Only the Brave

On Friday I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing (albeit succinctly) Lady Gaga’s talented ex-stylist Nicola Formichetti – he of the controversial meat dress and armadillo shoe fame.  Fresh from a week of promo that included the Diesel Tribute launch party in New York and an event in Japan, it’s fair to say that he was suffering from both jet-lag & fatigue.  However, despite partying the previous eve at the London launch at Hoxton Gallery, he still managed to exude warmth, charm and a near endless enthusiasm for fashion.

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This month sees the launch of his first collection as Creative Director at Diesel. With his Italian-Japanese heritage, love of street-style and propensity for controversy this is a fine fit for the brand.  And with his legion of loyal Twitter fans, Formichetti brings a wealth of new customers to the label that once ruled the denim world.  This first collection made up of 22 pieces, all referenced from Diesel’s previously untapped 35-year archive.  Naturally, aside from some printed tees denim rules, with the stylist-turned-designer applying studding and biker badges to sleeveless jackets, high tops and shirts.

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The Diesel Tribute sleeveless jacket, shorts and tote – Formichetti’s favourite piece in the collection

When I asked about his favourite piece Nicola championed the tote bag. ‘I took the idea from the back of the vest (sleeveless jacket) and replicated it onto the bag so it looks like you’re carrying a jacket. It’s cool. When you see a tote it’s usually a cute pretty thing, very girly, but this is quite tough. It’s unisex, boys can wear it and girls can wear it.’ Indeed the collection is far from girly, channelling more of a rebellious biker chick aesthetic, a theme that is even more evident in the ad campaign, which features self-sourced heavily tattooed and pierced models.

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A few of the campaign images, shot by Nick Knight, and featuring a selection of models that ‘represent the fearless Diesel spirit’

Describing the difference between Diesel and his previous appointment as creative director at fashion house Mugler, he says ‘At Mugler we had two head designers that had a much more important role. With Diesel I’m directing it, but with a great big team. That’s the difference. The Diesel atelier is massive, we have a whole floor dedicated to denim, and scientists working on new treatments all the time.  It’s incredible to work like that. The possibilities are endless.’

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Images of the Diesel Tribute range taken at the in-store event, featuring studding, biker badges and colourful buttons

Formichetti is a champion of new media, saying that ‘young digital bloggers are the future; they’re going to take over the world. I love when new things happen. It’s shifting and we’re changing.’  A fact further supported by the campaign, which was shot entirely on an iPhone by renowned photographer Nick Knight. Formichetti gets very animated when discussing the speedy delivery of the campaign. ‘Sometimes you can do this spontaneous thing (sic), going directly to the consumer, not showing the product to the press 6 months before. It’s super quick, going straight to the digital world. And it’s exciting’ he says, before adding of the industry’s predisposition to work 6 months ahead. ‘I think if you keep trying we’ll get to a point where we can do something bigger and new for the fashion system. I don’t know what’s happening anymore, what season or what month we’re in. This has to change, don’t you think?

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Printed tees and digital moving images

Whilst this is an idea that has also been explored by Burberry (customers can order the next season Prorsum collection straight from the catwalk), I can’t see the whole of the fashion industry following suit.  Despite the instant appeal of new media, the major monthly titles as well as the dominant department stores need the 6 month lead time to place orders and create editorial content in time for the fashion season.  With Diesel, where seasons are less crucial, the concept is more of a reality.  And with his endless energy and thousands of Formichetti fans, this is just what Diesel needs to return to its position as pioneer of the denim industry.

Diesel Tribute is available now at selected stores. For more info head to www.diesel.com. The campaign (shot by Nick Knight) can be viewed on specific social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram, as well as digital installations in key stores.

Main image- the Diesel Tribute collection as it appears at the Covent Garden store.

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

 

Brighten up your home

As you may or may not know I am a tad obsessed with bold prints, and my current pattern-of-choice is waxed African fabrics (as mentioned in my previous post https://stylitz.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/a-riot-of-colour/).  Following last month’s medley of international fashion shows it appears there is no abating the current trend for bold prints, with the SS14 shows illuminating the catwalk with a plethora of vivid colours.  Today’s post however is of a more homely nature, with a focus on interiors rather than attire.

Last month I styled a streetstyle campaign for Gap and was delighted to meet a number of creative and inspiring people who were used in the ads.  Each were selected for their own personal style and coaxed into Gap jeans in a ‘How do you wear yours?’ type shoot.  One such person was the lovely Yinka Ilori, a talented furniture up-cycler who customises old chairs and tables using stunning African fabrics.  A graduate from London Metropolitan University, Yinka hails from North London yet his use of colour and quirky twists on furniture are definitely inspired by warmer climes.

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Some of his delightful customised pieces

Yinka exhibits at shows both in London and internationally, including the prestigious Milan Design Week. A solo exhibition of his work can currently be seen at The Old Shoreditch Station on Kingsland Road, in collaboration with Look, Like, Love.  Entitled ‘It Started with a Parable’ he uses stories from his childhood and traditional Nigerian parables as an influence for his designs.  He also holds regular workshops for Jaguar Shoes Collaboration teaching others how to breathe new life into old unloved furniture.

