Saturday, 30 April 2011

What is it about Alexa?

Alexa Chung has bagged another British Vogue cover. 

On the June issue, shot by Josh Olins, she wears a sherbet lemon patchwork silk/ cotton dress by Erdem and her own gold locket while the coverline asks, 'What is it about Alexa Chung' in hot pink against a duck-egg blue background.

Inside she wears Louis Vuitton, JW Anderson, Carven, Prada, Daks and Holly Fulton. 

In the interview Alexa admits, 'I'm so glad I've experienced what it's like to be the girl of the moment, so when I'm older I can be like, well, that was fun.' 

Referring to her tomboyish style she says, 'Don't make the mistake of thinking that I'm sexless. Just because I don't pander to men in that way, doesn't mean I don't aim to please. I know what's going on.'

So what is it about Alexa? Do you like her style or not?

All images from Vogue.

Everyone loves a (royal) wedding

Congratulations to the new Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Having got completely wrapped up in the whole build up yesterday it was with a great sense of excitement and some relief that the dress was so stunning. Well done Kate, sorry Catherine, and of course Sarah Burton who used the Alexander McQueen house signatures - corset, nipped in waist and volume over the hips - yet still allowed the personality of the bride to shine through. Catherine wore the dress, not the other way round. She looked comfortable, elegant and chic.

Not everyone can get their hands on a 1930's Cartier diamond tiara and the chief designer of one of the world's most renowned labels but I hope that the style of the dress influences future gowns. I loved the lace and the long sleeves, so much more flattering than a strapless dress which in headshots make it look like the bride is naked.

There were the obvious comparisons with Grace Kelly, another 'commoner' [albeit a movie star] who married a Prince.
She also had the lace overlay, although with a much higher collar, a nipped in waist and a very jazzily dressed groom as accessory.
Even their bouquets were similar. To be fair, if you're going to take wedding style inspiration from anyone you could do a lot worse than look to Grace Kelly. It's not like she copied Katie Price after all.

Yesterday's nuptials were a very classy affair. How relieved must Pippa have been to be spared the usual peach blancmange dress? Her McQueen gown with it's simple shape, capped sleeves and the button detailing down the spine was as flattering as the bridal gown. No wonder Princes Harry and Phillip were flirting so madly with her. I think half the country would have given the chance. Now a Harry and Pippa wedding would be a LOT of fun ...

To the happy couple!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Fashion's memory lane

I like nothing more than a spot of vintage shopping - that search for the perfect piece, the thrill of actually finding it and then imagining who wore it, when and where ....

A new exhibition by the Yorkshire Fashion Archive at Salts Mill in Yorkshire plays on this theme with a display of treasured outfits - everything from wedding dresses and going away outfits to homemade party dresses and Burberry trenches.
The selected dresses and coats are displayed alongside photographs of their owners wearing them and brief descriptions of where they were bought and the circumstances they were worn in.
This 1957 pale pink wedding dress was designed by the wearer with the dressmaker costing £5 and the material - including the lace veil - costing £10-12. It's displayed alongside her going away skirt suit. Absolutely beautiful.
I love this blue and white print dress. It hasn't dated at all. I love the relaxed pose of the couple by their car, the man with a cigarette in hand, the woman with gloves and handbag, not a hair out of place.
This woman, a glamorous shop owner, illustrates the way that clothes were important class signifiers. She wore her fur coat one day and her fur stole the following day to show her neighbours that she had both. That's the attitude! She liked to visit Blackpool with her mother who looked like her sister. You can build up a whole narrative around her ...
A 1959 homemade dress is shown next to a picture of the owner wearing it to a dance in Jersey. The dressmaker, an art student, made the print using a silk screen. It could be worn today, especially with the bold orange obi belt.
The 1959 peony print dress with train by Cresta was bought from Marshall & Snellgrove, a department store in Leeds. It's my favourite piece. It is pure Alber Elbaz. I dream of dresses like this.
Given that this is Yorkshire, it would be amiss not to have some Burberry represented [their factory is in Castleford]. The classic trenches are the perfect foil to the more elaborate gowns and homemade dresses.

All the clothes exhibited have been either worn or made in Yorkshire with both wearers and items equally represented. With the county's strong link to the textile industry [hello school history lessons] it's no surprise there is such a wealth of material on offer. If you're in the area, or anywhere nearby, it's well worth a visit.

Dress Rehearsal: An Exhibition of Garments from the Yorkshire Fashion Archive runs until May 15 at Gallery 2, Salts Mill, Saltaire. For more information go to

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Coachella: the other Kate

This time last year I was stranded in LA following the Coachella festival (thank you giant volvanic ash cloud from a volcano I can never pronounce). The belle of the festival was one Kate Bosworth.

She hands down stole the show in a blue and white tie-dye dress by Suno (it shouldn't work but it did - it really did). On the shoulders of her boyfriend she epitomised all of the good and none of the bad things about festivals - and ended up on hundreds of design moodboards in the process.

So this year, from the comfort of home (grr) rather than the 100F Californian desert I was intrigued to see who'd topple her from the style podium.

So who was it?

It was Bosworth again. Man, that girl can dress for festivals. Just look at her ...

Her laid back, rock chick Americana look with oversized stars and stripes t-shirt and white denim cut-offs for day and a black midi dress and gladiators for after hours were a lesson in perfect festival dressing. [The man in the Stones t-shirt behind her is so impressed, he's turned to stone.]

Of course the long, honey-coloured limbs and surfer girl hair help but it's the carefree, easy vibe she gives off that really win her extra points.

Well done Kate: A+