AW14 Catwalk Trends

19 Feb

So, another London Fashion Week season is drawing to a close and we have seen so many fabulous catwalk looks and trends! I was really lucky to go to some great shows, including the Orla Kiely AW14 show and Hema Kaul AW14 catwalk – you can read all about my day at LFW here.
I have tried to pick out some of the recurring trends below (all images taken from the official LFW website) – what do you think?

Camel Coats

PPQ, Daks, Jasper Conran

PPQ – Daks – Jasper Conran

Rich Burgundy Berry Colours

Daks - Jean Pierre Braganza - Simone Rocha

Daks – Jean Pierre Braganza – Simone Rocha

Metallic Jackets

Todd Lynn - Daks - Zoe Jordan

Todd Lynn – Daks – Zoe Jordan

Floor-Length White

Eudon Choi - Felder Felder - J. JS Lee

Eudon Choi – Felder Felder – J. JS Lee

Checks

Meadham Kirchhoff - Eudon Choi - J. JS Lee

Meadham Kirchhoff – Eudon Choi – J. JS Lee

Fur Coats

Topshop Unique - Eudon Choi - Tom Ford

Topshop Unique – Eudon Choi – Tom Ford

Velvet

Simone Rocha - Tom Ford - Meadham Kirchhoff

Simone Rocha – Tom Ford – Meadham Kirchhoff

Geometric

Roksanda Ilincic - Christopher Kane - David Homa

Roksanda Ilincic – Christopher Kane – David Koma

Blue Hues

Osman - Topshop Unique - Roksanda Ilincic

Osman – Topshop Unique – Roksanda Ilincic

LFW AW14: Hema Kaul

16 Feb

Hema Kaul’s AW14 showcase was a masterclass in 1950s vintage glamour with a modern twist.

Held in the beautiful hall at the Vauxhall Fashion Scout venue, the grand backdrop was completely fitting for the elegant, glamorous items that took to the catwalk. These included striking floor-length dresses, feminine tailored trousers, peplum tops and satin skirts, with velvet and the designer’s signature embroidery adding an intricately updated twist. Some of the stand-out items were the classy oyster and nude outfits that came first, such as the champagne coloured V-neck peplum top embroidered with lace and matched with a fitted satin pencil skirt. The midnight blue two piece was also gorgeous, featuring a velvet peplum top with detailed sleeves set against silky trousers and glamorous heels. Finally, the striking scarlet floor-length gown drew a gasp from the audience as the full skirt was set against a detailed, intricately embroidered top, looking like something that could easily be seen on the red carpet.

Hair and make-up also embraced the vintage glamour feel, as models all walked out with full, rich red lips and groomed, waved hair pulled back. It is safe to say that Hema Kaul’s AW14 effervescent showcase transported the audience back to 1950s glamour, celebrating the female form whilst also giving it a modern edge.

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LFW AW14: Orla Kiely

16 Feb
It wasn’t only raining cats and dogs on the cobbles of Somerset House yesterday but also at the ever creative Orla Kiely AW14 showcase. 
I am always excited to see what format the contemporary Irish designer will take for her showcase – one of my personal favourites was the jazz club creation for her AW12 collection – and this showcase certainly didn’t disappoint! As guests entered the space inside the old Central Saint Martin’s Building, they were greeted with a projection of the iconic Orla Kiely floral print cast over an outdoor bench and lamppost in the middle of the room. Hot tea and coffee in branded Orla Kiely mugs were passed around by staff which was a warming – and very welcome! – touch, before the lights dimmed and the show began. Suddenly, the floral projection turned into rain and puddles and models came out to a soundtrack of rain, miaowing cats and barking dogs (cuter than it sounds)!

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Cats and dogs were very much the motif-du-jou for Kiely’s AW14 collection, whether it was the large black cat outline on a preppy roll-neck jumper or the small whimsical cat prints dotted all over the patent belted trench coats. Amidst these patterns were Kiely’s notorious retro floral prints as well as navy, green, pink and browns on pleated skirts, preppy jumpers and 60s style dresses. The outfits were layered with vintage-style fur coats or cute swing pea coats and teamed with chunky clog/brogue style shoes, gorgeous velvet collars, cute printed umbrellas and vintage-style satchel handbags, making this a wonderfully stylish homage to retro fashion. Hair and make-up were kept fresh and simple, with gently backcombed hair swept into a low side pony and dewy skin with coral cheeks. 

The Orla Kiely AW14 show was as creative and unique as ever, with cute retro preppy styles teamed with the designer’s whimsical prints making it a welcome departure from the miserable weather outside (even if it was still raining cats and dogs inside). Another thumbs up from me!

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LFW AW14 Day 2

16 Feb

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The cobbles at Somerset House are getting filled with fashionistas, Proper Corn and Vita Coco water as another season of London Fashion Week starts again! I am down for the weekend covering shows for Who’s Jack magazine; yesterday I got to see the fabulous Orla Kiely AW14 show (read my review here) and plenty at Vauxhall Fashion Scout including Xiao Li (review here), Kiev Fashion Days (review here) and Hema Kaul (review here).

