Sunday, 29 July 2012

Bottletop Bags

I've written many times that I like to write and I support ethical companies that are concerned about up- cycling and recycling  and that they care for communities helping, through a job, people and projects.
Bottletop is one of these companies.
These fantastic clutches and strap bags are the latest addiction to the Bottletop family, this is the Painted line where recycled ringpulls have been hand painted and stitched in Salvador Brazil where the company has got a workshop and local women are trained and can support their families. These Painted line comes in neon colours like green, pink orange or black.
This is a part of the Leather line, the ringpulls are stitched to create a kind of hem and the leather comes from Bahia and it is one of the softest leather I ever touched. 20% of the profit from the bags sold goes to the Bottletop Foundation that uses contemporary art and music to raise funds and helps in projects such teenage health issues. The Bottletop Foundation supports thousands of young people with education projects in Malawi, Mozambique, Rwanda, Brazil and here in Great Britain.
And here the coloured part of the Leather line with buttersoft leather in powder pink or deep blue and tan. Designed by Vincent Du Sartel  who worked before with Louis Vuitton and Loewe as Creative Director, these gorgeous bags will be seen and recognised by everyone. The trademark ringpull will work better than any visible logo.

And last but not least the Silver Line where the ringpulls are covering entirely the bags. They look heavy, but I've tested them, they are not, they are just striking and new.
All the bags bear a name, there is a bag with my name as well in the present collection. What are you seeing now is the Spring Summer Collection 2013 so it will take a while before it will hit the shops but visiting Bottletop 's website, the current collection is there ready to be bought. The prices are very reasonable for a bag that has been hand made and that is involved in a charity project as well. Celebrities are starting to take note of these accessorises. names like Kate Moss or Livia Firth who is a great supporter of ethical fashion with her Green Carpet Challenge, are just a couple of VIP fans of this company that is only four years old and already has made  a great impact in the fashion industry.

Rosemary Goodenough Art Gallery in Silk

During my visit at Scoop I've been drawn to the stand of artist Rosemary Goodenough. Her silk scarves were full of vibrant colours and the quality of the silk was of the highest quality.
I've started chatting with Rosemary and her very supportive husband Michael Waller-Bridge and they told me the whole story of how these incredible scarves were born. During an art exhibition a year ago a visitor commented " If that painting was a scarf I would wear it". This remark triggered something and in less than 12 months Rosemary and Michael, found a factory in Como, the best place where to source exceptional silks, they've found the perfect kind of fabric, a heavy silk twill and they started a production using Rosemary Goodenough paintings as prints for their scarves.

Rosemary Goodenough '  scarves are made in two sizes a 90x90 and 45x45 and they all come with printing information about what painting is depicted, what detail of the painting is and very important the care guide. And no care label in sight, everything is printed very discreetly on the edge of the scarf.
Here the best example of the no label scarf. In very tiny font everything you need to know is printed and it is visible the signature of the artist, now that need a bit of consideration. This scarf depicts the artwork "Springing Tulips VI"
When orange and purple are involved I'm always on the front row and this scarf is just one of the most beautiful things I've seen in a while. All of Rosemary Goodenough collection would not be out of place in the hall of the old wing at Liberty store.

Bagllerina Shoes by Natkin Paris

 High heels are beautiful, they make look our legs longer and thin but after an evening perched on stilettos, the first thing that comes to mind is running home and take them off in order to give those tortured feet a bit of relief. Bagllerina has thought about us and launched its collection of folding pumps that can find a place in our evening bag or in the pocket of our coat.
The collection comes in several colours, all the shoes have got a leather pouch where to store them. The sole is in leather and it is cut out in the middle so the folding won't ruin it. This very sophisticated Parisian lady, Christine Natkin has come up with this brilliant idea to ease our busy lives. Us and especially our feet will be grateful forever.

