NYFW SS15: The Verdict

For anyone who has vaguely gazed at a form of social media in the past seven days, they will have realized that something rather important had been going on in the Big Apple. Yes, it was New York Fashion Week, and editors, bloggers and industry somebodies were getting their exclusive first taste of Spring/ Summer 2015. This is my round-up of the best…

ALEXANDER WANG

The glossy raven-haired designer immersed his collection with sporty vibes. Biker tones were alternated with designs that would not look amiss on a tennis court.

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3.1 PHILIP LIM

This was a beautiful collection of clever proportions. Asymmetric lines gave edge to pretty pastel shades.

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DIANE VON FURSTENBERG

For the queen of New York design, print was crucial. Girly gingham was the favourite pattern by far with delicate florals a close runner-up. Another key trend was the star quality on her catwalk – Kendall Jenner made a ‘discreet’ appearance and Naomi Campbell closed the show.

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JASON WU

As the label of choice to presidents’ wives and female royalty, Wu’s collection did not disappoint in terms of demure elegance. Indeed, he played very safe with colours and silhouette, and the looks often lacked energy.

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MARC BY MARC JACOBS

The collection, masterminded by the freshly-instated Brits Kate Hillier and Luella Bartley, was an eccentric array of punkish insouciance and playful undertones. Supersize polka dots contrasted with lashings of PVC.

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PROENZA SCHOULER

The male duo have a knack for creating the most covetable pieces. This season they opted for muted tones but ensured their collection remained fresh so as to not alienate their edgy twentysomething urban ‘woman’.

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TOMMY HILFIGER

Guaranteed pure preppy, Hilfiger has remained committed to the all-American look. Star prints and chauffeur boy hats injected eccentricity into a collection that was rich in colour but poor in innovation.

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VERSUS VERSACE

Donatella Versace is the epitome of the brand her brother founded and which she maintained exquisitely on his death. Lashings of skin, black leather and gloss were all on display. The stand-out piece in the show for me was a black minidress fastened at the side by safety pin-esque hardware, reminiscent of the Versace number Liz Hurley wore at a film premiere on Hugh Grant’s arm which catapulted her to fame.

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VICTORIA BECKHAM

The Spice-Girl-turned-acclaimed-fashion-designer presented a collection with African Safari and Seventies Mediterranean getaway vibes. A neutral palette and simple lines were apparent throughout. The pared back nature if the collection appeared a degree unadventurous for the stylish Brit.

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ZIMMERMANN

A beautiful show from the Australian that embraced frills, pastels and the kind of shiny, scratchy fabric that you remember from your 1990’s childhood. However, Zimmermann has the talent to make such elements look incredibly good taste. Additionally, only a designer from a land of perennial beach weather know how to make a swimsuit so desirable.

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Champagne & Cake

If there is one thing I love as much as dressy summer birthdays, it’s a quintessentially English summer garden party. Fortunately, to mark her ascension to the big two-one, my school friend Lucy hosted both.

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Photo courtesy of Lucy Sheard.

Ever since we became friends in German class age fourteen, Lucy has become renowned for throwing damn good parties. Pool parties, GCSE-results parties, let’s-go-crazy-for-no-particular-reason parties: she’s your girl, and her twenty-first was no exception. Stage one of the birthday celebrations was an evening affair at the Brownlow Arms in Hough-On-The-Hill, close to our hometown of Grantham, Lincolnshire.

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All the hometown crew were in attendance and scrubbed up very nicely. I decided to go for a classic look via a Little Black Dress (Dorothy Perkins), but opted to add a bit of an edge with a pair of fluoro-floral court heels (Primark).

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Lucy chose a floor length Grecian-esque red dress which made her the centre of all sartorial attention.

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After a glass of Pimms on arrival, we took our seats inside at tables christened with an appropriately countryside theme for the horse and hunt loving birthday girl.

