Victoria Beckham AW17 New York Fashion Week #NYFW

Claimed to be one of her ‘best collections yet’, Victoria Beckham took New York in her stride with the debut of her new Autumn/Winter 2017 collection.

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Her family populated the front row, sat next to Anna Wintour. The family gifted Beckham a pre-show surprise of a bouquet of flowers to wish the brand good luck, as seen on her social media.

In a statement given before the show Beckham appeared to pay homage to the current political climate for women, with emphasis on the importance of speaking up and taking a stand against oppression. It seems that Beckham has the intention of moving away from showpieces and instead creating looks that could be worn in the bustle of everyday life.

This new re imagining of woman power in fashion saw Beckham display baggy silhouettes and androgynous styled clothing. The collection saw multiple pieces of tailored jackets and wide leg trousers, often donned by Beckham herself, take the runway. Very far away from the tightly fitted dresses of her previous collections, it seems that baggy is the new fitted.

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It is notoriously hard to pull off wide fitting clothes in a sophisticated way that does not look like you’ve drowned in material from your parent’s wardrobe when you were younger. In fact, anyone who remembers arriving to school on the first day of term in a blazer four sizes too big and still feels the sting of the words ‘you’ll grow into it’ may not be the biggest fan of the new AW17 collection. The ample clothing, therefore, is not the most accessible to her clients. However, this collection seems to have perfected the best way to style and wear the clothes. Elegant, tailored and fresh. The collection is fundamentally a glimpse into Victoria Beckham’s own wardrobe.

Ahead of her show, Beckham even said “It’s always fundamentally about what I like to wear”. By using tailored suits, rich colours of navy, oxblood, red, oranges and wide leg trousers, Beckham has succeeded in sending a subliminal message of strength. No loud political statement is required, only the subtlety masculine figures.

Coats had large sculptural sleeves and the boots were knee high and slouchy, suggesting that baggy clothes and masculine figures are the way to go for Autumn Winter 2017. Contrasting with the block colours, vibrant patterns were used. Inspired by artist Paul Nash, Beckham created the colourful pattern injected into her collection. Despite the masculine clothing, there is always room for elegance and sophistication.

Before the collection launched, Beckham stated that  “I have always been about empowering women, and that’s never felt more relevant than it does this season.” The result, a collection very much celebrating narrow and yet fluid figures. Beckham described the collection shown in Downtown Manhattan as “emancipation with optimism” and “feminine with a practical streak”. A chic take on big jumpers and double breasted jackets shows a new style for Beckham, but admittedly one that works. The new relaxed style of clothing that could be seen on the woman herself proves successful and another great show was given by the brand; a show that combined political agenda with the power and hope of women, as well as the practicality of fashion itself. It seems that Beckham is accustomed to change up her brand, and perhaps the face of fashion itself.

Victoria Beckham RTW Fall 2017 Source

‘I think the sexiest thing about a woman is confidence, but confidence in a humble way, not in an arrogant way. Sense of humor is definitely important. And sunglasses always hide a multitude of sins. Sunglasses and a great pair of heels can turn most outfits around.’  

-Victoria Beckham

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Stocking Fillers Under £20

It seems like Christmas has popped out of no where this year. One minute, I was starting the new year by setting up my blog, and the next minute it was time to get the decorations out from the attic and start the exciting and yet arduous process of Christmas shopping.

With the shock of Christmas coming so early, the inevitable rush of shopping commences. Whether you’ve put off going shopping this year or you have absolutely no idea what to get the person in your life, I guarantee you there is some one in the same position. Often Christmas shopping can be difficult, especially if you are on a budget. In light of this struggle, I have put together a list of items and advice of gifts that are assured to be great presents for a range of different personalities. Stay calm and happy shopping!

Always remember…

  1. Steer clear of clothes unless you know the person extremely well (and they have directly hinted of what they would like as well as telling you their size), everybody has their own personal style and it is better to get them something else rather than getting them something that will only gather dust and take up space. That being said, pyjamas make a great present and are sized a lot more effectively (when in doubt, most people will take a medium as lounge-wear is meant to be over sized).
  2. DO NOT BUY SHOES. Slippers and socks, yes. But not shoes. If you do, make sure to include a gift receipt.
  3. Jewelry can be great, but make sure it is dainty and not too much of a statement. It is better to go for plainer and yet pretty bracelets, necklaces and earrings. Steer clear of rings as it is difficult to estimate size.
  4. Think about every thing you use and like, but you never buy for yourself. Socks, slippers, stationary, bath stuff. These are usually always successful presents, and shops such as Boots (look out for their great 3 for 2 offer that runs for the festive period) and Lush always have great sets with a range of prices that will accommodate any budgets.
  5. If in doubt, give a gift card. It may seem slightly impersonal, but remember that it would be better to get a gift that you can personalise to yourself than something that you would not enjoy.

