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Why Pink Diamonds Are A Cut Above The Rest By The Luxury Channel

Everything you need to know as the largest ever pink diamond goes to auction….

Christie’s is hoping to make history by auctioning the largest finest pink diamond ever seen in its 251-year history, with a 19ct diamond due to be auctioned in Geneva.

Andrew Brown is the founder of WP Diamonds – a leading purchaser of designer jewellery, diamond jewellery and luxury watches, founded in 2012 and headquartered in New York City, with expert buyers operating across three continents – and he reveals what you need to know about pink diamonds….

Why is the auction in Geneva so important?

Pink diamonds are always a popular choice but when one this beautiful goes to auction, it always attracts more interest. A Fancy Vivid Pink diamond like the one we’ll hopefully see sold [in Geneva] will be viewed as the ultimate prize for collectors. They will bid high in order to attain one of the best coloured diamonds available in the world.

Why choose a pink diamond?

Natural pink diamonds are among the rarest stones, tracking closely behind red and blue as the rarest diamond colour. They are only found in a small number of mines around the world and most come from one mine, Argyle in Australia, which will be closing down in the next few years. This rarity makes a pink diamond an extremely valuable addition to an investment portfolio for diamond buyers. As you can imagine, this comes with a price tag. Pink diamonds are one of the most expensive stones you can buy, so it’s unsurprising that we usually see them on the hands of Royalty or A-list celebrities!

Typically, how much does a pink diamond cost?

A lot! As with most diamonds, the price depends on the carat size. However, colour saturation is a huge factor as well. A 1ct Fancy Pink diamond might retail for around £125,000 – £150,000, while a 1ct Fancy Vivid Pink diamond could easily retail for more than £500,000.

What makes pink diamonds pink?

Truthfully, it’s a mystery! We know that diamonds are coloured through the introduction of a foreign element to the carbon structure of the diamond. Blue diamonds have a trace of boron and green diamonds have been naturally treated at some point in their life by radiation. However, we simply do not know what makes pink diamonds pink. We will one day, but the scientists are still trying to figure that out.

What should we look for in a pink diamond?

It’s all about the colour. The greater the saturation (i.e. the more intense the colour), the better. A coloured diamond is graded in order of its increasing colour strength from Faint, Very Light, Light, Fancy Light and Fancy through to Fancy Intense, Fancy Vivid, Fancy Dark and Fancy Deep. A Fancy Vivid colour, such as the one being auctioned [in Geneva] is as good as it gets – extremely rare. To show the scale of stone colour and its price, if you take the ring David Beckham reportedly gifted Victoria with on her 30th birthday, that was a 12ct “pink champagne” colour – probably a fancy brownish pink – which held a value of around £800,000. But nothing compared to this Fancy Vivid Pink diamond being auctioned, which is set to sell for around £38m!

The 37.30 carat Raj Pink, the world’s largest know Fancy Intense Pink diamond (Image courtesy of Tristan Fewings for Getty Images)

Do pink diamonds hold their value more than other diamonds?

Pink diamonds are extremely rare, so hold their value extremely well, as do blue, red, green and purple diamonds. Argyle, the largest diamond producer in the world by volume, is set to close its mine by 2020 after more than 20 years in operation. This means that the rarity and scarcity value of pink diamonds should increase, and for people lucky enough to own a pink diamond, the next couple of years is the time to consider selling. You know the Wall Street moniker: “Sell on the rumour, buy on the news!”

What is your personal preference for pink diamonds in terms of colour?

My personal preference is a purple pink diamond. The purple adds a deeper purple or reddish tint to the pink, as opposed to the generally more favourably viewed straight pink colour.

To find out more about what to look out for when buying or selling diamonds, visit www.wpdiamonds.co.uk/diamonds.

Rixo – An Award-Winning Fashion Success Story By Karen Kay

Britain is consistently in the global style spotlight, providing a vibrant platform for emerging talent and every season, a new designer or label is hailed as the next big thing at London Fashion Week, feted by the cognoscenti and hailed across the industry for their clever concepts. Over the last few days, the collections for Spring/Summer 2019 have been showcased on catwalks across the capital and at the British Fashion Council’s Designer Showrooms exhibition, with established and exciting new brands jostling for attention and, ultimately, hard-won orders from international store buyers.

With the clothing industry as a whole directly contributing £32.3billion to UK GDP in 2017, representing a 5.4% year-on-year increase and a growth rate 1.6% higher than the rest of the economy, this is big business. Forecasters say it’s only getting bigger: according to Mintel, the womenswear market is currently worth £28.4billion and is predicted to grow by 14% in the next four years to reach £33.5 billion.

The constant challenge facing fashion start-ups is to marry creative vision with commercial sensibilities, and if a business finds that elusive magic formula, they tap into an incredibly lucrative market. Rixo London is one such success story. Founded three years ago by best friends Henrietta Rix and Orlagh McCloskey from their London flat, this label is now a fixture on the London Fashion Week roster of runway shows and boasts a seven-figure turnover.

A year ago, the pair won the inaugural DHL Award for Fashion Potential, in partnership with the British Fashion Council, which saw them benefit from industry mentoring and logistics advice, plus a £20,000 award to support their international growth. This enabled the fledgling brand to recruit a digital specialist to facilitate a global e-commerce push and as a result, Rixo has grown exponentially over the last 12 months growing from a team of three to a full-time team of 12. International web sales have grown 350% on the previous year, they now have an impressive roll-call of over 100 global stockists in more than 40 countries, and the business has moved from the girls’ flat to a dedicated new office and studio space.

So, how have they succeeded where so many others failed, growing their self-funded enterprise into a profitable venture loved by Holly Willoughby, Lily James, Kylie Minogue and Sandra Bullock, and selling in prestigious retailers around the world including Net-a-Porter, Liberty, Harrods and Selfridges in London, Saks in the US, Dublin’s Brown Thomas, Le Bon Marché in Paris, Luisa Via Roma in Italy, Australia’s David Jones and Takashimaya in Japan, amongst many, many others?

The pair first met when they enrolled on a four-year Fashion Management degree at the London College of Fashion and quickly become firm friends. “We were just drawn to each other because we were both very down-to-earth and comfortable in our skins, in a sea of people who thought they had to fit some idea of what a fashion student looked like,” recalls Henrietta, now 26. “We were a slightly different breed to many of our uni contemporaries. I grew up in Cheshire, and my dad had his own business as a used car dealer, while Orlagh was raised in rural Northern Ireland, near Derry, where her father had a construction business, so we both came from families with a strong work ethic and an understanding of what it takes to run a company. My four older brothers all set up their own businesses and I just always had the philosophy that it was do-able.”

During their placement year, Henrietta worked in the buying team at ASOS and Orlagh, by now her flatmate and sharer of Sunday morning hangovers spent trawling antique markets, headed off to learn the ropes with the buyers at TK Maxx. Their time spent at the frontline of fast fashion saw the pair plotting their path post-graduation, instinctively sharing a vision for a new brand that married their passion for vintage clothes with a take on contemporary style that was admired by many of their peers.

In February 2015, they registered their business at Companies House and set about building the foundations of their venture. “We weren’t airy fairy designers wafting around with sketchbooks and fancy ideas,” explains Orlagh, now 29. “We understood the complexities of overheads and production costs and the commercial realities of the fashion world, but we hardly had any capital to spend on making the first collection, which had 20 or so pieces in it. Rixo is completely self-funded, so we earned money baby-sitting, and did everything on a shoestring. Everyone said we were too young to start up on our own, but we had no responsibilities, no dependents, no big mortgages, and we were already used to living on very little. I think our naivety helped us. We lived, ate, slept, breathed Rixo and worked 24/7 on it, so we weren’t going out and spending money socially. To launch the business, we only invested in fabric and hiring a freelance pattern-cutter, then pulled in favours from friends, who modelled and photographed the garments for us.”

Featuring luxurious silk crepe de chines printed with flamboyant designs hand-painted by Orlagh and Henrietta in their living room, their debut range was inspired by the silhouettes of some of their favourite vintage garments, made modern with pattern and colour.

By September that year, the pair had built a website, and spent much of their summer cold-calling stylists and editors on magazines and newspapers, getting in touch via social media to introduce themselves and beg for ten minutes of their time so they could show them sample garments from their soon-to-be-launched label.

“We trawled across London with a suitcase full of clothes, going on endless appointments,” says Henrietta. “Everyone was bemused that we didn’t have a PR agent, but we couldn’t afford one. Ultimately, we were passionate about what we were doing and 100 per cent believed women would love it. We knew getting our brand out there was important, and this was the only way we could do it, just by putting in the graft ourselves. Amazingly, we got coverage in the September issues of major magazines, and the orders started to come in to the website. At that point, though, it hadn’t occurred to us to wholesale; we just imagined we’d sell direct to consumers.”

In the early days of the business, the girls would walk to the post office every day, having picked and packed website orders themselves, explains Orlagh. “Eventually, as we staggered along the street under the weight of ever more packages each afternoon, we realised something had to change, and we had that moment of inspiration that changed the business when DHL began to send a driver to our flat every day to collect the day’s web orders. We are naturally control freaks, but that took pressure off us, and allowed us to focus on using our skills to build the business. Knowing our garments were being despatched all around the world, and the brand was accessible from virtually anywhere, was exciting and meant we could market confidently on social media, knowing anyone who wanted to order from us could do so, wherever they lived.”

Within weeks, though, they were having to re-think their business strategy, as word of their enterprise rapidly spread within the ranks of the fashion world. A meeting with Net-a-Porter and the influential e-tailer’s ensuing order saw stock sell out within 24 hours of appearing on the site. Henrietta and Orlagh realised the power of selling through established channels, and began googling independent boutiques around the UK, hoping to secure more wholesale orders and a presence in key fashion retailers alongside well-known labels.

Once again, the twenty-something entrepreneurs found themselves carrying their suitcase of samples across the country, this time knocking on the doors of stores and begging them to buy stock in what was a very difficult retail climate. They were all reluctant to buy into an unknown label.

“We didn’t know any different, so we just got on with it,” the pair say, shrugging their shoulders. “Eventually, because we had such conviction that our garments would sell once customers saw them first-hand, we proposed boutiques took them on a sale-or-return basis, so there was no risk involved for the store. Everyone who agreed to take our collection on that basis called us within a week to say everything had sold, requesting more stock.”

One of the harshest lessons these young entrepreneurs learned along the way was that not all their wholesale customers would pay up. Henrietta’s father nagged her to be strict with those who were slack in settling invoices for their orders. “Even when they’d had the stock on sale-or-return, and every garment had flown off the rails, some stores still didn’t pay, and we got burned. We weren’t very professional and were doing invoices ourselves, without being on top of the cashflow. So, we had to toughen up and change our trading terms.”

Three years on from launching their label, the range has grown to a seasonal collection of 60 or so pieces, still featuring their signature prints, hand-painted in London, now printed on silks in Italy and in China, and made up in China for distribution all over the world.

The pair continue to use social media to increase awareness of Rixo, with 120k followers on Instagram, many of whom actively share images of themselves in the label’s designs. “We often wonder how we would have fared without Instagram. It allows us to talk with customers and press directly and engage with them,” says Henrietta, fresh from launching a new collaboration with influencer Laura Jackson. “It’s really important that our clothes are seen on a variety of women, and people can relate to that. We have customers in their teens right through to women in their eighties, of all different shapes and sizes, wearing our clothes as everyday wear or for special occasions, styling things simply or in a more avant-garde fashion. It gives other women the confidence to try new looks and to believe they can wear styles they might previously only have seen on a size zero model in a fashion magazine.”

“We’ve made lots of mistakes along the way, but we wouldn’t change that for the world because we’ve learned lessons and it’s shaped how we do things now. We don’t want to live beyond our means or expand too fast, but we have big plans for Rixo. We’re often asked when we will raise finance and take outside investment, but we want to stay in control and invest everything back in the business so we can grow. We plan on launching knitwear, accessories and to add to the collection in other ways, with different styles to suit different body shapes and more embellishment, but the silk printed dresses will always be the heart of what we do.”

Watch this space….

For more information about Rixo, click here. For more information about DHL deliveries, click here.

The Royal Wedding – What Will Meghan Be Wearing? By Hannah Norman

Wedding fever will have truly gripped the nation by the end of May, with the forthcoming Royal nuptials causing frissons of excitement across the nation. It’s happy news all round – according to The Guardian, the UK’s economy is forecasted a £80 million boost thanks to the Harry and Meghan effect. Britain’s heritage is already a huge draw in attracting tourists from overseas, but Meghan’s American roots are likely to prove an added plus, with figures from Visit Britain suggesting that as many as 50,000 US tourists could be joining the crowds lining the streets in Windsor.

The further good news is that there is a philanthropic economic benefit resulting from the Royal wedding. Instead of gifts, Harry and Meghan have requested donations be made to seven charities whose work they are passionate about. Most of the charities are fairly small, so the high profile occasion will allow a light to be shone on their work that perhaps might not be otherwise.

The British luxury industry is also predicted to see an economic uplift. Just as “the Kate effect” sees dresses worn by the Duchess sell out in hours, Meghan has inspired similar spending patterns. The Strathberry handbag she sported on a public engagement in Edinburgh sold out in just 10 minutes, while the white belted Line The Label coat she wore when the couple first announced their engagement resulted in such high demand that the brand’s website crashed (they have since re-named the coat “the Meghan” as a tribute). Brand valuation consultancy firm Brand Finance has estimated the economic benefit of “the Kate effect” (i.e. the uplift to fashion and other brands that she has worn, used or otherwise endorsed) in 2015 was over £150 million. “The Meghan effect” is likely to be even higher, due to the actress’ popularity not just in the UK, but in the US and Canada as well. According to Walpole, British luxury is still a huge selling point in the States, and a recent member survey revealed 71% of respondents agreed that “Britishness” is more important in the luxury industry than in any other sector. Brands that promote their own take on Britishness are more appealing and, if Brand Finance’s figures are anything to go by, it creates a bigger impact if the brand is worn by a Royal rather than by a “regular” celebrity.

Wedding Dress by Le Spose di Gio

So, come May 19th, while the focus will very much be on HRH Prince Harry and his beautiful bride together as a couple, we’re sure that we’ll have all eyes on the bride – and what she’ll be wearing! We can’t help but wonder about the rings. The shoes. And most importantly – the dress! With that in mind – and with a wedding of one of our own upcoming at The Luxury Channel – we thought we’d hedge our bets with a few suggestions as to what Meghan might be wearing. If nothing else, we hope this serves as inspiration if you’re planning a big day of your own!

THE SHOES

She’s been walking tall in the shoe world for a few years now, so we’re thinking one of the stunning styles from Lucy Choi London. Meghan is a well-known fan of the shoes made by Lucy’s uncle – Jimmy Choo, natch – but we’re thinking she might opt for something designed by his niece instead. Lucy’s signature styles are classic, comfortable but ultimately add a little bit of fun to the occasion – which is exactly the sort of thing Meghan will be seeking.

The Rosewood, Kidd, Ophelia and Davy shoes by Lucy Choi London

THE RINGS

Whilst Meghan’s wedding band may well end up being as bespoke as her engagement ring, there are several sparklers that are simply too irresistible to pass over. Boodles have a range of romantically named rings, including the Kiss, Cupid and Harmony suites, which are not only beautiful examples of craftsmanship, but also meaningful tokens of matrimony. The Kiss rings, for instance, comprise a central diamond dramatically overlaid with a row of diamonds, creating a criss-cross effect – symbolic of how newly weds’ arms intertwine around each other. Another of our favourites from Boodles is the Three Stone Ring set, where three spectacular diamonds represent the married couple’s past, present and future together.

The Kiss, Cupid, Harmony and Three Stone rings by Boodles

Boucheron is celebrating its 160th anniversary this year, but it’s a sparkling creation from a little more recently in its history (1968, to be precise) that we’re eyeing up. The captivating designs of the Maison’s Serpent Bohème rings symbolise eternity and have become well-established classics over the last half century, attracting women of character and firing their femininity – which is why we’re wondering whether this is a design Ms. Markle may well opt for. Meanwhile, the Quatre Radiant Edition rings, with pavé diamond settings, bring two different bands together – much like the joining of two people in matrimony.

Serpent Bohème and Quatre Radiant rings by Boucheron

Another diamond Maison celebrating an anniversary this year is De Beers, with 130 years of history to their name. The beautiful Aura Princess-cut solitaire ring is one of their latest releases, evoking the inner strength and outward confidence of a woman. The exceptional fancy-cut centre diamond of the ring exemplifies De Beers’ approach to solitaires, with hand-selection techniques ensuring only those diamonds with peerless Fire, Life and Brilliance are chosen. The perfect ring for anyone planning to pop the question this year!

The Aura Princess-cut Solitaire Ring by De Beers

Since she’s joining one of Europe’s oldest and noblest families, perhaps Meghan may be inspired by the creations of Stone Paris; the Parisian founder of which comes from a family of high nobility whose origins date back to the 15th century. One of the brand’s newest collections – the Favorite collection – was inspired by the sumptuous lifestyle of 17th century French Royalty, and is specifically named after King Louis XIV’s history-making mistresses, such as the beautiful Madame de Montespan and the clever Madame de Maintenon. Central characters in the life of the court, the “favorite” had a privileged and envied status, and the Favorite collection of rings is just as enviable.

Favorite rings by Stone Paris

THE DRESS

Most bets are off when it comes to Meghan’s wedding dress, with most thinking it’s likely to be designed by Ralph & Russo, especially since the Suits star wore one of their gowns for her official engagement pictures. But will designer Tamara Ralph come up with something in a similar vein to her SS18 couture bridal gown? Created in off-white, the double duchess gown features a draped bodice and oval ruching, accompanied by an off-white tulle veil edged with embellished cord lace. Resonant of traditional Asian decoration, the silk satin duchesse fabric is encrusted with 3000 handcrafted 3D Swarovski jewelled leaves and 40,000 pearls. In total, over 200,000 Swarovski crystals were used for this magnificent creation, which took 30 specialist artisans over 2000 hours to make.

A model walking the runway during the Ralph & Russo Haute Couture SS18 Show as part of
Paris Fashion Week

For an equally modern take on the bridal gown (and for something that could quite conceivably be worn post-wedding), a dress by London-based label Galvan could be a stylish choice. Best known for elegant evening dresses that boast clean lines and sleek fits, the brand has recently branched out into bridal territory in response to the rise in demand for straightforward wedding dresses that eschew the traditional meringue of old. Lord Edward Spencer-Churchill of Blenheim Palace is getting married this year too and rumour has it that Galvan will be the designer of choice for his fiancé, so Meghan will be in good company!

Wedding Gowns by Galvan

With recent snaps emerging of Meghan on holiday in Italy a month after her first date with Harry, perhaps she’ll stun the world with a little Italian chic. Le Spose di Gio represents the understated elegance and sophisticated minimalism for which the Italians are so famous. Set up by sisters Giovanna and Marisa De Capitani in 1975, their backgrounds in haute couture and design has seen the company grow in both size and worldwide regard, with ateliers both across Italy, and in London. Their gorgeous gowns enhance that bride without transforming her, with chicly designed dresses available in a palette of colours. This means that Le Spose di Gio can create dresses not just for the bride, but also for her bridesmaids. Perhaps we’ll see Meghan’s rumoured bridesmaids – fashion stylist Jessica Mulroney, Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra, tennis ace Serena Williams and maybe even the Duchess of Cambridge – in similar floating Italian creations. Watch this space…

Wedding Dresses by Le Spose di Gio

Wild At Heart By The Luxury Channel

Become wild at heart with our round-up of the best (and most beautiful) wildlife products. Nature never looked so good!

Boucheron

Animals have always formed an important part of Boucheron’s repertoire, each one bursting with life, emotion and character, with even the smallest of details perfectly depicted by the brand’s master craftsmen. Animals have been present in Boucheron’s archive since 1888, when on the eve of one of Frederic Boucheron’s voyages, he presented his beloved wife Gabrielle with a serpent necklace believing this would protect her in his absence. From then on, Frederic Boucheron continued to design and create creatures from around the world; the collection continued to grow into what is now – a menagerie of beautiful animals both great and small.

For more information and to see the full Collection of Animals, click here.

Jaeger-LeCoultre

Jaeger-LeCoultre is celebrating the 74th Venice International Film Festival with three limited editions of Rendez-Vous watches. A partner of the festival for over 12 years, Jaeger-LeCoultre’s Rendez-Vous collection has always been associated with the world of cinema. The latest masterpieces issued from the Grande Maison’s Métiers Rares “Rare Handcrafts” workshop express three different stages of romantic feelings: seduction, romance, and love, with each one released as a limited edition of eight pieces. The first stage of romance is embodied by the Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Séduction” watch. Two swallows soaring over a lavender field embody this moment, a time of discovery and heightened emotions as lovers get to know one another, a theme often central to major film productions. The Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Romance” watch, meanwhile, depicts a state of endless romantic reverie with a kingfisher perched on the branch of a blossoming cherry tree. The last model of the limited editions, the Rendez-Vous Sonatina “Amour” watch, depicts the enduring bliss of love. Above a patch of peonies, two magpies fly alongside one another, recreated in graduated shades of green shifting from turquoise to sea-green.

For more information, visit www.jaeger-lecoultre.com.

Alexander & Pearl

Alexander & Pearl’s side table features a novelty jungle leopard to lend some colourful decoration to any living space.

For more information, visit www.alexanderandpearl.co.uk.

Audenza

Audenza’s vases, jugs and egg cups feature striking hand-painted designs that will fit into most styles of décor. The vases in particular look wonderful with a large colourful bouquet of flowers spilling out!

For more information, visit www.audenza.com.

Sophie Allport

Sophie Allport’s statement knitted cushion features a punchy pink Flamingo design showcasing the pink hues of the flamingo against a chalk grey background. Sophie’s fun illustration highlights both the bird’s elegant long neck and quirky shape.

For more information, visit www.sophieallport.com.

Yasmin Le Bon Designs Second Collection For Winser London By The Luxury Channel

Get wrapped up for winter, as Yasmin Le Bon has designed a second, limited edition capsule collection exclusively for Winser London. As the face of the brand since its launch in 2013, Yasmin has designed a collection of knitwear, tailored and tweed separates that “make a woman feel comfortable and confident.” Amongst the hero pieces are four Made In England pieces – a Savile Row-style tailored trouser suit, a tweed cocoon coat and a tweed asymmetrical skirt. Yasmin’s merino wool ruffle jumper with matching scarf, and her favourite cashmere gilet, add to the highlights of this strong collection.

The rich colour palette includes Yasmin’s “Hot Lips” red, “Honey Monster” caramel, a confident candy pink and a pop of bright orange – colours which complement the modern palette of the Winser London main line. Of the inspiration for her collection, Yasmin revealed that her “adventurous spirit is still there this season. There is a louche toughness to these pieces – inspired by punk rock meets Savile Row – with a bit of rock ‘n’ roll thrown in for good measure.”

“Yasmin embodies the Winser woman,” company founder Kim Winser OBE explained. “This gives her a valuable perspective to push the brand beyond the core collection and create a new take on luxury styling and modern womenswear that shows her vibrant personality and is fun to wear.” We couldn’t agree more!

For more information, go to www.winserlondon.com, or watch our film here.

Henry Holland – Designing A Lifestyle By The Luxury Channel

Following the launch of his Umbro collection and ahead of London Fashion Week, Henry Holland speaks about the history behind House of Holland, plans to launch a lifestyle brand, and sources of inspiration moving forwards….

What made you decide to create your own brand?

I was working in magazines and I absolutely loved it. I actually had no intention of creating anything that would change my career path. I just started making slogan T-shirts for my friends and I to wear as a personal project. I think the authenticity and grassroots nature of the work really resonated with people and the industry – it took off quite quickly! It was very much an idea I had for my friends and I which worked on a wider scale, but that was never my intention and I think that’s why it worked. If I’d had a preconceived marketing strategy to launch the T-shirts in the way that I launched them, it would have been interpreted as unauthentic and wouldn’t have resonated in the same way. It all happened for a reason.

Is creating a lifestyle brand in the pipeline?

Yes, for sure. That’s definitely one of the things that I still have to do. Since day one, I’ve always approached House of Holland as a brand and I’ve never considered myself a young designer. I didn’t use my name for House of Holland because I’ve always seen what I’m doing as being about a brand, rather than it being about me. My outlook is that it’s very much team effort and there’s still so many different product categories and so many areas I want to work in. Watch this space!

Where do you obtain your inspiration from?

That’s a very difficult question to answer. I think as a creative person, you’re sort of like a sponge. You’re constantly absorbing different ideas and trying to reconfigure them in your head to a way you can translate them through your work – that comes from all different places. I really like to reference films and fictional characters because I love the characterisation of fashion. I love the way that you can use clothes to really tell the story of a character almost as much as dialogue.

When you look back on your career, what do you feel was your big break?

My big break was a happy accident, like my entrance into the fashion industry. I made T-shirts with the names of fashion designers on them and I gifted them to my friends – some of those friends were the designers whose names were on the T-shirts. People first saw my T-shirts because Gareth Pugh was wearing it for work and he was so busy, he didn’t have time to get changed after his fashion show. Gareth was actually wearing my T-shirt the night before his fashion show and he worked through the night so he was still wearing it when he came out for his bow at the end! I think it was fate and very much meant to be. I believe in that type of thing.

What was the best piece of advice you were given when you started out in your career?

