Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Lily & Lionel Scarves

I am not a scarf person at all, unless we're talking cosy winter scarves but that's a completely different story. I always reach for jewellery to accessorise my outfits though my mum has always been one to reach for a printed scarf. Her wardrobe is bursting with a fabulous collection of scarves she has sourced from as far as Egyptian markets and as near as H&M. Girls at sixth form used to accessorise their uniforms with scarves and when inevitably told to remove them, they adorned handbags. The much coveted Alexander McQueen skull scarf and classic Hermes scarves have never really attracted me either, I guess I'm just not a scarf person!

...thats until I saw this offering from Lily and Lionel via the Liberty Facebook page:

It's something about the photo print that catches my eye with this brand. While they're certainly not within the range of a student budget I couldn't resist showing you them as I think they're simply perfect for the patriotic Jubilee spirit that the nation seems to be swept up with at the moment, and if the British seaside isn't your thing they have a selection that includes London and Parisian scenes.

Friday, 18 May 2012

CJG for Topshop

Chloe Green, daughter of Arcadia billionaire Phillip Green, has just released her first shoe collection for Topshop. When I first heard this was going to happen I suspected it was a case of "Daddy I WANT to design a shoe collection!" However, I have been pleasantly surprised as it is a pretty decent collection.

Not revolutionary in any way but there are certainly a few pairs of shoes that catch my eyes in this collection such as the black CJG court pumps with the studded detailing on the back. I think its very promising for her future efforts but the collection would benefit from a reduction in price. Even for Topshop, they are just too expensive ranging from £115 - £175.

CJG Stud Back Court Shoes - SOLD OUT

I'm unsure how to feel about the 'signature' mint green sole. Clearly inspired by Christian Louboutin, which Green makes no secret of. However, to me it isn't just the cherry red colour that belongs to Louboutin, it's the idea full stop that every shoe should have the same sole colour. Its something he obviously feels strongly about, reflected in a recent interview with Melanie Rickey in Ponystep:

"You know I respect people. Sometimes you are designing things and you look closely and you think it looks too much like something of a certain designer. If I see that in my work then I immediately erase it, so it’s not even talking about logos or signatures of different brands. I would never approach that type of thing, never. Also, your work is about creating. You have to have your brain functioning rather than just copying, you know? You can’t be in both fields, you have to decide."

It'll be interesting to see if he voices an opinion on the CJG line.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Top 5 Blogger Items

I've been inspired by the post over at one of my favourite blogs, Fashion Editor at Large, concerning the 'blogger' trend. I've been reading fashion blogs since I was about 14 or 15 and I've always noticed that the world of blogging is quite insular in this sense - trends spread like wildfire within the blogosphere and only ever occasionally leak out. For example, if I ever see Litas in real life, I'm genuinely quite surprised yet it seems virtually everyone has a pair in the blogging world.

Bethan Holt cited what she saw as the top 10 most blogged about items. Here are my five items:

1) Jeffrey Campbell Litas

If I was to pick just one item to reflect blogger trends it would be the coveted Jeffrey Campbell Litas. They've been around for a couple of years now but they're still as popular as ever. I spotted them in the window of Urban Outfitters on Oxford Street as few months ago and I virtually ran in to try them on and true to word, they are ridiculously comfortable.

2) Brothel Creepers

Brothel Creepers have long been the preserve of 1950s Teddy Boys and the alternative Ska/Rockabilly movement. However, now affectionately dubbed 'creepers' they have become a firm blogger favourite, particularly those made by Underground. This is a blogger trend I have seen most frequently out on the streets as well and one I've wholeheartedly embraced with my studded creepers from Ark. I'm going to do a very uncool 'I was there before they were cool' moment now and point to my Office 'Pelvis Creepers' that I bought in 2008. They're stiletto heeled creepers and as you can see, I've worn them to death and they're a bit beaten up and old now as a result. However, admittedly I only bought them then as I'd seen them on various blogs so consider them a vintage blogger trend!

3) Floral Trousers

Floral pants have spread across the blogging world after Mary Katrantzou's crazy floral S/S12 collection. These H&M ones in particular are a popular choice. I've picked them up and put them back many times as I felt they cut off at an odd point but looking at Arabella and Sheree wear them so wonderfully, I'm wishing I had just bought them!

4) UNIF Hellbounds

This is a bandwagon I wish I was on so badly. As soon as I laid eyes on them on UNIF's blog, I knew I had to have them. They're everything I look for in a shoe: clunky and scary high. They've since released them in a variety of colours since and in some respects they are the new 'lita', not for the faint hearted though.

5) Disco Pants

I feel a bit controversial for saying this on a blog but... I don't like American Apparel's Disco Pants. I'm not sure what it is about them, but they are very 1980s in a bad way to me. Also, they just scare me a bit because they're SO tight. I know many people say they nip you in in a good way but I'm just not feeling them (or the price). However, I've seen some bloggers work them amazingly well so each to their own! If I was going to attempt this trend I'd probably opt for the riding pants.

