Friday, December 21, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

It's nearly time to hang up our stockings and settle down to Love Actually, Quality Streets and just one more turkey sandwich. Before that though, I'll whizz you through the week's fashion happenings...

There'll be no Givenchy couture show in January, the Parisian house announced this week. However, that doesn't mean there'll no representation of Riccardo Tisci's designs on red carpets as commissions will continue to be taken for celebrities and other special clients.

Cate Blanchett  in Givenchy Couture
The Beckham fashion world takeover continues with plenty of stories from the family this week.  Not only is Romeo the star of Burberry's SS13 campaign but his Mum is launching an e-commerce site in the New Year while David has apparently bought his wife some silky Olivia Von Halle pyjamas for Christmas. Vogue Editor Alexandra Shulman was quick to point out that Romeo doesn't meet Vogue model standards so a cover is a little way off yet.

Gwen Stefani graces the cover of American Vogue's January edition. She's wears Hedi Slimane's Saint Laurent, which is quite a statement of support for the collection which caused such a drama when it was shown in September. Fashion observers are now labelling Saint Laurent as the go-to for musicians while Raf Simons' Dior is for princessy actresses apparently.

Gwen Stefani images via
In other ad campaign news, Prada has switched from the usual course of telling stories in its ads- recall the models at the petrol station, or playing chess?- and gone for a series of pared back images for SS13. Steven Meisel is, as ever, behind the camera. Prada say the new approach is about reflecting "confident individuality". Meanwhile, I would love to know the story behinds Marc Jacobs and Juergen Teller's SS13 Marc by Marc Jacobs ads which feature grafitti and a toilet. 
Prada SS13 (Image via Prada)

Marc by Marc Jacobs (image via
Finally two big publishing industry stories this week which you should certainly cast your eye over. Thailand and Ukraine will get their own Vogue editions next year, which can only mean one thing, reports Jess Cartner-Morley. Also this week, Vice Media bought i-D magazine. Andrew Creighton, Vice's President said "What i-D has not necessarily done, by accident or design, is move into the digital area in a big way." Watch this space.

Melanie and I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and New Year. Thanks for helping us have an awesome FEAL year, bring on 2013. We'll be back in January


Thursday, December 20, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Staying in is quite clearly the new going out, according to Miuccia Prada. Today, images for the SS13 Miu Miu advertising campaign, shot in new York by Inez and Vinoodh, were released, full of beautiful people languishing on beds made up with pretty silk eiderdowns, leaning across tables adorned with dying flowers and slumped against red painted walls. It's almost like these ladies were all dressed up, ready for tea at The Ritz perhaps and then there was a sudden flood warning so now they are all dolled up with nowhere to go. They do some posing, drink a little wine, feel saucy and drowsy in equal measure and dress up in even more of their slightly off-kilter elegant wardrobe; there are furs, crystals and a demure pencil skirt, but hold on, it's denim?

Miu Miu describe it as a "mysterious domestic setting" which provides a "fresh view of contemporary femininity". Given that in many of the poses, the girls look either bored or sleepy, let's hope it's not too close to what Miu Miu really thinks being a girl is all about in 2012. There are also lots of seductive gestures and come-to-bed eyes among the shots, suggesting that some girl-on-girl action is on the agenda, an intelligent spin in its itself given that this Miu Miu collection reminds so clearly of the trussed up, fabulous yet sex-sceptical look of the mid century. It's beautiful and elegant yes, but obviously sexy no. Well, not until now...

Bette Franke makes her move on Malgosia Bela

A Bette Franke sandwich 
Could Doutzen Kroes look more bored, or more beautiful?
A well dressed sulk

All images courtesy of Miu Miu

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

It's nearly time to snuggle into your Christmas jumper and be done with proper fashion for a week or so, but before that we mustn't forget that the next round of collections- Pre-Fall 2013- is trickling in slowly, giving us a little taster of how we might be looking a year from now. In traditional FEAL fashion, I've got out the Big Head to demonstrate how I might possibly look in some of my favourite looks so far...


