Thursday, September 29, 2011


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large in Paris

CNN International got in touch today to tell me about their show "The Fashion Season" which has been airing all week at 2100 BST (British Summer Time). First of all, how many of us get the chance to watch CNN? I tend to tune into it only when I'm travelling, and not at regular times either. Second of all, its rare to find a global news channel covering the fashion world without reducing it to visual fluff, or casting a cynical eye over it, so I was straight on the case to see which of their mini-episodes - most run for five minutes - was the most revealing, interesting and relevant. I chose the fashion photography report, which aired Wednesday night.

I'm a huge fashion photography fan; my dream is to collect work from my favourite photographers who include Ryan McGinley, Helmut Newton, Guy Bourdin, Francesa Woodman, Corinne Day, Erwin Blumenfeld and Paolo Roversi. In fact Tim Blanks of (who lives around the corner from me) is my inspiration for this - I am a junior collector, but he is a prolific amasser of photography and has an inspirational collection that I can only dream of..

The editor behind this CNN mini-series is smart and tuned in, he chose photographers from three fashion disciplines - editorial, catwalk and online. They talk to Mario Testino as he celebrates his 30th anniversary in fashion photography; Getty photographer Frazer Harrison shows the reality of what it’s like to work in the catwalk camera pit, and The Sartorialist, Scott Schuman talks through his craft. Enjoy.



Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

During London Fashion Week, we blogged about lots of the brilliant collections by the NEWGEN SS12 contingent. Paris is now upon us and we thought that any of you lucky enough to be in the city over the next few days might like to know that you can drop in to have a look for yourselves at the collections (n.b at a different location to previous years, see bottom of post for details). Michael Van der Ham, J.JS Lee and Craig Lawrence  (amongst others) will be in attendance and you can see what we thought of their offerings by following the links.
Christopher Raeburn SS12 (
 Christopher Raeburn is a member of the NEWGEN crew and his LFW show was an example of how this group are really shaking things up. I attended his presentation at the Museum of London on the Friday night, and the three stages which he took his audience through made me really excited to be a young journalist embarking on my first fashion week.
Christopher Raeburn SS12 (
First up was a short film which focussed on the 'Made in England' element of his designs as well as the technicality of the fabrics used in their construction. Raeburn told me that the vast majority of his pieces are still made in-house, with a few others being manufactured in three factories around England. Second, was a museum-like presentation of the collection. The models were set against all colours of the rainbow and there was a kind of eerie beating music which only added to the blurring of the lines between art and fashion.
Christopher Raeburn SS12 (
 Finally, a completely fun element; the opportunity to get touchy feely with the clothes. In fact, attendees were positively encouraged to bang the items which were wired up to lights so that your bash literally lit up the room. Take a look at the video below of the fabulous Susie Bubble having a go.

Installation at Christopher Raeburn S/S 12 from Susie Bubble on Vimeo.

Raeburn emphasised to me the desire to create an 'exciting show in an amazing space in a limited time' (the Raeburn team had just six hours to transform the classic museum space into a fashion show venue). In short, this was a completely inspired, super fun way to show a collection. And a perfect example of why the New Gen crew are so exciting and a must-see if you're a journalist or buyer in Paris in the coming days.

You can visit them from Friday at 2pm, here: Le Loft, L'Impasse Guemenee, 3 Cour Berard, 75004, Paris (4eme). They'll be around for a week.


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Lace is nothing new on our fashion radar, in fact it is rarely off the agenda. For next Spring/Summer, there is a particular sort of lace which we have been seeing again and again on the catwalks. Let me introduce you to GUIPURE. This is a chunkier lace than the flippety, delicate pieces we might be used to. The technique for creating it is thought to originate from darning onto fishing net, which will give you some idea of the sturdier nature of this lace in comparison to, for example, a chantilly. The word guipure means a thick cord over which thread is twisted; guiper can mean 'to wrap' en francais. 

Thakoon SS12 
 Throughout New York and London, we heard the word guipure enough times for it to stick. And then Miuccia Prada used it as an overlay throughout her collection. This cements guipure's status as a key texture for SS12. It is also highly versatile- it can be used as a trim (as on hems at Clements Ribeiro), an overlay (see Thakoon and Prada) or in an entire garment (see the Preen pencil skirt below). We've also seen designers (like Clements Ribeiro's dress below) take the guipure lace pattern and print it onto garments. This achieves the same balance of prettiness and chunkiness with the fussiness of dealing with the lace itself. So, there is clearly no one way to work your guipure- we're excited to see its many manifestations next Spring/ Summer.
Clements Ribeiro SS12

Prada SS12

Prada SS12

Preen SS12
I cannot confirm that this IS guipure but it looks a lot like it to me, trapped between layers at Simone Rocha SS12

All images from

Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

We may be experiencing a temporary heatwave (putting our Paris wardrobe plans into COMPLETE disarray) but we all know that soon enough, temperatures will drop, winds will whip up and we will have to put away sandals and flippy dresses for another season.  

