Monday, 28 February 2011

Show and Tell - Vogue Italia Decemeber 2010

Selected images from S/S'11 shoot in Vogue Italia Decemeber 2010. 
Model: Kate Moss
Photographer: Nick Knight

We like the use of unusual, raw and natural set, which contrasts to Moss' glamorous 1950s pin-up look.
The layout of the pages are also interesting, the strips and squares of different photographs are almost like snipits into the subjects life.
The picture quality is reduced by the scanner, but we feel it adds to the whole effect.

H&E xx

Saturday, 26 February 2011

Pucker up for DKNY

DKNY are launching a 'Classic Kiss' competition (come on someone had to do it). You have the chance to create the perfect NYC kiss in photograph form, and in return you can win a DKNY handbag for her and DKNY watch for him, the link to the competition is HERE. 
If you're camera shy or are a second pair of lips down, you can join in by browsing through the uploaded photographs and casting your vote.
Also, with DKNY sending professional photographers around the UK to capture and edit the snaps, it's the perfect reason to pucker up and let the world see...
A poster we spied on the tube. Think you can do better?

Monday, 21 February 2011

The Spring Clean

It's safe to say everyone goes through having a wardrobe where you have so many clothes, but nothing to wear. Well Fashion Strand are going to make it simple and advise you on what to wear, keep and chuck. All in line with the spring/summer 11 trends; of course.


Invest in minimalism. With Phoebe Philo already changing our Autumn/Winter 2010 wardrobes, it seems the clean lines and simple shapes has successfully transferred to the Summer season. Buy a sheer blouse, adaptable with any outfit, to create a subtly seductive take on the chic and timeless look.

3.1 Phillip Lim

Keep on trend with The Platform Wedge. Usually summer is for flats, sandals and flip flops, but designers differed from the norm through easy-to-walk in heels. For Summer this trend will be seen in many high street stores stores, as designers have created a new, fresh twist on the clog, the wood leather combo is revamped and paired with a new height of heel in this sandal.

Jil Sander
 Spice up Summer with a splash of Colour. The brights seemed to swamp the catwalk this season, surrounding us with a selection of dazzling oranges, hot pinks and electric blues. A daring palette created a summer revelation on the minimalist trend. Team with fluorescent fuchsia lips to keep a striking look.
Swap The Camel Coat for The Midi Skirt. Lightweight flowing fabrics glided down the catwalks for ss'11 whilst keeping the neutral palettes seen last season but with a subtle softness. The influence of Black Swan and the Russian Ballet exhibition could be the reason we'll see delicate ballet pumps and graceful midi-length skirts everywhere. Thin pleats create a naturally elegant silhouette, perfect for a summer breeze.

Revamp Lace. Usually seen in black, this season the lace is lightened to one of the seasons most prominent colours; white. Lace was introduced on the catwalk, despite having a gloriously diverse effect. Romance was exhibited at Valentino, with an opaque delicacy and at Dolce & Gabanna by reinterpreting virginal wedding whites. Contrasting with Christopher Kane's classic use of neon, in luminous oranges, yellows, greens and pinks, creating a sour sweet style.
Stella McCartney
Throw Anything that doesn't fit. The new seasons must-have item, the trouser suit, requires the perfect cut, the focus is on the quality of tailoring in the minimalism trend. For the ultimate power-woman look is it a must that there is no saggy, unflattering and ill-fitted garments. This is why, for the sake of you and your wardrobe, try everything on, and discard what doesn't fit.

Miu Miu
Savour Leather. It seemed that leather was all over Autumn/Winter 2010 with skirts, leggings and jackets made out of the edgy material. Leather crept back into Burberry Prorsum's s/s '11 collection through studded and quilted biker jackets. Structured skirts could be seen at Marios Schwab, Hermes and even Celine, however we feel the next season will show much more of a devotion to such a fashion-worthy fabric.