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The first course was served – a mouthwatering twice baked cheese souffle – and the wine started to flow.

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This was soon followed by an equally delicious goats cheese and caramelised onion tart.

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Joe looked very happy with the culinary indulging.

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As did Alex who looked stunning in a silky floor length duck blue dress.

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To finish, desert was a divine chocolate mousse.

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Matt looked a little too pleased (ahem drunk) with his name-card-come-wristband.

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Fortunately, despite far too many drinks, we girls still prove quite photogenic.

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The party went on until the early hours when we hit the hay in preparation for round two – the garden party chez Lucy.

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Lucy wore an elegant cream off-the-shoulder dress with fuschia heels.EDITED 28

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The party was held in a marquee in her garden, with the incredible interior design masterminded by Lucy’s mum, Sara-Jane.EDITED 26This included reems of Pride & Prejudice for table decoration, M&Ms with Lucy’s face on and some slightly cringe-inducing fancy dress photos of us all from year ten.

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Although the larking around has not changed.EDITED 24

We were soon feeling peckish and delicious food arrived in the form of a traditional hog roast.

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GARDEN

JOE

No party is complete without a photo booth, the existence of which we took full advantage of.

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Another prerequisite to a very good party is a very good birthday cake.CAKE 2

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…and a cat.EDITED 30The final shot of the day was a very special aerial photo of all us guests. Happy birthday Lucy!

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 Photo courtesy of Lucy Sheard.

Kensington Calling

London can often feel like a bees nest – people aimlessly buzzing  in their own little hexagonal world. That is why one of the best things about this city is the number of green places to escape to from the concrete jungle. Kensington Palace, and its surrounding gardens, was my first choice on a brutally balmy recent summer day.

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The area borders Hyde Park, that other lovely green escape. However, everything feels a tad more regal on the Kensington side.

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The sun desperately burst through the tree tops as we lay on the grass in the shade.Kensington 5

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I opted for natural, earthy tones on this afternoon stroll in rural paradise. My floral vintage crop top and long terracotta skirt (Primark) flowed around me in the breezy high temperatures. As is classic for summer I accessorised with a tan gold-chained bag (Urban Outfitters) and a tan skinny belt (Primark). On my feet were my all-time favourite purchase of the season thus far – white block-heeled sandals (Primark).

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 Kensington Palace gardens proved more manicured. Sometimes only rainbow-hued flower beds and at least one lake will do when one is a princess…

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Frieze Art Fair 2013

For a short while in the middle of October it became de rigueur in Regents Park to wear odd shoes, speak predominantly French, and sip pinot grigio from just after eleven in the morning. The internationally-revered, annual Frieze Art Fair had arrived in London with natural fanfare. The four day event displayed over 1000 modern works, to be seen by several thousand visitors. Stylish visitors at that. Chic French thirty-somethings, trendy London art students and carefully disheveled industry types had all nonchalantly fashioned themselves to the brim. Chief purveyors of a certain kind of taste also made appearances – a shy Tracey Emin and a rather loud, if loveable, Mark-Francis Vandelli were the artistic somebodies to be spied.

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It was a contemporary art-lover’s paradise. However, what filled the inside of the space ship-like terminal of a gallery, could not have juxtaposed more with the traditional Georgian location.  The Frieze cherishes everything young, minimal and particularly unusual. It has no time for the common perception about modern art: well…is it really even art? On arrival I, too, shared this belief. Is it actually that hard to take good photography with a really expensive camera or paint a canvas all one colour? I also viewed the art world as that little bit too exclusive. and obsessed with its own taste. How wrong I was. The Frieze was full of wonderfully thought-provoking images and beautifully provocative art. In fact, a lot of London’s charm chimed through in the rebellious nature of the whole exhibition.

