J. Crew lands in London

It seems this November is the month for exciting launches.  As seen on last Friday’s post, the hotly anticipated Isabel Marant for H&M collection arrives in two weeks, and in 8 days time (and counting) fashionista favourite J. Crew opens in the UK.  That’s right, the US brand beloved by Michelle Obama and led by style icon and creative director Jenna Lyons, is opening three London stores on November 8th.   The launch has already generated acres of column inches, with press features going back as far as 6 months.  That is quite some build up!  The December issue of British Vogue – which landed on my doorstep this morning – has a 30 page supplement (see above), which will only add fuel to the well stoked J. Crew fire.

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Model images from the AW13 collection show the label’s bold use of colour and print

The brand is a firm fashion favourite. For years British stylists have picked up their iconic prints and bold tailored pieces when in New York for fashion week.  Now, UK based folk can also access the supremely stylish label.  J. Crew is known for mixing geek with chic, balancing masculine cuts with feminine prints and is the master of juxtaposed layering.  A crisp white shirt under a grey marl sweater, teamed with a printed pant, bold statement necklace and a flat polished brogue is THE J. Crew look and one championed by Jenna herself.  Effortless and chic with just the right nod to seasonal trends, this is the style that fashion folk emulate.

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President and Creative Director Jenna Lyons addresses St Martins students in the J. Crew Winter 2013 lookbook

J.Crew supplement 1

A classic J. Crew look (sweater, printed pants, statement necklace and flats) as seen in the Winter 2013 lookbook

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Masculine Italian leather loafers are given a feminine metallic edge

The price points place the brand at the upper end of the high-street, with jumpers starting at £100 and key statement pieces costing up to several hundred pounds.  This puts them on a par, or even slightly above labels such as Whistles, Reiss and Hobbs, so not one for bargain basement Primark lovers. However, the quality is high, the pieces are divine and the whole aesthetic is unique, distinctive and oozes effortless style.  I can’t wait to add this brand to my wardrobe.

Main holding image: Cover of J. Crew Winter 2013 Issue supplement, which came with this month’s British Vogue

J. Crew stores open on November 8th. For more information go to www.jcrew.com

A fashionable friendship

You may or may not know, but the 90s are back.  For anyone who lived through the decade, the high-street’s recent store windows will have brought back a rash of memories –Topshop’s grunge (all flannel check shirts & chunky boots), Zara’s minimalist clean lines, and the sporty crop tops and bright hoodies of American Apparel.  There is also another retro throwback that has seen a resurgence in the last few seasons – the friendship bracelet.  At last week’s press days I saw no less than three different companies championing the knotted wristpiece – one supporting the makers in Thailand, another a £10 macramé number as seen on Rita Ora, Heidi Klum and Beyonce and the third by one of the originators of the fashion friendship bracelet, Links of London.

Stylitz - Links of London at Trace SS14 Press Day

A selection of friendship bracelets by Links of London (as seen at Trace PR SS14 press day)

Not to be confused with the humble knotted lengths of my youth, the Fashion Friendship Bracelet (or FFB) often retails upwards of £50 and when worn in multiples, has become quite a style statement. The trend was started by Links of London’s sterling silver and fabric accessories and gathered momentum with the Indian charm pieces beloved by travelling fashionistas.  Blame Ibiza ravers or a longing for a misspent youth – whatever the reason this fad shows no sign of abating.

And so to the brands making these pieces…  The first, by Gina Stewart Cox, are durable cord bracelets that incorporate precious metal charms.  The label produces ethical pieces (all made in Thailand) that support the Elephant Conservation Network and ensure a fair price for the makers in the surrounding Thai villages.  These retail for £40-£65 and have been worn by Jessie J, Cheryl Cole and The Saturdays.


Rose gold coin tassle bracelet, £55, by Gina Stewart Cox


Silver skull rope bracelet, £50, by Gina Stewart Cox

The second comes from Italian lace-makers Cruciani.  After a commemorative four-leaf clover bracelet sparked massive demand in 2011, the label launched several macramé wrist-pieces in a range of colours and styles, which have since been spotted on the likes of Rita Ora, fashion doyenne Anna Dello Russo and the fabulous Beyonce (as seen in main holding image above).   The absolute confirmation of the trend happened about one month ago when Beyonce Instagrammed a picture of her wrist full of our bracelets that she bought in the Capri boutique,” said Cruciani founder, Luca Caprai. Costing just £10, and available at Urban Outiftters, Fenwicks and Harvey Nichols, these are the ones to load up in multiple colourways.

