Rachel serene in her cocoon coat!
A flavour of colour and texture.
OK so we had a cheeky champagne at the end of it all! Darlings it was Selfridges we were sat amongst the Choos' it would have been rude not to!
Well for those of you who have a few pennies to spare and fancy a bargain then on Friday 29th of August from 12 - 8pm and Saturday 30th August from 10am to 5pm - it is the Matches warehouse sale. The location is The Hellenic Centre, 16-18 Paddington Street, Marylebone, London W1U 5AS.
Apologies in advance for not having nice press images from the Zara PR team to load up but a) I never get them and b) I've given up requesting them.
However in all other areas Zara is the height of retail efficiency. Owned by the Inditex Group, the first Zara store opened in 1975. Today, Inditex is probably the world's fastest growing retailer and Zara has just overtaken Gap to become the worlds largest clothing retailer. Zara prides itself on its ability to compete with quality brands at affordable prices. It is claimed that Zara needs just two weeks to develop a new product and get it to stores and launches around 10,000 new designs each year. Zara has resisted the industry-wide trend towards transferring production to low-cost countries. Perhaps its most unusual strategy was its policy of zero advertising; the company preferred to invest a percentage of revenues in opening new stores instead.
That said, Zara has the most annoying clothing tags and quality is variable. Yet Zara has the ability to draw you in with its great on trend numbers and some of its own consistent items.
Thus far in the season Zara is paying homage to or inspired by Gucci and Chloe. In fact it will draw upon all the catwalk trends and deliver everything. The fast turnover means you have to buy if you love the item as it's likely to be gone for good. This is particularly true with their shoes and belts - literally gone in a blink. Many a time I've kicked myself for dithering or being good(not spending!), or thinking I'll find something nicer elsewhere.
The layout of the stores is clear and items are always grouped in colour combinations. Changing rooms are sparse and lighting harsh so if it looks good on - its great!
Last season S/S 08 the collection was more miss than hit but this season Zara looks like it is shaping up for a great one!
Cricket. My confession to a private passion is cricket. I've always loved cricket and I even badgered my way into the boys cricket team at school. I wasn't allowed to play in competition matches just friendlies.
My favourite occupation is a day at the Oval watching Surrey play and when I can get them test match tickets. Suddenly this closet and covert indulgence is being pushed to the fore with a resurgence in cricket clothing, more specifically cricket jumpers.
With the release of Brideshead Revisited in the States this weekend expect a keen interest in cable knits and fair isle numbers. For girls that want one now then pop into John Lewis childrens wear and get a reasonably priced one to customise.
For the genuine fashion number try Ralph Lauren, Gant or cricket specialist wear in sports shops or on line.
These mighty numbers were an Iron Man premier pair worn by Gwyneth Paltrow and snagged after their outing as an exclusive for Russell & Bromley in the UK. Designed by Guiseppe Zanoti they'll be retailing in the £400+ bracket.
This snippet of information formed part of the Elle's trends talk at the Barbican.
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 ELLEUK.com 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 ELLEUK.com 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.
Then there are the shoes - some fab options at great prices depending on your foot size or shape. I'm slowly converting back to my preferred option of wearing sock with all shoes. I broke with wearing socks with everything in an attempt to be more grown up but when Stylist Stuff happily appeared wearing her socks with shoes at the Barbican I felt more than a surge of euphoria, but that's another story!
Back to M&S shoe selection. I'm cautious on the fit. I recommend trying a few sizes on to check fit to find out how comfortable they feel as the cut isn't as high quality as proper shoe shops. Go at the end of the day when feet are swollen and tired to really get the right pair. I've selected a few gems.Lace Up Town shoes £39.50 in Beige product code T022081Limited collection Tri-panel Shoe Boot £59.50 Grey/Black mix product code T022108
Finally there is a Limited Collection little satchel that would be a handy handbag! And a steal at £25.00, in store they had them in navy too.
So tempting to sit down for rest of afternoon and not bother getting train back to London.
The waves were quite fierce and it is a drop down to the sea here -so no opportunity for a paddle. OK the sea doesn't look med blue either!
The posts were channelling ice cream colours for this season.
What's a girl to do at the end of a delicious meeting but go grab some fudge! Roly's fudge is really to die for and they have a shop in the USA too....