This prospect might leave you feeling a little dejected but, never fear, My-Wardrobe is here with a very exciting  boost in the form of Grenson's debut collection of womenswear brogues. The brogue has become a new winter staple but the love is peaking right now with sales and searches up by 68% compared to last year.Many of the savviest brogue wearers have been buying men's styles already so the Grenson line gives a slightly more feminine edge (an elevated heel and slimmer silhouette) alongside the old-school quality that Grenson is famed for. 
My favourites- the two tone Marthas £176
My-Wardobe's Merchandising Director Luisa De Paula says that ‘When it comes to the brogue, Grenson is one of the best go-to brands, so it’s fantastic to see the brand launch a womenswear collection.   The craftsmanship and quality leather used by Grenson ensure beautifully-made shoes, which will last for years.   With brogues firmly back on the agenda with the androgynous trend, we believe that the Grenson collection will be a key buy for our female shoppers.” 
Patent £176

Grenson's expansion into womens shoes is long overdue given the brand's 140 year history ( they began as Green and Sons). In 2004, Christian Purslow and Tim Little joined the company and have taken its heritage aesthetic into a new place with some highly desirable styles at super reasonable price points. We recommend a flash of bare ankle to keep a brogue sexy, or wear with skirts and tights when bare flesh becomes unthinkable.
Grey Suede £176

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

One word can sum up the entire spring/summer 2012 catwalk shows so far, and that word is optimism. Everything is bright and sunny, light and airy, jolly and upbeat, go-getting and fun. You get the picture. Yellow is the colour of Spring 2012, and if a floral print is not your thing, god help you.

The main thing about Milan, was, well it was very Italian. Molto Italiano. Looking at Pucci, Gucci, Cavalli, Dolce with their big bouncy haired models, exuberant prints and multiple-colours, there was no where else in the world you could be. And, as this is a season of optimism, the Italian designers were ten times more jolly about it than London and New York was.

Well, apart from Prada, Jil Sander, and Marni the triumverate of  thoughtful greatness that resides in the city. Without further ado, here is my top ten which veers away from that Molto Italiano vibe focusing on Fashion. Amazingly there is only one dress - its all about separates in fashion these days.
Divine Arizona Muse at Marni. Love the craft and layering.

No 21 by Alessandro dell'Acqua. All over print but done in cool way.

Sporty, youthful and feminine chic by Christopher Kane for Versus

Dolce Gabbana, just beautiful no matter how you look at it 

Pucci's only beam of cloistered purity in a show of steamy prints

Fashion's man of the moment Raf Simons at Jil Sander asked the Picasso family for permission to use this face - taken from some of the artist's pottery - for this sweater which is top of my wish list for SS12

This Jil Sander look by Raf Simons is perfection itself. Love this neon paisley.

Guipure lace embroidered coat in a colour clash last seen on my childhood duvet cover at Prada.

Prada, taking it to the limit in its uniquely cerebral way. What may jar with you now will trranslate to gold in the shops next Spring. Trust.

You can't do Milano without some Mr Lagerfeld at Fendi. This outfit is luxe and relaxed

All photos by

What is your top Milan Fashion Week look and collection?
Write me back


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Kinga Rajzak walking for Proenza Schouler SS12 (
The Milan shows have only confirmed what London and New York majorly hinted at: if you want to be on trend next Summer, you're going to have to get your abs out. And for that you need to be at the very least fat free, or at the most ripped.  Our abs poster girl is Kinga Rajzak, who stole the show at Proenza Schouler with her aspirational midriff flashing and have you seen her muscle tone? Kinga's agent informs us that, contrary to appearences, the ab queen doesn't moonlight as an olympic athlete but is a gym bunny and yoga lover.

Dolce Gabbana SS12 (

Dolce Gabbana SS12 ( 

Antonio Marras SS12 (

In my own personal pursuit of midriff perfection, I have become a devotee of 8-minute abs. The video below is surely the secret weapon of fashion editors the world over. And judging by the number of views of the video in its various guises, as much as 10 million in one version, there is a kind of secret abs cult which can only grow as next year's abs reveal grows closer. Yes, it's super cheesy but if it works do we care? I guarantee you will feel completely ripped the next day and, if you manage to avoid all salt, sugar, wheat etc. then you MAY have Kinga abs by Spring.

Friday, September 23, 2011


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

One of the many, many highlights of my first fashion week was virtually brushing against Hamish Bowles in his Dries Van Noten suit. Of course, I don't know anything really about the man himself, but he is amongst my top fashion industry 'celebs' who I would be asking to pose for a picture with me if I weren't trying to look nonchalant.
Bowles, in Mugler, with Simon Cowell (Image from
His awesomeness status went stratospheric today when I read this article about his mission from Anna Wintour to audition in the first series of US X-Factor. They say that music and fashion are two peas in pod but I highly doubt that the two have ever collided quite like this before.


