A little Irish inspiration at Avoca

So, a few days  ago I flew back from Dublin, and during my time there I stopped off at one of Ireland’s oldest surviving manufacturing plants-Avoca-who specialise in the most gorgeous throws, blankets, clothing and accessories. Made of supersoft materials (lambswool, cashmere and mohair, to name a few) I had to restrain myself from buying it all, but I took a few photos to share with you all so you can see how pretty it all was, too. My favourite item had to be the gorgeous sky blue cashmere coat!

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Topshop Unique at LFW

As a contrast to their AW13 show, which saw lots of powder pink hues, Topshop Unique’s most recent show had a more tomboy edge. Opening the show came all blue looks, with smart woolen coats casually hanging off the shoulders of models for a disheveled, tomboy charm, which was only highlighted by the occasional appearance of sports inspired puffa jackets. Whilst a feminine element could be seen through the light, soft materials, pastel pink was no more in this new collection, but instead a new pastel colour emerged in the form of lemon yellow. This pretty, bright shade added a youthful, playful edge to the collection, with silky blouses and fluffy yellow furs, but when mixed with tan and darker shades of yellow the look made for a classic, but playful, approach to dressing. And, of course the show didn’t come without major trends that have been spotted throughout fashion week, including knee high boots (in grey and burgundy) as well as patchwork fur, that was seen in sweaters, coats and vests. I loved the femininity in their AW13 show, but this collection has been really clever in showcasing what their youthful, edgy customer wants- a chance to dress in a subtle, but sexy way, without losing their tomboy charm.

                     

                     

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi at LFW

It seems a mix of traditional and modern prints was the inspiration behind Preen’s most recent show in London this week. We saw Moroccan tiles digitally printed onto coats, dresses and skirts in either bright orange hues or in charcoal grey, but the modern twist came in the form of Darth Vader being printed on top of these traditional Moroccan tiles. Despite how odd this sounds, it actually seems to make sense- we’ve seen sweatshirts with all kinds of motifs and logos, and Preen have obviously taken this concept a step further by printing a sci-fi inspired logo on light, airy materials.

As if Darth Vader didn’t give enough of an edge already, there was a mix of both feminine and masculine elements. Inspired by Annie Hall, there were  tailored suits and faint pinstripes, giving an androgynous feel to the collection, but this was softened by the feminine shapes of the skirts, dresses and blouses. Despite the use of black and white in the more tailored parts of the collection, the star of the show has to be the use of fiery hues in creating bold cashmere coats, fluffy oversized sweatshirts, a gorgeous velvet dress and, of course, the Moroccan tile print. The great part about this whole collection is that it is so wearable- we could buy a lot of it now and wear it now- especially those fur trimmed, shiny khaki parka coats and black knee high boots (a huge trend across fashion week so far).

Victoria Beckham at NYFW

At Victoria’s Beckham’s most recent NYFW show we saw the designer had finally moved away from her signature dresses, instead showing a more masculine collection that is now being compared to the likes of Celine. Fluid lines are a sharp contrast to her previous ‘body-con’ structures, and whilst masculine shapes are present in the form of over-sized cashmere coats, tailored silk trousers and gold chain detailing, the designer softened her collection by adding dramatic ruffles on fitted chiffon blouses and delicate pleating on the backs of coats and the hemlines of both dresses and skirts. The monochromatic theme only added to the simplicity of the collection, although a rare abstract print (another surprise element from Victoria) and a few pops of red brightened the designs, somewhat.                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Altuzarra at NYFW

                                

It is unlike Altuzarra to create such a vibrant, colourful collection, but during his show at NYFW yesterday the designer contrasted bright pops of cobalt blue, fuschia pink and orange against his usual, more classic shades, of black, grey, white and cream. The double faced cashmere coats were stand out pieces, with contrasting shades of navy and cobalt blue, as well as the brightly coloured patchwork fur coat, which added a whole new youthful edge to the, usually more formal, collection. Altuzarra usually gives us sophisticated, but sexy, runway looks, which is why it came as a refreshing surprise to see the soft fringe detailing that adorned many of his  dresses, skirts and tops in various colourful combinations. As the designer’s most colourful collection to date, it is questionable why he hasn’t been more experimental until now, but it is for certain that his more colourful hues are bound to attract a more youthful customer.