Checks and tartan are looking strong for next Autumn. Gucci's woollen dress has a strong, pulled together silhouette with a hint of kilt, the perfect balance of chic and traditional.


This is quite possibly the archetypal example of what a Pre-Fall (or Resort) collection is all about; it would be quite perfect to put on this entire look, walk out of the studio door and go live life, rucksack slung over shoulder.  You'd be wearing key, hard-working wardrobe pieces with a fashionable but not slavish hint at trends. Winter Turquoise is looking like a big thing, following on from the Celine coat of AW12. 


As a simple styling concept, Proenza's concoction feels bang on- take a monochrome colour block sweater, add statement skirt and simple heels. Done. It feels like a wearable, day to day move on from the final looks in Raf Simons' first Dior collection- the black jumper with iridescent ballgown skirts. I couldn't decide between the artsy blue optical skirt or the burnished gold so I stuck my head on both. 


Will we be seeing grey marl sweats on the Balenciaga catwalk? Possibly not, but Wang's Pre-fall draped luxe sport get-up seems rather fabulous to me although not sure I'd wear the whole look all together. The easy but versatile sweatshirt would be top of my list. 


Oh dear, I'm going to make another Dior reference, but don't you think this sheeny dress coat is a little bit like those updated Bar jackets which Simons did? It's glitzier and comes with what looks a bit of a nasty belt however it fits perfectly into the idea of wearing a jacket as a dress which is really sexy in a Roxie Hart kinda way


I really ought to have picked my tartan choice from Chanel's Paris -Edinbourg collection, however I by far prefer Lagerfeld's interpretations of Elizabeth I attire, all virginal white gowns with ruffs at the neck. If only I had the photoshop skills to transport the intricate plaits which Sam McKnight created for the occassion onto my own 'do. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

This time of year can start to make one feel really quite weighed down. First of all, there's the eating- even before Christmas day itself, there seem to be interminable cupcakes and tins of Quality Street and Miniature Heroes knocking about, not to mention the carb fest that is "party food". Then there's all the shopping, present upon present to buy, rolls of wrapping paper and festive cards. The loading up which began several weeks ago is now beginning to feel like an enormous weight which it would be rather nice to fly away from, cast off all the possessions and unnecessary stodge and just lighten up.

Mini Miu Miu heels worn by Elle China's Leaf Greener, photographed by Tommy Ton (
If we cannot grow wings then the next best thing might be downsizing which, rather luckily, is right in line with where fashion is going. Gone are the mega Towie heels of yesteryear, replaced with a stocky, ladylike block heel which the Queen would be proud of. As opposed to the giant, Mary Poppins bags of mere seasons ago, it now seems so much fresher to be carting around little more than a teeny cross-body bag just big enough for a phone, a card and a lipstick. After all, how often do you actually use the entire contents of your make-up bag which we usually insist on hauling around "just in case". I think it's a state of mind more than anything else, cutting the ties and losing the fear. Our backs will thank us.

A very small bag, photographed by Tommy Ton (
The ultimate lightweight inspiration comes courtesy of Louis Vuitton who have recruited three street style stars- Mira Duma, Hanneli Mustaparta and Elin Kling- to prance the streets of Paris, hands free with just their sweet and small cross-body bags to carry their worldly goods. The message is that life is just  trillion times more fun without baggage which is quite a statement for a brand whose core offer is enormous trunks and sizeable handbags. 2013 is set to be the year when fashion is kind to us- we can wear heels which aren't absurd and bags which don't break our backs. To celebrate, here are some late additions for your Christmas list... small but perfectly formed.

Jimmy Choo rebel bag £550 at My Theresa

Marc by Marc Jacobs spot bag £350 at My Theresa

ASOS chunky gold heels £40

J Crew Janey silver gold chunk pumps £243.75

Topshop snake bag £28

Zara jewelled ballerinas £59.99
Miu Miu crystal small heels £460

Monday, December 17, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

McQ Autumn/ Winter 2012
If Autumn/ Winter 2012 is a season of fashion fairytales then McQ's London show was the fairy dust, the wave of the wand which heralded an escape into sartorial fantasy. In case you don't remember anything about it, I have posted the video below. The pinnacle of proceedings came at the very end as Kristen McMenamy in her perfectly winter tulle gown sunk to the ground, struggled to locate a rope beneath the floor of leaves and promptly embarked on an almost painful pull/ crawl back up the catwalk and into a newly revealed forest, inside which she eventually found the safe haven of a pub within a shed. 

