Tuesday, 19 May 2015

TREND TUESDAY: SHIP SHAPE


Ahoy there! Of the fashion trends that constantly recur, the nautical trend is one of the biggest that designers remain fixated on year after year. This season, Stella McCartney did it with roomy white sailor trousers and J. W. Anderson paired navy flares with brass buttons and quirky rope embellishments. From crisp, icy shades to teal, turquoise and sapphire hues, blue featured heavily on SS15 catwalks, while the traditional black and white Breton stripe was made over in vibrant oranges, purples and reds. The folks at Altuzzara put a further twist on the trend by sending models out in head to toe stripes of varying thickness and directions. Look back at past Fashion Week collections, and you’ll see various reincarnations of the nautical theme.

So where did it all begin? Nautical fashion goes back to the mid nineteenth century, where Queen Victoria dressed her four year old son in a mini version of a sailor uniform, which had been introduced at the beginning of the century. By 1871, nautical motifs had made their way into women’s swimsuits and leisure wear. Introduced as resort wear fashion, it was Coco Chanel’s 1917 nautical collection that transformed the Breton top from a naval uniform staple to a fashionable item, eventually being worn by trend-setters such as James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause (1955) and Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face (1956).

The beginning of World War II brought military influences to the forefront of fashion, as influential Parisian and London fashion houses were forced to close. Instead, people began to look to Hollywood actresses, who wore nautical inspired garments on screen, for their fashion fix. The colourful hues of the 1930s stripe had transformed to focus on the old red, white and blue in a show of patriotism. Forties sailor dresses gave traditional navy uniforms an elegant and playful twist: pleated dresses were finished off with square collars, sailor-tie bows and buttons shaped like anchors and stars. After the mid-forties, however, the nautical look virtually died out until the following decade, with the 1958 release of South Pacific helping to spark a nautical revival. Our favourite nautical looks of the 1950s include Ginger Rogers's sailor top cinched in at the waist with a white belt, Marilyn Monroe's roll neck dress, a boldly striped playsuit worn by Grace Kelly and model Lucinda Hollingsworth dressed in a sharply cut, dark blazer, paired with crisp white trousers.

Nautical themes continue to set sail next season (see what we did there?), with the House of Holland’s bright yellow and black stripes, Isabel Marant’s chunky knits and punkish stripes at Saint Laurent. We’re sure that nautical motifs will pop up amongst next summer’s trends too- can they ever go out of fashion?

Words by Anam Rahim

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

TREND TUESDAY: CROCHET


Crochet is not only our go-to fabric for ultimate festival cool, but its romantic, beautifully feminine patterns make it this season’s dreamiest daytime staple. It isn't, however, particularly easy to wear (complete with the danger of making its wearer look like a large doily) - so, with SS15 bursting with more crochet than you’ll find at a Coachella afterparty, here’s our guide to wearing the trend.

A classic festival item, pair a crochet crop top with high-waisted denim shorts and seventies tile prints, or toughen up crochet dresses with chunky ankle boots (or, y’know, wellies). Coachella street style snaps are an amazing source of inspiration: we love the romantic, Jane Birkin-esque crochet maxi skirts and the abundance of white minidresses with crocheted necklines and trims. Coachella also showed that crochet doesn't have to be restricted to white and neutral colours: Jordan Dunn embodied the trend from head to toe in a black playsuit, while red, yellow and lavender crocheted circles popped against Gisele Oliveira's black dress.

For everyday wear, wear loose crochet tops with denim flares and a floppy hat for an instant seventies feel. Keep the look modern with clean cut lines and crisp, icy white and indigo colours. Throwing a biker jacket over delicately patterned crochet dresses gives your look an instant edge, while an unbuttoned denim shirt is perfect for cooler summer evenings- cover up with our oversized Americana shirt, available here. If the thought of crochet still makes you squeamish, the easiest way to rock the trend is by incorporating subtle details into an outfit- think crocheted hems and pretty panels, as seen on our Lara blouse. With its delicate lacy inserts and edgings, the blouse looks gorgeous paired with a tan A-line mini and floppy hat, or with this season's denim cuts- Jane Birkin, eat your heart out! 


Words by Anam Rahim

Friday, 8 May 2015

REMEMBERING RITA HAYWORTH...



In a story that can only be described as fit for a fairy-tale, a Fox executive spotted Margarita Carmen Cansino dancing onstage at a Caliente club. A screen test and six month contract quickly followed, with Cansino scoring parts in five movies. The contract, however, wasn’t renewed, and Cansino freelanced, appearing in a string of B-movies, before eventually being snapped up by Columbia on a long term basis. On the hunt for a new star, and believing that her looks (apparently “too Mediterranean”) restricted the roles she could be cast in, Columbia executives persuaded Cansino to reform her image: cue a lasered-back hairline, dyed auburn tresses and the name Rita Hayworth.

By the ‘40s, Hayworth was to become one of Hollywood’s most in-demand actresses. She appeared opposite Joan Crawford in Susan and God, but it was box office smash The Strawberry Blonde that set her up as one of Hollywood’s biggest names. Her popularity continued: photographed in Life magazine in a white satin nightgown with a black lace bodice, she became one of the biggest wartime pinups, with sales from her photos beaten only by Betty Grable. 1946 saw Hayworth perform as the ultimate femme fatale in film noir Gilda, a role that caused controversy amongst film censors. Dressed in a black satin gown with a thigh-high slit, she performed a one-glove striptease-tease while miming ‘Put the Blame on Mame’. The role became one of her most famous, and the image of Gilda stuck to Hayworth- she was to later remark, ‘men fall in love with Gilda, but they wake up with me.’