WARNING: ROYAL MAIL ARE HAVING A STRIKE FROM NEXT WEEK TO CHRISTMAS EVE. BRITISH PEOPLE ORDER CAREFULLY!    

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Paperchase Notebook £12

NYX Lip and Eye Collection £15

Soap and Glory Clean Get Away Gift Set £10

Sanctuary Candle £10

Primark Slipper Socks £3

Inside Vogue £11.89

Little Women £7.49

Charlotte Tilbury Party Eyes Kit £20

Lush Golden Wonder Set £9.95

New Look Pyjamas £7.49

New Look Mug £5.99

Lindt Chocolate

‘Whoever said money can’t buy happiness simply didn’t know where to go shopping’

-Bo Derek

On Iris Apfel and the Art of Growing Up Gracefully.

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Source: Pinterest

After finally getting around to watching the Albert Maysles directed film Iris, a great deal of my time has been consumed by thinking about the equivocal process of growing up. More specifically, how to grow up with grace.

Iris Apfel is an encapsulation of style. The experimentation of bright colours and clashing textiles allows her to express herself through the medium of fashion. Isn’t that what we all strive for? The ability to look great and stand out from the crowd. At the phenomenal age of 95, Iris still manages to combine outfits with ease that just work. After watching the film, one quote in particular stood out to me. Somebody once told Iris…

“You’re not pretty, and you’ll never be pretty. But, it doesn’t matter. You have something much better. You have style” 

Upon first reading this quote may seem outrageous. But in fact, it posses a great truth that we are all afraid of. Everyone wants to believe that they have a great sense of style, and I’m sure many do. But, individualism is something else. Something to rare and difficult to embody, that many attempt to grasp only to appear as a ‘try hard’ or a ‘hipster wannabe’. Labels are now a part of our everyday language, and it seems like common practice to box people together under a certain clique. The pursuit of being your own person seems to be futile these days, and Iris completely defies this logic. Yes, she may wear wacky outfits and layer up her jewellery but when you take away her status as a fashion icon, you are able to see her personality and life work embody individualism.

The film seems to be a drop in session, a sort of ‘day in the life of Iris Apfel’ film. Rather than hearing an extensive list of all of her achievements and her wonderful career, the audience are treated to a personal tour of her life and a conversation about her collection of clothes in her swanky New York apartment that closely resembles an Aladdin’s cave. It is incredibly easy to dismiss Apfel as another eccentric, but through the personal lens of the documentary, she seems endlessly down to earth and a perpetual fountain of philosophy. Age does not seem to hinder Iris in anyway; instead age enriches her experiences and adds a colourfulness to her life. Giving advice to younger fashionistas, recounting stories of her life and laying out endless outfits with matching jewellery. This film is a conventional documentary in Maysles arsenal, verging on repetitive, the audience are allowed an insight into the life of one of fashions most iconic figures. The film is very much about living life to the fullest and taking this life of luxury and bringing it into your old age.

Arguably, Iris’ outlook on style is the very meaning of the word itself. There is no need to buy everything from couture fashion houses, as much enjoyment can be taken in assembling outfits from the high street. In fact, Iris is known for not sticking to one designer, instead getting different pieces from all over and combining to make them into a new outfit. The boundaries of fashion are constantly being pushed and moulded by the 95 year old. I think the very secret of ‘growing up gracefully’ is perfectly captured in this documentary-film. Not caring. Pushing boundaries. Learning.

Iris does not seem to care what others think and through her life she has happily accepted new information and trends. It seems that she chooses whether to be old, and her attitude towards individualism means her young soul is perpetual. My admiration towards Iris Apfel has only increased by the ten-fold after watching this documentary. After stripping back all of her achievements, such as interior design and her status as a fashion icon, what remains is infinitely individual. After all striving to be different from everyone else, it seems that Iris is the one of the few that have actually managed to achieve it. Perhaps in our lives, we should adopt Iris’ attitude to become who we strive to be.