I think the best advice I had was to remain authentic and true to who I am. I’m staying really strong on that with what I want to do and say with my work. I think people really forget the fashion industry is an objective industry. One person’s favourite dress can be another person’s most hideous piece of clothing. You have to remember that not everyone’s going to like everything that you do. So if you build your brand on a very strong set of rules and a strong DNA, then however much people like or dislike what you do then you can always remain true and authentic to what it is you set out to say in the first place.

Do you manage to keep a good work/life balance?

I keep an exceptional work/life balance and that’s partly because I love what I do so much. I’m very happy when I’m at work so I very rarely feel the differentiation between work and life. I also get to choose the people who I work with and I choose those people very carefully. I have one of the best jobs in the world and I think that helps you remain positive and happy in what you do.

What do you do to relax/switch off?

To relax or switch off, I exercise because it’s probably one of the only times my brain thinks about something over than my work. I think when you run your own company, it’s very hard to switch on and off. People ask what hours do you work and the answer to that is, the moment my eyes are awake to the time my eyes are closed. Exercise is kind of my chance to switch off. I run a lot and it’s good. Except when I ran two marathons, that wasn’t so good. That was too far. There’s running and then there’s running. That was running.

Who has been the biggest influence on your career?

My parents have been a massive influence on my career. My parents work in very different industries – my dad is very traditional and runs his own law firm while my mum runs a château and a training company in positive thought, with training courses on meditation and relaxation – she’s very spiritual like that. My parents are at two completely opposite ends of the spectrum, but they both have the exact same approach in that whatever it is I told them I wanted to be, you couldn’t ask anyone to be more supportive as long as I had the conviction and the drive to do it. They would have been happy if I’d have been a bin man as long as I’d worked my way up to driving the truck. That was their approach. It was like just be you and be good at it.

When did you first realise you wanted to be Henry Holland, the fashion designer?

Still waiting! I don’t really see myself as Henry Holland, the fashion designer. I think you just get on with your day-to-day work and your role. I think if you were to pause the TV and ask “can we have a chat about Henry Holland?” you’d be a bit of a dick. So I try to not focus on any of that. I try to get on with what I’m doing and work hard. I don’t pay attention to anything like that whatsoever. It puts me on a pedestal to says things like “Henry Holland, the fashion designer.”

What would be your advice to anyone wanting to make a career in the fashion industry?

It would be to find that authenticity and what it is you want to say with your work. There’s so many brands out there and there’s so many different things going on in the fashion industry, it’s hard to cut through the noise. It was much easier for me ten years ago. I think it’s really about ensuring you’ve got something to say that is unique and different. The way you communicate that is so important. Just stay very true to yourself because it’s so much extra work if you’re having to be something you’re not. That’s a job in itself.

What skills do you think are most important to be a success in the fashion industry?

You need to be tenacious; have drive to succeed; passion in your work; commit to what you want; a fearlessness to stick with it; and creativity to deliver.

What career advice would today’s 34 year old Henry Holland give to 18 year old Henry Holland?

I would definitely say don’t stress too much about your first few jobs. My mum always taught me that you’ll have seven different careers in your life. I don’t think you should put so much pressure on your first job or two because some people need longer to find out who they are and what they want to do. It doesn’t always happen for everybody during university or during college. It’s important to go out there and experience the world and formulate your life plan from that. There’s no rush.

Henry Holland was speaking on behalf of online job boards Totaljobs and Milkround in their latest campaign around achieving a healthier work-life balance.

Ralph & Russo’s SS17 Show In Paris By Irene Major

The City of Light had it all going for our favourite Australian fashion couple, with a celebration for British couture house, Ralph & Russo. They were invited for the second time to showcase in Paris amongst all the big names and the “who’s who” of the fashion world, and Tamara and Michael had truly unleashed their magic throughout the entire collection.

This season was one-of-a-kind as I got to be frowside to see their new collection, which was the one thing everyone was talking about. It was their first time at the Grand Palais and it was indeed one of the highlights of Paris Fashion Week.

I remember every dress by heart. In effect, the whole show was dominated by a fairy-tale Cinderella theme. The choice of pastel colours and embroidered jewels was definitely eye-catching; something a modern-day Carrie Bradshaw would wear in a scene from Sex & The City. There was something very futuristic about it, with shimmering white and silver jewels encrusted on the garments, giving that Egyptian goddess feel. Supermodel Alexandra Ambrosio led the show in a divine bridal yet angelic all-feathered cape.

Being at this show was like watching a New York ballet, with all the models in crystal-adorned dresses reminiscent of ballerinas – with the hair, the glitz and the glam to match.

Tamara and Michael’s attention to detail was also noticeable on their accessories. Bags and shoes were at once sleek, chic and classic. And demure; with soft leather and a settled choice of colours.

Amongst A-listers present were Kirsten Dunst and Nelly, and the evening ended with an after-party at The Vault at Place Vendôme. There I got to meet Tamara and Michael, and we partied until the early hours. Tamara had on one of my favourite dresses from the show and I must say, she looked divine – a fact which I did not hesitate to compliment her on. Being such a sweet soul, Tamara also returned the compliment, saying how she loved my Avenard couture dress and most importantly, my red hair. She even told me that next time she might just be inspired by me – watch this space for red locks on the Ralph & Russo runway!

For more information, go to www.ralphandrusso.com, or read our interview with Michael Russo here.

Kyoto Keeps It Cool By K magazine

In Kyoto, twelfth-generation master craftsmen are not unknown. In the former Japanese capital, where age-old artisanal – and sustainable – techniques are practised as a matter of course, the heirs to the throne are updating designs for the here and now and, hopefully, it’s not too late for the future either, as K magazine investigates….

Walking through the gardens and temples of Kyoto, it’s as if one has entered a city that is in large part a work of art, so beautiful is the vision of the craftsmen that built these otherworldly buildings, and that of the landscape artists that maintain the grounds. They rake sand into decorative swirls for people visiting their favourite temples, like the thirteenth-century Shoren-In.

But away from the tourist bustle, the craftsmanship that helped make the city is still alive in other disciplines too. Kyoto is well-known for its textile and dyeing expertise, its embroidery and other skills associated with one of its main exports, the kimono.

What’s more, many of the related companies have been going for centuries and still practise age-old methods. “Kyoto was the capital of Japan for 1,000 years,” said Akiko Fukai, curator emeritus of the Kyoto Costume Institute, the country’s leading fashion museum.

“Then Kyoto became the centre for kimonos and, therefore, for Japanese fashion. It means Kyoto was not only the most fashionable place but it also became a clothing production centre. Many craftsmen gathered in Kyoto, for kimono-making requires high-level techniques, including weaving, printing and embroidering.”

At Chiso, founded in 1550 and thus making it Japan’s oldest kimono-maker, it is not unusual for a worker to spend three months hand-painting one panel of a kimono. The archives are filled with books of hand-drawn patterns, some of which are hundreds of years old. These are occasionally updated via computers, which are relatively new here.

Going Gaga

Chiso often works with Takahashi Toku, perhaps the most famous dye workshop in town, which spent a decade perfecting one shade of colour, using indigo and vegetable dyes, for an outlandishly expensive order. Chiso recently opened a shop selling modern kimonos and materials by the roll – new to the kimono business – and it collaborates with contemporary designers like Yohji Yamamoto. Takahashi Toku has also opened a craft and textile shop and tea ceremony room inside its workshop, drawing in foreign visitors to see its work and buy local product.

Founded in 1688, textile weavers Hosoo have recently been expanding internationally, something few others have managed to achieve, although all are adapting to the modern world. It collaborates with funky creatives like the Lady Gaga shoe designer Masaya Kushino, who is based in Kyoto; rap artist-turned-designer, Ambush; and the Japanese menswear brand Mihara Yasuhiro.

Hosoo has also connected to the international luxury market, providing woven materials for both fashion and textile companies. Clients include The Four Seasons and Ritz Carlton hotels, Comme des Garçons, luggage maker Tumi and eyewear brand Oliver Peoples (and other fashion houses for interiors).

Hosoo has become involved in two larger initiatives to help support artisans and export their wares. Japan Handmade (GoOn) involves mostly Kyoto artisans while TangoTango works with textile craftsman from all over Japan. TangoTango launched at Salone del Mobile furniture and design fare in Milan last year.

Crafty means

Backed by the Danish design company, OeO Studio, Japan Handmade supports six Kyoto artisans whose pieces are now sold at Hosoo, at their individual workshops and worldwide at select outlets.

“Japan Handmade is a good example of nurturing the crafts industry,” said Thomas Lykke, OeO’s founding partner and designer. He is also the creative director for Japan Handmade and advises Hosoo on its international expansion.

“It is not only in Kyoto that the craft industry is declining. It is a global phenomenon,” he said. “There is a need for new ways to view and to revitalise the industry, and to create new relevance and reason for being. The best way to keep things alive is to stay relevant, be creative, never compromise – and be nimble,” he said.

Japan Handmade members include Hosoo, Kohchosai Kosuga, which works with fine bamboo, and Kaanami Tsuji, which does a form of metal knitting (a technique believed to be over ten centuries old) used in kitchen utensils. “Japan Handmade has achieved international success as well as in Japan, where the team members have gotten celebrity status, as they have become role models for a new generation of craftsmen,” Lykke said.

Indeed, pieces from the collection have become part of London’s Victoria & Albert museum’s permanent collection, as well as that of the Cooper Hewitt and the Smithsonian in the US, and Denmark’s Design Museum.

Masataka Hosoo is the current CEO and 12th generation heir of Hosoo. He showed our reporter the old weaving machines, wearing a designer suit made with materials created here and designed by Yasuhiro.

Not dyeing out

“For our domestic market, we provide kimonos and obis (sashes) created by highly skilled craftsmen, some of whom are the living national treasures of Japan. Seven years ago, we started to target the global luxury market, both in interiors and fashion, with the new textiles we have developed using local techniques,” he said.

As for his aim: “I would like to pass down the skill-set here and the carefully crafted textiles, with their strong respect for the materials, and bring them to the global luxury market.”

This work is important. “In the last 30 years, the kimono market has shrunk to one tenth of its original size,” said Hosoo. “I do not believe that [this] market will die out entirely. However, in order to continue for the next 100 or 200 years, I believe it will have to continue to change.”

Meanwhile, over at the Takahashi Toku workshop, the process of hand-dyeing kimono silks, using techniques that date back hundreds of years, was being demonstrated. In a narrow slither of a room, deer hair brushes were being used to hand paint panels where a length of material is hung flat and covered in 20 minutes, in a temperate climate, to make sure the colour stays even throughout. Elsewhere, women soaked the materials in water kept at a certain temperature to retain the colour.

Not fading either

Almost everything is natural. Takahashi Toku practises yuzen, a seventeenth-century dyeing process that uses a series of applications and steaming treatments. The material is brushed in the water with horse hair tools; soy bean and seaweed glazes are applied to prepare the material for the base dye; soy is used to create paint; and sawdust protects the parts of the material that should not be dyed in the base colour but patterned instead.

Designs are drawn on using charcoal, while the pattern is outlined on the silk with a spiderwort (dayflower) extract; areas that are not dyed are covered in a special admixture using glutinous rice. To fix the dye, the material is steamed in a cypress box at 1000C for around 40 minutes.

“We are very worried that these traditions are disappearing,” said Fukai. “But it is a good sign that many young designers are collaborating with Kyoto traditions.”

She showed some of this innovation in her landmark exhibition Future Beauty: 30 years of Japanese fashion on avant-garde Japanese designers at London’s Barbican. The display included Issey Miyake whose menswear division, she said, has worked on tie-dye designs with Takahashi Toku; while the new brand Matohu has collaborated with the Tsujigahana-zome craftsmen.

“The Japanese no longer wear kimonos for everyday use but we are preserving some of these crafts,” she said.

For further information about Kering, go to www.kering.com.

New York Fashion Week – Opening The Floor For Seasonal Trends By The Luxury Channel

DVF SS17 (images by Courtesy)

DVF SS17 (images by Courtesy)

With the fashion world opening its door for the annual New York Fashion Week to parade the latest trends and styles of the season, shoppers are becoming more digitally savvy and taking a front row seat at the click of a button. NYFW attracts A-listers, industry insiders and shoppers alike, who are all able to view a livestream of the catwalk. Consumers are immediately engaged via multiple platforms, as the week highlights how luxury brands are beginning to see the value of utilising both online and offline services to reach customers.

Ralph Lauren SS17 featuring Kendall Jenner (images courtesy of Milk Design)

Ralph Lauren SS17 featuring Kendall Jenner (images courtesy of Milk Design)

As part of this trend, Fashion Week has made an online presence on social media, bringing the world of luxury fashion closer to the customers. While Instagram provides polished and refined images, SnapChat offers a raw glimpse behind-the-scenes of shows, allowing users to get exclusive access to top brands. Luxury brands need to explore the value of social media to strength relationships with customers. Burberry is leading the way in this regard, with investment of over 60% of their marketing budget on digital. But while Burberry paves the way for luxury brands, others are still struggling to grasp the significant impact engaging with customers online and offline will have on their brands.

Tommy Hilfiger AW16 (images courtesy of Indigital)

Tommy Hilfiger AW16 (images courtesy of Indigital)

“Brands should not consider each channel as separate, but simultaneously valuable to the overall omni-channel experience,” Senior Advisor of Contactlab, Marco Pozzi, said. “Customers want ease and comfort and so if they find a product on one channel, they should be able to seamlessly navigate through the purchasing process with convenience. This is why it is important that brands do not disconnect the different channels, but connect the dots as part of their customer engagement strategy.”

Thom Browne SS17 (images courtesy of Indigital)

Thom Browne SS17 (images courtesy of Indigital)

Contactlab found in their Digital Frontier 2016 Study that customers with a digital presence who are digitally contactable are high spenders in-store, accounting for 27% of in-store revenue and 73% of e-commerce revenue. With the rise of e-commerce and digital engagement tools, luxury brands have access to customer data which will allow them to create a dynamic and personalised approach, integrating people preferences within customer interactions. Through data-driven marketing, brands are able to create a richer understanding of their customers.

Tory Burch SS17 (Images courtesy of Indigital)

Tory Burch SS17 (Images courtesy of Indigital)

Marco Pozzi continues: “We now live in a world where everything is captured digitally through various platforms and the fashion world is no exception. Fashion shows unfold live from SnapChat, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. This narrows the gap between the consumer and brands, opening up a relationship which is more personalised. Shoppers now crave interaction with brands who understand their needs, preferences and expectations. Feeding in insights from consumer data can help brands enhance their relationship with customers and make informed decisions for their marketing strategies.”

Isabella Liu’s Sea Rhymes By Rory Howard

A rising star is grabbing the attention of jewellery lovers as London-based Chinese artist, Isabella Liu, reveals her new “Sea Rhymes” collection, which will debut at this year’s International Jewellery London in September.

Sea Rhymes Swan Nest Bangles

Sea Rhymes Swan Nest Bangles

Wuhan-born and London-based Liu is an award-winning jewellery designer. In the few years since leaving Birmingham School of Jewellery, she has won awards in Italy and Spain, and has been awarded gold medals at what has been dubbed the “Jewellery Oscars” (Goldsmiths’ Craftsmanship and Design Awards), and at Milan Expo as Best New Designer and for Best Product of The Year.

Mending Collection

Mending Collection

Liu now continues to create wearable concept jewellery like her earlier collections, “Scar Is No More A Scar” and “Mending.” This time, however, her collection was inspired by the natural flow and the sounds of the sea. Swirling and curling lines represent the ocean in Liu’s new “Sea Rhymes” collection. Each piece of jewellery holds within it a bead of agate which, when moving, is said to sound like light waves lapping against the shore. The curves of each work seem to embrace each bead of agate like the ocean envelopes the body.

Sea Rhymes Gold Set Jewellery

Sea Rhymes Gold Set Jewellery

Liu says that she is inspired by the sea, and says that it reflects something of her own nature that many women will find reflects them. The sea is calm yet powerful, fluid yet unmoveable, and is something wonderful to behold – much like Liu’s new designs.

Sea Rhymes Gold Necklace With Stones

Sea Rhymes Gold Necklace With Stones

“I can’t swim!” Liu admits. “I have never been able to swim, so perhaps that is why I revere the ocean: it whispers when it moves, it seems to breathe, and though it is mighty and vast, there is something natural and gentle about its embrace when you step into it.”

Sea Rhymes Square Gold Bracelet

Sea Rhymes Square Gold Bracelet

“Sea Rhymes” comes after a period of reflection and learning for Liu, who has plumbed the possibilities of using computer-aided design and 3D printing to bring this collection into being. But the collection is also the result of a successful voyage into creating modern jewellery that still retains an aspect of hands-on crafting. Whilst the intricate lines and subtle curves of the “Sea Rhymes” collection are achieved through a process of using CAD and 3D printing, the smaller elements of each piece are brought together and worked by hand around one solid piece of clear agate to achieve the finished look. This is something that Liu considers to be “hand-worked craftsmanship battling with high-technology.”

Sea Rhymes Gold And Silver Rings

Sea Rhymes Gold And Silver Rings

Liu has also developed an object version of “Sea Rhymes,” which aims to add value to the concept and design expression. The object is multi-functional, and can be used as a vase, a candle-holder and even as a lampshade.

Sea Rhymes Vase, Candle-Holder And Lamp Shade

Sea Rhymes Vase, Candle-Holder And Lamp Shade

Liu’s award-winning “Scar Is No More A Scar” and “Mending” collections, together with the upcoming “Sea Rhymes” collection, will be on show and available for purchase at this year’s International Jewellery London (the UK’s leading jewellery fair) from 4th – 6th September 2016. For more information about International Jewellery London, go to www.jewellerylondon.com. For more information about Isabella Liu, go to www.isabella-liu.com.

Rui Xu – Beauty On Fire By The Luxury Channel

Patrik Schumacher and Rui Xu (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Patrik Schumacher and Rui Xu (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

The Luxury Channel meets Rui Xu, one of China’s foremost couture fashion designers, whose exhibition Beauty On Fire – For Zaha was recently held in London to showcase her unique and remarkable designs. The exhibition was set against the backdrop of the late, great Dame Zaha Hadid’s innovative and inspiring furniture installations….

How would you describe your new fashion collections, and what inspired them?

My new collection is a mix of avant-garde and classical design, combining the opulent aesthetics of the ancient Chinese courts with a playful modernity that allows women to really have fun with their fashion. I like to play with the dichotomy of culture from East and West, breaking the strict conventions of Western garment structure and incorporating the richness of Eastern art to create something beautiful, fantastical, but ultimately wearable.

Smiler By Rui Xu

Smiler By Rui Xu

What are your thoughts on Western fashion, and is there a crossover in your designs between East and West?

Classical western fashion styles tend to be very strictly structured, with precise patterns and stable shapes that have been followed for a long time. Contrast this with Eastern fashion which has a free flowing expression and design, with shapes that are cut much more spontaneously. In this approach, the look of the clothes appears different every time, and the structure of the garments always changes when people move. I want to blur the boundaries between the function and structure of clothing to convey the aesthetics of classic Chinese fashion but in a modern way, translating this for a Western market to test the limit of what is really possible in fashion design. In a lot of ways, you wear your clothes to be noticed, just like a piece of art, so I take that idea one step further to develop clothes that are literally wearable art works.

Rui Xu

What is the difference between your ready-to-wear collection and your haute couture fashion art pieces?

My haute couture high-end fashion brand is called XIANGWANGYI, which is a bespoke line of fashion art pieces, exploring the richness of multi-cultural aesthetics and philosophies. My ready-to-wear label, ruixu, is a limited edition run of pieces that transform the complex ideas behind XIANGWANGYI but in a more relaxed way. Both lines are available to order and buy direct from my studio.

The team behind Beauty On Fire - For Zaha (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

The team behind Beauty On Fire – For Zaha (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Why did you decide to launch your collections now in the UK, and not China?

The UK has become much more receptive to the idea of fashion experimentation, certainly more so in the last few years than ever before. There is a greater willingness to play with the constraints of what fashion entails and how you can wear clothes and use materials, and so it just made sense to launch my lines in the UK rather than China.

Models With Rui Xu (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Models With Rui Xu (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

What does the fashion and design landscape in China look like today?

Most Chinese people are actually closely following the fashion trends of the West, but there are a few people who choose native designer brands, as they feel a greater affinity with them.

Rui Xu

How did your friendship with Dame Zaha Hadid begin and what did you admire about her? What was it about your approach to design and fashion that she liked, do you think?

Zaha was an incredible human being, with such a warm spirit. I think she recognised a synergy with my approach to design that resonated with her own philosophies. She seemed to like the non-structural shapes of my designs and the fact that I wasn’t afraid to push the boundaries of conventional design – much like her own work. She became a client and from there, a friend, a muse and a massive source of inspiration. In some small way, I hope her legacy lives on in my work, as she remains such an inspiration to me. This is why I wanted to name my exhibition in tribute to her, to thank her for everything she has done for me. Zaha was like a rainbow in my life and although that rainbow eventually disappeared, her energy field and her colour still reverberate within my work. She encouraged me to strengthen my own intuition and to challenge the balance of rules.

Models wearing Rui Xu designs (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Models wearing Rui Xu designs (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Aside from Zaha, who else has been your mentor and inspiration behind your journey into fashion and art?

There are a few outstanding people who lightened up my life, such as Ms. Wu Qihui in China. She is 87 years old, and was a superior editor at the News Agency. She experienced incredible hardships in her life but like a fresh lotus, never changed. She shared her very personal understanding of fashion and art with me, which I really appreciated. She’s a mentor who guided me when I faced difficulties alone. There are some people, even though they may not be around you often, where you can feel their breath; there’s a sense of safety, which enables you to calm down, slow down, and follow your own heart. Those people may not be direct guides, but they are always there.

Designs by Rui Xu (images courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Designs by Rui Xu (images courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Which designers do you admire, and whose clothes do you wear, aside from your own designs?

Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan, Rei Kawakubo and Yohji Yamamoto are some of my favourite designers. They design with a reality based on their own life’s journey. I believe that sincerity is necessary nutrition for a designer. Sometimes, I choose a few surprise design works from somewhere, like flowers on holiday. I also wear relaxed, comfortable clothes on a busy or (conversely) lazy day. But in most cases, I hide myself in my own designs, so that people can better understand me.

Rui Xu with the Triumph Cloak (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

Rui Xu with the Triumph Cloak (image courtesy of Raymond Tan)

How do you achieve the magnificent colours on your fabrics?

I have spent the last eight years collaborating with Dr. Kinor Jiang, a textile specialist at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. He developed a technique of applying metal plating on to delicate natural and mixed textiles. This in turn creates the iridescent visual effect of a burning flame. We worked together to make the burning effects more dramatic and poetic in a classic, aesthetic way – like Chinese paintings. These effects echo the complexity of the natural landscape of my home town.

Ultraviolet Rays By Rui Xu

Ultraviolet Rays By Rui Xu

If you could see anyone wearing your designs, who would it be and why?

I hope the people who wear my clothes are independent; they have own opinions, and don’t necessarily follow the crowd – a bit like me!

For more information about Rui Xu, visit www.ruixustudio.com, or to watch the film, click here.

London Collections: Men SS17 By Charlotte India Smith

TOPMAN

This year’s London Collection: Men SS17 got kicked off with Topman. The quirky, innovative designs really pushed the boat out, hotting it up for Spring/Summer with sunburnt models sporting towelling robes and beach-inspired clothing with slogans such as “Dirty Weekend” and “Life’s A Beach And Then You Die,” and sequin-embellished patches featuring mermaids, ice-cream and palm trees. It really gave off that summery vibe, and the whole collection looked both wearable and comfortable. I particularly liked the luxe zip-up tracksuit that appears to be a “thing” for the season.

SIBLING

The beach also seemed to be the inspiration behind this year’s Sibling show. This was where knitwear met swimwear, with bright shades of green, purple, red and blue used throughout the show, with knitted towels to match (maybe just don’t actually get them in the water!). Most unusually for this year’s LCM was the use of lace material – we’re talking doily style – that was prevalent throughout the collection, adding an edge of femininity to the masculine cuts.

ASTRID ANDERSON

The use of lace was also used by both Astrid Anderson and Nasir Mazhar. Both designers also had their signature sport luxe aesthetic, keeping their identity but adding a new fabric here, a new colour there. This year, Mazhar went red while Anderson added gold fringing elements, and both used black and white lace with beige earth tones.

NASIR MAZHAR

Xander Zhou continued the beige theme, adding in camouflage and some large Flintstone-style earrings. Oversized was another big theme this year on the catwalks and Zhou was no exception, with oversized sleeves and bags. Liam Hodges also used oversized sleeves and earth tones, as well as featuring the slogan “I’m OK” across a lot of the pieces.

BOBBY ABLEY

My favourite show this year, however, was Bobby Abley, using his signature Disney style. This year was a theatrical tribute to Aladdin, in time for the latest London musical show. Abley kept it fresh and current, whilst bringing a classic back to life. Slogans were also prevalent throughout, such as “Rub Me The Right Way,” a possible nostalgic reference to popstar Christina Aguilera. Characters such as the Genie and Abu the monkey were featured, as well as beige tones and oversized sleeves. More unusual, however, were the models sporting fur coats, bare chests and underwear (for summer, you ask), but somehow….it just worked. Oversized jewellery was also shown (and on that note, I fell in love with the scarab necklace). The signature bag was also back, but bigger! The thing about Abley is his shows are always a spectacle. An experience of lighting, music, and clothes (all over-dramatised, but the collection is incredibly wearable), even down to the minor detail of the invite – admitting one to step on to the magic carpet. He certainly took us there, and it was more than a magical ride.

