29 November 2012

Oxblood: The Key Colour Trend of AW12

It cannot be argued that the colour of A/W 12 is red. For menswear, the shade of the season (mentioned in a previous post) is berry. The womenswear equivalent is richer, darker and more seductive... Say hello to oxblood obsession!

Whether it is teamed with leather or velvet for a dressed up Christmas party look, or denim or jersey for a dressed down casual affair, oxblood is the ideal shade to contribute to the dark romance of the gothic trend of A/W 12.

High street retailers are loving it, with Asos declaring a whole page to the colour:

And Topshop merchandising it to perfection on the 'new in' page of their website:

It is an excellent take on the traditional red of the Christmas colour palette.

I bought myself an oxblood velvet skirt and decided to mix the smart casual look of it with a dressed down Christmas jumper, as Christmas knits are in such high demand right now.

The result? It looked like Christmas, and A/W 12, had thrown up on me... But I adored it.

Skirt - Topshop
Jumper - Red Herring at Debenhams
Shirt - River Island
Tights - M&S
Shoes - Next

Don't be afraid to experiment with different looks and wear more than one trend at once. Have fun and be creative! Fashion is an art, after all.


20 November 2012

Brand Spotlight: Topshop's AW12 Range

...Someone asked me the other day what my favourite brand is. It took me a millisecond to reply, because my favourite brand is, and has always been, TOPSHOP.

They then asked me why. I said:

“I admire Topshop; not only their ability to keep up with the latest trends and constantly deliver a product range that reflects their consumer's wants and needs, but also their ability to develop their brand and image to be one that continues to innovate and build a reputation as the best on the high street for young, fashion-forward consumers.”

When I was a student, my friends argued that the brand is little bit too expensive for our target age group, but I don’t think that’s entirely the case. The price points are aspirational, which is the reason behind why Topshop is so successful. A lot of students cannot afford to shop there every week, so what do they do? They save up and then go on a shopping binge. And the fact that they get 10% student discount makes them believe they’re getting a great deal and receiving good value for money.

On my recent shopping trip to Leeds, I visited the new Trinity store on Briggate that opened last month. It is the THIRD largest Topshop in the country, behind Liverpool (#2) and London Oxford Street (#1).

It’s so impressive! The in store environment was dark with loud, quirky music playing and moody lighting. A sci-fi, futuristic theme could be seen not only through the VM, but the diagonal, neon strobes of light in the windows, along with the starry night sky backdrop.

This theme then translated to their product, with Galactica being a key trend of the range. This is also highlighted on their website, where they showcase it in more detail:

(Images courtesy of the Topshop website.)

May the fashion force be with you! (Ahem, sorry.)

To be perfectly honest, I would buy out the store if I could! But, unfortunately, I can only afford to buy key pieces every now and again.

I managed to get my outfit for my cousin’s wedding this weekend though (coming up in a future post), which I’m very excited about!

So the purpose of this post is to say: Topshop, I love you. You’re the best! And keep up the good work.

15 November 2012

The Best Thing About Winter is the Fashion

What I love about winter clothes is being able to snuggle up in comfy knits and layers.

Yesterday I went to Leeds to buy my outfit for my cousin's wedding (coming up in a future post) and also to start my Christmas shopping! It was cold, so I dressed for the occasion (shirt + jumper + cardigan + shorts + tights + boots = a very warm and cosy Katie):

Note: button up the collar of your shirt and tuck your jumper under it to rock the hipster trend of A/W 12...

...And for the final touches, add a wintry scarf and tan belt/bag to further enhance the rich tones of this season's colour palette:

Shirt - H&M
Jumper - Topshop
 Cardigan - New Look
 Shorts - Topshop
Tights - M&S
Boots - Asos
Scarf - Jack Wills
Belt - Topshop
Bag - Asos

Very Christmassy! And speaking of Christmas, I spotted my favourite tree in Yorkshire for the first time this year - in Leeds City Centre:

I love the festive season!


12 November 2012

Why The Snowman John Lewis Christmas Advert Rocks

I know that Christmas is coming when all the retailers' advertisements start to be broadcast on TV. For most people, the first sign of Christmas is seeing the Coca-Cola 'Holidays are Coming' ad featuring the usual moving, illuminated Coca-Cola lorry, excitable children and a jolly old Santa.

But my Christmas starts when I see the John Lewis ad. After last year's complete and utter gem following a young boy's impatience for Christmas to arrive so he could give his parents the present that he had lovingly bought for them (see it here), I didn't think the company could top it. Oh how wrong I was!

