Saturday, 21 July 2012


Remember those Chloe 'Susanna' boots that shot into the fashion stratosphere at the speed of light back during the Pre-Fall 2008 Collection? Yes, you do. Those slouchy leather ankle boots dotted in studs and draped in thick buckles that sold out in an instant were unforgettable. Chloe had gotten the mannish/feminine balance just right; it was an androgynous shoe that was somehow both statement piece and staple piece, and quite suddenly it became the star of every fashion blog out there. Even now, browsing through the recent outfits worn by those big-time bloggers such as Karen Blanchard we can see the Susanna’s still making repetitive appearances. So versatile, these boots look fabulous worn casual with jeans or leggings tucked in, and even more fabulous with girly dresses. Super-stylish celebs such as Kate Bosworth and Sienna Miller became massive fans of the boots back in 2009, wearing theirs as much as they could and unintentionally doing their part at getting fashionista’s everywhere salivating. But with a price tag of just under £1,000 it seemed that the little people weren’t going to get their fix, and I remember at the time observing that high street copy-cat versions just didn’t seem to get it right.

Sienna Miller, Kate Bosworth and Mischa Barton love their Susanna's

However, today walking into Windsor’s Office branch, the boot that they are calling the ‘Nighthawk’ immediately jumped out at me. This one’s finally got it right with the perfect leather/metal combo and a shape that won’t cut your calves in half. They’ve even released the shoe in that darish red which Chloe had succeeded in making wearable three years ago. At £80 the Office versions certainly seem a bargain in comparison to their designer counterparts. However, it seems that I’ve been a little slow off the mark on this one and apparently the Nighthawks have been around since the beginning of this year, evidently becoming such a high bestseller that Office are cashing in on their popularity once again with a re-release.  So grab them quick before they sell out again!

Office, £80

Monday, 16 July 2012


There’s one look which had been consistently catching my eye these past couple of months, but it was a look that hadn’t completely gotten its foot through the door yet – and that’s paisley print. There were hints of it here and there, for example in Vogue’s July supplement they dedicated a couple of sentences to paisley denim and the range of printed jeans which Citizens of Humanity had produced for spring/summer. But the design stuck in my mind and I found myself on the hunt for these ‘Persian Pickles.’ It is only now that it seems the big high street names have cottoned on, and Topshop have just released several paisley pieces including some very interesting jeans which are tempting me more and more by the second.
Looking back to Spring/Summer I think that Stella McCartney’s take on the design (see below) incorporating the pattern into the pyjama trend works really well, and those blue tones compliment the look where other colours would have tipped the precarious balance over into a hazardously overpowering look. There is something about this matchy-matchy idea which we have seen so much of this year which I think really works, and Stella McCartney’s paisley pieces get it right.
Sticking with the matchy-matchy, patterned suits hit the Autumn/Winter catwalks hard last month, which is why it would seem that the best way to invest in funky graphics now would be with two matching pieces, and I’m placing my bets on River Island producing something close to perfect. With baroque patterns taking centre stage at Dolce and Gabbana as well as Giles amongst several other names for their A/W 2012 shows, I think that investing in paisley now will pay off, for the Iranian-originating tear-drop shapes seem to blend nicely into the baroque trend. And the safest way to handle this busy design? Monochrome. Topshop lead the way with their cigarette trousers, recycling the same print for skirts too. Take a look, and see what you think – will you #PayAttentionToPaisley?

Citizens of Humanity, £255

Topshop, £35
Topshop, £40
ASOS, Was £60 Now £30
River Island for Men, £25

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Madonna at the American Music Awards in 1985
Looking around the shops at the moment, you can't help but notice several 80's inspired micro-trends, from neon colour-blocking to high top trainers, but most notably cross imagery. Crosses have been everywhere you look on the British high street these past few months with the symbol adorning bracelets, rings, necklaces, earrings and t-shirts in every imaginable shape, size, colour and even angle (upside-down crosses being a curious take on the trend). Bringing a grunge/gothic vibe to the spring summer collections, this key theme has been a micro-trend that I have completely fallen sucker to. However, wearing my silver cross pendant the other day provoked an interesting discussion with a friend of mine who said that she was discouraged from wearing crucifix imagery by her own anticipation of the offense it could cause to Christians who consider the fashionising of their sacred symbol as blasphemy when worn by non-religious persons. Rather ignorantly of me, this wasn’t a consideration that I had taken into account at all. But it’s a debate that harks back to the 80’s when the former Catholic singer Madonna hung huge crosses from her ears and crucifixes round her neck, causing outrage from religious sectors who understood the wearing of rosary beads as a jewellery statement to be a sacrilegious act. As an atheist and fashion-lover, it’s impossible for me to take an unbiased view on the argument but it is undeniable that once Madonna had made crosses a part of her signature look, it was to inevitably snowball into a hugely popular fashion which would not be curtailed by the outcries of religious leaders. The fact that the trend still survives today is simply a reflection of the extent of Madonna’s absolute icon status. As the singer is set to celebrate her 54th birthday next month, I urge we look back to those heydays at Madge as the ultimate 80’s style queen. Looking at the current trends today, I can’t help but see the original Material Girl everywhere – not just in the crosses, but in the return of corset-silhouettes (everyone has seen those famous images of Madonna in her cone-shaped bustiers), mid-riff bearing crop tops, headbands, colourful bomber jackets, and black mesh detailing. Madge’s style has always relied upon shock-tactics to take the world by storm and her success is signalled in the very fact that these once outrageous looks have become socially acceptable today. It is for this reason that I believe fashion owes endless credit to her and those controversial looks which still continue to provide designers and artists with creative inspiration.

Skull and Cross Earrings, Topshop, £8.50
Mesh Body, Motel, Was £32 Now £15
Lace and stud corset bralet, ASOS, Was £40 now £12
Studded Crop Top, Topshop, £18
Scarf print bomber jacket, River Island, Was 40 Now £20
Cross body chain, Topshop, £20