Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Inspirations #2 – Capes & Contrasts

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┬áFor my second lookbook inspirations post I decided to choose something from this seasons AW13 Gold Label collection. I am in the strong belief that life is much better when you wear a cape so shrieked a little when the show opened with a full on cape-fest. The second look which was later used for the ad campaign was right up my street. I loved the delicate pink silk ragged hem skirt contrasted with the oversized heavy knit, over the knee spotty stockings, clumpy boots and cape of course. For retail the cape lost it’s hood and was produced in a dark grey with the ‘climate revolution’ slogan or a light grey Prince of Wales check with the ‘save the arctic’ logo, both utterly fabulous. This styling would be easy to recreate all you need are the basic contrasts of a chunky knit and delecate skirt, you could drape a large scarf around your shoulders if you don’t have a cape. It was so windy when we were trying to do these photos so I had to tuck my hair in my jumper, I really want to try out the braids with ribbon woven in at some point.

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Wearing: Vivienne Westwood – AW13 Gold Label cape and jumper both ‘Climate Revolution’ print, old Red Label rag hem skirt, Gold Label Bag boots, Limited green crystal Cupid Tiara. None-branded Spotty tights.

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Look 2 from the AW13 Gold Label collection, in action on the runway and in the seasons ad campaign.

For more Autumn style inspiration you can see my post alongside fellow bloggers on Mis Papelicos’s Autumn Share in Style round up!

Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Inspirations #1 – Corsets Over Volume

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I am often asked what kinds of things inspire my outfits, how I come up with ideas for styling and also what the hell am I wearing! I tend to divide my clothes into two categories: Westwood and everything else. I mix all my clothes up, designer with vintage and high street, Chanel with Zara. Everything except the Westwood. I just think Westwood clothes, no matter which label they are on, compliment each other better. I will occasionally wear a Westwood jacket or pair of shoes with ‘other’ outfits, but in the main I keep them separate. There is no real reason for this other than my own folly, I am just partial to the full on Westwood look.

I obviously wasn’t born with a hard-drive of Vivienne Westwood info, after I first discovered the designer I delved into the history and current brand, learning more and more. One of the things which really added to my love of the brand was they styling. I would go into the shop as much to see the the girls who worked there, styled to perfection, as much as too see the merchandise. This was far too many years than I care to admit too now, but at the time my three favourites all had really distinct looks showing how diverse the brand could be. The beautiful glossy look books produced for each collection really showcased the clothes, in the days before Style.com they were a much longed for glimpse at the runway shows.

In a celebration of Westwood and how I have been inspired by the wonderful styling I will be doing a series of posts featuring outfits based around lookbook images. The first is from Anglomania AW 2009. I have loved this corset to death since I bought it, I have it in plain black too. Dame Viv corsets are a signature of course, but what would you wear a corset belt with? A slim fitted dress perhaps? A blouse and pencil skirt maybe? Least likely a great big, poofy taffeta frock but that was the stamp all over Anglo AW09 and it is one I’ve been a firm fan of myself. The lookbook was quite restrained, using classic burnt orange tights and black heels as a back drop and letting the beautifully shaped garments speak for themselves. Here I decided to play it up a bit more and clash tartans and baubles for fun autumn look.

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Details: All Vivienne Westwood – Anglomania dress, Red Label tartan belt, Gold Label yellow leather Bag boots, Japanese license tights, old 90’s pearl drop choker, Pearly Queen 3D Orb, gold diamante bone brooch, AR badge.

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Anglomania AW 2009 Lookbook

LFW SS14: Vivienne Westwood Red Label Show Review – Lily and the Red Shoes

Your home is your refuge, the place you feel safe

Vivienne’s idea for the show was to find a way to promote awareness from climate refugees. She gives a quote in the show notes ‘Anyone who gets home late from work and finds she’s forgotten the key. What a disaster! My home is my refuge.’ It is a poignant thought, I like most people have found myself locked out on numerous occasions and it does strike a fear into you, a feeling of disparagement, being lost, a situation you cannot control. Even more so if you have ever been burgled, that feeling of your home being violated, spoiled, no longer safe. Keys can be found, even broken windows and stolen possessions replaced however than feeling of loss will always remain. It is unimaginable how it must feel to not only loose your own house but the place where you live too, the neighborhood you have always known, that feeling of belonging.