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Burberry was top designer for creating online buzz for their show
Editd came to our attention yesterday when FashEd discovered that she was among the Top 10 Fashion Week Tweeters according to their analysis of more than 300,000 tweets per day over the week. That led to some serious geeking out over fashion week details which we really wanted to share with you all.

Julia from EditD told us:
 'Based on the amount of online buzz generated, our interactive charts give an instant guide to who and what is hot. Our charts are built by connecting a specific fashion taxonomy with what people are talking about online before and during fashion week.

We love making this kind of data public, because it gives everyone an insight into the trends they can look forward to seeing in stores and they’re informative for industry insiders who use this kind of data (though in real-time) to ensure their buying and product decisions are right for the season and their customers'

EditD have also created full buzz reports from London and New York . Geek your hearts out fashion lovers!


Guest Post by Victoria Loomes

Nancy Cunard

At the Gucci show yesterday, Frida Giannini’s show notes - which cited her inspirations in detail - made for some interesting reading. Her Roaring Twenties homage was, she wrote, an attempt to “explore an optical side of femininity by creating a sculptural glamour for the Gucci woman”. But jarring against the easy jazz age familiarity of Louise Brooks and Man Ray, one name stood out ­– Nancy Cunard. The surname comes with connotations of luxury cruises…but Nancy? Who’s she?

Gucci SS12

Of course she was rich. Her father was Bache Cunard, the heir to the Cunard shipping business. Of course she was beautiful. During her youth, her beauty captivated writers and artists. In Anne Chisholm’s extensive biography, David Garnett recalled her “skin, as white as bleached almonds, the bluest eyes one has ever seen, and very fair hair. She was marvellous.” Later in life, Nancy became obsessed with primitive art, and wore African ivory bracelets stacked up each slender arm from wrist to elbow. Anthony Hobson recounted how “conversation was punctuated by their rhythmic clashing.”
Nancy, a woman who liked a bangle, and a finger wave

Michael Arlen based Iris March, a character in his best-selling novel The Green Hat (1924), on Nancy. Aldous Huxley, in the throes of unrequited passion sealed Cunard’s fate as ‘muse’ in Antic Hay, in which Myra Viveash owes more than a passing resemblance to Cunard. But it was in Paris that Nancy found her calling, becoming increasingly involved with provocative and fashionable artists. Her influence among the Dadaists led founder Tristan Tzara to write and dedicate Mouchoir de Nuages to her, sculptor Brancusi immortalised Nancy in Jeune Fille Sophistiquee. It was the Surrealists however, who truly captured Nancy’s attention, notably co-founder Louis Aragon, who was to remain a close friend for much of her life.

Nancy posing against a very this season polka dot screen

Yet Nancy was much more than a muse. A published poet, founder of the Hour Press, publisher of avant-garde and experimental literature, she was a passionate journalist, and a fearless traveller, but her greatest, and most controversial, achievement was Negro. Published in February 1934, this hefty tome (almost four years in the making) recorded ‘the struggles and achievements, the persecutions and the revolts against…the Negro peoples’ as she herself wrote in the foreword. In a limited run of 1,000 copies, Negro included around 250 contributions from over 150 writers, and was born out her relationship with Henry Crowder, an African-American jazz pianist who hailed from Georgia – a relationship that almost caused her mother to disown her.

Gucci SS12

Recently, shades of the uncompromising personality that Nancy personifies have crept onto the catwalk – these strong women coloured their lives with a splash of assured glamour, a little decadence and an unwavering self-belief.

It started at (where else?) Prada, last year. Spring Summer 2011 saw Miuccia send her models down the runway sporting the distinctive finger waves that Nancy favoured throughout her life. Styled by Guido Paulo, hair was teased into waves around the face, curved round the ear and moulded to the head, throwing the features of the models (themselves chosen by Miuccia for their striking distinctions) were thrown into sharp relief. 
Prada SS11

Fast-forward a season and Mary Katrantzou chanelled the strength and spirit of these women, albeit from a different source. Her striking interior prints were indebted to the stylish apartments of Cunard, Chanel, Vreeland, Paley et al – and their eclectic living spaces were simply an extension of their strong-willed personalities.

Nancy Cunard may be an unlikely fashion muse, but her particular blend of pioneering fearlessness is one that captivates contemporary designers. Her refusal to be defined by glamour and class may now seem inconsequential, her list of achievements overshadowed by an impressive roll call of lovers, yet a remarkable and enduring legacy remains.

