ALL ABOUT THE SLEEVES


Elongated sleeves may be just a slight alteration to a top or blouse solely but what a difference such makes to the overall appeal of an ensemble, and intrigue. Sleeves have been in prime focus of late, firstly with the the 70s revival of last summer - fluted sleeves in all their glory graced garments in abundance and said trend seems not only to have stuck around, but evolved further. Now, sleeves are not only in wide frilled form as SS16 and more recently, AW16 catwalks saw the conception of the oversized arm but not in a sense that is bulky or of ill-fitting manner, instead it is of a structurally statement standard and certainly not a fault. While a longer sleeve is certainly a visual delight, it could be seen as slightly impractical but I myself not being one to shy away from an item for its comfort level - I appreciate the statement sleeve in all of its glory, that and its hand-warming attribute in the chilling mornings. 

FAVOURITES FROM LONDON FASHION WEEK AW16



Christopher Kane is undoubtedly one of the most inspiring designers of British origin, never failing to unveil fresh and experimental designs with every collection he creates, his AW16 offering was by no means lacking in such talent. While the collection was visually diverse, my favourite pieces were those adorned with feathers - a similar trait featured at Michael Kors Collection at NYFW - but in this particular manifestation, Christopher Kane accentuated a blank canvas with swatches of muted feathers and the result was innovative, the use of simple floral patches and bright injects of colour alongside this holistically infused vibrance into the collection. With Kane citing the theme of decay as an inspiration for his AW16 creations, such is conveyed through the almost granny-esque head scarves adoring each model and the collective feel of overgrown beauty. The designer himself states that ''dead and thrown away beauty often looks better when it was supposedly alive,'' and this opinion is unapologetically clear through the message that the clothes radiate.



There is something about a collection, or a singular ensemble even, that is innovative in the form in which it is comprised - layers upon layers of contrasting material and unusual detail - and you have my unwavering attention. Such is exactly what Toga delivered to a precise measure, delicately coloured sheer fabric met with loose frills and fur and a side of sequin? For Autumn/Winter 16, Toga succeeded in executing such a coalition of features in definitive, pin-point manner - no fuss or bulk was found here but instead, efficient yet captivating looks cascaded down the runway in one collectively cool swish of weightlessness. No matter whether it be a well-fitted cream knit, adequately etched with colour of the primary persuasion, or a swash of gold amongst a double-breasted coat of glory - even a dress with frills or belted leather to match, the Toga message was one of effortless style, but not simple, instead a some sort of understated cool with a slight edge yet without ever seeming try-hard.



From what I observed through social media, this was a fashion show that generated a triumphant buzz - and rightly so. With the collection boasting in many an oversized knit, deconstructed corsets and innovative layering schemes met with chunky texture, in all of its entirety it was the ever so pleasing colourful jumpers which entranced my desires in immediate effect - the mighty roll neck is here to stay so it would seem. A fine pairing was made with knitwear cascading over a full-length skirt - something which is akin to a particular outfit Alexa Chung wore not too long ago - and it was certainly the jumpers etched unusual patterns and drawings left with unfinished ambiance of fringed threads swinging that were the stand-out pieces of the collection, especially when matched with a certain iridescent velvet skirt, oh what a delight.



1205 is a new addition to my sartorial wavelength and gladly so, with the designer Paula Gerbase's innovative nature in terms of fabric sourcing, such makes for an equally fresh and modern collection. The unique use of rarely touched materials translates exquisitely through the clothes, rich tones of mustard, green and deep blue shine in contrast to the delicate shimmer of a sheer ensemble. Shirts of crisp white standing were moulded to create a simple yet striking gathered effect, while slightly elongated sleeves made for a contemporary fit without all the fuss. Holistically, the tailoring was neat, efficient and as modern as it comes but injections of rich tones and fabrics of complexity proved that in this case, the collection speaks for itself without need of any adornment.



