Wednesday, July 31, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

I thought this post was going to be about all the best things which I've seen at the July press days over the past few weeks. The 'Christmas in July' press day is now a well-established fixture on the press calendar where we go and see what will be in the stores during the festive period as well as having to confront cashmere socks and mince pies while the world boils away in a heatwave outside. In some cases, we also get to see designers' Resort collections which is effectively the first taste of next Summer. A sense of perspective is essential.

Anyway, I have noticed that all the things I most loved could come together to create quite a look. Something like a combination of Little Edie, Diana Vreeland and Louis Vuitton AW13.

It involves, first of all, a fabulously jewelled turban. I spied this one at River Island...

Then comes a matching set of something wildly printed.

For warmer times, this faded leopard print trouser suit by Raquel Allegra is perfect.

For every day Autumnal, it's ASOS's check and leopard skirt suit

For party times, Miss Selfridges' ornate cocktail co-ord..

Or at Liberty, Oliva von Halle's new silky PJ sets were the ultimate for wafting glamorously about the place.

Match any one of these outfits with a funny animal stole courtesy of ASOS (that face!) which undoubtedly references Marc Jacobs' AW13 show....

And the cherry on the wild wardrobe cake, Joanne Stoker pom-pom heels from Atelier-to-Go.

The perfect outfit for Christmas?

Friday, July 26, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Prince George may have dominated the headlines this week but it's actually been a pretty eventful week in the wonderful world of fashion. Your catch-up starts here.

The latest twist in Dolce and Gabbana's tax evasion saga was the closure of their Milan stores in a 3-day protest last weekend. This came in response to Franco D'Alfonso, a Milan city councillor, who alluded to their guilty verdict in comments he made to press. Explanatory 'Closed for Indignation' notices were put up in the windows of the 9 Milan stores which ceased trading. It emerged this week that the case could have severe consequences for the label. Dolce and Gabbana told Local paper that they would close the business if the verdict is upheld.

Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana insist that they're innocent (via
Christopher Kane appointed a new CEO this week. Alexandre de Brettes will join from Kering, which owns a 51% stake in Kane's label, where he was formerly Financial Communications and Market Intelligence Director. The move means that Christopher and his sister, Tammy, can concentrate on creative development which we can but pray will mean a diffusion line, shoes, bags, perfumes....

A Christopher Kane clutch bag. More and more of the same please (vi
Oh Lordy it's already begun. After spending less than 3 minutes in public view, baby Prince George is already looking like he might just as much of a style influencer as his Mum. Even though we didn't actually see any of his clothes, the blanket in which he was wrapped for his journey home (by Aden and Anais) sold out within hours, of course.
Prince George's sell out swaddle (via hello
Following his recent spat with Tim Blanks after a less than favourable write-up, Jean Paul Gaultier was due some good press. And what could be lovelier than designing a wedding dress for Beth Ditto's wedding to girlfriend Kristen Ogata. If there's one way to remind Blanks what you're really all about then this had to be it. Go Gaultier, Go Beth.

Just married: Beth and Kristen (via The Gossip's Facebook)
Cora Honeysuckle Corré has made her modelling debut in the latest issue of LOVE magazine. The 16 year-old is the daughter of Agent Provocatueur founders Serena Rees and Joe Corré and the granddaughter of Vivienne Westwood. This is definitely no story of accidental "on the street" discovery. LOVE's Editor-in-Chief, Katie Grand, is a good friend of the family and just got Cora and her mates to mess around applying their make up for the shoot, casual like. If only all my teenage dressing up had culminated in fancy magazine shoots. Or not.
Cora in LOVE (via
The last surviving member of JFK's immediate family, his daughter Caroline, has been nominated by President Obama as Ambassador to Japan. This is obviously a key political appointment but it will also be interesting fashion wise, as Vanessa Friedman explains. Kennedy might not be Anna Wintour ( who was at one stage rumoured to be taking up the same position in London) but the prospect of her potential American-Japanese wardrobe is bound to be fascinating to watch, Comme plus Calvin anyone?