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Lily and the Red Shoes

She danced, and was obliged to go on dancing through the dark night. The shoes bore her away over thorns and stumps till she was all torn and bleeding; she danced away over the heath to a lonely little house. Here, she knew, lived the executioner; and she tapped with her finger at the window and said: “Come out, come out! I cannot come in, for I must dance” The Red Shoes, Hans Christian Anderson

Vivienne and Andreas chose to collaborate with close friend Lily Cole who produced and performed an interpretive dance to open the show. The dance was an expression of The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Anderson, the message ‘The dance of death must end’. People world over are left without homes due to climate change disasters, us, the models in the show, we all have our homes to go to tonight, we should help those who do not.

The models faces were painted to look like animals caught in the headlights, trapped in a hostile environment with no means of escape. Stark white faces covered with ash and blood, nails broken from scrabbling to flee, hair wild flowing out behind them. I was reminded of polar bears and badgers, both animals being driven out of their homes by the greed of man. You can see Lily’s dance in the middle of this video:

The Concept and the Collection

For those of you who don’t know the Red Label collection is a diffusion line of the main Gold Label collection which is shown in Paris. The line isn’t directly designed by Vivienne but uses her established techniques to create a more wearable, mainstream range. When you see Red label hanging in stores you see tartan suits, pretty dresses and smart blouses, the effects on the runway are mostly down to clever, trademark Westwood styling. This wasn’t all straight-laced clothes however metaphors with Vivienne’s message were there to be seen. The Gold Label collection I was first reminded of was the S/S 200 ‘Summertime’ collection. An important collection and something of a turning point for Westwood, this collection saw the introduction of the Animal toe shoes, it was an English rose garden of fresh, romantic florals and a handful of tiny, very realistic little insects. A prominent piece were the snail’s used on dresses and in jewellery, metal cast around real snail shells. In this S/S14 Red Label collection the snails returned on necklaces and bracelets, whilst luscious, green florals were there giving abstract prints. Oversized flower corsages were used to add a sense of drama, they represented the giant tropical flowers of the rain forest, flowers of the world brought together. Animals, insects, flowers and people all part of the same world. The snail carries his home on his back, without it he is vulnerable, naked, at risk. Protective chain-mail was draped around models in a trench coat and trousers – paired with a t-shirt and shorts and office shirt and blazer respectively, we need to feel protected in every environment.

It was a small collection 22 looks, the usual is around 50, with this seasons A/W13 only totaling 30. After the somewhat schizophrenic S/S13 collection and the change to Peron from MEG producing the Accessories label shoes there has been some debate as to where the label is heading. This collection though stripped back did have classic elements of Westwood design which she is revered for, the beautiful drape fronted suit (look 3) and the elastic trimmed top (look 13) wouldn’t have looked out of place in a Gold Label collection. The floral printed, sequin drape dresses were beautiful and should sell well. The neon orange heart printed pieces looked out of place overly trend conscious ideas carried over from last S/S. The real stand out feature of the show were the abstract flower corsages in richly coloured satin, embellishing the waist of a black dress, the lapel of a blazer and shoulder of a gown. I really do hope we will see this element realised for retail and that it wasn’t just dressed for the show. Other commercial pieces were the squiggle print satchels and wrap bracelets, squiggle has been a license to print money since it was first used, I just hope it is kept to a minimum there can be too much of a good thing. I still have mixed feelings about the Peron shoes, I really was impressed to see the famous ‘Carrie Bradshaw’ multi-strapped sandals again and the little ragged patchwork ankle boots were fantastic. I can take or leave the basic flat leather sandals and flat pointed pumps, they didn’t signify anything special about Westwood to me. All in all it was a collection which has me very much looking foward to seeing the pieces produced for retail next year, clashing blue pinstripe with florals and little pixie boots with huge corsages is very Westwood indeed.

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Lily’s footsteps…

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LFW SS14: Day 1 Fairy Tales & Handbags

The Shows

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For the first time in a long time London Fashion Week was a total wash out, the rain poured relentlessly all day and is forecast to do so all week. With wet hair and dripping umbrellas glamour certainly wasn’t on the cards as we trooped around the show. The designers however must have been very much in tune with the weather as slicked back, wet look hair was the style of choice on the runway. Letting us all feel a tat more chic than soaked! Eudon Choi chose sultry mermaids with damp hair and shimmering skin to high light his stunning collection, monochrome striped contrasted with pale blue and pink florals, headpiece were high in the form of Rorschach patterns and pagodas. We were transported from the Little Mermaid to Cinderella at Kilian Kerner. Walking into the Waldorf to see a voluminous two piece gown in gold and white layers, waiting under the ticking clock. Candy and sweeties were also proving popular with Bora Aksu indulging in sherbert lemons and parma violet colours and Felder Felder introducing boiled sweet wrapper skirts all good enough to eat.

