Friday, April 30, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Jean Shrimpton in an Italian Vogue edition from 1962

At the end of the shows I was busy compiling my trend report as usual when the 60's trend came up on my radar. It was done best at the Parisian House of Rochas, designed by Marco Zanini, but  Balenciaga, Prada and Giles had a go too. It got me to wondering what exact moment of the 1960's had inspired the look, and mulled over who the muse might be. Jean Shrimpton? Jackie Kennedy? Brigitte Bardot? None of them felt right and I couldn't pin it down. It's here I have to hand it to the British High Street design teams and buyers. They know how to spin a trend and give it the shape they want for their customer base. On the way they sometimes manage make a trend ten times better than it seemed on the catwalk.

The 60's trend is a case in point. My Eureka moment hit at Urban Outfitters when I became enthralled by their Cambridge Satchel link-up (below), the shearling lined hiking bootees, the Harris tweed satchel collaboration, and the cute way they paired flecky grandad cardigans, plaid shirts, kilts, and yet more satchels. It was then I knew who the muse was for this whole darn trend... here she is...
Carey Mulligan just before she meets her man in An Education, set in 1962 
Cambridge Satchel

Urban Outfitters gets inspiration from Carey Mulligan in An Education and the English university style of the early 60's

New Look AW10

TopShop AW10

Lynn Barber: the real thing. I LOVE this book.

Of course, the film is set in 1962. Turns out this is the same year Tom Ford's film A Single Man is set. This put me on a trail for other significant cultural events from 1962 and following a a sixty minute journey through the Web I feel totally inspired.
Don't so many guys have this look today? Julieanne Moore could make each Rochas AW10 look her own.


YSL launches

The beautiful Yves Saint Laurent in 1962

Bob Dylan first album

 Francoise Hardy is (in my opinion) the sexiest woman in the world in 1962
These photgraphs are taken:

Photo credits: FEAL, Photobucket


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

British Fashion lost a heartland member of its ranks on Wednesday night. Katy Baggott, 39, the agent to Phoebe Philo, Juergen Teller and Katie Hillier among others over the years, has left us. Tonight I am attending the 40th birthday party of her best friend since the age of 14, Sammi, who has told me the party will be bringing all of her friends together, and that the evening is dedicated to celebrating her life.
Katy Baggott with Juergen Teller at Marc Jacobs SS10 show last September in NYC.

"Katy Baggott, agent extraordinaire, tragically and unexpectedly passed away yesterday, Wednesday 28 April, in her sleep. Baggot was one of those hugely influential and yet oft-unsung heroes of the fashion industry, a force of nature and enthusiasm. She was an agent who chose to work very closely with a small and hugely talented roster, her directness and honesty helping her to skilfully negotiate commercial contracts for her clients that gave them enough room to maintain their own character and style. She was unstinting in her loyalty, generosity and kindness to her friends as well as randomly helping anyone she was impressed by along the way with a simple introduction or recommendation. All that aside, Katy was great fun to be with and will be horribly missed by so many."
photo: Retna Pictures

Sunday, April 25, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

This image is the copyright of Melanie Rickey and The Fashion Editor at Large blog. Not to be used without permission.

From a purely fashion/clothing/style based perspective, it is a most fascinating thing to be getting married to another woman in a Civil Partnership Ceremony, as the proper jargon dictates we call it. As two women with long-standing fashion-related careers it is a given that we are expected to pull something totes fabulous out of the bag. But what?

From the off I knew the consideration for how our two looks would work together had to be paramount. None of that "keeping it secret" from your partner business. What we wear has to work together. The outfits have to complement without being too similar, bring out the best in each individual, and pull us together visually as a couple too. And they MUST BE UTTERLY FABULOUS. Must must must...

Another thing that we keep being asked is "which one of you will wear the trouser suit."  I'm not stupid, I do know there is an element of humour to this question. However, I think the hint of mirth added to the timbre of the voice of the questioner is there because they want it to SOUND like they are joking, but meanwhile they are serious. They think that in girl-girl couples there is always one who wears the trousers. Well FYI: we are both partial to a jazzy new-look Balenciaga bootcut, but not on our wedding day, thanks.

