Spirit of Fashion Pop-Up Shop

Last night I went to the launch of the Spirit of Fashion 2011 Pop-Up shop in Manchester’s Spinningfields.

In association with the Royal Collage of Arts, sponsored by McArthurGlen, the exclusive collection showcases the work of three RCA alumni designers, Carolyn Massey, Rachael Barrett and Manchester-trained designer Matthew Miller who was there on the night. The Awards were set up to provide support to emerging fashion designers as they move their businesses forward. Open exclusively to alumni of the RCA Fashion School, which has fostered world-renowned luminaries including Christopher Bailey of Burberry, Erdem Moralioglu and milliner Philip Treacy. As part of the award, McArthurGlen has provided the designers with 12 months PR support, access to leading industry professionals, and commercial exposure through the manufacture and sale of the Spirit of Fashion Collection, which they have designed exclusively for this project. The winners, announced in June 2010, were briefed to reinvent a timeless classic fashion garment in their own ÔÇÿhandwritingÔÇÖ creating unique, commercial, designs.

Shaeren McKenzie, Director of McArthurGlen Group, says; ÔÇ£Reinventing an iconic classic is one of the most difficult challenges any designer can face, and we were keen to see how each designer would approach this briefÔÇØ.

Each piece in the collection was beautifully cut and tailored. Limited to just 100 of each design and priced between ┬ú75-┬ú215, I can’t see them being left on the shelves for long. The Pop-Up launched in London and will be in Manchester for just one week before moving to Glasgow, so you will need to head down there sharpish.

Matthew Miller with his shirt design

┬áMatthew and Carolyn chose to design Menswear shirts, whilst Rachel focused on Womenswear. Matthew added vinyl bands to his classic white shirt, the designer told me he is passionate about working with fabric and technology. Carolyn, whose pieces were inspired by the history of Menswear, also designed a white shirt, with a quirky chain detail at┬á the neck and a blue and white bib shirt with metal stud buttons. As you know I am more often seen in men’s shirts than women’s so I was really hankering after adding one to my collection. For Womenswear Rachel, whose designs can be seen on Lady Gaga in the Bad Romance video, designed a black pleated skirt, mushroom silk vest, burnt orange cap sleeve top, sleeveless cream blouse, structured LBD, black wool culottes and blazer which could be worn as separates or a suit, and a silk shirt dress available in black or mushroom. Her collection was a reinterpretation of the school uniform.

Shirt by Rachel Barret

Dress by Rachel Barret

Shirt by Matthew Miller

Shirt by Carolyn Massey

Silk by Carolyn Massey

Chain detail on collar

Chain detail on collar

Details of the shirt by Matthew Miller

Rachel Barret's designs

All the pieces were real wardrobe staples but with a contemporary twist. I would have been more than happy to take any piece, or in fact every piece, home and know it would fit in perfectly with my wardrobe. Of course I took my glamourous assistant Rich with me who favoured the blue shirt, whilst I fell for both white shirts and the black wool blazer.

I would highly recommend you stop by and take a look at the collection. The entire project is so inspiring and if I am a little selfish I will admit the thrill of owning just one of a hundred, limited edition designer pieces for high street prices is too good to resist. Rich and I will be going back over the weekend for a closer look.

You can find out more about the collection, view the lookbook and the background of the designers here

New Plus Size Online Store

I know you guys all like shopping so I wanted to tell you about this great new online store One Stop Plus UK. It pretty much does what it says on the tin, a one stop shop for plus size clothes and accessories. The beauty of this store is that is gathers together all the stylish brands under one roof. Even better is that the site doesn’t just stock traditional plus size brands but it also stocks brands which aren’t only plus size specific, but have ranges which go up to plus size such as La Redoute – this is why some of the models in the stock images aren’t plus, I admit it threw me a little at first. So if you are a size 14-36 this is the place for you! It also stocks menswear too, so you can convince him to order some new duds and whilst your at it may as well add in a little something for you!

The site is very easy to navigate, size charts are on each page and they have as many photos and even videos of the outfit as possible. My favourite brand is Taillissime (all the images here are from the brand), they have some gorgeous styles. Perfect classic pieces as well as seasonal trends. Other lush offerings come from Anne Weyburn, Coleen Bow, Ellos, Matin Blanc and Robert Clergeire to name but a few.

Shoes: Wedge Trainers Trend

D&G Runway

There is a new trend emerging, one I certainly wasn’t expecting to see – trainers! Or sneakers for our US readers. But these aren’t your ordinary trainers, these are fashion trainers! Starting on the runway of D&G and Isabel Marant a trend for stacked, chunky wedge heels on trainers emerged. Fusing together style and comfort is something I am always glad to see and any shoe that adds an inch or two is welcome with me. Ash has the best selection I have found, from Converse style baseball boots to more edgy boots styles. I think these would be a great alternative to a winter boot and work perfectly with anything from jeans to dresses. With the London 2012 Olympics playing a huge influence over S/S12 runway collections too, sportswear is a trend that isn’t going away anytime soon. The only question left is which pair would you go for?

