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Archive for the ‘Trend Watch’ Category

The days are getting darker, the chill has set in and Winter is most definitely upon us. Well, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere anyway. This season is my favourite when it comes to the joys of dressing up. It’s a challenge, artfully layering up to keep warmth close to one’s skin. And there is one trend which is so intrinsically associated with Winter – namely, Fur.

Fur has a complicated history and a controversial one at that. It has been popular Winter clothing for it’s superior insulating abilities, but has also been a symbol of wealth and exclusivity over the decades. Fur has cloaked the Zelda Fitzgerald’s of the Golden Jazz Age, the Gloria Swanson’s of Hollywood to the glamorous film stars of the 1960’s like Ursula Andress and Studio 54 glamazon’s such as Diana Ross.

Then in the 1980’s came the PETA protests , railing against the fashion world and celebrities on the usage of fur. For a long period, people were often too scared to wear fur or faux-fur for fear of being splattered by paint by these angry protester. There were the famous anti fur campaigns starring the Supermodels of the ’90’s (‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’). But the allure has been hard to resist and many of those very same supermodels have been photographed since wearing fur/faux fur, most notably Kate Moss. She has one of the biggest collections of vintage fur coats and accessories from a black and white striped Monkey fur jacket to a black astrakhan coat.

But now it seems we’ve entered into an age of defiance. How can one be abhorred by trade in animal fur when we still continue to wear leather? In the August issue of Vogue Paris this year, Mario Testino photographed Raquel Zimmerman lampooning anti-fur protesters during Paris fashion week. To wear fur, whether real or faux, is now a statement and for the fearless.

Julia Von Boehm works the very sensual and sexy fur coat against bare skin look. It always manages to put men’s imagination into overdrive. Or be bold like model Lily Donaldson and wear zebra-printed fur. Jen Brill amps up the glam factor with her excessive fur pellet whilst Yasmin Le Bon keeps it simple with a fur trimming along her jacket to frame her face perfectly. Barbara Martelo looks super chic and the beautiful stranger photographed by Geraldine clashes leopard print pellets with a patterned silk scarf brilliantly.

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Somehow the majority of us human beings are drawn to the sea – spending holidays on beaches and retiring to seaside resorts to be near the comforting and soothing sound of water lapping against the shore. Perhaps we are instinctively drawn to the sea as it is where we orginated from. Whatever the reason, our strong affiliation for the sea is undeniable and is most prominently shown through the perennial fashion trend of all things nautical.

 

For every S/S collection, designers will send down the catwalk sailor style wide-leg pants, blazers with anchors engraved on gold buttons, horizontal stripes and colour palettes of just navy, white and red. The classic tricolor. 

But the absolute emblem for all things nautical has to be Breton striped tops. They were first worn in the 19th Century by the fishermen of Brittany.

The unusually close-knit quality of the very fine double-twist cotton protected them against sudden gusts of wind and were sturdy enough to withstand work at sea. This fishermen’s uniform soon became adopted in the 20th century as the uniform of progressive arts.

Artists involved in the Surrealists and Cubism movements, such as Pablo Picasso were often seen wearing Breton stripes, whether at work in their studios or out and about in town. French poets and authors from the Left Bank in 1950’s Paris continued this trend. And the look went mainstream when actresses at the forefront of film’s ‘Nouvelle Vague’ movement in France (such as Anna Karina, Brigitte Bardot and Jean Seberg, pictured above) were photographed and filmed in Breton stripes. It’s entanglement with these various art forms have naturally given Breton stripes the natural air of underground culture cool.

As a bonified urbanite I can assure you that no wardrobe is complete until you have a few Breton tops. There are various colour combinations but the best and orignal has to be navy on white. The crisp lines and simple colour palette frames the face wonderfully. Slightly crumpled one looks relaxed and at ease. One can easily pair Breton stripes with jeans to hang out on Parliament Hill or waltz in the Wolsley for lunch without the maitre d’ blinking an eyelid. Wherever you go, Breton is your ticket to chicdom. An absolute classic staple. The only places I trust on getting perfect loose Breton tops are from the French labels APC, Petit Bateau, Comptoir des Cotonniers and Jean Paul Gaultier if you’ve got the cash. But Alexa Chung’s stylist has brought another source to my attention. A nautical sailor’s shop in Shaftesbury Avenue in London called Arthur Beale. Get down there before the other fashionistas beat you to it!

