Friday, 28 October 2011

High Fashion High Street

     In the U.K. we are lucky, whilst we may never be able to compare the quality of a Topman tee with that of one of Bailey's designs at Burberry, we can compare the style. The materials are different as is the craftsmanship but the look is not and this allows us to embrace fashion, which ever background we're from, as we create our own personal styles through fashion, whether its designer, high street or both.
    Our high street stores take the latest looks off of  the catwalk and mould them into more affordable versions for us to live-in, love and cherish until they get lost, tear or receive a stain which to our dismay not even Vanish Oxi Action can remove. From FCUK to River Island, the state of the British high street really is commendable; our stores give us the chance to be high fashion without the high fashion price tag.

     What's more is that our high street understands high fashion and perhaps more importantly high fashion understands our high street. It is this bond between both sectors of fashion which makes British fashion so exciting. The two are not mutually exclusive but instead intrinsically linked as they both allow each of us to do the same thing: express ourselves.
      Thus, understandably the two mix: in our wardrobes, in our outfits and behind the scenes in design. New Look wedges sit next to Louboutin loafers in fairytale cupboards and ASOS jumpers work well with A. Sauvage suits for fashion filled combos. We accessorise our high street basics with saved up for designer goods just as actors, musicians, models and even royalty do, as the Duchess of Cambridge proves on many occasions as she sports the likes of a Reiss dress with an Anya Hindmarch clutch.

     However, undoubtedly the most brilliant mixture of high street and high fashion lies off of the street and in the workshop, where international brands such as H&M take it upon themselves to do lucrative one off collaborations with some of the worlds most sought after designers. From the likes of Largefeld in 2004 to Lanvin in 2010, the company has made the bridge between the high street and high fashion shorter than ever. 
       Instead of high street imitating high fashion, H&M literally allows designers to create high fashion for the high street and it does this on an annual basis, garnering enough fashion focused attention to let a scrunchy go unnoticed. Of course this season is no exception, as Versace takes hold of the task and offers the high street buyer a unique chance to enter their world at more attainable cost...the result, whilst not as commercial as previous collaborations, does not disappoint. 

      Together Versace and H&M have created a fashionable be it in your face collection of designs to satisfy all those like me who, no matter how much we love Versace, cannot afford its longed for clothing. From lamé dresses to leather wear each outfit will be in high demand because despite being made for the high street, the clothes haven't lost any of the sleek but bold sensuality central to Versace.
      They are exactly what they should be: beautiful and bold with the result that the wait until their on-sale date of November 17th is beginning to seem all the more unbearable - yes I do really want to try out those monochromatic jeans and girls I know that you're dying to at least try out some of the looks which Lindsey Wixson and Abbey Lee Kershaw are wearing if Daphne Groeneveld's printed dress is too out-there for you...

     That being said, with behind the scenes treats like this and with all that our high street currently has on offer, I'm sure we'll find a way of keeping ourselves occupied until then.

Friday, 21 October 2011

The Importance of Introduction

      An introduction is always important whatever the scenario. If you are at an event and a friend spies someone, who you might share similar interests with, they introduce you to them and if all goes as planned the two of you kick it off, meet again for coffee, start a business together and maybe somewhere down the line get married. In the most recent Rihanna video Agyness Deyn's introduction is important; it sets the scene for the rest of the video.

       Introductions start relationships be they inane or important and one world in which this couldn't be more true is that of fashion. Models become muses after being introduced to designers, designers become desirable after being introduced to fashion editors and in terms of the general public the media introduces us to each and every aspect of the fashion world as it mutates and changes around us. The internet introduces us to each and every new collection as it debuts be it that of Bottega Veneta or Balenciaga.

      And the same applies for fashion magazines. Fashion magazines like the internet introduce us to everyone and everything that is important in the fashion world right now, the only difference is that they often choose and nurture those who they introduce; they help create everyone and everything that is important in the fashion world right now.
        A designer may be appreciated in their circle but a designer is rarely a successful designer until they have been written and raved fact as some of the darker Alexander McQueen shows prove, they needn't be raved about just discussed: 'all publicity is good publicity'. Need I mention any collection other than his controversial 1995 highland rape show?

      Magazines help talented people become successful and renowned just as successful renowned people help sell magazines. The two share a mutual relationship like the Beckhams - Victoria's Posh Spice status turned David into a celebrity, whilst his footballing success has kept Victoria in the public eye up so that she could create her own designer brand.
      The two are loyal as well: if a magazine bigs up a designer, soon after that designer's work will become commonplace within the fashion editorials of that magazine. By the time the brand becomes a well-known fashion house they will continue to feature in that magazine out of loyalty. Similarly if a magazine praises a model soon enough after they will appear in its spreads and then eventually on its front cover.
       One need only look at the beautiful Freja Beha Erichsen to understand: a few years ago she was hardly known but in 2005 after becoming an instant catwalk hit she became the muse of many a magazine. After featuring in the likes of i-D, whose up-to-date based sales were aided by her as they helped promote her and her talent, she began to model in the coveted magazine spreads of Vogue and 5 years after her initial success she hit British Vogue's cover in August 2010.

     Vogue, or at least British and certainly American Vogue, sells due to its celebrity covers but British Vogue has this wonderful relationship with its models in which it introduces and promotes them endlessly until they become celebrities to Vogue readers and then, once they earn this status, they become cover girls. An introduction may not create instantaneous success but, as Vogue proves, it can lead to it and for that reason alone an introduction can be ever so important.
        And on that note I introduce you to Lanvin's AW 2011 campaign because if you haven't already seen it, it is quite simply genius. Enjoy.

