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Sex, sugar, pins and needles – Versace, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, and a little from Dior and Chanel at the spring couture, Fashion

Sex, sugar, pins and needles – Versace, Schiaparelli, Giambattista Valli, and a little from Dior and Chanel at the spring couture

As I was walking out of Sunday night’s Atelier Versace show – the official start to the spring/summer 2015 haute couture collections – I overheard an exchange between a couture client and one of the house os Versace’s aides. Well, I overheard one part of the exchange. I presume said aide asked said client what she thought of the collection. “That see-through beaded shit,” she barked. “Sexy as fuck!”

That’s not something you hear much at the haute couture.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Tuesday, 27 January 2015 at 11:57 am

Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015: Studious design lessons from Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Loewe, Thom Browne, Hermes, Fashion

Paris Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015: Studious design lessons from Louis Vuitton, Givenchy, Loewe, Thom Browne, Hermes

Perhaps it’s all the uniforms cropping up all over the place, or maybe it was Raf Simons’ opening gambit, glorifying his own university years on Wednesday evening, but there’s been a back-to-school feeling at the Paris menswear shows. Many editors share said feeling – bleary-eyed and pale under recently-acquired holiday tans, with shell-shocked expression as they launched into a fully-fledged fashion month barely a week into the new year. Amongst designers, generally, there’s a studious earnestness, to see ideas through, to cross t’s and dot i’s. But, alas, there hasn’t been much deep and meaningful.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Sunday, 25 January 2015 at 10:23 pm

Only anarchists are pretty at Raf Simons, gilded youth at Valentino, Fashion

Only anarchists are pretty at Raf Simons, gilded youth at Valentino

Rules are made to be broken. That’s what we’re all taught in our school days. Well, not so much taught, but you pick it up along the way. Raf Simons certainly has. For his autumn/winter 2015 collection, on the first day of Paris’ men’s shows, he once again latched onto youth, his eternal inspiration. Only this season, like the last, felt like it was Simons’ own misbegotten ways. And, in tune with the season as a whole, that necessitated a trip to the archive, and a flick through the garments that defined his aesthetic.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Thursday, 22 January 2015 at 10:54 am

Prada, Versace Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci – it’s a famiglia affair, in Milan, Fashion

Prada, Versace Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci – it’s a famiglia affair, in Milan

Family is a big deal in Italian fashion. When Donatella Versace, for instance, talks about the Versace DNA, I don’t roll my eyes quite as audibly as I do with other designers. I once asked her what the name “Versace” represented to her. “As a label, or as my family?” was her reply.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Wednesday, 21 January 2015 at 4:02 pm

Her Outdoors: Winter health check, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Winter health check

It’s been snowing in many parts of the UK this weekend… just not in London. Nearly two years without a single snowflake in the capital. My daughter, now four and a half, cannot remember what snow looks like. While I really want her to build a snowman, the upside of the snow-no-show is that I [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Saturday, 17 January 2015 at 8:37 pm

Her Outdoors: Time to sow sweet peas, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: Time to sow sweet peas

For the first time in several years, I didn’t sow my sweet peas in November. Normally I would sow them indoors or outside in a cold frame to give them the winter to bulk up. In autumn 2012, in fact, I sowed them in pots outside in late October and they grew enough to be [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Thursday, 15 January 2015 at 10:23 pm

London Collections: Men – Machismo, mauve, muddles and messiness, from Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson, Sibling and James Long, Fashion

London Collections: Men – Machismo, mauve, muddles and messiness, from Alexander McQueen, JW Anderson, Sibling and James Long

There could be few more opposing statements on contemporary menswear than those proposed by JW Anderson and Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton on the third day of London Collections: Men. The former focussed on the floppy, the fey, the snake-hipped gender-blending 1970s; the latter on curled-lip, swagger-shouldered military machismo, last seen circa 1870 when Britannia still rules the waves, and the world. Their men were sufficiently removed from each other to seem to come not merely from different wardrobes, but different species.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Sunday, 11 January 2015 at 11:05 pm

London Collections: Men – economy, and ideas, from Topman Design, Coach and Christopher Shannon, Fashion

London Collections: Men – economy, and ideas, from Topman Design, Coach and Christopher Shannon

It felt like groundhog day as you took your seat in the Topman venue in London’s High Holborn – where the high street behemoth and the various designers it supports has shown since London Collections: Men first launched in 2012 – and watched the boys go wandering by. Not just because of that déjà venue, nor the clothes, which for autumn/winter 2015 were standard seventies-via-nineties-via-last-season stuff jazzed up with psychedelic prints and a heinous passage of tartan. But because, well, we weren’t here all that long ago.

By | Fashion, Fashion Sense | Saturday, 10 January 2015 at 1:21 am

Adopting in Tanzania – Love transcends law, Notebook

Adopting in Tanzania – Love transcends law

The small boy I found under a mango tree that day is, finally, legally my son. After wrangling with every conceivable authority here in Tanzania for seven years in an epic battle because my adoption case was incorrectly declared illegal, I hereby announce that in this case, love transcends law after all. The boy and I are inseparable; legally and otherwise.

By | Notebook | Friday, 9 January 2015 at 10:48 am

Her Outdoors: 12th Night, 3 ways with a Christmas tree, Her Outdoors

Her Outdoors: 12th Night, 3 ways with a Christmas tree

I normally cannot wait to take down our Christmas tree after the big day itself. Along with all the clutter of wrapping paper, leftover food and empty wine bottles I just want to get rid of it once its purpose is served. By early January after two or three weeks in a centrally heated sitting [...]

By | Her Outdoors, Notebook | Tuesday, 6 January 2015 at 9:45 am

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