All photos are from

Friday, 18 February 2011

Harriet hits London Fashion Week Day 1

Today, was day one of London Fashion Week. Anyone who knows me, will know how indecisive I am, so as you can imagine, it took me a very long time to get my arms out of my wardrobe this morning, and eventually onto the train which took me to my favourite city. I felt a little out of place on my local bus in platform wedges, 70's wide leg trousers and Evie's vintage biker jacket, but upon arrival at Somerset House, that all changed. 

I picked up my press badge from reception, along with a  canvas Mulberry tote bag which was invaluable storage for the leaflets/look books/cards i seem to have built up quite a collection of today. From there, I made my way around sections of the exhibition which spans through most of the building.

Stand still for 5 minutes in the courtyard and you become a honeypot for street-style snappers. I awkwardly posed for Fashion156, Vogue Portugal, Elle, and several style bloggers, amongst them Aindrea (writer of This Is Rags) and Nathalie (writer of No No Coco) who became lovely company from then on after a good chat about forgetting to take out lens caps off cameras and spending all of our money on clothes (Aindrea managed to save up £150 once…and spent it in Topshop on the way to the bank). 

We made our way around the Elle Launchpad exhibition and found some gorgeous things. My inner magpie came to the surface, as you'll see from my photos that will be posted as soon as I have time, the jewellery on offer was simply divine. We also loved the angular and adventurous sunglasses and beautiful fur coats (though I wish they'd been faux, I love foxes…when they're alive). 

Once we parted ways, with Nathalie debating whether to go to the PPQ afterparty and Aindrea making her way to Felder Felder, I left Somerset House in search of Freemasons Hall, venue of Vauxhall Fashion Scout. A much needed Redbull was offered on my exit, and I couldn't resist another caffeine kick in Pret en route. After inevitable location troubles (due to my terrible map reading), I found the venue and explored the exhibition. Amongst the designers showing were Nicole Murray, whose collections Evie and I have adored for some time now, and Anna Lee, who I spent Friday evening with at the National Portrait Gallery All Walks Late Shift! It was lovely to catch up and see their collections, Nicole has been using gorgeous chestnut leather and rich mauves and burnt oranges, whilst Anna Lee's vivid orient-inspired printed jersey and leggings are definitely now on my wish list. I filmed video interviews with both designers, so you can see their collections and get to know them as well! 

At 7.30, Jasper Garvida's show was due to start, however we were still queuing in the bitter London chill at 8! Once everyone made it inside, the show soon kicked off. With classical versions of brilliant songs such as Nirvana Smells Like Teen Spirit guiding the models down the runway, the show was an interesting one. I have it all filmed and ready to post, and for this I risked my life by joining other brave camera users on a ledge, balancing precariously in my extremely high heels! 

I wish I could have stayed and partied, but I am definitely Nottingham bound on the train, platforms off, blueberry muffin out, looking forward to a well deserved cup of tea that my brother has promised to make me when I get in at 1. It's been a lovely start to Fashion Week, I'll be posting the films, photographs and reports after some much-needed sleep. I'm looking forward to whatever the rest of the week may  hold, remember to follow us on Twitter for regular updates on what we're up to!

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Tom Lipop - A Week's Internship

Last year, Harriet and I were lucky to meet the eccentric Ross Hancock, who is not only Britain's Best dressed man, Esquire blogger and Project Catwalk alumni, but a pattern cutting and design enthusiast. A shout-out on Facebook came along from him, and I jumped at the opportunity to work with the up-and-coming designer, Mr Lipop. 
The Internship Diaries 
Mr Lipop's Spring/Summer 2011 collection - leather hooded bags.
Day 1
Ross made it unclear as to what the exact working hours were by his laid-back attitude, so naturally I set off from Harrow to Hackney for 9 o'clock with plenty of time to get to to Tom Lipop's (an hour and a half). Nervously, after some location trouble, I arrived for half 8, at which time I was able to be taken through Tom's designs. For a brief moment I met Tom Lipop's business partner, Esser, who had to run off to the sheepskin factory to find the deep rich colour that was needed for the Autumn/Winter '11 collection.

(Left) Fabric samples for A/W'11. (Right) Looks planned out for the catwalk.
The studio is based, like many East London designers, in Tom Lipop's house. Despite being a small working area, there's no denying that the garage completely satisfies an up-and-coming designer's needs.