The precedence of Ellen Degeneres in a white trouser suit and Portia di Rossi in a beautiful meringue wedding dress on their big day has been set, more's the pity. I'm convinced the union of Ellen and Portia gave rise to the above snapshot of us which was taken by the wonderful Caroline Burstein of Browns Bride on our first day of "what are we going to wear to get married" shopping.

Full of naive hope that the whole process would be easy, I booked us an appointment for an hour long trying on session at Browns Bride, thinking we would find roomfuls of cocktail wedding dresses that would look amazing on us. What planet was I on? Wedding dresses are SOOO not us. When we got there and saw the wonderful weddingy drama of the exquisite but very trad frocks the reality that we needed a whole other approach to to this thing clunked on our heads like a barrier in a car-park.

Don't get me wrong. If I was a bride in the traditional sense and marrying a man, I would have fallen at the feet of Caroline B and let her guide me to the nearest Oscar de la Renta, Marchesa, Akira or Galliano for Christian Dior masterpiece. However, we are about as untrad as it is possible to be on the wedding front. So it was with unbridled camp glee that we slung on the beautiful bias cut bridal sheaths suggested by Caroline, "just so you have a memory of the visit". I am eternally grateful for that. Everytime I see the snapshot, I laugh at how wrongheaded we were on the start of our wedding dress journey.

Things are looking much better now. I STILL have not totally got my dress sorted, but lets say I have a world class designer on the case and Yasmin Sewell on hand to keep me sane.

Now that I've broken the ice on discussing my CPC with you, I feel so much better. Might as well let you in on a few other secrets as I go along.

I will introduce you to my personal trainer this week. She is hardcore.  

With thanks to Browns Bride. 
The Browns Bride dresses are by Elizabeth Fillmore.
Thanks to for the Ellen and Portia shot. 

Friday, April 23, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

My very dear friend Yasmin Sewell has been curating the Estethica press day for a couple of years now. Last season I got there just as they were packing up. Cue guilt trip. So with my sense of journalistic duty front of mind, I skipped along to Estethica after we, (me and Yasmin, who is advising me and the g/f on our wedding looks), left the showroom of the designer who is charged with making us look amazing on the day. And no, I still have not decided on a wedding dress, though Mary has, and she looks so amazing in it. Grrr.
Loved Yaz's look yesterday. Hat from Amsterdam, jacket, coat and jeans by Margiela, shirt by ACNE, TopShop shoes, Roger Vivier Bag. Paper bag from Whole Foods contained nachos and guacamole, yum!

ANYWAY. Turned up at Somerset House to check out the group of ethical designers selected by the British Fashion Council, with their collections edited for the press by Yasmin, and finally to observe a panel discussion on the future of ethical fashion. I was interested to hear what progress was being made in creating awareness of ethical labels, and how the companies are doing on a business level. But before I knew what was happening, I was inserted into the panel representing Grazia due to Volcano absenteeism. YIKES!

 The view

Yasmin and Laura Bailey

 The PANEL: Laura Bailey, Verra Budimlija planning director of thinktank G2, Orsola de Castro owner/designer of upcycling label From Somewhere, Baroness Lola Young arts & heritage consultant and independent cross bench peer in the House of Lords. Out of shot is Charty Durrant, fashion consultant.

Brain in gear, I reacquainted myself with my thoughts on the subject. My view on ethical fashion is that something has to happen to rectify the disconnect between fashion seasons and actual seasons. Winter coats in on sale in September and bikinis on rails in March are an accepted shopping norm, but should they be? We also need to question a system that demands of designers they produce two main seasonal catwalk collections, as well as two pre-collections annually. High street stores produced a new range every six weeks. It was these points that revved the discussion into gear. 

What we were all agreed on across the panel, is that awareness of ethical fashion/clothes needs to be fostered in teenagers. We also agreed that educating young consumers to develop personal style, rather than chasing fashion trends would be beneficial to everyone.