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Yinka inspiring others to up-cycle

Working to order from his East London studio Yinka is available for commissions, so why not be brave this autumn and bring some colour to your home with one of his unique stools or tables.  Guaranteed not to be available in Ikea.

‘It started with a Parable’ runs from 13th September – 24th November at The Old Shoreditch Station, 1 Kingsland Road, London E2 8AA. www.oldshoreditch.com; www.looklikelove.co.uk; www.jaguarshoes.com  

Check out Yinka’s work and more at www.yinkailori.com

Makeover mayhem with Gok in Poland

Last weekend I had the pleasure of flying to Poland for work.  Not only was this a treat in itself – being of Polish heritage, a trip to Eastern Europe feels like a return to the mother ship – but I also happened to be working with the gorgeous and hilarious Gok Wan.  He had been flown in to host an event in a shopping mall called Karolinka in a town called Opole in SW Poland.  As well as doing interviews, signing autographs and talking about this seasons trends – in English of course, although his grasp of the phrases dziekuje (thank-you), dzien dobry (good morning) and na zdrowie (cheers) was mighty fine – he also had to complete makeovers on three very happy and slightly star-struck ladies.  All in one day!

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Gok on stage

Gok onstage at Karlinka shopping mall in Opole, Poland

My job was to assist Gok with the styling of the makeovers, and being able to speak the language, I liaised with the girls beforehand about their body issues, favourite features and areas to cover.  I also did a recce of the shops, bringing together a selection of garments and accessories for Gok to choose from.  On greeting the ladies himself, Gok had several strong ideas about the looks and spent the first 10 minutes running around H&M (I kid you not, the cameraman literally couldn’t keep up) choosing a selection of silky blouses and slim-leg trousers to create the dream outfit for our first lady Magda.  Channelling Mollie from The Saturdays, he proceeded to transform the 33 year old mother-of-one into a full on glamazon, directing both hair and make-up and pulling together a chic look in an impressively speedy fitting. Here are the results, including both before and after shots.  As you can see she looks stunning – her slim legs are accentuated and her post-baby tummy and larger boobs are streamlined.

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Stylitz - Magda

After - Magda

Magda after

Magda onstage

Magda working the catwalk

Lady number two was the lovely Maria – a huge fan of Gok’s.  In her mid forties, with a classic pear shape, Maria was looking for a stylish weekend outfit.  She absolutely adored her fitted shift dress with tan boots and matching bag – a medley of soft neutral tones that suited her new warm hair colour.

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After - Maria

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Maria after

Maria onstage

Maria hitting the catwalk

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And onstage with Gok and her family

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Leather accessories in classic tan from Kazar completed the look

The final makeover was the most dramatic… 17 year old Patrycja was perhaps one of the shyest girls I have ever met.  When I first saw her she was hiding behind an oversized hoodie, a long fringe, heavy glasses and boyish trainers.  Her decision to enter the competition was prompted by the fact that in stores she was often mistaken for a boy and directed to the male clothing section.  She also had overwhelming body issues.  Yet below those baggy tops hid a steely character and a teeny tiny waist.  Without wanting to compromise who she was (she had never owned heels, never had a bra fitting and, I believe, never worn make-up) we opted for a rock-chick look that played on androgyny, whilst also adding a more feminine softer touch.  With the subsequent dramatic hair cut and colour – again directed by Gok and inspired by another member of The Saturdays, this time Frankie – and some beautiful soft smudgy make-up, Patrycja was barely recognisable.

Before - Patrycja

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Patrycja before

After - Patrycja

Stylitz - Patrycja

Patrycja after

Patrycja on stage

Patrycja nervously takes to the catwalk (after relentlessly rehearsing walking in heels backstage)

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On stage with her family & Gok

Whilst prepping for the makeovers I snapped lots of great bits in the stores at Karolinka.  Despite being quite a compact shopping mall, there were some fantastic items – the handbags and shoes were particularly strong.  Here is a small selection that caught my eye.

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I love this patterned sweater from Springfield (team with a leather pencil skirt or shorts and heels for a sports luxe look)

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Stripy monochrome blouse (great for the office) from Quiosque

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Tweed Chanel inspired jackets from Camaieu

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Playful colourful socks from Springfield

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Killer stilettos in primary tones from Kazar

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Bold ankle boots from Venezia

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A classic two-tone brogue from Venezia

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On trend this season – Chunky tractor soled ankle boots from CCC

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A selection of autumnal accessories from Orsay

I also made sure to find time to indulge in some placki with smietana (potato cakes with sour cream), pierogi (Polish dumplings – Gok’s ‘new favourite food’) and piwo (Polish beer).  A final shout out has to go to the lovely boys at Qlture events in Poland, who organised the whole thing and made sure we were welcomed and well looked after.  They did a fantastic job.  Polska – do widzenia. Fingers crossed we’ll visit again soon…

All items featured can be found at Karolinka mall in Opole, Poland – http://ch-karolinka.pl/ And here’s a little behind-the-scenes video made by TVN Style in Poland including an interview with me (be warned, it’s all in Polish).

http://dziendobry.tvn.pl/wideo%2c2064%2cn/gok-wan-stylizuje-polki%2c101577.html

Main holding picture: Leather bags and gloves from VIP Collection

 

Red carpet blush

No, I’m not referring to the cheek warming mistakes of this week’s Emmy Awards worst dressed (step up Lena Dunham), but to the dominant colour trend… a flesh toned pinky-blush as seen on January Jones, Rose Byrne and Claire Danes.

