Saturday, 30 June 2012

University of Central Lancashire Graduate Fashion Show

The Fashion show of the University of Central Lancashire had quite a few nominations for the Gala Show and if I'm remember correctly a winner for the Textile Award. I've noticed that no menswear collection has been on the catwalk for this University, men are still a bit neglected when fashion is involved, only this month for first time Men Collection had three days of cartwalks and presentations instead of being on the last day of London Fashion Week. Things are starting to look up at this side of the market where even creating a man's collection doesn't mean to be stuck with classic lines and strict tailoring. Creativity is starting to crop up on menswear as well.
Claire Acton opened the show with her playful collection of minidresses and oversized shirts where maxi faces were peeping under fringes sewn on the fabric. Colourful hairclips made a skirt or a shirt or just  kept hold of strands of "hair". I must admit, I've found the skirt very pretty.The judges thought the same when they shortlisted Claire for the Gold Award, unfortunately the prize went to another University.

Xiaoping Huang is the winner of the Textile Award, her collection, colourful, bold and very architectural won over the judges who awarded the student with the prize presented by Daisy Lowe and Mary Katrantzou. We are going to hear more from this tiny girl.

Emma Guilfoyle has created a very ladylike collection with separates and dresses reminding me of the 1960s, yet there is a modern twist with huge prints and the use of patchwork in some of the outfits where different patches of tweed are mixed together with bright prints.A tailleur with a small cape to match is just adorable.
Talia Golchin collection is very colourful and as soon as I've seen it on the catwalk the images of Spanish artist Joan Miro sprang up on my mind with the bright background and drawings.Electric blue, orange, yellow, black and white are the main colours on Talia's palette.

Salford University Graduate Fashion Show

VIP seat for me ready to enjoy the show of Salford University at this year Graduate Fashion Show. I've taken some amazing pictures of these budding designers' collections.The mancunian students sent to the catwalk their visions of what is fashionable now, or better what will be fashionable in a few months time and this show will help many graduates to start their chosen career in the fashion industry.
Natalie O'Hare sent on the runway her collection with a very sophisticated palette of gold and camel. Soft fabrics for a capsule wardrobe that would not be wrong in the Duchess of Cambridge 's closet.
Bethanie Elsa Jacob worked with colours and prints reminding me of graffitis we see on walls, lots of spray paint and bright colours, creating a casual and sporty collection that should be stocked in some hip outlet.
James Greig has taken inspiration for his collection from Alain Robert, a free climber, and he translatthe style of this sportman in a series of colourful sportwear with interesting details.

Yingxin Jiang has sent on the catwalk a collection with oversized coats, multilayering garments to create a new look depending on what is worn. Kaki, bright yellow and camel mixed harmoniously.

Friday, 29 June 2012

Zoe Griffin Summer Party

London hasn't been generous with its weather but for Zoe Griffin Summer Party the sun has been out in force and the evening has been warm and dry. The Arch Hotel in 50 Great Cumberland Street saw a string of guests from the media and the fashion industry ready to party with the Queen of the Parties.

Zoe looks stunning with this fabulous dress by Nina Naustdal, shoes by Gianmarco Lorenzi and gorgeous vintage earrings from Linda Bee at Grays Antique. Fashion Editor Stephen Mahoney my style spy is sporting a pair of striking Billionaire shoes.

Pandemonia could not miss this party and  we had a chat and a glass of one of the delicious cocktails while sampling canapes. We've stopped  to freeze this moment in a picture with Alice Tapfield and Michelle Horan - Cashmore at both ends of the photo while Linda Bee, the vintage expert is cuddling Snowy and I am in between my friends Karen Johnson, former model and manager at Fratelli Rossetti store in London and her husband jewellery designer Simone Muzi, tonight I'm wearing a vintage Valentino silk blouse.
Zoe Griffin has always an eclectic guest list, here she is with Nio the Magician, the new talent in town. Expect to see him at all the main events and surely you've seen him here first.