This year's John Lewis Christmas advert has to be the best yet - titled 'The Journey' (see it here). Not only is it fantastically put together but it also features some of the most beautiful scenery as it was shot in New Zealand. The narrative is incredibly heart-warming, telling the tale of a determined snowman who will brave the elements, travel across the country and do whatever it takes to get the right gift for his snow-missus. It celebrates the extra mile we all go to at Christmas to find the perfect present.

The narrative is coupled with new artist Gabrielle Aplin's piano-led version of Frankie Goes to Hollywood's 'The Power of Love', which is very powerful. The story, combined with the editing, the scenery and the soundtrack makes for a truly emotional and astounding piece of film-making by creative director, Ben Priest.

It cost six million pounds to make in total, but is it going to do its job of driving traffic to John Lewis stores?

I look forward to seeing the advert every year because they always do an amazing job, but it doesn't make me desperate to shop at John Lewis for Christmas (granted, it's always due to the fact that I cannot afford to). However, I read that last year the campaign with the young boy increased their festive sales by 9.3%, so no wonder the company is spending so much money to guarantee the same this year! And they might do even better, as this advert is even greater.

I've seen it a few times now, and every time that I watch it I just want to cry! I adore the snowman character.

'We never set out to make the viewers cry', insists Ben Priest. 'But we have a responsibility to create something special.'

And that they did, that they did. Good job, John Lewis.

(Note: this post contains images and statistics from The Independent online.)


10 November 2012

SS13 Key Womenswear Styles

Following on from the S/S 13 trend report in the previous two posts, I just wanted to discuss key styles that will be in fashion for women next season.

So, the first is the bomber jacket. Whether it’s a sporty and simple version similar to Charlotte Ronson’s, floral and decorative like Loewe’s, or more fun like Phillip Lim’s neon pink version and Henry Holland’s psychedelic tie dye version – this jacket is the style of choice this season.

Then there’s the pencil skirt, which goes perfectly with the bomber - from the structured Oscar de la Renta version to Louis Vuitton’s checkerboard version, or even Erdem’s textured floral numbers.

Oversized lemon tailoring will also be a best seller; especially the blazer seen on Topshop Unique’s catwalk, or Michael Kors’ and Calvin Klein’s structured dresses. If you’re feeling brave you might even want to try a Galliano-style cape!

Finally, trainers were all over the catwalks - neon-bright Nike Air Max at Moschino, Reebok Classics at Ashish or even space-age trainers… So ladies; it’s time to dig out those old pairs at the back of your wardrobe!

What will you personally be wearing for S/S 13? Comment below.

(Note: this post contains original artwork and copy by myself and information and images from Vogue magazine.)


SS13 Trend Focus: The Story of Now

This is an extension of the previous post, just because I had so much information and images that I didn't want to bombard you with it all at once!

The second key trend focus of SS13 is The Story of Now:

This trend is influenced by technology, architecture and all things ‘now’ like the name suggests. It’s about new realism and universal, functional and practical principles - almost like going back to basics, but making the old new - with the colour influences being duller and more industrial.

How did this translate to the SS13 catwalk?

Volume was a theme that was seen repeatedly through oversized tailoring; this involved bigger sleeve proportions, accentuated hips and huge shapes by designers such as Chanel and Jil Sander:

Miu Miu also showcased this through oversized coats that just seemed to be getting bigger and bigger as they went down the catwalk:

Simplicity was also a theme. Designers such as DKNY and Calvin Klein sported it through stripped back looks that were basic yet incredibly modern. Furthermore, sheer, metallic fabrics and draping were key details showcased by Lanvin and Missoni, relating to the architecture principle of the Story of Now.

The minimalistic theme of the 90’s could be seen through collections like Celine which was controlled yet feminine in the looks. There was an element of purity and practicality, which brings me onto the next key theme of sports luxe:

 DKNY had a cool laid-back vibe on their catwalk, with Tommy Hilfiger also having recognisable sports silhouettes and backpacks with trainers - highlighting next season it is fashionable to be functional.

In terms of colour palette, white was everywhere (Topshop Unique, Robert Cavalli and LaCoste) bringing a fresh and universal look to the catwalk. Pastels could also be seen in the form of spearmint, fondant pink, violet and baby-blue shades on catwalks such as Erdem, Calvin Klein and Mulberry:

They are definitely making a comeback from last S/S 12! Lemon was a huge hit, too, and definitely the shade to invest in for next season!

This trend is definitely more relaxed and controlled compared to Wonderlab. However, there’s no reason why you still can’t have fun with it. Play with volume, emphasise your femininity and get sporty in a luxurious fashion!

(Note: this post contains original artwork and copy by myself, with information and images from Vogue, WGSN and Pinterest.)

