Outfit: Vivienne Westwood Inspirations #1 – Corsets Over Volume

DSC_0233

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.

DSC_0244DSC_0234DSC_0247DSC_0223

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.

download

Anglomania AW 2009 Lookbook

Review: Miu Miu at Sunglasses Shop

DSC_7356

The sun has been shining this week, even if the wind is icy cold! This has made me very happy as you saw in my Easter Sunday post I was busting out my new shades Sunglasses Shop who invited me to do a product review. I’ve actually shopped with Sunglasses Shop in the past so was more than happy to feature them on the blog. The first thing that strikes you about the website is the huge range of styles and brands, with something for every budget – the cheapest I could find were ┬ú8, the most expensive ┬ú648! They have a tons of designer sunglasses so there was lots to choose from, I could have sat and got lost in that site for hours, dreaming of sitting on a beach! One thing that made the site so easy to navigate were all the different options for refining your search, by designer, colour, shape, lens technology and price. You can even search by your favourite celebrities style or this seasons trends! This aspect really made the site fun and a real pleasure to shop by. Since I spent all of last year in my cat-eye sunglasses I was keen to invest in another pair with that lens shape but with a different twist.

All I had to do was select ‘womens’ and click ‘cat eyes’ to be presented with a wide selection, then I could choose to refine the search by colour, price, lens type and get this, even by face shape and hair style so I could rest assured my choice would suit me! Very sci-fi! I just think this is such a neat feature as the one thing which makes buying sunglasses online tricky is that you can’t try them on. I have a bit of an addiction to sunglasses so I now know on sight which styles suit me (cat eyes, oversize, aviator) and those which don’t (round lens, small, dainty frames). Armed with this knowledge I put their soft wear to the test, but I couldn’t trick it, each time it came up with styles I knew would look good. For example when I insisted on selecting ’round’ frames, the search threw out only oversized round frames rather than little ‘Lennon’ style ones which I know give me a big round face. So I can really recommend you give this a try.

There were many brands to choose from but the range of Miu Miu sunglasses kept cropping up with styles I really liked.This stunning pair of oversized cat eyes in tortoise shell called Miu Miu 04OS Sunglasses won me over! I liked the vintage style to them and the little details such as the curve on the lens and the gold trim on the arm.

DSC_7358

They came the next day, after I had a confirmation email complete with tracking details. Safe and secure in a well padded box, I tore it open to find the trademark Miu Miu pale pink box. Inside this was a hard case in pink velvet and also a soft case in the same sumptuous fabric. Now I am a perfectionist when it comes to presentation and I simply cannot fault Sunglasses Shop or Miu Miu. The packaging and glasses cases are just as beautiful as the glasses they contained. You would imaging such a heavy, rich velvet to be reserved only for the finest couture, but it gives a simple, everyday pleasure to carry it around in your handbag. The sunglasses them self were exactly as imagined and they suit me to a T. I couldn’t be happier with them or the service of Sunglasses Shop and am pleased I can recommend them to you.

Have you visited Sunglasses Shop? What do you think of the Miu Miu’s?

Psyche – Perfect Pitstop for Summer

PicMonkey Collage

It’s nearly summer, well alright how about I rephrase that, its time for the new season! The weather might not be reliable but that doesn’t mean we can’t invest in some cheerful and bright clothes to put a spring in our step. I do love a good shop, both online and in person depending on what mood I am in, but it can be time consuming trailing around different shops and many department stores are a mish-mash of things which aren’t any one style. This is where specialist fashion store Psyche comes in, online or in real life (should you be near Cleveland) it is a designer life style store with the scale of a department store. With 30 years in the business Psyche stands out from the crowd as it retains a boutique atmosphere of carefully selected brands and merchandise, making shopping a thing of ease. I really like the way they cater for every budget without scrimping on quality, prices range from an average of┬á ┬ú50-┬ú200. This is really clever because it appeals to the way most of us shop these days, saving up for one statement, key item and hunting out lower priced pieces to top-up our look.

1363091296Maison-Scotch-Homepage-990x470px

I thought I would pick out some pieces which I would like to be wearing this season. The first piece is this stunning jacket by Maison Scotch as ┬ú248.99 it is what I call affordably expensive – something you would save up for, an investment item. I’ve paired it here with an on trend summer look, but it would work just as well with a skirt and blouse for work or over a summer maxi-dress. Prints were all over the runways again, mix them or match them, so long as you cover yourself in them! These Paul by Paul Smith trousers and shirt are perfect for wearing together or alone. You know I am a shoe girl and I am in love with these glittery Ted Baker heels, too stunning to save just for parties, rock them with your summer dresses and even jeans. You can’t go wrong with a clutch bag, this Ted Baker in Peptobismol pink is the colour of the season, such a great pop of colour. Don’t forget your summertime chic with a pair of designer shades like these from Marc Jacobs. The easiest way to update your look is some new sparkly jewellery. I really like to layer up necklaces so these White Leaf designs are perfect for that, with their purse friendly prices you can afford to buy more than one (┬ú19.99-┬ú29.99).