The fantastic hairstyle that Zoe was sporting has been surely the work of Pierre Doumit creative director and award winning coiffeur at Leticia Haute Coiffure at 61 Chiltern Street in the heart of Marylebone Village.
Model Sophie Anderton looked lovely in her colourful dress and I've seen her again with pleasure after a previous event where she modelled for Nina Naustdal. Watch this space, I will run this story after its exclusive with a very wellknown magazine.
The R&B/ pop/ hip hop girl group Stooshe popped in to say hello to our gorgeous Zoe. Courtney Mariah Rumbold, Alexandra Stephanie Buggs and Karis Anderson mingled with the other guests wearing tropical prints and bright colours. They are going to be very busy with gigs at the Wireless Festival, V Festival and other appearances all over the UK.
Zoe smiles at the camera while in company of Jamal Edwards founder and CEO of SB.TV and designer of Haute Couture Nina Naustdal. Jamal caused his site to crash when nearly a million people googled his name. This music channel features mainly rap but lately other genres have been included in his broadcasts. Nina Naustdal dresses the celebrities with her gowns and cocktail dresses, one off pieces of high craftmanship and now with her collection of jewellery, her shop in 176 Walton Street is the one stop for the whole party outfit.
We left clutching our goodie bags full of incredible gifts from all the sponsors of the evening and the bottle of Vita Liberata self tan mousse is going to be very useful given that July is looming and still I haven't seen a serious sunny day in weeks.

Pictures by Stephen Mahoney

Just My Cup of Tea a Vintage Style Afternoon

Last Sunday I went with my friend Cristina to an event hosted at the Brickhouse in Brick Lane. The weather was gorgeous so I worn my tea dress and vintage looking shoes by Amarena  Chic ready for an afternoon organised by the UK Tea Council " Just My Cup Of Tea".

The host of this event was model, singer and vintage lover V.V.Brown together with  fashion stylist Alexis Knox who mingled with the fashionable crowd, some in vintage garb with fantastic hairstyle and make up.

The afternoon was starting perfectly with tea served in vintage and mismatched cups and saucers, refreshing cocktails with tea as one of the main ingredient and tea cakes stands with delicious macaroones, meringues, brownies and biscuits.

The ground floor room had little tables with fresh flowers and books about teas and fashion. Delicious sandwiches have been served, classic style like cucumber, salmon and cheese, egg and cress, while sipping our teas and our cocktails, waiting for our host to introduce the afternoon event.
The models were waiting, dressed up with Alexis choices, ready to show us how to transform something found in a vintage or charity shop and make it wearable and unique.

This lovely DJ has been spinning tunes all afternoon mixing old classics with more contemporary sound, without being intrusive and adding a pleasant background to the afternoon.

Alexis and V.V. are with one of the models who is wearing a pick from the upstairs "swoom" (swap room to the not initiated).In here V.V. asks Alexis how to accessorise this ensemble to make it just right, and during this session Alexis show us that just a bead necklace or knotting a blouse changes completely the look of an outfit.
During the afternoon a make up artist has given to some of the guest a make up and hairstyle session and I've been amazed by how just a few expert strokes of a brush and a hairspray made possible to change a look with beautiful curls and hairdos reminding me of  Audrey Hepburn and her chignon.

In the garden a tea leaves reader has been dispensing her insights for many of us who wanted to know what was going on in our life and a bit of future thrown in. It is very fascinating looking at the tea leaves swirling inside the tea cup and listening to what they mean depending on were they were positioned.
Several kind of teas were available to be tasted and they were even more appealing just being served in vintage teapots and poured through a strainer.

Dresses are ready to be picked up by their new owner, together with shoes, costume jewellery, silk scarves and handbags. I've found a fantastic bag mock croc in light brown. The maker must be an old english label "Mac of Norwich" and my friend left with a cute necklace with an enamelled butterfly.

I'm going to look for a tea set like this, tea is just so much more delicious when drank in style and I'm sure I'm going to host an similar afternoon for my friends at my place. Fashion and tea work well together and now with all the choice we've got in shops, we can create a tea menu with a great range of flavours.

Inside the goodie bag where we put our treasure we've found two fantastic books, a guide to the "Perfect Places for Afternoon Tea" published by the AA Publishing in association with the Tea Guild and the United Kingdom Tea Council and "The Magic in Tea Leaves" by Amber McCarroll which I believe will keep me entartained for a while.

Pictures courtesy of Just My Cup Of Tea

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Regent Tweet 2012

The weather was great, which in the last weeks means that it did not rain and it was not cold. About 100 influential bloggers, some of them from France and Belgium as well, gathered on the 23rd of June at the Swarovski Crystallized Lounge for the annual event "Regent Tweet".
Everyone with mobile at hand was ready to start this day of shopping and lifestyle with many brands in Regent Street and surroundings involved. During the day Twitter has been  the way to communicate experiences, meetings, goodies received and much more to the Base Camp at the Lounge and to receive tweets with the latest offers and challenges. A fun day which has been very healthy as well walking laden with bags, so the treats received to some of the places involved helped  to sustain us while visiting shops indicated in our shopping vouchers given at the beginning of the day.