The Future of Luxury And The Future of Anya Hindmarch By Fiona Sanderson

Anya Hindmarch at the Conde Nast International Future Luxury Conference in Seoul, South Korea (image courtesy of InDigital)

Anya Hindmarch at the Conde Nast International Future Luxury Conference in Seoul, South Korea (image courtesy of InDigital)

Fiona Sanderson interviews designer Anya Hindmarch at the Conde Nast International Future Luxury Conference in South Korea, about the future of the luxury industry and about how technology, sustainability and creativity will play a big part of business in the coming years….

How do you manage to design for both your traditional customers as well as the new upcoming millennials, who might want something very different?

As women, we have so many roles – at the weekend, at parties, in the boardroom – and we’re all too busy and need to be organised, and so our bags need to be super organised too. But I think they also need to be quite fun, with “bits” attached to them. I like messing with things, but they are all based out of really grown-up, beautiful things that are made up in a beautiful way. As long as you have a combination of the old fashioned and the new, and the sensibility of something that’s beautiful and timeless, you can appeal to all generations.

Anya Hindmarch

What about virtual reality – how do you marry the creation of luxury pieces with the online world?

There is no reason why I can’t design something from Marrakesh and then take my customers into that world through virtual reality, so they can see the creation process, see the tannery, and be given a really immersive experience. We currently do that with our films, showing you where and how the bags are made. The digital future is rapidly changing, so everything will become more experiential. We have just done a collection on the theme of “Is Digital Design Art?” and I believe that it is absolutely art; it’s a state of mind, an experience. Digitally, art gives you so many more tools to play with, so it’s very exciting.

Where would you like to see the brand in 20 years’ time?

I would like to think that we would stay true to our values, craftsmanship and personality. We have made a huge investment into our next phase, we are growing very quickly at the moment and what I think we will see is a lot of distribution growth, new category growth, and I hope that we will do some surprising projects. Not in a formulaic way, but we have done some quite exciting bursts of madness over the years. I hope that keeps going – it’s what keeps us young.

Anya Hindmarch

Why does British luxury seem to be very much in the news? How would you describe British uniqueness?

I would say that irony is a British invention, and there is a certain irreverence to things. When you think of the nutty fashion that comes out of London, it is certainly fun, submersive and eccentric – think Vivienne Westwood and some of our music. It’s at the core of our psyche but I think it will grow. There will always be some brands that are uber chic and some are minimalist – I think you have got to find out who you are and then your customer finds you. That lovely Oscar Wilde quote, “be yourself; everyone else is already taken” – you have to do what you do. At Anya Hindmarch, I think we are pretty clear on who we are and what we like, and it seems to be working. We are super proud to be British and proud to be based out of the UK, but we are now very much an international brand. We have as many stores abroad as we do in the UK and if you take our whole distribution, we have certainly spread. There is a currency to being British and we are very well located at a good time. But I think there is this design confidence which comes out of our great colleges and there is history that we can learn from, plus that incredible cutting-edge art, dance, music, all sorts. It’s a very stimulating place, really.

Anya Hindmarch

Tell me about your Entrepreneurship Scheme?

I do a lot of work for the Government as a business ambassador and there is a project that we are doing on 18th May where 40 entrepreneurs are speaking at the same time at 6pm across the country. It’s a simple idea. I remember the most inspiring thing for me in business was to hear other people’s stories. It may not be industry-specific; it’s just about hearing about the problems and challenges in business and I think for the country, we need as many as we can get in front of these speakers because mentorship and inspiration are more valuable sometimes than having money in the bank – the more people you put together, the more that happens ultimately.

Anya Hindmarch

Who has been your mentor? Do you still have them?

My father has been on the board for some time and I suppose he is unofficially my mentor. I call him my harshest critic and he can be tough but he’s absolutely brilliant – the most honest man I know. We also have on our board Stefano Sassi, CEO of Valentino, and we have some really interesting people who are very supportive. We keep it very small, we feel our way and are very close-knit team and sit and discuss everything, and that works very well.

Why are there so few women at board level in Britain?

I think there are quite a few women now but perhaps in certain sectors, it feels that they are very male-orientated and whilst I am against quotas or forcing the issue, I think in 20 years we will probably find women running most things. It’s not going to be a problem for long.

Anya Hindmarch

We have heard that technology will soon pave the way for customers to use tools to establish how luxury goods are made, where they come from and how sustainable they are. Is this a good thing for the industry?

The world is divided into those who just want it and don’t care, and then more and more people who think it’s not right to carry on behaving like this. I know I feel like that, and my kids really feel like that. Everyone is becoming very sensible and aware and not only because it’s become trendy to care about the environment, but genuinely it feels a bit ugly to keep taking a plastic bottle and not re-cycle it. People are very lazy so we need to find solutions which are very quick and easy. It has come a long way, though – the message is coming through.

Space Invaders

Could you give a glimpse into some of the products that we may see from Anya Hindmarsh in the near future?

The theme for our last show was inspired by pixels and whether digital art is art, using a combination of pixelated snake skins, beading, early graphics, and layers of richness – that’s what’s coming next in store in May. We started doing coats, with lovely mink and cheery pockets, keeping it fun. Also beautiful cashmere with mink pockets, so it’s quite luxurious and lovely. The quality is very special. We have a technique where we bond the suede to the leather behind – very cutting-edge techniques with old craftsmanship.

Anya Hindmarch

What advice do you have for the next generation of designers?

Find a gap – it’s really fun starting your own business and getting going, but it’s about listening to what your customer is saying and driving it forward from there. You also need to lower the barrier to the internet these days. You can source much more easily, you can sell a lot more easily – it takes the headache away.

What do you still want to achieve?

So much. The reaction to our coats was amazing – the order book was beyond our wildest dreams. It shows us that there’s definitely more categories for the brand to go into. We are just building our teams and keeping to what we do, but doing it in more depth. I think we are building a nice confidence – we just need more hours in the day!

For more information about Anya Hindmarch, go to www.anyahindmarch.com.

The William Vintage Advantage – Decades of Style By Jayjay Epega

William Banks-Blaney  in his Marylebone Strore (image courtesy of  The New York Times/Redux/Eyevine)

William Banks-Blaney in his Marylebone Strore (image courtesy of
The New York Times/Redux/Eyevine)

On a balmy Spring evening in London at The Marylebone Hotel, The Luxury Channel celebrated the launch of the new William Vintage website with an exclusive chat with the charismatic and wonderfully charming founder, William Banks-Blaney, known in the fashion industry as “The Vintage King,” a title bestowed on him by the likes of Vogue and The New York Times.

Amal Clooney in silver Vintage Lanvin 1967, sourced by William Vintage (image courtesy of Getty Images)

Amal Clooney in silver Vintage Lanvin 1967, sourced by William Vintage (image courtesy of Getty Images)

The venture is so successful and well-known that it’s hard to believe that the business has only been going for five years. High profile names that wear and support William Vintage are numerous and include Helena Bonham Carter, Tilda Swinton, Amal Clooney, Gillian Anderson, Victoria Beckham, Emma Thompson, Emilia Fox, Luke Evans and Douglas Booth.

Victoria Beckham shopping at William Vintage  (image courtesy of Socialite Life)

Victoria Beckham shopping at William Vintage
(image courtesy of Socialite Life)

Banks-Blaney comes from a background in interior design, but always had a love for retro, hence the fabulous foray into vintage clothing. He certainly does not, however, believe that one has to be dressed top to toe in vintage, but likes the idea of the 21st century modern woman (who may wear a dress from 1968 for an event, but pairs it with Manolos that were bought last week). He also believes that to enjoy vintage, one need not be a stickler for historic detail and is very much a believer in looking for beautiful designs, structure and unique pieces. Banks-Blaney is proud that he is able to present his collections in the beautiful surroundings of his Marylebone store. “Showcasing the clothes in a lovely environment, I want people to have the same experience that they would have visiting an haute couture boutique,” he told me. “Just because it is vintage, everything does not need to be in mothballs or in a dusty, even dull environment!”

Amal Clooney with husband George, wearing 1981 YSL sourced by William Vintage (image courtesy of Thomas Bartilla/Future Image/WENN)

Amal Clooney with husband George, wearing 1981 YSL sourced by William Vintage (image courtesy of Thomas Bartilla/Future Image/WENN)

There are some absolutely stunning pieces, which according to Banks –Blaney are “sourced from country to council estates, to everywhere else in the world that you can imagine!” Such places include Mad Men-style dresses from the 1960s to fabulous red carpet stunners. Prices range from as little as £300 to as much as £26,000 (and sometimes even more). Labels include Balmain, Alexander McQueen, Christian Dior, Valentino, Versace, YSL and Christian Lacroix.

William Vintage Selection (image courtesy of William Vintage)

William Vintage Selection (image courtesy of William Vintage)

Bringing classic clothing to the 21st century by means of the new, expanded website means that William Vintage has truly now gone global! To take advantage and immerse yourself in decades of style, visit www.williamvintage.com.

Kim Winser’s Top 5 Packing Tips By Kim Winser OBE

Packing is a subject that makes most women panic. After years of travel, however, Winser London’s founder Kim Winser OBE shares her top 5 tips to make packing for business or pleasure quick, easy and stress-free….

Tip No. 1

Winser London Silk Shirt

Pack with versatility in mind. What is the climate? Is the trip formal, casual or a mix? A silk shirt is perfect for any temperature and can be worn relaxed or dressed up for dinner.

Tip No. 2

Winser London Merino Wool Coat

Top-to-toe colour is so stylish and flattering, and makes for simple packing. Be decisive with colour: choose black or midnight navy as your base colour, as this helps to limit your footwear (which is heavy and must be packed first). Add classic colours like white, camel and blues to build outfits. A Merino wool soft coat is the ultimate travel companion – it looks smart, feels casual and doesn’t crease.

Tip No. 3

Winser London Jersey Shift Dress

Don’t be too adventurous. Reach for pieces that you know fit and flatter to give you confidence. The Crepe Jersey Shift Dress is a favourite of mine. I wear it everywhere – with a silk bow blouse underneath for a formal look, and without for casual suppers.

Tip No. 4

Winser London Cashmere

Cashmere is the best travel companion. It is the lightest of fabrics and doesn’t crease, so it’s perfect – as well as elegant and stylish. Our Audrey Cashmere Jumper and Cashmere Wrap are so cocooning for a journey.

Tip No. 5

Winser London Woven Leggings

You can do comfort and style when travelling! Remember to layer – wear quality leggings with a T-shirt, a relaxed jumper and a cashmere wrap. Our woven cotton or Miracle leggings are stretchy and chic at the same time.

For more information, visit www.winserlondon.com or watch The Luxury Channel’s interview with Kim here.

Paris Collections At Les Salon Hoche By Irene Major

Paris has always been synonymous with style, and Les Salon Hoche was the place to be for a fabulous showcase of couture in its many guises, as part of Paris Collections.

Fit & Chic Activewear

Fit & Chic Activewear

The amazing pieces that were sent down the runway were perfectly fitted, yet with relaxing and settled
colours.

Embrace

Embrace

Definitely a brand for those seeking relaxing and comfortable wear, for a dressed down look in a busy city. I personally liked the cost dress, which was very 80s and quite Balmain-like.

Beste Bragg Haute Couture

Beste Bragg Haute Couture

A contemporary collection consisted of well-tailored and delicate styles mixed with see-through fabric.

Royal Couture

Royal Couture

This collection was kept mostly white throughout. What would look like wedding gowns for some can be easily adapted as day-to-day outfits. I loved the detailing, especially the butterfly theme – very angelic. In fact, there was a spiritual feel through all of the looks, with a very simple (yet very effective) flower girl hairstyle worn by the models.

Proshats

Proshats

Here, I liked the symmetry and the bold patterns – this was quite futuristic clothing (to wear in a spaceship in the future!). I liked the well-chosen colours and combination of patterns, but there was still a simple, avant garde feel. Definitely something I would wear myself.

Binzario Couture

Binzario Couture

The Dallas-based couture and bridal gown designers Andre Yabin and Luis Nazario were definitely my favourite of all the Paris Collections shows. I loved their bold decision to showcase the “sunset” range, with fabulous tropical sunset colours. This was bright and vibrant with stunning embroidery work. Although they are evening garments, much of the collection would be perfect for day wear also. The finale gown was a gala/gothic bride but doll-like look. As if from a fairy tale; my best look of all.

Binzario Couture

I also had my eye on their shocking pink “Chantelle” poncho – one to watch. The poncho could easily be carried and worn the entire year. In the winter, it would work well with a halter neck or wool jumper, matched with some leather pants or dark jeans. In the spring, worn with a white tank top paired with white jeans or tailored trousers – or simply as beach wear over a bikini for those very hot days. This poncho also reminds me of something Iris Apfel could be spotted wearing, along with her very big and bold a la Nancy Cunard-style bangles!

Rahul Mishra’s Ode To Paris By Irene Major

Rahul Mishra

Rahul Mishra, winner of the 2013/14 International Woolmark Prize, returned to Paris Fashion Week for a fourth successive season with a new spectacle for AW16, going back to basics to create a line of garments that infused delicate handwork with porcelain patterns.

It was definitely a story to tell – filled with romance, poetry and sensuality. The designer went to great lengths to highlight a love of Paris. It’s a wonderful city to be in, but one should not forget the sadness that has recently touched this divine city.

Rahul Mishra

Rahul Mishra then went on celebrating, throughout his collection, the French flag, focusing on blue which is definitely a predominant colour of the French. Soft blue and soft fabric were chosen but were embellished with materials carefully selected to reflect the woman that he designs for.

“I am very inspired by women who multitask, who have great deal of strength and courage, and they are soft and fragile at the same time. This duality is a gift, which the new-age woman carries with grace, as she happens to be well travelled and informed,” he said. “She loves to flaunt her personality and she doesn’t try to be anybody else. With her great sense of style, she mixes and styles her look in an effective and easy way. She is strong but she loves her femininity.”

Rahul Mishra

I fell in love with the whole collection, and with Rahul Mishra’s ability to mix relaxed chic with smart elegance, a pinch of Sci-Fi, a hint of tribal and, most importantly, great femininity. I saw power and fragility in the collection.

It is the collection of a true poet and I was taken by his stories. I also noticed that regardless of the season, Rahul Mishra still celebrates his beautiful native India, with fabulous, flawless fabrics. Blue is definitely the colour trend to look out for; adding an exotic touch to soft layers.

Rahul Mishra

I peek into my own wardrobe. To achieve a Rahul Mishra-like look, I’m turning an old navy blue cropped jacket and a navy blue vintage Valentino rara silk skirt into a coat. To be continued….

www.rahulmishra.in

The Story of Harris Tweed By The Luxury Channel

Arrival of Spring, Ardhasaig, Isle of Harris (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

Arrival of Spring, Ardhasaig, Isle of Harris (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

The story of world-renowned Harris Tweed has been captured in a new exhibition inspired by the brand’s Hebridean home. A decade in the making, ‘‘Harris Tweed: From The Land’’ is the result of a collaboration between renowned British photographer Ian Lawson and the Harris Tweed Authority – guardians of the iconic Harris Tweed Orb Mark. The exhibition was officially opened by Patrick Grant (creative director of Savile Row’s Norton & Sons) and takes each visitor on a journey into the very heart of the Scottish Outer Hebrides, the remote and romantic home of the world-famous Harris Tweed.

Ancient Lands, Isle of Harris (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

Ancient Lands, Isle of Harris (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

Each length of Harris Tweed can be traced right back to its individual weaver and mill. Made of 100% Pure New Wool, Harris Tweed is dyed, blended, carded, spun, warped, woven, finished, examined and stamped only in the Scottish Outer Hebrides by local crofters and artisans.

From The Land (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

From The Land (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

Woven on treadle powered looms, Harris Tweed is crafted by hand without the aid of automation or electricity. Weavers’ skills take months to learn and years to master, and every step of the Harris Tweed process is in the hands of the skilled islanders, from dyeing to delivery. The fabric is literally dyed in the wool, with separate pigments carefully blended to special ‘‘recipes’’ before being spun. Just one single yarn can contain several different colours in order to obtain the perfect tone or hue, each reflecting some aspect of the natural surroundings – heathers, mosses, lochs, mountains and sky.

From The Land (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

From The Land (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

Leading designers, fashion houses and artists have all embraced Harris Tweed over the years, season after season. Not just restricted to catwalks and couture, the versatile fabric is also used in bespoke interior furnishings as well as a growing range of accessories.

The launch of Harris Tweed and Ian Lawson's "From The Land" exhibition

The launch of Harris Tweed and Ian Lawson’s “From The Land” exhibition

Featuring a working loom as a centrepiece, the pictures on display at the ‘‘Harris Tweed: From The Land’’ exhibition depict the beautiful landscape that influences the production of the fabric, as well as many characters from the islands. Also on show is a collection of beautiful Harris Tweed products and objects sourced from the cloth’s weavers and designers.

Patrick Grant launches the "From The Land" exhibition from Ian Lawson, inspired by legendary Harris Tweed

Patrick Grant launches the “From The Land” exhibition from Ian Lawson, inspired by legendary Harris Tweed

The exhibition’s home for the coming months – Rheged – is located at the northern gateway to the Lake District, at Penrith. Opened in 2000, the centre welcomes over 450,000 visitors every year. Built into a disused quarry and designed to look like a Lakeland Hill, ‘‘Harris Tweed: From The Land’’ is housed in Rheged Centre’s award-winning Gallery until Sunday 15 May 2016. The exhibition is free to view and is open from 10am to 5pm each day. The centre – in a wider celebration of Harris Tweed – will also have a dedicated shop selling Harris Tweed products and a programme of associated workshops and family events.

Patrick Grant launches the "From The Land" exhibition from Ian Lawson, inspired by legendary Harris Tweed

Patrick Grant launches the “From The Land” exhibition from Ian Lawson, inspired by legendary Harris Tweed

The ‘‘Harris Tweed: From The Land’’ exhibition’s exploration of the Outer Hebrides highlights the similarities between the fell farming heritage in Cumbria, and the traditional crofting communities that produce Harris Tweed. These communities in the Scottish Outer Hebrides share a long and rich heritage, steeped in tradition, with a commitment to provenance, design and craftsmanship.

Standing Stone, Borve, Isle of Harris (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

Standing Stone, Borve, Isle of Harris (image courtesy of Ian Lawson)

As Norman Macdonald, chairman of the Harris Tweed Authority, commented: “The Harris Tweed: From The Land exhibition is a tremendous celebration of the famous cloth and its idyllic, rural origins. People across the globe love the fact that this is a hand-woven fabric designed on the edge of the world. These amazing photographs bring the process to life and chronicle a land which is home to a unique people and culture.”

Lord Lyon King of Arms presents a Grant of Arms scroll to Norman Macdonald, Chairman of The Harris Tweed Authority (image courtesy of Greg Macvean)

Lord Lyon King of Arms presents a Grant of Arms scroll to Norman Macdonald, Chairman of The Harris Tweed Authority (image courtesy of Greg Macvean)

For further information, visit: www.rheged.com or www.ianlawson.com.

London Fashion Week – Facts And Figures By The Luxury Channel

The 63rd edition of London Fashion Week returns this February with a schedule featuring 83 designers showcasing AW16 collections to UK and international press across 5 days.

Alexander McQueen (image courtesy of Marcus Tondo, Indigital Images)

Alexander McQueen (images courtesy of Marcus Tondo, Indigital Images)

Alexander McQueen will return to the schedule for the first time in over a decade for AW16, showing alongside brands including Ashish, Belstaff, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Emilia Wickstead, Erdem, Gareth Pugh, J.W.Anderson, Mary Katrantzou, Paul Smith, Peter Pilotto, Pringle of Scotland, Sibling, Sophia Webster and Vivienne Westwood. Also returning to London this season is British fashion and leather goods brand Mulberry, under the direction of new Creative Director, Johnny Coca. Meanwhile Charlotte Olympia, the luxury shoes and accessories designer, will host her first catwalk show on the LFW schedule this season.

Charlotte Dellal at the British Fashion Awards official after party (image courtesy of Dave Benett)

Charlotte Dellal at the British Fashion Awards official after party (image courtesy of Dave Benett)

The Fashion Accessories Market In Numbers

 £2.7billion worth of fashion accessories sales in the UK in 2015

 60% of shoppers bought accessories online in 2015

 51% of all British women purchased a handbag in 2015

Hill And Friends SS16

Hill And Friends SS16

The British Fashion Industry In Numbers

 £27 billion worth of womenswear RTW sales in the UK in 2015 (this figure is predicted to grow 23% by 2020 to £32 billion)

 £26 billion direct contribution to the British economy from the UK fashion industry

 797,000 jobs are supported by the UK fashion industry

 £12.4 billion was spent on fashion online in the UK in 2015

 29% of total spending online is on clothing and footwear

London Fashion Week In Numbers

 503,404 mentions of #LFW on Twitter during LFW SS16 in September (up 44% since AW15)

 200,000 copies of The Daily (the official LFW broadsheet) are distributed around London during LFW

 113,348 images tagged with #LFW on Instagram during LFW SS16 in September

Hunter Original SS16

Hunter Original SS16

 32,000 miles driven between shows by Mercedes Benz chauffeurs

 30,000 Lavazza espressos served and 200kg of Lavazza coffee beans used

 20,000 bottles of Evian Water to be drunk at LFW SS16

 11,150 Official LFW Tote Bags designed by House of Holland in collaboration with Sunglass Hut

 500 cans of label.m hairspray used backstage each season

 225 makeovers in the Maybelline Lounge

 152 countries viewed live streams in SS16 in September

 80 designers from 24 countries showing as part of the International Fashion Showcase at Somerset House

 51 designers are presenting their AW16 collections with a catwalk show

Ryan Lo SS16

Ryan Lo SS16

 51 love hearts on each Lavazza x Ryan Lo cup

 32 designers are hosting a presentation to display their AW16 collections

 3 sunglass collections from British designers (Alexander McQueen, Preen and House of Holland) introduced into key Sunglass Hut London stores and online to celebrate LFW

 2 Sunglass Hut branded Official LFW buses to transport press & buyers between shows and presentations

 2 #Diveintofashion photo booths in the Sunglass Hut pop-up at Lights of Soho

For more information, go to www.londonfashionweek.com.

Fun of The Fair – What To Wear For Carnival By Hannah Norman

SOL Face Tattoos

With our wintry wardrobes in desperate need of a summery overhaul, The Luxury Channel goes crazy for carnival colours and uplifting brights, as we bring you our guide to making a style statement this carnival season….

Skeena

We love this Serena Orange Fever Skater dress by Skeena. The full skater skirt creates a flattering silhouette whatever your body shape, whilst the art deco print makes it party perfect.

www.littleblackdress.co.uk

Serena Orange Fever Skater Dress

Chelsea Paris

Crafted using traditional methods in Italy, these Mina Cranberry Mix shoes from Chelsea Paris tread an effortless line between on-trend desirability and timeless style. Inspired by both African culture and 1920s deco, these are surely the perfect pair to put on come carnival season.

www.chelseaparis.com

Chelsea Paris Mina Cranberry Mix

MCM

Of course, no self-respecting fashionista worth her carnival salt would step out without a tote to sling all her valuables into. We like the varied, versatile range from MCM, but it’s the vibrant polka dot pattern that wins our vote!

www.mcmworldwide.com

MCM

Moda In Pelle

These stylish leather pointed court shoes by Moda In Pelle feature patchwork detailing with contrast textures, while the cut of the shoe flatters the leg. If you don’t mind wearing a higher heel, these chic shoes will invariably lift any outfit, carnival-themed or otherwise!

www.modainpelle.com

Calida

Kelly Simpkin

For those who want to really go all out for carnival, we love this couture creation from Kelly Simpkin. Flowing black organza is complimented with both leather and lace, whilst the pale gold stops this scallop bustier gown from looking gothic.

www.kellysimpkin.com

Kelly Simpkin Look 10

Chester Barrie

For the gents among you, we like this Chester Barrie handkerchief, made in soft linen. A bright colour and fun print mean you can comfortably work a carnival vibe without going embarrassingly over the top, plus you can make one hell of a sartorial style statement in the process.

www.chesterbarrie.co.uk

Chester Barrie

SOL Tattoos

Finally, for a bit of fun, embrace the trend that was big in the States last year and only looks set to grow as festival season swings round! These metallic temporary tattoos are an easy way to segue into the chaos and creativity of carnival season – we double dare you!

www.sol-tattoos.com

SOL Tattoos

Chester Barrie – Making Men Look Good At LCM By The Luxury Channel

Chester Barrie AW16 presentation at London Collections: Men (image courtesy of Justin Goff).

Chester Barrie AW16 presentation at London Collections: Men (image courtesy of Justin Goff).

At the presentation of their AW16 collection, and in the presence of male model David Gandy, Savile Row tailors Chester Barrie took to the red carpet in a celebration of all that is glamorous in the world of menswear – creating a contemporary collection for men who like to look their best. Whilst the style of the suits was all about refinement, the emphasis was quite clearly on comfort; the whole collection underpinned by exclusively woven cloths, luxury textures and sumptuous colours.

Chester Barrie AW16 presentation at London Collections: Men (image courtesy of Justin Goff).

Chester Barrie AW16 presentation at London Collections: Men (image courtesy of Justin Goff).

We particularly liked the double-breasted Kingly style. For the classic business look, it is a button two show six in navy flannel chalk stripe, while for glamorous eveningwear it is a low-buttoning, two button look with a rich Mogador ottoman facing on dramatic peak lapels.