The old fairytale of Cinderella is billed as a story of oppression and triumph, so in many ways the McQ struggle- choreographed by the brilliant Punchdrunk theatre group - was like a modern McQueen version. Although of course, the reward is a strong drink rather than a Prince Charming. 

"A dream is a wish your heart makes when you're fast asleep. In dreams you will lose your heartaches. Whatever you wish for, you keep. Have faith in your dreams, and someday, your rainbow will come smiling through. No matter how your heart is grieving, if you keep on believing, the dream that you wish will come true" Cinderella
Cinderella and Prince Charming do the Waltz (image via fan

Friday, December 14, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Just 11 days until Christmas and the fashion world is beginning to descend into festive silliness. However, there are several stories of note for us to catch up but before that we turn to in-depth analysis of Victoria Beckham shunning the Spices and the shocking new "megging" phenomenon...

It was supposed to be a mere premiere, the opening night of the latest instalment in the oeuvre of Judy Craymer. Yet it turned into a culturally significant moment as four members of the band formerly known as Spice Girls rocked up attempting to emulate the Girl Power they'd ignited nearly 15 years ago with glitter, botox, flesh on show and girly showing off. What was once so right (well, it was in my mind as a 9 year old) just became so wrong. That wrongness was only magnified when the fifth Spice, Posh a.k.a Victoria Beckham rocked up terribly late looking super chic in her white shirt and shrugged-on coat with her Burberry bedecked boys as companions. She eschewed the post-pop tragedy of joining in with the group posing and pouting of her fellow Spices and instead showed just how much she'd moved on and had created her own new brand of lady power. Lisa Armstong's take on the evening's significance is really spot on.

The latest big, searching debate in fashion is.... The Megging. Indeed, that is the Man Legging. It may seem an absurd notion to entertain right now, but stranger things have happened on Planet Fashion.  They could become the ultimate lazy boy move on from the tracksuit bottoms, much in the same way that leggings were for girls several years back. For further insight, read The Guardian's in-depth investigation. 

Working the Megging (image via

The AW13 NEWGEN recipients were announced this week. J.W Anderson and Simone Rocha get catwalk sponsorship while newcomers include a man whose does very classy footwear, Liam Fahy, and Paula Gerbase, whose androgynous tailored designs you can find out more about here.

Paula Gerbase designs

Lovely, luxurious Liam Fahy slippers
It's been yet another big week for Stella McCartney. Her brand was the most searched for on the internet this year, no wonder really considering every A-lister worth their salt has had a Stella turn on the red carpet not to mention the fact that every Team BG athlete was kitted out in McCartney kit for the games. To round off her phenomenal year, Stella held her traditional Christmas light switch-on at her Bruton Street store on Monday evening. The honour of switching on the festive display went to Vic Reeves and Paul Whitehouse who also sang to the assembled guests about being vegetarian.
Paul, Stella and Vic sport matching tweeds  (image via
Ok, so it's not strictly fashion- specific news but the ongoing difficulty of merging our Instagram and Twitter feeds is really to getting to those of us who want to show off lovely pictures of shoes/ handbags/ jewels etc. etc. The two social networking sites are having a number of disagreements which means that they have reduced their compatibility with one another. Find out the details here. And here's to a 2013 when we don't have to keep opening new tabs to see the latest pictures of people's latest fashion finds. Talk about #firstworldproblems.

We're missing out on gems like this thanks to the Instagram/ Twitter feud. Image via Tommy Ton 
Congratulations to Sarah Burton who picked up her OBE at Buckingham Palace yesterday. Burton is due to give birth to twins in February so obviously this makes a lovely story about her being a prine candidate to outfit Duchess Kate for her own pregnancy. Sarah did a lovely job on herself yesterday, going for a gold embroidered coat and simple black dress. Also at the palace was April Ashley who I have coincidentally been learning about in the book I'm reading, The Last Curtsey. Ashley was one of the first transexuals and has had a quite incredible life. She's now been awarded the MBE for her services to transgender relations.