PicMonkey Collagemen1

Not forgetting the guys, here are some top spring buys which will see you into summer. My statement item of choice would be this Polo by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply shirt ┬ú118.99, the patches make the print clashing trend easy. Baseball jackets have been high on the fashion radar for a while now and show no sign of going away so this Lacoste logo bomber is going to be a key piece well into next year. The simple shape means it will work with sweats as well as a shirt and pants. A nice pair of cargo trousers like these again from Polo by Ralph Lauren Denim & Supply are nice change to denim. Keeping with the smart-casual theme these Original Penguin boots have a Herringbone inlay which hones in on the Country Heritage trend. The Aviator is by far the most versatile style of shades, these Gucci ones don’t come cheap but are a great investment as they will never go out of fashion. I think accessories are made to have some fun with, this quirky Paul Smith tablet case is really sleek, whilst the Union Jack Barbour print holdall is practical and stylish. For a colour pop this Nixon watch is a subtle way of approaching colour and at ┬ú53.99 it is a great price.

What wardrobe update do you have your eye on for then new season?

How to Wear: That Little Black Dress

 

No matter what your budget a little black dress is the perfect answer for the party season. A timeless frock which can be dressed up or down easily with accessories means you can stop worrying about what to wear and enjoy the party!

Outfit One – Budget: Lace dress ┬ú59.99, studded ankle boots ┬ú19.99 ( RRP ┬ú50), jewelled clutch bag ┬ú9.99.

Outfit Two – Blow Out: Beaded shoulder dress ┬ú149.99 (RRP┬á ┬ú740), snakeskin effect shoes ┬ú59.99 (RRP ┬ú150), oversize clutch bag ┬ú249.99 (RRP ┬ú885).

All from TK Maxx where you can find your own little black dress!

Zoo Uniform – Fashion + Animals

Wearing: Grey Pig t-shirt

You might remember around this time last year I featured Zoo Uniform as I am a fan of their quirky printed t-shirts. Many of you fell in love with the brand too but couldn’t afford their price points. So I am happy to tell you the guys behind the brand have been working hard with suppliers and they can now offer the t-shirts for just 25 Euros and the pants for 10 Euros, whilst still donating a percentage of the profits to animal charities.

I think the new price points are just too tempting not to resist one of these unique designs, they would make perfect Christmas gifts too. You can find out more about the brand and check out all the designs on their website Zoo Uniform.

“We only want people who groove on animals to wear our products. So, which ones will be yours?”

Styling This Seasons Trends With TK Maxx

Early in September I went to the TK Maxx press day to see what they had for the coming season. Whilst in London over Fashion Week I called into the Kensington High Street branch to see for myself if what they had promised was on offer. It was, in abundance!

Here I styled two looks around the trends featured during the press day: Country Heritage and Party Wear. (You can read the press day coverage here and here). TK Maxx has a fantastic range of this season key pieces, with deliveries being made every day there is always something new to see. I call into my local branch every time I am in town to check I am not missing out on any bargains. You need to view shopping in store similar to vintage shopping. Have a good look at everything, take you time, try things on and the real gems will soon reveal themselves. If you haven’t got a local store or aren’t the rummaging kind then you can now shop online too.

Country Heritage

Many elements of the heritage trend are very easy to wear from moss coloured knits to tweed skirts. Cocoon yourself in complimentary layers for a chic yet warm look. Dress up a simple outfit of jeans and sweater with a wax jacket and statement ankle boot.

Party Dresses

With Christmas and New Year fast approaching it is time to bag yourself the hottest party dress. Out smart your friends by turning up in something unique – don’t you hate it when every girl in the party is in the same ‘must-have’ High Street frock. With TK Maxx offering a vast range of limited designs no 0ne is going to outshine you. From wine colours to glittery details, neon flashes and sequins the options are endless, just don’t forget your heels.

Click for full size


Click the thumbnails for full size images or check out the entire album on my Facebook page

Look 1: Dress RRP £2280 TK Maxx price £599.99, cardigan RRP £1220 TK Maxx price £199.99, boots RRP £304 TK Maxx price£105

Look 2: Dress RRP £3060 TK Maxx price£199.99, shoes RRP £418 TK Maxx price£99.99

All items from TK Maxx designer Gold Label section

Styling by Pearl Westwood

Photography by Florrie Clarke

So what do you think were you surprised you could score runway looks from TK Maxx or have you been stalking the rails for years? Which trend is your favourite for Autumn / Winter?

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

TK Maxx A/W Collection Part 1

On Tuesday I traveled down to London for a fabulous bloggers (including Pink Bow, WolF Whistle, These Girls Turn Heads and Side Street Style) lunch hosted by TK Maxx and to view their A/W 12 collections. The lunch was a delicious 3 courses in the 32nd floor Paramount restaurant, which has panoramic views across the city. We wined and dined whilst chatting away with Sophia, TK Maxx’s head buyer, who you will recognise from the TV ads. I am sure everyone knows by now that I am a huge TK Maxx fan so it was great to get up close with the team and find out lots of behind the scenes secrets. Did you know they are constantly out there searching for new stock which they refresh daily. The rails are always packed tight as they do not have stock rooms, everything they have is put out on the shop floor for you see.

