Wednesday, June 26, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Resort season is in full swing now, with new collections being released every day. Yesterday, Preen designers Justin Thornton and Thea Bregazzi took over the Carlos Room at The Connaught to show off their gorgeous (as usual) Resort collection. In the week when thousands are flocking to Glastonbury, Preen's Resort was appropriately based around the idea of fashion which could take you straight from the office to a festival. Justin told me that they were thinking about conversations they'd had with friends and clients, "They tell us 'I have a meeting but then I'm dashing off to Coachella'. Our customers need clothes to wear in their transient lives". It seems an impossibility to create something that is equally appropriate for boardroom as fields, but somehow the combination of tailored pieces, luxe versions of sporty classics and sweet prints makes it happen.

As ever with Thornton and Bregazzi's work, there were stories and references galore. The most far-reaching is probably the 90s which pops up in various guises throughout the collection. "That decade is so important to us. Then, it was just as much about what Courtney Love was wearing as what Helmut Lang was sending down the runway" Thornton tells me. Love's slip dresses are evoked in the full-length fuchsia bia cut slip in luxurious night time devoré (my personal favourite) and many more floor length, floral dotted skirts. Then there are crop tops and spaghetti straps (but also crisp shirts, a-line skirts and dresses for office times). The key print was a forget-me-not flower- "we love that boys used to give them to girls as a romantic gesture"- but made modern with digital wizardry. All the pops of neon on collars, cuffs and sweatshirt ties are "a bit of rave culture".

For the first time, Preen have also created swimwear which makes perfect sense for Resort, of course. One set of pieces have been emblazoned with the Preen name, "the first time we've used a logo" says Justin, but a move which ties in with that 90s theme, "they were huge then". Even if you didn't have a pool to show off the swimwear in, I like the idea of wearing it clubbing or, indeed, to a festival as a bodysuit kind of thing. There's a duality to more than just the swimwear. "Sweatshirts have been big business for a while" Justin says, "this time we have them silk fronted and embellished with crystals". Dressed down enough for weekend mooching, dressed up enough to throw on with a mini skirt and take out dancing.

Preen swimwear (via
Preen planted their own clue to having got this collection bang on. "Balloons are really important to us. If we're looking for an answer, we look in the sky and if we see a balloon then we know it's right" Justin tells me. According to him, it's "sheer superstition'. Looking up in The Carlos Room what did you see? Balloons of course. Whether you're going to Glasto or not, these are clothes we all want to wear. Now.

Monday, June 24, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

One of my favourite things is when Melane the FashEd tells me about what it was like to see Christopher Kane's first show or an early McQueen extravaganza. You can get your own taste of this by listening to her talking about her favourite catwalk punk moment over on SHOWstudio which, quite naturally, features anecdotes on mid 90s McQueen. I suppose I've felt the 2010s version of this watching the likes of Meadham Kirchhoff, JW Anderson, Simone Rocha and Marques'Almeida. But I think you also have to recognise little nuggets of that feeling from an image or an idea. That's what the Who's Next Pret-a-Porter Paris x Arts Thread panel have to do. They've picked ten winners from hundreds of entries by undergraduates (soon to be graduates) all over Europe to get the chance to propel themselves to the next fashion level with an exhibition at the Who's Next show in Paris next week. Victoria and Lucy are the marvellous Brit winners. Here, they talk about their collections, how they work and what they're hoping for next. And Mark E Smith, if you're free next week you should totally be Victoria's model... 


How did you get involved in Who's Next and what was the judging process like? 

My tutor at Central Saint Martins suggested that I should submit my portfolio with ArtsThread, as it’s such a fantastic platform for recent graduates. You’re not really aware of the judging process, since the judges look at your portfolio online, so it was a massive surprise when I got the email to say I’d been selected. It definitely gives you a shot of confidence knowing that such creative people can see your potential!

Your hooligan culture reference is brilliant and the way you used football scarves in new ways, how did you come up with that?

I liked the idea of using something unexpected and making it fashion-y. I was interested in the expression of masculinity to the point where it goes completely over the top. The football film The Firm is a great documentation of how clothing, mainly branded sportwear, unified hooligans and made them feel part of a pack. Men who would rather die than be thought of as effeminate were wearing matching bright velour tracksuits, there’s definitely an element of farce in that! I wanted to run with that light-heartedness and make a collection of over-the-top sportswear that also referenced my childhood growing up in the 90s. The crop tops in Trainspotting but made in Lycra, similar to football base layer vests. 

Can you talk a bit about the process you go through to create your prints. How you design them? What do you use? 