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Frieze - MLK Missing

Frieze - Mother and Baby

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Frieze - Little Pics

Frieze - YOU

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Frieze - Union Jack

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Frieze - Women in Slime

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Frieze - Blue Horizon

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The Frieze was not without its fair share of art snobs, and those who were simply there to pose and be seen. However, if you look past the big blow drys, deliberately clashing pleather and print, and pointy brogues of the fellow visitors, you will see a lot that is pleasing to the eye. And some that isn’t. Who would have thought that a stained mattress could look appealing, or two women covered in slime might look good? Indeed, in the modern art world, odd socks simply will not do when you can have odd shoes.

AW 13/14 Trend Tribes

Are we really at the mercy of the trends? Do we actually decide we can no longer live without neon blocking, nor be seen dead in anything but sandal flatforms? No matter how hard Christopher Kane is pushing that camo print next season, do many of us really drastically alter what we wear after each run of shows?

Fashion, for most, is a pick-‘n’-mix game of dabbling in particular trends depending on whether they complement our basic style (AKA tribal look). We venture from the tribe occasionally to hunt a snakeskin clutch, or sniff out a taupe fedora, but never wander too far from its main aesthetic. Fashion collections are aimed, too, at specific types of imaginary woman, and therefore not every trend is intended for us. Phew! Which style tribe are you, and which trends will you be wearing this coming season?

VINTAGE TRIBE
Your style icon is Bette Davis, you shop at Battersea car boot and your favourite night out is Itchy Feet. You, my dear, are the biggest fan of everything at least fifty years old, and pine for the days of Grease, Dior’s ‘New Look’ and when red lipstick reigned over nude for daylight hours.
This season you’re in heaven. Louis Vuitton sent some 1940s Hollywood thriller-worthy offerings down the catwalk, with silk negligees worn underneath classic oversized coats and accessorized with deep berry-coloured pouts.
The Prada show featured models with their equal share of drama. Artfully mussed rain-drenched hair, belted hourglass silhouettes, and that blue and white check print that you last saw on the primary school playground. Also Get Inspired By: Bottega Venetta and Burberry Prorsum.

Trend Tribe - Louis Vuitton

Louis Vuitton

Trend Tribe - Prada

Prada

MINIMALIST TRIBE

All other tribes wonder why you go shopping each season since you always appear to look the same. However, you know that with the minimalist look it is all about subtlety adventurous materials, sharp cut and a range of hard-working separates. A bit like IKEA really. Maybe that’s why Acne, the mid-range minimalist trove, also hails from Sweden. In your book, less is always more. Modern architectural phenomenons of the London skyline provide your fashion references, while alternative fabrics, such as nude PVC, and colour blocking are all you need to make a statement.
Stella McCartney, always the chic purveyor of simplicity, revealed a collection of androgynous oversized coats, unfussy jumpsuits and muted wintry hues of charcoal grey and dark purple.
Queen of Minimalism, Phoebe Philo, worked her, as Vogue labelled it “fashion purist”, magic at Celine. Fluted midi-skirts and cleverly draped dresses provided a very put-together Parisian look – aside from racy flashes of thigh leather boots. Also Get Inspired By: 3.1 Phillip Lim and Jonathan Saunders.

Trend Tribe - Celine

Celine

Trend Tribe - Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney

KING’S ROAD TRIBE
You just love Hummingbird’s red velvet, you cannot wait to get hold of the new Mulberry Bayswater ‘zipped’, and darling are you going to Val d’Isere this winter? Life is one big Mahiki-whirlwind as you attempt to shake off your former Kate Middleton boarding-house look, and style yourself a tad more like edgy-sloane fashion stylist Phoebe Lettice-Thompson. SW7 may be your stomping ground and you only ever eat at Cecconi’s, but you get your hair done at Percy & Reed in east London, and want your fashion credentials appreciated.
The catwalks did not shy away from privileged looks this season. Emilio Pucci and Dolce & Gabbana opted for serious opulence. The former flaunted Mayfair-friendly short hemlines, Jean Shrimpton-style blunt fringes and drowned models in fur. Domenico and Stefano went that bit more regal, pioneering pea coats, lace and heavy embellishment. Also Get Inspired By: Giorgio Armani and Victoria by Victoria Beckham.