For me, what emerged from the panel discussion is that it is a darn good thing there are a bunch of people out there trying to make a difference to the way we think about and consume clothing. We need the London College of Fashion and its Centre for Sustainable Fashion. We need the British Fashion Council and Estethica. We need the designers selected for Esthetica to start making a difference, and to get recognition and exposure in the fashion press. Most especially though, we need them to make clothes that are desirable which stand up as stylish, functional, practical, beautiful - whatever they intend for them to be - but in the wider market. Not in an ethical market.
Christopher Raeburn creates functional outerwear using reclaimed, second-hand army fabrics, including leather and parachute silks. 

The better ethical designers get at looking as good as the rest, (like Christopher's work above), but with the added edge of green credentials, the more likely we are to see the movement growing. It is the future. Stella McCartney has shown that you don't need to use leather to create amazing accessories. Edun has shown that you can create your own supply chain by growing cotton, and educating and caring for your workforce. There are manifold ways to be ethical.

On a personal, philosophical level I don't believe in consumption for consumptions sake. I find it sinister that we should be encouraged to keep shopping (J.G Ballard's Kingdom Come anyone?) So Primark, Peacocks and Tesco clothing lines are not on my shoppping list. I only buy what I need. But I DO want to support designers who are trying to educate people by creating ethical clothing in whatever form that might come in whether it is non-chrome vegetable dyes for leather; rearing their own sheep and knitting jumpers from them; upcycling, recycling, remaking..

I do find it difficult to find amazing ethical pieces for the magazine at times, but the selection on show for AW10 gave me hope.

Baroness Young was right when she stated "when things change, the two ways need to co-exist for a while."
From Somewhere uses off-cuts from the design process and upcycles them into beautiful pieces, like this one. Established in 1997 it is one of the pioneers of of the UK sustainable fashion movement. IThe clothes it creates improve season-on-season. 

Loved this "Madonna" dress in 93% Bamboo fibres by MAXJENNY, they are worth checking out

Carapace gauntlet by Makepiece

Phyllite jumper by Makepiece

Edgeway dress by Makepiece

Here is Beate Kubitz of Makepiece with the sheep that make the above garments! She co-owns the label with designer Nicola Sherlock-Windle, and all of their well-designed - some fashionable, others functional - knits are created using British farmed wool, alpaca, and mohair.
Meet Nin Castle of Goodone. Her energy and flair was infectious, and Yasmin told me she could see Goodone going all the way. Nin designs using upcycled surplus luxury fabrics and used garments, she also makes use of end of roll cashmere and British knit. The designer is posing with a mannequin wearing her bestselling and very sexy crochet panel knit dress. Her next project is a collection using all the surplus fabrics from Arcadia Group for a TopShop collection. Watch this space!

Photos by Fashion Editor at Large and from the press packs of designers shown.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

When you feel like everything has changed it is reassuring to see that some things stay the same. This was Paris Hilton bouncing around at Coachella in CA. this past weekend. I promise you this is not from 2006.
I don't have time to dwell on why, but seeing the carefree debauchery from the hundreds of pictures I've viewed from Coachella in the last 24 hours, got me to thinking about one of my favourite quotes from John Updike, one of my preferred authors. This is him on himself, and pretty much sums up the human condition for me today.

"For all my physical handicaps, neurotic symptoms, aberrant thought patterns, and characterological limitations, I think of myself as an amiable, reasonable, interested, generally healthy, sexually normal, dependable, hopeful, fortunate human being. Which goes to show what a vexed thing even a fortunate human being is."

Photos: Thanks to Rex Features.  

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


I was lucky enough to have some "family time" with my self-confessed fashion brother yesterday, Erdem Moralioglu. He anointed me his fashion sister a short while ago, in lieu of his own twin sister being away in Siberia filming a documentary. Granted, we were at Browns of South Molton Street where there was an air of quiet solicitude due to the death of Mr B, the co-founder, last week. The divine Mrs B was not present.

Erdem could cheer up any room, however, and as soon as he saw me he started trying to sell me an Alexander Wang dress from Browns 40th Anniversary collection of special edition designer "Future Collectables".  What is it with little brothers???  Guess he was just trying to fulfill his role of host and chief sales assistant at Browns on the occasion of this collection going on sale for the first time. I was more in the mood for the Margiela T-shirt (scroll down for it) I'm having a boyish fashion phase this month... Next month when I get hitched to M though will be another story.