Chester Barrie AW16 presentation at London Collections: Men (image courtesy of Justin Goff)

Chester Barrie AW16 presentation at London Collections: Men (image courtesy of Justin Goff)

Other pieces that certainly caught the eye included a pink flannel cocktail jacket, cut in the single breasted Eastleigh style with a shawl collar and a single button fastening; a three piece grey flannel suit in the Ebury style with a double-breasted shawl collar waistcoat; and the same Ebury style in baby alpaca and kid mohair (woven exclusively for Chester Barrie) which will be perfect for the groom who wants some real luxury at his winter wedding.

Chester Barrie

Before winter hits us, though, weddings are also big summer occasions, and Chester Barrie’s classic morning coat is good option to go for. Lighter than average (always good on a hot summer day!), it still retains a beautiful shape and fit. The highlight for the SS16 collection, however, is the new travel suit. Luxurious to the touch and beautifully styled, it is made in a crisp hi-twist worsted cool wool, so creases incurred from travel just drop out. Unstructured for a softer, more relaxed fit, the travel suit is available in light grey or steel blue, and even features side adjusters on the trousers (so no need to worry about belts when passing through airport security!).

Chester Barrie

Established in the 1930s, Chester Barrie has always taken established forms and developed them to create the unexpected, mixing craftsmanship with a contemporary eye. Chester Barrie was one of the first to offer ready-to-wear tailoring, providing the same attention to detail and commitment to quality as the old bespoke houses on Savile Row, but making great tailoring more accessible (which, at the time, was somewhat revolutionary). Today, the aim is to be the modern tailor to the modern man – and Chester Barrie certainly seems to have succeeded in doing just that.

www.chesterbarrie.co.uk

Designer Fashion Fund 2016 Shortlist Announced By The Luxury Channel

BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2016 Shortlist - Osman Yousefzada, Osman; Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl; Emilia Wickstead; Sophia Webster; and Anna Laub, Prism (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council).

BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund 2016 Shortlist – Osman Yousefzada, Osman; Amy Powney, Mother of Pearl; Emilia Wickstead; Sophia Webster; and Anna Laub, Prism (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council).

The British Fashion Council/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund shortlist for 2016 has been announced. The Fund provides one designer with a bespoke, high level mentoring support programme over a twelve month period, as well as a £200,000 grant to provide the necessary infrastructure to take them to the next stage in its business. The shortlist is:

Emilia Wickstead | Mother of Pearl | Osman | Prism | Sophia Webster

The nominated designers are selected by the Fund Judging Committee and have all been chosen for their potential to develop into a global designer brand. The committee comprises of experts from across the fashion industry, including Caroline Rush CBE, British Fashion Council; Ian Lewis, Harrys of London Limited; Joan Burstein CBE, Browns; Samantha Cameron, British Fashion Council Ambassador; Sarah Manley, Burberry; and Victoria Beckham.

Alexandra Shulman OBE, Editor of British Vogue and Chair of the Fund Committee, revealed she found the shortlist “inspiring….because of its diversity. It’s a great representation of the spread of British fashion designers.” Caroline Rush CBE added “These brands represent the best of London’s fashion talent, as well as showing impressive business acumen. These designers all have the potential to become Britain’s next generation of global fashion brands.”

To coincide with the announcement, Harrods will be dedicating one of its world-famous windows to the five shortlisted designers. Previous winners of the BFC/Vogue Designer Fashion Fund include Christopher Kane, Erdem, Mary Katrantzou, Nicholas Kirkwood and Peter Pilotto.

As You Reap, So Shall You Sew By K magazine

A climate-change report raises the alarm for luxury. K magazine investigates….

So Shall You Sew

As heads of state gathered in Paris to tackle global warming at the COP21 conference, a new report pointed out the luxury industry is particularly sensitive to climate change at the beginning of its supply chains – and that’s in addition to transport and delivery disruption, resource scarcity and social challenges.

The apparel industry is a significant contributor to climate change through green-house gas emissions, from energy use and waste production, and also in the impact of agriculture in raw-material production, according to MIT.

Luxury fashion is arguably more sustainable, though it’s a business where high-quality raw materials are geographically limited and especially vulnerable to climate variations – and much more can be done to reduce emissions. There are many ways, however, to mitigate the risks, especially if brands collaborate. These are some of the findings in the report Climate Change: Implications and Strategies for the Luxury Fashion Sector published by Kering and consultancy, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR).

Climate Risk For Luxury

Kering’s Environmental Profit & Loss account, published in November 2015, highlighted that most of the environmental impact of the business is in the supply chain – beyond immediate operations and in fact, around 50% of the impact originates where raw materials are produced and extracted.

Helen Crowley, Head of Sustainable Sourcing Innovation at Kering, explains: “The EP&L looks at our environmental footprint beyond our carbon emissions. It’s important because this not only helps us see where we can reduce our emissions, but also how to improve our resilience in the face of climate change, particularly in evolving where and how we source our raw materials.” The new study with BSR goes deeper than the EP&L and shines a light on specific risks associated with, for example, where Chinese silk-producing mulberry trees are grown or where South American vicuña (a camelid that produces fine, warm wool) are reared.

Risky business

It is at the raw material production, extraction and initial processing stages that enterprises such as Kering interface with agricultural and natural systems. “Here, there are significant risks – and opportunities – that need to be addressed”, says Crowley. “After all, quality is paramount in luxury apparel, and we are particularly vulnerable to climate change as it affects both availability and quality of the materials we need.”

As a result, the report analyses the current and future climate risks for the Group’s vital raw materials: cotton; cashmere; vicuña; silk; beef and calf leather; and sheep and lamb leather.

An earlier, detailed scientific study commissioned by Kering, from Verisk Maplecroft, came up with three important findings relating to climate change: it’s already causing reduced availability of luxury fashion’s raw materials and will continue to do so; its impact will probably escalate over time and will lead to reduction in raw material quality, resulting in greater business risk; and it will have a negative effect on small-scale producers, often rural and poor, who rely on raw-material production for their livelihood.

Climate Risk Vicuna

Although each material is vulnerable in its own way – pests and diseases caused by drought affect beef, sheep and lamb leather, for example – particularly at risk are extra-fine cotton; vicuña and cashmere. This is because of the limited geographic scope of their producing regions and their dependence on natural systems: terrain and climate.

Less water being available due to drought and glacial melt, for example, coupled with temperature variations and restricted geographical range, in the Andes, is beginning to restrict availability of vicuña. These conditions also diminish the quality of the animal’s fibres produced.

Quantitative uneasing

Similarly, cashmere goats’ principal habitat is the central Asian steppes, which are deteriorating: 90% of Mongolia is fragile, dry land, under growing threat of desertification; it’s also subject to frequent dzud (extremely severe winters). This complexity of climate-change effects and overgrazing is resulting in declining cashmere production. Quality is also being affected as the situation leads to undernourished animals with coarser hair. Rising temperatures can also constrain the growth of their winter coat, which is the source of high-quality fibres.

The BSR-Kering report asserts that so-called ‘‘input’’ risks associated with availability and quality are becoming heightened. Now that we know the risks, however, it declares: ‘‘It is imperative that companies develop a strategic approach to tackling the challenges posed by climate change to their business and across their supply chains.’’

The Report’s authors, which include Crowley, stress the need for innovative action to build resilient supply chains, which is built on a greater understanding the changing environment.

For Kering and those of its brands which source cashmere, for example, this means working to develop sustainable herding practices and holistic management of pasture lands, or implementing early weather warning and disaster-management systems for the herding communities. Collaborative platforms include the Sustainable Fibre Alliance. Ensuring livelihoods is also critical as the goats are not only sources of wool but also meat and milk for the herding population. Also critical is to focus on women in rural communities, who are particularly vulnerable to climate change because social, economic and political barriers limit their coping capacity.

So Shall You Sew

Copping in

In a separate, more general initiative, the need to reduce emissions has prompted 39 major French companies (including Kering) to sign a Business Climate Pledge. The firms plan to invest €45 billion in industrial projects and research & development devoted to renewable energy, energy efficiency and other low-carbon technologies between 2016 and 2020. The announcement was made during COP21, whose principal goal was to limit the warming of the earth to a few degrees celsius above pre-industrial levels. This, along with other commitments from the private sector, is showing how business is now seeing itself as being part of the solution to mitigating and adapting to climate change.

Real progress on climate change, therefore, will involve a suite of actions from policy-makers, civil society and business. For luxury companies like Kering, “Rethinking the way we source and produce our raw materials, and the impact this has on people and the environment, will be key to our contribution to a climate-smart world and to resilient business,” says Crowley.

Finally, the Kering-BSR report says that luxury companies can harness their leadership position as influencers, to build awareness and excitement around a more environmentally-friendly world, making it as irresistible as their products are desirable.

With their high profile, luxury brands can galvanise action on climate change through their customers, who are often society’s elite and therefore influencers in their own right, as well as more broadly with the general public. By communicating on their position on sustainability and showcasing strong environmental and social credentials, brands can meet consumers’ desire for solutions and effect change.

The business community has a particular responsibility to act, according to Marie-Claire Daveu, Kering’s Chief Sustainability Officer and Head of International Institutional Affairs. “Beyond doubt, business can and has to drive change. We can replace the outdated ‘compete and consume’ business model with ones that are ‘collaborative and regenerative’ and that build resilience across our supply chains.”

For further information about Kering, go to www.kering.com.

Loro Piana Awards Prize For The Finest Wool In The World By The Luxury Channel

New Zealand may have been triumphant in the rugby, but when it comes to the finest wool in the world, they’ve been beaten by their neighbours across the Tasmanian Sea….

Loro Piana

In 2000, Loro Piana established an annual challenge with the aim of supporting breeders and obtaining wool of increasingly higher quality and fineness, in their endless quest for the best raw materials. Each year, the best Australian and New Zealand bales produced in the previous calendar year are selected, and a distinguished jury comprised of the Presidents of the Australian Superfine Wool Growers’ Association and the Director of the New Zealand Stud Merino Breeders Society certifies that each bale fulfils the required weight, length and resistance criteria. When the fibre reaches a record fineness – one that has never previously been achieved – it is recognised as the World Wool Record Bale.

Loro Piana

Since 1997, Loro Piana has acquired these bales of wool – 36 to date – through public auction. The first bale, from New Zealand, weighed 100 kilograms and measured just over 13 microns, in other words slightly less than 3 microns over the bale holding the current record. Due to continued collaboration and the breeders’ tireless efforts, these have reached increasingly higher quality standards: in just eighteen years, the fineness of the fibre has improved by almost 30%.

Loro Piana

This year, the prize was awarded to the Australian farm Pyrenees Park (in Victoria) owned by Pamela and Robert Sandlant, who have surpassed their own previous winning result and retained first place for the second consecutive year, gathering a bale measuring 10.3 microns. This unprecedented result beats the New Zealand farm Lindis Ridges (in Ashburton) owned by Anna Emmerson, who competed with a bale of 10.6 microns. Australia therefore overtakes New Zealand once again in this intense Record Bale competition, bringing home a new world record.

Loro Piana

With such a prestigious victory, the previous holder of the “record of records” – known as the World Wool Record Bale (a title currently held by the 2012 New Zealand bale measuring 10.6 microns) – relinquishes its place on the throne of the best extra fine wool in the world to a new champion. The Pyrenees Park bale will be safeguarded as a sacred icon until it is eventually dethroned by a finer fibre, subsequently going into production to become the prized Record Bale yarn and fabric. This year’s runner-up, together with the 2012 winner – whose 10.6 micronages happen to equal one another – will go into production for the creation of a new, limited and exclusive range of bespoke garments available from 2016.

Loro Piana

As rare and precious as gemstones, the Record Bale fabrics represent the best in the production of prized wools: they feature exclusive patterns and are characterised by a special selvedge that documents the year of shearing, as well as the fibre’s provenance and fineness. Only about 40 made-to-measure suits are obtained using the 150 metres of the Record Bale, fashioned in Loro Piana boutiques and in select top tailoring shops around the world.

Facts And Figures

Australia: 75 million sheep (2014), of which just 18 million produce wools finer than 19 microns

New Zealand: 32 million sheep (2014), of which just 2.2 million produce fibres finer than 21 micron

1 Bale = the shorn wool of 60/100 sheep

1 Bale = approximately 150 metres of fabric (depending on the yield)

1 Bale = approximately 40 garments

1 Fleece = the wool of a single sheep, which can weigh up to 2.5 kg, of which just 1/1.5 kg of the finest part can be used for producing the Record Bale

For further information, visit www.loropiana.com.

Winser London – Fuss-Free Styling For The Travelling Woman Words and images by Melanie Sarah Brewer

Image © Melanie Sarah Brewer

Image © Melanie Sarah Brewer

Kim Winser OBE is one of the most successful women in British fashion retail. A head girl at school, Kim has never been shy of leading roles and she has many “firsts” under her belt too. In the 90s, she was appointed by Marks & Spencer as the youngest divisional director and first female in the commercial business. Her transformations have included Aquascutum, Pringle of Scotland and Agent Provocateur. Her boldest move by far is her eponymous women’s brand, Winser London. Nominated in the 2015 Premium Brand of the Year category in the Drapers 25th Awards, Winser London continues to transform the feedback from its customer base with each collection, with its “better and better” attitude, with an online shop, pop-ups at classy venues (including a town house in Mayfair during London Fashion Week) and selected ranges available at Peter Jones, John Lewis, Rossiters of Bath and Flats Napa Valley. With physical UK stores in Gerrards Cross and Marlow – all this traction is giving its customers a choice of where they can shop the look and feel of Winser London.

Through my own eyes, having attended the recent Winser London SS16 launch at Brown’s Hotel London, I definitely came away with four words – “stylish, travelling business wardrobe.” No gimmicks, no silly styling here! When the very founder genuinely knows why a cashmere jumper can be long-lasting, still look good at the end of the day and feels heavenly against the skin, you are in good hands.

Image © Melanie Sarah Brewer

Image © Melanie Sarah Brewer

For those needing comfortable style which adapts with you, Winser London is worth a look. Natural fibres (cotton, silk, cashmere, merino wool and more) are at the heart of many individual pieces – and there’s more coming for SS16. Take the pink pussy-bow silk blouse (Winser have added some magic for ease around the bust and underarm – this silk cloth has a 5% touch of elastane). The bow is generous and removable so can be used as a belt around the blouse, a belt through other garments, or even a neck tie – make it your own style. This is just what Kim Winser likes – she’s excited to know that her core followers understand style and have the confidence to find their own ways of mixing and matching separates. Indeed, the face of Winser London – Yasmin Le Bon – is not only a beautiful model for the range but has provided golden feedback when working with samples and on shoots.

Image © Melanie Sarah Brewer

Image © Melanie Sarah Brewer

Look out for Chambray Blue in blouses and knitwear for the lighter months next year. Not a duck egg, not a powdery nor baby blue – Chambray Blue is a soft-focus, feminine blue with an extra kick. If you like pockets – somewhere to rest your hands during business/social networking – then the deep pockets on dresses and skirts is attractive too. Have a look at an array of elegant necklines – especially the “V” in dresses and blouses to elongate the silhouette.

Here’s my top tip if you are new to Winser London – take a look online (shipping is currently UK, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Spain and USA) and have a play with your personal style!

See The Luxury Channel’s film about Winser London here. For more information, visit www.winserlondon.com.

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Personal Styling, based in Berkshire, refines personal style for both private and commercial clients.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0)7715 113 632

The British Fashion Awards 2015 By The Luxury Channel

David and Victoria Beckham attend the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of  Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

David and Victoria Beckham attend the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of
Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

The British Fashion Council has announced the winners of the British Fashion Awards 2015. Voted for by over 800 members of the global fashion industry, the winners were awarded at the annual ceremony, which took place at the London Coliseum. Over 2,000 guests gathered to celebrate the successes of the fashion industry over the past year with notable attendees including David and Victoria Beckham, Lady Gaga, Liv Tyler, Nadja Swarovski, Salma Hayek Pinault, Samantha Cameron, Sir Philip Green, Tinie Tempah, Nick Grimshaw and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini.

Nick Grimshaw and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini attend the British Fashion Awards 2015  (image courtesy of Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

Nick Grimshaw and Cheryl Fernandez-Versini attend the British Fashion Awards 2015
(image courtesy of Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

The outstanding talents of the British fashion industry were highlighted mid-ceremony during a unique fashion showcase. A sea of supermodels stormed the stage, each hand-picked and dressed by a British designer, marching to a live soundtrack by British synth pop legend, Alison Moyet, with an ensemble arranged by Joe Duddell. An impressive thirty designers took part in the show, including Anya Hindmarch, Burberry, Christopher Kane, Erdem, Paul Smith, Sibling and Victoria Beckham.

The Winners

Emerging Womenswear Designer: Thomas Tait, presented by Nick Grimshaw and Rosie Huntington Whiteley

Emerging Menswear Designer: Grace Wales Bonner, presented by Nick Grimshaw and Rosie Huntington Whiteley

Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of  Mike Marsland British Fashion Council).

Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of
Mike Marsland British Fashion Council)

Emerging Accessory Designer: Jordan Askill, presented by Nick Grimshaw and Rosie Huntington Whiteley

Red Carpet: Tom Ford, presented by Lucky Blue Smith and accepted on behalf of Tom Ford by Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of Mike Marsland,  British Fashion Council)

Lady Gaga attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of Mike Marsland,
British Fashion Council)

Model: Jourdan Dunn, presented by Olivier Rousteing

Outstanding Achievement: Karl Lagerfeld, presented by Anna Wintour OBE

Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour OBE attend the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

Karl Lagerfeld and Anna Wintour OBE attend the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

Creative Campaign: Burberry, presented by Naomi Campbell

International Designer: Alessandro Michele for Gucci, presented by Tim Blanks and Georgia May Jagger

New Establishment Designer: Mary Katrantzou, presented by Elisa Sednaoui

Elisa Sednaoui and Mary Katrantzou at the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

Elisa Sednaoui and Mary Katrantzou at the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of Mike Marsland, British Fashion Council)

Establishment Designer: Erdem, presented by Alexa Chung

Brand: Stella McCartney, presented by Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone

Stella McCartney OBE attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of  Mike Marsland British Fashion Council)

Stella McCartney OBE attends the British Fashion Awards 2015 (image courtesy of
Mike Marsland British Fashion Council)

Isabella Blow Award For Fashion Creator: Nick Knight OBE, presented by Karlie Kloss

British Style – Fashion Innovator: FKA Twigs, presented by Jefferson Hack

British Style – Red Carpet Ambassador: Gwendoline Christie, presented by Kate Bosworth

Charlotte Olympia Delall and Olga Kurylenko at the British Fashion Awards 2015  (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Charlotte Olympia Delall and Olga Kurylenko at the British Fashion Awards 2015
(image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Accessory Designer: Charlotte Olympia, presented by Olga Kurylenko

Menswear Designer: J.W.Anderson, presented by Orlando Bloom

Womenswear Designer: J.W.Anderson, presented by Noomi Rapace

Excess Is Best – Anna Dello Russo’s Global Factory By K magazine

Anna Dello Russo

Anna Dello Russo is one of the most photographed editors and designers at fashion events worldwide. She has developed an eclectic, hybrid and spectacular appearance that reflects the global look of today and tomorrow. K magazine explores her world….

In France, Vogue features the dark, sleek elegance of Parisian Emmanuelle Alt. On the other side of the Atlantic, there’s the classy opulence of Anna Wintour. And then there’s the remarkable extravagance of Anna Dello Russo, who worked at Vogue Italia and Vogue Uomo for 18 years before becoming a media icon and editor-at-large of Vogue Japan.

Dello Russo cultivates a theatrical allure that has captured the social networks’ imagination and turned her into a pop sensation. From Italy to Japan, the hyper-stylist orchestrates a vivid, baroque and playful eclecticism that is the complement – or refreshing alternative – to a certain international minimalism.

“Excess is best!” is one of the 10 rules Dello Russo lists on her site about the art of managing her impact in the front rows of fashion shows – and manage it she does. From very early on, Dello Russo grasped that in the digital age, an aura spreads at the speed of a thousand clicks a minute and an outfit must attract the spotlight just as fast. Dazzling on the side-lines of a fashion show has become nearly as important as the show itself.

Dello Russo cultivates excess as an artist, a diva and a professional. She favours flashy patterns and colours, an unreasonable love of lavish furs and an exorbitant amount of accessories and jewellery, at the risk of being labelled bling bling. An avid collector of clothes and accessories, her pieces fill an entire flat in Milan. Then there is the excess of her own figure: a tall, lithe, leggy, tanned, age-defying body that enthusiastically embraces all the madness of the catwalks.

Anna Dello Russo

Popping out

The website that serves as her calling card also showcases her excessiveness: a vertiginous platform of events like a pop-art affirmation of the almighty power of images. It would take hours to browse through all the editorials, features, collaborations, portraits and interviews the press has published about her as well as those she has devoted to her designer and artist friends, not to mention photographs of her own, enormous collection.

Then there’s the lookalike that she and her dream team created just for the web: a virtual doll, Lulla, who can be endlessly dressed and re-dressed according to whim and fashion.

The site also features a manga version of a short biography of her, where most of the images appear in gold rococo frames with scrolls and acanthus leaves, somewhere between kitsch and Italian baroque. Dello Russo cross-fertilises cultures and mixes tastes, good or bad, with a joyous immediacy.

Creatures beyond borders

Dello Russo is a trend-setter of Italian fashion in more ways than one. But she also recalls the trendy young people in Tokyo’s Shibuya quarter who, in the early 1990s, yearning to break free of their elders’ traditional social behaviour, looked to Western modernity with unprecedented exuberance.

The fiercely intellectual Japanese designers who arrived in Paris in the 1980s revolutionised the landscape with lasting effects, and Japanese fashion still looks boldly forward. They develop form and its effects in every realm with neither hierarchy nor judgement; they also enjoy theatricality and its wondrous travesties, because cultivating the beauty of this ‘‘floating world’’ means embracing the ephemeral as well as exalting fragility.

It’s no wonder that the dyed wigs and bubble-gum pink hairpieces of young Japanese women sporting the Kawaii look became a source of inspiration for a March 2015 Vogue Japan editorial in the form of a Manga Tribute photographed by Giampaolo Sgura. The bags in smooth, coloured leather blend with plush toys. The graphic handling of the make-up exaggeratedly widens the eyes of the model, Natasha Poly, whose oversized duvet covers put the finishing touches on the floral, beaded fall of a Gucci dress for a jubilant feminine parade.

Dello Russo thus brings Italy and Japan together in a single brilliant ode to lavishness and frivolity, a single rigorous art of detail and whimsy. Transcending borders, she sketches out a culture of diversity and free association that you can easily imagine spreading to and thriving in Brazil, provided the created silhouettes look intensely striking and move ever faster on the web.

Anna Dello Russo

Monsters international

Dello Russo dreams of northern Italy’s fabulous Bomarzo gardens, a folly, dating back to the 16th century, that Miyazaki would have been proud of dreaming up for Spirited Away, his film about the world of the yokai, his country’s spirits and the theme parks that were devoted to them.

In the May 2014 issue of Vogue Japan, Dello Russo made up a story called Ancient Songs of Praise, also photographed by Sgura, where the model posing amongst the trees and statues is coiffed with majestic exotic feathers, fabulous finery transcending the scenery’s strangeness with that season’s dresses and their spring effects.

The inscription amongst the grotesques, chimeras, mermaids and monumental stone monsters reads:
You who wander through the world / In search of high and stupefying wonders/ Come hither! You will find terrible faces / Elephants, lions, bears, whales and dragons.

At its best, Dello Russo’s style is an art of creatures. In excess, of course.

For further information about Kering, go to www.kering.com.

Be Like Bond – Dressed To Kill By Holly Soame

Spectre

With the release of Spectre, in cinemas nationwide from October 26th, it is now easier than ever to dress yourself in the same style as our favorite Secret Agent. Spy style is not exclusive to Bond, however. Kingsman, which was released in January of this year, inspired its own Bremont watch collection. With a price range starting from £4000, the range featured three watches, but the 18-carot rose gold watch is by far the most impressive, with a classic British aesthetic.

Bremont Kingsman Watch

Also due the release of Kingsman, Mr. Porter has released their own clothing line inspired by the film. Selling everything from cotton pajamas to silk blend pocket squares, which retail for £55, you can recreate your own Kingsman wardrobe at home.

Mr. Porter's Kingsman Wardrobe

Back to Spectre, and you can also own the exact same shoes as Bond, courtesy of Crockett & Jones which, depending on the style, retail for around £400. Tom Ford also has a massive role to play when it comes to spy style. Not only can you buy the exact same Tom Ford glasses as Bond (his favourite being the Marco), you can also have a near identical suit to him, for around £3000.

Spectre Trailer

To make your life even more identical to Bond’s, Belvedere Vodka has released a limited addition bottle, marked 007, but it gets better still. Silver By Aston Martin, designed by silversmith Grant Macdonald, has added to their silver collection with the addition of a classic martini set, complete with a silver shaker, two martini glasses and two olive picks. This sterling silver set may not actually feature in Spectre, but it’s clear that if he had the chance to use them, Bond surely would. Additionally, the Silver By Aston Martin collection also boasts a replica of the silver birch Aston Martin DB5, and is instantly recognisable as the car that was made famous in Goldfinger, where Sean Connery’s Bond made Aston the spy’s wheels of choice.