Trend Tribe - Pucci

Emilio Pucci

Trend Tribe - D&G

Dolce & Gabbana

EASTERN TRIBE

East in this fashion game means Brick Lane and Dalston. You started listening to Marley when you were in the womb, and now show off your moves at XOYO and various warehouse raves. 1980s punk and Kate Moss circa 1993 are where you source your fashion ideas, as are record stores and Glastonbury. You have perfected your indie eyeliner flick and have ombréd your hair to death, yet looking grungily undone is the aim. Buy of the summer was the Topshop version of those Balenciaga cut-out boots to de-feminise things.
Cue Versace and Vivienne Westwood to step up to the rebellious mark. Donatella included punk references in the form of chains and zips, and dollops of yellow, throughout her collection. Vivienne appealed to the festival-loving crowd with a hippy/ tribal-inspired assortment of messy plaits, ethnic prints and an indulgent array of ‘homeless’ texture. Also Get Inspired By:Christopher Kane and Chanel.

Trend Tribe - Versace

Versace

Trend Tribe - Vivienne Westwood

Vivienne Westwood

Off to the Ball

Last weekend I found myself in a very surreal situation. One where punch bowls were bought for £720, and a devotion to elite equestrian sports the common factor. My lovely friend Lucy had invited me, along with eight other friends, to her polo club’s annual ball. It was champagne, candelabras and a whole lot of jazz. I was in heaven.

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Wine. Salmon. Dark chocolate mousse. I was stuffed and overindulged. As a part-time waitress I was over the moon to be the one on the receiving end. After dinner a charity bidding war ensued with polo-related prizes up for grabs. Little under a £1000 was each paid for a two-day residential polo course with a New Zealand professional, and one days hunting with a Young England Event Rider. Kerching.

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My friend Laura working new-season over-sized tailoring.

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A fabulous live band belted out some excellent jazz and reggae. Then the DJ came on with Beyonce and co until 3am. Everyone looked immaculate. Lace, minimalist cocktail dresses and chic, silk gowns were the styles of choice. Less was more for the polo set.

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A night is not complete without a cheeky, pixelated Iphone ‘selfie’ with my friend Joe.

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I did not own a full-length dress so opted for something shorter, but pretty and dressy. I have owned this beautiful, white Zara dress for about a year. The long sleeves made it that bit warmer, the bright white colour was very summery and the intricate beading on the front very monastic Emilio Pucci/ Dolce & Gabbana AW 13/14, as a nod towards the new season. I accessorized with the classic black court heels of the moment, and a gold chain strap vintage-look shoulder bag.

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Zara Dress

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Primark Heels

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Urban Outfitters Bag

Having listened to the virtues of only ever wearing flats on nights out from Lucy’s university friend Laura, I cast my painful heels aside in order to dance the night away. However, having briefly misplaced them, Cinderalla left the ball avec shoes and her outfit complete.

Notting Hill Carnival

The Notting Hill Carnival is one of those rare, beautiful days when everyone within one square mile of Portobello Road takes Marley’s lead and doesn’t worry about a thing, drinks like there’s no Tuesday morning and dances literally dawn to dusk. Yesterday the Carnival brought heaps of colour to a gorgeous Notting Hill, and the sound systems blared out seriously hip-shaking-inducing West Indian music…

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I went to the carnival with the gorgeous Claire and Cicely. We soaked up the sun, got pretty tipsy and gasped at the “twerking” dancers in barely-there thongs…

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Cicely and Claire working fringing and bright prints for carnival. Check out Claire’s fabulous fashion blog here. The last time I visited Portobello Road it was full of adorable, niche vintage stalls. Yesterday it was buzzing with richly adorned floats, professional dancers and a perfect atmosphere…

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The dancers’ costumes were incredible up close (see above). As was the street style on show – bright tropical or floral prints, crop tops, pixie boots and denim dungarees were the trends of choice.