Isa Arfen, a presentation that was indeed a showcase - with nods to the much excessive decade of the 80s - a style that admittedly is not typically among my favourites yet somehow Isa manages to manifest such superfluous ruffles and bold colours in a form which is not outdated, it is vintage inspired yes, but Arfen's AW16 collection is undoubtedly current. Revived necklines, gothic velvet suits and playful bright fuchsia puffy dresses make a bold case for a darker take on the disco infused excess of the 1980s. With the designer herself citing “To me fashion is about desire, beauty and fun,” this playful attitude distinctly translates through her creations, and with it brings such joy and shimmer too.

Justin and Thea, the designer partners who make up the dazzling label of Preen by Thornton Bregazzi by no means failed to capture the desires of those in attendance of the Autumn/Winter 16 catwalk show. The collection in a holistic overview ranged from dark, autumnal florals matched with deep tartans and strong, long coats, changing in a fluid sweep to blooming reds, blues, whites - eventually leading to a triumphant and undoubtedly thrilling endeavor of pink shine and sparkle; and that is not to say that such made this collection straight-out pretty, of course with the flushed tones the grunge influence and relaxed tailoring was not forgotten. In a final bow, the collection comes full circle, with loose black ruffles and dangerous but alluring black sheer putting an end to the varied yet collective showcase. The theme of a toughened edge is evident overall and with Thornton stating that the aim was to ''toughen up and modernise the collection'' and doing so by adding ''rock-star vibe,'' such was throughly present, from the lace up boots paired with each outfit and even in the silk and plush of rich rosy hues, frills and all. 


A reoccurring favourite that never fails to catch my attention season to season is of course, Topshop Unique. Their AW16 collection is vast in size and with looks ranging from gothic lace and velvet to night-ready sequins and this seasons favourite, the long sleeve. Topshop is a brand which never fails to nail ready-to-wear, and while their efforts may not be as innovative as other independent designers or fashion houses, Topshop Unique's offering is simply on-trend and wearable, they produce pieces that are strong, items that are destined to be coveted straight from the catwalk. One thing I have found, is that you can always count on Topshop Unique to deliver.


Texture, something which was the prominent feature of this Autumn/Winter 16 collection - that, and tonal dressing. Interesting cuts and innovative rope fittings met with contrasting material of fuzzy finish and sweet-wrapper-shine. This was a collection which oozed a glowing sense of modernity, yet it was one of colourful, carefully matched hue - packaged up (quite literally, the presentation could only be viewed through a key-hole like structure in a boxed construction which housed the models, each decorated to aesthetically match the tone of each outfit) in inventive form and whether that be through a cloud white, a peach dream orange or a standout, yellow with striking effect, the texture and vivid monotone match is one met with harmonious praise.

In overview, London Fashion Week AW16 was indeed a season full of innovative collections bursting with inspiration and originality - something which definitely surpassed New York's offering in abundance, and that is not to say that NYFW was without substance, CHECK HERE to see my picks from such however, it goes without saying that for me, LFW has won over my affections. There is no surprise then that after this mammoth roundup of my favourites from the London showcase, I still have some firm favourites that are more than deserving of a mention.






Erdem wowed with plush florals - as per typical style, but it was the fluid silk and gold dreamer dress which captivated with its charming tone.

With a collection featuring stripes, a simple yet effective colour scheme and unusual cuts and styling, there was so much to praise at Jamie Wei Huang - my favourite ensemble has to be the striped wide legged trouser and matching belted top (with a roll neck of course) an absolute DREAM of an outfit.

All photographs taken from vogue.co.uk and dazeddigital.com

FAVOURITES OF NYFW FW16

Admittedly, my favourite of the Fashion Weeks invariably tends to lean towards London's offering, and while such favouritism may be due to its more localised location to myself (and with that comes a more in-tune sense of relevance) the clothes unveiled on the runway are usually much more suited to my desires - although, it cannot be said with certainty that this pattern will persist throughout the current fashion week season as LFW is yet to commence and while I am eagerly awaiting its arrival (not just for the shows, but for street style too) until next week, the focus is on the ensembles exhibited on the New York catwalk, and such focus is pleasurable indeed.