I love to inject a bit of humour into my print designs! The Kevin Keegan print was one of those early morning, sleep-deprived musings where I though it would just be fun to make a psychedelic design using only Kevin Keegan’s head; well, his perm. It had to feature his iconic perm. I also created a print using an old photo from a Sunderland football match that I distorted until it almost looks like 90s camouflage. My football tees were all hand tie dyed and devoré-d. I liked the fact that devoré generally associated with older women’s clothes -making football tees with “Hit The North” (lyrics from a song by The Fall, who also influenced my collection) across the back seemed like an unconventional use of the technique! 


Is there anyone you'd love to dress? 

Mark E Smith, the lead singer of The Fall, is a bit of an eccentric style icon, he’s pretty into M&S elasticated trousers and battered brown leather jackets. He’d never wear anything from my collection though; he’d probably hate it! 

It would be nice to see Kev Keegan wearing a print of his own face and I’m always available to design the next Middleborough football kit! 

What are you hoping to do next and in the future? 

I’m really looking forward to meeting people and showing my collection at Paris, Who’s Next. I’m just really eager to begin my career in the fashion world, ideally a print design position to evolve my skills.


How did you get involved in Who's Next and what was the judging process like?

Who’s Next was something I came across when uploading my portfolio onto Arts Thread. After reading about it I instantly thought that it would be a great platform! For me, getting involved in something like this and having the opportunity to go to WHO'S NEXT Prêt-à-Porter Paris is what I felt I really needed, especially straight after graduating to give me some support with launching my own brand and to keep me in the loop! The Who’s Next competition was judged by some high-profile names, so when I received an email saying I was 1 of 10 winners going to Paris it took me a while to take it all in. 

Do you see men's and womenswear as intertwined or do you treat them quite differently?

Menswear is something that I feel comes naturally to me, whereas I find womenswear is something I have to work that little bit harder with. I absolutely love applying a strong feminine colour palette to a print, leaving the silhouette of the garment to do the talking and show off the masculine aspects. I find sometimes I do end up with a collection of prints that could transfer over to either women’s or menswear, however I usually begin with an image in my mind of what gender I see wearing my print, so I guess you could say I do treat them differently in that sense. 

How do you create your prints? What are some of your references and inspirations?

I am a real perfectionist, which means I will spend a lot of time researching and visiting various places, constantly drawing until I start feeling like my drawings are becoming ‘designs’. I take a lot of inspiration from street and urban style. Shaun Samson always inspires me with how he manages to create sophistication but with an urban, oversized and kind of ‘tough’ feel to his garments, that’s really cool. A lot of my inspiration comes from various people I have met and places I have been. I find spending a day or two in London and seeing the culture can instantly inspire me. My most recent collection, which I am currently getting ready for Paris, is based on looking at combining both formalwear and sportswear to create one-off menswear suits. My prints for this collection are quite eccentric and there is a lot of pink! I’m sure there would be a few men who would opt out of wearing one!

What are you hoping to do next and in the future?

Getting involved in the Fashion and Textile industry is something I have always known would be hard. There are so many creative graduates making the competition extremely tough. When I started my degree in Textiles I was always on the fence about what I wanted to do, either Fashion or Print Design. Understanding more about the making is something I really want to learn to give me more scope in what I can do. Agi & Sam are fantastic! My ideal job would be similar to what they do; using my print skills alongside a fashion designer to create a unique menswear clothing brand would be amazing. Of course, Arts Thread have already given me a great platform, which I’m so grateful for, and will hopefully give me more of an opportunity to launch my own brand.

Images courtesy of the designers.

Friday, June 21, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Happy Fashion News Day! And Friday. Here's everything you need to know before weekend time. Listen up.

There was a point on Wednesday afternoon when lots of us thought that Dolce and Gabbana were off to prison. Technically, they have been sentenced to 20 months each for tax evasion. However, such is the Italian legal system that they probably won't ever actually end up behind bars. The Telegraph have the company's full statement here. So, those making hilarious references to the next collection being "all about stripes", it looks like you'll be disappointed.

Bad joke. Dolce and Gabbana stripes SS13 (via
The week's most controversial story was Vice's suicidal writers photo shoot. In an unbelievable new low for "fashion" photography, the death scenes of writers including Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Iris Change were recreated with the models' outfits credited. Never Underdressed's Harriet Walker summed up the whole business perfectly. Vice have now removed the shoot from their website. Fashionista threw extra light on the story when they got a chance to chat with one of the models in the shoot.