‘When you don’t dress like everybody else, you don’t have to think like everybody else’

-Iris Apfel   

Paris Fashion Week Highlights and Round up

Indicating the end of fashion month, Paris Fashion Week is here. Established as one of the most sophisticated fashion capitals of the world, it did little to disappoint. I think PFW always displays the best of couture fashion, and delivers a show-stopping finale to the hectic whirlwind that we call a fashion month. Even people with the haziest knowledge of the fashion world, will recognize the brand names that walk down the catwalk. For me, this PFW was the pinnacle of demure fashion.

Givenchy

Usually known for their over sized sportswear, Givenchy shocked audiences with a diversion of their usual show.

It is apparent to anyone following fashion month that sportswear is a reoccurring theme throughout all of the shows. It seems that feminism and the empowering role of women have influenced this fashion month, which is again reflected in Givenchy’s show. More refined from their usual look, creative director Riccardo Tisci embraced a collection for the ‘grown-ups’. Tailoring, dresses with linear seams and layering dominated this collection. The show is strong, and should have pride of place in any modern woman’s wardrobe. In the year of powerful women, I think the collection that so closely resembles the sensual and personal clothing of women cements the new mentality of acceptance that fashion is attempting to accept. A place where women can enjoy fashion, without being ‘stupid’. A place where a woman’s clothes does not only display sexiness, instead… power.

To top it off, audience members were given silver blankets to remain warm as they sat outside the Museum of Natural History; effortless glamour and practicality.

Louis Vuitton 

Taking place in the house’s new store, the show’s setting consisted of raw concrete, staircases and exposed piping. The industrial feel added to the atmosphere, and was undoubtedly reflected in the clothing.

In the last days of fashion month, you do not expect a show to thrill or excite you, but this particularly solid show from creative director Nicolas Ghesquière, certainly did. Known for exploiting the sportswear theme, Ghesquière looked to please his clients that admire street wear more. Admitting back stage that he ‘loves street wear’. The cutting edge and experimental fashion is obvious, while still keeping style and sophistication. For me, this sums up the Parisian style itself. Street style reinvented. Slits to the thigh were present, along with wet look leather materials. Silhouettes remained elegant, but with the constant theme of a suit reoccurring, a more masculine figure emerges.

The collection also had a strong business-esque theme. The use of suits, layering and darker colours emphasises the work theme. However, several dresses were sprinkled throughout the looks to show the perfect combination between work and playfulness.

Christian Dior

Dior will forever remain the definition of elegance and class in couture fashion. Even uttering the name Maria Grazia Chiuri brings to mind images of tasteful gowns with exquisite embellishments. This collection certainly did not disappoint.

The fashion house has undoubtedly hit a rough patch in it’s development these past few years. The scandal of John Galliano’s racist outburst, the resignation of Raf Simmons and the meagre 2% revenue growth. All expectant eyes were on Chiuri, and she delivered in a ready manner, ready to prove the house’s worth, combatant even. And God, did she deliver.

Many of the looks displayed on the catwalk used layers of sheer tulle fabric, in a variety of colours. Known for their gentle fabrics, Dior kept faithful to their name. However, many of the looks showed white fencing suits and leather. The split personality of the clothing reflected Chiuri’s intentions of showing the ‘real woman’ in her collection. The dainty tulle is contrasted with coarser fabrics, which shows the empowerment and change in women. The variation shows that there is no such thing as ‘perfect’. We all change, and we all provide different appearances, but we all work well. Real women.

Chanel

The first model walks out, flanked in tweed and sporting a robot head.

Yes, you heard…the head of a droid. Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel since 1983, is renowned for his quirky clothing. But this first model left me pondering the message he was trying to convey. Was he trying to make a statement about the role of women? In the future? How their roles are going to change?

Lagerfeld has always been a big advocate of technology and change. Constantly adopting new technologies and adapting them in his fashion. Experimental and testing in his fashion, he also uses this change in his personal life. I think perhaps that was the meaning of the first model, change. He was attempting to nod towards the change that may be coming, the display of all things shiny, new and celebratory.

The traditional Chanel tweed was combined with massive pendants, rainbow patterns, massive opaque earrings and side-ways baseball caps. The jackets were big and the clash of patterns and textures new. The electronic music only added to the whole feeling on fun and excitement. In this new dawn of fashion, the fast pace and ever evolving world is summed up perfectly in Lagerfeld’s fun and juvenile collection.