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The traditional, English backdrop of Notting Hill provided a strange contrast to the very cosmopolitan Carnival festivities. However, the  combination made it all the more special. It has been held in the area every year without fail since 1966, and it’s fair to say from yesterday’s huge street party, it’s very much a part of London.

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Everyone should experience this part of the city’s culture at least once. Although you’ll definitely want to go back for more. I rolled into bed around midnight exhausted, stuffed with Nandos, having caught up with some amazing friends, and memories of flouro pink costumes…

Life of a Fashion Intern

I recently talked to the lovely Coryn Brisbane, the former King’s College London student newspaper, Roar!’s, Fashion and Lifestyle editor, about her post-university experiences as an intern for some of the UK’s leading fashion magazines. She told me about previewing the much anticipated Charlotte Tilbury make-up line, meeting Made in Chelsea’s Francis Boulle and an upcoming internship with Vogue.

Can you tell me a little bit about what you have got up to since graduating in summer 2012…

In the last year – I can’t believe it’s been a year! – I took some time out to travel around Fiji and Australia and then was lucky enough to secure a features internship at Marie ClaireStella at The Sunday Telegraph and a beauty internship at InStyle.

Which were your favourite fashion publications to work on…

Stella was definitely my favourite as I was there for three months so I really felt like I was part of the team. I also love their output, they produce incredibly interesting, intelligent and dynamic articles and the team is wonderful. It was also so interesting being part of a national newspaper, especially when I was walking through the hub of the newsroom as breaking news came through.

Were any of the magazines like the set of the Devil Wears Prada or Ugly Betty? Are the fashion stereotypes true…

Not at all – I can’t dispel that rumour enough! Obviously there are moments when you have to go out and grab a coffee or do an errand but you realise that your editors are working to the tightest deadlines and are under so much pressure, so just by doing the tea run you’re actually helping more than you think.

What did you tend to wear to the office? Was their pressure to always look on trend and immaculate…

Obviously on the first day I made a lot of effort – there was the 6am prep and frantic looking at my wardrobe shouting ‘I have nothing to wear!’ but when you go in the office you quickly realise people just wear what they want. Naturally you don’t have to wear typical office clothes and most people do dress amazingly but I didn’t feel like I needed to walk in with a new outfit every day. Also most people wear high street which is refreshing!

Did working on fashion magazines alter the way you dress, or open your eyes to new brands…

Not in terms of the way I dress, no. I think if you’re working in the fashion industry you’re inherently going to have you own style and it’s important to stick to your guns with that. You can’t profess to have a sartorial eye if you’re going to be fickle with your own fashion. However, I am lusting after more brands – a pair of custom made Chatelles is top of the list. I think the one thing I’ve definitely taken away is less is more – both with fashion and beauty.

You must have got given loads of freebies!

Around once a month the beauty team do a massive sale where products cost as little as £1 so I got some amazing bargains from that. I think my most cherished product is the YSL Forever Light Creator Serum which I’m not sure I’ll be able to live without now, but don’t think I’ll ever be able to justify buying again which breaks my heart. I also got to see a preview of the much-anticipated Charlotte Tilbury make-up line and it’s even more amazing than I imagined!

What was it like going to work at such popular magazines and working with well known editors and writers? Did it confirm that this is the career you want…

I always knew I wanted to work in the magazine industry so there was that part of me when I started at Marie Claire that thought ‘God, what if I hate this? I have no plan B!’ but luckily it confirmed to me that I want it more than ever. Working in an environment where everyone is so passionate about the same cause and you’re speaking with incredible writers, seeing the various edits of work and researching anything from drunk texting to Catherine Zeta Jones to women’s rights in divorce is so stimulating.

