The perfect summer shoe

Anyone who knows me will say that I am a total print fanatic. Whether it be a tropical floral, a monochrome check or an African waxed cotton design, my wardrobe is overspilling with bold patterned pieces. So much so that I have to remind myself to buy basics to balance all the crazy colour. Although who doesn’t love a print clash, right?

So imagine my delight when I was introduced to the gorgeous Saira shoes, whose footwear is an eclectic mix of quality Indian woven fabrics and modern London styling. The brainchild of St Martin’s College educated Aditi, the company is named after her daughter Saira (which also means happy). And one can’t fail to be happy when wearing these shoes. Handcrafted from exclusive limited-edition Indian fabrics and cushioned with leather insoles these are both a treat for the feet and the eyes.

Creative Director Aditi (right) with her daughter Saira

Images: © Hannah Young

The shoes come in a range of different styles, from the holiday-friendly slide to my personal favourite, the city-loving bow-toe mule. All are available in a variety of bold hued fabrics, with prices ranging from £80 – £110.

A selection of the stunning styles available at Saira

This week saw the launch of their first UK pop-up shop in Shoreditch, London. The opening was marked with an in-store event, complete with delicious sugary treats by Cutter & Squidge, bubbles by Skinny Prosecco and tunes mixed by DJ Pips Tayor. Oh and a multi-coloured giant balloon wall, the ideal backdrop for that obligatory selfie.

Photography by Hannah Young

Pips Taylor on the decks (Image: © Hannah Young)

Pretty cakes by Cutter & Squidge

Bubbles by Skinny Prosecco

Fellows guests included The Saturdays singer Vanessa White, Made in Chelsea star Rosie Fortescue and chef Gizzi Erskine (seen here in a pair of the bowed mules).

Photography by Hannah Young

Photography by Hannah Young

From top: Vanessa White, Rosie Fortescue and Gizzi Erskine attend the launch

Images: © Hannah Young

So if you’re looking for a fabulous statement shoe to see you through the remainder of the summer, I would highly recommend you head to Saira. The only problem you face is deciding which of the gorgeous patterned styles to opt for. Trust me, the struggle is real 😉

Saira pop-up store, 189 Shoreditch High Street, London E1 6HU. 

Open daily 10-6pm, Sundays 11-5pm until 30th September 2017.

http://www.saira.co.uk/

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Fitness Friday! Jack Wills launches men’s sportswear collection

Ah Jack Wills… home of the grey marl sweat and the brand renowned for making hoodies acceptable attire for non-teens. And who doesn’t love a good hoodie? Well, this week sees the launch of their first ever men’s sportswear collection, featuring international model and fitness coach Roger Frampton – whose abs are another level of inspiring! Think quality gym vests, crew-neck sweaters and long sleeved running tops all in a subtle colour palette that whispers sophisticated sportswear.

Roger Frampton in the Jack Wills Sporting Goods campaign.

Whilst this may not be a huge departure from their usual heritage casualwear, it marks a decisive move into athleisurewear with a range of pieces made from high-performance technical fabrics. Designed in London, and created in Portugal by the same factory that produces products for Olympic athletes, the fabrication ticks all the specialist boxes – quick-drying, breathable, antibacterial and with added sunblock. This follows the successful launch of their women’s sportswear range in January (note their stylish two-tone running leggings and cropped hooded sweaters) and taps into the current fashion obsession with sports-luxe and the booming fitness market.

Jack Wills women’s sporting range includes two-tone sports bras and running leggings

The new men’s sporting range features crew-neck sweaters and training shorts

At this week’s launch I caught up with founder and CEO Peter Williams, who talked about the new direction for the brand and his old love of baseball caps. After founding the company in 1999 aged just 23 , Peter (now 42) has watched Jack Wills evolve with age. He states that he wears the label every day, adding that with menswear it is ‘all about the basics and getting the quality just right. If men find a T-shirt they like they will buy it in every colour and so we ensure that the fit, shape and the weight of the cotton is perfect.’ He also mentioned that one of their current bestselling items is his-and-hers matching baseball caps, a product that they brought back to stores in the last few years. And whilst teens and early 20-somethings buy into the bold branded logo garments, the original customers who have grown up with the label are looking for more understated branding. Hence why the logo on the new sporting range features a more discreet boxed Jack Wills emblem.