This new collection is adorable with these pastel colours. The shoes are all handmade in soft leather and as well as bright colours there are more muted shades like black or tan or white. Varnish and leather, or satin and even lycra have been added to the several lines of the collection.
Seeing a woman walking in trainers in the underground at peak hour and wearing a suit will be something of the past, because now Bagllerina can be worn to go to the office and there slip in high heel shoes for a new working day, frankly a pouch with Bagllerina shoes takes less space in a bag than a pair of bulky trainers.
Keep an eye for the latest collection Bagllerina Ethnique. The beaded jewellery on the pouch and the beaded strand around the shoe are created by workers in the town of Houtbay in South Africa. For every pair of Bagllerina bought from this collection , 2 euros will be donated to Houtbay in order to buy school supplies.
I dare say that this is going to be THE gift in everyone 's wish list for Christmas, birthdays or whatever, but these shoes are going to be inside every woman's bag from now on.

Lingerie Gems by Playful Promises

Lingerie, frilly lingerie is becoming a must for every fashion conscious lady. Now more than ever small independent lingerie boutiques have opened giving the customers that special feeling of luxury that it is not always found in a department store. Playful Promises is one of these gems. The boutique is in a pop up mall in Bethnal Green Road, the Boxpark, where only selected shops have been invited to.
At Unit 14 in Boxpark  3 - 6 Bethnal Green Road E1 6GY the lovely shop is crammed with the best that Playful Promises produces. Flirty dresses, bright swimsuits and seductive lingerie are displayed next to costume jewellery and other "naughty" little things, great to spice up a night in.
This is the model Juliette in a beautiful periwinkle colour. The bra is available both in soft cup or underwired and the brief are lacy on the front and with a satin back.  Needless to say that now I'm the proud owner of such a set. It is just impossible to leave it on the hangers.
This Bride To Be set is very sweet, made in satin with heartshaped baby blue inserts. The garter add the final touch, perfect when following the rule" something old, something new, something blue"
These Frilly Knickers are adorable, available in peach colour, purple, red and magenta. Their vintage style matches with the choice of the colours.
These latex accessorises would be on Pandemonia 's wish list. Kaori Latex Dreams  for Playful Promises fingerless gloves and fascinator are the final touch to Pandy 's outfit.
A very vintage habit the Snuff Box. In this occasion  the Reginald Spleen 's Travelling Snuff Bar had powders you could sniff in very yummy flavours like chocolate, cup cakes, whisky and honey and many more. Guests during this press day enjoyed this novelty, very much in theme with the surrounding. Talking about surrounding, the Travelling Snuff Bar sits next to a gorgeous Margot Blush Pink Set with black lace and a Lucy neon pink bra.

This Kitty Ivory Tulle and Stitch set comprises a delicate bra, brief and suspender belt. This is what I call a fantastic gift for a friend who is getting married.
I love boxes and I love lingerie and I'm sure that many other women are the same. So when Playful Promises has launched its Circus Pin Up Panties I think that the website crashed for the huge number of visitors, because they fulfilled a gap in the market with this great gift set.

And let's finish with this collection of dresses, very feminine, very colourful, with a bit of a vintage feeling. The prices are excellent like any other item in the shop. So we got it all, great style, fantastic designs and tiny prices. After your shopping you can relax at the terrace upstairs in one of the cool eateries or sipping some exotic drink.
If you don't live in UK but you still want to own some of Playful Promises lingerie, the lovely girls will send everything all over the world.

Saturday, 28 July 2012

Northbrook College Graduate Fashion Show

This is another fashion show I've attended during Graduate Fashion Week. Northbrook College sent on the catwalk very talented students. Are they going to be the next "Ones To Watch" ?
Robyn Balnaves collection has got striking prints and it is a very wearable line. Science and nature are the inspiration for this show.
Sacha Kreeger collection is inspired by religious iconography. The prints are very intricate and colourful and the images have been stretched to the limit or repeated like an Andy Warhol work.
Heena Mulji collection tends to be orientated toward the high end couture. Sources of inspirations come from Gothic architecture, crystals and the use of corsets. Purple, black, silver grey are part of the palette used for this young designer with very clear projects in mind.
Bleu Pearce takes inspiration from the North African culture with this collection where prints and colours remind of traditional garments worn during ceremonies.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Nico Didonna Fashion Show at the Italian Cultural Institute

Fashion is culture and it's what Angelo Iudice, President of Accademia Apulia thought when organised, during a week of cultural events dedicated to Region Puglia, a fashion show by Nico Didonna at the Italian Cultural Institute in 39 Belgrave Square.
Nico Didonna is a fashion designer from Puglia and he has been living in London for ages. His collections have been seen during London Fashion Week and this time he gave a sneak peek preview of his new collection to a very selected audience in the magnificent reception hall at the Italian Cultural Institute.
This cocktail dress is part of the new collection inspired by the four Elements in nature. This was the first outfit starting the show and I really loved it. It is something easy to wear and it can change look just changing accessorises.