February is always a hard month to dress fashionably for in London and especially so this season with the gale-force winds and storms! I decided to go for a monochrome checked trench coat which I actually got years ago from the Clothes Show in Birmingham, a bright yellow mini skirt c/o Motel Rocks, a white shirt from Missguided and a black top from H&M. This is me with the rest of the Who’s Jack girls:

Who's Jack team

Corin – Kathryn – me – Camilla

LFW street style

At the Felicities event at ME Hotel

During a break between shows, a couple of us went to visit the Felicities designer event at the rooftop bar of the 5* ME Hotel (see pic above). The ME Hotel is absolutely gorgeous and so chic – I can’t wait for the summer when it is warm enough to drink outside on the rooftop bar! Thanks to Felicities PR for having us.

After a stop off at Itsu, the girls and I went to the Jasper Garvida after-party at Movida, Oxford Circus. We were kindly treated to free drinks – thanks again to Felicities for organising a fabulous evening!

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January 2014 Pictures

9 Feb
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The Breakfast Club, Hoxton

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Borough Market

A chilly Borough Market

A chilly Borough Market

An AMAZING acai berry smoothie!

An AMAZING acai berry smoothie!

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Biscuit Biscuit, the ceramic cafe in Greenwich

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Our finished ceramics!

The Breakfast Club, Hoxton

After detoxing for so long after Christmas, we decided to treat ourselves to brunch at The Breakfast Club, an absolute must-visit for brunch (or lunch) when in London. There are a few branches across London, though as they are so popular and don’t take reservations, it is often super hard to get in one without queuing for an hour! Luckily, the branch in Hoxton was quite a good size and as we went early enough we beat the hangover crowds rocking up at around 11.30am. I went for my favourite – poached eggs with smoked salmon – which was as tasty as ever, though the brunch menu is quite adventurous and has some fabulous Mexican inspired dishes that I definitely want to try next time! This branch also has a ‘secret’ bar underneath which you can go to on a weekend evening via their ‘fridge’…

Borough Market

Borough Market is a thriving food market opposite London Bridge tube station and really gets going on Saturdays. There you can find foods from all over the world and really specialised ingredients, as well as plenty of tasters! It can get really busy (and disorientating!) but you can stumble across some great finds, including this ‘umbrella street’! I would definitely recommend the raw cacao chocolate shop as well as this amazing Acai Berry Smoothie – who knew healthy could taste so good?!

 
Biscuit Biscuit Ceramic Cafe

With a day off work one Friday, my friend Rosie and I decided to get our crafts heads on and visit Biscuit Biscuit, a ceramic cafe near the Cutty Sark in Greenwich. Here you can choose from a variety of ceramic designs, with prices starting from £10, and spend an afternoon painting away! We had some (fairly standard) smoked salmon/cream cheese sandwiches for lunch there as we painted our objects; I chose a cupcake where the lid came off whilst Rosie chose a skull where you can put a candle in the back of it. Once we finished painting them, we handed them in to be glazed and fired before collecting them back a week later.

Those were just a few things that I got up to this January! What did you get up to? 

Top Valentine’s Restaurants: Manchester

7 Feb

I lived in Manchester for a year when I got my first job in fashion/lifestyle PR soon after graduating and I fell in love with the city. Even though I’m having a great time in London, there are times when I do miss good old MCR! There are so many fantastic restaurants in the city so I thought it only appropriate to do a little roundup of what I think are the best restaurants for a Valentine’s Day date…

The Alchemist

The Alchemist was one of our regular haunts when I lived in Manchester because it was the perfect mix of tasty, affordable food, yummy cocktails and a chilled ambience. (Oh and because one of my friend’s boyfriends worked there too)! As well as the one in Spinningfields, there is now a fabulous one open on New York Street too. In my mind, it is an ideal choice if you want a fairly romantic meal out without being too fancy/expensive. The menu has a wide range of options, from British to Mexican to Chinese to Asian; I can definitely recommend the fajitas! 

Fajita main course at The Alchemist

Fajita main course at The Alchemist

Cocktails at The Alchemist

Cocktails at The Alchemist

Grill on New York Street

Speaking of New York Street, just down the way from the Alchemist is a fabulous restaurant called the Grill On New York Street. It was fairly new when I arrived in Manchester back in 2011 and sometimes ran a half-price weekday offer, so it might be worth having a research online or signing up to their newsletter to see if they still do this! It is a restaurant that serves good, locally sourced food without being crazy expensive – I always went for the scrummy corn fed chicken breast. The inside décor is simple with low-lighting, which also makes it a great place to take the parents. There is also Grill on the Alley which came before the New York Street branch but I have not been inside myself. 

The Oysters with Tabasco Sauce

The Oysters with Tabasco Sauce

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Australasia

Australasia  is a very stylish restaurant in Deansgate which you access by going through a glass pyramid and down the stairs – very Louvre-esque! The food is a mix of Indonesian and Southeast Asian cuisine, with plenty of sushi, sashimi and tempura dishes to tempt your fancy. This tends to be more ‘glamorous’ and there are often local celebrities to be found in there, so a great place to go if you fancy making a bit of effort.