Chanel, the most iconic fashion house in the world embraces change and morphs to fit what we call fashion today, as it moves into a new era, while still retaining the class it has built up.

*Disclaimer- I do not own any of the images displayed

‘I think fashion is about change. Fashion is about revolution. And I think that revolutionary is a woman. I’m a little bit feminist because I am a woman at Dior and so I wanted to speak about women in a different way.’

-Maria Grazia Chiuri 

Ode To My Last Year.

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I am writing this the evening before the 5th of September (Edit: it was posted later). The day I go back to school for year 13. Even typing that seems surreal. I can remember my first day of school, all nerves with bubbles of excitement running through my body, and now I am about to embark on my last year in the education system. And then, university and adult life…

It is easy to get frustrated at school, and look forward to when it is over. School is, after all, a very stressful time, full of emotions, pressures and change. I often think to myself (or moan out loud to my friends!), ‘this week is dragging’ or ‘I can’t wait for this lesson to be over’. But now on reflection, I realise that my time at school has literally flown by. I know the phrase ‘it will be over before you know it’ is overused and most of you reading are rolling your eyes right now, but the reality is, that is true.

I speak from a privileged position. I am currently very happy with most of my school, the happiest I’ve ever been in the education system. Although I’ve had tough and rocky moments, I am not being bullied and I have a fantastic group of friends. Therefore, this post may seem stupid to some of you, as I talk about how to make the most of your last year at school, while you are counting down the says until you can leave.

School is a strange thing. Tough moments and challenges all seem forgotten once you have broken up for summer and you are getting ready for a new year. Personally, I get excited the night before I go back. The prospect of a new year. Changes. Different classes. I get to see my new friends, and I have the nicest new stationary to begin the new term. Yes, after the first week, the novelty wears off. Excitement of a new class turns into dread as you realise you have 3 essays due in on the same day and you cannot stop watching YouTube or procrastinating by doing everything but doing your work. Your new stationary starts dwindling down, until all you are left with is your bog standard Biro pen. And the prospect of a new day turns into grunts of annoyance because it. is. just. too. damn. early.

But yes. Overall, I do enjoy school.

It may get on my nerves a bit, but you can’t have everything.

But looking back, I have learnt so much in my education. Not just pointless facts that I no longer need such as Pythagoras’ theorem, or the formation of an oxbow lake. But I think I have developed most socially and emotionally. Learning things is not always about academics, but rather how you cope with school. I have decided to share some of the things that I appreciate about school, and what I have learnt over the past 13 years of my life.

It does not matter. I think, perhaps, this is the most important lesson I have learnt while at school. That test that you are stressing over, the person who you are worried to see or the topic you just cannot understand. All of it does not matter. While at school, this piece of advice is the hardest to comprehend. It seems like the entire world depends on the decision you make, as the pressure of school is astronomical, and you are at a rather awkward time in your development and growth. But once you get that in your head, your school time will come easily. Time flies, and in truth, you probably won’t see anyone from school after you leave, and definitely if you do not want to. So, do not put pressure on yourself as it will probably be fine.

Do not surround yourself with negative people. Whether you are feeling negative and sad with your current friends, or struggling to find the courage to leave your group, do it. Speaking from personal experience, trying to grasp and cling on to a friendship that is no longer there is damaging and not worth it. People change, and so will you. My friendship groups have inevitably morphed and changed through my time at school, and if you are at all feeling sad or wrong with your friends, change it. It is within your power only. The all consuming feeling of being worried to be around them is bad for you. If you are worried about what they will say, refer back to my first point. But in order to find a better friendship group for you, I recommend becoming closer to other people who are nice to you and willing to be your friend, this is actually easier than you first imagine. And then, either talk to the group and explain your feelings, or, if it is easier for you, just leave them. It will blow over, and if they do not respect your choices, they are not good enough people for you to worry about.

Not everybody will get along. This is perhaps the one that I realized latest. But once I did figure this out, my life at school became a lot easier and less draining. In school, people of all different personalities and backgrounds are put together to learn. This can be a useful learning experience, but also inevitably leads to a few clashes. I, being a self confessed people-pleaser, found it really difficult to get a long with everybody. I often put myself out for people unnecessarily, which became draining. The truth is, you will not get along with everybody you see and that is OK.

Hard work and organization is annoying, but necessary.  This is only learnt through trial and error, but I will leave that one with you. A hard worker will go a long way.

