Style Note: The Isabella Oliver Cape

Posted by London Darling

Yesterday was one of those cold and breezy days in London when you really need something warm and snug to wrap up in. And what better way to wrap up than in a cape. It's the perfect alternative to a winter coat. I received this beautiful one as a Christmas Gift from one of my favourite labels Isabella Oliver.

Isabella Oliver Cape

London Fashion Week Diary: BODYAMR

Posted by London Darling

The BODYAMR show was one that I was particularly looking forward to, and it was well worth the wait. The signature draping that I love still played a huge role in the collection as an abundance of luxe fabrics and beaded embellishment.

BODYAMR show

Giveaway: Win Tickets to the 2010 Vitality Show!

Posted by London Darling

The lovely team at Vitality are treating three lucky readers to a pair of free tickets! Running from 18th-21st March in London’s Earls Court 2, Vitality is the UK’s largest health, beauty, fitness and wellbeing event for women.

WIN Vitality tickets

Beauty Buzz: Liz Earle Naturally Active Skincare

Posted by London Darling

I recently changed my beauty regime to include the Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser, the Instant Boost Skin Tonic and Skin Repair Moisturiser. It's been just six days, and already I've seen a noticeable difference in the clarity of my complexion and the texture of my skin.

Liz Earle Skincare

Located in Kensington, Bar 190 is the perfect chill-out spot for cocktail lovers. The venue has long been a hidden treasure for discerning celebrities the world over, but recently with it's new wave of burlesque events and soirees, the London party scene has finally caught on. But wait - before you start imagining barely legal club hoppers and reality TV stars queuing at the door - this place is far more sophisticated.

Inside you'll find an intimate candlelit affair and plenty of fascinating people. Be sure to order from the lush drinks menu and prepare to share the bar with high profile guests, London connoisseurs and familiar faces from the world of film and fashion. I'm sure that you'll also appreciate the dark Tudor interior and the warm, inviting atmosphere.

Cinderella's Carriage - VIP area

The VIP area aptly named Cinderella's Carriage is breathtaking with its rich red and gold soft furnishings. For a minimum spend of £100, the entire area can be yours, complete with complimentary canapés - ideal for an intimate celebration. Bar 190 is a great venue to enjoy martini cocktails with friends or to get close and personal with your beau over a glass of bubbly.

I recently went along to the bar with one of my friends to sample their popular burlesque evenings. We caught up on the week's events over a passion fruit mojito and witnessed the sultry dance moves of Miss Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly Girlys. By the end of the evening we were refreshed, relaxed and arranging our next catch-up - same time, same place. No longer a hidden treasure just for the rich and famous, the bar is officially in my very selective list of London Hot Spots.

Miss Polly Rae and her Hurly Burly Girlys

Bar 190
The Gore 190
Queen's Gate
London
SW7 5EX

Tel: + 44 (0) 20 7584 6601
Web: http://www.gorehotel.com/bar190.aspx

LFW Diary: Entry 11

Nolcha Fashion Week Exhibition

To round up my fashion week diary, I attended the Nolcha fashion week exhibition. Nolcha is an international network connecting industry professionals from London to New York. The event was held at the Amaka Showroom in Great Portland Street and featured fresh, emerging talent.

After spending last week peaking from behind the front row at the catwalks, it was great to be at the exhibition where a more interactive approach was adopted. Models effortlessly mingled with visitors whilst wearing the designer pieces and company representatives explained the inspirations behind the collections with guests.

During my visit I met the designer behind lifestyle brand Anavaa Kisasa and
representatives from retro label Eenamaria. Both companies are based in New York and currently promoting their designs to a new, untapped market of style savvy Londoners.

Zulema N. George, Anavaa Kisasa

Zulema N. George owner of Anavaa Kisasa, displayed her latest collection of handbags. Speaking about her designs she said "My brand caters to the woman who loves fashion. The accessories I create are made to be effortlessly cool and invitingly authentic." True to her word, just looking at her creations you instantly imagine that her customers are both stylish and distinctive, anything but ordinary and always stands out in a crowd.

From Wonder Woman to Xmen's Storm, her AW09 collection was inspired by fictional 'super heroes'. Using Italian leather and for the highest quality and great attention to detail, her handbags really were fun and attention grabbing.