What I like best about TK Maxx is that you can get discounted designer goods, but also high street labels. You will find beautiful classic pieces but also the latest trends, which were illustrated in the displays set out with a circus theme to match their look book. The atmosphere was fun and fabulous.

The key trends focused on where Seventies, Country Heritage, Jewel Colours and Nordic. Rails of deep colours, tactile fabrics and an array of lust worthy accessories. The Menswear also echoed each of these trends with country quilted jackets, ombre blazers, coloured jeans and smart shirts.


The mannequins and look books gave some great styling tips, I for one will be colour clashing my tights. I have many more photo’s to share so I will upload an album to my Facebook too. Part 2 will focus on a Party wear special. What is even better is that all the garments you see were pulled from store so you can head over and shop till you drop right away, it is getting cold after all.

Pearl

Halston Glow-in-the-Dark Dress

Here you can see the subtle green glowAs I was browsing through the new arrivals on NAP for some new season inspiration, one thing really caught my eye. This Glow-in-the-Dark dress!! That right thanks to Halston you can be disco fabulous in this one sleeve sequin number and still find you way to the loo when you get home feeling a bit squiffy! Or even better no scrabbling around for your frock when it is lost inside your wardrobe.

The Burberry Trench: a history & a rather good buy

I love my Burberry trench!

I have wanted a Burberry trench coat for what seams like forever. I have had many trench coats in the past but always hankered after a Burberry one. I just loved the history of it and the assurance that this would be a coat to last a life time. I was also very particular in the exact features I wanted the coat to have, after experiencing not so perfect trenches. My trench needed to be the soft tan colour and not the lighter beige, long past my knees, fitted, especially on the shoulders, but with room for a light sweater under, with check lining. I had long given up on trying to find a vintage one, as many had 80’s shoulders, which really wasn’t what I wanted. I would always check ones glimpsed in vintage shops but again never found the right one, many are in such bad condition too. I decided to stop looking at vintage and save up for a modern one, when I found this by chance!!
The trench coat was born after Thomas Burberry in 1914 was commissioned by the War Office to adapt the standard officers coat, making it more suitable for all weather conditions. After the war ended many officers kept their coats, as they were so well made and practical sparking an interest in the coats from civilians. The trench coats were made from a special fabric created by Thomas Burberry called Gabardine, wool treated chemically to repel rain. Gabardine is also tear proof, virtually uncreasable, and still remains breathable for comfort. The term ‘trench’ coat comes from the coat being worn in the trenches of WW1 to keep the soldiers as dry and comfortable as possible.
Many of the original features of the WW1 trench coat are retained in the modern coats produced today. Such as the double breast with 4 (later 10) buttons, the gun flap on the shoulder was to add reinforcement, straps on the sleeves to keep the rain out, slotted pockets, adaptable collar with strap and the waist belt with D rings to attach paraphernalia such as grenades in the war and later game when hunting.
Audrey Hepburn tests out the trench’s waterproof qualities
The coats were first lined in wool with the Novacheck being introduced in 1924.
Check out my lining! Also wearing Vivienne Westwood erm everything
The Novacheck is one of Burberry’s most recognisable brand features however in the UK the print become associated with everything as far away from traditional Burberry as you can imagine. During the 90s the check became the notorious ‘look’ of the chavs (i.e hoodlums, football hooligans, general unclassy trouble causers). Burberry actually laugh this off, mainly due to the fact the items the chavs were wearing were not in fact Burberry but counterfeits or look-a-likes.
Daniella Westbrook a la Chav
With the appointment of Christopher Baily as creative director in 2001 (chief creative director since 2009) and a new advertising campaign featuring top models such as Kate Moss and actresses like Emma Watson, the brand has certainly shook off any bad image. With live streaming of the runway shows, and innovative instant shopping from the runway Burberry is at the forefront of cutting edge fashion.
However the great British brand dealt its country a blow with the closure of its Treorchy factory in 2007. Saying the factory was no longer financially viable and moving production to China and Hong Kong – despite announcing a 22% rise in profits earlier in the year. This meant that 310 jobs were lost. To me one of the beautiful things about the brand is it history, originating in Britain and built up over the years. I love to buy clothes with a heritage, it is part of the allure. So I fully support the petition to remove Burberry’s royal warrant if they move any more jobs off shore.
In fact the whole ‘Made in’ topic is something I want to discuss further in another post. Anyway this was one of the reasons I wanted a vintage trench, made in Britain not cut in China, assembled in Hong Kong and just a few buttons sewn on in Britain! I have to admit I was a bit disappointed to see my boots I had bought from Burberry last year were stamped ‘made in Italy’.
But anyway, I have my trench and am damn well pleased with it!
Pearl