Friday, 29 April 2011

Royal Wedding Fashion in Photos

Well the wedding of the year is nearly over but the discussion of who was wearing what is still an ongoing debate. Who was wearing who? Was the main question on everyone's lips as twitter went crazy with top designer names from Vivienne Westwood through to Victoria Beckham were being tweeted around.

Below are my picks of my favourite wedding day styles:

 Samantha Cameron, above, wearing Burberry turquoise fitted dress and Erdem bejewelled necklace. I love the colour blocking and the orange scarf adds an interesting dimension to her styling.

The Queen herself, above, making a bold fashion statment all on her own in canary yellow. The colour blocking trend was rife within the guests in the congregation and the Queen was amongst those embracing the colour!

 Next up is Camilla, above, dressed beautifully in Anna Valentine. I especially love the vintage inspired detailing that sits flatteringly on her hips giving the dress an ethereal feel - perfect for the setting and nchanted essence of the wedding itself.

Beatrice, above, wearing Vivienne Westwood. Not overly keen on the dress itself as the cut off between the top pattern and the skirt are not very flattering. However, I am loving the Gaga-esque head pieces!
Tara Palmer Tomkinson drew even more attention to her collapsed nose - it's as though the point of the head piece is pointing toward her flaw! I think the electric blue is a gorgeous colour so if it wasn't for her nose, TPT would be gaining all the right kind of attention..!

The much anticipated outfit of Mrs Victoria Beckham was as fabulous as we all expected it to be. Looking radiant as ever (pregnancy certainly agrees with VB) she shone in her own design of look two from her Autumn Winter collection in navy. A sleek pony tail is ahead of trend for Autumn and her smokey eye make-up gives her outfit an added gothic edge. The sensational Philip Treacy hat is the best part of the outfit!

Lastly, we have the utterly beautiful (and again) much anticipated wedding gown of the newly Princess Kate. Stunning lace sleeves and billowing trail make for a sophisticated yet Princess like gown. Rumours were rife on Twitter from yesterday afternoon that Sarah Burton from Alexander McQueen was the designer behind THAT dress after being spotted sneaking into Kate's hotel last  night.

A true historic fashion moment and brilliant opportunity to promote and support British fashion and designers. Sarah Burton says of her experience " the experience of a life time to work with Catherine to create her wedding dress and I have enjoyed every moment of it..."

And so have we...

Photographs sourced from:


Thursday, 28 April 2011

High Street Hunt #2

As the whole country goes crazy for Catherine Middleton, the girl can't seem to do any wrong in most people's fashion savvy eyes. Not only have immitations of the iconic 'Diana' ring being mass produced in most retailers from Tesco to Argos, but the Kate crowd are eager to get their hands on copies of the infamous blue dress she wore at the announcement of her engagement to William.

Here are my top picks straight from the highstreet:

 ASOS £45
 Image taken from

Next £55
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 French Connection £125
Image taken from

River Island £40
Image from

Topshop £46
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Warehouse £45
Image from

I love how these high street stores have quickly turned over copies of Kate's engagement dress and added their own unique brand culture to each item. Get your dress online today and follow the Princess's royal style.

Royal Affair

As all you fashion-know-it-alls have probably already found out, rumours are rife that on the eve of THE wedding of the year, the much anticipated discovery of not only what Kate Middleton but who will she be wearing.

According to reports from the last few hours, designer Sarah Burton (Creative Director for Alexander McQueen) has indeed let the cat out of the bag! Reports suggest that Ms Burton was seen sneaking into Kate's hotel suite possibly for a last minute dress fitting before D Day!

Sarah Burton has been the bookies favourite since day one and the most repeated name on fashionistas lips. The designer would be a perfect choice especially as her collection for this upcoming Autumn Winter was influenced heavily by an Ice Queen theme taking inspiration from Royal families and vintage wedding gowns.