A photo of Sylvia Plath not about to commit suicide (via
Not men's fashion week, but the G8 conference. David Cameron decreed a smart casual dress code for the gathering of political leaders in Ireland. "Smart casual" translates, it seems to "your usual, without the tie". The Presidents and Prime Ministers were also treated to Mulberry bags, specially embossed with their individual initials. I wonder if there were ties in the bags?

The leaders. Tie-less at G8 (image via

Dave's new Mulberry (image via
Nicolas Ghesquière's departure from Balenciaga got a little bit messier this week. Following his revealing interview with System magazine, the designer's former employers, Kering, are apparently suing him for of "breach of duty of confidentiality". In other news, here is something from Ghesquière's final collection, available to buy now.

Ghesquiere for Balenciaga jacket. £1,075 at
Meanwhile, Raf Simons is taking his new Dior role beyond the fashion arena. It was announced this morning that Dior will sponsor New York's Guggenheim museum's International Gala in November. Over two days, Simons will host several parties, dinners and performances to honour artists Christopher Wool and James Turrell. Simons is known to be an avid art collector so this is very likely to be the first of many forays into the art world.

Even though we can't see Tom Ford's new men's collection, there's one thing we can glean from the feedback of those who saw it. Tom is doing t-shirts. This means that he's probably still in his street fashion obsession phase which saw him base an entire collection on "Would Rihanna wear this?" for AW13.

Jean Louis Scherrer with lots of lovely happy models (image via
Couturier Jean-Louis Scherrer has died in Paris at the age of 78. In his 60s and 70s heyday, Scherrer dressed the like of Jackie Kennedy and Sophia Loren.

Make sure you find time this weekend- if you haven't already- to listen to Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman's excellently selected Desert Island Discs which include Bowie's Drive In Saturday and We Three by Patti Smith. There are plenty of fun anecdotes and interesting thoughts which come out of her interview with Kirsty Young too. Listen here.

To top off the week's news, here are five looks from London Collections: Mens which I would quite like to wear myself... Happy Weekend.

Agi and Sam SS14

JW Anderson SS14

Richard Nicoll SS14
Jonathan Saunders SS14
E. Tautz SS14 (those espadrilles!) All catwalk images via

Thursday, June 20, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Lady Helen Taylor at Ascot (via
My commute into work brings me through Waterloo which is also the station where most of the trains out to Ascot depart from. And so every day of Royal Ascot week, I am immersed in the throngs of morning tails, nude heels and multicoloured hats which are on their way to the races. It's a fascinating sight, especially when you're more used to a sea of grey business suits. However it always strikes me that, like men, most women ending looking very samey. When there's a dress code, that's bound to happen. But it does make me sad that so many people probably completely abandon their usual style and head straight to the nearest L.K Bennett or Coast in order to feel that they comply with rules which actually leave quite a lot of room for manoeuvre. There are variations of colours, brim widths and arm exposure but it still all ends up looking pretty uniform. There must be, or should be, some kind of Social Anthropology theory which explains it. Perhaps it's not really about the items but the way they get put together in such a ticking boxes kind of way. Dressing up is such a special thing that surely it should be one of the times when we're most imaginative with our outfits?

Anyway, Lady Helen Taylor did a brilliant job of showing that you don't have to sacrifice your personality for Ascot dressing. I'm pretty sure she's wearing a dress by Roksanda Ilincic and a hat by Marie Mercié (there's a similar one here at Avenue 32). Yes there are the ubiquitous nude heels but when their co-ordinating item is awesome round sunglasses, rather than a twee little clutch, they work. One of the traps that lots of racegoers seem to fall into is that everything must "match". Not true. Lady Helen's got a lovely blue manicure which co-ordinates with precisely nothing in her outfit, but it works because it throws the look off course a bit. It's unexpected. As are the jewels which look like they're chosen simply because she likes them rather than because they go particularly with anything else. While most matchy matchy gets boring, Lady Helen's hat and earrings are exactly the same same colour as her official name badge which is actually genius, whether it's intentional or not.

Lady Helen has an impressive fashion record already; she wore Erdem to the Royal Wedding and has collaborated closely with Giorgio Armani for years. The problem is that there's no way to really "learn" her kind of dressing. You either have the proverbial fashion balls and imagination to steer off the boring route, or you don't.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

In the same week that Aimé, the boutique which introduced Isabel Marant to London, opened a new outpost in Shoreditch, H&M announced that their latest designer collaboration would be with.... Isabel Marant. You might think that Val Heng-Vong, who founded Aimé in Notting Hill with her sister Vanda fifteen years ago, might be indifferent to Marant's new venture. But indifference would be the attitude of a mere stockist, someone who just sells Marant. It's quite clear though that Val lives and breathes the Marant life which we are all getting so excited about being able to buy into for £30 come November. "The collaboration is great. Isabel is a real artist. Even now that she's under so pressure, she never has a bad season" Val tells me, just days after the announcement, "she always has what you want. She's amazing."