Sarah Morgan, Eenamaria

Sarah Morgan, the designer behind label Eenamaria showcased a stunning collection of retro inspired handbags with an art deco feel. Her fashion roots started in Britain from a very early age where she studied art and design and with her grandmother being a fashion designer in Paris, it seems the love of fashion runs deep in the family. Similar to Zulema, Morgan has a distinct woman in mind when creating her collections.


Described as 'the urban nomad', Morgan explains that her bags are designed for 'sexy, secure individuals - impatient and enterprising. She's a rising star." The handbags certainly do make a statement; strong in colour and unusual in design. They remind you of that unique vintage bag, originally from Paris that you would be hard-pressed to find at your favourite thrift boutique , only these are lavished with a delicious vibrancy and cleverly created to fit easily into modern day style - and that's quite an accomplishment. These designers are definitely ones to watch!

Nolcha London Fashion Week
Monday 23rd February 09
Web: http://www.nolcha.com


Amaka Showroom
75-77 Great Portland Street
London
W1W 7LP

4th to the 8th of March 09

Times: Wednesday 5pm - 9pm
Thursday and Friday 12pm - 9pm
Saturday 10am - 6pm
Sunday 10am - 5pm

Admission: Tickets £10 - £75

London Fashion Weekend is undoubtedly London's most stylish fashion and shopping event, showcasing over 150 LFW designers selling their collections at fabulously discounted prices including Luella, Ben de Lisi, Emma Cook, Missoma, Sara Berman, Philip Treacy and Pauric Sweeney.

Special Reader Offer:
Get a FREE Catwalk Seat at London Fashion Weekend!


This season, London Fashion Weekend has teamed up Pretty Stylish London to offer readers a free catwalk seat when booking a Gift Ticket to the event on Thursday 4th or Friday 5th March (Daytime or Evening) via Georgina@single-market.co.uk and quoting Pretty Stylish.

The Gift Ticket priced at a modest £36.50 includes entry in to the event itself, a glass of wine and a personal stylist session with a London Fashion Weekend Stylist on the day. Please see www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk for full information.

London Fashion Weekend
Natural History Museum,
Cromwell Road,
London SW7 5BD


LFW Diary: Entry 10

Danielle Scutt - Autumn/Winter 09

Danielle Scutt vamped up the catwalk with razor sharp tailoring. Following the principles of Helmut Newton and his highly aesthetically powerful reflection of women, Scutt aims to put the same prowess and feline energy that Newton captured on camera into her designs.

Style notes: Sharp tuxedo suits, bodices and shapely dresses all accented by 'dracula -style' lapels and mono prints. A sultry collection that successfully mixes sartorial elegance with edge. My favourite piece is the black skirt suit with patent frills adorning the jacket and along the hem line - it's powerful and playful.

Colour notes: Black, white, red and grey.

Gossip: This highly anticipated preview from Scutt was warmly received by critics and discussions were rife about her next boutique collection for high street chain Top Shop.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:




Click here to see the catwalk video

For information on Danielle Scutt's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Danielle Scutt

Mandi Lennard Publicity Ltd
2 Hoxton Street
London
N1 6NG

www.daniellescutt.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com


LFW Diary: Entry 9

Eley Kishimoto - Autumn/Winter 09

Taking big inspiration from travel and tourism, Eley Kishimoto's collection presented a fresh and unique approach to the uniform. If designers Eley and Kishimoto were to design airline uniforms, I suspect it would be the official choice of travel for a wealth of fashionistas and probably branded the most stylish airline ever to take flight.

Style notes: A mixture of Jackie O coats, retro cardigans and skirts featuring fabrics and prints that encapsulate public transport and the travelling experience. My two favourite pieces were the flamboyant navy and red diamond checkered skirt suit with the pussy bow shirt, complete with red bowler bag and matching hat. It was busy and eclectic whilst remaining sophisticated. And the figure flattering captain dress with soft draping in navy blue and deep purple. If only uniforms off the catwalk shared the same character!

Colour notes: Red, orange, navy and grey with a injection of purples and pinks.