April Ashley and Sarah Burton collect their honours at the palace (images via daily mail and
Spring/ Summer '13 is really feeling like it's getting underway, especially as the Louis Vuitton and Marc Jacobs campaigns have now been released. Of course, Ruby Jean Wilson stars in all the optical illusion imagery.

Images via and

i-D's interview with Sarah Mower is inspiring; if you've ever had so much as a passing thought about a career in fashion then you will find a wealth of advice and very refreshing reality check right here. This one of the best wise quotes-

"You only get anywhere if you have to write – if you actually have to put something down on paper. If you’re driven. You have to be self-critical and write things over and over again, and redo it and redo it. It can take me three hours to write the first sentence."

Sarah Mower with her assistant Hannah Lambert (image via
If you can't possibly stand another gallery of trinkety fashion gift ideas, then may I refer you to Colin McDowell's edit of the best fashion books to put on your Christmas list this year.

W: The First 40 Years is one of Mr McDowell's recommendations (image via
To round off our pre-Christmas Week in Fashion, we bring you two of our favourite celeb outifts of the week.

My long term girl crush on Kirsten Dunst has been renewed after she wore one of Dior's SS13 fabulously simple and chic navy jackets with the metallic, space heels. Meanwhile, Kanye West went for a leather Givenchy kilt when he performed at a Hurricane Sandy fundraiser on Wednesday. The high fashion piece has divided opinion and now has its very own Twitter account, we like it. Happy Weekends everyone!
Kirsten Dunst in Dior (image via
Kanye's Givenchy kilt

Wednesday, December 12, 2012


Posted by Bethan Holt, Fashion Junior at Large

Regular readers will probably be used by now to my making tenuous and not-so-tenuous connections between art and fashion. Fashion brands are always trying to hop on board with art world projects; see all the coverage of fashion parties at the recent Art Basel Miami Beach for proof of that. Mother of Pearl is the perfect brand to make sense of, and properly honour the links between these two worlds. It helps that the brand's founder, Maia Norman, was married to one of the world's most famous artists, Damien Hirst, meaning that there was an easy metaphor to be made from the marriage of art and fashion. Maia and her Head Designer, Amy Powney, have followed the brand's usual pathway of collaborating with an artist for SS13, this time it's multitalented Francesco Simeti whose delicate wallpaper prints provide the art focal point with super fun bobble hats, peplum skirts, hi-tops and opulent embellishment bringing the look into fashion focus. Don't know about you, but I really want to be the girl in this look book.

I spoke to Amy about the unique challenges of designing for Mother of Pearl and she has provided us with some brilliant insights....

FJAL: Can you talk me through how a Mother of Pearl collection comes together? From deciding an artist to collaborate with to having a rail of pieces.

Amy: Maia and I sit down together at the beginning of a season to discuss artists. Maia will usually submit different artists and we work through them deciding how we could translate them. Once the decision is made we ask the artist and hope they will agree!

Once we have them on board we begin the design process like any other studio. Starting with design and mood boards, the artist naturally lends itself to the preliminary research and begins the basis in which to develop colour palettes and print. I usually research silhouettes from different eras but always with the Mother of Pearl 'easy' silhouette in mind. Then comes the toiling process with fittings, fabric and trim decisions until the concept comes together, continually keeping in mind the aesthetic and concepts of the artists along with the brand's identity, which can be quite a balancing act!

After the above is underway, then comes putting the final samples together, which changes and twists through the process until the collection is hanging on the rail, then the model, then photographed and finally back to the rail for sales!

Mother of Pearl SS13 with Francesco Simeti prints
FJAL: What are the challenges for you as a designer working on a collection which is so heavily influenced by the art collaboration?

