I was going to keep the best shows for last when it came to my LFW coverage, but you know what? I CAN'T HELP MYSELF. My favourite show of the day was KTZ, in fact it's pretty much always my favourite because it's bonkers. Show after show of well considered, simple, classic tailoring is great, really it is, but before the KTZ shows even start you only need to look around at the crowd to know that this show won't be like any of the rest. There were no summery suits at KTZ. Nope. S&M harnesses and brothel creeper sandals? OH HELL YES.
The vibe was Maasai warrior meets punk, a pretty kick-ass combination when you think about it. Biker jackets were re-invented with oversized collars, or worn sleeveless with tribal neckpieces. There was an unusual amount of leather for a Spring/Summer collection, but unusual is better than predictable right? Plus, Summer in London don't necessarily mean warm so leather shorts seem like a pretty good idea really.
There was plenty of humour too - a jacket advertising your escort services? I'd wear that. Not to meet my Mum in of course, but still it made me smile... and anyway what else would you wear with bondage shorts? The S&M bag deserves a special mention, mostly because it is AWESOME. I assume you'd carry sex toys, chains and whips around in it but no-one will know if I just carry a peanut butter and jam sandwich and a copy of the new Jackie Collins in mine will they?
Anyway I saved the best picture for last. Just look at those shoes. Look at them. Aren't they amazing? Now just imagine me wearing them. Pretty hot right? Awww yeah. Trends are about fitting in, real fashion is about standing out and that's why I love KTZ. Who wants to fit in anyway?
A couple of weeks ago, before I got swallowed up by the Fashion Week monster and my newly found love for ironing and packing boxes, I was invited to judge a style competition at my "local"-ish shopping centre, the N1 Islington.
Well today is the day I announce the winner. To be fair, as soon as I saw him, I knew he would be my pick, but I waited all evening to see if there would be anyone with a stronger personal style. There were some pretty great outfits on display that night, there was also an Elvis impersonator - you get the idea.
But no more digression, the winner of the street style competition is....
I love Jean-Pierre Braganza. He seems to always find the right balance between classic, everyday clothes and edgy designs. His SS12 collection "Praxis" is of course no exception to that rule. Classic trouser-suits and well cut shift dresses alternate with more intricate - and perhaps also a little more more youthful - evening wear.
"Women are the sculptures of nature, and it is a gift to adorn them with my clothes. Dresses caress and jackets compliment, never overshadowing the original form" - Braganza says. And for once, I don't raise my eyebrows in disbelief. Yes, he does create clothes that will look good on anyone. From the choice of fabrics to the prints and cut-outs, his designs are made to celebrate women - all women, not force them into an unrealistic and unachievable aesthetic mould.
I am a week away from my special trip to Los Angeles, but I am also 6 weeks away from moving home, which is all very exciting. As you can imagine, my head is mainly filled with three words: "packing, packing, packing". Whether it is my suitcase or large cardboard boxes, packing is all I want to do right now. My house is slowly filling up with boxes and the shelves are looking bare... I think I am addicted to packing.
It is probably due to some strange post fashion week delirium that made me want to catch up with real life rather than spending my days cruising around fashion shows like a loon. Real life definitely wins in my book. To further prove this, the other day I set out to iron my Dog print Unique blouse to test out the Philips PerfectCare that was just sent to me and I ended up two hours later having ironed ALL of my blouses. I had to stop myself as I reached for a pair of trousers. This seriously never happens. I rarely iron anything and I don't particularly like ironing, but for some reason with this new system, I was like under a spell. Suddenly ironing became THE thing I wanted to do. I wanted to hear the steam and see the iron glide on my clothes, I was like in a trance. An ironing trance.
As a result I now have crease free everything which is going to be really handy when I need to pack everything in my suitcase for Los Angeles... Which leads me to my second (fourteenth?) point: what the heck do I bring to LA? I am spending one week there and it is going to be pretty action packed, possibly even more so than the last time I was there. I need daytime outfits, evening outfits, Disneyland outfits, beach outfits - I am even going to Palm Springs so I need a resort outfit. Phew. There are definitely worse problems to have, right?
Before I go, here are the things that kept me sane during Fashion week: Deliverance, Grazia's Big Fashion Issue, my iPhone... and flat shoes!
I never know what to expect from Unique. The SS11 show really failed to impress me but fast forward to AW12 and I was all over the dalmatian print and Cruella De Vil silhouettes. For SS12, the invitation was adorned with a photo of Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra so I was expecting something reminiscent of the Minimarket show I saw in Stockholm last month... It wasn't.