Caroline Kennedy (via
Caroline as a chile with her mother Jacqueline (via
There's a stellar line up for this year's Dorchester Fashion Prize. The nominees are...

Barbara Casasola

Barbara Casasola AW13 (via
Fydor Golan

Fyodor Golan (via
Huishan Zhang

Huishan Zhang AW13 (via
Emilia Wickstead

Emilia Wickstead AW13 (via
How would you choose? Whoever wins will receive £25,000 for their business plus mentoring from the highly expert panel of judges which includes Caroline Issa, Stephen Jones and Daniella Helayel. The winner will be announced at a presentation on 29th October. 

Behold, Jonathan Saunders and Roksanda Ilincic are opening a pop-up outlet store from next Wednesday. Good job it's pay day.

Pastel colours have been big on the red carpet this week.

There was Alan Partridge in a baby blue safari suit at the premiere of his film Alpha Papa...

Alan Partridge style (via
While Cate Blanchett went for a divine powder pink Balenciaga dress at the premiere of Blue Jasmine

Cate in Balenciaga (via
Michelle Williams was announced as the face of Louis Vuitton's new bags, the W and the Capucines. She looks beautiful with her ruffled pixie hair, dark brows and blood red lips. Monumental.

Michelle Williams for Louis Vuitton (via
Finally, it looks like today might be the last day of the heatwave. To mark the momentous occasion, have a watch of All Saints' latest video. Watch right until the end. Happy Weekend.

Thursday, July 25, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

How to introduce you to Sarah Angold? Perhaps we could begin with "Jewellery Designer" but that doesn't even begin to cover it. Maybe add entrepreneur, lecturer, innovator, inventor, visionary and collaborator to the list and you begin to get some idea of what Angold is about. She's a one-off kind of girl who will be advising arts students on business plans one day then designing sets on Made in Chelsea the next. I'm pretty sure there is no "average day" in her life.
Sarah Angold wearing one of her Topshop designs 
I've met Sarah a few times now; first at a trade show during Paris Fashion Week then later on a visit to her studio where it became apparent that there was way more to her brand than the completely fabulous laser cut acrylic sculptural jewellery which I had seen her exhibiting. She raced through references to projects she had worked on encompassing everything from vehicle interiors to high fashion. More recently she has designed a £3,500 "sculptural masterpeice/ dildo" and been to New York where she has lately acquired a swathe of new stockists. If it wasn't so fascinating hearing her stories then it would be completely exhausting.

Up close on the Cateo necklace
A couple of weeks ago I met up with Sarah again. I'm very happy to report that she is collaborating with Topshop, bringing her unique aesthetic to a more affordable price bracket. Usually a pair of Sarah Angold earrings would set you back about £300 with a necklace reaching up to £1,000. Definitely worth saving up for but the new Topshop range has a buy now appeal; prices are between £30 and £60. Hurrah. The very best bit is that everything is still made in the very same way, by Sarah and her team by hand in their studio. Each piece even has its own identity number.

The " Christmas tree" a.k.a Arbreo earrings £35

The Tipalo earrings £30
"The whole thing is a happy disaster story" Angold explains when I ask how exactly you get from designing bespoke light installations to working with the retail behemoth that is Topshop. She goes on to tell the story of a desperate afternoon in Paris, just before she was due to show her new collection. Having been let down by a supplier, she arrived with no chains and just one afternoon to source some before she had to meet buyers and press from around the world. After many frantic phone calls, she found herself in the French capital's jewellery supply district. Overwhelmed by the choice, Sarah stopped some strangers who "looked like they knew what they were doing" and asked for advice. Fast forward to the following morning, problem solved and settled at her stand, who should approach Sarah but the very people who had helped her the previous day. "They were from Freedom and had come to talk to me about doing a collaboration but had no idea who I was the day before". And so Sarah Angold x Freedom for Topshop was born.