Amy: Although it is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with such prolific artists, as you can imagine it can be a nerve wracking process to ensure they are happy with the collections you are designing and producing. The artists we have worked with range from having a very small to very large understanding of the fashion industry which can be complicated in both ways. Sometimes the artists are very free with their work and others want to keep the collaboration close to their chest, the most important thing is that to date all the artists have been very happy with the collaboration!

Fundamentally, with the incredibly fast pace of our industry, which is very different from the art world, there is never a huge amount of time to develop and ponder a collection which I think poses the hardest task. If an artist wants time to think something over, or wants to continue to develop a concept, the impact on this is a timely one, in the form of 'back to the drawing board' and numerous late nights!

The final challenge I would say is as a brand as opposed to an artist, the commercial factor of a collection is imperative! You have to outreach to customers internationally and cater for many shapes, sizes and personalities. Naturally, this adds a large amount of logic to the design process which is fundamentally different in the art world and this is sometimes a challenge to achieve the creative levels necessary in such a prolific collaboration and a commercial value that aspires to the wearability and desire from consumers. Hopefully we are balancing the two!

Most importantly however, is that despite any challenges from a collaboration, there are a huge amount of 'pros'. It is an absolute privilege to work directly from an artist’s work which in other design cases would quite possibly be used as research and adapted but here at Mother of Pearl we are allowed to indulge in the real thing!

Pastiche, 2009 by Franceso Simeti (image via
FJAL:  How did you "adapt" Francesco Simeti's work for the collection and how did you choose which area of his work to focus on?

Amy: Francesco's work was incredibly easy to choose from, he works directly with print in his pieces and creates such wonderful collages that is was a natural transition to move into fabric and print design. We concentrated on pieces with strong visual impact including Pastiche (2009), Hillside (2011), Volatilli (2008) and Decoy Flowers (2009). Whist we used some of these direct from the canvas and replicated as repeat prints, for other concepts we broke down these artworks and used to create our own collages, maintaining an individual collaboration with Mother of Pearl's aesthetic in mind.

FJAL: What was on your moodboards aside from Simeti for SS13?

Amy: African gospel singers, images from Farm by Jackie Nickerson, vintage ski wear, a little Mexican pattern work and a picture of Freida Kahlo with a baby deer.

Frida Kahlo with a baby deer (image from
FJAL: Mother of Pearl is known for its sporty shapes. But this season you've gone for some more structured and glamorous pieces, plus all the embellishment. Why was that?

Amy: I think no matter whether we direct the collections towards more or less of a sporty aesthetic through seasons the collection is always based around easy silhouettes, styled and worn in a sporty way. 'Sportswear' through the ages has ranged through many different concepts and styles and so will Mother of Pearl. Whilst we are inspired by comfort and sport, we are by no means attempting to create sportswear. Alongside this element of the brand our main concept is creatively collaborating with artists which move and change the directions of the collections. I feel this is key in keeping a refreshed aesthetic season on season.

FJAL:  Does every artist you work with have different levels of input and ways of working?

Amy: Definitely. Each artist has a different way of working and wants to be involved in a different way.

FJAL: Do you think trends are important?

Amy: I think they are important when designing the commercial aspect of the brand in some ways, however I would never begin a collection by looking at trends nor would I let that sway the collection's direction. Having said that, I think on a subconscious level trends imprint themselves in the back of your mind and you naturally move and sway to trends.

FJAL: How do you see the relationship between fashion and art?

Amy: This question has been put to myself and Maia many a time due to the nature of the brand's collaborative concept. I feel that there is such a crossover between the creative elements of the two disciplines and boundaries between the two are constantly being explored, yet at the same time there are so many differences in the two industries. It is a relationship that is constantly redefining itself and therefore almost impossible a question to answer.

FJAL: What are your favourite pieces in the collection?

Amy: The matching peplum top and frill skirt with pink pastiche print along with the pink sleeveless shirt with disco collar!

One of Amy's favourites. She was wearing the disco collar when I met her at
the press day, so I can vouch for her devotion
FJAL: Do you have a "dream" collaborator?

Amy: Jeff Koons

FJAL: Could you ever see Mother of Pearl collaborating with another discipline, an architect, for example?

Amy: Yes I am open to all possibilities, that's the exciting element of the brand!