Thursday, 29 November 2012

The New LBD: The Jumpsuit

Elie Saab Fall 2012

   It's a key wardrobe staple for the festival months, but the jumpsuit is back on the style radar for fall, featuring at fashion houses Jenny Packham and Chloé to name but a few. The jumpsuit is what you could esssentially call the romper's more sophisticated, lengthier sibling, and I feel it's replaced the classic LBD for this season at least.
   One of my ultimate style icons, Diane Kruger and her amazing Jason Wu lace jumpsuit drew my attention back to the gorgeous one-piece. Attending the recent Jaeger-LeCoultre Place Vendome store opening in Paris as the face of the Swiss brand, Diane stunned and upped her fashion credentials even further (if that is possible!) by wearing this navy Jason Wu jumpsuit. The cut of the one-piece is so flattering, cinching in the waist and elongating the legs and it is a stand-out twist on a usual evening frock. I love that Diane thrives on looking different at all the events she attends. Although the jumpsuit is simple in colour and design, it makes an impact with Diane's complimentary 40's pin-up girl rolls and Hollywood red lipstick. I adore this look and it is without doubt one of my favourites of Diane's outfits to date.

   The sheer amount of designers showcasing jumpsuits on their Fall '12 runways shows that this luxe piece is undoubtedly the must-have, contemporary take on the evening dress and the tailored suit.
   While Jenny Packham stunned her audience with a seductive satin, halter-neck jumpsuit, Chloé met their trademark 'modern, classy woman' brief with a tapered, sports-luxe-inspired top-to-toe suit with tiny gingham checks. The appeal of the jumpsuit is that its versatility means there is a style for everyone. Whether you go for a slouchy pyjama style suited to slim, boyish shapes, a wide legged design to compliment your curves or an embellished bustier and pants combo for all-out glamour, the jumpsuit can be dressed up or down to meet your outfit requirements.
Chloé Fall 2012
Jenny Packham's satin-topped jumpsuit of Fall '12
   While Chloé's gingham jumpsuit catered for cute day-time wear, Valentino proved that the jumpsuit can be just as sexy as their traditional floor-trailing gowns. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli offered two designs of jumpsuit- one with demure long sleeves and trouser legs, and one in a fitted bustier style with a sweet-heart neckline, though both were in the label's statement siren red. Elie Saab transported his usual embellishments onto the sophisticated piece, creating beautiful sequin-covered jumpsuits (Top photograph). Emma Stone snapped up this jumpsuit to wear to 'The Amazing Spiderman' Premiere earlier this year.
   In contrast to these evening-orientated jumpsuit designs, Viktor and Rolf's emphasis was on colour and pattern, with an art deco flair dominating their fall collection. Designers Horsting and Snoeren worked with funky print and pyjama-inspired shapes to create languid jumpsuits that erupted in waves at the hip and swished at the ankles.

Valentino Fall Couture 2012
Dior favoured glamorous yet simple silhouettes in sleek black. Raf Simon's fall collection for the fashion house featured endless peplums and I love the concept of having a peplum break up a single toned jumpsuit as pictured here on Emma Watson. I love the structure on this jumpsuit by Raf; although the trouser legs are classically tailored, the peplum top is unique and adds an eye-catching curve. 
Emma Watson at the London premiere of The Perks of Being A Wallflower
in Raf Simons for Dior's Peplum Jumpsuit

    Whatever the style and structure of each designer jumpsuit, their length hits well below the knee, nearly grazing the runway. Although the jumpsuit is thought of as an androgynous-inspired alternative to a dress, it still carries the ultra-feminine vibe of a prim fashionista.    Rachel McAdams is another coveteur of the jumpsuit. Here, she looks elegant with an androgynous twist in a Rachel Azzaro Fall 2011 jumpsuit with a black bow tie and beaded button detail. I love her retro waves too! For petite shapes, try a black jumpsuit first like Rachel as they are all-slimming.  
   Rachel then wore another jumpsuit for the Cannes Film Festival of last year. Although her suit by Monique Lhuillier recieved mixed views, I featured it at the time on my style-inspiration of the week! I love that she was not afraid to ditch a predictable red carpet gown for this refined yet individual nude and metallic beauty. It's all about retro Hollywood glamour for me at the moment! Again, I love Rachel's bouncy hair and red lips.