The clothing as seen in the Kingly Street London store

Healthy snacks by Protein Haus at the press launch, including their fabulously named Muscle Snickers and Health Balls

Currently the range features approximately 16 pieces, with prices starting at £24.95, but by autumn there will be additional accessories and further garments added to the collection. Oh, and if you happen to see a pair of branded Jack Wills boxing gloves come September, you can credit that idea to me.

Products are available from the Jack Wills London stores in Covent Garden and Soho, Heathrow Terminal 3 or online. To shop the collection go to: http://www.jackwills.com/sporting-goods

For more information about Roger Frampton visit: http://www.roger.coach

The bold and the downright beautiful

This week I was lucky enough to be invited to the wonderful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street for the launch of the Gudrun Sjoden exhibition ‘Four Decades of Colour and Design’. I am quite ashamed to say that despite all my years of living in London (and many hours spent on Bermondsey Street) I had never actually been inside this beautiful, multi-coloured Zandra Rhodes owned tribute to fashion. But now I have and it does not disappoint. Accompanying the bold artwork, was a deliciously colourful breakfast of rainbow lattes, flower-filled granola pots and goat cheese and red pepper muffins. I mean… how can you resist when food looks this pretty?!

Breakfast is served:- Juice shots, muffins and granola from Ethos. Rainbow lattes from Black Box Coffee

Gudrun’s work will be displayed alongside the current long-standing Josef Frank exhibition. Both Swedish-based designers are renowned for their use of bold colour and print, with designs translated onto textiles and interiors, and both have a strong affection for watercolour as a medium. This pop-up exhibition celebrates Gudrun’s 40th anniversary, alongside a beautiful hard-back book detailing her years at the forefront of Swedish design. You can view her working process, her inspiration and examples of her playful, childlike prints. When I observed that her patterns are akin to childrenswear, a member of her team described Gudrun’s rhetoric as being – ‘Why stop dressing like a child once you become an adult? Everyone should enjoy colour and print no matter what their age.’

 

Some watercolour artwork and designs from the exhibition

Gudrun’s mantra remains ‘clothing for women who dare to stand out from the crowd’ and she is her own finest advocate. A cross between British fashion institutions Mary Quant and Zandra Rhodes, with a dash of Cath Kidston, she embraces colour like no other. On meeting the designer, I am drawn to her bold hues, warm smile and sunny disposition, all of which belies an incredibly strong woman who spends her weeks running the business and her weekends ‘painting til she goes to bed’.

The inspirational Gudrun poses in front of one of her prints and outside the colourful Fashion & Textile Museum on Bermondsey Street.

She has won several entrepreneurial awards, received a royal medal from the King of Sweden and has stores all over the world. Despite four decades in the industry she remains true to her concept of ‘comfortable, colourful clothes in natural materials with a Nordic design influence.’ The use of organic cotton and sustainable eco-friendly fabrics has always been of immense importance to Gudrun and her love of travel and exploration – such as her recent visit to India to explore traditional craft techniques – often influence her designs. Here are a few fabulous extracts from her recent book:

 

If you feel inspired and fancy a trip to the boldest museum in London to view a plethora of multi-hued textile designs you’ll need to be quick. Both shows end on 7th May, which gives your precisely 9.5 days to get yourself along to this fabulous tribute to colour and print. Just be sure to wear something yellow. Or fuchsia pink. Or cobalt blue. Who needs grey anyway? I would much rather view the world in Gudrun Sjoden and Josef Frank Technicolor!

Above: Prints from the current Josef Frank exhibition at Fashion & Textile Museum, 83 Bermondsey Street, London, SE1 3XF. http://www.ftmlondon.org. Ends 7th May 2017.

