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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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

All in the name of charity

Ah January! A time when we are traditionally cajoled (or perhaps even coerced) into making resolutions. I have never been one for strict rules and in reality I find resolutions an endless disappointment. I mean, why torture yourself by testing your weak will & risk hideous self loathing before the year has even really begun?

However, the New Year cleanse that often comes with others’ good intentions is something I can get on board with. And before you get confused I am not talking 6 veg juices or superfood salads here, but clothes, glorious clothes. Also I hasten to add that I myself will not be performing a wardrobe edit. Not a chance! I am a prolific hoarder and have been known to keep jumpers from my University years just in case I should ‘need’ to wear them again. What pleases me however is the quality of the stock in all the charity shops after others have performed their post Christmas/January wardrobe cull. I have never been one for fighting through Boxing Day sales but from 27th December onwards I love to get elbow deep in other people’s castaways.

Recently I had a particularly successful shopping trip at some of my favourite charity shops. These are located in Maidenhead in Berkshire, near my parents and I always try to pop in whenever I am visiting. There is a parade of approximately 6 charity shops that would satisfy any thrift store addict and over the years I have spent more time and money than I care to dwell on in these stores. However the beauty of purchasing from charity shops is that not only does it satisfy your shopping desires (and at a time when funds are usually precariously low) but also you are actually donating to charity whilst filling your wardrobe. Plus there are some real bargains to be found. Surely that’s win, win, win by anyone’s standards.

So this Jan why not try your local Oxfam, Age UK or even the more upmarket Fara. One man’s trash is another person’s treasure after all. And I can assure you there are a lot of treasures to be found. Here are the results of my post Christmas expedition to inspire you.

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I TOTALLY ADORE THIS SKIRT!

Leather patent snakeskin skirt, £4.00, originally Patsy Seddon for Phase Eight.

Black poloneck, Gap; Necklace, Accessorize.

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Green checked dress, £6.00, originally from AX Paris.

Brogues, Clarks; Necklace, Joy.

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White print blouse, £4.00, originally St Michael at Marks & Spencer.

Black jeans, Uniqlo; Necklace, Hobbs.

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Floral top, £3.99, originally Next.

Jeans, Uniqlo; Necklace, gift.

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Leather desert boots, £7.50, originally Seed (a gift for a little boy)

The ultimate black leather biker jacket

For her recent birthday my little sister asked for a black leather jacket. My mum immediately declared that she had an authentic biker jacket in the attic (from her succinct motorbike/Hell’s Angels phase) but I advised that whilst perfect for actual riding, this would be far too cumbersome to wear on a day-to-day basis. So instead I offered to do some online research for the ultimate black leather jacket. Most people dream of the perfect wear-with-anything biker jacket and once you have this piece in your wardrobe I am assured that you will wear little else. Whether thrown over a pretty dress, or added to skinny jeans and a tee, a classic biker adds a dash of Kate Moss magic to a look. I would like to add that I do not say this from personal experience. I myself have never been able to pull off a leather jacket, particularly a black one, and look far more bad Brando than rock chick Chrissy Hynde whenever I have attempted the look.

Kate Moss leather jacket Image - Dave Bennett

Kate Moss leather jacket

Kate Moss is famous for topping her outfits with a black biker (Top image by: Dave Bennett)

Whilst we all dream of having the funds to buy a buttersoft piece from Balmain, Alexander Wang or Isabel Marant, my budget on this occasion was set at around £100. Starting out, my only real criteria was that it was 100% leather (no plastic PV or pleather) and that it had interesting detailing and a good silhouette. Whilst my search is by no means exhaustive, I think it may be very helpful for anyone also looking for a well-priced leather jacket this autumn. Also, unless you object for ethical reasons, do ensure that it is 100% real leather. Although this means the price is higher, the fabric will wear well and last far longer than any cheaper imitation. All the below are 100% leather versions. I have also included some with a higher price point in case your budget is bigger. Here we go…

Biker # 1 – Zara £89.99 (Sizes XS – L)

www.stylitz.com Zara £89.99 - Image 1

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Biker # 2 – Zara £99.99 (Sizes XS – XL)

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www.stylitz.com Zara £99.99 - Image 2

Biker # 3 – ASOS £100 (Sizes 4-18)

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Biker # 4 – Mango £119.99 (Sizes XS – XL)

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Biker # 5 – Mango £119.99 (Sizes XS – XL)

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Biker # 6 – Oasis £158 (Sizes XS – L)

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Biker # 7 – Warehouse Alexa £180 (Sizes 6-18)

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Biker # 8 – Whistles cropped Cara £295 (Sizes 4-16)

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Biker # 9 – All Saints Dare with removable collar £358 (Sizes 2-14)

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Biker # 10 – A curveball in pale pink suede from Dorothy Perkins £120 (Sizes 6-20)

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And in case you wanted to know which jacket was eventually chosen and subsequently bought it was the ASOS Ultimate Biker Jacket at £100. I have been informed that the present was ‘a definite hit with the birthday girl, particularly the detailing on the arms’. These words come straight from the horse’s mouth. It also smelt amazing. Happy shopping!

Leaping forward into Spring

So spring has finally sprung. Even if the sun isn’t quite blazing, when it does rear it’s pleasant head you can actually feel the warmth for the first time in months. Added to which the days are getting longer and the hazy scent of summer eves spent in beer gardens hangs in the air. Plus this Sunday is the day the clocks go forward marking the official start of British summertime. Begone winter, we welcome you spring!

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With this is mind today’s post is quite a summery affair. I recently acquired a new pair of trainers and have been loath to remove them since. In fact only my obsession with keeping them looking brand spanking new has stopped me wearing them daily. I have been wanting a pair of white trainers for quite some time and have been debating the various merits of the Adidas Stan Smiths (a bit too ubiquitous), the Superstars (a very close contender) or a new pair of classic Converse All Stars (a wardrobe staple).

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Then I was thrown a curve ball in the form of Lacoste’s new SS15 collection and I fell in love. With the clean lines of a tennis shoe, discreet branding and super soft leather (comfy to wear from day one) these Carnaby Evo’s will carry me through shopping days, weekend brunches and meetings alike. And aside from the stunning minimalist design, what I actually love most is that they are slightly cream rather than pure white, which adds to their chic retro quality.

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Carnaby Evo, £84.99, Lacoste available at Office.co.uk

Like a missing jigsaw piece they fully integrate into my current wardrobe and pull together some of my favourite clothes. Also did I mention how super soft and comfy they are? Here is how I plan to style them this month:

Weekend brunch: Dress, Topshop; Earrings, Claire’s; Necklace, Whistles; Oversized clutch, Primark; Jumper, Mango; Trainers, £84.99, Lacoste

Meeting with clients: Sleeveless Ponte jacket, £42, Topshop (available now); Necklace, Whistles; Polka-dot shirt, New Look; Boyfriend jeans, Nobody; Trainers, £84.99, Lacoste

A stroll in the park: Boyfriend jeans, Nobody; Jumper, Gap; Polka-dot shirt, New Look; Trainers, £84.99, Lacoste; Purse, homemade gift; Necklace, Primark

Feel inspired? Then check out the full Spring Summer Lacoste range available now at http://www.lacoste.com. Unfortunately for those of you with delicate feet these trainers are from the men’s collection (sizes range from UK 7-12) but there are very similar women’s options available.

For other items featured on this page head to http://www.topshop.com, http://www.newlook.com, http://www.primark.com, http://www.mango.com, http://www.gap.co.uk and http://www.claires.co.uk