SS13 Trend Focus: Wonderlab

It’s that time of year again where we look at womenswear trends for S/S 13!

I've decided to do it in report form for a change, with two parts. So, bear with me, as there’s a lot of information!

When researching trends for my final year Uni project earlier this year, WGSN kindly told me there was going to be two macro trends in the form of Wonderlab and the Story of Now.

Firstly, let’s look at Wonderlab:

This trend is influenced by science, the body, nature and cells. It’s all about scientific revolution, finding beauty in unexpected places! The colours are bright and neon-like to link to the natural beauty and form of living things.

How did this translate to the S/S 13 catwalk?

It was predominantly through artistic inspiration. If you followed Paris Fashion Week, you've probably already heard all about Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton theatrics!

The collection was inspired by the work of installation artist Daniel Buren. As you can see, the show had four escalators and a checkerboard catwalk to represent the linear aspect of Daniel’s work:

This checkerboard print and linear theme then translated to the garments.

Stripes were also huge. Marc Jacobs’ monochrome stripes kicked it off, which were then followed by the likes of Tommy Hilfiger in brighter hues:

Additionally, a 60’s feel was evident in the colourful and young sense reminiscent of the swinging 60’s, as well as in the sci-fi sense; futuristic silhouettes and metallic fabrics could be seen at Markus Lupfer, Alexander McQueen and Antipodium:

Then there was an element of flower power in the decorative sense at Prada and Holly Fulton.

Fun was portrayed through an Austen Powers-style theme at Moschino and Versus:

There was also hint of the 80’s through power shoulders and slicked backed hair at Balmain and Lanvin, with Jean Paul Gaultier showcasing a collection that celebrated all of the 80’s icons that inspired his clothes over the years (like Grace Jones):

Philip Treacy decided to pay tribute to Michael Jackson by showing his hat creations alongside a Michael Jackson themed wardrobe, which was really impressive:

In terms of colour palette, I've already mentioned monochrome, but lego colours and colours that pop were generally very popular! Specifically, hot pink, grass green, orange and cobalt blue made the most impact when teamed with white on catwalks such as Erdem, Versus and David Koma. Even neon and acid colours were seen on the likes of Henry Holland’s catwalk through tie dye and psychedelic prints:

This trend is young and full of life so it’s definitely one to play around with. Whether you feel like mixing it up, using the micro-trends from different decades, or playing it safe by sticking to one look – don’t forget to experiment and have fun with it. After all, fashion is just an extension of your personality! Express yourself.

(Note: this post contains original artwork and copy by myself, with information and images courtesy of WGSN, Vogue and Pinterest.)

What is Sentimental Fashion and How Does it Empower Us?

‘My garden of flowers is also my garden of thoughts and dreams. The thoughts grow as freely as the flowers, and the dreams are as beautiful’ – Abram L. Urban.

It is important to dream. Without a dream, there is no direction or focus in life. To dream is to long for something which isn’t always achievable; that’s why it is a dream, there is a sense of unattainability.

However I believe that with the support of those who love you the most around you, anything is possible. And if they can’t always be there physically, then they are there spiritually; sometimes through what you wear.

I find that when I know that I’ve got a tough day at work ahead, I will put on the diamond ring that I inherited from my Grandma. Knowing that I’m wearing something that she once wore gives me comfort, and the fact that I have a little piece of her with me makes me feel more confident as I know that she thought the world of me.

This idea of sentiment through what you wear translates to clothes. I used to have a favourite dress that I wore constantly on nights out with friends. Every time I wore it, I had the best time! So now I’ve started wearing it through the day instead; every time that I wear it and catch myself in the mirror, memories from those nights come flooding back to me and, regardless of what kind of day I’ve been having so far, it makes me smile. 

Additionally there’s my fabulous classic black-and-white Alexander McQueen skull scarf that I received as a present for my 21st birthday. It helped me get my first job after University so now I know that I will wear it for every job interview to come because, to me, it feels lucky.

I think it’s good to have those special items in your wardrobe that make you feel positive and uplifted. They will make you feel stronger when you’re going about your daily business, especially at work.

It is important to feel empowered at work in order to reach those career aspirations, or dreams that don’t always seem within reach. Sometimes it’s not always about wearing the latest trends to get the best personal sense of style, it’s about wearing the things that are most representative of you and help you to be the best version of yourself. So make sure you always have things in your wardrobe that you can wear that make you feel like your worthy, or remind you of a time when you did feel worthy. Because, ladies, how are you ever going to reach high enough to achieve those dreams without a little someone (or, in this case, something) to give you that push?
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