   Whether you dress your jumpsuit down for a day shopping by picking a floral print and teaming it with a cardi or casual blazer, or choose a tux-inspired jumpsuit for a special event or dinner, I guarantee the jumpsuit will become a go-to in your wardrobe. And it will last all the way to spring/summer! I've selected some of the most covetable jumpsuits on the highstreet to show you. I love Topshop's jumpsuit twist on the dungaree, and Reiss' sparkly jumpsuit (though pricey- wait for the sale!) would make an incredible New Year's Eve outfit alternative.

Topshop BoutiqueVelvet Dungaree Jumpsuit £150
Zara Nude Jumpsuit With Crossover Top £29.99
Vero Moda Clemence Jumpsuit £65.05

Thursday, 22 November 2012

I Couldn't Live Without... Ankle Boots

Miranda Kerr in Isabel Marant Berry Suede & Leather Boots
I have recently developed a compete fetish for ankle boots. It's not that I didn't like them before; obviously no winter look is ever complete without a pair of go-with-everything boots, but my obsession is going to extremes! Every time I browse online for a christmas present, I end up straying into the 'Shoes' section...   Thrust into the limelight by the eternally covetable label Isabel Marant (practically every celeb owns a pair of her Dicker boots), ankle boots- whether suede, velvet, cuban-heeled or Chelsea- are the chicest footwear of choice for fall. Adopted by numerous fashionistas from Miranda Kerr and Olivia Palermo to Diane Kruger and Kate Bosworth, the versatility of the ankle boot can take you from work to dinner dates to post-uni hangouts. Miranda (above) channels her lust-worthy Marant Berry western-look boots with a wool coat, also by Marant, a cute grey sweater, leather shorts and a Givenchy tote.
    For his last fall collection for YSL, Stefano Pilatoi gave us the look of the 'power woman', complimented by an array of killer patent boots, while Karlie Kloss walked the Kenzo AW12 runway in just one of the many colour variations of Leon and Lim's amazing tweed-look wedge boots.

Kenzo AW12
    There are so many different types of ankle boots to go for, starting with the type of heel. If you want to be wearing your boots everyday then go for a very minimal heel, like the one on Caggie's boots below, or alternatively, try a wedge or cuban heel. A supportive wedge can be as ideal for day as it is for evening. My favourite day-to-day ankle boots have a cuban heel, and I can genuinely say my feet haven't hurt wearing them once. It's great that the heel gives me the extra height while maintaining that essential comfort, as I'm pretty tiny!
    As for the material, leather is the go-to choice for adding a little grunge-glam to an outfit, while suede is a popular choice for creating a laidback yet slightly refined look. Personally I absolutely love velvet boots at the moment. They have an appealing feel of opulence and luxury, and who doesn't want to wear luxury on their feet?! Velvet, for me alludes to the romanticism of the Great Gatsby era- it's indulgent, elegant and feminine. Rebecca Taylor's fall collection was a contemporary take on the splendor of twenties glamour girls, with rich velvet dominating the runway in the form of sweaters, dresses and even pants. A touch of velvet on a pair of boots will enrich and dress up a simple outfit. I think a really cute idea is to wear frilly or ribbon-detailed ankle socks underneath your boots, so that the tops of the socks peep out and add another element of girlish charm to your ensemble.
    Another plush twist on the ankle boot would be to rock one of the must-do trends this season: metallics. I am in love with Rag & Bone's Newbury boots anyway, but when I saw their metallic gold version I swear I nearly had heart palpitations. They are so lovely! At over £300, sadly they are out of price range, but I'm enclosing a picture (animated- ooh!) so you can swoon over them like I do.

Rag & Bone's Gold Classic Newbury Ankle Boot

   Keeping warm, dry and stylish while out city-strolling or shopping in this weather is no easy feat, but the classic ankle boot keeps your toes cosy and you looking en vogue. Here Caggie picks a trusty black pair of boots to toughen up her cream lace smock dress. I adore a hat and boots combination too- effortlessly chic.

   A statement pair of ankle boots with a taller heel look amazing with a maxi, as seen on Poppy Delevingne- though I wouldn't be brave enough to wear one without tights in this chill! Her Sass and Bide, D-Squared, patent boots again contrast nicely with the more effeminate, floaty skirt. A printed tee, leather jacket, a tan belt and her Tommy Ton utility satchel for Club Monaco tone down the potential glamour of the maxi to understated-cool. By swapping the tee for a shimmery cami this look is also versatile enough for evening.