This is our Base Camp at the Swarovski Crystallized Lounge, where we could recharge our phones, upload pictures on our blogs, drop our bags for more places to go and relax with something to drink.

After a tasty breakfast at Tibits I went to the Apple Store for a lecture about technology and how it is rooted in our lives. In here  Arwa mahdawi is illustrating some facebook apps about fashion. Very interesting, followed by a talk about "The Space" by Professor Christopher riley and at the end a lecture about technology and photography by Sadhna Jain and Marek Kultys.

Regent Street be ready, nearly 100 women are taking up arms with their smartphones and a badge sticked to their jackets. During all day it was such fun meeting people and exchanging tips or just a smile, like belonging to a special club.

At Molton Brown, one of my stops I've picked up a lovely little bag with a mini bottle of bath and shower gel while engaging in a nice conversation with the lady at the counter. The purpose of Regent Tweet has been to introduce us to shops, new and established ones, experiencing their products, partecipating in competitions and challenges and receiving a small gift in order to bring home something to remember from the several shops visited.
Quintessentially British Hawes & Curtis greeted us bloggers with a glass of champagne and a goodie bag with cute knot cufflinks for women and a pair of cufflinks for our halves together with a great discount to be used in store. I've discovered some great women shirts colourful and with fantastic patterns.
I'm looking forward to wear the t-shirt received at Superdry inside a vintage style tin. My Regent Tweet bag is already full to the brim with hand cream by Crabtree & Evelyn, a frog with Liberty fabric and some body products picked at the REN skincare counter in Liberty and delicious chocolate boxes from Godiva. For this one we had to upload a picture of what we liked in the shop and tweeting it, and I'm telling you it was very difficult to make a choice because everything was on my favourite list.
A stop at Argentinian ice cream parlour Freggo was on the card, literally, because we could sample a cup or a cone of this fantastic ice cream giving our voucher to the lovely lady in the picture. While tasting my delicious ice cream I've organised my next visits and tweeted my whereabouts to Base Camp. Freggo is one of these places where I'm going again, not just because the interior is purple, my favourite colour, but the ice cream is absolutely yummy.
I've popped into Uniqlo to pick up a great top which is going to be one of my staple garments for this summer and many to come. All these visits made me realise of the many offers in shops at the moment and to plan a future visit for a bit of a shopping spree. At Sebago I've tasted some delicious finger food while partecipating in a instore competition and I've left with a beautiful diary and a 20% discount.

After a spot of lunch offered by the newly opened Whole Foods Market in Piccadilly Circus, me and a group of bloggers have been involved in a cupcake masterclass at this venue and I've managed to decorate in a decent way this monster cupcake which I've taken home and enjoyed  for breakfast on Sunday morning. We needed rest because the afternoon has been very busy with more shops to visit, cocktails to sample, a bit of grooming courtesy of Four London.

 Back  to the Swarovski Crystallized Lounge to rest and hoping to be the winner in one of the planned draws. I love this place and this sparkling couch is brilliant in the real sense of the word. I had a drink, a chat with some bloggers and with the girls behind Sister PR who organised the event in a fantastic way as usual and after the draw which saw winners happy with their prizes, especially quite a few who came in the morning by Eurostar just to be here for the event, I went home to unveil all my lovely gifts.

My gifts at the end of the day, the chocolate truffle were very nice, I had to eat them quickly in case the weather gets hot, the hand cream tubes by Crabtree & Evelyn are going to be in my handbag for a treat massage while on the bus. The boxset from Ren Skincare smell beautifully of Moroccan Rose and the tea towel from Anthropologie is going to be a nice addition in my yellow kitchen. Whole Food Market treated me to a canvas bag full of natural goodies like echinacea tablets, aromatic salt and other very useful items sold in the shop. My denim jacket already sports a Guess pin with pink cz and their exercise book with a pen is going to be a set that I will use during London Fashion Week.
Regent Tweet this year I was a bit shy and not very familiar with a smartphone, but I hope to receive the invitation at the next edition so to enjoy in full a day that it has been a great fun.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Wandering at Graduate Fashion Week

Earls Court 2 held the 21st Graduate Fashion Week introducing more than 1000 students from 39 Universities to the key people in the fashion industry. During the 4 days, fashion shows had been held at the two theatres inside the exhibition centre as well as many other activities like photoshoots, a pop up shop, meetings with various insiders at the George at Asda space, sponsor of the event for the second year.
I had a good round of the several spaces where the Universities and Colleges had their displays with the students present to answer questions and to be known by the media and fashion scouts.
Michael Broadway from the Northumbria University School of Design has come up with this beautiful outwear where the process to obtain this particular kind of dye is made burying  or rusting or rotting the garments which after this treatment are obviously cleaned and ready to be worn. Every piece is different from the other because nature did its work. The collection comprise of a fantastic jacket worn by the designer himself and shirts in good cotton with coloured collars and the characteristic dye.