Below are a few photographs sourced from of Burton's latest collection:

STUNNING designs!! How amazing would it be to create the dramatic train of the final design above, with the lace bodice of image 6, the beautiful Princessness of image 1 and the royal elegance of image 1!

Fingers crossed the rumours are true because this dress could really enable Kate to make a huge impact on the fashion world - and what a fantastic start to both a marriage and public persona that would be!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Does size matter?

If I was to ask you what your perception of a 'real girl' is, what would you say? Is it the girl on the checkout in your local supermarket? The old class mate you would sit next to and try to copy off in math? Your best friend? Yourself?

The fashion magazine industry is forever being tarnished for under representing average young women by using extremely thin or unconventional sized models. Personally, I don't have an issue with this at all. In my opinion, clothes on thin models keep the focus on the items as the body acts as a rail to portray the clothes. A larger lady with hips and boobs would be more of a distraction, therefore the attention on the clothes would be lost. Also, people who make a big deal out of 'underweight' models need to realise that there are 'real' girls out there who are naturally thin and so technically are being represented in the fashion industry. But what about the other girls?

My blog post comes from reading this months Company magazine. The issue is purposefully focussing on representing 'real girls' in the magazine by using them on the front cover and on inside features and so forth. Wow, I thought, what a really brave stance to make; to be different by being realistic. But just by looking at the front cover, the girls used are slim and model-esque to look at. Don't get me wrong, they are ordinary girls therefore they are real, but not necessarily a true representation of young women today.

On reading the introductory letter from Editor of Company magazine, Victoria White, she says "this is no model hunt" well you could have fooled me. Stunning girls, yes. Great clothes horses, yes. Average? No. According to the avergae size of a female in the UK is a size 16. So if Company magazine was using real girls on their cover surely they should be a 16 too?

The Editor then goes on to say "we're the only mag for young women I can think of who do this- because we know you like to see fashion on girls like you?" Well, speaking on my behalf, the front cover models are not like myself at all, nor any of my friends come to think of it. Out of the final six girls, I predict four of them at sizes 6-10, one at a size 12 and the last one at 14. So none, in my opinion, are an average size of 16.

I love Company Magazine's idea of portraying girls, but they need to actually do this! Don't make out your doing anything out of the ordinary when you don't dare push the boundaries and actually do something different.

How refreshing would it be  to see a fabulously fashionable seemingly 'larger' young woman of a sixteen on the front cover of Company. The Editor obviously believes the magazine holds a niche over the portrayal of real girls, so I don't understand why they aren't using this confidence to their advantage by breaking the boundaries and thriving in the current size controversy.

I don't think the magazine industry needs to shock or alarm readers, just represent everyone fairly. As I touched upon earlier, there are skinny girls, but there are larger ladies too. I'm not saying encourage fasting and I am not saying promote obesity either; magazines just need to find a centre to both extremities.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

When retail advertising goes wrong...

So one of my biggest peeves in the fashion industry is when I see really bad examples of styling, outfit choices, model choices and such forth. In my eyes, if the so called fashion big wigs can make such appalling decisions then how on earth did they get that job position in the first place?! Especially when people such as you and me could probably do the job a whole lot better if we were actually given the opportunity to. Below are 3 of my most irritating retail advertisements of the year so far.

First off, this half hearted effort from large department store chain House Of Fraser. This image was used to promote an instore and online Spring event last month and has been used in countless fashion magazines from Grazia to Elle. But what in God's green grass is the styling all about?!

A great example of truly terrible styling, in my opinion. I mean what on earth is that jacket the model on the left is wearing? And what a half hearted attempt at this seasons Brights trend - the palest blue jeans imaginable and hideous snot-green cardi = not a good look! Okish attempt on the usual Safari trend on the right there; but teamed with a black mini skirt? What is this, some kind of 90's throwback? A cool pair of khaki flares and accessorized with chunky over the top necklaces and bangles would have been an ace look.

House of Fraser seem to be too afraid to really push the styling boundaries and create something really over the top and on trend, especially with their choice of high end fashion labels which they could have chosen from. Sack the stylist?