   Olivia shows how ankle boots go fabulously with another fall wardrobe essential- the leather pant. Her Jude boots by Report are the perfect way to add height to a snug and casual off-duty look and they are under $100!
   Rachel Bilson branches out from the classic black ankle boot with a lace-up tan pair, teaming them with jeans, a blazer and a cutsie polka dot scarf. Whatever colour your boots, they will work in their same versatile way for summer- remember Rosie Huntington-Whiteley's much-talked about Christopher Kane embellished shorts, white shirt and grey boots combo at this year's Coachella?!
   So, that's my review of the ankle boot. I actually know (because I chose them!) that Santa (aka. Mum and Dad) is bringing me a gorgeous, tan-coloured, lace-up and buckle pair so I am beyond excited!! Here is my pick of the coolest must-have ankle booties around.

Topshop Accent Stud Cut Out Boots in Velvet £85

Urban Outfitters Deena & Ozzy Burgundy Metal Strap Boots £120 
Oasis Leila Leather and Suede Chelsea Boot £65
All Saints Bonny Cuban Boot £165

Office Nikita Zip Book Black Glitter £65

ASOS Athens Leather Ankle Chelsea Boots £50
Pull & Bear Biker Ankle Boots With Studs £79.99

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

The Many Faces of Cara Delevingne


   You may have seen that Cara Delevingne, with her amazing wardrobe and equally as amazing facial expressions, is a regular on my Tumblr. I am so obsessed with this girl right now that I thought I'd do a kind of fun blog- with a good dose of fashion inspiration thrown in of course! Pretty much nothing tops flicking through Cara's imaginative faces and so I'm sharing with you my favourites on this post! From peace signs with pouts to tongues, freaky eye rolls and 'gawkilicious' grins, (all modelled below) Cara's got her off-duty look nailed. This is why I adore her- she's like two people in one, a total dual personality. On the catwalk she is a picture of youthful elegance; graceful, sophisticated... and backstage she turns into the coolest nerd ever.

With Karlie Kloss and Lily Donaldson at Coachella

"Ooh, I'm in a magazine!"
How does she still look cute with this poking out?!
Just pure gawk (in a good way!)

                        An alternative smile for the paps
   Cara definitely doesn't take herself too seriously, which adds a lovable dimension to her model stereotype. You can tell she's not one of those beauties who complains if they break a fingernail; instead she sings and play drums alongside strutting her stuff for practically every fashion house going. Cara admits to being 'a bit boy-ey' and playing on her Xbox. She even has a headpiece for Call of Duty (See video at the bottom of the page!!) Before last week's incredible Victoria's Secret catwalk run (their 17th annual lingerie show), Cara and Jourdan Dunn were interviewed behind the scenes about their preparation for the event, with Cara admitting she'd snuck into McDonalds for lunch and had pizza for dinner the night before! "I'm a model but I eat", were her exact words, and it must be true- her Tumblr background is currently a collage of baked bean tins! Cara even retweeted the link to a site covering her and Jourdan's snacking habits on her Twitter page earlier today. GSOH- tick. Oh, and not forgetting she probably holds the record for the most enviable eyebrows in the world- she has undoubtedly brought the power brow back.

