Tuesday, 16 March 2010


See by Chloe – Grasshopper leather bag (available at http://www.net-a-porter.com/)
Well, Spring’s nearly round the corner and a girl’s fancy turns to handbags. Well, she does if she’s me.

Finding a new bag for the upcoming season is as exciting a fashion enterprise as finding that one good day-dress that looks good with everything you own. Making that choice this season isn’t that easy either: there’s a myriad of styles to choose from, depending on which side of the style fence you choose to sit.

Do you go for denim (preferably faded) handy for referencing the 80’s; tan leather and fringed for the Prairie Girl look, and then there’s global – which is fashion speak for any bag that’s as wildly patterned and decorated as humanly possible? It’s a big wide fashion world out there at the moment, and if one trend doesn’t get your motor running, another will. There’s no chance of getting bored when your style references range from Daisy Duke to Pocahontas.

But for the moment – chalk it up to another birthday just gone – I’m in the mood for something cool, mellow and timeless. Not the bad kind of timeless where you end up in a department store surrounded by dozens of black bags that just make your heart sink, but the good kind. Fashion’s getting awfully clever at this: brands like Chloe have been doing modern classics for the past 5 years, with the Marcie creating the most buzz right now. Just take a look at the Chloe ad with Raquel Zimmermann and Marcie snuggling up like they were made for each other and the relationship between a woman and her bag becomes abundantly clear. This should be a process of elimination, not desperation.

Be picky: finding your own classic isn’t easy but the good news is doing it on a budget works too. The high-street is also catching up, with stores like Warehouse, Russell & Bromley and All Saints doing great stuff, (keep an eye out for Warehouse’s take on the Mulberry Alexa satchel: stylish in its own right, but in terms of cost, just a fraction of the Mulberry original).

Top tip: If you want to go timeless, try to source a bag in an unusual colour. Brights are another key trend for this summer and a classic shape in a punchy yellow or cerise keeps things unexpected, and unexpected is good. You want a bag that declares its genius in one fell swoop. So there you have it – colour and classic – done.


Sunday, 14 March 2010


The home of couture, this February, Paris played host to the costliest collections in the world. Where a dress can routinely leave you £50,000 out of pocket, the question about where to place couture in a society still reeling from the effects of recession was put on hold. If anyone had business jitters, they kept them well hidden.

Many designers went to their ‘go-to’ moves, whilst others tried something different. Elie Saab showcased gowns that were good to go for the Oscars, and Gaultier took fashion editors on a sartorial voyage of South America. Valentino worked with shades of neon, in addition to producing its standard-wear Valentino favourites for its loyal clientele.

Chanel’s obsession this year was the colour silver, which was threaded throughout the entire collection, pepping up delicate dresses and ice-cream coloured tweed suits.
But the spotlight of the season fell on Dior. John Galliano, never afraid to display his flair for the dramatic, went with an equestrian-themed collection, with plenty of riding crops and lace veils. The dressage theme then made way for a series of stunning gowns decorated with bows and draping detail.

Dior’s stable of model talent included Chanel Iman, Karlie Kloss, Kasia Struss and Lindsay Ellingson. Always prepared to get involved in the runway action himself, Galliano even appeared in full riding costume, got down on bended knee and kissed Karlie Kloss’ hand to rapturous applause. That grand gesture alone ensured that Dior was the show of the season.

Coinciding with recent headlines that Britain is officially emerging from the longest recession in living memory, this array of heaven-sent fashion has shown that the industry is finally getting its mojo back. Recovery is about confidence as much as the balance sheet and 2010 has got off to a supremely confident start. Where couture leads, ready-to-wear follows and this year couture is very firmly back in the saddle.