And here’s how the fashionistas wear their stripes; Helena Christensen looks sexy as heel in a Breton striped figure hugging dress. Geraldine Saglio from Vogue Paris looks wonderfully pulled together as she wears Breton under a white jacket and jeans. Coco Sumner does the dishevelled, rock chick look by clashing the stripes with a tartan scarf. Alexa Chung is music festival ready in baggy Breton teamed with costume jewellery. Girl with the golden hair lets her stripes do all the talking in an oversized shirt worn as a dress. The gorgeous Swede Linn is casual with faded denim jacket and high waisted miniskirt and Agyness Deyn works the androgynous look by wearing it under a sharp tailored men’s jacket.

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We have long abandoned and neglected the region above our hairline. It has often been an all or nothing sartorial situation. Leaving our hairstyle to the elements or covering our head in a selection of hats (from beanies to trilbys). But now it seems, we are re-discovering the joy of accessorizing our hair. The last time a hair accessory was monopolized by the public it was in the ’80’s, the age of the velvet hairband and pearls for the mumsy Sloanes. A truly hideous look which more than likely contributed to the absence of such accessorizing for more than a decade. But then along came Miuccia with her Prada Spring 2007 collection.

Before our eyes were these rich jewel toned turbans ornately wrapped around the head, with the hair flowing beneath. It was a look that was difficult to ignore. Miuccia had been inspired by the great British eccentric Edith Sitwell with her bewildering array of headwear. Like Sitwell, the turban was a symbol of daring and a challenge to society, so it wasn’t surprising that it was the most adventurous dressers of our time who adopted the turban into their look (see Ashley Olsen and Zoe Kravitz below as examples).

 And so the challenge for accessorizing our hair has evolved, but is still led by the more individualist fashionistas. Erin Wasson teams a feather like Pocahontas headband with an evening dress, whilst Gala Gonzalez does the hippie-luxe look to perfection. Lily Allen (along with fellow British singer Amy Winehouse) wears the 1950’s housewife wrap well or make like the beautiful girl who is reminiscent of Rosie the Riveter from the 1940’s war propaganda poster with the empowering title ‘We can do it.’ The Sartorialist managed to capture this stunning blonde with an exquisite headpiece and Lou Doillon wears an oversized bow whilst maintaining her rebellious style. On paper it shouldn’t work but all these ladies pull off their head accessories with aplomb because of the strength of their unique style. Wallflowers need not apply for this trend.

source: garancedore, thesartorialist, wireimage, amana, www.fotolog.com/am_lul

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Bustiers and corsets have had a fascinating ( and painful! ) history and now it appears that they have been re-introduced into modern fashion and streetstyle again. Although they’ve never been fully away from the catwalk , I have never seen so many corset tops and bustiers hanging on the rails of so many high street stores as I have in the past 6 months or so.

I believe that the trend began two years ago when Carine Roitfeld, Editor of Vogue Paris was spotted at S/S 07 fashion shows wearing Azzedine Alaia’s white, obi-style belt over a t-shirt. After that outing other style mavens started to wear a smaller version of the belt over t-shirts ( ie Kate Moss wore a black one with a black t-shirt within a week ). Carine consistently worked the look, evolving into actual bustiers over sweaters and shirts. It is at once casual and sexy, reinforcing the curvy outline of a woman’s body.

As with most trends, it takes time for ideas to filter down to streetstyle and deemed workable for each person’s individual style and lifestyle. So below are a few examples of how versatile the bustier can be.For the easiest interpretation wear a strapless dress on top of a long sleeved t-shirt like Élisabeth Tessierain or wear one on top of a crisp white shirt for work. For a sexy, rock chick look wear bejewelled encrusted bustiers over vest tops like Erin Wasson and Rumi (of Fashiontoast fame). And if you want to have fun and are daring clash floral prints like Chloë Sevigny (with her line for Opening Ceremony).

source: fashiontoast, style.com, chloesevignyonline, garancedore, sartorialist, facehunter, altamiranyc

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