Silver By Aston Martin

S.T.Dupont, meanwhile, is celebrating the return of the world’s most famous spy to the big screen with a new collection that embodies elegance, refinement and cutting-edge technical innovation. After the 2004 James Bond and 2006 Casino Royale collections, 007 once again joins forces with the brand world-famous for its legendary lighters and impeccably refined writing instruments with the new Spectre Limited Edition, which draws its inspiration from the famous gun barrel, one of the most iconic images from the 007 films.

S.T. Dupont

Highlights of London Fashion Week SS16 By Holly Soame

Day One

Day One of London Fashion Week kicked off with a bizarre yet brilliant presentation from Zandra Rhodes, showcasing lots of fabulous colour and prints, in typical Rhodes style – in particular, a predominant pink theme for the majority of her SS16 collection.

Zandra Rhodes

Pink seemed to be the theme for day one at LFW. Paul Costello stuck to light pinks in simple A-line skirts and dresses, whereas Bora Aksu opted for accents of pink lace.

Bora Aksu

Fyodor Golan impressed the crowds with a fresh take on the classic summer floral. Expect to see the “new floral” on all clothing in SS16.

Fyodor Golan

However, it was Felder Felder who stole the show on day one, with a mix of metallic silver pieces and elegant flamingo silk dresses.

Felder Felder

Day Two

Day two gave a theatrical element to LFW. Hunter Original showcased their new tie-dye wellington boots and anoraks in a fittingly traditional style – via a muddy runway.

Hunter Original

Not only was there mud on day two, there was also golf. Orla Kiely decided to showcase her colourful, 60s inspired print collection on an indoor mini golf circuit, complete with AstroTurf, and the models playing golf!

Orla Kiely

Gareth Pugh is definitely worth a mention for the wackiest runway style, with models wearing bold stripes, colour and latex, matched with caricature faces and nylon wigs.

Gareth Pugh

Meanwhile, House of Holland showed a fabulous collection full of beautifully embroidered pieces, interspersed with animal print and stripes.

House of Holland

Day Three

Day Three saw the launch of new handbag line Hill And Friends, founded by Emma Hill, best known for her work at Mulberry, and Georgia Fendley, who was previously director of Mulberry. The collection is fun and quirky, and made by hand in the heart of Somerset.

Hill And Friends

Another quirky showcase, this time from footwear designer Sophia Webster, saw the models dressed as mermaids, hiding in giant clams and sitting on rocks.

Sophia Webster

KTZ also went for a theme, but instead of mermaid tails, opted for nylon punk wigs, to match their punk rock collection for SS16.

KTZ

From the punk of KTZ to the queen of punk herself, Vivienne Westwood Red Label brought protest to day three of LFW. Westwood, a known activist, walked with the models in her anit-austerity protest, complete with placards reading “Climate Revolution.”

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

Day Four

The highlight of Day Four was the greatly anticipated Burberry show. Taking place in Kensington Gardens, away from the rest of LFW, Burberry yet again created something truly beautiful, from the famous faces in the front row to the 32 piece live orchestra accompanying Alison Moyet – so not just the clothes!

Burberry

From Kensington Gardens back to Brewer Street, Day 4 also brought us the battle of Wall Street, as seen on the runways of New York. From the oversized white tux at Antonio Berardi to the more fitted two-pieces from Barbara Casasola, the suit (in its many guises) is definitely something to add into your wardrobe for SS16.

Barbara Casasola

On the opposite end of the fashion spectrum, Erdem stayed away from the masculine look, opting instead for a Victorian-inspired collection for SS16, complete with high-ruffled necks and lace.

Erdem

Day Five

The final day of London Fashion Week finished with glitter and skateboards, courtesy of Ashish. Men in dresses, girls in dresses, carrying skateboards instead of bags, Ashish SS16 was a bold, brash and defiantly beautiful collection, with tonnes of glitter on every outfit.

Ashish

Ryan Lo made us fall in love all over again with his Valentine-inspired collection, full of ruffles and one of the top trends of LFW, pink. Amanda Wakely also opted for pink, seen on her beautiful dresses and skirts.

Ryan Lo

Amongst all the glitz and the glitter of the last day, one of the smartest collections for SS16 came courtesy of Anya Hindmarch. Created using major high street logos, from Boots boots to John Lewis handbags, Hindmarch put a spin on the high street in a way only she could.

Anya Hindmarch

Saintly Imagination By K magazine

Install shot of Yves Saint Laurent - "Style Is Eternal" at the Bowes Museum (image courtesy of  Andy Barnham and the Bowes Museum)

Install shot of Yves Saint Laurent – “Style Is Eternal” at the Bowes Museum (image courtesy of Andy Barnham and the Bowes Museum)

The first comprehensive display in Britain of Yves Saint Laurent’s work and life highlights the essentials of his vision and the influence it has had on the modern women’s wardrobe, from the trouser suit to the ‘‘smoking’’ to the jumpsuit. K magazine donned a ready-to-wear trench coat to take a look….

A mini biopic opens the Yves Saint Laurent retrospective at the Bowes Museum, near the northern English city of Newcastle. It features photographic stills of a boy working on a collection of paper dolls for his mother. “At fourteen and fifteen, I remember playing at being a great designer,” comes the audio clip over the top, the voice of the man more than half a century later.

He didn’t have to play for long. At 18, after French Vogue’s editor showed Saint Laurent’s precocious sketches to Christian Dior, France’s senior fashion statesmen appointed him his personal assistant. Three years later, after a sudden heart-attack claimed Dior, Saint Laurent found himself at the helm of the fashion house.

The rest is history; a history lovingly – and manageably – collected over three rooms at the remarkable Bowes Museum, a huge, elegant and incongruous French chateau situated at the edge of the quiet market town of Barnard Castle in County Durham.

There’s a sprinkling of the Bowes’ own collection in the Style Is Eternal show, notably in the first room where the ruffs, cassocks and collars from high religion are juxtaposed with those from the high-fashion world that Saint Laurent entered in the 1950s – both defined by luxury textiles and constraining liturgy. But most of the effort by curator Joanna Hashagen was working out which fifty garments to select from the 5,000 conserved by the Fondation Pierre Bergé – Yves Saint Laurent, formed and still run by the designer’s business and life partner.

Yves Saint Laurent Ateliers Specification Sheet Spring-Summer 1966 haute couture collection

Yves Saint Laurent Ateliers Specification Sheet Spring-Summer 1966 haute couture collection

Conserving

The Fondation’s collection is in part the product of Pierre Bergé’s meticulous devotion. He has also preserved 15,000 accessories, drawings and paper patterns (when the Fondation’s team visits from Paris to check on the installation, they are disrupted by constant phone calls from the Paris auction house where they are bidding on the latest Saint Laurent garment that has come to market.) But it owes equally to the designer’s own obsession with categorisation and preservation. Well before he died, explains Hashagen, he went through his drawings and wrote ‘‘Musée’’ on those he felt should be saved.

After 21, the career of arguably fashion’s most influential designer continued with all the genteel ease of a runaway steam train. By 25, he had been sacked by House of Dior after his youthful Beatnik-inspired collection proved too racy for Dior’s traditional audience and, partnering with Bergé, he started his own, eponymous house. Immediately, it became the vehicle for Saint Laurent’s alchemical democratisation of fashion.

Critics quibble about whether his Rive Gauche boutique, which opened on Paris’ left bank in 1966, was fashion’s initial step into the mainstream, but there’s no debating it was the first ready-to-wear store to bear a couturier’s name. His first range as an independent designer effectively appealed to the daughters of those who bought Dior, a demographic hitherto ignored by the maisons. To Saint Laurent, these were his obvious customers – they were his age after all, and the most attuned to tthe creative and social upheaval of the early sixties. They were also the keenest to see it expressed in clothes.

Iconoclastic

Much of the legacy of this period was female empowerment, and Saint Laurent’s contribution was immense. The pea jacket and trench-coat in 1962; the first tuxedo in 1966; the safari jacket and the first trouser-suit in 1967; the jumpsuit in 1968. By co-opting the male dress code and the culture of the uniform, he re-invented what it was acceptable for women to wear, emboldening them with new ways to be elegant. Through it all, his touch remained light and playful: the mannequin modelling his first trouser suit brings to mind the child spud-gun wielding gangsters from the film Bugsy Malone.

Premier smoking Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture 1966, Gérard Pataa

Premier smoking Yves Saint Laurent Haute Couture 1966, Gérard Pataa

Equally disruptive – and as iconoclastic for the time – was his inveterate artistic fusion. “He abolished all notions of artistic hierarchy,” says Hashagen. An obsessive follower and consumer of art, Saint Laurent stole, magpie-like, from the great pieces of his day, transposing them into designs – as unconstrained as the 14-year-old cutting out magazine pictures to place over his paper dolls.

The 1965 Mondrian collection remains the most striking, and the exhibition contains its signature piece, arguably the most recognisable dress in history. But there were many more, from the 1966 pop-art dresses through the 1970s; the Picasso and Diaghilev collections; to the autumn 1980 collection paying homage to Matisse – of which two expansive skirts inspired by the artist’s cut-outs are included.

Carefully curated video lifts the lid on the man’s creative process. From grainy 1970s to the rich Technicolor eighties and the early new millennium, we see him in studio, inspecting his work. “What a beautiful skirt,” he says in one clip, “but you see, it works if it is just tucked in here,” his distinctive arms flopping like a puppet.

Fashion royalty

“At its most basic, this was a question of who wore the trousers,” jokes Suzy Menkes, Vogue International editor in the exhibition book, narrating how Nan Kempneer, one of Saint Laurent’s favourite couture clients, launched her personal gender war. In 1968, she took off the bottom half of her trouser-suit as she walked into La Cote Basque Manhattan’s famous restaurant, which forbid women to wear pants.

But, while Saint Laurent may have empowered women, he recoiled from any association with the burgeoning feminist movement. His obsession with women and their clothes was a personal, rather than a political one, anchored at every turn by a physical obsession with femininity. “The most important thing is the female body,” he said. He needed women around him as a sounding board, says Hashagen, but they were most vivid to him as a physical presence. “I need a model in front of me; her attitude, her elegance,” the exhibition quotes him.

Yves Saint Laurent short evening gown worn by Marina Schiano (image courtesy of the Estate of Jeanloup Sieff)

Yves Saint Laurent short evening gown worn by Marina Schiano (image courtesy of the Estate of Jeanloup Sieff)

There’s an enjoyable confessional quality to the show. Coy radio interviewers ask for his favourite artist, composer and writer (respectively Picasso, Bach and Proust) or his greatest flaw (“shyness”). Elsewhere, videos provide some unexpected cameos: the 1958 ‘‘Dior Comes To Blenheim’’ follows the show for Princess Margaret in her Oxfordshire estate. The guests swap the steely glare of today’s front rows with the rosy ease of another age. Is it because they are Margaret’s friends or were fashion’s opinion-shapers more easy-going back then?

Not left behind

Beyond the video glimpses and a chronology of his life at the start of the exhibition, there’s little here on the man behind the work, and the theatrical Gallic pronouncements sometimes fall a little flat. “The most beautiful things that can dress a woman are the arms of the man she loves,” – Saint Laurent’s quote is printed on the final screen, sounding more like the efforts of a 21-year old to lure a lover to the bedroom than a pronouncement of one of the century’s great creative minds.

With clothes like this, however, you can forgive him the odd corny line. In fact, most of his declarations hit the mark and have born the test of time, proving his own maxim that “Fashion fades; style is eternal.”

“Style Is Eternal,” the major Yves Saint Laurent retrospective, is on at the Bowes Museum until 25th October 2015. For further information about Kering, go to www.kering.com.

Trend Forecasting For SS16 By Holly Soame

The Luxury Channel brings you our list of the super six style trends to look out for on the London catwalks….

1) Masculine Meets Feminine

The SS16 lines shown at New York Fashion Week are forecast to appear again in London. Chances are, we’ll see the men’s suit jacket being used again as a woman’s oversized jacket, something DKNY have shown to be the “battle of wall street.”

DKNY

2) Seventies Style

It’s happened again, as a repeat of 2011 – 70s style is back! Everything from mixed prints to embellished flared trousers, as seen for SS16 at Rodarte.

Rodarte

3) Raffia

Yes, raffia clothing has arrived. No longer is it going to be just on our beach bags, but predictions for London Fashion Week and sightings at NYFW have confirmed that raffia is here, and in particular to be used in work ready-to-wear clothing. Look to Edun for inspiration.

Edun

4) Robes

It’s now been made acceptable to wear your loungewear out, with the robe coat becoming very much a thing. Seen at Public School, the silk robe will most definitely be a staple of SS16.

Public School

5)Cut-out Tops

We’ve had front-cut dresses, back-cut dresses and even slashed tops, but now a new era of top is here. The cut-out top leaves your shoulders bare with the rest of your arm and chest covered. As seen at Proenza Schouler, this is set to be a sell-out for SS16.

Proenza Schouler

7) Tie-Dye

Every summer season, tie-dye tries to make a come-back, but in SS16, thanks to Thakoon, it is set to be a success. Silk tie-dye in particular is set to make an appearance at London Fashion Week this year.

Thakoon

Dice Kayek Haute Couture – Mirroring A Luxury Lifestyle By The Luxury Channel

Dice Kayek

The elegant and iconic building of the Museé des Arts Décoratifs, home to precious decorative artefacts, became the plinth for the pivotal design of Dice Kayek Haute Couture. It was a celebration of experience, tingling the senses with texture, colour, and reminding us of the magic that happens when we immerse ourselves in luxury.

Upon arrival, we were greeted and escorted to the centre hall of the museum, a magnificent room with a sky-high ceiling that was spotted with aerial view points of the show. The catwalk, a mirrored surface, divided the vast space symmetrically down a centre line, mirroring iconic ceremonies through history. At one end of the line, a great mirrored sphere hovered in mid-air like as if it was an all-seeing eye, as the other end met with a sea of photographers.

As we were ushered in and seated, the show opened with a thunder-like boom that evoked memories of great summer storms that come as a luxurious respite from the midday heat. The first look, Kayek’s haute couture take on the tuxedo, floated down the catwalk like a leaf being taken by the wind on a crisp autumn afternoon. This tailored suit was followed by more, with a contrasting mixture of textiles heightening the sculptural elements of each unique suit. The tactile sensibility was reminiscent of the silky textures you find in an expensive hotel suite, from the layers of bedding to the crispness of fresh white towels that can elevate the ordinary to extraordinary.

Dice Kayek

As the looks continued down the runway, we were dazzled with sparkling pieces that glistened in the changing light. Glittering hues of blues and greens were placed side by side on garments, looking like the sparkling reflections of the waters of the sea on a mid summer’s day. Models gracefully glided down the mirrored floor, like the slow-moving currents of the great Aegean seas. Golds and sunset tones were introduced into the palate, and the scene was finished with a structured white, feather-light dress.

The collection mirrors dreamy resort life and the magic of intricate sensory detail, like vivid memories of a holiday. It echos the indulgence of 1960s cinema and the glamour of the 80s. We were left to dream of the gleaming coastline from Turkey to Croatia, where splendour awaits at any hotel from the Dogus Luxury Hotel Collection. Their unparalleled guest experience is motivated by style and by life itself, with magic captured in every moment. A statement of luxury, each hotel is inspired by the elegance and grace of the land. As captured in the spirit of Dice Kayek’s haute couture collection, life should be energised by our beautiful world itself.

The Dogus Luxury Hotel Collection

Capri Palace Hotel & Spa – www.capripalace.com

Villa Dubrovnik – www.villa-dubrovnik.hr

D-Resort Göcek – www.dresortgocek.com.tr

D-Hotel Maris – www.dhotel.com

Argos in Cappadocia – www.argosincappadocia.com

Il Riccio in Capri & Bodrum – www.capripalace.com/en/beach-club-il-riccio

Ghurka USA – Bags As Unique As Their Owners By The Luxury Channel

GHURKA USA

Quite often in the world of fashion – and in the luxury market particularly – the quest for the best is matched only by the hunt for exclusivity. We all want bespoke, but how to get hold of something that truly is one-of-a-kind?

GHURKA USA

One company for whom this conundrum is not a problem is American leather goods purveyors, Ghurka USA. The company was founded after original owner Marley Hodgson saw an old Gurkha regimental kit at auction and was compelled to make his own bag based on the principles used in the kit. Although his first bag – the No1 – never made it into full-scale production, the No2 remains one of Ghurka’s best-selling bags forty years later.

Express No.2

For that in itself is a beauty of the brand – the timeless, classic style of the bags produced. Each style is denoted by a number, printed on each bag. The bags additionally contain a number denoting year of manufacture, as well as where they came off the production line – so an individual serial number, unique to that bag. Ghurka offer an online registration service for owners to register their bags online, making them really personal.

G200 Collection

But that really is only the start of the story. 2015 marks their 40th anniversary, but it also marks the anniversary of their namesake Gurkha Regiment’s 200 years of service to the British Crown. The two companies have formed a partnership in celebration of this, with Ghurka USA having produced some truly beautiful products, the sales of which will go directly to the Trust.

Officer's Field Set

Firstly, there is the limited edition G200 range, consisting of a holdall, backpack and wash-bag. Utilising the deep green wool used in Gurkha regimental uniforms and lined in red as a nod to the military flash worn by the soldiers, the bags are retailing exclusively at Fortnum & Mason in London with 25% of proceeds benefitting the Trust. Additionally, Ghurka’s master furniture craftsman, Richard Wrightman, has made three “Officer’s Field Sets.”

Gurkha Welfare Trust Vice Patron Joanna Lumley in the Ghurka space at Fortnum & Mason  (image courtesy of Stefan Booth, Brightspark Photographic)

Gurkha Welfare Trust Vice Patron Joanna Lumley in the Ghurka space at Fortnum & Mason
(image courtesy of Stefan Booth, Brightspark Photographic)

One of these will be auctioned at the G200 pageant held in June, and one is being sold in Fortnums, and Ghurka are donating the entire £20,000 price tag to the Trust. Given the recent tragic happenings in Nepal, there has never been a more appropriate time to demonstrate support for the work of both Ghurka USA and the Gurkha Welfare Trust. Ayo Gorkhali!

Go to www.ghurka.com or see our film here.

Technology Versus Creativity At The Condé Nast International Luxury Conference By The Luxury Channel

David Lauren and Suzy Menkes attend the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference 2015 in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Andreas Rentz for Getty Images)

David Lauren and Suzy Menkes at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference 2015 in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Andreas Rentz for Getty Images)

It seems that now more than ever, the luxury industry is changing more rapidly and dynamically than ever before. Whilst some brands have historically embraced the advent of the digital market, several older houses have remained steadfast in their traditional beliefs. The future of luxury will seemingly be determined by technological advancements, as wearable tech competes with hard luxury and high-end jewellery. The big debate in the contemporary world of luxury, therefore, is the increasing impact of technology in an industry where tradition and heritage are far more familiar terms. The question of whether to embrace the digital age with open arms is multi-faceted, and whilst hard luxury has always been about craftsmanship derived from handiwork, it would seem that there is still a place for technology within that.

David Lauren at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

David Lauren at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

David Lauren, Executive Vice President of Global Advertising, Marketing and Corporate Communication at Ralph Lauren, opened the second day of the inaugural Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence by discussing how the brand is embracing technology, by connecting with new and existing consumers. “Ralph Lauren is about a dream and a vision”, Lauren commented, explaining why the brand has stayed strong for more than fifty years. Lauren spoke of “merchantaintment” (merchandising and entertainment) – a philosophy helping the brand establish itself in the new digital age by merging technology, fashion and art. Through the introduction of the Polo Tech shirt last year at the US Open, the brand realised that as technology is something that affects our daily lives, then it is also applicable in the fashion world.

Suzy Menkes, Iris van Herpen and Sophie Hackford at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of  Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Suzy Menkes, Iris van Herpen and Sophie Hackford at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Iris Van Herpen, a vibrant young designer leading her field, spoke of creating future style from the laboratory and cyber space. Van Herpen collaborates with artists, scientists and biologists to ‘‘grow clothes literally,” working together to move into areas that she otherwise couldn’t enter alone. In conversation with Sophie Hackford, the pair noted that technology will provide a whole new range of tools and materials for craftsmanship, rather than replace it.

Designer Alber Elbaz at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference  in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Designer Alber Elbaz at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Alber Elbaz, Artistic Director of Lanvin, asked whether computers could ever replace the creative mind of a fashion designer. Elbaz commented that “fashion is getting softer and softer, but we are not yet a software industry.” Remarking on the location of this year’s Conference, “Florence is the symbol of classicism and art. Florence is about tradition, it is the city of artisanal handwork, know-how and made with love. Florence is about taking the time, making the time and giving the time. Florence is about family business. Technology, on the other hand, is about new innovation, next is now, repeatedly.” Elbaz remarked that he doesn’t believe computers will be able to replace designers, as the creative process starts with intuition, and “computers have a brain but no heart.”

Suzy Menkes and Clare Waight Keller, Creative Director of Chloe, at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Andreas Rentz for Getty Images)

Suzy Menkes and Clare Waight Keller, Creative Director of Chloe, at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Andreas Rentz for Getty Images)

Geoffroy de la Bourdonnaye, President of Chloé, together with Clare Waight Keller, the label’s Creative Director, discussed how the brand is using technology to better connect with its customers. Waight Keller noted the importance of the digital world in the way they communicate, and that they are trying to create more personal and emotional digital campaigns.

Angelica Cheung at the Conde' Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Angelica Cheung at the Conde’ Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Angelica Cheung, Editorial Director of Vogue China, meanwhile, spoke of how technology connects with luxury, and how consumers in China are becoming increasingly sophisticated and educated. Cheung remarked that with greater competition, designers and brands need to ask themselves who they are and what niche they are trying to cater to in order to reach the multi-layered base that makes up the modern Chinese consumer, in the same way that Vogue China has developed expertise and experience in translating international culture and tailoring it to Chinese style. As for the future? Cheung commented that “China will continue to grow, to change and evolve at a fast space….the sheer size and scale of China is still worth reiterating”.

Angelica Cheung and Suzy Menkes at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Angelica Cheung and Suzy Menkes at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Ultimately, technology is something that luxury brands can no longer ignore, but the message coming from Florence seems to be that it’s communication, rather than manufacture, that makes technology so important. Whilst there is no technological substitute for the craftsman’s skills or the designer’s creativity, fashion has always functioned so that supply meets demand. As consumers are now increasingly demanding a closer, more personal experience with a brand, it would seem that digital communication is proving the perfect tool to fill that void. Hash tags at the ready!

3D Printing – The Impact On The Luxury Fashion Industry By The Lex Chapter

Florence is home to storied fashion houses who pride themselves on using traditional craftsmanship to create exquisite products, so it’s no surprise that they are averse to the idea of 3D printing. That said, it would be foolish to ignore what is being touted as the next big thing in manufacturing. At the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, speakers Sophie Hackford of Wired Consulting and celebrated young designer Iris Van Herpen discussed the merits and risks of 3D printing.

Suzy Menkes, Iris van Herpen and Sophie Hackford at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of  Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Suzy Menkes, Iris van Herpen and Sophie Hackford at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Firstly, 3D printing is a quick and accessible way to produce mass clothing, it is extremely useful for providing lower grade garments quickly. It would be an effective tool for providing shoes or waterproof clothing in LEDCs or disaster zones but with the rise of fast fashion, will 3D printing be providing clothes for the high street and catwalks too? If so, what does this mean for the master cobbler who spends weeks hand-crafting one pair of shoes? Van Herpen, who is well known for her enthusiasm for 3D printed fabric, argued that high fashion is still very much a collaborative process. Van Herpen said she relies heavily on ‘‘traditional methods when it comes to piecing her creations together.’’ The skills that are learnt and passed down from generation to generation simply can’t be reproduced by a machine. Despite the promise of precision to one hundredths of a millimetre, the consumer will still appreciate and therefore demand the human touch. Van Herpen stressed that ‘‘the stamp of the designer must remain important, as that is where the creative energy comes from.’’ Without that creative flare and appreciation for high quality components, a luxury item runs the risk of being just another high street imitation.

Angela Missoni and  Iris Van Herpen attend the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Angela Missoni and Iris Van Herpen attend the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Which leads onto another aspect that is causing fear, the risk of counterfeit goods. Fashion houses make a considerable profit on entry level designer goods like sunglasses. With the rise of 3D printers (and 3D designers), what’s to stop a customer simply printing off a counterfeit pair? With design files as easy to share as MP3s, once someone has worked out the design, the file could spread extremely quickly. Hackford and Van Herpen acknowledged that fraudulent copies are a risk but both highlighted a technological way that could alleviate this problem. The most practical solution would be for every luxury brand to use personalised material. Modern Meadow, a Brooklyn-based start-up, has found a way to create high-grade leather in a laboratory using a 3D printer. Though the technique is a closely guarded secret, the method suggests that each fashion house could imprint specific cellular DNA into each and every material. By having official material provides retailers, collectors and authorities with a secure way of distinguishing whether a product is authentic or fake.

Suzy Menkes at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Suzy Menkes at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Overall, Hackford and Van Harpen seemed to embrace 3D printing, seeing it very much as a weapon in a fashion house’s armoury. Other visionaries take it further and see 3D printing as an accessible way for us to all own a slice of haute couture. Australia-based XYZ have even made their designs available for download so anyone with a 3D printer can produce and customise their work. On the whole, it looks like 3D printing is here to stay, and luxury brands will have to develop opportunities to work with it rather than against it. Perhaps they could provide licensing deals like music artists have done with iTunes. Perhaps we will miss the experience of going into a shop and purchasing something physical. Perhaps nostalgia will kick in and traditional craftsmanship will come into vogue once more.