Yet another one for the Cara Hall of Fame

A more understated pose
Yes, please do show us those eyebrows Cara so we can copy them!  
 Onto the wardrobe of our crazy fashionista, and a grunge-loving one she is. It's hardly surprising that Cara turned out to be as super-stylish as she is with an older sibling like Poppy, yet she does maintain her own distinct look. Her closet is a mash-up of leather and embellished jackets, slogan tees, skinny jeans, trench coats and boyish knits (and, when she's in the mood, the occasional plunging dress or sequin mini)! She tends to rock a laced biker boot with everything, likewise, she's often sporting stacks of funky ethnic-looking rings on her fingers. Beanies and sunnies (or grills as she calls them in the vid for store The Village Bicycle) are a key part of her everyday, lounge-about look. Here are a few of my favourite outfits of Cara's!
  I just love the gorgeous green hue of this Burberry Prorsum Fall '11/12 military style coat and its looped fastenings are really eyecatching. Cara's gone for minimalist monochrome chic underneath with a loose white shirt and a peek of her lacy bra. Adore the leather pants and the boots too!
   Cara is rarely seen in a sparkly frock, but this shows she should wear one more often!! At last year's Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards, Cara wore this stunning Burberry dress, adding her signature Cara edginess with a waist-cinching black buckle belt, spiked bracelet, black envelope clutch and trusty laceups (all Burberry)!
   Pictured here with Jourdan Dunn, Cara attended 2011's Serpentine Summer Party in this lady-like cream dress- who else could team a cocktail-party frock with heavy motorcycle booties and still look sophisticated?! I want her boho-embroidered headband too!! And her hair...
   Another pair of skinnies, but Cara does them so well. Her Paige Denim striped jeans paired with a skull tee, fitted blazer and sleek black high-tops make for a rocky, effortlessly quirky look. She accessorized with the fab Mulberry Maisie bag.
    I know it's not festival weather but I had to include Cara's Glastonbury look purely because it is soo cool. She is wearing a Mother of Pearl t-shirt with her denim shorts, a mini Mulberry cross-body bag and Hunter trainers. The paisley-print scarf, super-cute headband (recycled!!) and baby blue wayfarers make the outfit for me!! Cara rocks free-spirited style.
   I hope you have now realised that Cara is possibly the coolest girl on earth. Now check out her Tumblr page for more up-to-date funny faces, what she's up to and what she's coveting in her closet:
And you have to watch this video (made last year to advertise Notting Hill boutique The Village Bicycle) to really get a sense of what Cara is all about- I guarantee you will love her and her Made In Chelsea style accent!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair

Marilyn photographed by Sam Shaw, 1957

    I have been trying to schedule in a visit to the Marilyn Monroe: A British Love Affair exhibition for ages, and hope to finally go next week. Held at The National Portrait Gallery, just behind Oxford Street, the exhibition dedicates a vast room of photographs to the world-famous pin-up and actress. With photographs and magazine covers dating from 1946 up to her death in 1962, any admirer of the beautiful and talented Marilyn (born Norma Jeane) will get an intimate glimpse at her life in and out of the limelight.
  There is no doubt that Marilyn was a photographer's dream, and celebrated in the exhibition are Marilyn's collaborations with famed British photographers such as Anthony Beauchamp and Larry Burrows. From press coverage documenting Marilyn's trips to the UK to private shots taken in her spare-time, the exhibition is a visual diary of the icon's life.
   A special highlight of the exhibition for Brits is the impressive selection of press photographs, posters, lobby cards, vintage photographs and film stills from Marilyn's four month visit to the UK in 1956. Photographs from this trip, on which she she filmed ‘The Prince and the Showgirl’ with Laurence Olivier, show Marilyn at the very peak of her career. In a photograph that certainly brings a smile to my face, Burrows captured Marilyn excitedly greeting a crowd of fans from a hotel window. Life magazine photographer Burrows was there throughout Marilyn's London vacation, documenting her every moment on British soil- from her first meeting with the Queen to the press conference for The Prince and The Showgirl at The Savoy.
   The relaxed yet still glamorous photographs of Marilyn in a well-known yellow bikini (Beauchamp, 1951) and lounging in a hotel suite (Cecil Beaton's 1956 photographs of Marilyn in the Ambassador hotel, New York) make a nice contrast to the photographs of more formal, business-based events. To see Marilyn in happy times is very poignant, considering how her life became infamously unhappy in the run-up to her death. Though she was considered a sex-symbol and the epitome of glamorour, I feel one of the most intriguing aspects of Marilyn was her vulnerability. On one dreamy image taken by Jack Cardiff, Marilyn tragically wrote; “Dear Jack, if only I could be the way you created me”. In one photograph taken during a dress fitting for a Madison Square Garden event we see Marilyn in tears at a wardrobe malfunction. I love how this shows  that Marilyn Monroe, despite her fame, was just like any other image-conscious woman.

Marilyn described Beaton's photograph of herself in his Ambassador
Hotel suite in '56 as her favourite picture of herself.