 Stylitz - Cruciani at MLPR SS14 Press Day

Cruciani bracelets in an array of colours at MLPR SS14 Press Day

Stylitz - Clover - £10 - www.crucianibracelets.co.uk

Clover bracelet, £10, as worn by Beyonce, from Cruciani

The final is Links of London who can perhaps be credited with initiating the revival, with the launch of their Original Friendship Bracelet in 2006.  The iconic Friendship collection sees colourful cord woven through sterling silver and is a firm fashion favourite. These pieces are far more hardy than a simple knotted braid, a fact reflected in the higher prices, with items starting at £65 and going up to £4000(!) for the 18ct gold woven bracelet.

Stylitz - Links of London friendship bracelet red and gold glitter panel £150

Red and gold glitter bracelet, £150, by Links of London

Stylitz - Links of London Hot Pink Friendship Bracelet -£140

Hot pink Friendship bracelet, £140, by Links of London

Stylitz - Links of London Woven Cuff  BltTurquoise-Pink - £225

Turquoise and pink woven cuff bracelet, £225, by Links of London

Stylitz - Links of London men at Trace SS14 Press Day

Selection of men’s bracelets to celebrate next month’s Movember (with colours to match your hair type), by Links of London

This trend harks back to days of youth, when you wore your heart on your sleeve and your friendships on your wrist.  If you’re not already a devotee, then add one of these pretty knotted numbers to your collection pronto.  Or better still make one yourself.

Main holding image features Beyonce, Rita Ora, Dita Von Teese and Heidi Klum in Cruciani Bracelets.  For more info and to purchase online go to: www.crucianibracelets.co.uk

For Gina Stewart Cox visit www.ginastewartcox.com and for Links of London: www.linksoflondon.com/gb-en/online-shop/collections/friendship

For similar articles also visit: http://www.elle.com/news/fashion-accessories/cruciani-bracelets

Isabel Marant for H&M

I don’t often go in for designer/high-street collaborations as I find them a little disappointing, but this time I am so excited I may even consider joining the inevitable dawn queues next month.  I am of course talking about the hotly anticipated Isabel Marant for H&M collection, which hits stores on November 14th.  Last night the crowds gathered at the disco-themed launch party in Paris and, as to be expected from fashionistas’ favourite Marant, the glamorous event was suitably star studded, with Audrey Tatou, January Jones, Bond girl Olga Kurylenko and Freida Pinto all in attendance.

Audrey Tatou at Isabel Marant for H&M launch

Audrey Tatou attends the Paris launch party

Freida Pinto in Isabel Marant for H&M

Freida Pinto arrives in head-to-toe Isabel Marant for H&M

Isabel Marant for H&M launch party by Popsugar Fashion

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The event was peppered with discoballs and burger vans creating a street party vibe (All above images: Popsugar Fashion and vogue.co.uk)

The accompanying campaign is also a roll call of fashions finest, featuring famous faces Alek Wek, Daria Werbowy, Lou Doillon, Devon Aoki and Milla Jovovich.

Isabel Marant for H&M - jacket £199.99, trousers, £69.99, t-shirt £24.99, mid-heel pumps £99.99

Isabel Marant for H&M – jacket £199.99, trousers, £69.99, t-shirt £24.99, mid-heel pumps £99.99

Isabel Marant for H&M - Alek Wek in wool cardigan £79.99, leather trousers, £179.99, top £59.99, boots £149.99

Isabel Marant for H&M featuring Alek Wek in wool cardigan £79.99, leather trousers, £179.99, top £59.99, boots £149.99

Isabel Marant for H&M - Milla Jovovich Dress £69.99, boots £149.99

Isabel Marant for H&M featuring Milla Jovovich in dress £69.99 and boots £149.99

Isabel Marant for H&M - Lou Doillon in Trousers £59.99, peasant blouse £59.99, boots £149.99

Isabel Marant for H&M featuring Lou Doillon in trousers £59.99, peasant blouse £59.99, boots £149.99

So to the collection itself, which incorporates Marant’s ethnic-meets-rock-chick design ethos and features her now infamous classics – cropped jackets, oversized knits, printed chiffon pieces and skinny leather trousers.  Marant is a designer who understands what women want and is renowned for creating a look that is chic and on-trend, yet with an insouciant Parisian bohemian edge. She is the lady that put wedge trainers on the fashion map, who wowed with fringed knee-high boots and who ensured that a flippy skater skirt teamed with an embellished boho jacket is the cool girl’s ultimate go-to look.

The collection is a flood of must-have hits.  The embellished textured jacket is a clear winner, as are the cropped leather biker pants in rich burgundy and the silk peasant blouse; the fabulous oversized chunky-knit cardigan and the cute little printed skater skirt. Tassled scarves, studded courts and a fringed boot complete the collection.  It may sound like I’m gushing, but there isn’t a piece in there that I wouldn’t want to own.