Which projects did you enjoy working on most…

I loved working on ones where I was researching case studies for a piece, for example I had to find around 5 Janeites – people who absolutely adore Jane Austen and dress up in Regency attire to events. With little to go on I had to think laterally. It takes hours finding the right people and then I got to preliminary interview them for the piece. When it gets published weeks later it was amazing to see how all my research helped make and shape the piece.

Did you have any surreal, ‘pinch yourself’ moments…

I think the most surreal thing that’s happened when I’ve interned is having my work published in Stella. Seeing my name in print in a national newspaper was something I’ll take with me forever. It was only a small interview and I think it’s safe to say Graham Norton’s job is safe for a while but it was an incredible moment for me. Oh, and I got to meet Francis from Made in Chelsea, I know, big name!

Were there any bad parts to your internships…

As an intern you have to sort through the post, send out magazines and do lots of errands but without those tasks being done the office doesn’t run. For all the small tasks you do, though, you get to do some incredible things like write articles and research for interviews.

Alexander McQueen recently apologized for not paying its interns. How do you feel about the criticism surrounding fashion and magazine placements…

The only downside is the pay, or lack of. I have to work on the weekends to afford to do the internships, so seven-day weeks really takes their toll. However, as demoralizing as it is getting little money you just have to accept that’s how the industry is – it doesn’t make it right but if you don’t do the internship there’s a line of people waiting behind you ready to take your place. You have to take the things you learn as compensation for the lack of money you get. I got to be in charge of some of the magazines’ social media, write articles for online and in the magazine and go to fashion shoots, which are all invaluable experiences.

You’ve just secured an internship at Vogue in November- congratulations!

Thank you! So excited, but I’m not sure it’s really hit home yet. I was eerily calm in the interview and they told me there and then that I had got it so I had to try and play it cool. When I left and looked back at the Vogue House sign above the door a bit of me died inside! It’s been my dream to just step into Vogue invited since I can remember so to actually have the opportunity to work there is unbelievable.

When did you first decide that working in fashion was what you wanted to do…

It sounds so cliché, but it’s true – when I bought my first Vogue. But it wasn’t the fashion that made me want to work in the industry, it was the features. I loved the rich, gorgeous photo shoots but I loved more that crafted between the pages of amazing fashion, the thought-provoking, witty and stimulating articles, and I knew I wanted to write them.

As Roar!’s Fashion and Lifestyle editor from 2011-12, how do you feel that position helped you with your future…

At Roar! I got to work with a body of editors and a team of writers, create and commission unique and engaging features for a student demographic, edit and write, and design from scratch the section. I got to work on every single aspect of a publication and witness first-hand how symbiotic each part it – it was one of the most worthwhile things I’ve done.

Did you find it difficult to secure an internship in the fashion magazine industry…

Being Fashion and Lifestyle editor at Roar! helped massively. Every interview I have had has picked up on it as it showed my dedication to working in the industry. I was lucky enough to have a fellow King’s alumni at Marie Claire who helped me with the internship and once I had that first publication on my CV the rest came easier. But as much as it’s about who you know, you have to have the work ethic and determination to merit yourself when you’re there.

What advice would you give to other people wanting to break into the fashion industry…

Work hard and be proactive. Keep your fingers on the fashion pulse and be a part of the blogging community. The more you can do to immerse yourself in the industry the more you’ll prove your dedication. Also, be nice to everyone, there’s nothing worse than working with a bitchy intern. Plus you never know when you’re going to cross paths with that person again!

What do you enjoy most about writing for your blog

I love how you can completely have your own voice, there’s no editing or restriction on your tone, your style or what you write about. Blogging is also great because it allows you to create an online portfolio of your work.

What’s your inspiration for deciding what to blog about?  Do you follow any other blogs…

In terms of inspiration it can be anything, a conversation with my friends about sex and relationships, a topic that’s sparked my interest in a newspaper or film or seeing someone do something horrific when they’re drunk, and by ‘someone’ I mean me. It’s pretty varied. In terms of blogs I follow, it’s mainly beauty blogs, they’re my guilty pleasure.