Marilyn and her yellow bikini, shot on Santa Monica beach, 1951 by Anthony Beauchamp

Marilyn in London (1956) to film The Prince and the Showgirl, by Larry Burrows
A lovely touch to the exhibition are the quotes accompanying the photographic displays. Being able to read quotes from photographers and others that knew Marilyn first-hand not only gives an insight into her character, but is a touching tribute to the star's memory. Dame Edith Sitwell- who Marilyn is seen talking with on a sofa in one photograph- said, “She was very quiet and had a natural dignity… She was also exceedingly sensitive”. It gives me shivers reading this, and I know I will feel greatly moved when I get to see and read these commemorations to Marilyn in real life.
  Because the exhibit focuses on Marilyn's relationship with Britain, she is pictured with a number of note-worthy British subjects, such as British director Roy Ward Baker and Gone With The Wind's Vivien Leigh as well as poet Edith Sitwell. Numerous British magazine covers from the likes of Sight & Sound and Picture Post depict Marilyn's emergence from shy foster-child to blonde screen legend and curvaceous role-model for women. The final cover of the publication display was released posthumously.

Marilyn on Sight & Sound's January-March cover of 1954.
A shot from How To Marry A Millionaire with Betty Grable and Lauren Bacall.
  The final must-see aspect of the exhibition are the costumes worn by Marilyn in her film history. Each beautiful dress is displayed on a mannequin cut to Marilyn's real measurements. I cannot wait to see Marilyn's wardrobe in the flesh, from her sequinned scarlet dress from 'Gentleman Prefer Blondes' to the ivory satin, couture evening gown designed by Lanvin and Castillo as a personal gift to the Hollywood siren. As well as fulfilling that dream of being as close as possible to one of my icons, to me it will also be a really fascinating look at the fashion of Marilyn's time.
  I have been transfixed by Marilyn for a number of years now and am so glad that she is still being recognised and honoured as a natural born star that gave her all to the public. In every photograph I have come across of Marilyn, even in the most candid of shots, she exudes this enchanting, effortless charm that makes you wish you could have had the privelege of meeting her in person.
  If you too love Marilyn, I would urge you to buy and read the book "Fragments", by Stanley Buchthal and Bernard Comment. Reading it, I felt genuinely overwhelmed by Marilyn's-I would say almost secret-humanity. The book is a collection of authentic diary style extracts- made up of letters, notes and poems written by Marilyn herself in her captivating scrawl. Each piece of her thoughts show her as a playful, curious, funny yet troubled young woman. There are also 'unseen' photographs of Marilyn throughout the works. Just seeing Marilyn constantly with her head in a book made me emphasise with her. The book finishes with the funeral eulogy read after Marilyn's death. It really is an amazing read, so buy it and let me know what you think.

A photograph from 'Fragments': Marilyn reading James Joyce

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Outfit Of The Day: A Little Bit Rockstar


   Having just found two amazing new items on the Once Upon A Time site (See my post: 'Once Upon A Time' for the lowdown on its fab vintage aesthetic), I felt that inspired I had to share them!! I love the laidback grunge-glam feel of this outfit. In fact, I covered one of my rockier style icons, Cara Delevingne, wearing this identical outfit (a customised Trapstar London tee, Burberry Prorsum quilted leather jacket and Levis shorts) at Paris Fashion Week last month.
  This oversized Nirvana tee (£22) is the coolest piece of band merch I have seen around- featuring a list of songs on the back from the 1989 Bleach album and a 1991 album it is quirky, ridiculously cool and a great tribute to the band. And the vintage black studded leather backpack (£25) completely finishes off the grungy 90's look- its minature size contrasted with its full-on spikes is super-cute. Channel this outfit like Cara with your trusty leather jacket, faded or distressed vintage-look cut-offs and lace-up biker boots. I seem to have an uncontrollable fetish for leather right now(!) and am totally coveting the OUAT Vintage Black Grunge Leather Shorts; they would look fab with the tee as an edgy alternative to denim.
Add a pair of biker boots like these Topshop Arielle2 High Hiker Boots £90
to any indie tee and shorts combo for ultimate grunge
Vintage Black Grunge Leather Shorts £30   
The items at Once Upon A Time unsurprisingly sell out super quick, so make sure you snap up the products you fall in love with as soon as the bank balance allows it!! I can't wait to see what else the team at OUAT have to offer us!