Another image from House Of Fraser which riles me up no end is this feature taken from last month's Beauty Confidential event. An event purely set up to sell beauty products from moisturisers and foundations to eye creams and perfumes; ie any product that helps enhance your NATURAL beauty. Errr... does she look natural to you?

Now I may be taking a wild guess here; but plastic surgery addict or what? She must have had botox, eye brow lift, cheek fillers, lip fillers to name but a few? So how does this promote natural beauty or have squat to do with House Of Frasers Beauty Confidential campaign? It looks more like an advertisement you would find in the back of a magazine for plastic surgery!

The more I look at the image the more it reminds me of someone....someone famous....Pete Burns is that you??!!

Another department store advertisement now. Don't get me wrong, I really do think Marks and Spencer are pushing the boundaries (unlike some other retailers...) and I am loving some of their Summer collection pieces and the celebrity endoursements from Twiggy to Danni Minogue. But this advertisement to me is such a faux pas!

I may be completely out on my own on this one, but when looking a the advertisement your eyes should immediately be drawn to the fantastic styling (in most cases right?). But on this occassion, I am not drawn to the hot pink jumpsuit, or the fab tropical print dress as worn by Twiggy. No, my eye is distracted by the black blob on Danni Minogue's chest! I know it is a necklace but what an eye sore! The stylist has used all these bright vivid colours and then stuck a harsh black necklace as a last resort to a dress that deffinately needed something else to bring the outfit to life. Bad styling decision in my eyes though as all you notice is THAT. Plus it is not even a nice necklace! Such a shame when the other pieces are pretty good on trend items.

Better luck next time retailers!

Thursday, 21 April 2011

More Highstreet than Highness?

News circling the fashion industry this week is the fact that Princess to be Kate Middleton took a trip down to the high street to get her hands on some gorgeous designer inspired pieces.

Kate shopped in my favourite high street store Warehouse were she purchased one blouse and three dresses. Rumours are rife that she plans to wear these on her honeymoon, although Warehouse source has confirmed that they are not entirely sure whether these are indeed her plans for her new purchases.

Her buys included this tropical bird print dress for just £65

And this beautiful lace cut blouse for £55

Now this is an unexpected purchase from Kate - right on trend, bright and boldly patterned. I would love Kate to really go to town with this and make the most of the clashing floral trend!

I adore Warehouse and their products and I really hope that when Kate Middleton steps out in public wearing these items she does them justice. I find Kate's style very safe and feel she deffinately needs to push the boundaries a lot more in the style stakes. All this talk of Kate been a style icon are way too premature to me; she has a lot of competition from celebs who are actually creative in what they wear.

But what a fantastic PR opportunity for Warehouse! When I posted this page, the dress was only available in a size 10 and the blouse in a 10 and 12. Also, it is making Kate come across as a genuine and relatable woman in the public eye and a great role model for all of her female followers.

So as a new royal steps up to the mark, maybe the family is adapting to the modern times of the noughties by atleast allowing the Princess to be portrayed  as 'normal', possibly to help improve the reputation of the Royals in the public eye.

(Above, what Kate could look like in one of her dresses. Image from

 I can't wait to be seeing Kate in her recent purchases! Why not buy your Kate copies from

(Clothing images taken from

Monday, 18 April 2011

High Street Hunt #1

Who needs designer garments when you have the pick of the most sensational catwalk trends right from your very own high street. I think we all dream of one day being able to afford an original McQueen gown or luxurious Chanel handbag, but until that day comes atleast we have the good old high street to trust upon creating some catwalk worthy designs. Here is my pick of this weeks top high street buys:

Florals at ZARA

Known for their luxe and relaxed take on fashion trends, Zara has really stepped out of their comfort zone this Spring Summer. Bright floral prints could easily be mistaken as a piece hot off the Erdem catwalk. Clashing the print skirt with a bright shirt and accessories would look amazing for the summer season. I also love the ditsy floral print on this 70s inspired jumpsuit - now  where's my over sized straw hat? (Images from