Gossip: Leith Clarke, stylist to Kiera Knightly and founder of Lula magazine was spotted in the front row making frantic notes.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:





For information on Eley Kishimoto's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Eley Kishimoto

215 Lyham Road
London
SW2 5PY

www.eleykishimoto.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 8

Graeme Black - Autumn/Winter 09

Oh lala! I love this collection from Graeme Black. It's fierce but feminine with decadent tailoring. There's a hint of Parisian chic in his pieces, all of which ooze power, sophistication and sex appeal. Seeing Black's collection was by far my biggest highlight of London Fashion Week.

Style notes: Strong shapes ruled. Boxy tops and bell-like skirts made a surprisingly good partnership. Opulent dresses added to the wow factor. Gem stones embellished the waist with a distinct play on textures for tactile appeal. My favourite piece was the orange and white two piece, sprayed generously with chocolate brown. Divine!

Colour notes: Black and grey tones dominated. Warm gradients of colour also featured throughout, particularly in rich tones of red, orange and brown.

Gossip: I wasn't surprised to hear front row critics sharing my enthusiasm for Black's latest collection.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:




Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Graeme Black's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Graeme Black

151A Sydney Street
London
SW3 6NT

www.graemeblack.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 7

Basso and Brooke - Autumn/Winter 09

The dynamic duo Bruno Basso and Christopher Brooke presented an extra special collection of divine prints and playful designs for their Autumn/Winter offering. Having won Fashion Fringe in September 2004, the pair have been perfecting their eccentric and individual style over the last five years. Technology is always a big inspiration for them, and this year digital printing takes centre stage throughout their work.

Style notes: The pieces are like contemporary works of art with watercolours and pastels dominating the designs. Digital prints combine for bittersweet kaleidoscope of colours and a delicious mix of ornate and primary shapes. My favourite is the pencil dress, nipped at the waist with a bright orange band, featuring eye-catching cubic art across the front - it's just beautiful.

Colour notes: Paintbox pastals, shimmering greens and industrial greys.

Gossip: One fashionista said to another "It's tacky, but still somehow tasteful!"

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:






Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Basso and Brooke's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Basso and Brooke
29-35 Rathbone Street
London
W1T 1NJ

www.bassoandbrooke.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 6

Nathan Jenden - Autumn/Winter 09

On Saturday the 21st of February, New York based designer Nathan Jenden presented a collection aptly entitled "Frostbite". A Londoner by origin, his work almost certainly takes inspiration from the weather and the city skylines from London and NY. Jenden's pieces were ultra cool and city slick.

Style notes: Strong, structured and sharp. The pieces look almost industrial with shapes and graphic lines reminiscent of elegant buildings and contemporary interior design. Manish tailoring and graphically sculpted dresses gave Jenden's collection plenty of edge. My favourite being the snowflake dress; particularly the stunning cut-away patterning throughout the pleated a-line mini.

Colour notes: Industrial greys and monochrome combinations.

Gossip: A hit with fashion connoisseurs and the W1 venue was buzzing with discussion of Jenden's certain future as one of London Fashion Week's resident designers.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:




Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Nathan Jenden's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Nathan Jenden

www.nathanjenden.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 5

Jenny Packham - Autumn/Winter 09

Jenny Packham brought glitz and glamour to the catwalk with her collection of sultry Grecian inspired gowns. The red carpet designer and British bridal wear expert put on a spectacular show. For me, there's just one word to describe her pieces - divine!

Style notes: Fabrics are floaty and silhouettes slinky. The attention grabbing necklines and bejewelled bodices make the dresses real statement pieces. Embellishment rules with subtle hints of old Hollywood glamour, Greek goddess and vintage style. My favourite piece is the yellow dress dipped top to bottom in jet black gem stones and the beaded 1920s hem gave it fantastic movement.

Colour notes: Rich tones of royal blue, yellow, red and purple.

Gossip: A small number of front row critics were not as enthusiastic about the embellishment. One calling some of the pieces "over-kill and gaudy". However the majority ruled that the bejewelled collection was right on-trend for the Winter party season.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:





Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Jenny Packham's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Jenny Packham
Unit A, Spectrum House
32-34 Gordon House Road
London
NW5 1LP

www.jennypackham.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 4

Eun Jeong - Autumn/Winter 09

One of the biggest highlights for me this fashion week was a graduate from Central Saint Martins by the name of Eun Jeong. Having won Fashion Fringe last year this was her first showing at Fashion Week. I especially love the way that her designs are practical, desirable and full of aspiration.