This dress definitely embodies the element Fire, the fabric is fluid reminding me of sinuous flames.
Flying the flag for England, model for the day and part of the Canoeing Team GB, Tom Brady is sporting a Union Jack jacket for the Nico Didonna menswear collection.
Ecru' and silver for this dress that is light and ethereal like the element Air that it represents. Here as well a different set of accessorises can transform this dress taking it from day to evening with no effort at all. Just whip out from your day bag a nice clutch, leave the jacket at the cloakroom and wear it with a statement necklace to be the belle of the ball.

Earth is the element for this outfit. maroon leather jacket and camouflage trousers in warm colours. It is like seeing a place from the air plane, just a jigsaw of several shades of brown.
A catsuit that for its fluidity it is Water running in a stream. Beautiful the silver grey with that spark of blue at the top.

A lace blouse like this is an investment. It will never be out of fashion and it can be worn all year around. For this reason it is better to buy a good one made with high quality lace and an excellent cut.

My favourite colour could not be missed and this dress is gorgeous. Nico Didonna has used the best silks, chiffon, cottons for his collection Spring Summer 2013.
The end of the show Nico Didonna comes on the runway to greet his guests, together with the godmother of his show lawyer and TV celebrity Nancy Dell'Olio, born in U.S.A. but from the same part of Italy as Nico, Puglia. Nancy is wearing one of Nico Didonna evening dresses.

Nancy Dell'Olio is pictured here with Carlo Presenti, the Director of the Italian Cultural Institute where the fashion show has been held. As a perfect master of the house, Dr Presenti mingled among his guests to make sure that everyone was enjoying this special event.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

The De Monfort University Graduate Fashion Show

During Graduate Fashion Week, shows from several universities have dotted the three days before the gala shows on the last day.
The De Monfort University in Leicester sent out on the catwalk works from very talented students. Keep these names in mind, you might have seen them here first.
Maria Flora Ellina loves colours, the more the better. Prints are a big part on her collection and the palette is bright and cheerful with lots of orange and green, We need these colours on a summer like the one we are experiencing now, Maria Flora Ellina's clothes are perfect to put a flash of colours on a rainy day.

Jennifer Anne Plaster 's collection is dominated by two colours, yellow and black, the prints are reminding me of Impressionist s' paintings with mimosa flowers. The fabric is fluid and the clothes are very wearable even for who is not very brave on wearing big prints.
Scarlett O'Sullivan loves big prints, a trend I've seen in more than one collection. Finally fashion is going toward colours and this thanks to the likes of Mary Katrantzou and others who have broken free from a rut of black and dark colours. It 's proved that during hard times fashion is always quite bright because even if life is tough, just wearing something colourful brings a smile and lifts up the mood.

Scoop International Fashion Show

The Saatchi Gallery has been the venue for Scoop International, a selection of the best brands from all over the world ready to introduce themselves to the cream of the buyers and the press. Over the three floors of the Gallery, surrounded by the art installations of The Royal College of Art, the Flanders Fashion Institute and the current exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, designers have displayed their latest collections.
Bleulab is a brand from Los Angeles. Its jeans are very unusual and I'm not referring only to the fact that they are very colourful. These jeans can be worn on two sides being reversible. One side will be a full colour then the other side will be of the same colour but with patterns. The idea is fantastic because just buying a pair of jeans you've got two pairs of them.

Essentiel comes from Belgium, being established over 10 years. Their designs are bold, colourful and can be worn from day to night. Accessories are very particular with strong neon colours, the prints on their collections are striking and the fabrics are of the highest quality. I hope to see them stocked soon in UK. I took note of a couple of things that I really liked and I would love to have them in my cupboard.

Handwritten By Tanya Sarne has got a collection of ultra feminine clothes. The fabrics are from wood and plants mixed with silks and cottons. The palette is  like a jewels' box with blue sapphire, purple amethyst, ruby red, onyx black. Its secret process, sustainable and ethical that has been developed by Tanya Sarne during her period at Ghost, mixes these ingredients from nature to give soft and bio degradable fabrics that don't need a strong dry cleaning care, being good for our skin and for the environment.