Additional reporting from Florence by Antonia Peck.

Top Technology Trends By The Lex Chapter

With hard luxury and technology continuing to merge, it’s hard to know which ‘‘new thing’’ to pay attention to. With the help of the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference, here is The Luxury Channel’s guide to growing luxury technology trends….

Angelina Cheung and Tory Burch in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Angelina Cheung and Tory Burch in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

The Polo Tech Shirt by Ralph Lauren

As a keen sportsman, it was a natural step for fashion mogul Ralph Lauren to explore the benefits of integrated technology within sportswear. The Polo Tech Shirt has built-in sensors that track and stream biometric data to an app via bluetooth. Silver conductive thread measures heart rate, breathing rate and performance intensity. The tight compression fabric is also designed to stimulate blood flow and aid muscle recovery.

The Ricky Bag by Ralph Lauren

Named after his wife, the original Ricky bag has received a technological twist. Handcrafted in Italy, the Ricky Light Bag has four LED lights that gently illuminate whenever the bag is opened. The bag also contains a seamlessly integrated USB port which allows owners to charge their phone on the go. Made with the softest leather with a purple calfskin lining, this bag is the definition of modern luxury.

David Lauren at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

David Lauren at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Modern Meadow

Not available to buy off the shelves just yet but this Brooklyn start-up is one to keep an eye on. As the fashion world has started to acquaint itself with the future of wearable technology, Modern Meadow is looking to solve a current fashion dilemma. As the sale of leather goods continues to grow, so does the impact on the environment. Modern Meadow wants to create an environmentally preferable alternative to sourcing leather. By ‘‘creating’’ leather in a lab, Modern Meadows has the ability to deliver pristine leather every time.

Iris Van Herpen

This young Dutch designer has already taken the fashion world by storm, having won the French ANDAM Fashion Award in 2014, and been a guest member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture. Van Herpen is known for using innovative and futuristic techniques. Her love of 3D printed fabric means there’s a hyper-sculptural, architectural edge to her work. Despite her love of technology, Van Herpen insists it’s a collaborative effort both between man and machine.

Angela Missoni and  Iris Van Herpen attend the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Angela Missoni and Iris Van Herpen attend the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Oculus Rift

This virtual reality start-up was founded by teenager Palmer Luckey in his bedroom in 2011 and his company Oculus was bought last year by Facebook for approximately $2 billion. Although fans who’d supported Luckey early via his Kickstarter page were sceptical about Oculus being sold to a multi-national corporation, Mark Zuckerberg reassured virtual reality fans when he commented that Facebook was wasn’t going to make Oculus Rift ‘‘about sharing pictures,’’ because ‘‘it’s about sharing reality.’’ With Zuckerberg as a significant weight behind this project, Oculus Rift really looks like it’ll succeed in its mission to take technology to the next level.

Editor Suzy Menkes and designer Tory Burch at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Andreas Rentz for Getty Images)

Editor Suzy Menkes and designer Tory Burch at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Andreas Rentz for Getty Images)

FitBit by Tory Burch

With fitness trackers being increasingly popular, fashion designer Tory Burch recognised that ladies might not want to wear a sporty rubber band in a professional or party environment. In order to offer a range of price points, Burch added a pattern to FitBit’s signature silicone and also designed two stand-out statement pieces – the first being a flex tracker pendant necklace and the second a metal-hinged bracelet. Both pieces are chic enough to wear in the office or on an evening out, as well as adding some glamour whilst in the gym.

Apple iWatch

With Apple looking to turn the under thirties back into a watch-wearing generation, it makes sense to invest now. Not only does the Apple iWatch allow you to answer calls as well as read e-mails, it also utilises Taptic. Taptic is a portmanteau of tap and haptic feedback, a system which conveys information by vibrations or taps. So if you are using a directional map service, the Apple iWatch can direct you left or right just by issuing small vibrations on your wrist. The entry level Apple iWatch is the Sport version, with its most advanced watch being the Edition.

Apple iWatch

3D Printer

It’s been described as the gift that keeps on giving, a device which sits in your home and enables you to custom create almost anything and everything you can imagine. Although there aren’t a huge number of 3D printers available to purchase at the moment, this is a trend that is growing rapidly. Soon 3D printers won’t just be for designers and hobbyists but will allow you to print out things like throwaway plates for children’s parties or a pair of designer sunglasses. Start reading up on CAD now!

Additional reporting from Florence by Antonia Peck

The Apple iWatch – Fashion Translating Into Technology By The Lex Chapter

The release of Apple’s most customisable piece to date has sent a ripple of excitement throughout the luxury fashion industry, especially since Chanel visionary Karl Lagerfeld has been spotted wearing the exclusive gold version. Wearing the watch at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference in Florence today, he said “look how digital I am – I am wearing the first one.” So it was fitting that Apple Senior Vice President of Design Jonathan Ive and renowned industrial designer turned Apple Design Advisor Marc Newson opened the Conference this morning. We look at what impact wearable technology will have on the luxury fashion industry….

Apple Watch

Newson started by explaining that the Apple watch did not deliberately set out to replace the classic timepiece, but that the wrist was the next organic step for technology. When questioned by Suzy Menkes why we would want to wear what is essentially a machine, Ive stressed that as we are already a generation that relies on technology, an Apple iWatch is an ergonomic evolution.

Apple has taken the most successful aspects of the luxury fashion industry and translated them into technology. Firstly, the importance of personalised design: luxury luggage and leather companies have long offered monogram services to make classic designs unique. Apple has observed this and moved their products away from a solid monolithic device by introducing several aesthetic options.

Secondly, the Apple iWatch has embraced the fashion industry’s multi-pricing segmentation. From the sporty rubber strap to the classic quilted leather, you can mix and match straps and metallic finishes until you’re happy. All this comes at a cost, with prices starting with the entry level Apple Sport at £299, and ending with the ultra-exclusive Apple Edition priced at £13,000. This means everyone can aspire to own the very latest that Apple are offering.

 Karl Lagerfeld attends the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Karl Lagerfeld attends the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference at Palazzo Vecchio in Florence, Italy (image courtesy of Vittorio Zunino Celotto for Getty Images)

Is this good news for the fashion industry? On the whole, the reaction seems to be positive with Hermès declaring publicly at the Condé Nast International Luxury Conference that they think it’s great. Positive reaction means that luxury fashion houses can now start planning collections and accessories that will compliment wearable technology; leather straps and travel cases for a start.

What effect will the Apple iWatch have on hard luxury, brands that sell classic watches that are seen as both a beautiful object and an investment? The news isn’t as bad as it might seem, as Ive noted this morning that Apple’s target audience – the under thirties – are not a generation who feels the need to wear a watch if they want to tell the time, as they simply check out their smart phone. With the introduction of the Apple Watch, the younger generation might start to pay attention to what someone chooses to wear on their wrist, whether it be wearable technology like the Apple Watch or a classic timepiece. The opening up of a new luxury market place can only be a good thing.

Additional reporting from Florence by Antonia Peck

Creativity At Work By K magazine

Untitled from the series "Alexander McQueen Working Process" 2008-09, © Nick Waplington

Untitled from the series “Alexander McQueen Working Process” 2008-09,
© Nick Waplington

As the epic Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty show began in London, there is another retrospective, at Tate Britain, which examines his creative process through photographs. K magazine looks through the lens….

It’s an exhibition of the intimate, behind-the-scenes pictures from the The Horn of Plenty show, taken by Nick Waplington. There are models being tied into corsets, scowling at the camera, and images of McQueen so tense, so deep in creative thought, that it’s as though he has forgotten the camera was even there.

Agent provocateur, agitator, enfant terrible, creative genius, and an East End boy; Alexander Lee McQueen the man; and McQueen the artist, lived with many a moniker. But when it comes to his creative process, how much did we really know? Very little, is the answer.

Staged during the cold autumn of 2009, The Horn of Plenty was to be the designer’s last catwalk collection before his tragic death just five months later. The reportage photographer, Nick Waplington, was backstage on a rare commission, to capture the moment. The photographs have since become a treasured, final glimpse into the creative output of a modern-day genius.

Untitled from the series "Alexander McQueen Working Process" 2008-09, © Nick Waplington

Untitled from the series “Alexander McQueen Working Process” 2008-09,
© Nick Waplington

This was the first and only time that McQueen would allow someone to document his working process in the lead-up to a show, and Waplington used his reportage technique to immerse himself into the action as he shot from the shadows.

McQueen’s studio staff weren’t allowed to speak to the photographer, or even offer him a cup of tea. “He liked my messy, dirty style, so he wanted me to take some messy, dirty photos of him,” said Waplington. “He was only going to open up his studio to someone that he had a relationship, or some empathy with.”

Buzzing

The setting for the show, which was to be a sartorial commentary about a nation teetering on the brink of a recession, was in the round, inside Paris’s Palais Omnisport. At the venue’s centre was a towering pile of rubbish. Yes, junk. Recycled bits and bobs piled high; car parts; old fairground horses; broken furniture and petrol cans – each piece spray-painted black, and looming ominously over the seated audience.

The lights fell, and an army of models, part fetishists, and part formalists, teetered around the black debris – stepping over shards of broken glass as they traversed the runway. Their faces were painted white, and their lips were accentuated into sex-doll proportions with glossy, red paint. Their bodies were stitched into dangerously sharp hound’s-tooth tailoring, sumptuous, black feather gowns and red, printed bodices.

Untitled from the series "Alexander McQueen Working Process" 2008-09, © Nick Waplington

Untitled from the series “Alexander McQueen Working Process” 2008-09,
© Nick Waplington

Gowns were made of what looked like bin liners and shattered records (but were in fact crafted from layers of expensive silks) and the hats echoed the throwaway theme. Lampshades, washing machine piping and umbrellas – nothing was just rubbish, even the most throwaway aspects of life were rendered into splendour. This was power dressing at its most extreme. “I want people to look at it and say, what’s that?”, he said of the show backstage.

“Backstage at a McQueen show, the atmosphere was always buzzing,” says Jade Parfitt, a model who McQueen often cast in his shows. “It felt like a cross between an art installation and a rave. It was tense and exciting. You wanted to perform for him.”

Working Progress is at Tate Britain until 17th May 2015.

Quality, Innovation And A Cabinet of Curiosity At Salone Del Mobile By The Luxury Channel

Pill Cocktail Design by India Mahdavi for Bisazza

Pill Cocktail Design by India Mahdavi for Bisazza

The 54th edition of Salone Del Mobile will open its doors at the Rho Fiera Milano Fairgrounds. Quality and innovation, along with a wide range of goods, are the ingredients that make Salone such an unmissable event. With over 2,000 exhibitors, more than 200,000 m2 of exhibition space and thousands of products making their market debut, Salone Del Mobile attracts more than 300,000 visitors from over 160 countries. We bring you our round-up of what to watch out for….

Arper

Arper is displaying its new collections, inspired by its Work/Life and Soft Technology concepts, meeting the demands of the ever-evolving home and office. Launches include acoustic wall modules that reduce extraneous noise, fully customisable task chairs, curvaceous plastic seating and a sleek wooden table, as well as an exciting new design by Jean-Marie Massaud.

Aper (image courtesy of Marco Covi)

Aper (image courtesy of Marco Covi)

Ercol

British furniture brand Ercol is presenting its collaborations with two internationally renowned designers as well as updated versions of classic designs from the 1950s, and new contemporary furniture. Nest, a range of two sofas designed by Paola Navone, blends Ercol’s signature style of shaped and steam-bent beech with the renowned designer’s cool, clean lines; Tomoko Azumi will launch a new dining chair and the new Marino occasional chair, designed by Dylan Freeth of the Ercol design studio, will also be seen for the first time.

Paola Navone Nest

Barber & Osgerby

Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby are unveiling a new lounge chair in collaboration with Knoll, a series of glass tables and cabinets with Glasitalia, as well as new pieces to accompany their 2014 collection for Vitra.

Barber & Osgerby (image courtesy of Alisa Connan)

Barber & Osgerby (image courtesy of Alisa Connan)

Kartell

For the first time, Kartell are introducing new works by Alessandro Mendini. Kartell will also show new products from Antonio Citterio, Piero Lissoni, Patricia Urquiola, Mario Bellini and Philippe Starck. The first Kartell Fragrance collection, featuring candles, home sprays and diffusers designed by Ferruccio Laviani, will also be on display.

Kabuki Floor Lamp

Stellar Works

Stellar Works is presenting A Cabinet of Curiosity, designed by Neri & Hu, at Spazio Rossana Orlandi. A Cabinet of Curiosity is an exploration of the seven deadly sins in object form, with seven objects each representing a sin and placed inside a cabinet, all designed by Neri & Hu. There will also be an experiential element to the exhibition, with guests encouraged to confess their own sins, and seal those confessions inside envelopes, which will then become part of the installation.

Cabinet of Curiosity

For more information, go to www.salonemilano.it.

Wool Is Cool For All Seasons By The Luxury Channel

Woolmark

Contrary to popular belief, wool is not just a winter fibre nor should it just be classed as a woolly jumper. Merino wool offers much more and can be spun, woven and knitted into different weights and carefully finished in numerous ways for a range of effects and handles that are often surprising. Merino wool is a dynamic natural fibre, offering style and performance for casual and formalwear. The aesthetic possibilities of a wool product are endless, resulting in a spectrum that sees wool as sheer and fine as chiffon, or compact and waterproof, perfect for outerwear. Merino wool provides stability, softness and luxury to the tailoring industry, and the fibre has long been a favourite of designers. The Woolmark Company has partnered with a number of designers and retailers globally to highlight wool’s suitability for all seasons….even as the temperature rises!

Acne

Acne Studios is a Stockholm-based fashion house with a multidisciplinary approach, through founder and Creative Director Jonny Johansson’s interest in photography, art, architecture and contemporary culture. The collections are defined by Johansson’s signature juxtaposing design and attention to detail, with an emphasis on tailoring and an eclectic use of materials and custom developed fabrics. For Women’s Resort 2015, the Acne Studios Foin Doublé is a wool blend coat with a straight, menswear inspired fit. It has a narrow notched collar, two long front welt pockets that overlap the side seams with a custom d-ring closure. For Men’s Spring Summer 2015, the Acne Studios Clissold Long is a relaxed fit cardigan-sweater in fine navy Italian Merino wool with ribbed neckline with button placket and offset shoulder seams.

Acne

Armadillo Merino

Athletes are always seeking ways to optimise their performance. The fabrics and garments developed by Armadillo help to optimise an athlete’s output by managing heat, sweat and odour, allowing the champion to work harder, faster, stronger and for longer. The Armadillo Merino®/Monocle running collection collaboration uses the experience of hard-tested Merino fabrics with contemporary designs in a range of running garments that not only look good but will help you run harder.

Armadillo Merino

Christopher Raeburn

The ongoing partnership with The Woolmark Company has enabled a deeper exploration of soft tailoring for summer, with super lightweight woven Merino wool fabrics feature in suit jackets, shorts and trousers, as well as knitted casual vests and hybrid hoodies. Over the past two years, with the ongoing help and support from The Woolmark Company, the Raeburn brand has been able to put this most diverse of fibres to very good use, developing entirely new categories and sourcing new fabric qualities.

Christopher Raeburn

Joseph

For over three decades, Joseph has been at the forefront of fashion. In recent years, the Joseph collection has entered a new phase, drawing renewed strength from the energy around it. Under the creative direction of Louise Trotter, Joseph presents a high contemporary ready-to-wear collection with a strong core of luxury essentials. For the first look from their SS15 collection, they focused on Joseph’s signature knit cardigan stitch, introduced by Joseph himself over 20 years ago after being inspired by his daughter’s traditional hill house school jumper. The knit itself is a mixed composition of Merino wool with cotton.

Joseph

Lou Dalton

For Lou Dalton, Spring/Summer 2015 is all about control. “It’s defining who we are as a brand, who I am as a designer, where we’ve come from, and where we are going now,” she says. Fine knit sweaters are vivid in red and cornflower blue with an abstraction of flower photography, while straight-necked sweaters are a new essential, and knitted T-Shirts have neat striped sleeves. Other wool pieces featured in the collection include an army field jacket rendered in dry wool, with a shorter version in the light wool check of a country gent.

Lou Dalton

Richard James

Richard James was founded on Savile Row in 1992 with a simple, clear philosophy that remains to this day: to produce classic, refined clothing of unsurpassable quality and push the boundaries through design, colour and cut. The brand’s sharply sculpted, single-button suit, in a finely woven, deeply hued steel blue 99% Super 120s Merino/1% cashmere blend with a black warp, demonstrates why Merino is the natural choice for Spring/Summer tailoring. As well as visibly holding its shape and draping beautifully, it will breathe and adapt to your body temperature, keeping you cool under the sun while taking the chill out of summer evenings. The black warp and fine weave of the 120s Merino gives it real depth of colour and a slight iridescence that will come alive at night. The dip-dyed Merino and silk scarf is for wrapping up in or leaving long and loose, adding colour and contrast.

Richard James

Holly Fulton

The integration of Merino wool into the collection was a natural fit; it provides a high-quality handle through its composition and offers great versatility as a fabrication. Colour is key to Fulton’s work and Merino wool provides a perfect foil to showcase this, offering great tones whether in knitwear or wovens. Wool also offers climactic benefits and, by utilising this in evening wear and key showpieces, the material has been showcased in a new light. Working with key UK wool manufacturers, longer length gowns have been created with signature embellishments to elevate Merino wool to a high luxury contemporary context.

Holly Fulton

Sibling

Sibling’s foundations are taking the tradition of knitwear and moving it forward. With this in mind, the brand works towards using wool and yarns in the most effective and modern way possible. Global stockists’ climate is also an issue, which begs the question “how do you make a ‘woolly’ garment less woolly?” That’s where Merino wool comes in: it’s light, it can offer warmth on a chilly night in LA without fear of feeling over-heated or too warm, it takes colour well (colour being very important in the world of SIibling) and knits up easily. With lofty and fine yarns, Merino is always a Sibling go-to when designing collections.

Sibling

Victoria Beckham

Since launching in 2008, the Victoria Beckham fashion brand has developed a distinctive and modern language of clothing. Bold, intuitive and refined, its wardrobe of apparel and accessories is now stocked in over 500 stores in over 60 countries internationally. With each collection, Victoria adapts her own personal style to the needs and desires of the international women who swear by the label’s luxurious and flattering garments. Showcasing only the finest craftsmanship, fabrication and materials, all five Victoria Beckham lines are developed at Victoria’s studio in London. The Victoria Beckham ready-to-wear collection is primarily handmade in the UK, whilst the Victoria, Victoria Beckham and Denim collections are handmade in Europe. The Accessories and Eyewear are both expertly handcrafted in Italy.

Victoria Beckham

Vivienne Westwood

With a design record spanning over 40 years, Vivienne Westwood is now recognised as a global brand and Westwood herself as one of the most influential fashion designers and activists in the world today. With a rich history of creating fashion and generating influence, Vivienne Westwood is renowned for using different forms of wool and noble fibres in her collections, and has always been an avid supporter for the use of wool in fashion. “Wool is one of the world’s great natural fibres, famous for its versatility and comfort – warm in winter, cool in summer, it is incredibly versatile,” Westwood says.

Fashion Passion

For further information, please visit www.woolmark.com.

Crawford’s Stingrays By The Luxury Channel

Crawford

Stingray, or “shagreen” as it used to be called, is not exactly the latest fashion. It has been around for centuries. Originally introduced into the Royal French Court around 1740 by Monsieur Galuchat, the Court’s Master Leatherworker, it became quickly popular amongst all the highest of European social circles.

Crawford

Stingray skin certainly has an unmistakable texture. The skins resemble the thickness of cow hides and have the ability to absorb a fantastic range of colour dyes. Known for its incredible durability and toughness, stingray is probably the hardest wearing of all exotic skins. For years, local fishermen would dry out the skins of the stingray in the hot sun and then use them as sandpaper to work on their fishing boats.

Crawford

Unlike many exotic furs and skins, stingray is caught and eaten for its meat. In the South China Sea area, they are a staple diet and the skin would be otherwise discarded, so it is in essence a natural by-product. The ocean supply of stingray is plentiful and they are nowhere near being an endangered species.

Crawford

Demand for stingray skin remains strong worldwide. But beware – there are different levels of quality and plenty of fake or “faux” stingray. The average skin is only about 12 inches wide, so if you see large pieces covered in stingray without seams – such as furniture or wallpaper – you know that particular item never started life under the sea. Watch out also for the dyed white perfect diamond shape that is meant to represent the stingray backbone. The real backbone is more a series of graduated white dots in a straight line.

Crawford

Crawford makes a range of accessories and jewellery in non-endangered stingray skin. Each piece is handmade and will outlast its rivals in leather, ostrich, alligator or any of the other exotics. “Aside from the handmade quality, incredible durability and lifetime guarantee we give on all our products,” says creative designer Alastair Crawford, “what our clients really love is the range of 30 spectacular colours we offer our stingray in.” Couple that with the seemingly endless stream of new designs that Crawford introduce each year, and it becomes easy to understand why their merchandise is in such hot demand.

Crawford Colour Chart

Stingray skin is virtually maintenance-free. It can get wet – after all, it was a fish originally. Most dirt and stains can be removed with a damp cloth. It won’t fade, crack or wear. It may be one of the lesser-known of the exotic skins, but its popularity worldwide is never in question. After all, the social elite have been buying it for over 250 years.

www.crawfordboutique.com

Bellweather Basel By Alex Doak

The Chinese are gifting less, Russia’s slowing down, and the uncapped Swiss franc is driving up costs, but early signs are, says Alex Doak of Tempus Magazine, that Baselworld will be as exuberant as ever….

Baselworld

One of my favourite credit crunch anecdotes (admittedly there aren’t very many) comes from that stalwart of taste and understatement, Hermès. Allegedly, the Parisian brand’s boutiques began offering their more self-conscious customers plain white bags in which to surreptitiously stow their purchases, rather than the usual road-safety orange colour scheme broadcasting its new owner’s criminally insensitive largesse.

Baselworld

Because, as we all know, the very top end wasn’t terribly affected by the financial downturn of the late noughties. The rich continued to get richer, and the stuff they like continued to get bought – yes, mostly by the Chinese and Russians, but also by Westerners who are just better at that whole subtlety thing when it comes indulging their wealth.

Franc Vila

A lot of that stuff happened to be Swiss watches – meaning that despite a brief dip in export value in 2009, things were soon exactly offset by a 22% recovery the following year. Then a 20% rise. And another 11%….All the while, however, the vitrines of spring’s Baselworld watch and jewellery trade fair had never looked so humble. Out with the pantomime über-complications, tourbillons for the sake of tourbillons and diamond-set carbuncles. In with the sixties reissues, slimline cases and clean white dials. Looking back, it’s patently clear that this return to simpler, less complicated, less flashy timepieces was merely Switzerland’s plain-white Hermès bag moment.

Arnold & Son

But what’s good about this – quite apart from reminding us all what tasteful watch-making looks like – is that the modern revival of ‘‘proper’’ watches, following the Quartz Crisis of the eighties, is now complete. With spending power in healthier shape than ever – the industry doesn’t even seem particularly worried by the uncapped Swiss franc driving up export costs – what we’ll see gleaming from each brand-pavilion’s vitrines this March and early April will be the most comprehensive range of product seen for decades. The more avant-garde watchmakers are yet again pushing the boundaries of materials, mechanics and design – such as Hublot, Girard-Perregaux and Arnold & Son – but they have also remembered to service the lower-end and those who simply want a watch that actually fits beneath their French cuffs (well done as ever, Blancpain).

Blancpain

It’s not just the suited and booted dapper chaps who are benefitting. Women are better served than ever, by watches with both brains and beauty, rather than a simple “pink shrink” kitted out with quartz. In fact, especially in the case of the Harry Winston Midnight Feathers, the line between men and women is increasingly blurred (maybe one day the “boyfriend watch” will be replaced by the “girlfriend watch”…?)

Harry Winston

All of which means that the burgeoning parade of fashion press struggling to navigate the labyrinthine halls of Messe Basel are scratching their heads even more. How to populate their facile trends round-ups, when tastes have never been more catholic? Richemont’s SIHH trade fair in January proved this, with even the most fazed watch hacks struggling to conveniently encapsulate proceedings beyond a tenuous trend for a skeleton dial here and there. As much as we were tempted to fall back on good old blue dials, rose gold or matte black, the fact of the matter is that these ‘‘trends’’ are here to stay, along with every other conceivable incarnation of fine watch-making, providing more choice than ever for watch lovers.

Baselworld Watch & Jewellery Show 2015 runs from Thursday 19th March until Thursday 26th April. For further information, visit www.baselworld.com.

New Breitling Chronoliner

The Infamous Breitling Party

Exhibiting brands literally spend millions of Euros building their multi-storey pavilions at Baselworld, and thousands more renting the floorspace and storing all the bits during the year. So it’s no surprise that most of them would rather get their money’s worth and throw their cocktail soirées on site. But not so Breitling, which despite having its own palace complete with double-decker-bus-sized aquarium of tropical fish, get tongues wagging every year as to the secretive location of its notoriously debaucherous, theatrically immersive party. Thrown five evenings on the trot (yes, five!), it invariably involves boarding a convoy of buses – one year, guests were ushered onto battered old rattlers by rifle-wielding terrorists – and being whisked to a converted industrial space for Michelin-starred food, flowing cocktails, a performance by Kool and the Gang (one year at least) and the inevitable caged S&M show. Never say the Swiss are a shy and retiring bunch….