After that he showed me the below from left: Phillip Lim, Christopher Kane (first collection for SS07, reissue) and David Koma (M.A graduation collection 2009, reissue)

Once I had declined the Wang, Erdem moved me onto his dress, "I wanted something black with a paint spatter effect," he told me, before graciously double-kissing a very rich looking client who came over looking for love. "It has a light shoulder pad, and the bottom is cut on the bias to accommodate....this will look good on any age. We've sold two today already.." Showoff.

Well, he deserves to be. Later yesterday he attended a cocktail at the Ivy Club hosted in his honour by Vogue and the BFC to celebrate him winning the very first BFC Vogue Fashion Fund. He has won £200K beating off Kane, Kirkwood and Nicoll and though he hadn't received the cheque yet, he is looking for a new member of staff, and new premises. These, of course, are the real prize.
All of the rather lovely pieces, including this Dries van Noten shirt, have special tags telling you they are "Future Collectables." Personally, I love it when designers date their clothes by season.

So why is Browns doing this? Over to Zoe, head of press for Browns. "People want what they can't find anywhere else," she told me. "Limited edition is the key to that, so Mrs B thought about what we would love to see again that has a unique Browns fashion spin. One of the pieces is the red Christopher Kane dress which, when it first came into Browns, sold out before hitting the shop floor. Another piece is the classic Balenciaga blazer. We never buy enough of them; they always sell out. We have managed to get the cost down to just over £1K." Normally these jackets are around £2K.
I'll be getting this at the weekend.

Me and Erdem: isn't the family resemblance striking?

Sunday, April 11, 2010


Its driving me doo-lally that I can't focus on the blog and give it the proper attention it deserves while I pass through the family duty and organisational phase following Dads death. I have stories queueing to leave my mind like buses in a bus garage. The funeral is this Friday, so I will be posting bits and bobs from press days and such this week. From 19th April I will have full ownership of my mental faculties again, and I can't wait to geek-out in my office and set free my trapped posts.

I'll leave you with a snapshot of one of the bookshelves in my office. The picture is of my father when he was 28. I realise I bought him the book 'Laptops for Seniors in Easy Steps' which is on the shelf, but I never gave it to him. :(

Thursday, April 8, 2010


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Aside from a few long standing favourites (Business of Fashion, Ask Hadley, Disney Roller Girl etc) my Google Reader list is a constant readjustment project. I am in search of the most interesting, prolific and humorous blogs. It's an unending quest, and one I'm sure many of you can relate to. So here are a small sample of some of the best I've added in recent weeks:

Alex Loves: From her interviews with new design talents AKA 'Alex Meets...', to random (very fun) coverage of her cousin's Chanel tattoo covered cast - Alex posts what I want to read.

Searching for Style: Alexandra Suhner Isenburg used to design for Burberry before she moved back to her native Canada. She writes some great opinion pieces, and her 'love / loathe' coverage of fashion week breaks down the shows into digestable reviews.

Fashion Foie Gras: I have no idea how many people author this blog but it makes me laugh! Quite newsy posts which bring to mind Refinery29 (another fixture on the old Google Reader).

The Clothes Whisperer: Yes I know, I'm seriously slow off the mark to have only just started reading this blog! My favourite thing about it is Kristin Knox's writing. Oh and the constant presence of Butters, her pomeranian side-kick.

Poetic & Chic: Annie veers away from narcissistic 'look at me in this totally super cute outfit' type posts (which I'm not massively fond of in large doses) and brings my attention to poeple I've never heard of or thought about before. Check out her Anna Karina post.

In related news, styling website has named Fashion Editor at Large their blog of the week. Ta very much guys!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

A Charlie by Revlon TV ad from 1979. Does that collar detail look at all familiar to you Hannah MacGibbon of Chloe?

Hannah McGibbon of Chloe has been watching Charlie TV ads on YouTube...

Girls, have you been looking in your wardrobe for trousers you don't own (yet)?