CALLA at NYFW

It was only last year that designer Calla Haynes first showed her collection during NYFW, and yesterday the designer was back again to show off yet another vibrant collection. Haynes is known for her strong print designs, which is why it came as no surprise to see a collection full of bold clashing prints, a nod towards ‘relaxed luxury’, as the designer herself describes her collection. The designer has managed to create a modern twist on ‘easy to wear’ fashion, by mixing quirky prints with more classic ones, like plaid and bright florals, which has led to a youthful, yet luxurious, collection.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

Kate Spade New York at NYFW

Kate Spade never disappoints when it comes to creating bold, youthful collections, and their AW collection, which was showcased during the second day of NYFW, was of no exception. This time the story behind the collection comes from the creative director’s recent trips to both Shanghai and Tokyo, which is clearly demonstrated by the designer’s use of obi bows, silky pajama pants and, of course, that ‘Hello Tokyo’ clutch bag. In this collection, rich colours are reminiscent of the vibrant South East Asian culture, especially when they are mixed with lots of textures, quirky accessories (that Chinese take out handbag) and bold prints (think bright florals and leopard spots). As usual, the Kate Spade New York collection has provided everything it promises to it’s loyal fashion followers; its playful, its bold and brings a youthful glow to the otherwise dull AW months. And what does the creative director have to say about the more subdued colours in the collection? ‘Navy is the new black’ (for a more classy Kate Spade look) and ‘Pale pink is the new neutral’ (For a softer, feminine edge  contrasted against those brilliant vibrant hues).
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NY Fashion Week: Street Style Predictions

Okay, so we all look forward to the runway shows, but how will the heavy snow that has hit New York effect the street style of the fashion elite across the next few days? Below are a few predictions of what we can expect from street style as it prepares to fight off the bitter NY cold.

Lots of layering

The infamous ‘street style’ at NY fashion week will have to adapt to the colder weather, but don’t expect them to ‘layer up’ in a conventional way. Think oversized woolen coats on top of another coat, a furry vest acting as a unique take on  a scarf underneath a blazer or even the doubling up of scarves.

Furry Accessories

I predict lots of furry Fendi mittens, as well as fur vests, coats, hats.. anything warm and furry to fight off the bitter NY cold and look glamorous whilst doing it.

Sweatshirts

Making a huge comeback for a great ‘I just threw this on’ look, these will definitely be on show throughout fashion week, especially those with friends at Kenzo who bag early access to their fish inspired sweatshirts, which aren’t actually available to purchase until the end of February.

Over-sized Woolen Coats

It seems obvious, I know, but despite that pink Celine coat being huge, I actually expect a rainbow oversized woolen coats,too, because wearing that pink coat would be just too obvious, wouldn’t it?

Hunter Wellies

Maybe this is a British thing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if somebody turned up in a pair of these, especially after the brand has been given it’s own runway slot later on in the month for London Fashion Week. It is snowing, surely somebody will dress practically for the event?

New Season Loubs

For those NY fashion forward ladies who refuse to let the snow come between them and looking good in a pair of glossy new Louboutins. We’re likely to see the updated Pigalle, Princess or even the Louis sneaker on show over the next few days (just think glitter, pastels and vibrant hues).

A few sale buys..

I had a little look around the sales and found a few bargains along the way…

This pretty bird print blouse from Mango was a bit of an impulse buy, but the colors and print really stood out! Plus, I’m justified in buying it because it’ll look just as pretty come Spring!

Camo-print sweaterAnother from Mango, this isn’t normally a print I would go for, but after seeing it all over the runways (especially at Christopher Kane) I was automatically drawn to it, and it’s actually a really cosy knit that’ll look fab with black disco pants!

I’ve already got a pair of plain black disco pants, but I’ve been trawling the sales for a more textured pair and this crocodile effect pair from Dorothy Perkins was just what I was looking for! I’m a little bit fussy when it comes to leggings, and disco pants are great because of the  button and pocket detail which helps give them more shape!

To be honest I’ve been a little restrained over the sale period and if I could afford to I probably would have bought so much more! At the moment I’m still on the hunt for some reasonably priced velvet disco pants ( then I’ll stop with the disco pants, promise!!), a pair of really well fitting blue skinny jeans and an over sized woolen coat!

Until then, I’ll just have to keep obsessively trawling the sale rails until I find those few products that meet my fussy ‘should I, shouldn’t I’ standards…

Angora-the RIGHT way!

Firstly, how cute is this little angora bunny?
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It’s been all over the news this week that those fluffy angora jumpers being sold at the likes of GAP, Topshop and ASOS may have a more sinister back story than you would first imagine. Most retailers have quickly ceased contracts with their inhumane Chinese suppliers and taken the products off their shelves, and Topshop are even allowing returns of the cruel products for unhappy customers.

Although these cruel stories may frighten most away from buying such fluffy jumpers these recently emerging stories do not mean that all angora jumpers are from cruel backgrounds, with some Angora breeders stepping out to claim they ethically remove the hairs through gentle brushing. But there are similar textures available that feel and look like angora, but are actually made out of synthetic materials, making these jumpers a much safer options! In any supply chain, I have learnt that no part can be fully tracked and trusted so it is always better to buy fake (and this goes for other furs, skins and feathers, too!)

Retailers to avoid include:
Zara (they’ve refused to confirm that they will cancel it’s orders from cruel suppliers)
River Island, M&S, H&M (some of their fluffy jumpers are made partly of Angora fibres and are too cheap to be humanely sourced)
Primark (At £14 for an Angora jumper there is absolutely NO way this was obtained ethically)

So below are examples of ‘Angora style’ products that are completely Angora friendly, but when looking yourselves please make sure you read the label! (From left to right : Select Fashion, New Look, River Island)