Ash ‘Biba Black’, Ash ‘Biba Grey’

Ash ‘Gin Black’, Ash ‘Genial Black’

(Images: Spartoo)

LFW: Elisa Palomino S/S12

Elisa Palomino S/S12

‘A Fairy Dance’

Imagine a Victorian production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, with neat ankle boots laced tight, long sweeping gowns and flowers of an Oriental origin. Not all so innocent though, as a touch of the Moulan Rouge in red and shocking pink reveled.┬á These were the clothes for fairies to play in, their creator dancing down the isle behind them, a modern Tatiana if ever there was one.

The designer says her inspiration was from the ‘Victorian fairy painting movement, a new kind of poetic history painting, rich in nostalgia for a vanishing way of life.’

These were not just garments but works of art, with an haute couture intricacy, gasps from the crowd were clearly audible above the haunting notes of the music. It is not surprising given Palomino’s background, she has worked at Moschino, Roberto Cavalli and Christian Dior Haute Couture – during which she was head of John Galliano’s studio, most recently Vice President of Design for Diane von Furstenburg. Elisa Palomino is certainly one to keep your eye on.

You can view more of my LFW videos on my YouTube Channel including a close up of the head pieces from this show, but here is the beautiful designer herself, taking her bow.

FPOW + TK Maxx for LFW

LFW: Aminaka Wilmont S/S12


Aminaka Wilmont S/S 12

I didn’t get chance to read the show notes before seeing the collection, due to faffing around with my camera which wasn’t doing as it was being told. Sometimes I prefer it this way around, not having any ‘spoilers’ as to what is going to come down the runway. What did emerge from behind the screen is one of the most beautiful collections I have ever seen, yet it was beautiful in a way I would never have expected. Ethreal, is the first word which comes to mind. The models hair and make-up gave them an elfish look, but this was no Lord of the Rings. These otherworldly beings were clad in stretch body-con dresses and structured pieces with cut out sections. The digital printing synonymous with the designers was there but this time made from floral patterns. Soft, chiffon blouses and trains fluttered like butterflies down the runway.

One thing I couldn’t take my eye off were the pendents draped around the models necks. Tiny glass cases on long, thin chains each encasing a tiny coloured insect. Notions of Victorian curio collectors came to mind.

My favourite pieces of the collection were the ‘floral armour’, seen in the lower images. Gauntlets and shoulder harnesses usually seen in metal were interpreted here in the brightest floral prints, worn against soft white dresses.

The designers describe their collection as being influenced by Scandanavian folklore, ‘Changelings’ being the offspring of fairies or elves which are secretly left in place of a human child. Inspired by beauty that is not always obvious, the collection is for the unique and individual woman.

As the designers took their bow, I thought yes I would like to be an Aminaka Wilmont woman, not a fairy princess but a fairy warrior. With special thanks to Vitamin Water sponsor of LFW.

You can enjoy more of my London Fashion Week videos on my YouTube Channel

FPOW + TK Maxx for LFW

Big Labels, Small Prices – now available online

LFW: A little Video where I talk about my Outfit

Wanna watch me talk about fashion and stuff??

Interview via Winkball.com

┬áIn the clip the stunning sequin stripe jacket I am wearing is from TK Maxx, I got a lot of compliments on it. But a lot of people said they didn’t have a local store stocking the high end designer Gold label range. You can now shop TK Maxx online, though where the Gold Label range is also available, well worth a look I say. There is a wish list forming in my head as I type!

LFW Day 5: What Pearl Wore

I had actually planned to wear this outfit with black tights and black shoes but got caught up in the crazy of LFW, where you feel drab in anything other than bright clashing colours. In fact I had to call Florrie and make an emergency tights plea having left all mine on the side by accident when packing. Loving this action shot, again all my outfit photo’s were taken by Florrie, I promise I did let her do other things than just take my photo all day long.

I am wearing a vintage dress, camo shirt and necklace, Vivienne Westwood shoes and pin, tights courtesy of Florrie and snakeskin clutch from TK Maxx (which I also wore on day 1).

FPOW + TK Maxx for LFW

LFW: A La Disposition S/S12

A La Disposition

‘Mechanical Failure S/S12’

‘The spring and summer 2012 collection by A La Disposition forms an expression of defiance in an age of retraction. The collection theme includes seamlessly contrasting garments inspired by recurring shapes and angularity. At times reminiscent of propellers, the highly detailed garments effortlessly shift between prolific voluminous gowns and the graphic sternness of the label’s signature constructed refinement.’

The perfect juxtaposition of constrained, straight-laced tailoring with voluminous folds and tucks in sumptuous taffeta. This was a collection of two extremes which worked achingly well together. Perfectly styled with pop-socks and shoes by Anastasia Radevich for the label.

With the khaki greens and olives, plus-four trousers and tailored jackets the collection had something of a military depth.

Not fighting for attention but in harmony with the soft, tactile purple and mauve full bodied skirts and dresses. The ruffles and folds creating a unique softness.

Standout pieces were the sand coloured jacket with pin-tuck front, a perfectly structured piece paired here with matching skirt. A pink and purple striped one sleeved shirt was elegantly constructed.

The voluminous pieces such as the mauve puff-ball skirt and cropped jacket in the same fabric could have appeared whimsical, yet were rained in with sharp tailored blouses.

The finale piece was a one shouldered chartreuse dress with fitted bodies and a cascade of ruffles which met the skirt.

‘The contrast between exercised control and the elegance of volume is central in the collections created by A La Disposition.’

Watch this and my other runway show videos on my YouTube Channel

FPOW + TK Maxx for LFW