With it being my first time on an industrial machine, practising sewing straight lines and circles was reasonably nostalgic, despite Tom, Ross and Lizzy all equally reminding me of how young I was. The speed of these machines and the highly sensitive pedal strangely reminded myself of learning to drive a car, which I've recently been doing. It's about finding the right biting point, however in comparison, stalling is much the same as going too fast.
Two industrial machines in the studio.
After a cup of tea, I was asked to Toile (make a prototype of garment, usually in calico) a beautiful jacket where the lapel disappears into a sewn in pocket.This intricate pattern-cutting makes innovative yet wearable garments, typical of Tom's designs. Previously in all honesty I had no idea of the process designers take to make up the garments. Tom Lipop designs, sketches patterns from scratch, and then usually makes a toile so that the factory can see what the finished garment should look like which he then sends off.

Day 2
The 10:00 start, to avoid rush-hour, meant an extra bit of sleep, which is vital for such a physically demanding day!
The day went like this: tracing, cups of tea, tracing, cups of tea, tracing, lunch, mores cups of tea, tracing.
You can see why factories mass produce and laser cut to save on pattern-cutting paper, but frankly there is something so rewarding about the originality and cut of these garments that make the job worth while.
The craftsmanship involved in a simple piece, with numerous different pattern pieces just shows the whole side of fashion the public do not see.
Trousers was my focus of the day, by tracing a previous S/S '11 pattern which will be adapted to the new collection and then re-drawing it to create the short pattern which will be in the suede. And then another adapted trouser pattern.

Various samples and pattern pieces transferred to card.
It's likely that many of you are thinking, a whole day to do that? But there is no denying the time and effort put into each of these carefully thought-out looks. The accuracy of the pattern has to be no less than accurate; every milimetre counts. At lunch time, the ASOS next day delivery bag arrived with two thin bodycon knitted jumpers; one with a hood and one with a polo neck. However, Tom had to alter what looked like a 'turkey neck'! These would be used for styling when shooting the Look Book in the found location, which happened to be above a school and looks like a basketball court in New York.

This season the labels will be sewed on backwards to create a unique approach

Day 3
Since Ross has been slowly coming down with something, he thought it best to keep to himself.

Fabrics in Cashmere arrive for the suiting. (Left: Tom Lipop)
Luckily previous fabrics had not all been used from last season so this means there are now two subtly different shades of blue in the

The Tom Lipop Raglan sleeve pattern (the sleeve seam goes towards the neck rather than over the shoulder)
A template which had to be toiled and re-toiled last season to get strictly the right shape had been mislaid by the fashion house's manufacturers. So unfortunately, the pattern pieces had to be traced from the original master block and adapted using an already made t-shirt. After various alterations and corrections, I traced off the final pattern by the end of the day.

The Raglan jersey tshirt I was tracing
The most exciting element of the day was the arrival of the sheepskin shearling jacket, which unlike most of its kind has raglan sleeves. Lipop London had not designed with sheepskin before now, and the Hackney-based manufacturer a well-produced garment. However after fitting, adjustments needed to be made to the sample: a longer collar to meet in the middle, various buttonholes to improve fit to make the jacket lay flat on the body and buckles to be covered in suede. Thankfully the sleeves fitted even though the pattern had to be shortened to fit on the sheepskin since the piece was cut all-in-one. Personally I loved the suede pockets on the front, which provided a subtle softness to the leather sheepskin jacket.

Sneak preview of the Raglan jacket, purposely photographed less than half of the coat, so not to spoil the catwalk show!

Day 4
I started the day with more tracing but I have to say, practise makes perfect as my curves are smoother already! What annoyed us all was that the seam allowance on pattern master was not correct, it was about 1.3cm instead of 1cm, which is fashion is a nightmare - every mm counts. Ross said we'd make millions if we reinvented an accurate pattern master...