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The Street

The word on the street was of course wet, street style opportunities were slim as everyone rushed to take cover from the rain. The main trend spotted today were bags, bold beautiful luxurious bags used as real statement pieces. Surprisingly it was the men who really owned this trend with an array of lust worth clutches and satchels.

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On Me

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Oh yes here I am looking rather wet (have I used that word enough in this post), but taking the time to enjoy a little Christoper Kane embroidered leather mutual appreciation! Running with the floral trend I wore my latest obsession pansy print bomber jacket and matching iris print tee shirt with a classic black pencil skirt. Following the trend of the day I also finished off my look with this incredible ‘Forever’ bag, colour pop and crazy array of charms on the strap. Everything I wore today was from my beloved TK Maxx except my shoes. As you all know I cover LFW for TK Maxx, a love affair born long ago from my bargain hunting youth. Their A/W ad campaign is all about maximizing your style (#MaxMyStyle) so I thought I would echo this in the street style and trend spot what item people were using as the statement piece to their outfit, today it was most definitely the bags from clutch to tote, back pack to satchel, perspex to fuzzy anything goes so long as it is bold.

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Fashion Pearls of Wisdom + TK Maxx for LFW

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Outfit: Summer Staple

Wearing: Zara tousers and clutch, LK Bennett shoes and All Saints sunglasses both from TK Maxx, vintage Burberry trench, old jumper, vintage necklace, Primark socks, Chanel Nouvelle vague nail colour.

Showing off more of my recent Zara haul these trousers and going to be my summer staple. Lawrence took these photo’s for me whilst we were lurking around in a stinky old alley like really pro bloggers! Thank you to everyone for your lovely comments on my last post, that really means a lot to me. You will be glad to know the hives have calmed down and I hope to get my decorating going this weekend. So far I have white-washed my pine bookcase and chest of draws, parted with my huge desk and moved around my bed. Small things which have made a huge difference. I have also had a major clear out. I dropped off some stuff at Cancer Research and as I was there a rather large transit van turned up filled to the roof with donations from TK Maxx’s ‘Give up Clothes for Good‘ campaign, I am made up it is going so well. There are quite a few different charity shops in the next town to me so I always divvy up my wares to each of them. They don’t just need donations but volunteers too, I have my behind the scenes at Oxfam to share with you soon. I am really enjoying sprucing up my bedroom but I have to say my favourite thing is my new clothes rail, simple pleasures I know! Once everything is back in place maybe I can give you a tour of my closet.

Outfit: A Splash of Colour and a Jump into Something New

Wearing: Jumper, Skirt, Shoes all Zara, vintage clutch, Jade bracelet, Chanel nail varnish in Nouvelle Vague.

Other than Vivienne Westwood and occasionally Chanel, I don’t like to wear head to toe from one designer or brand. I prefer creating my own look rather than buying into something created by someone else. On the other hand I can’t get enough of designer look-books. I just find it fascinating how this dream world of perfect outfits is created. Sometimes, just sometimes I want to buy into it. Zara tends to be the one that always hooks me in. I think their design concept is second to none. Did you know the layout is created in their HQ in Spain and then recreated exactly the same in every store. Lawrence and I have been stalking Zara this last week for some reason we just can’t get enough of it! My usual summer wardrobe revolves around vintage dresses and designer heels, simple and unique. But this time I really fancied something a bit different. I fancied trying a really different look. I am now the owner of two long flowing skirts and here is the first. Whilst the concept of a maxi skirt is a new one to me, I had to wear it with a huge baggy jumper, I always like a casual edge. I am still not 100% convinced on an outfit which hides my waist – the usual part I highlight. But it is always good to push your comfort zone.

What do you think, are you liking the maxi??

Pearl’s Adventure at the Vivienne Westwood Red Label Show AW12 LFW

When you have been waiting for a moment for such a long time, when such a moment has been a dream for many years and then suddenly it happens and suddenly it is over, it is quite hard to put it into words.