Nancy died on March 17, 1965, aged 69, in a Paris hospital where she was being treated for mental illness and alcoholism after being found on the street, destitute, a few days earlier. She weighted 26 kilos. In her healthier, happier days would have recoiled from the epitaph of style icon, but there’s no denying that she is one, and it’s time she took her place among the greats.

Find more of Victoria Loome's writing at

Photographs of Nancy taken from Nancy Cunard: A Biography by Anne Chisholm

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Fashion weeks come and go, but we will always have Chanel. Harrods are reminding us of that irrefutable fact this month with their Chanel pop-up shop and promenade experience.  Unfortunately, there are just a few days left of the collaboration but if you are in need of some Chanel soothing then Harrods must be your first port of call.
Mlle. Chanel (Image from

Images courtesy of Chanel
The FashEd and I have recently been absorbed by Justine Picardie's incredible biography 'Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life'. And so Chanel seems to have been in the background throughout fashion week, when we were focused on London talent and new trends. In the back of my mind, there was still a little black dress, a matelot striped top and a string of pearls. I knew that any day these could be pulled out as wardrobe failsafes and look just as chic now as they would have done any time in the past 60 or 70 years- that is the power of Chanel. So, it is apt that London's greatest fashion destination play host to the Chanel homage which, I'm pleased to report, has been formulated through close collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld's studio team.

On the ground floor, 23 windows have been taken over to showcase the AW11 collection. Then inside is an ephemeral boutique- I love the frenchified phrase they have chosen for what is effectively a pop-up shop.
The classic Harrods bag has had a Chanel makeover, and can be yours for £1,830
There is also a beauty area which features supersized bottles of Chanel No.5, Chance and Mademoiselle (all of which, apart from Chance, are available for sale). Picardie dispells all myths which swirl around the significance of the choice of number for the first of Chanel's many perfumes: 'Mademoiselle Chanel replied, 'I'm presenting my dress collection on the 5th of May, the fifth month of the year; let's the leave the name No. 5' This number would bring her luck'. Here Picardie is quoting Ernest Beaux who had been commissioned by Chanel to create a perfume to add an extra element to her growing fashion house which had begun just with hats. It was the fifth in the series of scents he created which she chose. And thus the number became a lucky charm for Mademoiselle. Picardie herself speaks about just how much No.5 permeated Chanel's entire existence in the video below.

And then to Harrod's third floor where a space of 350 square metres has been dedicated to taking customers through a subliminal Chanel experience which transports one between a miniature recreation of the set of the AW11 show, a film sequence showing the making a 2.55 bag and Karl's library, amongst others. The promenade experience offers complete immersion in the Chanel brand, its history and many facets.

The House of Chanel has many recurring symbols and motifs which can be be traced right through its archives. One of the most prominent is the camellia which is found not only in Chanel clothes and accessories but also 'in her salon, they glittered as crystals from her chandelier, and were carved into her Coromandel screens'. Picardie traces Chanel's camellia obsession back to the effect which Alexandre Dumas' novel La Dame aux camélias had upon a young Chanel when she went to see a performance of the work at the age of 13. The camelia's odourless quality seems to have captured Chanel's fascination, especially given that she was quite obsessed with cleanliness and lack of dirt; the flower could transcend life and death because there is no palpable transition to be made. 
Harrods bears with Chanel AW11 capes

Chanel clad bears take refusge in a mini recreation of Rue Cambon
Chanel dolls

Chanel's legendary mirrored Rue Cambon salon is recreated complete with mannequins in Chanel Couture.

Oh to open one of these boxes for oneself...
 A complete treat- the chance to look at pieces of vintage Chanel couture in close-up....
Many of Chanel's most enduring items were not created until she reached her 70s. Picardie quotes Life magazine: 'At 71, Gabrielle Chanel is creating more than fashion: a revolution'. The 2.55 bag, supersized below, is a case in point. Chanel took the lessons she had learnt from previous bags she had created and wove into this key signifiers of her past 'the quilted leather was said to be an indication of her love of riding as a young woman, dating back to a time when quilted material was worn only by stable-lads'. Chanel was a magnifent rider and fisherwoman, but you must read the book to find out more! Picardie continues, 'the chain that served as a shoulder strap was just as evocative:golden metal plaited with a leather cord, suggestive of horse bridles and harnesses, and also perhaps of the belts worn by the Catholic nuns who had educated her as a child'. But on top of this, Chanel simply had an inkling that 'women love chains'. An inkling which has proved an unbelievable money spinner and cultural landmark for Chanel, France and fashion ever since.
Karl in his bibliotheque
A giant bottle of Chanel No.5 houses a screen which shows the ad starring Audrey Tatou....

So  I cannot recommend enough a visit to Harrods to soak up the final days of the promenade, followed by  immersing yourself in Picardie's epic, entertaining and brilliant account of Chanel's life.

N.B All quotes taken from Picardie's biography of Chanel. Images, unless otherwise indicated, Fashion Junior at Large.