Up close on the Ligan necklace

The Ligan necklace £60
Sarah calls the collection "a collision of sci-fi and art deco" which came from a combination of "me sitting in the cinema watching Transformer movies, the weird girl in a corner with a sketch book but also admiring the ornate and beautiful art deco qualities of The Chrysler building". The shapes and scales are all reminiscent of Angold's main collection. "One thing which unites all our customers is nothing really to do with age or profession but they're all strong, confident women who want jewellery which will amplify their personality and be cutting edge" she tells me. I love that whether you're buying  an £850 Kingla necklace or a £60 Topshop Ligan necklace, you'll still be getting those vibes. "It had to be our style" insists Angold.

The Cadica necklace £52
You're bound to be seeing more of Sarah's work. There's a collaboration with ASOS in the pipeline as well as a project with a handbag designer. On a grander scale, she is foraying into the much hyped arena of 3D printing. "I find that everyone gets excited for new technologies but whether they actually go out and use them is a whole different thing. If I decide to try something then I want to break boundaries with it" Sarah declares in typically ambitious style. Right now, details are sketchy but it looks like there will be a hook-up with a specialist 3D scanning product designer and interactive work at somewhere like the V&A or the Design Museum. Whatever it ends up being, it's bound to be worth a visit.

Sarah Angold x Topshop is available now online and in the Oxford Circus store.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Early indications were that this summer would be the season of the spaghetti strap slip. Nods to Clueless and Courtney Love abounded on the catwalks and it is true that they're all over the shops. Doesn't every girl in the country now own an ASOS/ Topshop cami? But cast a gaze over the forthcoming AW13 trends as well as the recently released Resort collections and the spaghetti strap looks set to hang around a while longer.

Tea dress on the SS13 Bottega Veneta catwalk (
Spaghetti straps in The Row Resort '14 (
When we look back on this Summer in years to come, the two big events which are likely to come to mind will be 1. the heatwave 2. the royal baby. And in that no.2 scenario, the humble tea dress has played a not insignificant role. As the world grappled for any smidgen of news possible following Monday night's announcement of the new Prince's birth yesterday, one of the first "big" stories was the arrival of 2 members of Kate and Wills' entourage. One of them, a young blonde who could easily just have been a friend you were meeting at the pub, was wearing a bright red tea dress covered in overblown poppies. which looks very much like one Topshop had earlier in the year. A few hours later,  websites and news channels had a new thing to talk about in the arrival of Kate's parents. Her Mum, Carole, wore a ditsy floral patterned Orla Kiely tea dress. Fast forward to the big event of the day and Duchess Kate herself emerged from the Lindo Wing, babe in arms, wearing cornflower blue spotted silky dress, especially designed for the occasion by Jenny Packham.


A Royal aide begins the tea dress proceedings (via
Carole Middleton in her Orla Kiely dress (via

Kate's Jenny Packham dress (
Obviously, Kate and her clan are a pretty specific community who are probably more likely than many to veer towards a tea dress but those will surely be the photographs which define this Summer? The tea dress common denominator might not have seemed so significant had there not been a bit of a build up over previous months in other areas of fashiondom; Emma Watson wore a gorgeous black and pink one just last week while the likes of Katie Perry and Rachel Weisz have been seen in the Bottega Veneta versions which were one of the most memorable dresses from the SS13 shows.

Katy Parry in Bottega Veneta (via 
Rachel Weisz in a tea dress by Tomas Maier at Bottega Veneta (via

Emma Watson in her pretty tea dress (via
The curious thing about a tea dress is that there is no hard and fast shape to define them. They can be gathered or tied at the waist (like Carole's and the Bottega Venetas) or have an empire line, like Kate's. Some have quite a tight, 1940s silhouette while others flare out  over the hips. Somehow though you know a tea dress when you see one. There is usually some frilling or gathering somewhere and the fabric is silky and prettily patterned. It is probably cut on the bias (one thing it has in common with slips).  Tea dresses are very feminine and recall mid-century dressing. If you were going out to afternoon tea in the countryside, a tea dress- as its name suggests- would be a no-brainer. And the final bonus, even if we buy into tea dresses as the the item for this Summer, they definitely won't look out of place for many more to come.

Monday, July 22, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

You may or may not be pleased to know that this is not the place to come for tenuous posts about an impending royal birth. The post I happened to have planned for today though is in some ways fitting for the occasion because it is about something brilliantly British.