Enjoy yourself. Out of all of my lessons, this is the most important. School can be a pain. You are forced to learn things that do not fuel your fire and that you find boring, but hard work will help you through. Enjoy the time with your friends and cherish the security and help your teachers and the school environment gives you. It will be over before you know it (Oh God, I’m back at it again…).

‘Dark times lie ahead of use and there will be a time when we must choose between what is easy and what is right’

-J.K.Rowling

 

Why I Love Fashion, But Hate Shopping.

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I am writing this blog post after a full day of shopping in Birmingham, or, lack of it.

It is no secret to anyone who knows me, that I love fashion. I love wearing it, styling it, writing about it and I even intend to work in the industry when I’m older. However, when the opportunity arises to go out to a big shopping centre, although initially keen, I often shy away and never leave with anything that I want. Sometimes I even buy stuff that I don’t even like, just so I leave with something and not feel as if I have wasted a day.

I’m not sure when my shopping habits developed like this. At the age of eleven I would have jumped at the chance to go to a big shopping centre and spend money on clothes. But at the age of seventeen, I struggle to leave with one piece of clothing without doubting myself. Perhaps it is my hesitation to spend money (as it is my own and I have the ever impending threat of budgeting at university), my picky style or even my lack of self confidence.

Since my early teenage years, my perception of myself changed. It is still changing and evolving. This is true of both my style and opinion of myself. Obviously, as I have gotten older, I have refined my style of clothing and have in consequence, become more picky in what I buy. Meaning, there is less clothing available that I like enough to buy. Sometimes, I can become narrow minded in my shopping, I have a particular style (that evolves during the seasons), that often I scrunch up my face and scoff at some pieces on the shelves. This does not mean, however, that there is nothing for me to buy. But I still leave shops empty handed.

Why do I do this? I think perhaps the biggest  obstacle to my shopping experience is my ever building self doubt. About both whether I love the piece enough to commit to buying it, and whether it actually looks nice and compliments my figure. Clearly, my lack of enthusiasm to spend money does not help, but I think my problem is how I view myself. You cannot enjoy shopping until you learn to love yourself.

Every time I emerge from Topshop changing rooms, the wish that I had a thinner body and a fatter purse circulates around my brain (which is rubbish!). Coupled with the busy atmosphere of shoppers, I often feel flustered and rushed. I then give up on the day and start to feel tired and overwhelmed at only 1 o’ clock. I then go home, and regret that I did not buy anything. I even avoid sales, because the amount of people rummaging and the vast number of clothes that are hanging half off of hangers, scares me.

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I will buy lots when shopping, but I often find it difficult to find a happy medium. I either leave with lots of clothes (some that I am not even that crazy on), or I leave with nothing at all. I follow fashion closely, and in my mind I know exactly what kind of clothes I want and what my style is, but I can never find that in shops. For these reasons, I tend to sway towards online shopping, as I get to examine all of the brands and styles, without the pressure of shopping centers. However, with this technique I often disregard the concept of saving money, as it is a lot harder to visualize the amount of money you are spending. Plus, half of the fun of shopping is browsing clothes and trying them on.

As aforementioned and probably evident from my previous blog posts, I am a major follower of clothes and fashion. My distaste for shopping has developed from my lack of self confidence and budgeting issues. In order to tackle this, I have come up with simple steps…

  1. Look online before you go at the sorts of clothes/the style that you want and where to get them.
  2. Make sure you are not feeling low on body confidence. Try on some more daring outfits, you never know, it might suit you!
  3. Go with somebody who does not mind going back and forth to shops as you doubt and become indecisive on what you want to buy.
  4. Have a good breakfast and lunch to keep you fueled throughout the day.
  5. Wear comfortable clothes and shoes!
  6. Go to the best shopping place. If big shopping centers are not your thing (they definitely aren’t mine!), then go to a smaller town with good shops that is perhaps a bit more open (do some research on shops local to you).
  7. Relax! Don’t try to find something you love, but rather something you like and you will practically wear. Do not, under any circumstances, buy something you do not like just for the sake of it. If all else fails, there is always online shopping!

I have put together this blog post after a long reflection on my shopping habits. I must not be the only person who feels like this. In the hopes that this helps people who are feeling the same way, please let me know if you also experience this. Remember, fashion is great but shopping is something completely separate, it can be an enjoyable experience. Try and slowly get back into it by entering with a different perspective.

‘Self love is the elixir of an immortal heart’

-Amy Leigh Mercree