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Oceans and tropical shores offer light relief at Paul Smith

Le 29 juin 2017, 04:55 dans Humeurs 0

The first model in the Paul Smith fashion show in Paris on Sunday afternoon wore a sharp suit. It was teamed with a tie covered in fish. This combination, of the classic and the playful, is one that Smith could almost patent. It continued throughout this show, which took place in a school hall. Square bags were made to look like the tins of mackerel found in Japanese fish markets and shirts were covered with a print of tropical shores.

The colours were inspired by flora and fauna found in the ocean; vivid orange, purple, red and yellow dominated. This is the second season that both men and women have been on the catwalk in the show, with 19 outfits for women and 28 for men.

Female and male models appeared at the same time, some wearing corresponding designs – a man and a woman wore similar Prince of Wales suits at the start of the show. Smith’s strengths are his tailoring and his sense of colour. Both were shown off here.

The coloured suiting worked well. And wrap dresses with hibiscus flowers were strong. The backdrop of multicoloured plastic subtly reminded the audience of the brand’s signature rainbow skinny stripe branding.

Smith had scaled back on this in 2014 for fear of overkill, but it’s slowly making its way back into the fold. Backstage, the designer, now 70, piled into a group of brightly dressed models for a photo opp. “Guess what?” he quipped to assembled press. “The collection was inspired by the ocean.”

He wanted it be light relief, “a bit of irreverence in these difficult times … I think at this time of year everyone is wanting to be in a seaside situation, not in a hot hall”.

Smith remembered buying trips in the 70s to New York and San Francisco to buy “vividly coloured” shirts for his Nottingham shop. He sold them to clubbers going to Wigan all-nighters because “they were great for dancing in”.

First founded in 1970, Paul Smith is now an institution of British design recognised throughout the world as a safe pair of hands for tailoring, with a bit of jolly eccentricity on the side. Smith himself is almost a national treasure; one relevant to a digital generation. He has 319,000 followers on Instagram, more than double that of his brand. He was knighted in 2000.

In December 2015, it was announced that the business would be streamlined. Once the business had 12 collections, now there are two - Paul Smith, the high-end collection as seen on the catwalk, and PS by Paul Smith, which has cheaper outfits.

This is an attempt to stem falling sales; the group turnover was down by 8.4% when the change was made. The most recent figures have yet to indicate whether the move has worked. Operating profits fell 63% to just under £4m in 2016, put down to a smaller wholesale customer base and shrinking markets in Asia beyond Japan.

Earlier in the day Lanvin showed a collection that mixed sportswear and casual tailoring. The collection, designed by Lucas Ossendrijver, built on a new direction for the house’s menswear from last season. Previously concentrating on an easy kind of tailoring, there was engagement with casual looks that could appeal to younger customers.

A growing trend in the menswear shows has been gorpcore, or outdoorsy functional clothing reworked for a luxury audience. That was present here too. Among oversized suits there were parka jackets, backpacks, bumbags and cagoules. They came in the pastel colour palette of that other millennial-friendly trend, the 90s.


Le 19 avril 2017, 12:06 dans Humeurs 0

For many brides, the wedding day is all about the dress (after marrying the love of your life, of course).

But what a bride-to-be wants and what she can afford are often two very different things.

With the average cost of weddings now standing at £27,000 in the UK – and more than £38,000 in London – it has become seemingly normal to blow your life savings when it comes to saying “I do” - a large proportion of which frequently goes on the gown. 

However, a new generation of penny-pinching women are now prioritising other things such as housing, and choosing to spend less on their wedding dresses as a result. 

“My dress was from Vivien of Holloway and it cost around £250,” Gemma, 31 from Kent told The Independent.

“At the time there were very little options from wedding boutiques if you wanted a teal length, 50s style dress and if they did have them, they were outrageous prices.

“I wouldn’t ever part with thousands of pounds for a dress that would be worn for a day. It’s such a bad investment.”

According to new research by online fashion marketplace Lyst, the average cost of a wedding dress is now just £832, a 20 per cent drop from last year when the average spend surpassed £1112. That’s an impressive saving of nearly £300. 

A trend encouraged by the rise of high-street bridal collections, the pressure on women to spend eye-watering amounts of money on something they will only wear once is finally dwindling.

From brands like Self Portrait and Whisltes, to Topshop, Asos and Dorothy Perkins the trend towards affordable bridal wear is on the up and so it should be.

After all, every woman should be able to walk down the aisle in the dress of her dreams, regardless of her budget.

Dog chains and suspenders: Vogue’s wardrobe essentials for 2017 are seriously bizarre

Le 16 janvier 2017, 09:54 dans Mode 0

As the undisputed bible of all things fashion, style-conscious women all over the globe look to Vogue for guidance on what to wear, but its latest counsel is more than a little baffling.

Declaring its ‘new basics of 2017’, Vogue is insisting we ditch the building blocks of a perfect wardrobe for alternative, timeless essentials. That sounds reasonable. 

While trends may come and go the basics – that perfect white tee, jeans and your got-to flats – are forever, right? Well, not according to Vogue.

Instead, we should be trading them in for statement socks, khaki pants, dog chains and braces. Sorry - what?

The writer asserts that nowadays, “most of us are investing in timeless essentials we can wear nonstop, all year round”, and she’s right. But, since when did a pair of suspenders – and we don’t mean the racy kind - count as a mainstay for day-to-dressing?

Not since the mid-nineteenth century we believe but, perhaps we’re missing something.

The same goes for khaki pants. While we’re all for a more lax approach to the lower half – think straight leg denim and wide, tailored strides – this style saw its heyday back in 1998 with Gap’s iconic Khaki Swing commercial. 

 They might be making a comeback in the fashion world but, does that really make them a wardrobe essential, an item you can buy now and wear forever? We think not.

Statement socks and dog chains also made the bible’s top ten; the latter being an item we can kind of see the thought process behind. Chunky chains have been all over the runway this season – think Alexander Wang’s alt-culture chokers – but this is a trend, not a well-seasoned essential. 

To top it off, the particular item Vogue suggested for this recommendation turns out to be a real, authentic chain control collar for dogs.

Forgive me if I’m wrong but, isn’t the whole point of a wardrobe essential that it should stand the test of time, never got out of style or lose its street-chic appeal? I hate to disagree with the sacred word of Vogue’s sartorial elite but, if these really are the new basics of 2017, I’m out. 

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