(Image 1: credit / Image 2: credit / Image 3: credit / Image 4: mine / Image 5: mine / Image 6: credit / Image 7: credit / Image 8: credit / Image 9: credit / Image 10: credit / Image 11: credit)

Monday, 7 May 2012

V&A Ballgowns Exhibition

On the 19th May 2012, the V&A museum in London is opening it's doors to an exhibtion exploring British glamour since 1950 through the medium of ballgowns. The exhibition is going to feature over 60 pieces spanning from the 1950s to the present. The pieces will be a combination of evening wear and catwalk dresses from designers such as Jonathan Saunders, Erdem and Alexander Mcqueen. Rather fittingly to co-incide with the Diamond Jubilee, the exhibition will also feature dresses worn by the Queen and other female members of the Royal Family.

A 2008 Erdem dress is fronting the exhibition

In honour of the exhibition, Vogue recently did a run-down of their favourite ball gowns. They also looked outside of British design and embraced the spectacular creations of designers like Valentino and Oscar De La Renta.

Audrey Hepburn in Sabrina, 1954

Princess Elizabeth circa 1947


Gemma Atherton in Valentino

This exhibition got me thinking about what I love about ball gowns. The dress is the most revered item for a designer to exhibit their talent upon and often the dress can take the centre of attention, such as the hotly talked about McQueen dress from last summer's Royal Wedding. For me, the more outrageous the better and in my eyes John Galliano is king of the ball gowns. A talent displayed in his many couture collections for Dior.

John Galliano for Dior Haute Couture

The late Alexander McQueen produced similarly memorable designs and thankfully Sarah Burton has continued this legacy.

Taken from the 'Savage Beauty' exhibition

Alexander McQueen S/S11

The exhibition is curated by Oriole Cullen and Sonnet Stanfill and will be open from 19th May 2012 - 6th January 2013. Visit the V&A website for more information.

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Live Below the Line

[Published in Forge Press, the University of Sheffield's student newspaper - 05/05/12]

As students we’re pretty used to living on a tight budget but could you survive off £1 per day for food? That would certainly mean kissing goodbye to John’s Van and the trusty post-night out greasy takeaway. This tiny amount is sadly the reality for 1.4billion people across the world, trapped in the poverty cycle. Most are forced to stretch this amount beyond food and support their families.

Live Below the Line is a campaign aiming to raise the awareness poverty across the world. Those taking up the challenge have a £5 budget to extend over a period of five days, which this includes all food, drinks and tipples such as cigarettes and booze. £1 per day is the amount calculated by the World Bank as ‘extreme poverty’ and all the proceeds will go to charities such as Christian Aid, the Salvation Army and UNICEF to help those who face this challenge every single day of their lives. Hamza Jahanzeb, a student from Lancashire, is taking part in this year’s campaign: “I was inspired to take part after having seen extreme poverty in African countries shown on BBC's ‘Children in Need’. I was also inspired as UNICEF is a charity which has always amazed me with its amazing efforts helping to end global poverty.” UNICEF is just one of the many charities involved in this campaign. However, the aim of all the charities involved is to reach people in some of the toughest parts of the world and help to improve their standards of living, something that can only be done with our support. ‘Live Below the Line’ is about more than raising money for charity, it allows the participants to empathise with those who have to live with this every single day by gaining an insight into their day-to-day lives.

Student purses are already limited to a shoestring so the Live Below the Line campaign is an ideal challenge. This campaign has forced me to rethink my own expenditure on food; takeaway pizzas and Interval lunches are definitely my Achilles’ heel. A considerable amount of food also goes to waste, which is shocking when taking into account those across the world who barely have enough to survive on. While £1 is very extreme it may inspire you to eat more creatively on the cheap and waste less food.

When considering the method to this challenge, cheap foods like instant noodles instantly pop into my mind but you couldn’t live off foods like this every day without feeling somewhat rather ill -though I’m sure some students would stridently disagree!-. A quick wander round Tesco and you’ll discover the various delights and horrors of value foods. The idea of a concoction of 11p instant noodles, 6p custard power, 8p mushy peas and 13p creamed rice pudding has culinary disaster written all over it. However, realistically this task is achievable by keeping a close eye on supermarket deals and getting a bit creative with the very basics such as rice and vegetables. On such a tight budget, booze falls out of the equation unless you somehow budget for it, which would be mildly impressive on a £5 budget but very ill advised!

Students are in the prime position to give ‘Live Below the Line’ a go and the savviest of students may even discover new ways of slashing their existing food budget. Join celebrities such as Bonnie Wright in taking up the challenge between 7th and 11th of May and help do your part to towards relieving extreme poverty. 

Alice Burrow