If one thing was consistent throughout the New York showcase of Ready-To-Wear - and whether that through presentation or on the runway - it was the intricate presence of layers (particular focus was had on the sleeve front) and striking detail which while in abundance, was eloquently executed in such a form which avoided the fussy. This such skilful attribute instead engendered an exhibit which was holistically rich in interest and appeal, and whether that be mastered through the glamour sequins of a Saint Laurent pussybow blouse, or the fulfilling ruffling feathers of a blue Michael Kors trouser - the attraction such adornments ensued did not wither or at all fail to keep the allure alive. 


The Proenza Schouler duo Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McColluogh created a collection which was born out of the concept of process, citing artists as inspiration for the reconstructed approach to tailoring, this idea of visible assembly is visually present in their desirable designs, adhering to the slashings of fabric and cut-away detail but note, this is not a deconstruction - it is mend and make. However, this mending process was not to a patchwork effect, the Proenza Schoulder way was fluid and succinct, but not to such an extent that made stitchings or linking adornments concealed - the mending process was one intended to be seen, and such made for a satisfying collection of contrasting yet flowing designs. A modern approach is the duo's course of action and it shows in the clothes, each garment oozes an air of relaxed temperament, but this does not mean that the clothing lacks in the element of interest, the layers may be of calm fitting but the overall effect is not one to be overlooked.


Hedi Silmane's excellence as creative director of the French fashion house is one that has seen rumours swirling of late predicting the end of his reign at Saint Laurent, and while such would be a great shame to the fashion world, his latest collection was by no means a disappointing feat. Think 70s glamour in all its sequined form, Silmane makes a penchant for reviving vintage classics and revolutionising them in a form that is fresh, current and exciting - take the pussyblow blouse for example, no longer of shirt consistency but comprised of glittering gold substance or patent red in its own right. In the collections entirety, a look was look and such was built through rich layers of plush fabric and deep colour - each sealed with a synching circle belt, fur or an accouterment of that 70s skinny scarf -  not forgetting a long bold boot, no skin was on show here and like that Saint Laurent serves as serious fashion.


An odd one for myself as never have I been one to seek much into the Michael Kors overload recent years have seen in form of common handbags and watches alike, yet this collection for me aroused a feeling unlike the tiresomeness I typically relate with the brand, instead, I felt the showcase was opposingly one of standout stamina. By stamina, I make reference to the seamless flow the clothes which, throughout the mixture of cuts and fabrics, stayed on constant course - a satisfying aspect that I feel that every collection should posses, it often goes hand in hand with the wearability factor of a Ready-To-Wear show, something which is indeed in the name but does not always translate through the clothing. In this case, Michael Kors Collection made a strong mark with an alluring pair of blue ruffle trousers, the feathers being a light yet distinct accoutrement featured throughout the collection and yet their effortless striking appeal does not differ no matter if such is paired with an equally ruffled blouse or standout sequin flares, it makes for a fascinating ensemble and a playful one at that, indeed it is timeless but that aspect of joy is not removed in these designs. In his own words the designer stated that the collection pays 'homage to individual style' and this is clear to see through such a collection consisting of items which are versatile in their sartorial nature allowing them to be adapted to fit each woman's personal preference. 


Beaufille, a relatively new Canadian label that I was unaware of until a look from their FW16 collection graced one of my favourite instagrams. The image displayed their unusual patent wide legged trousers to such a delight that the very picture spurred me on to discover more and it is fair to say that the entirety of the NYFW newcomer's presentation did not disappoint. With a name that translates to english as 'handsome girl' the clothes artfully convey this mixture of masculine and feminine through long, drawn out silhouettes accentuated with faint romanticised ruffles and striking cut-outs, although such are never too daring as to distract from the main body of the outfit. Overall the effect is a simple one yet at the same time it remains unique, modern and effortless almost but without seeming undone, a vibe that I am now wanting very much to emulate. 

Other notable mentions have to be the ever enchanting Rodarte in all its lace romance and Alice and Olivia with its colourful filled fun in straight up wearability fashion.