Do you think the blogging world is important to the future of the fashion industry…

I think the importance of blogging is so evident now. Magazines like Company are completely adapting themselves to this more colloquial, accessible and ultimately fun sense of editorial. You also see it on the front rows of fashion week, alongside the Alexa Chungs and Sienna Millers are Bip Ling and Susie Bubble. But that’s not to say there isn’t a demand for quality fashion journalism. Magazines have something elusive and decadent about them which is hard to match in a blog. I think there’s room for both!

What are your plans for the future…

I’ve just completed a beauty internship at InStyle and am now taking some time out to earn some money and write. I’ve just returned from a couple of weeks backpacking across Croatia so need to replenish my funds before the next internship! I’d love to be features editor at a fashion magazine but this industry is so hard and competitive I’m just going to keep my head down, work hard and hope for the best.

Find out more about Coryn’s life as a fashion intern through her fabulous blog and tweets.

SW1 Fun

I’ve recently been lucky enough to move to South West London. It’s all white uniform façades, quaint home-ware boutiques and Italian-style cafes. I may not live in the mews-of-my-dreams just yet, but I’m a stone’s throw from the King’s Road, and thought I’d take a wander.

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Streets of Pimlico en route.

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Pimlico (left) and Sloane Square (right).

Sloane Square, true to form, is sided by expensive shops, including Tiffany and Rag & Bone. There is also a rather ugly Peter Jones department store and regular gaggle of gormless tourists too, but if you go and sit in the heart of the square next to the fountain, armed with a copy of Tatler, it’s bliss.

sloane sign

My favourite discovery of the day was that Brandy Melville (below) had a London branch, and on the King’s Road no less. I had drooled over their effortless, laid-back, Californian-fused wares in Rome and LA, but had no idea they had reached our shores. Brandy you have made my year. Adorning, Chelsea-themed, vintage-looking displays, the affordable brand turned unfussy, neutral-hued tops and dresses into essentials, and threw in lots of fringing, earthy prints and tan leather for superb bohemian effect. Forget Jack Wills at number 72, it’s all about number 33.

Brandy Melville 2    Brandy Melville 3

Brandy Melville

Brandy Melville 4

Saatchi gallery

You have to visit the Saatchi Gallery (above) if  you’re ever in the area. Their very modern and unusual art may not be for everyone’s tastes, but the gallery is immaculate, calming to browse and makes you feel pretty cultured. Did I mention that it’s also free. No excuses.

saatchi 3   saatchi 2saatchi 4    saatchi 5

saatchi 1

The Duke of York Square is probably the most attractive part of the King’s Road. As well as a lovely fountained seating area, and with one of the nicest Patisserie Valerie’s, it also has some rather lovely shopping. Check out this gorgeous coat (below left) that was staring at me straight out of Joseph. My final fabulous King’s Road recommendation is an Italian called Made In Italy (below right). It”s so far down the road that you’ll wonder whether you’ve walked all the way to the Cotswold, but it’s well worth the trek.  I’ve eaten the most delicious pizza by the metre there with friends, and on one of the first dates with my boyfriend.

Joseph coat    made in italy

Joseph Coat                                                             Made in Italy  

No little wander is complete without a trip to Zara, of course. Their Duke of York Square branch was, unsurprisingly, dominated by a certain breed of women. In the changing rooms alone I overheard, “That pencil skirt looks so hawwt on you dahhling”, and “You know where is really good for winter coats? Bicester Village dahhling”. So Chelsea.

Zara      Zara 3

Favourite Zara stock from their Duke of York Square store.