Ever since Chanel bought Barrie knitwear (saving them from the administrators) and then put on a lavish métiers d'arts show at Edinburgh's Linlithgow Castle last December, there has been a renewed interest in Scottish manufacturing, most specifically special Scottish jumpers. Stella Tennant, the aristocratic supermodel born and bred in the Borders,  dominated the July issues of Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. In Vogue's shoot she was shown at her home in Berwickshire, snuggled up in a woollen Chanel jumper dress and socks, lounging on a blanket. The message doesn't get more loud and clear than that: Scottish wool is where it's at.

Stella Tennant in July Vogue wearing Scottish knitwear by Chanel (via
There are plenty of ways to get in on the act without resorting to pricey Chanel (divine as it is). Last Autumn, I came across ESK at a press day. The jumpers were indescribably soft and the shapes beautifully chic. If you were compiling a list of the absolute ideal versions of everything to have in your wardrobe, then these would be your jumpers.  The added bonus is that the ESK brand has a lovely story to it. It seems to me to be a great blueprint for good, honest family business entering the fashion sphere. Stuart Maxwell is ESK's Managing Director and has been working at his family's knitwear factory for over 20 years. Lorraine Acornley designs for ESK and comes from an impressive background with previous stints at Joseph, Pringle and Alberta Ferretti. They answered my questions about ESK... I love their elegant, no-nonsense approach.

How did ESK start?

A meeting of minds 18 months ago cemented a goal of making a beautiful knitwear collection that anyone with an eye for detail and quality would instantly get.

How are you different from other knitwear brands?

We make the whole collection ourselves in our own factory. This allows absolute control. Design pushes the production process and achieves wonderful integrated features and detailing. We choose yarns purely on quality and character, price is not a factor. This gives the collection an artisanal and considered edge.

Where did the ESK name come from?

Our factory is situated near the Eskvalley in South West Scotland and is called Eskvalley Knitwear. We stripped this back for our brand as it felt cool, edgy and modern.

Scottish fashion and manufacturing is having a moment after Chanel's show at Linlithgow last December. What is special about the Scottish way of doing things?

The Scottish tradition with fine textiles is engrained with centuries of experience. It's in our DNA, and this spirit permeates the products of our labour.

What makes the perfect piece of knitwear, do you think?

 Style, colour and integrated luxury.

Is it very difficult to find spinners and knitters with the right skills for your business?

Luckily, we have found the perfect knitters. Spinners are difficult to find but if you open your eyes, kindred spirits are there to be found.

You have a very strong design aesthetic and there are some great quotes and photos on your website, what inspires you?

Nature, architecture, modern design, photography and art. And fellow members of team ESK of course!

There are clothes and homeware… Is ESK a lifestyle?

Yes, but a real lifestyle that lasts after the trend has passed.

What gems in Scotland would you recommend to somebody visiting for the first time?

The coast between Southerness and Port Logan - quite a few miles. The Logan Botanical Gardens.
The beautiful Valley of Tarras. The Dunmore Pineapple, House of the Binns and Blackness Castle and Culross are all not far from Linlithgow Palace. The Fairy Pools on the Isle of Skye are on our list to see.

The Dunmore Pineapplae, how brilliant does this place look? (
ESK is available to buy in store LN-CC, Harvey Nichols and Joseph. Online at

All ESK AW13 images courtesy of the brand

Friday, July 19, 2013


Posted by Bethan Holt, Junior Fashion Editor at Large

Fashion news is back from its summer holiday and eager to be back delivering all the fashion happenings before the weekend. here's everything you need to know this week...

First, two big business departures from key e-tailers. Sarah Curran announced that she would be parting ways with My-Wardrobe, the site which she founded 2006. Curran had increasingly taken a back seat in recent years, leaving the day-to-day running of the company to Global CEO David Worby and Fashion Director Camilla Borgonovo. Curran told Vogue, "I wanted a new challenge - I'm not one to coast along, and my decision to leave coincided with some reshuffling and changes in top-tier management and new investment - it just felt like the right time". In slightly more mysterious circumstances, Kate Bostock has left ASOS after just 7 months as Director of Product and Trading. In the aftermath of the announcement, ASOS CEO Nick Robertson explained that 'culturally we are very different'. Bostock's departure doesn't seem to have upset investors though; the ASOS share price remains unchanged.