All pictures taken from vogue.co.uk

SACRED MONSTER

















Alexa Chung for AG, a collaboration and designer label in its own right that my eyes have stared longingly with lust over ever since the first alluring collection dropped. Although Alexa's initial offerings were tempting enough, I have to admit that the Autumn/Winter capsule offering which followed was by far my favourite of the batch, and indeed this was the very collection which unveiled a certain Sacred Monster top, a piece which had since been high on my collective covet list - something which unfortunately, seemed disappointingly unattainable, another item to fall victim to the lust and long I so feared; that is until the delight that is the Mytheresa sale shone its price slashing light in my direction with its 50% price cut on said round neck long-sleeve of lust. So, the purchase was set, and with my first designer buy under my belt, I can't deny that the rush and the feeling of owning something of good quality and ethical standing makes it all that more wondrous and enabling.

Before a certain H&M mustard bomber came to my attention through a featuring in Pandora Sykes's Wardrobe Mistress spread in The Sunday Times Style magazine as far as I was concerned, when it came to that warming shielding layer of an outfit - jackets were jackets and such was set in stone - they are what they are and due to such, they cannot be modified or styled in a way that is not laid out already. However, recently I've become enlightened to the fact that such a thing as standout jacket or coat can holistically make an outfit and it needn't have to be impeded uninspiring purely because said article is obvious. A jacket or say, a coat is after all an essential layer, it is in the items very nature so why not utilise this as a layering technique, it is certainly one best to employ in the cold snap of an English winter. It is to be said then, that before such enlightenment, I looked to outwear mostly as a necessity, due to this trait I had treated it with noticeably less enthusiasm than its other sartorial counterparts in my wardrobe thus hindering such section small and devoid of colour - a few black outers were all I needed, simple, effortless and destined to go with everything. For me, that was fuss free and left the rest of the outfit to stand out, I would shy away from outerwear that would distract from the main body of the outfit - but as first uttered before, a change of heart was to be had when a yellow jewel toned satin bomber jacket completely entranced me. Due to its striking colour it is bound to only pair with a certain colour scheme however, it is standout and a statement in itself and one which I was not completely adverse to, I just adore it - unlike anything else in my wardrobe and for that sake it has now driven a penchant for the shine and shimmer range of bombers which have become increasingly popular in fashion stakes of late and right now I have my eye on a certain baby pink bomber of delight from Mango, if only.

Wearing: Bomber Jacket - H&M (Sold out online but I picked up mine from the Liverpool One store so check your local store, they may have it!) | Top - Alexa Chung for AG | Blouse (Worn underneath top) - Topshop | Jeans - Topshop via Depop | Belt - ASOS | Bag - Monki via ASOS | Pom Pom (on bag) - Primark | Socks - Topshop | Shoes - ASOS |

AIMS, ANXIETY & PROCRASTINATION


By nature, I am an aspirational person, I have always had large aims in mind about what I wanted to be when I grew up, whether that be a singer (my childhood dream was to be on the disney channel and live in LA, and oh wow has that pipedream set sail, even if I still do like to sing), or currently - a fashion journalist, either way I have always known that whatever I end up pursing, it would have to be creative, that's all I knew and all I wanted, in holistic terms. Now, while my current career of choice may be significantly more attainable than my childhood aspiration, there is no doubt that the dreamer in me still lives on in prime and prominent position - leaving my mind set in the future and my aims higher than ever. It's not a bad thing at first look and I do, truly, love the aspirational aspect of myself - I am certainly a dreamer as opposed to a realist in nearly every fibre of my being but often, in a contradictory sense, it leaves me with a tendency to almost obsess about thoughts of the future, what I am going to do, how I am going to do it and most annoyingly, how am I going to cope? All of this, paired with the anxiety that haunts my everyday life, makes it somewhat difficult to stop and think - I constantly worry (notice a pattern?) that I forget to live in the moment far too often and, that is a habit I am somewhat trying to break. 