Australasia entrance Manchester

australasia manchester restaurant

Vermillion

Another stylish restaurant where celebs can often be found is Vermillion, a Thai/Indian Asian restaurant near to the Ethidad stadium and not too far from the main Piccadilly train station. There are two large floors; the Asian-designed restaurant can be found on the downstairs floor whilst a fabulous bar area can be found upstairs. We went here for my work’s Christmas party and the food was absolutely fantastic, though it would still be a good place to go just for a drink as the bar area is super snazzy! There are big multi-coloured light bulbs hanging from the ceiling, big clam-style seats and a stylish – if slightly WAG- ambience.   

Vermillion manchester

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Vermillion Bar

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 Epernay

If drinks are more your thing for Valentine’s Day then I would definitely recommend Epernay, a champagne bar found near the upmarket area of Deansgate. The inside is sophisticated, with glass walls overlooking the city, a brick bar and golden fairylights all over, with plenty of wine and champagne offers to tempt your taste buds. I only got the chance to go in once for a Lucille Lingerie event – you can read more about that here.

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Best Restaurants in London

31 Jan

Best For: Calamari

I was actually first told about Busaba Eathi by my manager at L’Oreal when I first moved down to London, with the instruction ‘you HAVE to get the calamari!’

Busaba Eathi is a small Thai chain which I believe is only available in London at the moment and is like a more stylish Wagamamas. I really rate it and always take any out-of-town friends there for an affordable yet tasty dinner. I can definitely recommend the Pad Thai, the duck and the coconut rice! I’m not the biggest fan of calamari as I often find it too ‘squidgy’ or greasy but I have to say, the calamari at Busaba Eathi totally converted me. It is available as a starter and comes in a gorgeous dressing that I need to find a recipe for! It is not overly deep-fried and doesn’t come in a greasy batter at all. A definite must-try if you go.

Thai calamari ginger and peppercorn

Pad Thai

Pad Thai

 Best For: Brunch

My first experience of Bill’s was visiting their cute restaurant in Brighton many years ago. I was a student and opted for the cheapest breakfast at the time which was soft-boiled eggs and soldiers and even this was presented so well – chunky, soft, buttery bread, two big organic eggs and cute little piles of salt and pepper.

Bill’s has gone from strength to strength and now I see their sign all over London! It is easy to see why they have done so well when their food is so good and reasonably priced, especially their amazing breakfast/brunch menu. This is hands-down my favourite place in London to go for brunch, even (dare I say it) better than The Breakfast Club! I always go for the smoked salmon/poached eggs on toast and they have always given me a good portion of fresh smoked salmon , poached eggs cooked to perfection and big slices of buttery bread! My boyfriend goes for the full English and is always satisfied too.

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 Best For: Burgers and Salads

I should begin by saying that I am yet to try an Honest Burger which is getting so much love at the moment. Nonetheless, I really don’t think you can beat Byron for a good dinner! This is another chain that has been growing from strength to strength and have even branched out to Manchester now. As well as amazingly tasty burgers, their salads are such good value too – I often opt for the Classic Cobb Salad and get moaned at by my peers, until it arrives and they see what a huge bowl of glorious chicken, avocado, egg, bacon, cheese, lettuce and tomato it is! Plus, the skin-on-chips are totally delish.

Byron saladByron burgerByron chips

Best For: Sunday Roast

Often in London, Sunday roasts are overpriced and a little disappointing. Not so with The Cutty Sark Tavern in Greenwich! Just a short walk along the river from the old naval colleges, the tavern is a charming rustic pub with two levels; the downstairs is a little pub (which allows dogs!), whilst the second floor is a lovely wooden restaurant which you have to book in advance for. A Sunday roast here typically costs between £12-£16 depending on the meat but are totally worth the spend. Last time we visited, I had the chicken whilst the boyfriend had the beef. Both were hearty, warming and filling – I found the beef very slightly fatty for my taste but my boyfriend was completely sold. Plus, you can walk it off with a walk around the gorgeous Greenwich park afterwards!

The Cutty Sark TavernGreenwich

Best For: Steak

I’m not usually a steak/red meat kinda gal but even I can’t get enough of the steaks at Gaucho! The global chain specialise in quality, Argentine cuts of beef which really are the best I’ve tasted in London. Before your meal begins, a member of staff will come over with a board of uncooked steak and explain the different cuts to you – I didn’t realise there were more than just ‘sirloin’ or ‘rump’! The environment is fabulous too, with low lighting, glossy black walls, cow-hide seats and very good staff. My favourite is the restaurant overlooking Tower Bridge. Oh, and the red wine is pretty lush too…

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 Best For: The Parents or a Date

I feel that Brown’s is a fail-safe place to take the parents or a date for a meal that is somewhere in between casual and fancy. With plenty of choice on the menu, quality food, reasonable prices and a mahogany/gold décor, as well as restaurants across the country, I definitely think it is a winner. My personal favourite is the Brown’s Sharing Platter which comes with chicken, hummous/dips, calamari, amazing homemade sausage rolls, prawns and more – what’s not to love!  

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 Do you have any restaurant recommendations in London? I would love to hear them!