Kate Moss with Lila Grace a.k.a Andy in Devil Wears Prada (image via
The best anecdote of the week emerged from Allure's interview with Kate Moss. The supermodel, who has also just launched a range of phone accessories with Carphone Warehouse, revealed that one of her daughter's favourite games is playing at Devil Wears Prada. Moss tells how “She puts a little outfit on and picks up the phone: ‘Hello, Miranda Priestly’s office. Can you hold? Patrick Demarchelier on the line!’… I died when I heard her do it. So funny." Obviously, this is far more ironic than any old 10 year-old acting out her favourite film scene given that Lila-Grace has probably holidayed with Demarchelier and had dinner with Priestly's alter ego, Anna Wintour.

Katie Grand's insight into what it's like to work with Miuccia Prada is really fascinating. Highlights include Grand's own description of the rails of Miu Miu and Prada which she owns, not to mention the 'maybe 1,000 pairs of Prada shoes' which she has to her name. The article celebrates Miuccia Prada's modelling debut in the latest issue of LOVE, to celebrate the magazine's 5th anniversary.

Miuccia Prada in the 5th anniversary edition of LOVE (via
Tributes have poured in for David Collins, the interior designer who created fabulous spaces both in London and around the world. The man responsible for Claridge's Bar, The Wolseley, McQueen boutiques and Bergdorf Goodman in New York passed away this week after a short battle with a particularly virulent form of skin cancer. Patrick Grant, the E.Tautz designer, described Collins as 'always great for a giggle at parties' while Gordon Ramsay called him 'a gentleman who really understood how to create a restaurant. He put us all on the map'. Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman commented 'His work merged luxury, glamour and heritage in an inimitable fashion and his company was always of the first and most enjoyable order.' The Evening Standard have charted Collins' life and achievements beautifully here.

David Collins with his good friend Madonna (via
I love fashion maths. Fashionista has done some fascinating sums and worked out that Gucci scored a massive 111 front covers with their SS13 collection, making the bright ruffles the hit items of the season. Of course, advertising has a lot to do with this but Gucci do seem to do particularly well when it comes to covers. More telling perhaps is second position Christian Dior with 97 cover appearances for Raf Simons' second collection. It's a steep increase for the brand and perhaps a sign of a renewed feeling of relevance since Simons' arrival.

Naomi Watts in Gucci on the cover of Vogue Australia (via
Who'd have thought it possible, but Suzy Menkes constructed a rather convincing argument for a new Italian fashion mood following the arrival of the new Pope Francis. She wrote that "Looking at the discreet, sober, even chaste outfits put forward by the new designers, you have to ask this question: Has the humility and abstention demonstrated by Francis since he became pope in March influenced the fashion message coming out of Italy?" Certainly there's a marked difference between the perceived extravagance and love of showiness associated with Francis's predecessor, Benedict, and the piety of Francis's messages. But surely Italian fashion, with the likes of Gucci, Versace and Dolce and Gabbana among its number, can't stay chaste for long?

Pope Francis, fashion icon? (image via

1. Dye your hair grey

According to Rihanna, 'Grey is the new black!'. She made her maxim true by getting extensions in a pewter hue. if you needed any further proof that grey could be a fabulous new hair colour option, then check out the latest issue of Vogue in which the magazine's Fashion Feaures Director, Sarah Harris, spends a week cavorting in at Cannes in Cavalli, each looked topped off by her famously silver mane.

Vogue's Sarah Harris in Cavalli (via
2. Get down to the Burlington Arcade

It may have a rep for being the home of many super traditional brands, but Sophia Webster is shaking things up down at the Burlington Arcade with a fun new pop-up shop which is in situ for six weeks. Given how kitschly fun her LFW presentations are, it's a great opportunity to get a bricks and mortar experience of her fast-rising brand.

Sophia Webster at LFW (via