Zara 5Zara legging

Check leggings as modelled by me in a cheeky selfie (left), and the leather/suede leggings on my list to buy next.

zara 4    Zara 2

Club to Catwalk

The 1980s changed fashion for good. The style circus of London Fashion Week was conceived in 1984, with the decade’s designers drawing inspiration from the street predominantly for the first time. The symbiotic relationship between the era’s adventurous club wear and innovative catwalk shows has been documented in a V&A exhibition, Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s. The V&A say the show “traces the emerging theatricality in British fashion as the capital’s vibrant and eclectic club scene influenced a new generation of designers”. The fusion between nightlife and fashion in the eighties is depicted through cherry-picked items by the ground-breaking designers of the day, and via the popular culture publications which gave them a platform.

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Glam Fetish Trend.

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London Fashion Week in the 1980s.

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It was during the 1980s that fashion flourished into one of the UK’s most bankable industries. An unlikely supporter of the sector’s efforts was Margaret Thatcher: “Fashion is important because it raises the quality of life for people who take the trouble to dress well”. Far-removed from staid Number 10, however, Club to Catwalk conveys to us the fashion renaissance fuelled by an explosion in sartorial creativity by Britain’s teens and twentysomethings. Designer Georgina Godley reminisced that “young London was all about taking risks”, and many of her contemporaries deliberately appealed to this youthful, daring clientele.

Blitz magazine from February 1986.

The hugely popular BLITZ Magazine.

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BLITZ magazine commissioned 22 designers, including Leigh Bowery and Zandra Rhodes, to customize denim jackets.

Aside from the invasion of youth into the British fashion scene, what Club to Catwalk focuses on is the fusion of nightlife and high design. John Galliano, former head designer at Givenchy and Christian Dior, relished being a London fashion student in the 1980s: “The club scene fed me”. He recalled that no students came into Central St. Martins on Thursdays and Fridays because they were making their weekend going out outfits. Indeed, the truly stylish in the eighties went to great pains to dress uniquely and exclusively. Designs by Willy Brown, for instance, were solely for people who knew of it. I-d magazine claims that such individual spirit triggered a rise in customization which allowed popular items to become different again. This territorial attitude to evening wear was reflected in the club scene itself. Special “nights” held at Billy’s, Blitz, Club for Heroes, Camden Palace and various warehouse parties, offered opportunities for dressing up and going out in the company of a like-minded crowd. These nights in turn directly inspiring London’s designers. Eighties fashion was all about the club and the music.

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Club to Catwalk - 5

Such a grassroots movement naturally turned commercial. Katherine Hamnett’s famous slogan t-shirts spawned a thousand imitations. Her use of fashion as a political platform (notably wearing a ‘58% DON’T WANT PERSHING’ dress to a reception at Number 10), however, was part of a wider ideology that fashion was no longer just a piece of clothing. It became a controversial statement. Designer Betty Jackson recollects of herself and her contemporaries: “We were the brave new face of fashion”.

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Katherine Hamnett and Margaret Thatcher

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Vivienne Westwood

The 1980s therefore made it clear that your outfit was of no use if it did not make you stand out, nor broadcast a political statement. Vivienne Westwood, today standing at the helm of a million pound clothing empire, used fabric throughout the decade to shout about her green and ethical credentials. In the 1980s, her SEX boutique with Malcolm McClaren was all about being vocal and provocative, pioneering the glam fetish trend. Other notable trends of the era were new romanticgothpunkrave and body-conscious. The latter caused a storm, with Vogue in 1987 declaring, “It’s the sexiest dressing yet, hiding the body and at the same time, showing its every movement”.

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Body-conscious Trend

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Punk Trend

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Freedom and creativity developing out of the London club scene was at the heart of 1980s British fashion, and was influential beyond our shores. Of trips to the United States to promote home-grown labels, Wendy Dagworthy muses that it was a, “huge party all the time”.

Club to Catwalk: London Fashion in the 1980s is showing at the Victoria and Albert Museum from 10th July 2013 to 16th February 2014. Tickets from £5.70.