Isabel Marant at Aimé, Redchurch Street
More Marant at Aimé
In many ways, Isabel Marant's story underlines why you should be excited about the opening of Aimé on Redchurch Street. They brought her to the UK in the early days, so we can probably trust them to introduce equally exciting discoveries as they make them. The boutique is about a lot more than the impeccable Marant edit. There are plenty of other labels too which Val and Vanda scout out when they go back to Paris-"We love Merci", Val says. Don't we all? Masscob, with its silky printed pieces, and Forte Forte (think light, crisp boho summer dresses) were looking particularly great when I visited last week. The new store isn't a straightforward copy of its Notting Hill sister, there's a bespoke edit for the "young and creative" new customers who will undoubtedly be passing by as well as some great homeware including glass, prints and chairs. The decision to open was easy, the sisters simply couldn't find their favourite labels over East.

A great silky jacket by Masscob

Aimé has evolved with the Notting Hill times over the years. "When we opened the only other shops in the area were antiques and newsagents, it's changed a lot" Val says of Ledbury Road, where Matches and Village Bicycle are now among their neighbours, as well as their kids shop Petit Aimé . Redchurch Street could be going the same way. It's a sleek area already, backing onto Shoreditch House with Aesop and APC among the others along the road. There's a huge building project going on just down from Aimé and there have been rumours that the likes of Prada and Christian Louboutin have their eye on spaces on the street. When I went for the store's launch, it was bustling. A crepe van was parked outside, people were hanging out on the sweet little bench at the front of the shop. You can imagine it being quite a hub.

Like all the best shops, Aimé is about more than products. Val is acutely aware of the thrown together yet immaculate Parisienne chic thing whose poster girls are Marant and Emmanuelle Alt and of which she and her sister are possibly London's most authentic example."We're pretty classic in our style, it's the grooming which is important. You would so rarely see a Parisienne with chipped nails, or anything like that. It's how we grew up" explains Val when she's asked to proffer advice on style. She can't sell you her elegant but ruffled brunette hair, nor her bright skin. But her Isabel Marant embroidered top is hanging on the rails in Redchurch Street right now.

Saturday, June 15, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

I have a soft spot for Teatum Jones. Designers Catherine Teatum and Rob Jones create cool, elegant, easy clothes which you really want to wear, immediately. Of course, there are plenty of designers and labels which do that but each collection which Teatum Jones create comes with an intricately woven back story which appeals to the English graduate in me, as well as the fashion writer/ lover.

For Autumn/ Winter '13, Rob and Catherine immersed themselves in the world of Lolita author Vladimir Nabokov and his love of butterflies. They read Véra: Mrs Nabokov, Stacy Schiff's biography of Nabokov's devoted wife, incessantly read and listened to his poetry and finally decamped to The Natural History museum. There Rob and Catherine were given access Nabokov's own huge archives of butterfly specimens- "it was like a graveyard of butterflies" they told me. As a lepidopterist (a new word I learnt), Nabokov seems to have made almost as much of an impression as he did as a writer. A group of butterflies, Nabokovia, are named after him and he formulated a hypothesis about the Polyomattus Blue species which has more recently been found to be correct. It is these kinds of intricate, almost academic levels of research which Catherine and Rob undertake before they start on the clothes themselves.

Back in the studio and prints were created from photographs the duo had taken of the butterfly collections, some pieces were printed with lines of poetry and the entire presentation, a gorgeous affair at The Dorchester, was based on the bringing to life of the research Rob and Catherine had done. Of course, it's not just about making clothes out of poetry and butterflies. "We wanted women to be able to relax into everything we made" Robs says, a promise which plays out in the draped, silky dresses and shirts, trains of chiffon and super-wide trousers. There are clues in the styling too with lots of flat preppy brogues and loose, long hair.