Ethnic and Tribal at WAREHOUSE

I absolutely adore these three pieces from Warehouse. Vivid tribal and ethnic patterns ooze quality and sophistication. Warehouse is definitely one of my favourite high street brands that can really take a trend from the seasonal catwalks and reinvent it as one of their own concluding in priceless staple pieces. (Images from

Colour Blocking at KAREN MILLEN

How gorgeous is the bold and beautiful collection from Karen Millen? with a history of perfectly tailored and designed dresses, I have been waiting in anticipation to view the bold stripe dress in person after seeing it on the PR shots for the brand's marketing campaign. I can confirm it looks just as stunning in real life and the fabric is such high quality. I love these blue jeans which are just dying to be clashed with a grass-green shirt and orange heels - keep your brights bright and your accessories bold. (Images taken from

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Matalan the mark on Fashion

The Matalan Press Event was an amazing opportunity for me to go and preview what trends and key pieces are going to be featured in Matalan's Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. Among the gorgeous pieces that I observed there (see previous blog post) the items that deserved a full post of their very own is the collection of coats. Beautiful fabrics and an array of strong on trend colour pallettes were just some of the details that Matalan had got so right for their Fall collection.

The caramel short length coat immediately caught my eye. Thick soft material, luxurious to the touch - a definite item to rival what any other high street brand will have to offer. Elements of Topshop spring to mind due to the unique detailing of toggles and faux fur pompoms, plus the fact that the coat is bang on trend for the next fall season make this a must have product.

The colour of this longer length coat was fabulous - vivid in mustard it would look fab on a fiery red head! Again, fantastic use of detailing with cute vintage inspired buttons - I would be adding a broach to emphasise the buyers take on Chloes AW11 collection.

While I'm on the subject of detailing, I just had to get a close up shot of this vibrant red coat. The structure of the collar was very cleverly designed with a stiffer amount of fabric used to keep the shape sharp and very regimented. I loved this aspect of the coat - very artistic. It could easily have been mistaken for a designer item when worn. Priced at £40 this coat is going to fly out.

Another exciting coat from the Matalan collection. Think Mad Men meets the edginess of Olivia Palermo. The bold pallette of black and white would suit a sophisticated fashionista. I keep referring Matalan's items to those of Topshop, but this is to show that you don't have to shop at Topshop to buy into the catwalk and commercial trends which many people think you do.

Topshop, in my opinion, is over priced and mass prodcued, so if I were you I would take a trip down to Matalan this Fall and instead of spending well over £100 on a coat from a store where everyone will be purchasing from - buy into something that has the quality of Topshop, the fast turn over of Primark yet the monetary value of Matalan; a brand that offers on trend items for a snippet of the price. You may think Topshop set the bar, but Matalan just raised it.

Matalan Autumn Winter Press Event

Winter 2010 has barely been pulled from our wardrobes and replaced with Spring but already the world of fashion retail is embracing Autumn/Winter 2011 at their press event days.

Hot on the trail is retail value chain Matalan. After a massive brand overhaul and marketing revamp, the womenswear collection for this upcoming Fall is set to take the retail world by storm.

Fashionistas will be ditching their overpriced Topshop ensembles in favour of popularly priced, high quality staple pieces brought to you by a brand on a mission - to deliver fast fashion at affordable price points.

Observantly inspired by street trends of the fashion consumer, vintage influenced pieces filled the rails at the press event and caught my eye. The navy spotted peter pan collar detail dress (as seen below) I predict will be a huge seller - team with ankle socks and brogues for true vintage style or follow the mantra of Twiggy and add a pair of Mary Janes - very 60s don't you think?