L.A.M.B. had many fans at this Scoop edition. The luxurious collection, created by Gwen Stefani eight years ago is the acronym of Love Angel Music Baby and in all these years has gone stellar. This season collection is fan, quirky, mixing neon colours with traditional fabric patterns like prince of wales or hounds tooth. Not many stockist in UK yet, only two in London, one in Hackney and one in St John's Wood, but after this visit I'm sure that L.A.M.B. will be available to more outlets in order to make all fashionistas happy.

When this edition of Scoop International ended, a huge party has been thrown for the guests who attended this event. Karen Radley, managing director of Scoop International has organised a great three days of fashion and a big party has been the cherry on the top of the cake.
The group Pocket Caravan Ensemble  provided live music with their repertoire of pieces from several musical backgrounds.

The turntables have been spanned by the manicured hands of one of Rock The Belles' DJs who kept the guests on the beat while they were nibbling delicious canapes and sipping beer and wine.

Among the guests at the Scoop party, designer Betty Jackson and Brian Godbold who takes care of the press office for Spanish designer Ramon Gurrillo are smiling for the camera.

Photos by Lauren Michelle Pires

Texprint 2012

The Chelsea College of Art & Design hosted the Texprint London 2012 awarding textile design graduates from several Art Schools in UK. On the 12th of July judges selected the winners for this year and during the evening a selected number of guests mingled among the students, admiring their works, all of them really of high quality. Keep an eye on these names and check many more on the Texprint website  they will be the names of the future.
The evening got busier, the place was so packed with people from the fashion industry, ready to snap the new talents and offer them a place in their company. I would have had a hard work in deciding who should have won, because every one of them was so talented and with fresh ideas that the final votes really have been thought through.

Trinity Mitchell is a great girl from Cornwall, passionate about food, cats and mostly fashion. She introduce her collection of silk scarves in beautiful and colourful prints. I would see them in Liberty with no problem at all, they are just amazing and full of life. Trinity graduated from the University College of Falmouth and hopefully her 1950s inspired silk scarves will be stocked somewhere because are just small works of art.
Carlo Volpi is from Florence in Italy and he is wearing one of his creations. The judges awarded him with the "Body" award for the best fashion fabric. Graduated from the Royal College of Art, Carlo Volpi makes incredible knitwear full of colours with great texture and combinations of stitch structures in order to have spectacular effects on his garments.
Lovely Ying Wu is the winner for the Pattern Prize. No wonder that she had in the past a work placement at Liberty at the Art Fabric Design Department. She is wearing a pair of pyjama trousers with the pattern she created and they are absolutely fantastic. Her works are so intricate and full of details. One of them reminds me of the "Man of Palenque" that bas relief in Mexico where the stone is completely engraved with symbols and drawings. With a BA at the Central Saint Martins and a MA at the Royal College of Art  under her silky belt, this girl will go far.
Lily Kamper from the Royal College of Art has created a very architectural collection. Perspex, etched metal, are matched with soft materials like leather. The result is a great combination of soft and hard materials. Lily Kamper has made some pieces of jewellery with perspex and metal and a collection of bags with metal details. The clutch in the picture is fantastic.

In this picture we've got Laura Barnes and Sarah Burton both from Nottingham Trent University.
This is a sample of Laura Barnes ' work. The prints are hand drawn and the palette of colours used is wide, striking and bright colours describe scenes inspired by Arabic, Oriental and metropolitan worlds.
Sarah Burton introduces her collection inspired by circus performers. Her knitwear is so wearable, I love the combination of the yarns with hooks and rings.
These are the 24 graduated students who have been selected and who after a very hard decision have been round up to only 4 for the final prizes offered by the sponsors.

And here the final winners together with Caroline Burstein, creative director at Browns and founder of the luxury body and bath range Molton Brown.
Carlo Volpi, Manri Kishimoto, Ying Wu and Tania Knuckey.
Manri from Central Saint Martins wins the prize for Colours while Tania from the Royal College of Art wins the prize Space awarded for best fabric for interiors.