Teatum Jones is getting the word out there too; Jane Shepherdson is a big fan and supporter and they were recently photographed for American Vogue. They are also part of the Centre for Fashion Enterprise's Venture scheme which they describe as "brilliant... There are consultants on the end of the phone. It's helping us to become really business-minded". A state of mind designers cannot be without today. Savvily, Rob and Catherine tell me that they quizzed Liberty's shop assistants about what customers were telling them about the collection. "We loved hearing the feedback and have responded. This season, we've dropped some of the necklines a bit to make them easier to wear" Catherine tells me. The new Nabokov inspired collection has just arrived in Liberty. I have my eye on the navy pony biker and one of the A-line skirts- they let me borrow one of these to wear for fashion week and it was one of the loveliest things I've ever worn. It might seem mad that Autumn collections are in the shops now, but do we really care about the season when the clothes are this great?

Teatum Jones Autumn/Winter is in Liberty now. Prices start at £295.

Friday, June 14, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

It's been a mega fashion news week that I barely know where to begin. So let's start at the very beginning...

On Monday morning, before most of us had washed the weekend out of our hair Mulberry announced that Emma Hill would be leaving after six years as Creative Director. Initial reports suggested that it was due to some strategy disagreements between Hill and company bosses. In an interview with Vogue, CEO Bruno Guillon said,  "I was respectful of her decision - it is perfectly natural for a designer to want to move on and try new challenges after six years. She did a wonderful job, but we have to see this as a new opportunity - a time of new ideas." Specualtion has already begun as to whether Hill may be up for the Creative Director vacancy at Coach, following Reed Krakoff's departure earlier in the year. Industry thoughts have already turned to who might replace Hill when she leaves later in the year. Katie Hillier and Luella Bartley were among the early favourites, but the fact they have recently signed up to Marc by Marc Jacobs might take them out of the running. Fashion insider favourite Sophie Hulme has also been tipped for the job, a choice which would almost certainly take Mulberry in a sleeker, chicer new direction. Watch this space.

Emma Hill with her famous Mulberry Alexa (image via
H&M made lots of girls very happy and very excited on Tuesday when they announced that their latest designer collaborator would be Isabel Marant. It's a move which makes sense in many ways for Marant, given that her wedge trainers, ikat printed dresses and jackets, boho tops and skinny jeans are so copied that you're almost guaranteed to find some "version" in any high street shop you go into. The collection will be available to buy from14th November. Expect queues and sell-outs.

John Galliano continued his carefully PR orchestrated comeback this week with his first TV interview. He spoke for an hour to Charlie Rose (you can watch the whole thing here). Galliano apologised for his anti-semitic rants but also speaks in depth about his design aesthetic, his career and how he's spent the past two years. It's a must-watch. Last weekend, Cathy Horyn wrote a very interesting post for the New York Times on Galliano's comeback efforts thus far and how he might proceed in the future.

Annabel Tollman who died last week (image via
Last week's Fashion news was published just a little too late to cover the sudden and sad death of stylist Annabel Tollman. This is a fantastic tribute and précis of Tollman's career.... "Make a fairytale and go and live in it."

Scarlett Johansson dressed by Tollman in 2004 (image via
In more news of fashion house comings and goings, Jason Wu has been appointed Creative Director at Hugo Boss.  Wu said "I have long been a fan of Hugo Boss's vast tradition and lineage in extraordinary tailoring. With the state-of-the-art facilities that are unique to the Hugo Boss design labs, I plan to develop a strong, feminine womenswear collection that reciprocates the brand's authority in menswear."

ASOS reported this week that their new Primark offer is selling so well that the product offer will soon double from 70 to 140 pieces.

Rita Ora is the new face of Madonna and Lourdes' clothes line Material Girl.

Alexa Chung IT (via
Alexa Chung has been dropping hints about her forthcoming book for some time now but it was properly unveiled for the first time this week. Aptly entitled "It", the book looks like it'll be a guide to how to be Alexa Chung. The description goes something like this:

"With influences that range from Jane Birkin to Mick Jagger, Alexa Chung is a unique fashion icon. Her first book, It, provides her legion of fans with a long-awaited inside look at her world.

A truly one-off collection of Alexa's personal writings, drawings and photographs, It covers everything from her thoughts on life, love and music to her favourite looks and how to decide what to wear in the morning. With wit, charm and a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude, this gorgeously-designed full-colour book is a must-have for anyone who loves fashion, music and just about everything Alexa Chung."

Prada unveiled its AW13 men's campaign this week. If you recall, the collection was all about the most perfect pieces. Nothing outlandish, just simple but done precisely. Ben Whishaw, Christoph Waltz and Ezra Miller star in the images, shot by David Sims. And don't they look handsome?

And finally, a very bad picture leaked on Instagram of Robert Pattinson's forthcoming Dior ads...

R Patz x Dior, leaked on Instagram (via