Isabel Marant for H&M 1 - fluffy wool cardigan £79.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 2 - jacket £199.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 3 - mid-heel pumps £99.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 4 - fringed boots £149.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 5 - scarf £24.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 6 - sequinned trousers £149.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 7 - silk skirt £39.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 8 - silk trousers £59.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 9 - wool cardigan £79.99 Isabel Marant for H&M 10 - sweatshirt £34.99

From top: Fluffy wool cardigan, £79.99; embroidered jacket, £199.99; mid-heel pumps, £99.99; fringed boots, £149.99; scarf, £24.99; sequinned trousers, £149.99; silk skirt, £39.99; silk trousers, £59.99; wool cardigan, £79.99; sweatshirt, £34.99 – all Isabel Marant for H&M

For those, like me, who would love to infuse their wardrobe with Marant’s popular vision of chic, but are sadly hampered by the higher price tags of the main collection, put the date in your diary and sharpen your elbows.  This is going to be one hell of a fashion fracas.

Isabel Marant For H&M hits shelves on November 14th. Available in selected stores and online at www.hm.com


TK Maxx it up

Today’s post is for those that love to bag a bargain, as last night saw the launch of a brand new TK Maxx store right in the centre of Covent Garden.  Store openings are usually quite a dry affair, but this was one hell of a party.  Attended by Eliza Doolittle, Westlife’s Kian Egan and Peaches Geldof, who, judging by her bulging shopping bag is a fan of their designer goods at discount prices. Eliza even took a turn on the decks playing her favourite tunes as shoppers partied in the aisles.

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Eliza Doolittle takes to the decks in an unusual micro mini and padded gilet combo

TKMaxx Kian Egan

Westlife’s Kian Egan with his wife and former Hollyoaks star, Jodi Albert

A selection of beverages and chic canapés ensured that guests were well looked after, whilst the circular, central bar saw waiters entertaining the crowds with their cocktail-making skills. Whilst there, I also had a browse and loved how organised, colour co-ordinated and beautiful the store looked (check out the purses on display below).

 TK Maxx store - Stylitz

In-store – purses are sorted by colour

Based on Long Acre, and flanked by brands such as Reiss and Gap, the new 3-floor store houses mens and womenswear, and a whole ground floor dedicated to accessories.  The fifth TKMaxx to open in London’s Zones 1 & 2, this is the one that will appeal most to central London shoppers due to the prime location in tourist hub Covent Garden.  The store opens to the public today, so why not pop in and pick up a bargain in your lunch hour or peruse the aisles before attending a West End show.  Good labels at prices you’ll love… who can argue with that?

TK Maxx, 15-17 Long Acre, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9LH www.tkmaxx.com

Oasis launches ‘Loved by Mollie’

This week saw the launch of Oasis’ first ever celebrity partnership, with The Saturdays bombshell Mollie King fronting an edited collection of her favourite pieces for AW13.  Entitled ‘Loved by Mollie’, the 45-piece selection includes leather pencil skirts, oversized pastel coats and a sprinkling of printed pieces.

Stylitz Oasis Mollie 1

Stylitz Oasis Mollie 2

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Mollie, a long-time fan of Oasis, has been chosen for her ‘gorgeous girl-next-door looks and style know-how’ and takes on a stylist/model role for the high-street brand.  A favourite of fashion mag best-dressed pages and a regular on the catwalk FROW, the gorgeous blonde is a natural fit for Oasis’ chic feminine style.  Make like Mollie did at the launch and pair a plum leather skirt with a printed sweater in the same hue.  Or go top-to-toe print with a floral jacquard top and skirt (this season matching is the new clashing).

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Mollie King arriving at the launch party in ‘Loved by Mollie’ for Oasis (very Burberry AW13)

Stylitz Oasis Mollie animal print jumper £42

Animal print jumper, £42, Loved by Mollie for Oasis

Stylitz Oasis Mollie leather pencil skirt £85

Plum leather skirt, £85, Loved by Mollie for Oasis

Stylitz Oasis Mollie jacquard floral top £45 crop

Floral jacquard top, £45, Loved by Mollie for Oasis

Stylitz Oasis Mollie jacquard floral skirt £48 crop

Floral jacquard skirt, £48, Loved by Mollie for Oasis

Stylitz Oasis Mollie pastel wool coat £110

Pastel wool coat, £110, Loved by Mollie for Oasis

This wasn’t the only announcement of the evening, as it was revealed that Mollie has been snapped up by top model agency Next – which also represents style icons Rita Ora, Alexa Chung and Lana del Rey.  Sarah Leon, head of Next Models, says of their new signing ‘you can just tell when somebody, like Rita Ora and Mollie, has that super star quality’.  With great taste and a clear passion for clothing, expect plenty more fashionable pairings from Mollie in the future.

The Loved by Mollie King collection ranges from £28-£350 and is available in 17 flagship stores and online at www.oasis-stores.com