It was however heavily influenced by Ancient Egyptian iconography and the designers used all the symbols and colours liberally. While on the whole it was a little too "Heavy Night in Dalston/Efes" for me, I really enjoyed some of the silhouettes and the pieces taken individually are quite interesting. I especially liked the swimsuits with esoteric prints.
A whole part of the collection seemed to be dedicated to pink mermaids or My Little Pony as in the middle of the black, gold and blue, as if out of nowhere emerged a few pink shimmery silhouettes. The pink dress with gold bodice got me nodding in appreciation.
The first time I saw Maria Nilsdotter creations, I was besotted. I already featured some of her pieces on the blog but after hanging out with her a couple of times, I decided I had to let you know a little more about this ultra talented super babe. I paid her a visit at her Stockholm workshop back in August and asked her a few questions.
What made you decide to start your own label?
It was kind of an easy decision since I started selling my jewellery during my second year at CSM. So when I graduated it was my only plan.
What do you think about while making your pieces?
I create little stories in my mind. Like fairytales or darker stories, with main characters, scenery and music.
Your workshop is very personal, how did you decide what it would look like?
I just wanted to be surrounded by things that inspire me - a bit egoistic:). My books are my treasures so I wanted them close. A lot of the furniture and many weird things are from my home and the rest is from antique shops.
How do you keep a private/work life balance?
It is quite difficult when you do something that you’re very passionate about. It’s easier now that I don’t work from home, when I get home I want to focus on my daughter. When she’s sleeping I do some more work…
Favourite places in Stockholm?
The archipelago for sure, I’ve spent every summer there and it’s the most beautiful and peaceful place to me. I love Old Town (Gamla Stan) where my workshop is; you can feel history there. The yard at Story Hotel during summer is perfect for drinks in the evening. Then dinner at Riche for meeting people.
What inspired the new collection?
My new collection for SS12 “Catch Me If You Can” is inspired by warrior women (sounds weird I know), hunting and trophy collecting, strong but feminine. It’s a sequel to my last collection inspired by travelling people and nomads.
What is your favourite piece of jewellery?
My favourite from my own collections vary all the time, the Claw Ring is special to me since I made the first version in college. Favourite jewellery otherwise are pieces that mean something special. Like my engagement ring, my grandmother’s ring and a Zuni Indian ring from Santa Fe. I guess I like rings!
When I was a wee goth lass, in high school, my look featured two main themes: innerwear as outerwear, and fanciful Victorian/Stevie-Nicks-ish gowns. Given that I was high-schooling in hot hot Florida, the less long sleeved outfit usually prevailed, i.e., slips as dresses. I have to admit it was a look I stole from my friend’s cool goth older sister, who had the bottom part of her dyed-black hair shaved off and had a labret piercing and was always wearing two slips layered whenever I saw her – whether chilling at home or dancing at the local gothic discotheque, she always wore her gothic finery. I started to collect slips immediately and basically made them my very own school uniform. Thrift stores in Florida are chock full of mint condition vintage slips, and I pick a few up every time I go for a visit; a lady can never have too many slips, after all. I rarely work that particular look any more, but I’ve never lost my love of the goth/lingerie look, often throwing a waist cincher or corset over a dress, or occasionally (very occasionally) wearing a body suit – just a body suit (did I mention that’s only very occasionally?).
Elkin is a label that showed its first collection last spring for the A/W 2011 season. Two lingerie loving, literary minded sisters joined forces to create the line, which they call Gothic Romance – a nod to some of their favorite literary works (and to mine, not so coincidentally). It’s neither simply lingerie, nor just innerwear that can be worn as outerwear (by the daring among us) – but something beyond.
From left to right: Bronte top in raven; Bones top in raven.
From left to right: Dove dress in wine; Rosemary dress in raven.
From left to right: Eyre romper in clove; Z dress in peony.
From left to right: Sharpe shorts in antique lace and Tamerlane top in gauze; Z slip in peony and Daphne panty in raven. Photos via Elkin (you can also find their reading list and playlist on their website)
In addition to some adorable Rosemary’s Baby-esque baby doll dresses that wouldn’t even make your grandmother look twice, they’ve created these innerwear-like pieces, presenting them layered with other pieces in such a way as to be firmly within the realm of appropriate street wear, if not quite Sunday family dinner wear. Might seem a little funny to be swooning over scant clothing with fall coming on, but that’s the thing about cold weather – you can wear those gorgeous overcoats on the mean streets and the creepy subways and take them off at your destination to reveal whatever scant clothing you’d like to be wearing. It’s almost like you have to dress more conservatively in the summer because it’s too hot to cover up on the way to where you’re going!
While we’re on the subject of lingerie, I’d be remiss not to mention La Perla’s Roaring collection and Yes Master’s Glamery collection, as much to note the beauty of the pieces in the collection as to admire the accompanying campaign photos.