Stylitz - Claire Danes in Armani Prive - Getty Images

Claire Danes in Armani Prive (Getty Images)

Stylitz - January Jones in custom Givenchy with Cartier - Getty Images

January Jones in custom Givenchy with Cartier (Getty Images)

Stylitz - Rose Byrne in Calvin Klein Collection - Getty Images

Rose Byrne in Calvin Klein Collection (Getty Images)

Claire was the clear winner in both the style stakes and the Awards themselves with her gorgeous embellished Armani Prive shoestring strap backless gown, complimented by a faux bob and pretty make-up.  January worked a clean silhouette cut from lace – custom made by Givenchy – and Rose channelled early 90s Kate Moss in her simple chic Calvin Klein Collection dress.

Stylitz - Michelle Dockery in Prada with Fred Leighton jewels - Getty Images

Michelle Dockery in Prada (Getty images)

Stylitz - Allison Williams in Ralph Lauren with Fred Leighton jewels - Getty Images

Allison Williams in Ralph Lauren with Fred Leighton jewels (Getty Images)

However, the palette wasn’t limited to nude.  Colour was injected by the likes of Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery who has exactly the right amount of elegance to pull off a red halterneck full-skirted Prada gown.  The lack of embellishment and a simple strap stiletto balanced the full skirt to perfection. Likewise simplicity ruled with Girls star Allison Williams, who opted for a classic cobalt Ralph Lauren gown that was quite simply stunning.  Black and white also made an appearance, sometimes together as per this chic ensemble worn by Homelands Morgan Saylor, or alone as seen with Robin Wright’s cap-sleeved high-neck black Ralph Lauren column.

Stylitz - Morgan Saylor in Honor & Kwiat jewellery - Getty Images

Morgan Saylor in Honor and Kwiat Jewellery (Getty Images)

Stylitz - Robin Wright in Ralph Lauren - Getty Images

Robin Wright in Ralph Lauren (Getty Images)

Stylitz - Kate Mara in J. Mendel - Getty Images

Kate Mara in J. Mendel (Getty Images)

Stylitz - Julianna Margulies in Reed Krakoff with Fred Leighton jewels - Getty Images

Julianna Margulies in Reed Krakoff with Fred Leighton jewels (Getty Images)

The most successful red carpet looks were those that took this season’s prevailing minimalism trend as their inspiration.  By selecting clean lines or simple strapless shapes and a lack of frou-frou, the likes of Julianna Margulies and Padma Lakshmi made others look like wedding dress meringues.  Also of note was the lack of ostentatious jewels, as this year the A-list opted for understated earrings as opposed to dramatic décolletage enhancing necklaces.

Stylitz - Padma Lakshmi in Kaufmanfranco with Robert Lee Morris jewels - Getty Images

 Padma Lakshmi in Kaufmanfranco with Robert Lee Morris jewels (Getty Images)

Of course if you’re young it pays to go off centre and Mad Men’s gorgeous Kiernan Shipka looked both fantastic and fashion forward in her cute Delpozo dress – a floral triumph.

Stylitz - Kiernan Shipka 2 in Delpozo - Getty Images

Kiernan Shipka in Delpozo (Getty Images)

This being the red carpet, there are also outfits that split the crowd. Girls star Zosia Mamet nearly got it right in this custom made dress by Honor. The inky smudgy floral print and interesting neckline were superb, but the leather bralette insert was just too overpowering and dominated the overall look.  Such a shame!  Also co-star Lena Dunham’s Prada frock was a brave choice for a red carpet venture.  The bold print and huge shape, whilst gorgeous in other circumstances, engulfed Lena and looked plain wrong amongst all the simple column silhouettes and soft hues.

Zosia Mamet in Honor - Getty Images

Zosia Mamet in Honor (Getty Images)

Stylitz - Lena Dunham in Prada - Getty Images

Lena Dunham in Prada (Getty Images)

Stylitz - Aubrey Plaza in Marios Schwab - Getty Images

Aubrey Plaza in Marios Schwab (Getty Images)

Likewise comedian Aubrey Plaza split the critics with her demure lacy Marios Schwab gown.  I’m a fan, but let me know your thoughts on this and all the other looks.  Any disputes or any stunners I’ve missed?  Or are these simply not your favourite outfits from the night.  Comments welcome.

More information on winners go to http://www.emmys.com/

Main holding image – Claire Danes in Armani Prive (Steve Granitz/Wire Image)