Sunday, 10 August 2008

Fashion Focus - part 3

Thursday was a long old day when you've been in post hols slumber. By the time I got to the Barbican for the Elle Magazine 'How to Spot a Trend' talk - about 6ish- I had a lovely manicure in Topshop at Nails Inc, I chose the fab grey varnish named The Thames. A glorious colour, a bit like it's namesake the river Thames, truly deep grey.

The nail bar at Topshop if you face the right way - looking out to the store is a great people watching experience. I like that you can sit for 10 to 20 mins letting you polish dry, providing more nosey time. My summary of the trends flitting before my eyes could be summed up by one word - whatever. I saw it all from high end WAG to trailer trash. In between were try hards, London Paper Buzz wannabes, tourists, M&S mums with troubled teenager and Sloane Rangers to name a few.... 8 items stood out:-
Short skirts
Knee high flat boots
Gladiator sandals
Logo tee shirts

Then after departing Oxford Street I plumped for a glass of champagne - the white wine at the Barbican was £7.50 so £8.00 seemed fair enough - sat outside in a concrete enclosure with water features, I thought why am I at the Barbican, I was in sniffing distance of Smith of Smithfields

This is a glossy photo of the Barbican - it is a concrete jungle. It doesn't gleam at all.

I needed to qualify my state of mind as I could have quite cheerfully told the Barbican manager and curator off ! A) I'm not hearting my surrounds and B) the talk has changed from 6:30pm to 7:00pm , last minute decision, OK a bit annoying but only really @*^$"£! annoying because due to complete event organisation incompetence the poor Elle team had to sit for 20 mins while chairs charades and other nonsense was carried out. Then the curator made some trite apology and made me go off ankle socks and shoes combination because she's matched horizontal blue/white stripy socks to vertical blue/white stripy shirt dress.

I furiously flicked through the September copy of Elle which had been placed on our seats whilst trying to refrain from sniping at lady sat next to me who was biting her nails and fiddling! You see even 3 days later I haven't let go of the annoyance! Don't worry I'm getting to the crux of this post now....The Elle team were patience personified. They were left sitting like lemons, lovely ones of course.

Anne-Marie Curtis, Fashion Director; (pictured left), Victoria Riedl, Beauty Editor; Emma Meysey-Thompson, Bookings Editor and Laurelle Gilbert fashion and celebrity editor were the esteemed panel.

Anne -Marie finally kicked off the proceedings with a comprehensive explanation of how and why they compile their fashion trends forecasts for the magazine. (a few minutes into her talk there was more disruption the detail of which I shan't bore you with). She immediately captivated my attention with a summary of the A/W 08 trends - serious investment dressing, with a return to the classics and proper dressing for women. Which I thought was a fair assessment of what I hope it will be - the actual translation of this summary into the high street. The lack of 'proper clothes' across the spectrum is a problem for women. The fact Linda, Naomi, Claudia were back for Prada, Chanel etc. and with Lauren Hutton fronting the Mango campaign the older woman was being catered for or spoken too. Anyway, Anne -Marie explained Elle's translation of the shows into their 10 key trends:-

1. Bad Girls - a move away from the high gloss maintenance of WAGs and IT girls to a more modern grunge/goth/punkish look. Less black chipped nail varnish and unkempt clothes of the first grunge episode; more of an up market reference to the muso scene, looks personified by Amy Winehouse and Courntey Love. Think luxe not lice (that's my take!). Designer references were Burberry, Pucci, McQueen & Rodarte.

2. The LBD - a real resurgence of the the perfect wardrobe staple with a LBD making it back as day wear. Designer references, Lanvin. Calvin Klein and Jil Sander. And a must have for night, designer references for evening Lanvin, Prada and Balenciaga.

3. Minimalism - this was defined as simple structured quality pieces with images from Marc Jacob, YSL and Louis Vuitton.

4. Embellishment - a selection of varying designers were referenced were feathers, over sized sequins, silver sequins and sparkle were detailed. Elle particularly loved this trend as it was a reflection of Elle's ethos to be have fun and be quirky.

5. Plaid - sorry but I yawned, not Elle's fault but I'm over it already. I vaguely remembered some reference to Balmoral and D&G.

6. Accessories - Elle decided this was a trend in it's own right as the word 'statement' plus necklace, cuff et al indicated the importance of the accessory this season, particularly in the absence of no statement bags on the catwalks.

7. The New Power Dressing - suits making a reappearance again for women. Todd Lynn was attributed with the accolade of making it 'cool to wear a trouser suit again'. Jil Sander was also referenced.

8. Dark Romance - Givenchy was referred to as the strongest house for this trend. A more sophisticated take on the Bad Girl trend but an obvious cross over.

9. 70s Elle Girl - layering, flared jeans, sheepskin, Gucci and printed chiffon a la Chloe were delightfully presented as the quintessential Elle Girl look. I forgot to jot as Anne-Marie really sparkled as she spoke of this trend evoking the revolutionary spirit of the Parisian Left Bank. I liked that this was unabashed obvious Elle magazine fodder.

10. Cocktail Hour - the return of the cocktail dress continued the overall theme of grown up dressing with images of gorgeous dresses in jewel colours and beautifully constructed cloth of couture quality due to advances in technology.