Thankfully, Matalan have fully embraced the 70s trend of Summer 2011 and have cleverly adapted the key pallazzo pant in paisley print, teaming them with faux fur gilets and jackets - embrace the trend in advance now on those chilly early mornings to work! I adore this pair (as seen below) the quality of material used was high and you could easily have mistaken these for a Topshop pair (minus the price tag). Ruffle front blouses in silk and bow detailing add a high fashion element to Matalan's 70s collection.

Another item which caught my eye was this beautiful mohair-like jumper. Super soft to the touch and fully utilising the animal print trend with zebra stripes. Be inspired by Matalan's Retro Prim story and style yours (when you get your hands on one in the fall!) With a floral A line skirt - the clashing of the prints will be show stopping.

Reworking my favourite trend from last winter is Global Traveller -full of reworked chunky alpine knits a la D&G clashed with tartan and hand crafted patterns. This fabulous hooded jacket (see below) will be an absolute steal at just £35. Soft faux fur lining, snowflake embroidered patterning plus leather toggle detailing hits eskimo-chic on the head. I'll be wearing mine with a denim midi and clashing printed legwarmers.

Part of the same range is this hooded Aztec shawl, pair with a maxi skirt for a granny-geek look or with an Alpine knitted skirt for ultimate snugness.

I was impressed with what Matalan had to offer at their preview press event. If that was just the 'preview' of the Autumn/Winter 2011, cannot wait for the full collection to hit the shops later in the year - summer 2011? Roll on winter 2011!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Who is to blame?

If someone asked you who you admired (whether it be stylisticly, or professionally etc) who would you choose? In magazines we are constantly being force fed celebrities who the magazines themselves admire whether it be the new plastic enhanced face of a girl on The Only Way Is Essex or a Z list celeb such as Nicola McLean who this week was been praised for losing a lot of weight and even admitting herself that she has an eating problem.

With the way young teenagers are today (male and female) and the pressure for them to coinhere with what is being represented as the "right" way to be, it made me wonder whether I am so easily influenced by the magazines that I read. It also got me thinking that even though the tabloids repeatedly blame the fashion industry for giving teenagers and young adults the perception that to be accepted you must be a certain size or weight.

I am a self confessed magazine junkie. I buy the glossy fashion mags, the cheap celeb gossip weeklys and anything else involving fashion or celebs that I can get my mits on. In my opinion, it is  the low cost fast gossip issues that are partly to blame for the negative outlook some teens have on themselves. The pages are filled with "shameful" bikini shots of female celebs with computerised rings of "terrible" body factors such as cellulite (god forbid!) or a lopsided boob (hey we've all been there) or a slightly rounded tummy (its from the ice cream,ok?!) And this is all before I get to the diet and excercise section - no I do not want to use a chair in my living room to help me do sit ups nor do I want to be skipping with a rope on the ad break of my  favourite soap! If you think that is bad, dont bother reading one particular weekly mag whose main article this week is about a celeb who clearly has an eating disorder giving her "inside tips" on how she lost her weight.

Then I flick to a higher market fashion glossy which this months edition is all about embracing who you are and making the most of the way you look without having to go on the pain inducing diet. The writer hits the nail on the head when she states its your mind and the way you think that needs changing; not how you physically look. So if a magazine based on the industry that is constantly been victimised as the blame for issues young adults have about their bodies is less forceful of advertising diets and so forth, then surely the media is blaming the wrong source?

Don't get me wrong, there are images of models who are thin - but what about if the models were large? Surely that ultimately portrays an image of bad health and surely the media won't want to be encouraging that? I agree that the variety of models should be broader, therefore offering a wider representation of all shapes and sizes, but going from one extreme to the other? I think those are  the completely wrong steps to take.

I suppose I'm writing this to help defend the fashion industry and hope that the writers who have helped to tarnish events such as fashion week will think twice before casting the blame on an industry that has thrived off their actions for many years. Time and energy should be put into teaching teenagers to accept themselves in their mind first and to understand that all shapes and sizes are acceptable? We are taught to not discriminate people for their ethnicity but surely by banning skinny models forever falls under the exact same discriminatory category?

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