Savage Beauty By Caroline Phillips

Butterfly headdress of hand-painted turkey feathers from La Dame Bleue, SS08 by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen, modelled by Alana Zimmer (image courtesy of Anthea Simms and the V&A)

Butterfly headdress of hand-painted turkey feathers from La Dame Bleue, SS08 by Philip Treacy for Alexander McQueen, modelled by Alana Zimmer (image courtesy of Anthea Simms and the V&A)

Savage Beauty, a major retrospective of the work of visionary fashion designer Lee Alexander McQueen, is a cut above the rest. The exhibition – which originated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York – has been edited and expanded, with 244 items on display. Clothes will always look dull after these.

Installation view of "Romantic Exoticism" 2015 - Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Installation view of “Romantic Exoticism” 2015 – Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

There are 10 sections from McQueen’s MA graduate collection to his final 2010 unfinished one. Each showcases dominant themes and concepts of McQueen’s extraordinary work – from London (which focuses on the designer’s early roots) to Romantic Gothic (which references the Victorian Gothic tradition) and Romantic Primitivism (think atavistic and tribal in a room of bones and skulls).

Jellyfish ensemble and Armadillo shoes from Plato’s Atlantis, SS10 by Alexander McQueen, modelled by Polina Kasina (image courtesy of Lauren Greenfield, INSTITUTE and the V&A)

Jellyfish ensemble and Armadillo shoes from Plato’s Atlantis, SS10 by Alexander McQueen, modelled by Polina Kasina (image courtesy of Lauren Greenfield, INSTITUTE and the V&A)

There’s Kate Moss in a diaphanous dress stuck in a glass pyramid – a holographic 3D image that is shown near life size. At the heart of the exhibition is the magnificent Cabinet of Curiosities – a double-height room with a ceiling-high montage of Philip Treacy hats, revolving mannequins, those famous towering armadillo shoes and screens showing snatches of his highly conceptual, provocative catwalk shows (the church converted into a runway, women walking on water). This is pure theatre.

Duck feather dress from The Horn of Plenty, AW09 by Alexander McQueen, modelled by Magdalena Frackowiak (image courtesy of firstVIEW and the V&A)

Duck feather dress from The Horn of Plenty, AW09 by Alexander McQueen, modelled by Magdalena Frackowiak (image courtesy of firstVIEW and the V&A)

McQueen’s technical accomplishment is awesome – from the dress of razor clams or feathers to the skirt from plywood and garment of synthetic hair or leather. The accessories – the extravagant bone headpieces, armadillo shoes and Swarovski mesh chain-mail are like sculptures. This is more than fashion. These pieces reach the realm of art – in addition to being a collection of innovative tailoring, eclectic influences and blend of technology with craftsmanship.

Installation view of "Voss" 2015 - Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A  (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Installation view of “Voss” 2015 – Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A
(image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Are there any downsides? There’s a lack of context or explanation in Savage Beauty. I don’t learn much about the designer’s life – especially about what might have driven him to suicide or the impact of his depression on his work. Nor do I find out about his psyche and what demons drove him to cover women’s faces in leather gimp masks. Was he a misogynist? Plus my understanding of the social milieu that existed when, say, he created his bumster trousers is not furthered.

Installation view of '"Romantic Nationalism" 2015 - Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Installation view of ‘”Romantic Nationalism” 2015 – Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

But this matters hardly one jot: the overall experience is a triumph. Savage Beauty is like being immersed in the world of fairy story, with darker hints of gothic sensibilities. It’s a magical experience. A spiritual one.

Tulle and lace dress with veil and antlers from Widows of Culloden, AW06 by Alexander McQueen, modelled by Raquel Zimmermann (image courtesy of firstVIEW and the V&A)

Tulle and lace dress with veil and antlers from Widows of Culloden, AW06 by Alexander McQueen, modelled by Raquel Zimmermann (image courtesy of firstVIEW and the V&A)

Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty (in partnership with Swarovski, supported by American Express, with thanks to M∙A∙C Cosmetics, technology partner Samsung and made possible with the co-operation of Alexander McQueen), the retrospective of the work of fashion designer Alexander McQueen, is to date the most popular show ever staged at the V&A, according to the museum’s deputy director Tim Reeve. More than 480,000 tickets were sold for this theatrical, romantic and sometimes eerie exhibition. For further information, go to www.vam.ac.uk/savagebeauty

Installation view of "Platos Atlantis" 2015 - Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A  (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Installation view of “Platos Atlantis” 2015 – Alexander McQueen Savage Beauty at the V&A
(image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to www.carolinephillips.net.

Shouting Itself Horst – A Stylish Catalogue By K magazine

The V&A museum’s exhibition Horst: Photographer of Style recently presented a ‘‘definitive retrospective of the work of Horst P. Horst (1906-99), one of the 20th century’s master photographers.’’ Renowned for his glamourous fashion and Hollywood images, he was also a portayer of the male body and exponent of photographic art. K magazine reveals if the exhibition catalogue does him justice….

Cover of the catalogue "Horst - Photographer of Style," by Susanna Brown

Cover of the catalogue “Horst – Photographer of Style,” by Susanna Brown

Horst’s career is inseparable from the successful rise of glossy magazines and cover girls. The above book, like the exhibition, relates the importance and the continuity of Horst, a contemporary of Erwin Blumenfeld, who from Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar, constituted a strong aesthetic body of work, indisputably taken with the radiant, natural ideal of a classical Grecian beauty.

Horst and style: that of classic, harmonious compositions, of contrasts and gentle gradations, of poses at once delicate and disquietingly eternal. Of languid and aristocratic bodies, only abandoning themselves ever so slightly to the idea of pleasure but freely embodying order, good posture, and the photogenic quality of a capitalist century in the best of lighting conditions.

From soft homo-erotic subjects to naturalist projects, Horst lays out a sober and sometimes elliptical approach, an abstract glamour that brushes up against questions of montage, collage and subterfuge. This is precisely where he reaches style, when montage goes beyond the photography. When Dadaist collage attacks the expression of a silhouette, the rarity of a look, the fleeting elegance of allure as symbol of a diffuse present.

Horst - Photographer of Style (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Horst – Photographer of Style (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

From Chanel to Daly, Bette Davis to Lisa Fonssagrives, the clothing detains the body. It’s the photograph that then tames the clothing through composition. Framing is everything. Physical frames subordinate the photographic frame. Mirrors, windows, steps, reflections, studio background paper, furniture, and stripes all structure the clothing, then the body. The set, so often out of focus, is a visual tool, subdividing and fixing the look, capturing the muse.

Fleeting glamour

It’s an aesthetic game, contemporary and cinematographic, as much Dadaist or surrealist. Horst adds an overdone glamour, a quiet insanity – the paradoxical sharp focus of a Max Ernst collage. The photograph replays the compositional montage, at once legible and paradoxical, full of duplicity. The classical composition functions as a means of seizing and subdividing a fleeting glamour, which the spectator can latch on to.

Corset by Detolle for Mainbocher 1939 by Horst P. Horst

Corset by Detolle for Mainbocher 1939 by Horst P. Horst

The photo studio is the ideal birthplace for these shrewd assemblages. Collaborations with set designer Marcel Vertès affirm this fool’s game with their illustrative scenery and grandiloquent flourishes, re-enacting details of the photographed clothes. The organic motif of a polka dot 1953 Mollie Parnis dress is observed by the envious, hypertrophied eyes of a group of comedic legged, polka-dot figures.

A 1953 Pierre Balmain blue floral dress is arranged like a tattered bouquet draped on a painted still-life statue set against a red, garden trestle backdrop. An Adele Simpson dress perfectly at home on a Dali background. An eloquent range of completely photogenic effects is achieved.

The other side of his work, the romantic portrait, follows a similar path. The sets and settings – sunbathed, theatrically lit, cinematographically set – accentuate a classical reading of an ideal drama, but with a twist: the arrival of a reckless friend, the couture dress.

Horst - Photographer of Style (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Horst – Photographer of Style (image courtesy of the Victoria and Albert Museum, London)

Beauty is located in the incongruity, the precision of the elements (the black and white set and the coloured jewels). The disquieting cinematographic posture of the model, the blurry movement that rejects the shutter’s fixity….

Lost paradise

It all signifies an unreal present, outside of time. In The Year of Magical Thinking, Joan Didion describes this as the unreal gap between fashion and life at this time. From this quest for untarnished beauty to the pursuit of an ideal model, the encounter between the set and the muse is bombastic, generating its own drama.

In the Living In Style section of the catalogue, a visit to the homes of aristocrats or dandies like artist Cy Twombly show the same quest to discover the enigmatic rules of style and uncover a lost paradise of assemblage. It is a desire to find a place where eclecticism and radical modernity co-exist, where fashion dictates co-ordinating ensembles in Baudelairean salons where ‘‘that great symphony of the day is an eternal variant on the symphony of yesterday, that succession of melodies a kind of infinity….’’

The question of colour (in Jacqueline Lichenstein’s theoretical sense) is primordial. Colourised or already present in the image, the chromatic range of the photo expresses its sensuality, glamour and grand style. Out-of-focus zones create enough empty space for each colour to co-exist with the others in the global composition.

Portrait of model Muriel Maxwell putting on lipstick by Horst P. Horst for American Vogue, 1939

Portrait of model Muriel Maxwell putting on lipstick by Horst P. Horst for American Vogue, 1939

Is this genre sleek? Surely sometimes in its rendering, but rescued by its radical style, the art of re-situating the body in a setting that makes everything explicit, dramatic: a total look. The art of choosing and specifying: a look that composes while reducing to essentials. The photo is stable, the actors enter into the cinematographic frame, silhouettes against a haze, the impossibly precise focus allowing the style to show through, and fine objects to emerge.

Poetic vision

All of what Horst and the best of his contemporaries created was style, and it’s what we are missing today. Construction without the weight of communicating an exclusive commercial obligation, the ability to propose a poetic vision, is what this excellent catalogue offers up as a brilliant reference.

In fact, what we owe cultural players like Horst is to grasp that fashion isn’t only defined by style, that the clothing-object only exists through the image that holds, fixes and broadcasts it. On a body that is chosen, not endured.

Order the catalogue Horst: Photographer of Style, £40, by Susanna Brown, V&A curator of photographs and curator of the exhibition. The exhibition Horst: Photographer of Style will be touring internationally in 2015-2016.

The Fabergé Pearl Egg – An Objet D’Art Masterpiece By The Luxury Channel

Fabergé has revived its revered tradition of creating the most precious and coveted of objets d’art.
Paying homage to the forthcoming centenary of the last Fabergé Imperial Eggs ever delivered, Fabergé has crafted an extraordinary, one-of-kind egg objet in collaboration with the Al-Fardan family, one of the world’s most renowned collectors of pearls.

The Fabergé Pearl Egg

The Fabergé Pearl Egg

The Fabergé Pearl Egg is the first egg created in the ‘‘Imperial Class’’ since 1917. Pearls have been coveted and treasured for millennia, linked inextricably with royalty, style and status. As a result, natural oriental pearls have become highly sought-after wonders of nature given their beauty and lustre. Fabergé has celebrated these “jewels of the sea” in the exquisite Fabergé Pearl Egg.

The Fabergé Pearl Egg draws inspiration from the formation of a pearl within an oyster, and the egg’s painstakingly-crafted, mother-of-pearl exterior opens to reveal a unique grey pearl of 12.17 carats, sourced from the Arabian Gulf (as for thousands of years, the most desirable and valuable natural pearls came from the Gulf) and exhibiting exceptional purity and a highly unusual shade of grey.

The Fabergé Lilies of the Valley Egg

The Fabergé Lilies of the Valley Egg

Harnessing 20 highly skilled workmasters, the objet embodies 139 fine white pearls with a golden lustre, 3,305 diamonds, carved rock crystal and mother-of-pearl set on white and yellow gold. Each pearl adorning the Fabergé Pearl Egg was hand-selected by Hussain Ibrahim Al-Fardan from his private collection. An ingenious mechanism enables the entire outer shell to rotate on its base, simultaneously opening in six sections to unveil its treasure.

The Pearl Egg is accompanied by a sumptuous Fabergé necklace of white pearls, diamonds and mother-of-pearl featuring a scallop motif, and finished with an exquisite 19.44 carat white pearl drop. It was unveiled in February at the prestigious Doha Watch and Jewellery Exhibition.

www.faberge.com

London Fashion Week AW15 By Charlotte India Smith

London Fashion Week at Somerset House (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

London Fashion Week at Somerset House (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Every season, the bar is being raised and I cannot help but feel the pressure on British designers to keep up their reputation to produce what I feel is arguably more eccentric and quirkier than that of other fashion capitals. Lets face it, we don’t play it safe in London – you only have to look at the emerging talent at the Central Saint Martins show to know that – so take note of designer Matty Bovan. London was ranked the fashion capital of the world only a few years ago by a Global Language Monitor (which ranks fashionable cities by how often they appear on social media, amongst other means). I believe it comes from the creativity and the fact that the city is so multicultural; there really is something for everyone! So here’s a little taster of my favourite looks and trends for the coming Autumn/Winter Season….

Marques'Almeida AW15 (image courtesy of  Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Marques’Almeida AW15 (image courtesy of
Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

I have to say, AW15 did not disappoint – “the thigh’s the limit” (literally!). Let’s kick-start this season with thigh highs – love ‘em or hate ‘em, they were heavily present. From the patent nudes at Fyodor Golan or the bright metallic boots at Marques’Almeida, not to mention the infamous shoe and accessory designer Sophia Webster, who had over-the-knees in leopard print and lace-ups all the way to the top. I’m quite excited that both she and the bright patent red booties at Ashish have made it okay (if not exactly glamorous), to be trashy this season.

Ashley Williams AW15 (image courtesy of  Eeva Rinne, British Fashion Council)

Ashley Williams AW15 (image courtesy of
Eeva Rinne, British Fashion Council)

Following on from this, several designers have incorporated the Glam Rock theme into their looks this season. Black and brightly coloured latex and leather were present in many shows; most notably Sibling (who also adorned models in fish nets, coats and no bras!) and Ashley Williams – which in her words was ‘‘sickly pink’’ meets black – whilst still keeping up with the trashy/glam vibe.

Shrimps AW15 (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Shrimps AW15 (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Shrimps, most known for her exquisite faux furs, also added a touch of black patent latex to her looks this year. There was also a little hint of Mongolian wool mixed up with her usual style, adding great texture to her pieces. House of Holland was also rocking it out for Autumn/Winter with oversized colourful Mongolian wool.

House of Holland AW15 (Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

House of Holland AW15 (Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Fur-ther more, (faux) fur is still big – in fact, the bigger and bolder in colour, the better! Marques’ Almeida started the show with bright red faux fur; bright red being another common denominator throughout the shows. Ashish showed faux fur in a mix-up of animal print – who would have thought you could combine thigh highs, leopard print furs and embellished sequin lingerie, and still look this incredible?!

Sibling AW15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Sibling AW15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Talking of embellishments, if the looks weren’t full-on fur, they certainly were embellished with it – most noticeably Sibling who also kept up the vibrant colour theme with a tangerine dream! Ashish again ticked all the trend boxes this season – not only with sequinned lingerie, but also with the embellished denim that has just made a come-back. Of course, Marques’Almeida’s frayed hems should always get a mention, but I now must present you with my favourite: Faustine Steinmetz.

Faustine Steinmetz AW15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Faustine Steinmetz AW15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Now, we all have certain shows we most look forward but I do love it when a relatively new designer (since 2013) slaps you in the face with something so creatively exciting. Remember I mentioned that element of quirky and eccentric that sets London apart? Well, although French-born, I can see why Faustine Steinmetz’s presentation was here in London. The use of textured brushed wool and paint to recreate denim-like garments was so clever. Denim will never go out – fact – but I have to say, come Autumn/Winter this year, faux-denim is definitely what I’ll be in!

Weaving In And Up By K magazine

The First Prize winner of The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 in Partnership with Shanghai Tang, Kévin Germanier's full collection

The First Prize winner of The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 in Partnership with Shanghai Tang, Kévin Germanier’s full collection

Hong Kong-based NGO Redress highlights the fashion industry’s ‘‘catastrophic contribution to today’s environmental crisis,’’ but is hoping to inspire designers and students to make sustainable fashion part of the industry’s mainstream. Are the hopes justified? K magazine investigates….

The world is enjoying a booming fashion industry. According to the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Cotton Advisory Committee, total global textile consumption increased to 69.7 million tonnes in 2010, from 47.3 million tonnes 10 years earlier. In just two years, production volume of the global textile industry in 2013 had risen to 92.3 million tonnes, an expansion of 7% from 86 million in 2011, according to The Fiber Year Consulting.

But all this comes at a price. Lest we neglect the negative impact on the environment, the World Bank estimates that as much as 17 to 20 % of industrial water pollution comes from textile dying and treatment. To produce 16 pairs of jeans, for example, we need a whopping 58,000 litres of water, 48kg of chemicals, 6,400 MJ of energy and 208m2 of harvested land, according to Fashioning Sustainability 2013, a report by Deloitte.

The Second Prize winner of The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 in Partnership with The Langham Hong Kong, Victor Chu

The Second Prize winner of The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 in Partnership with The Langham Hong Kong, Victor Chu

Zero tolerance

In order to raise awareness of this issue, Redress, a Hong Kong-based NGO is promoting environmental sustainability in the fashion industry by focusing on reduction in textile waste, pollution, and water and energy consumption. Founder and CEO Christina Dean said: “The fashion industry’s catastrophic contribution to today’s environmental crisis is continuing unabated. Change, which requires multi-stakeholder collaboration, is urgently needed. Hong Kong is a hub for Asia’s fashion industry in terms of production, especially now, owing to Asia’s economic growth and consumption. We are powerfully positioned to drive the industry into accepting that we can’t carry on with business as usual.”

The first prize for The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 in Partnership with Shanghai Tang, awarded to Kévin Germanier

The first prize for The EcoChic Design Award 2014/15 in Partnership with Shanghai Tang, awarded to Kévin Germanier

With this mind, Redress launched The EcoChic Design Award, a sustainable fashion design competition in Hong Kong, in 2011. It has since been expanded to include mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, France, Germany, Denmark and Sweden, with its next cycle being open to all Asia and all Europe. Aiming to challenge emerging fashion designers and students ‘‘to create mainstream clothing with minimal textile waste,’’ all contestants are required to follow three themes: zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction.

Simply speaking, zero-waste is a design technique that makes the best use of materials and eliminates waste at the design stage; up-cycling refers to the recycling of a material into a product of higher quality; and reconstruction means the process of making new clothes from previously worn garments or pre-formed products.

Easier said than done, especially working on sustainable fashion. But some of the contestants are highlighting the possibility. For example, by using up-cycling techniques on his textile waste source of Swiss army blankets and polyethylene bags, Kévin Germanier from the UK impressed not only the judges but influential industry audiences alike, resulting in him winning the 2014/15 competition cycle.

Design by UK Finalist Kévin Germanier (image courtesy of Tim Wong)

Design by UK Finalist Kévin Germanier (image courtesy of Tim Wong)

Speaking at the awards ceremony at HKTDC Hong Kong Fashion Week World Boutique on 21st January 2015, he said: “Sustainable fashion is one way of expressing myself. It feels amazing to be able to create clothes and at the same time to protect the planet. As a young and passionate designer [he is a student at Central Saint Martins], it is very important for me to feel useful. Winning the prize is an unprecedented opportunity for me to create a collection that represents the future of fashion design, production and consumption.”

The second prize went to Hong Kong’s Victor Chu, who impressed the judges with his up-cycling technique, and ideas for scaling up. He will now design textile-waste-reducing staff uniforms for The Langham, a prestigious hotel in Hong Kong.

The Special Prize went to Laurensia Salim from Singapore, who used the technique of zero-waste, up-cycling and reconstruction on her textile waste, comprising second-hand jeans from second-hand shops and her friend’s unwanted clothing, to make a collection featuring a wide range of denims in differing silhouettes. She said: “The fashion industry is a very wasteful industry that has a huge negative impact on the environment. To me, sustainable fashion means a better way of enjoying style that is harmless to the environment. I want to be a sustainable fashion designer because I simply want to make garments that don’t harm anyone or anything.”

Design by Singapore Finalist Laurensia Salim (image courtesy of Tim Wong)

Design by Singapore Finalist Laurensia Salim (image courtesy of Tim Wong)

Mainstreaming?

It seems that sustainable fashion is no longer a topic for a small group of specialists only. More and more international brands, private enterprises and designers are integrating sustainability into their core business. These range from the Maternity Exchange, a Singaporean retail concept brand which rents maternity wear to accommodate the changing bumps of mums-to-be as a way to minimise textile waste; to online evening wear rental companies, like Yeechoo; to designers offering bespoke reconstruction services for private clients, like Hong Kong’s Cher Carman Chan.

Apparel and accessories firm Kering has also rolled out a group-wide Environmental Profit & Loss account across all its 23 brands, so as to measure and put a monetary value on the environmental impact throughout the entire supply chain, for deeper understanding and better decision-making in the future. The company will publish the results in the coming months, and publically share the EP&L methodology with other organisations – including competitors.

Outfit by Laurensia Salim

Outfit by Laurensia Salim

In fact, The EcoChic Design Award may reflect the fact that sustainability is starting to become part of the mainstream. The event targeted emerging fashion designers, but also gained strong support from various stakeholders, ranging from Ford, UPS, The Langham, Hong Kong, Shanghai Tang, jewellers John Hardy, the Sustainable Fashion Business Consortium (SFBC) to celebrity Kary Ng. Plus, CreateHK, the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) government agency has taken an interest.

SFBC chairman and judge of the Award, Anderson Lee, stated: “Together, both judges and competitors are immersed in learning and in the competitive environment, whilst travelling on the same journey to drive systematic change towards sustainability in the fashion industry.”

Can sustainability finally enter the mainstream, on a global basis? Let’s hope so.

Read more

Redress HK / The Eco-Chic Design Award – www.redress.com.hk/the-ecochic-design-award
Kering EP&L – www.kering.com/en/sustainability/environmental-pl

Fifty Shades of Pink And Grey By The Luxury Channel

From top to bottom (and in-keeping with this season’s latest colour trends), we select our own Top Ten key pieces for the season.

1) Gucci

Elegant, polished and effortlessly chic, Gucci’s grey pipeline travel shirt brings sophistication to every ensemble (£215).
www.gucci.com

Gucci Shirt

2) Ralph & Russo

The traditional thread embroidery used for Ralph & Russo’s dresses is intertwined with individual petal applique, with sheaths of organza in a crisp, sophisticated colour palette (POA).
www.ralphandrusso.com

Ralph & Russo Dress

3) Derek Lam

Derek Lam’s long-sleeved polo shirt dress features epaulettes, side seam gussets at the hem and gunmetal straps ($990).
www.dereklam.com/long-sleeve-polo-shirt-dress

Derek Lam Dress

4) Chloe

Chloe’s bi-colour oversized cashmere cape comes in blush nude and soft beige, and has a flattering longer back hem (£1480).
www.net-a-porter.com/product/511431/Chloe/two-tone-cashmere-poncho

Chloe Cape

5) Burberry

Burberry’s single-breasted cotton gabardine trench coat has a heritage-inspired storm shield and epaulettes, while the multi-stitch under collar is finished with nubuck leather taping (£1295).
http://uk.burberry.com/nubuck-leather-detail-gabardine-trench-coat

Burberry Trench

6) Chanel

Chanel’s embroidered silk organza jacket features jewelled buttons (POA).
www.chanel.com

Chanel Jacket

7) Moschino

Moschino’s knee-length skirt feature buttons, multipockets and a lined interior (£589).
www.moschino.com/gb/knee-length-skirt

Moschino Skirt

8) Burberry

Burberry’s tailored trousers are made from a lustrous technical silk blend. Cut in a modern fit, the straight leg trousers feature a sharp, pintuck crease and a flat front with concealed zip and button closure (£395)
http://uk.burberry.com/skinny-fit-satin-back-crepe-trousers

Burberry Trousers

9) Modalu

Modalu’s leather bags are practical, durable and easy to clean. The Erin bag celebrates craftsmanship and understated simplicity, resulting in an elegant and timeless structured tote (£199).
www.modalu.com

Modalu Bag

10) Blancpain

Blancpain’s new Saint Valentine’s model has a mother-of-pearl dial decorated with a majestic inlaid rose. The different thicknesses of mother-of-pearl allow the colour to show through, creating a subtle palette of pink shades. The 36.8 mm diameter white-gold case is lit up with 121 diamonds. This limited edition (14 engraved and numbered pieces) is adorned with a white ostrich leather strap (£34,950).
www.blancpain.com

Blancpain Watch

Fashion At The BAFTAs By Hannah Norman

The BAFTA red carpet has been rolled up for another year, and the last bottles of champagne have been thrown away. Congratulations to our own Eddie Redmayne for winning Best Actor, and to the makers of The Grand Budapest Hotel for all their awards, but now our attention has turned to something a little more pressing – who won in the style stakes!

Amy Adams (courtesy of Getty Images)

Amy Adams (courtesy of Getty Images)

The trend this year was streamlined colour-blocking, with several stars opting to showcase this style. Amy Adams wore white Stella McCartney paired with stand-out, statement belts, while fellow American Reese Witherspoon also chose Stella – with matching satin sandals – but went for a gorgeous deep purple colour.