Are you suddenly hankering after a silken blouse in a shade of burnt toffee, pink or oatmeal beige that is a close match to your skin tone? AND looking to match your skirt/trousers and shoes to said blouse for a fabulous one-tone effect?

Are brogues your shoe of choice for Spring?

Is "looking like a career girl" when you go to work becoming an a.m dress-policy? 

Have you been swinging your hair about unneccessarily in the last few weeks?

Just in case you didn't catch it the first time...some more Chloe AW10 by Hannah MacGibbon

If you have answered yes to any one of these questions you are in touch with the new practical reality of fashion that is advancing onto a high street near you over the next six months, or has swung - see Zara now, and every label worth mentioning for AW10.

With the recession still biting, and many, many stylish young women loose on the job market, there has been a notable fashioning up of the daytime working wardrobe of every female I know aged from 20-50. Competition is rife for jobs, especially those in the media and I know I would go for the best put together, most professional and stylish looking young woman if I were hiring. The same goes across all professions. To be taken seriously now, you've got to look like you mean business.

This is why the catwalk designers - for years sending out a relentless army of red carpet worthy dresses - have suddenly gone all career-wear on us. It is also why I love what Jil Sander is doing for Uniqlo. That woman is so ahead of the curve.

For the first time in almost a decade, fashion is not about a fantasy night out "chanelling" some A-lister, bygone icon or basing an outfit on a trend mood (eg "rock goth"), it is about actual clothes that are well designed, functional, elegant and with that long forgotton quality, panache.

The last time in my memory career-wear has powered up the fashion chart was in the late 1970's. I was just out of nappies then, but I do believe my future in fashion was sealed by the Charlie perfume TV and print commericals, some of which are shown here.

Charlie Girl had it all. A fabulous wardrobe, a successful career, men singing to her and fawning at her feet, and she smelled mighty fine. She was also terribly light on her feet, leaping from pavements at every opportunity. I love Charlie Girl, and every young woman born after the on-air date of these commercials will be seeing this look as if for the first time, and thanks to Chloe, Stella, Ferragamo and Celine, my prediction is she will love it all as if for the first time as the year progresses.

Bring on the bootcut trousers! OMG did I just write that????

Picture credits: Chris Moore/

Thursday, April 1, 2010


Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

Besides its eye-catching cover - a soft wispy pencil sketch of Susie Bubble - I'll admit I didn't know all that much about Sketchbook Magazine. That all changed two days ago, when the team welcomed more than 300 people to their Carnaby pop-up shop. Just hours after the launch party one fan tweeted that the evening felt like falling into the pages of the magazine. How right she was...

(That's me trying not to get cupcake crumbs stuck to my lipstick at 1:12)

The Sketchbook pop-up shop was the brainchild of Rachel Menashy (a final year Fashion Promotion and illustration student) who pitched the idea to editor Wafa Alobaidat in January of this year. As Sketchbook is all about innovative talent and creative collaboration it didn't take much to persuade the contributors to get behind the project. 

 Rachel enlisted the help of Sister PR, who in turn secured the space (a shop at number 10 Newburgh Street) and the 500 members of the Sketchbook family did the rest. Every inch of white wall became a blank canvas, and 48 hours of solid illustration later, it was covered. 

Entering the world of Sketchbook is intoxicating. Not least because of the smiling faces of all the proud contributors. Wafa told me that she has met at least 5 people every day since she started the magazine a year ago. Her vision was always to support the creative community, and Sketchbook strive to find a place for every person with a desire to get involved.

Such a huge network of creative contributors came in handy when the team were dreaming up events to fill the three week occupancy. Lectures, workshops and discussion panels enlist the knowledge of people like Laetitia Wajnapel (Mademoiselle Robot blog), Becky Smith (LuLa, Twin magazine), Rosie Wolfenden and Harriet Vine (Tatty Devine), Samir Clerc and Zoe Knight (Wolf and Badger) and Viking Wong. And best of all the whole shebang is free! I'll be making frequent visits over the next few weeks, and so should you.

Check out the Sketchbook blog for frequent updates and listings on all the goings on down at the pop-up shop, or get drip fed info by following Sketchbook magazine on Twitter.