Three years after Gilda, Hayworth left Columbia and met her third husband Aly Khan, only to return a few years later when the marriage collapsed. She sashayed effortlessly through the opening sequence of her comeback, Affair in Trinidad, while her dance in brightly coloured veils in Salome was easily the film’s most notable feature. She took another off-screen break for her marriage to Dick Haymes, walking out on him after two years. By the time she returned to Columbia, Kim Novak had replaced Hayworth as its biggest star, and she left the studio for good in 1957. She followed up with projects such as Separate Tables, The Story on Page One and The Wrath of God. Hayworth passed away in May 1987.

With a place in the American Film Institute’s top 25 female film stars of all time, Hayworth was undoubtedly also a talented dancer. She fought back against a studio that was determined to manipulate her, could more than hold her own against the top stars she was billed against, and her vibrant personality brought to life films with otherwise exhausted plot lines.

Words by Anam Rahim

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

TREND TUESDAY: THE HEPBURN LOOK


Twenty two years after her death, Audrey Hepburn undoubtedly still remains a true style inspiration, exuding the elegance and glamour of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She is, of course, an extremely inspirational woman in her own right, starring in Funny Face, Breakfast at Tiffany’s and My Fair Lady, and winning three BAFTAs and two Academy Awards. The American Film Institute ranks Hepburn as the third greatest female screen legend in the history of American cinema. From 1954, she worked with UNICEF, later being appointed its Goodwill Ambassador. In celebration of her birthday yesterday, this week’s Trend Tuesday looks at what we love most about her style.

Black and White
Hepburn favoured clean-cut garments in black, white and neutral tones. A certain black dress worn by Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, accessorised with strings of pearls and elbow length silk gloves, became an icon in itself. In contrast, her much more casual all-black outfit in Funny Face was perhaps the perfect embodiment of women’s Beatnik style: black turtlenecks, straight cut cigarette pants, finished off with a pair of decorated black flats. Cigarette pants were a staple item in Hepburn’s wardrobe, and we love the way she paired them with crisp white blouses tied at the waist.

Stripes
Hepburn showed that a dash of coloured lipstick or an elegantly coiffed ‘hive are perfect ways of dressing up stripes. Though her earlier style had a much more playful feel, it still consisted of classic pieces- we love her contrasting purple and orange striped capris worn with a good ol’ white shirt. Later, she wore a classic red and white Breton top in the 1957 film, War and Peace.

The Floral Dress
In 1954, Hepburn visited the then up-and-coming designer Hubert de Givenchy while on the search for costumes for her role in Sabrina. Soon after, she had it written into her contracts that her film costumes were to be solely designed by him (and with Givenchy creating such beautiful frocks, we certainly don’t blame her). She wore a delicate white lace number, belted at the waist, to pick up an Academy Award in 1954, while the gentle floral design and orange tones of her dress in Funny Face made it a perfect item of summer wear. Recreate the look in our beautifully patterned Nalani dress, available here.


Words by Anam Rahim 

Friday, 1 May 2015

SIXTIES STYLE ICONS...


Yes, we know the ‘70s are having a bit of a moment this season: bell bottoms, dreamy bohemian dresses and enough fringing to rival any Western film, but, with so many exciting styles introduced in the ‘60s, it’s impossible to ignore this decade. From the world’s first supermodels to the effortlessly cool it-girls, the ‘60s brought us so many style icons- here are our favourite trendsetters of the decade.

Pattie Boyd
It’s not hard to see why the model and photographer was a firm favourite of Mary Quant's. Boyd wore the modish mini dresses the ‘60s are so famous for: think slick lines, geometric shapes and bold, contrasting colours. By the end of the ‘60s, however, Boyd favoured a more bohemian look, wearing psychedelic printed mini dresses, stacks of bangles and an incredible pair of purple gladiator sandals.

Jean Shrimpton
‘The Shrimpton’ was one of the first to be dubbed a supermodel and one of the first to don a mini skirt. What do we love about her style? Those A-line shift dresses, ladylike pointed loafers, boxy coats and brightly hued tights. In short, everything.

Twiggy
Another ‘60s supermodel, Twiggy was infamous for her cropped hair, bold eye makeup and huge lashes. Vogue described her as an ‘extravaganza that makes the look of the sixties’, and they couldn’t have been more right. Twiggy embodied ‘60s cool, wearing shift dresses in delicious pastel shades, sometimes with exaggerated collars, checks and stripes.

Marianne Faithfull
Beginning her singing career in coffee houses, Faithfull released ‘As Tears go by’ in 1964, hitting no. 9 in UK charts. She embodied effortlessly cool rock chic with a wardrobe chock full of mini-dresses, figure hugging leather trousers, knee high boots and fur coats (huge sunglasses obligatory).

Brigitte Bardot
Sparking trends that are still present today (take Bardot necklines for instance), no round-up of sixties style can be complete without a nod to this lady. We love her minimal style: ladylike blouse, Breton stripes, and statement prints, finished off with her signature messy updo. 


Words by Anam Rahim