Open Tuesday – Saturday (11am – 6pm); late night on Thursday (until 8pm); Sunday (11am – 5pm). Closed Monday. Tickets for exhibition: £9.90 (adults), £7.70 (concessions), £6 (students). Children under 12 are free.

For more information about Gudrun and to view her collections go to http://www.gudrunsjoden.com/uk.

Main holding image: Seb Higgins

 

British tailoring, French antiques and a bonkers launch party

This week I attended the launch party of brand new menswear retail concept Labassa Woolfe, and it turned out to be one of the most bonkers store launches I have ever been to. Yes, there was stunning tailoring and gorgeous vintage furniture, endless champagne and delicious foie gras. But there was also a dwarf, two goats and a lady dressed as a French farmer’s wife! And live music. And egg throwing. Oh and Benedict Cumberbatch also made an appearance…

Owners Joe Woolfe and Johan Labassa with Benedict Cumberbatch

Oliver Cheshire and Jack Guinness

Carl Barat and Edie Langley pose with the goats

The brainchild of British stylist Joe Woolfe and French antique specialist Johan Labassa, this beautiful store is a treasure trove of meticulously cut men’s tailoring, handmade accessories and unique French collectibles. Combining Joe’s long standing connection with Savile Row and years of dressing A-listers such as Benedict Cumberbatch and David Gandy, with Johan’s family history of French fine dining and antiques, the creative interior commands as much attention as the suiting. And with it’s ever changing display of painstakingly sourced period pieces, every visit looks set to be a new experience.

Shots of the stores opulent and carefully curated interior

A selection of ready to wear and custom-made tailoring is on offer alongside handmade shoes and gorgeous accessories

A feast for all the senses, this wonderful party was an eclectic mix of intriguing dapper gentlemen and fabulously surreal entertainment. Which really is an extension of the store concept itself. So if you are looking for somewhere beautifully brilliant to buy your tailoring or something extraordinary for your home, then head to Labassa Woolfe. I hear Goutte et Canard is served daily at 3pm and is not to be missed. Just keep an eye out for the rogue goats…

Labassa Woolfe, 6 Percy Street, London W1T 1DQ. Open Monday – Saturday (10-6pm) www.labassawoolfe.com

Stars, sleeves and copious amounts of colour at London Fashion Week AW17

First of all Happy Friday everyone. Only a few more hours until you can break free from the shackles of the office and let loose for two whole days. If, like me, you find yourself a little distracted on a Friday afternoon, perhaps I can interest you in a little melange of fashion to carry you through until home time.

If you caught my post on Wednesday you will know that this season I am actually planning three blogs about London Fashion Week. I have already covered all the selfies with my last ‘What I wore’ piece. Today I will show you what I saw on the AW17 catwalks and tell you a little about the labels that I loved this season.

FASHION SCOUT – ONES TO WATCH

Ones to Watch is always a great way to start Fashion Week as it highlights some of the newest talents breaking through. By far my favourite of the quartet of designers showing was the gorgeous Krasimira Stoyneva, whose fringed statement jackets and star motif prints were a colourful crowd pleaser. Her signature use of synthetic hair is supported by her hashtag: #WearHairNotFur. Do not be scared this is not real hair or real fur!

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https://krasimirastoyneva.com/

MARK FAST

The Canadian knitwear designer Mark Fast showed a bold and beautiful collection featuring a colourful clash of purple, fuchsia and orange fringed dresses, balanced by delicate, pastel feathered and beaded frocks. Renowned for his use of plus size models at previous fashion weeks, it was interesting to see the designer revert to the industry norm, allowing the clothes to be the talking point this season.

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http://markfast.net/

PAUL COSTELLOE

Held at the prestigious Waldorf Hotel, the delightful Paul Costelloe show featured all his signature show stoppers – exquisite cashmere coats, metallic silk jacquard baby-doll dresses and a stunning sheer-print leather finale gown. A nod to the Tudor period came in the form of exaggerated bell sleeves and multi-layered ruffled collars and hems. Beautiful!