This fantastic jacket has been worn by this visitor at Sarah Murphy ' s corner at the Northumbria University.
I've been amazed by Sarah craftsmanship using second hand materials. Tweeds and wool are selected carefully for the garments and the lining is superb with the use of vintage scarves and ties.
No surprise when at the Gala Night, the beautiful Sarah has been presented with the Ethical Award from Livia Firth and Lucy Siegle.

Another talent at the Northumbria University. Sarah Romartinez produced beautiful handmade scarves with bright digital prints. I love colours and when I've seen Sarah Romartinez prints I had to take a picture hoping to see her works somewhere soon because she just deserve it.

This Northumbria University I'm sure is very proud of its students. I've realised that I've been raving about its graduates in this post. But when somebody is worth it why deny a bit of exposure?
I've been attracted by Kerry Willshire handbag, which apparently is a very stylish laptop case. Talking to Kerry I've said that I wouldn't mind using it as a handbag. The leather is very soft and the print is a current motif of all her collection which is not limited just to leather accessorises. A whole capsule wardrobe has been created with a palette of purple, camel, teal and ivory and the print has been present in lining or small details.

Sofia Wallis Henny graduated from Bradford College and I think she promote  herself in a manner I've never seen before not even among more established designers. Her collection was stunning with prints and the use of feathers to create a one off pieces.The presentation pack really impressed me, I've seen professionality, a young designer who knows how to be remembered. So inside a logoed bag she gave me a box with feathers on the lid and inside the box all the information, sketches and a CV. I will keep that box.

Istituto Marangoni Graduate Fashion Show

I love June, it is the time that all the Universities and Schools with courses dedicated to who wants to start in the fashion industry present their students' works during Graduate Fashion Week with fashion shows attended by the most eminent personalities ready to spot the next rising star.
Istituto Mrangoni has been in London for nearly a decade in Brick Lane at 30 Fashion Street, a very apt address for this fashion school that founded in Milan 77 years ago has seen many of its students becoming household names in the industry.
This year's students have been brilliant bringing on the catwalk incredible looks and a use of the fabric exceptional. The show has been held in the magnificent foyer of the Royal Court of Justice using the mosaic on the floor as the runway.

Claudia Gamba brings on the catwalk a great collection with a palet in blue, red and white. Dresses and coats match and they are just so stylish. I would happily wear some from this new designer.

I love colours and Camilla Maria Melo Lopez put together some of my favourite colours like peacock, purple, fuchsia in this collection very wearable using leather and suede together. This is a collection that I could see stocked in some hip boutiques.

Daniel Moshe Cohen brings a Gothic theme on the runway with lots of lace, corsets and a surprise insert of sheer fabric on the back.

 Pei - Chuan Tsai sent her models wearing a collection that reminded me of "Roman Holidays" with Audrey Hepburn. If another remake would be on the card, producers should choose Pei - Chuan as the costume designer on set.

Andrea Aguirre Landa won the 2012 Award with her collection. It must have been a tough job for the judges because all the students had great collections but Andrea had the title for this year. I love the use of the leather which from my seat looked very soft.  Congratulation to Andrea and all the students.

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Knomo Sample Sale

It is that time of the year, the one that everyone is waiting impatiently, holiday yes but Sales Time as well.
This time the two things are related because I'm writing about the Knomo Sample Sale. We are talking about handbags, tote bags, luggage sets, all designed to accommodate our precious phones and laptops, because we don't leave them at home but they are our loyal companions during our holidays as well. The bags are the perfect solution for a practical  hand luggage with all the pockets and padded lining to protect our technology. And once we are at home these incredible bags are perfect for work and to hold everything we need during the day.
Men are not forgotten at Knomo with a great selection of laptop cases, messenger bags and trolleys.
So write these dates down:
 28th and 29th of June from 11 to 7 at 83 Great Portland Street W1W 7LS
Reduction up to 70% off on lots of items.
Just to give you a preview of what you can find at the Knomo Sample Sale, check the pictures below.