Since Ross blogs for Esquire and is constantly asked what his style is as Britain's best dressed man, he decided to do a post around the question 'What is style?'. In the morning I read it over and felt the post was a bit generic, that he could include his own personal style mishaps and experiences.
The fashion show is in two weeks and Tom Lipop had not ordered zips yet. After looking at some samples and matching them against the colour of the different suedes, the team decided on the navy gold zip for the burgundy suede jacket, as despite the colour differences they complimented each other well. In particular, the gold metal made the Burgundy look more expensive compared to the silver.
Tom Lipop was desperate to get hold of some adjustable Horn timber toggles, but they are so hard to find, and many fashion houses order them in to London haberdashery stores.

Tom Lipop's illustrations for the A/W'11 collection
Half way through the day there was a team meeting as Tom Lipop felt a jacket design had to be taken out the collection, after some time deciding, the Baseball jacket was scrapped from the drawing board because we felt it had been quite 'over-done' recently.

One pattern piece takes up a 1/3 of a pattern cutting table.
The coat's pattern had to be cut into 4 pattern pieces to create minimal seams with a raglan sleeve. So believe me, they were huge.
Today Lipop London were due to be featured on Vogue's 'Ones to Watch' so we were eagerly checking the website throughout the day. The team weren't as happy as they could have been with the pictures, simply because they didn't show the garments to their full potential. Vogue had exclusivity to the photo shoot, but shortly after an interview was posted on the official Vauxhall fashion scout blog.

Day 5
Two shirts and a suit jacket were ready to be sent off to the factory today. Tom had multicoloured plastic wallets in order to keep each pattern, toile, fabric and with jackets chest canvasing separate. One garment has a trouser and a shirt in same navy fabric to create a colour-blocked look.

Shoulder pad needs to be layered, and must not be pre-made. Tom sent one of Ross' Prada jackets to the factory to give an example of the type of finish he was expecting (hand sewn pocket finishes etc). Tom emphasised to Esser that the Prada jacket must come back and the A/W '11 jacket must be made perfectly otherwise it won't sell! The coat's buckles also needed to be covered in cashmere.

Drawings blutacked to the wall for the new A/W '11 bag, which is based on an old vintage rucksack.
One other raglan coat needed to be traced onto card, as Tom previously has found it hard to get back patterns. This can cause a lot of time to be wasted if the design is reinterpreted from another season as the designer has to start from scratch.
At 4 o'clock Tom Lipop was devastated he had spent the whole day figuring out what he wanted the  tracksuit to look like. However this attention to detail is what makes the brand unique, as the long thinking process comes across within the garments.

Tom Lipop is also looking to do shoe design in seasons to come.
Harriet took the train down, and after a while of what I thought were simple directions, Harriet arrived at the Mr.Lipop studios. Before we dashed off to the the National Portrait Gallery to visit the All Walk's Beyond the Catwalk 'Late Shift' event, we did some quick video interviews (to be posted shortly!)
One thing's for sure: I enjoyed my week here thoroughly. I would advise anyone who is interest in pattern cutting or design to contact this designer because the pattern cutting is fascinating, the atmosphere is lovely and the experience is rewarding.
Tom Lipop's Autumn/Winter 2011 collection will be on Wednesday 23rd of February so watch this space!
To find out more about Tom Lipop click here.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Show And Tell - Prada SS'11 Campaign

We came across this film and just felt it was something that just needed to be shared. There is not a thing that isn't fantastic about this film. It embodies the collection perfectly, and Ratatat's 'Mirando' makes us want to join in. Ultimately, its what fashion should be about: fun. So from now on we've decided to share something once a week that inspires us. We hope you feel the same as us and want to watch it again and again!

Prada SS'11 Campaign

Monday, 14 February 2011

All Walks Beyond the Catwalk and Rankin present 'SNAPPED' at the National Portrait Gallery, the Debate.

'Is Fashion the Lens through which we evaluate our own Identity?'