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http://www.paulcostelloe.com/

EDELINE LEE

Eschewing the traditional catwalk and opting instead for a presentation, Edeline Lee showed her AW17 collection against a backdrop of raw brick walls and abstract hand-painted panels at the Oxo Tower Barge House. Inspired by the collage artist of the Dada movement Hannah Hoch, Lee’s strong play on proportion, cheeky feminist references and exquisite use of colour (think saffron yellow, muted aqua and brick red) made this one of my favourite shows of LFW.

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https://edelinelee.com/

ASHLEY ISHAM

Always one of my favourites on the LFW Fashion Scout schedule, Ashley Isham didn’t fail to disappoint with a jaw-dropping medley of prints, statement ruffles, hand-beaded embellishment and oversized looping headpieces (is it a hairband or is it an earring?). I was particularly in love with all the bold clashing prints and the fab gold star jumpsuit.

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http://ashleyisham.co.uk/

MALAN BRETON

By the time Malan Breton showed his gorgeous collection, my phone battery had died and my back-up rechargeable battery had also run dry. Fashion fail! However, the eye-catching metallic brocade suits, leather frilled dresses, velvet tux jackets and clever play on sharp masculine tailoring for women was definitely worth a mention.

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http://www.malanbreton.com/

ASPINAL OF LONDON

A strong presentation of all the styles that we have come to expect and adore from Aspinal of London. Next season’s new additions include a kooky Breakfast at Tiffany illustrative print and, channelling fashion’s obsession with customising and monogramming, their fabulous Mini Trunk can now be emblazoned with your favourite phrase or initials. Magic!

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https://www.aspinaloflondon.com/

CLIO PEPPIATT

A favourite of Kylie Jenner, Lady Gaga and Lena Dunham, the presentation by 24 year old South London based Clio Peppiatt was a far cry from the usual catwalk parade. Here models perched, chatted and danced around a cavernous space beneath The Strand in a youthful clash of faux fur, sheer embellished dresses, cheeky prints and Converse high tops. Kitsch, sassy and above all fun, this is definitely one for the cool kids. Oh and it featured my current colour combo obsession – bubblegum pink and red!

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http://cliopeppiatt.co.uk/

ALEXANDRA MOURA

Portugese designer Alexandra Moura showed her collection at the glorious Banking Hall in the heart of the City. The grand location provided a fine backdrop for her oversized romantic ruffles and deconstructed tailoring. Half-worn, half shoulder-robed jackets featured underlying cross-body straps, which doubled up as rucksacks. These were juxtaposed by gorgeous gold lame jacquard prints, inspired by traditional Indonesian fabrics. The earthy brown, mustard, russet and cornflower blue colourway was stunning as were the gorgeous exaggerated sleeves (I smell an AW17 trend coming). A well-executed, beautifully romantic collection balanced by strong, masculine tailoring. I truly loved this show!

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http://www.alexandramoura.com/1617/?lang=en

J. JS LEE

On the final day of London Fashion Week, I had the privilege of sitting FROW at the beautiful J. JS Lee show (another personal favourite of mine). Held at the main LFW venue – with it’s super-sized catwalk – the show was inspired by the childhood urge to dress up in adult clothing. This play on scale took the form of oversized tailoring, dropped shoulder lines, elongated lapels and cute knot detailing. All in a delicate colour palette of charcoal, pistachio, camel, rose and white. A delightful collection from a wonderful designer.

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http://www.jsleelondon.com/

And that concludes today’s post about London Fashion Week. Please do let me know your thoughts and comments. And keep an eye out for this weekend’s post where I will give you the low down on the designer stands, with close up details of all the fabulous accessories. Enjoy your weekend!

With special thanks to Pop PR, Dust PR, Trace and Wolves London for my LFW tickets.

http://londonfashionweek.co.uk/ http://fashionscout.co.uk/