English Style

While I don’t usually tend to run the pieces I do for other sites on A Girl, A Style, I thought this one (that I originally wrote for Glitter Guide a while back) would be fun in amidst all the Jubilee madness/Britannia love that is flying around at the moment.

From Mulberry bags to Burberry trench coats, Hunter wellingtons to Oxford brogues, bow ties and tweed jackets to pearls and lace, Prince William and James Bond to Paddington Bear and Fantastic Mr Fox… I truly love the English and their eccentricities.

So here is my take on the best bits about English style (for all the Anglophiles out there):

Embrace feminine/masculine extremes. Channel you inner dolly girl by wearing a full a-line mini skirt or lace dress with a topknot, pink cheeks and a length of ribbon tied at your waist, or wear a men’s Oxford shirt with a bow tie and brogues. Even better, clash the two and wear that dolly outfit with a boyfriend blazer and ankle boots, or the Oxford shirt tucked into the skirt with a wristful of jewels on top.

Rebellious nostalgia. We English are terribly fond of our classics: the dandy gentleman, countryside pursuits, lawn sports, the Royal Family, James Bond and nostalgic children’s books. But none of these things would be complete without a little rebellion too. So why not wear your grandmother’s pearls with your favourite old band tee, your prettiest lace dress with bed hair, or your most gorgeous heels with faded old jeans.

Serious irreverence. Though they may have a library full of literature, Friday night theatre dates, an in-depth knowledge of politics and an annual National Trust membership, English folk are a self-deprecating, sarcastic bunch who like to pretend don’t care. Don’t be afraid to have fun with your fashion; wear things that literally make you smile (pink glittery nails with a grownup tuxedo jacket), are absurdly ironic (I live in Cambridge and like to poke fun at the preppy Oxbridge intellectual style by teaming my crested blazer with bright pink chinos and high bow heels), or just plain silly (hello, novelty Christmas sweaters).

Revel in the tiny sartorial details. A silk handkerchief in a breast pocket, bright pink socks poking out of turned up trousers, a tiny golden charm necklace, a perfectly constructed umbrella, or bright red lips on grey days.

…and don’t forget life’s small pleasures. Drink tea out of your favourite pink china, buy a vintage-style bicycle and go for Sunday cycle rides in your favourite dress (bonus points for a bunch of flowers in the basket), read a classic novel, have a picnic and then kick of your shoes and run through the grass, eat cake for breakfast.

Do you love English style as much as I do? What are your favourite things about the British?

Love, Miss B xx

London Fashion Week: Giles Spring/Summer ’12

It’s that time of year again: Fashion Week is rolling into all the fashion capitals and I am so excited to say I’ll again be taking a few days leave from the day job to go to London Fashion Week.*

To get in the spirit of things (ie. sleep deprivation and high heel torture mixed with the thrill of being at the shows beside my fashion heroes), I’ve spent the afternoon looking through all my photos from last season. Which is when I realised that despite having had the privilege to attend all my favourite London shows (Mulberry, Burberry, Erdem, Giles, Mary Katrantzou, Jonathan Saunders and Christopher Kane), I haven’t yet shared any of my photos other than on my Tumblr photo diary, which is just plain selfish of me.

Set in the looming Victorian Gothic Royal Courts of Justice, Giles’ Spring/Summer ’12 show was the kind of spectacle that beautifully blurred the distinction between fashion and theatre. From feathered silk swan lake-print gowns and laser cut silver leather skirts to show-stopping crimson concoctions and brocade ballerina dresses; these were not the kind of clothes you to be worn in any ordinary setting. Oh no, these are clothes that simply yearn to be taken to the sort of grand balls that take place in Versailles and end with fireworks, clothes to be worn to the opera by mavens who live in palatial estates, clothes to make indelible memories in.

We don’t all have the kind of life that warrants a wardrobe this triumphant (one can dream…), but that does not make Giles Deacon’s sartorial tour de force  any less wonderful. I’m not sure about you, but I’ve never been one to let reality get in the way of a beautiful vision.