I guess I should start at the beginning. It was a freezing cold day in London, in fact most of the time I was down there for fashion week it was bitterly cold. Yet in spite of this I found myself wearing nothing but a thin shirt and stood shivering with my fashion buddy Lawrence outside the Goldsmiths Hall. Now I’ve seen fashion show queues before, but I have never seen anything quite like the crazy disorder outside the Westwood show, Vivienne would have loved it I’m sure!

Even the celebrities and VIP’s couldn’t get in! Lawrence went wild when we thought we saw Rhianna, alas it was just a look-a-likey I’m sure she is famous but neither of us could think who she was! We than saw the stunning model Leigh Lezark, she was lovely. Rather than pull a diva and demand to go right in, she just stood patiently with us over looking the chaos. I have no idea how but the queue managed to dissipate with most people already in and just a tiny snake of around ten people left, so we decided it was a good time to join them. As we were being let in the security man heard a crackling voice over his headset and with that slammed the doors shut.

Right in front of me ‘max capacity, no one else can go in’. My heart sank. I looked at Lawrence and we both just stood staring at the door it utter disbelief. So close but so far. As the security ushered everyone away, we just stood their frozen to the spot. We decided we would just wait and see if we could get any street style shots from guests on their way out. But then the door opened again, just a crack. A lovely angel stood there and whispered ‘ok’, we looked at him, looked at each other… ‘quick, com on then’ he opened the door, ‘run’ and we ran like our lives depended on it. Up the imposing grand stair case, in Louboutin’s I struggle to walk in, so I have no idea how I ran in them, but run I did. I had seen other shows in this venue before there are two huge ballroom which are used for the shows. But the Westwood show not only took up both ballrooms and the connecting corridors! We were positioned at the top of the stairs where the runway ran joining the two main rooms.

The collection was classic Red Label. With traditional suiting, velvet blazers and pencil skirts, perfectly cut trousers and sharp shirts. Yet as always there is a special twist to every Westwood piece. The suits came in a shimmering black fabric, the shirts adorned with ruffles around the neck. Everything styled up like you could never imagine, yet upon seeing it looking so right, throw on your ripped jeans with a formal shirt, wear huge dangling skeleton earrings with an evening dress! Sumptuous fabrics such as black velvet, duchess satin and coloured paper taffeta gave a rich inviting edge to the pieces. Over-sized knits, enveloping the models were perfect for winter, wide leg trousers gave a louche feel to the collection. I can imagine wearing them together, fitted jacket over loose knit dress, dressing up one and down the other in perfect harmony. I find that there is always an interchangeability with every Westwood collection, you could wear a piece fresh off the runway with a ten year old treasured one and it will always go well. I miss read the show notes the phrase ‘ there is no place like home’ came into my mind. Yet I do think that this phrase sums up something about Westwood’s designs. They are inherently British. From the Saville Row tailoring to the Harris Tweeds and the Hilda Ogden head scarves, there it is reassuringly British, like you are embarrassing that heritage. Intertwined with the Britishness there are influences from around the world, the tribal body paint, the bollo ties – wild west will be a big trend influence for autumn / winter. This is a reminder that Vivienne chose to use the show to support the Environmental Justice FoundationÔÇÖs (EJF) ÔÇÿNo Place Like HomeÔÇÖ campaign for climate refugees. A severe reminder that home is where the heart it and supporting those who have lost theirs is a humbling and very worthy cause.

“This show is in support of the Environmental Justice Foundation’s (EJF) ‘No Place Like Home’ campaign for climate refugees. The t-shirts I designed, seen in the show, support the campaign to raise awareness of the plight of people who have been forced from their homes and land due to the increasing and intensifying impact of climate change. This can happen through violent calamity, but also and often people are forced into a decision to move because their land is no longer habitable. EJF believes that climate change is one of the most profound threats to people’s rights to life, food, health, water and shelter. Unlike the 10 million refugees recognized by the UN Refugee Agency, these people currently have no legal status or protection. EJF is calling for urgent international action to provide them with legal recognition, assistance and protection.

The bespoke t-shirts are made using an exemplary low carbon supply chain and are manufactured using renewable green energy. Priced at ┬ú20, the exclusive t-shirts will go on sale from 4th May at Selfridges and online at www.viviennewestwood.co.uk and www.ejfoundation.org/shop. I would like to thank you all for your support of Cool Earth. Since our last Red Label show we have raised ┬ú1,150,000 and need your continued support to reach our target of 7 million. We need to act fast so please keep giving nofunbeingextinct.org” Vivienne Westwood

FPOW + TK Maxx for LFW