An array of mini trends were also highlighted as potential A/W runners - tights as accessories, dropped hemlines, knee high boots plus patent and PVC. In contrast to Vogue and others florals were barely mentioned other than slightly included in the 70s Elle Girl section.

Laurelle then talked in depth about how responds to updating the day to day variety of the trends surfacing across the globe with the ability to blend street and papped celebrity pictures to reflect popular and emerging trends no always catwalk driven. Street style was a great reference point for trends that successfully translate from the shows but was essential to cover given so many trends start here as well.

The model bookings editor, Emma, gave a frank insight into the cult of the model, explaining how personality had popped back into the equation after a few years absence when the main bookings were lithe Lithuanians and other Eastern European models. They cache was to be the perfect clothes horse. Cue photo of Agnyess Deyn and the now required model with personality. Emma explained the photographer and stylist would have a view on who they wanted for a shoot and the fact the photographer usually won on that one!

Beauty Editor Victoria showed some great backstage photos of the hair and make up from the A/W 08 shows and illustrated why proper make up was back to go with proper clothes. Think structured and refined smoky eyes, lipstick not lip gloss and of course gold. That's gold eyeshadow and nail varnish courtesy of Chanel. Victoria was already wearing the new gold Chanel nail varnish. Hair got a mention but I'm a dreadful worrier about hair given mine has a mind of its own so I sort of froze in terror thinking about it until small heads got a mention. Small Heads equals brushed back neat hair swept into bun. OK small heads perhaps isn't the best of expressions, I was stifling a giggle but I felt quite relieved that this was a hair trend I could embrace to save me a lot of bother.

Questions were put to the floor, but it was a nice evening, there had been a late start and the talk was so comprehensive it seemed a bit pointless for me to pipe up about the influence of blogs - not that I was going to anyway! Someone asked a really muddled and convoluted one which bored everyone so that was the end. Then the bright young things merrily skipped up with their magazine copies for the team to sign, which was really sweet.

I exited stage left with boyfriend jeans and forgo Smiths of Smithfields as my trusty stead (cycle) was waiting at the station for me to take it home.


  1. Great post. Love the idea of Thames colour nails! The Barbican is ghastly! Elle talk seemed worth going there though!

  2. Great list of upcoming trends and thanks for summing them up for us! Thanks for your wonderful wishes for my trip in Paris. I did get embriolisse as you suggested but didn't manage crealine H2o.

    That champagne sounds and the manicure sound so good!

    x Grayburn

  3. Interesting and entertaining post! Thanks for the trend report. I also love people watching ;-)


  4. I was meant to go to this night but I skipped it to see my mate's new baby in hospital! Lucky for me you've done a damn fine job of a detailed summary - thank you.

    Shame you had to wait around so long in less than salubrious surroundings! xx

  5. Dark Romance!! Oh I think, I could go for a bit of that and some gold Chanel polish whilst i'm at it. Wonderful synopsis of the evening, thank-you so much.

  6. Hi Kate-what an informative, fantastic post and barring the ups and downs, it sounds like you had a great day!! Yes, I thought I would be into plaids, too, but bored now, I think I will channel accessories and 70s girl-sounds more fun and do-able!!

  7. Really good write up and I'm rushing out to get September's Elle now!

  8. I need grey nail polish now! I have silver and a metallicy steel colour, but dark grey sounds fantastic.

  9. Comprehensive, lady! Thanks for a great, digestible write-up. Interesting to see minimalism and embellishment right next to each other ...

  10. It aounds really interesting. I love Anne, I think she is the power behined Elle. She is a great stylist. She seems to have given Elle more of an edge.

  11. I love her all black style!

    a kiss!!!

  12. hmmm...I confused and its not by the gruesome sounding socks 'n shirt dress combo but that a team of 'experts' didn't even touch on the topic of the rise of the fashion blog. But then we're en-route to making a majority of the unemployed.

  13. Coco - yes Anne-Marie did excude strategy and knowledge - useful combination. I agree Elle has come back in the last two years to be a good magazine again.

    Imelda - I'm not sure how widely engaged fashion blogging is yet. If you are in the fash blog arena as either blogger or reader then magazines are increasingly so behind the times. I would be interested to know how seriously magazine teams take fashion blogs.

  14. What a great post! I guess I'm already "ahead" because I have gold nail polish. It chips in five seconds. Does that give any indication of how long the trend will last?

  15. FABulous critique! I do like an indepth build-up so even though it was irritating, it was good to read about the kerfuffles as well. Elle this month is fab. I always buy the mini version and I don't know if it's to do with the size but it seems so much fuller and indepth than its big sister!

  16. Fabulous and educational post!!! Wished I was there it was clashed with my job :(

    Sometimes I do think that Trends never die out, they always come back with the same loook which is boring...I don't really follow it but when you work in fashion, you have to follow.

    I agree that Street Style is a fabulous reference point, somethimes you'd see cool ways of dressing and styling that are unique...that could be use for fashion shoots, catwalk shows etc.

  17. Style Slicker - good point most of these trends are perennial according to season. Sometimes cuts, shapes change to reinject some fun though!

  18. So was the manicure in Topshop any good then? I've always just walked right past it each time I've been in there! It does look vaguly appealing though...!

    Mademoiselle M.

  19. It was really good, the assistant I had was French! She was from Strasbourg, I'd use her again.

  20. very cool. I 'agree' with Elle more than most mags.

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