Style notes: Soft tailoring, beautifully designed pieces with the confident, style savvy, city woman in mind. A great use of textures, shape and embellishments. The single breasted coat in cream with gorgeous frills adorning the inner arm and shoulders is at the top of my wish list.

Colour notes: Neutral tones of black and cream with a splash of orange.

Gossip: Despite being a newcomer, the critics had plenty of praise for Jeong's first showing. One notably referring to her as 'A worthy red carpet designer'. I completely agree.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:





Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Eun Jeong's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Eun Jeongh
182 Mare Street

London UK
E8 3RE

www.eunjeong.co.uk

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 3

Ashish - Autumn/Winter 09

Ashish Gupta is a man who relishes in fun-loving fashion. With this fashion week showing being his 5th, he describes the inspiration behind his latest collection as “Depression era carnivals, the American Wild West and Liberace.” And true to his inspirations, the catwalk became a hyper-circus of colour and graphical design.

Style notes: A crazy, sexy, cool collection. It's daring, capturing your imagination like a child reading Alice in Wonderland. An intermix of bright, garish colour clashes, animal prints, and clown-like accents, all working together for deliberate disharmony.

My favourite piece is what I like to refer to as the 'tux caricature dress'; sequined with bright yellow outlines and a cartoon-like red bow tie. Topped with leopard print tights and zebra patterned boots - it's a feast for the eyes. The entire collection completely leaps away from anything formal, it's just 100% fun .

Colour notes: Too many to mention.

Gossip: Everyone is happily enchanted with the circus!

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:






Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Ashish's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

Ashish
29-35 Rathbone Street
London
W1T 1NJ

www.ashish.co.uk

Images credit: Catwalking.com

LFW Diary: Entry 2

Noir / Bllack Noir - Autumn/Winter 09

Peter Ingwersen, the danish designer behind the label Noir/Bllack Noir gave us a peak into the future of sport luxe style with his collection of monochrome and gold pieces for next season. Since the launch 2 years ago, the label has done well to change the perception of ethical fashion. For many, putting ethical and fashion together means, quite simply unsustainable style, but Ingwersen proves this assumption to be a big misunderstanding.

Style notes: The collection was thoroughly slimline with a hint of androgyny. The boyish charm of the pieces were balanced beautifully with asymmetrical shapes and lustrous layers of fabric. The overall theme was sporty, biker chick glamour with undertones of dark, vamp seductiveness. My favourite look was the slim matt leggings matched with the asymmetrical black sequined top. I love the way the top draped with fantastic shape around the waistline - it worked so well with the leggings and patent platformed pumps.

Colour notes: Black, navy, white and gold.

Gossip: Noir/ Bllack Noir had plenty of acclaim from views and gurus at the front row. Any critics who prematurely doubted the sustainability of this collection were quickly silenced. All seemed satisfied and content that ethical fashion can be slick, sexy and completely wearable.

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:





Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Noir/Bllack Noir's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk

NOIR/BLLACK NOIR
www.noir.dk

Images credit: Catwalking.com


LFW Diary: Entry 1

Paul Costelloe - Autumn/Winter 09

With over 15 years showing at London Fashion Week, Paul Costelloe is a true veteran of the event and this weekend he presented a modern twist on vintage inspired designs for Autumn/Winter 09. Costelloe's signature tailoring was matched with fun, floaty hemlines, reminiscent of the swinging 1960s.

Style notes: The collection was both ambitious and lustrous, featuring dresses, jumpsuits and outerwear. My favourite look were the stylish babydoll dresses in Damask and brocade textures, adorned with large corsages. Also the gorgeous chunky polo neck knits - very opulent in style.

Colour notes:
Black, gold, metallic grey, blood red and muted tones of pink and purple.

Gossip: Costelloe's collection had some mixed reactions from viewers and front row fashion critics. Generally the reaction was one of great respect. Although, one critic described the use of brocade on one of Costelloe's ambitious jumpsuit designs as a "GCSE style" mistake. Harsh no?

Here are my highlights from the catwalk:





Click here to see the catwalk video
For information on Paul Costelloe's collection see londonfashionweek.co.uk


PAUL COSTELLOE
4 Fitzhardinge Street
London
W1H 6EG
www.paulcostelloe.com

Images credit: Catwalking.com
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