Since joining Twitter, we've been following Caryn Franklin (@Caryn_Franklin) and All Walks (@AllWalksCatwalk) in their much needed fight for diversity in the Fashion Industry. It was on Twitter that we came across 'SNAPPED', the late shift at the National Portrait Gallery which showcased Rankin's latest photographs of beautifully differing women. Evie has of course been in London since Monday, interning with Tom Lipop, but as soon as I read about the event I booked myself a train ticket, knowing it was an evening simply not to be missed! But fear not if you weren't there - the debate was filmed and will be steamed online. Evie wasn't able to attend, however in a wonderful stroke of luck, whilst waiting to enter the debate, a designer struck up conversation with me. Anna Lee, a Fashion Designer who is to exhibit next week with Vauxhall Fashion Scout, became my company for the evening and I was glad to give her Evie's ticket to the debate! We had an eventful evening - at one point I lost one of my bags - typical me - and Anna had to witness me have a bit of a panic in the middle of the gallery at the thought of being stranded in central London without money/tickets/ID, the poor girl had only just met me. Luckily people at the event were very nice, someone handed my clutch in and I am en route to Nottingham as I write this, thank you thank you thank you!! 

I am just one in a whole Nation of Women who I am quite sure are made to feel inadequate through Fashion's often unforgiving lens. I don't want to pick up a magazine and for the photographs in it to make me feel insecure. One of Lorraine Candy's points was that the ELLE team create images that are beautiful. She argued that women aren't stupid and know what they are buying (in the stick legged models amongst fashion magazines). I understood her point, Fashion is Art, naturally, the fashion spreads she publishes can't look anything other than beautiful. However, why does this mean the same waif thin casts of women should be used? Why can't something beautiful be created with what really is beautiful, and what we need to finally believe is beautiful: real women like ourselves. I want to see curvature amongst the haute couture, a personality wearing the garments for inspiration, not a blank and unhealthy canvas. And isn't that what it comes down to: health. What is more beautiful and inspirational than a woman exuding vitality whatever age, shape or race? 
the panel join the audience in the shock of the fact that Britney is actually normal like the rest of us before photoshop takes hold
Erin O'Connor told the audience about her more recently conflicting relationship with the Industry. She remembered feeling quite awkward as a girl, and that all changing after being scouted, her 6 ft. frame me being adored by the camera and praised by everyone behind it. But with sample sizes no longer fitting, she sometimes has trouble. She recounted an experience with a Designer, who asked 'what happened to you?!' when a pair of trousers didn't fit backstage at a show. Erin replied 'then why don't you make them bigger?', a fair point, no? The catwalk is becoming more diverse, this Season John Galliano sent Beth Ditto strutting her voluptuous figure down the catwalk, and hopefully at London Fashion Week more designers will choose to follow suit.
Kiki and her RUBY campaign
Kiki Kendrick's inspirational advertisements were shown behind her as she described the Body Shop's FULL VOICE campaign she worked on, starring RUBY the size 16 Barbie Doll who took the world by storm. She made the point of  the dangerous nature of the saturation of untruthful images to women, and in particular younger women. She commented that the first time you see something, it's different, the second it's not quite as much, and from then on it's just 'normal', and when this happens in magazines with the heavily airbrushed photographs portraying unattainable beauty, young girls don't see that it isn't really normal at all. When honest femininity is even sucked out of a plastic doll in exchanged for unrealistic proportions, these images are put in the mind of even the youngest girls. 

After leaving the Theatre, we made our way to the Gallery itself. By this time, most of the events (such as fashion illustration classes, the chance to be photographed by Alistair Guy for i.D and the 'I am' photobooth) had ended, yet the space was absolutely packed, the music of the female DJs filling the atmosphere. The Gallery was filled with familiar faces, I even bumped into Osman Yousefzada whilst making my way through the crowds to the bar. Since he was one of the first influential people Evie and I had the chance to interview, we were pleased to see him nominated for the BFC/Vogue Fashion Funding recently, but above all, we love the fact that Osman is a key supporter of All Walks, Amira Ahmed wearing one of his stunning designs amongst Rankin's shots. With her arms raised and the fabric of the dress taking the the air with her, she looks empowered and full of joy, the feelings which the All Walks campaign is spreading, and which are definitely catching on. 