Do you follow Fashion Week? Which shows are you most looking forward to this season?

Love, Miss B xx

* From this Friday 17th – Tuesday 22d, I’ll be attending all my favourite shows on the London scene. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram (iPhone) and Facebook for all my live updates!

London Fashion Week: Highlights pt.2

Betty Jackson S/S ’11

Continuing from my previous posts, the highlights from the second half of London Fashion Week:

THE SHOWS: Erdem, Jonathan Saunders, Mary Katrantzou, Holly Fulton, David Koma, Christopher Kane, Louise Amstrup, Roksana Ilincic, Todd Lynn, Nicole Farhi, Peter Pilotto.

THE HIGHLIGHTS:

Erdem S/S ’11

Beatiful Erdem. Without a doubt, the most beautiful show I saw all week. From the gorgeous setting (the peaceful Bedford Square Gardens, with the sunlight streaming through the canopy of trees) and the calming Ballet Russes soundtrack (heaven on Fashion Week-weary heads) to the Autumn leaves swirling in the breeze behind us. When the models walked out with their ethereal makeup and ballerina braids, they looked like spring blossoms floating on the breeze. And the dresses… oh the dresses!

The always dandy Hamish Bowles (being capture by Tommy Ton)

Meeting the Fashion Icons in the flesh. From my favourite editors (Carine Roitfeld, Anna Dello Russo, Hamish Bowles, Kate Lanphear, Alex Schulman) to the designers, models and people I love to watch, I felt like someone had dropped a menagerie of my favourite sartorial characters in front of me.

Jonathan Saunders S/S ’11

Runway inspiration. Princess Margaret at Christopher Kane, the Russian Ballet at Erdem, aristocratic daughters at Jonathan Saunders, Joan Collins and a 60′s grand cruise at Holly Fulton… the show influences this season have moved away from the tough warrior woman and 90′s minimalism towards an air of wealth and (semi-attainable) opulence, strong femininity, 70′s glamour and 60′s bombshells.

It’s all glamour inside an official Fashion Week car…

The Mercedes Benz. Having the great privilege of covering Fashion Week with the entirely fabulous Liberty London Girl meant whizzing around in an official Fashion Week car. I’m not going to lie, having an official car and driver is a very rare treat and a positively enormous luxury and meant that we actually made it to every show. That said, it  rapidly became strewn with spare shoes, copies of The Daily, goody bags and heaven knows what else we had collected during the day.

Backstage at Louise Amstrup S/S ’11

Backstage access. Going backstage before a show is a bit like seeing sausages being made (ie. something one is probably better off not seeing) and does detract from the glamour of the show slightly – all frenzy, makeup-less models and ozone-destroying clouds of hairspray – but it’s still brilliant to watch the designers at work and see how it all comes together in minutes.

THE LOWLIGHTS (because it’s not all beautiful dresses and front-row glamour):

Fashion Week flu. All those close-quarters, late after parties at Bungalow 8 and early mornings make for an inevitably run-down immune system.

Not being able to wear heels for a week afterwards. Because Fashion Week and sensible shoes rarely mix. Enough said.

Smell-o-vision at Ozwald Boateng. I was surprised by how much I loved Menswear Day, and Ozwald Boateng’s 100 (very gorgeous) male model extravaganza at the Leicester Square Odeon was a delight. What was not, however, was the overpowering cologne being pumped into the air, and having to come home to explain to the Clever Boyfriend that I reeked of an older gentleman because I had been at a fashion show, not on a date.

The exceptionally lovely and beautiful Jessica Stam posing with my very own Marc Jacobs ‘Stam’ bag backstage at Matthew Williamson S/S ’11 (is it wrong that this is one of my favourite photos of the week?)

So tell me, if you’ve been to Fashion Week, what is your highlight? If not, what would show would you most love to see?

Love, Miss B xx