Thursday, 13 October 2011

Fashion Folk

      You are unlikely to immediately think of fashion when someone mentions the word 'folk'. No doubt you will probably be thinking of a field, some hay bales and perhaps the odd sheep wandering around some idyllic hamlet in the middle of nowhere. Fashion is from the city, folk is from the country - the two just don't mix
      Yet, whilst fashion may often seem to simply be a world of glitz and glamour it often takes reference from the natural world in a way that many folk artists do with their music. Lyricists use nature as a means of creating imagery whilst designers use it within the images they create. From weather to water and fruits to flowers musicians such as Laura Marling and Johnny Flynn and ready-to-wear designers alike use nature in its entirety - both fashion and folk complimenting each other to great success.

     One design duo who effortlessly achieve this is Rodarte. The Mulleavy sisters understand and use the  link between folk and fashion in a way that few people do. They use nature as the muse of all their designs whatever they may be, consistently creating beauty. It is this beauty which has caught the eye of fashion editors and celebrities across the globe, searching for unique yet classical designs to occupy their wardrobes. From Dakota Fanning to Anna Wintour, who coincidentally has supported them ever since their humble ten piece collection beginnings a mere six years ago, the fashion world is hooked.
       Interestingly despite their success the two sisters still lead the folk like lifestyle which they've always led. They may be fashion royalty but they haven't left their hometown. Thus instead of being city-based socialites the two remain the simple romantic girls they've always been, popping into New York only when necessary, allowing nature to be a continuous form of their inspiration. And this couldn't be more evident than in their recent SS show, which featured piece upon piece of Van Gogh inspired clothing - rural of course but runway ready.

        Like Rodarte, Marling and Flynn enforce the link between folk and fashion too. They do so through the crossover between both their music and their styles. Marling in that whilst her music is folk her style is  sophisticated demonstrating that folk fashion need not have the farmyard chic air it is known for. Be it at the Brits or dotted in the pages of Vogue with a blonde pageboy bob or long brunette locks Marling is both a folk and fashion icon.
        Interestingly Flynn, being a man who needs his flannel shirts and little else is also becoming quite the fashionista. Having been a heart throb to many a folk fan since his artistic debut due to his draw dropping features, he like Marling has expanded his horizons to mix his flannels with designer wear. The mix is perfect. And it's those gorgeous good looks along with his talent which have earned him his Burberry model status.

           Thus fashion designers use folk just as folk artists use fashion and why not? Folk is beautiful, as is fashion and together the two really are quite delicious. Are you a fashion folk?

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

The Art of Juggling

    Throughout day-to-day life we juggle. Whether it's balancing our work-life with our social-life or our school-life with our fashion-life, we juggle the mundane activities with the not so mundane. We do this to stay human - to read Vogue, to watch Downton Abbey and to attend that friend's 18th we've been dying to go to without turning into some sort of self automated robots which work and work until, eventually, they stop.

       Fashion being the fun but fickle world it is, is always on the go - there rarely seems to be a moment for designers to breathe let alone embark upon a new collection...but that's the beauty of it. We can stop but fashion doesn't, it constantly mutates and changes whilst we watch with awe. Most designers have two collections a year to juggle with: an AW effort and some SS designs - simples. 
      However in this crazy world some do men's on top of that and a few wonders head renowned labels too. Of course these people have their helpers - most of them were a helper at one stage in their careers, but the sheer effort, energy and strength it takes to helm numerous brands is always applaudable. Two men who do this every season without fail, this one being no exception, are fashion's resident king Karl Lagerfeld and its undisputed prince Marc Jacobs.

      Lagerfeld is, as we all know, head designer of Chanel and artistic director of Fendi, not to mention designer of his own eponymous label if and when he has time for it. And so, taking couture into account he creates and develops six if not seven or eight collections a year - jetting between both Paris and Milan to debut his designs. The man is a mystery. What's more is that each collection he releases never fails to live up to his fashion famous name. 
       His most recent collection for Fendi was Fendi at it's best: sexy simplicity so Italian it would make up the entire wardrobe for La Dolce Vita were it released today. From the accessories to the hair no detail went un-thought of...and the same applies to his latest works for Chanel. Each item of clothing acts as its own art-piece be it culottes or clutches and whatever collection it may be, Lagerfeld always creates beauty. A beautiful capsule - watched and wanted by all.

      Jacobs shares a similar story, currently being tagged as Galliano's successor, the fashion world literally is Jacobs very own glammed-up oyster. As Art Director of Louis Vuitton and head of his own labels Marc by Marc Jacobs and Marc Jacobs, he like Lagerfeld runs six to eight collections annually, amongst perfume and event attending on the side - thus making him another of fashion's ever-expanding group of ever working talents, all be his collections slightly different to those of Lagerfeld.
       Marc by Marc Jacobs offers a unique take on classics that work and suit everybody, whilst holding that Marc Jacobs look. Whereas as his personal label is a little less restrained - his use of materials such as silicone and synthetic fibres makes him the renowned designer he is today, inspiring all of those around him. This AW his Louis Vuitton collection has been the undisputed leader of the fetish trend and looking onto his most recent works it looks like come next SS girls worldwide will be pining for the ethereal allure of his LWDs.

      Both Jacobs and Lagerfeld are fashion royalty and it's all because they eat, sleep and breathe it, that and the fact that they have so perfectly mastered the elusive art of juggling.