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Nottingham Trent University screen printing competition and event

Fashion and Textiles 3rd year students at Nottingham Trent University have got together to organise a screen printing competition followed by an event at the Arts Organisation in the evening of the 11th March. The winning designs will be screen printed on the night, and shown amongst other items of fashionable interest. Pick a theme: geometric, vintage, or organic, and send your design to by the 18th February. Or, just be there - with a licensed bar and DJ in the mix, it's set to be a good Friday night!

Monday, 7 February 2011

Guest Writer: Adele Booth from Fashion for Lunch breaks the Fashion Rules

Adele Booth is one of the writers responsible for satisfying our cravings for frequent fashion tit-bits, in the form of posts at Fashion for Lunch. We guest posted for FFL a while ago, and are glad that Adele is doing the same for Fashion Strand, giving us all a Monday morning mind-set makeover with regards to wardrobe dilemas...

Breaking the Fashion Rules.

No not for anarchy's sake, but just because I can't seem to stop it happening. I'm massive on rules feet on the seats, keep to the right, do NOT talk about Fight Club. All the biggies.
But the rules of fashion? I can feel that twitch starting up again. Trinny & Susannah, for all their mammary-squeezing confidence bolstering, continued to haunt my nightmares and plague my mirror time long after the ”ahh doesn't she look lovely and grown'up?” bit was over. I mean, can I do roll neck, realistically? What about maroon? Quick it's 7.45 already, what does the book say!
A brief walk through..I am short (5ft 3ish), about as pale as they come (on holiday, I get asked if it hurts), and red-headed (thank you Mr Schwarzkopf). This is the 'Ask the Expert''s dream misanthrope. I envisage an entire office of interns at some Weekly Mag rushing around cupboards as we speak, flinging about khaki tops, pencil skirts and brown mascara wands. As far as fashion goes, I have distinct and officially bounded limits.

Rule 1- Wear the 'right' colours.

There lies a mathematical department in a university somewhere, who (and ONLY they) truly knows which colours suit who based on an aesthetic transcript. They must input the data into a giant iPad, which eventually comes out as inscribed reference numbers, and then the retail division of the SAS slap the lot onto big charts ready to place behind the cash desks in Whistles.
The rest of us just make it up. Again with the paleness: I'll read cool tones in one instance, then I'll see 'go warm' elsewhere..stick to pastels..stay away from mint..girl just heed the colour wheel. Anything beyond 'yellow+green= blue' is wayyy too sophisticated as logic for me. And those rules only really apply to plasticine anyway.
Despite being told “not a chance love”, I will continue to wear yellow as often as possible. And I'm taking canary, oh yes.

Rule 2- Dress to Your Shape.

This one, surely, is the most well-intentioned mortal sin known to mankind. If I ever have to read about dressing my 'apple' again I'm sure I'll lose it...If anything, an attempt to simplify what is a very complex issue (er, it is the human body after all, and Channel 4 tells us how mysterious that is on a regular basis) by the nice and cuddly fashion media, has surely muddled the whole thing forever. Now I just pick and choose depending on my mood. “Tonight Matthew, I'm going to be..pear.” I blame Gok for a lot, I really do.
As a confuddled shortie, I will continue to wear the midi AND the maxi regardless. With FLATS. Scandalous, I know.

Rule 3- Coming to a conclusion
There's so many rules I could go on forever- oh it looks like I have- but as you can see, this is an issue close to my heart. A solution? And I believe it's something most of us end up doing anyway without this level of haranguing. Easy-peasy simplification. Just getting on with it, y'know?

Adele looking lovely in her favourite shade
It's nice to know that if all else fails on the trendy trapeze dress front I can always 'cinch in the waist' and put on some sexy heels and still, by the very laws of physics that come to define our cosmos, feel mega mega fabulous darling. But the only thing I ever find truly stabilising is the having a go and then laughing about it part. Sort of like that other mysterious rule-laden domain, 'your relationships'.  A lot of the time I'm gonna look proper damn silly, and enough of the time I'm gonna look smashin', but at the end of the day no one, not even Gok, really gives a crap- so why should I?