Worrying on account of my anxiety is too often the root of many problems which lead me to questioning the attainability of my dreamer-incuded aims. Most recently I have been plagued with the persistent worry of affording University and the many costs it brings with it - particularly as I am attending university in London, also famously known the most expensive city in the UK (gulp). That right there is the very reason why last year when I applied for the course I am set to start in September, I decided to first, take a gap year but note - said year off is not to travel and enrich my understanding of the World (but wouldn't THAT be a dream) no, instead I chose to take a year out in order to work and save money and not one part of me regrets that decision, in all honesty, putting money away each month does wonders to try and cease my anxiety but nevertheless, it prevails. While I label myself as a self-confessed dreamer, that very label does not hinder me naive, I am well aware that your idea of things very rarely compares to the real, physical manifestation and that fact may just be the very reason why this relentless unease has led me to endure countless sleepless nights, tossing and turning - albeit propelling me to the depths of extensive research - the common traits of this spiral of worry does too leave me with the on edge anxiety of NEEDING TO KNOW ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING, or else. Now, don't get me wrong, there are times where I feel perfectly at ease (and that may be mostly when I'm out with friends and considerably drunk but see, distraction is key, Netflix works wonders also) however, this worrisome manner does intrude my thoughts on a daily basis, and while I wish it didn't, wishing it away (unfortunately) does nothing to evade the compulsiveness so instead, I am writing about it, without reason? Perhaps, but therapeutic at least. 

Anxiety is something I have struggled with for awhile and while it affects everyone differently, throughout the panic attacks and social anxiety that I have experienced, I've learnt that it comes and goes and varies in strength, with the ability to manifest itself through different forms in my life. At present, one frustrating factor I have found to be is procrastination. While procrastination isn't exactly symptomatic of anxiety, for me at least, it is my fear of the unknown (the future in all of its unreachable glory) and the heavy weight that the pressure of aims and aspirations incite which leave me with a doubting presence in my mind and with all of this looming, thoughts linger which question the ability I posses to accomplish these wishes. This doubting nature stems from the fact that admittedly, I don't believe in myself enough, something I am sure everyone battles with on a daily basis, it is a hard thing to do after all, and while I would say my confidence has grown massively since I was a shy girl at 14 in secondary school, I would argue that self-belief has taken a downfall. Not only does this doubt lead to procrastination and writers block when it comes to this blog (something which makes me feel regrettably guilty, as I know I am only hindering myself) it leaves me with the uncertainty that I will be able to move to London solo and live life without being crippled by anxious thoughts. I am constantly plagued by thoughts that something will go wrong, that my health is at risk, that I am dying, it is almost amazing how your own mind can trick you into seeing symptoms that would make it appear that you are going blind, purely because you are worrying about such. 

I am my own worst enemy and I know that, I worry about the worry and it is a vicious cycle, if I am not anxious about my future career, I am anxious about saving for University, if I am not nervous about that, I am irrationally worrying about my health and if any of those does not persist, a lingering sense of doom can creep up suddenly and engulf my body into a twisting sense of fear. I am aware that the mind is a very powerful thing, but once you are set in a mindset, especially one as toxic as anxiety, it is not as simple to rectify as telling yourself to STOP WORRYING (although, people are not for want of trying) countless times I have told myself to think rationally about the things I worry about and, I do but that never distinguishes these anxious thoughts and the ever prevalent doubt of whether I will be able to achieve my aims in life and live independently outside of the 'safe' comfort of home, how will I stay sane? (Another anxious thought, possibly the most disturbing - the feeling of impending insanity, similar to the lingering doom). That particular anxiety is strikingly scary as admittedly, I would not describe myself as someone who would feel homesick, as ever since I was a child I just KNEW I would not inhabit the same city I was born in when I grew up, I have always wanted, well, to escape. I LOVE the idea of adventure, I am a dreamer after all and I guess that goes hand and hand in harmony with my aspirations, so how is it possible that I feel both excited and terrified by the idea of moving away at the same time? My anxiety and all it entails is a walking contradiction, one that I hope will someday cease to exist but for now? I breathe and remind myself that it is okay not to know everything and it is normal to be scared of the future - just to relax, or try to at least, and look forward to the future with hope and not with an obsessive worrying outlook that excludes you from the present, just BE. If I have one wish for 2016, it is to be free from the trapping mindset of anxiety.