bringing designs with industrial materials into homes and offices.
Again, Ana Yago explains: “Duduá can be used as a kind of wild card for decorators, either as a stool or side table. When we conceived the piece we envisaged it multiplying and growing in space, taking on new functions as more modules are added to the initial composition.”

Friday 19 November 2010

SS11 Press Days: Four Marketing

A good couple of weeks ago I went to the Four Marketing press day and have held back on writing about it for a while as its so far been one of my favourites of the season, due to their rich client list and great showroom and general friendly atmosphere.
The Missoni SS11 collection is by far one of the best I've seen from them in recent years, ever-so-slightly pairing down the thickness of their summer knits and streamlining both the direction and quantity of pieces (although, that maybe should be credited to the Four Marketing merchandising team...) The collection is bright, light and features several stand out pieces including the stunning white silk pleated number (above), which for me is a modern take on the dress Marilyn Monroe wore in the iconic steam grate scene in The Seven Year Itch.
Another great stand-out item is the subtle pastel body-con dress beautifully modelled above - great cut, and really flattering. I also really like the cute knitted shorts (pictured below).
With holiday/ beach being a major theme for Missoni (as you'd expect from such an iconic Mediterranean brand) accessories were at the fore, particularly a plethora of printed beach bags.
A new brand with an inspired name by Natalie Wood is Australia's Something Else, who for SS11 have produced a great collection of relaxed separates. Based on a barren, desolate landscape the SS11 offering, 'Middle of Nowhere' is all about layering whilst being highly textural and light. Boasting a smoky colour palette of natural dusty tones set against stark black, stand out garments include the slogan t-shirt and cleverly constructed knitwear (pictured below).
The final brand I was eager to see is that of Galliano who didn't disappoint. Whilst the majority of Galiano pieces I'd never wear - as opposed to his collections for Dior, which I adore season after season - I really like the bodice dress below and for some reason think it'll be really popular celeb-wise next season.
The two pieces below caught my eye in a very European way...
What was great to see was Galliano recreating his trademark newspaper print, where having the opportunity for the first time to have a really close read and inspection, I gleamed that the stories within are actually about Galliano himself, which for me is a very nice touch if not a little bit eccentric, which I like more.
As a great lover of yellow, I absolutely adore this light-weight Galliano coat, although being a perfectionist I feel it's a bit too mustard, however I think it's great and has definitely made it onto my lust-list. Funnily enough comparing the collection in the showroom and the look book, a distinct Japanese flavour comes across in the styling (of the latter), with garments layered and distressed as much as possible, reflecting Galliano's personal aesthetic to a tee.
Other brands I saw again and loved were Tween, a great young, smart menswear label (who had a great rustic pastel colour palette for SS11) and Money (below), which is a streetwear brand, who take their brand name quite literally using money (namely genuine dollar bills, although this season I spied a mocked-up £1 note) to decorate their garments and accessories.

Thursday 18 November 2010

‘Pop Goes the Easel’ with Crown

Perhaps not a brand that you would most commonly associate with music, Crown paint are launching a major new competition to find the next big musical thing, comprising of a nationwide search that will offer one undiscovered artist a once in a lifetime opportunity to provide the soundtrack for Crown’s new ‘it’s not just paint, it’s personal’ TV ad.

Working with music blog A New Band A Day, Crown will be searching for untapped potential and unearthing the hottest new sounds from the music world, affording the eventual winner the type of national exposure that’s priceless.

Bands, solo artists, producers and DJs can all apply for their chance to provide their very own original music to enhance the innovative ‘it’s not just paint, it’s personal’ TV campaign. The winner will enjoy an all-expenses-paid session to record their song at Salford’s prestigious Blueprint Studios – home to artists including Elbow, Gorillaz and Mark Ronson – as well as a digital release on iTunes to coincide with the TV ad’s launch.

To enter simply email through your track (in MP3 format), your email address and some background information about yourself to Alternatively, you can upload your track and details to the Crown Sound Cloud:

The competition closes on 27th November so get recording!

SS11 Press Days: Karen Millen

With the focal point being 'beautiful separates' the SS11 Karen Millen collection is one of the strongest in the recent years which have seen the British brand come on leaps and bounds. Split into three sub-collections (Pop Colour, Seventies Redux and The Big Easy), there are lots of great party wear pieces, statement winter coats and sleek 70's daywear.