Reese Witherspoon (courtesy of Rex)

Reese Witherspoon (courtesy of Rex)

Striking colours were favoured by several of the A-list. British TV personality Rachel Riley opted for jade green satin.

Rachel Riley (courtesy of Getty Images)

Rachel Riley (courtesy of Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Best Actress winner Julianne Moore showed exactly why she’s one of Hollywood’s most respected leading ladies in a daring, scarlet red Tom Ford dress with plunging neckline.

Julianne Moore (courtesy of Getty Images)

Julianne Moore (courtesy of Getty Images)

Keira Knightley was one actress who declined to go for full-on colour, however. She instead went for a two-tone number, hiding her baby bump by teaming her girly Giambattista Valli three-quarter length gown with a leather jacket to create an edgier look.

Keira Knightley (courtesy of Rex)

Keira Knightley (courtesy of Rex)

Fellow Brit Felicity Jones also opted out of the colour block look. The Theory of Everything actress went for perhaps a bit of a bold choice in many ways, but her black and lilac Dior Haute Couture gown, with pretty flower embellishments, ensured heads turned her way for all the right reasons.

Felicity Jones (courtesy of Getty Images)

Felicity Jones (courtesy of Getty Images)

The Riot Club’s Holliday Grainger also went for two colours in one dress, with monochrome Antonio Berardi, paired with beautiful diamond jewellery. The whole effect of this classic style was pure, striking elegance.

Holliday Grainger (courtesy of Getty Images)

Holliday Grainger (courtesy of Getty Images)

Meanwhile, model Laura Bailey was clearly also hoping to exude such elegance. Whilst she undeniably looks amazing for her forty-two years, the jury’s out as to whether her white Emilia Wickstead gown did little more than simply swamp her tiny frame – proving that it’s not always “all white” on the night!

Laura Bailey (courtesy of Getty Images)

Laura Bailey (courtesy of Getty Images)

Get The BAFTA Look! By Jayjay Epega

Image courtesy of BAFTA

Image courtesy of BAFTA

The EE BAFTA Film Awards take place on Sunday 8th February 2015. The Luxury Channel had a very special invite ahead of the event to take a look into the style preparations by some of the official sponsors, where we were given top tips from leading experts on how to prepare for one of the UK film industry’s most glamorous nights!

Charles Worthington

The BAFTAs will be a contemporary mix of classic versus current trends. I think the looks at The BAFTAs will touch on the SS15 hair trend as seen at Fashion Week and will be a great platform to debut these on the red carpet. Hair will be relaxed, yet bold in its approach and shape, less sculptured, but more modern with a subtle “hint” of glamour – be it a wave or a roll. London is the heart of fashion and this will be the perfect excuse to showcase that.

Jessica Alba (image courtesy of BAFTA)

Jessica Alba (image courtesy of BAFTA)

Charles Worthington’s Top Tips:

1. Freshly wash hair on the day – clean hair can be made pliable with product for more control than if it’s slightly dirty.

2. For tonnes of volume that lasts, use Charles Worthington BAFTA Limited Edition Volume & Bounce Body Booster Mousse. It’s best in the roots, mainly on underneath sections and with less on top.

3. Layer products up to suit each hair type.

4. Hairspray in at the roots when styling is good for grit, which brushes out easily.

www.charlesworthington.com

Jeremy Hackett

Jeremy Hackett is the Chairman of Hackett London.

Jeremy Hackett’s Top Tips:

1.Jackets – While lapels are mostly personal preference, remember that certain styles suit certain body types. As a general rule, peak lapels suits a slimmer shape and a shawl collar is more flattering on a stockier guy. Taller men should wear shawl collars with a slim lapel as they draw the eye down. Shorter men should opt for a one-button peak lapel dinner jacket as it will elongate the body. A double-breasted jacket is very traditional and is generally favoured by older gentlemen, but we have seen a distinct rise in popularity this year with younger guys.

2. Shirts – There are two shirt options for formal dress: Marcella (a golf-ball style material) and pleat front. You should always wear a soft forward collar for formal dress. The only time you should wear a wing collar is with white tie. Dress shirts are always double-cuffed shirts, so you have to wear cufflinks.

Brad Pitt (image courtesy of BAFTA)

Brad Pitt (image courtesy of BAFTA)

3. Trousers – In formal dress, you should never have a turn-up on your trousers. Everything has to be plain and clean. Belts are never acceptable with formal dress, so you either have braces or you adjust the side of the trousers to fit. When it comes to alterations, you can let out trousers from the V inlay at the back of the waistband, but you must always ensure you have 3/8ths of a seam on either side or else you run the risk of splitting them mid-waltz! When it comes to length, trousers should be two inches from the floor up and you should always try them on whilst wearing the shoes you are likely to wear for your event.

4. Bow Ties – Coloured and patterned bow ties are acceptable for the red carpet. Contrary to popular belief, decent ready-tied bow ties are acceptable, but you can’t achieve that cool Bond-esque, relaxed look when you undo it at the end of the evening.

5. Footwear – You should opt for classic patent dress shoes or something in plain black, but well-polished. Tassels should be avoided, but velvet slippers are perfectly acceptable. No matter which style you choose, all shoes should be worn with top-quality, thin black socks.

6. General Rule – Keep it simple; it’s formal dress not fancy dress!

www.hackett.com

Lancôme

Lancôme is celebrating 15 years as Official Beauty Partner for the EE BAFTA Film Awards.

Lupita Nyong'o (image courtesy of Lancôme)

Lupita Nyong’o (image courtesy of Lancôme)

Lancôme’s Top Tips:

1. For A Statement Look – Create a flawless complexion with Teint Visionnaire Foundation, and add a natural contour effect to the cheeks with the Blush Subtil Palette. This palette is a red carpet must-have, as it can also be used for eyes as well. Use a nude shade to frame the eyes and finish with lashings of Grandiose Mascara. To complete the look, create a statement lip by dabbing L’Absolu Rouge BAFTA Limited Edition Lipstick and then blend out with fingers.

2. For A Soft And Smoky Look – Create a daytime smoky look using a matte taupe eyeshadow shade to frame the eyes. This look is very modern, as there is no eyeliner used, and it is finished with Grandiose Mascara for an intense, false lash effect.

Penelope Cruz (image courtesy of BAFTA)

Penelope Cruz (image courtesy of BAFTA)

3. For A Pure And Radiant Look – Beautiful make-up starts with beautiful skin! Prep your complexion with Advanced Genifique, then follow with Genifique Eye Light Pearl to brighten and de-puff around the eyes. Prime the skin with Le Base Pro Hydra Glow, as this under your foundation will give you an understated dewy finish. Perfect the skin with Teint Visionnaire Foundation to give you all-over, seamless coverage and balance out any imperfections. Disguise any dark circles by applying Le Correctuer Pro in a triangle formation under the eyes. This will reflect the light and give an uplifting effect. Finally, enhance the cheek bones by contouring with the Blush Subtil Palette, adding a flush of colour onto the apple of the cheeks.

4. For A Bronzed Look – Create soft, radiant eyes with a brightening bronze shade palette. Give the eyes more of a “wide-eyed” effect, by smudging a kohl pencil onto the top lid. Finish with Grandiose Mascara, for an intense false lash effect.

www.lancome.co.uk

Yoko London

Red carpet jewellery should compliment and enhance your outfit, providing a luxurious finish to your overall look. Hairstyle should be considered when choosing a piece to wear, as up-dos will work particularly well in accentuating earrings and necklaces. I foresee that BAFTA jewellery trends will range from more contemporary looks, like ear cuffs and double finger rings, to classically glamorous items like large drop earrings and opulent statement necklaces.

Image courtesy of Yoko London

Image courtesy of Yoko London

Yoko London’s Top Tips:

1. Dare to be different by wearing a backless dress with long ropes of pearls elegantly draped across the back.

2. Wear glittering drop earrings teamed with a large cocktail ring featuring pearls and diamonds. This look ensures your jewellery has great impact, whilst maintaining an elegant minimalism. Keep your hair and make-up simple to offset the impact of the jewels.

3. Match the colours and tones in your outfit with the natural coloured pearls and vibrant precious stones in your jewellery. Choosing bold colours will give instant stand-out on the red carpet.

Image courtesy of Yoko London

Image courtesy of Yoko London

4. If you are opting for an outfit with neutral tones such as grey or black, go for an edgy accessory to offset this neutrality. For example, wear an ear cuff on one ear and style your hair to one side to highlight this. Alternatively, dark jewels like black Tahitian pearls and black diamonds can provide some drama to an understated outfit.

5. For the ultimate statement of elegance, a sumptuous necklace – such as those in our Masterpiece collection – cannot fail to make you stand out. Be aware that the necklace must be suitable for the neckline of your outfit. Lower cuts and strapless dresses work particularly well. If you are wearing a higher neckline, ensure the necklace compliments the material of your outfit.

www.yokolondon.com

Duchamp London And The Sophisticated Return of Soft Tailoring By Troy Alexander

Troy Alexander

Troy Alexander

Duchamp London hosted their AW15 presentation in the refined Scarfes bar lounge in the spectacular Rosewood London Hotel, offering fine whiskies and cocktails with sensational sexiness. The smashing venue has become the place to be seen and to dine with London’s fashionable elite.

Colour and fabric innovation were at the forefront of this collection while playing on the subtleties of the menswear aesthetic using masculine colours. My two important takeaways: soft tailoring and evening wear.

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

The collection bought classic menswear staples to life through innovative use of geometric prints and weaves that formed a subtle three-dimensional effect throughout. Using exclusively printed luxury English silk and Italian velvet dinner jackets, the presentation created an air of true opulence.

Navy tonal silk blazers and refined shirts created contemporary geometric shapes that in turn created a cohesive texture across the collection. Suits layered with coats in oversized gallis checks, hound tooth and block-coloured wool, and cashmere in camel, sea blue, forest green and monochrome.

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

I sat down with creative director Gianni Colarossi after his presentation and he shared with me his secrets to style success….

Tell us about the details we might find on the construction of your garments. How do they give a nod to British heritage?

The construction of a garment is very important, especially in tailoring. Our pieces are half canvassed and the fabrics used are English, Scottish and Italian. It’s great to use British cloth; they have a very distinct handle that can’t be replicated elsewhere. Our tailoring has a nod to both Italian and English. The neat soft shoulder and high armhole is very Italian, the slim silhouette on the sleeve and front shaping is more British. I started tailoring in Italy as an apprentice to Italo di Preta, the honorary president of the Italian Academy of Tailors, but in more recent years I’ve been working in London so I have both influences.

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

What do you think it is about Duchamp that allows the brand to become so familiar, and to be enjoyed by people with repeated use?

The brand has evolved immensely over the past few years; we are obsessed with fabric innovation. It’s this exclusivity that keeps our customer excited and eager to come back for the new things we create. As we have changed, the brand has become more current and in turn we have become more desirable.

How did you get your start in the fashion industry and what to you is a marker of good clothes?

I studied Art and Languages, which steered me in the path of fashion. I was lucky enough to work with Di Preta in Florence, which ultimately helped me to choose this career path. Even though I’m more involved on the design side, to have an understanding of the technical side of clothing is very beneficial. I always check how things are made; quality is something I look for in a purchase.

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

Image courtesy of Duchamp London

What’s next strategically for Duchamp and how would you describe your core strategy for staying innovative in this intense market?

As you say, it’s an incredibly intense and competitive market. All we can do is concentrate on what we are doing. We have brilliant relationships with the mills we use and this allows us to be experimental and innovative in the fabrics we produce. Fashion is ever-evolving and incredibly fast-paced. We have to make sure we never stand still and always push ahead with innovation. Wholesale and retail are incredibly tough challenges, but we are working well on both channels. We would love to have a bigger presence in our retail division but first, we want to invest heavily in our e-commerce business, as this is the easiest access to the brand.

Talk me through your design process….from start to finish?

To put it in its simplest form, it starts with inspiration that can come from anywhere – a film, a book, a work of art, vintage clothing or swatches of fabric….the collection starts to grow. Colour palettes evolve with pattern and print. Silhouettes and shapes run alongside these ideas. As things take shape, fabric development takes over. This is where I go to Italy or to the mills we use in the United Kingdom to develop the ideas into cloth. It’s a very laborious process, but one I enjoy immensely.

www.duchamplondon.com

Winston And Waterloo Throws Celebrate British History By The Luxury Channel

Hainsworth

One of Britain’s oldest companies, Hainsworth, has created two new throws to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Waterloo – and the 50th anniversary of the death of Winston Churchill. The company has been producing woollen textiles since 1783 in a Yorkshire mill that has been in the family for seven generations. They designed the De Lancey Throw using the colours of the uniforms they supplied to the troops who fought in the Battle of Waterloo. The throw itself is named after Lady Magdalene de Lancey who travelled to the battlefield of Waterloo in 1815 to sit with her injured fiancé as he died. The Winston Throw, meanwhile, is inspired by Winston Churchill and the pure spirit of The Blitz. Both throws are made from 100% Pure New Wool and cost £110 each. The throws are part of a new Scarlet & Argent collection of woollen blankets, throws and accessories which launched at this year’s Maison.

www.hainsworth.co.uk

London Collections: Men AW15 By Madeleine Macey

25 seasons of womenswear fashion but never a men’s show – Madeleine Macey reports on the British heritage brands showing at London Collections: Men, Autumn/Winter 2015….

London Collections : Men AW15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

London Collections : Men AW15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

London Collections: Men (LCM) opened on the 9th January – its 6th season. The focus for LCM is energetically on the clothes themselves and not the social circus that surrounds them. Attending leaves you feeling more like you’re being welcomed into an exclusive club rather than being left on the membership waiting list. LCM generates a genuinely enthusiastic and intimate atmosphere, with designers openly cheering each other on, amidst the backdrop of the rapidly expanding luxury menswear market; a market which latest reports state is worth close to £13 billion.

This formula has seen LCM grow in size and achieve international recognition. Chaired by the indefatigable Dylan Jones, editor of GQ, and powered by the British Fashion Council, it now boasts 37 presentations and 70 designers exhibiting in the Designer Showrooms over 4 days, and has even more new additions this season including Aquascutum, Barbour and Kilgour. LCM doesn’t only showcase the old Houses but also nurtures new talent such as Todd Lynn, Christopher Raeburn and Craig Green, who are all worthy of note. However, it is the British heritage brands that have evolved and reinvented themselves for the modern man that made a bold impression this season.

Hardy Amies, Savile Row – Founded 1946 (Royal Warrant)

This was Hardy Amies’ Creative Director Mehmet Ali’s first show. He had previously warmed up his audience with critically acclaimed presentations but the show had the confidence of an experienced hand that knows how to orchestrate a fashion journey, with a meticulous eye on every detail, fabric, colour and layer. The show launched with a big screen that filled a rather chilly concrete underground gallery in Soho, with a sensory experience taking us through the stunning British mountain range of Snowdonia whilst bombarding us with dramatic, stormy music. The audience was silenced as the models walked out in warm colours and rich textures that seemed to leap straight out of the screen: bracken green, shrub russets, gorse yellow, granite grey and storm cloud blue. The eveningwear and sharp tuxedos were also a highlight of the collection. David Gandy at the Esquire / Jimmy Choo party later that night told me it was easily one of his favourite shows.

www.hardyamies.com

Hardy Amies At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Hardy Amies)

Hardy Amies At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Hardy Amies)

Pringle of Scotland – Founded 1815 (Royal Warrant)

Pringle is renowned for its clever innovation in knitwear, which is a difficult mantle to maintain, especially on an important 200th anniversary. However, this Autumn/Winter collection, shown in the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple (as magical in name as in appearance) had Massimo Nicosia yet again surprising with details and confident use of knit alongside elegant tailoring. The styling was high-necked and oversized, with heavy sumptuous cardigans, jumpers in signature argyle and tartan, and striking scarves – my favourite look being a navy roll neck that displayed 3D dimensions of cable knit which made me want to reach out and grab the poor lad off the runway, eager to understand how he had achieved such depths in one item. Special techniques have always been at the forefront of Pringle’s practices and this season showed digital painterly prints, shaved mink and the softest cashmere achieved by blowing the threads with air; presumably premium Scottish air at that.

www.pringlescotland.com

Pringle of Scotland At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Dan Sims,  Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council and Pringle of Scotland)

Pringle of Scotland At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Dan Sims,
Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council and Pringle of Scotland)

E.Tautz, London – Founded 1867 (Dressed Winston Churchill in his breeches)

Patrick Grant is, I can only assume, the most organised man I know – not that he agrees with me. He is Creative Director of Savile Row’s Norton & Son’s and E. Tautz, and has recently opened a beautiful new flagship store for the latter on London’s Duke Street, closely followed by the launch of his first book, Original Man. He heads up a popular television series and a successful high street collaboration and says he “thrives on the constant workload.” Yet he always seems remarkably calm, easy-going, well-groomed and may I say, even a little flippant about the whole thing. The show and collection continued the impression of effortless elegance with the certainty and confidence that Grant possesses in all he achieves. The inspiration was taken from this country’s Northern textile industry heritage, where people grafted hard, wore clothes made from the fabrics they created, layered up for the cold and didn’t think too much about their ‘look;’ there is definitely a feeling of throwing on the long-loved coat from the back of the door that may have been your father’s, or even your father’s father’s. The styling is oversized, masculine and not too considered, the fabrics rich but with “a gritty textural” feel, all a palette of grey with easy-flowing, tailored trousers. The textured broad-shouldered outerwear is all eminently wearable and I loved it. Essentially, I would like my husband to dress in this nonchalant, nostalgic vision, but he would definitely need to be a little taller….

www.etautz.com

E.  Tautz At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

E. Tautz At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Belstaff, Staffordshire – Founded 1924

Belstaff cuts through the elegance of LCM with the vibrations of a customised 1950s Triumph with holes drilled into the exhaust. Tough, bold and macho, the collection – rich in leathers, shearlings, great coats and more knitwear than I expected – was presented in an underground car park opposite the Houses of Parliament. ‘Ton Up Boys’ was the name of the show, harking back to the days when groups of ‘Greasers’ would gather at cafes to ‘do a ton;’ 100 miles an hour on souped-up motorcycles, and testosterone was stitched into every garment. Known for its outerwear, the collection didn’t disappoint with a vast variety of fabrications and shapes with waxed cottons, hand-painted leathers and customised details. The classic coats (as worn by Benedict Cumberbatch in Sherlock) were updated in hounds tooth prints and cashmere. The party atmosphere and beautiful crowd added to the feeling that this was a world you wanted to be a part of, a collection you would want to have a heart-breaking affair with rather than marry – Belstaff is the guy every girl wants to be with, but he will always love his bike and his leathers first.

www.belstaff.co.uk

Belstaff Presents Ton Up Boys At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Belstaff)

Belstaff Presents Ton Up Boys At London Collections: Men AW15 (image courtesy of Belstaff)

Burberry, Basingstoke – Founded 1856

The big-ticket item is Burberry. I have always found the Burberry boy a well-defined billboard aesthetic in prettiness, slim styling and a guitar-based London sound, so was intrigued on entering a moody, dark, draped tent usually filled with light from the surrounding Royal park. The show was bold in statement, where the Burberry boy becomes man – bespectacled, sophisticated, individual eclectic styling and the impression of a well read and travelled mind. ‘‘Classically Bohemian,’’ the collection consisted of muted ethnic colours, paisley and animal prints and was finished off with shearling coats, the iconic trench in various incarnations and large tasselled scarves and ponchos. Creative Director and CEO Christopher Bailey’s clear vision in motion is always impressive to see realised across the entire brand, but I don’t think I have ever seen a man in real life wear a shawl….but come Autumn/Winter, I’m convinced some Streetstyles will.

www.uk.burberry.com

Burberry Prorsum Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015 Show Finale (image courtesy of Burberry)

Burberry Prorsum Menswear Autumn/Winter 2015 Show Finale (image courtesy of Burberry)

Tom Ford Introduces A Noir Extreme By Jayjay Epega

Tom Ford and Alexa Chung (image courtesy of  Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Tom Ford and Alexa Chung (image courtesy of Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Thomas Carlyle Ford is better known to the world as Tom Ford, the world-renowned American fashion designer and film director, who created his own brand in 2005 to offer fashion, accessories and eyewear. Ford also formed a partnership with Estee Lauder that same year, for the development of fragrances and cosmetics. The first fragrance produced under this alliance, Black Orchid (in 2006), was an immediate success. A series of successful fragrances for men and women have since been launched.

Described as “an oriental, sensual fragrance that captures the twin facets of the refined, urbane sophisticate who the world gets to see and the intriguingly sensuous, private man they don’t…,” Tom Ford was delighted to introduce his latest fragrance “Noir Extreme” to select invitees (including The Luxury Channel!) at the tail end

Mollie King and David Gandy (image courtesy of Dave Benett/Getty Images)

Mollie King and David Gandy (image courtesy of Dave Benett/Getty Images)

of London Collections: Men 2015.

The evening was held at London’s popular venue of the moment, The Chiltern Firehouse. Guests included Kate Moss, Patrick Grant, Douglas Booth, David Gandy and his girlfriend Mollie King of The Saturdays, Lily Allen, Alexa Chung, Graham Norton and Paloma Faith. It was a perfect way to celebrate the end of this LC:M season.

Tom will not be showcasing his Autumn/Winter womenswear collection in London this year but will have it featured in Los Angeles for Fashion Week in February 2015. As the Academy Awards take place at the same time this year, and with his commitment to both, for him and his team it simply makes more sense to hold it in the US. “I love London and I am not abandoning London Fashion Week,” he told us. “It’s a one time thing, it made sense for me, and I plan to be back in September.”

For more information, visit www.tomford.com.

London Collections: Menswear – What To Watch By The Luxury Channel

Tinie Tempah

London Collections: Menswear kicks off the global fashion calendar this month, with some of the world’s most innovative emerging designers, brands and traditional heritage tailoring.

According to Dylan Jones OBE, Chair of London Collections: Men and Editor of British GQ, “the success of the UK’s menswear sector is rooted in a very British culture of discourse between the fashion industry and the broader creative industries. The wide net of cultural contexts provides not only an unrivalled resource to support and stimulate ideas at design conception, but as this season’s London Collections: Men schedule shows, it is also very important in delivering the unique and imaginative showcases London has become synonymous with.”

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive British Fashion Council, added that “it’s within the UK’s DNA to draw creativity from all quarters of society and the London Collections: Men schedule is testament to this. To sustain Britain as this creative centre, one that drives so much productivity and growth, we will continue to celebrate and champion creative collaborations.”

AW15 highlights include ADA + NIK’s unveiling of the Narrative Jacket – the world’s first leather jacket with an in-built camera, to capture photos and location data without conscious interaction. Photos taken with the jacket will be uploaded exclusively to Twitter live during the show. Christopher Raeburn will bring his seasonal inspiration to life by installing fully-inflated life rafts within the Old Sorting Office. Raeburn is also partnering with official London Collections: Men sponsor, Lavazza, to create bespoke designed cups that will be served over the four day showcase. Diego Vanassibara will develop last season’s water theme into what he describes as a “mega storm,” displaying his collection of shoes on a glowing acrylic sculpture of a tornado created by emerging set designer William Murray especially for London Collections: Men. Meanwhile, Private White VC will have live machinists from its over 100 year old Manchester factory and hand-weavers working on a traditional loom performing at its presentation.

Finally, the Museum of London has teamed up with Savile Row tailors Norton & Sons to create a bespoke suit for London Collections: Men ambassador Tinie Tempah. Following LC:M, the three piece suit will be added to the museum’s extensive fashion and textiles collection to help document contemporary menswear in London today. The suit has been created in London Tweed and is inspired by Sherlock Holmes, the subject of the museum’s current major exhibition.

The British Fashion Awards By The Luxury Channel

Suki Waterhouse (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Suki Waterhouse (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

The British Fashion Awards have been celebrating the contributions of British designers, creatives and models on the international fashion scene since 1989. The 2014 Awards, held at The London Coliseum, were hosted by comedian Jack Whitehall and saw the best of the British and international fashion industries joined by a glamorous line-up of guests, including Rihanna, Victoria Beckham, Suki Waterhouse and Anna Wintour OBE.

Rihanna (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Rihanna (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

The Awards In Numbers

• There were 17 winners at the Awards, voted for by over 400 industry figureheads from around the world.
• The total weight of each Swarovski award is over 15 kg, and the British Fashion Award logo on the red carpet was made up of over 12 kg of loose Swarovski crystals.
• 20 Mercedes Benz Chauffeurs drove VIP guests on the night.
• There were 2,070 people in the auditorium, with this year’s tickets selling out faster than ever before.
• 400 industry figureheads and VIPs sat for a dinner consisting of 17 different dishes.
• Over 1,750 bags of popcorn were eaten during the ceremony.
• There were 1,700 goody bags distributed on the night, including a total of 5L of Penhaligon’s perfume and over 4300 MAC items gifted in the goody bags.

Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

The Award Winners

Model of The Year – Cara Delevingne

Brand of The Year – Victoria Beckham

British Style Award – Emma Watson

Creative Campaign – Louis Vuitton

International Designer – Nicolas Ghesquière

Womenswear Designer – Erdem

Menswear Designer – J.W. Anderson

Accessory DesignerAnya Hindmarch

Victoria Beckham (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Victoria Beckham (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Emerging Womenswear Designer – Marques’Almeida

Emerging Menswear Designer – Craig Green

Emerging Accessory Designer – Prism

Red Carpet Designer – Alexander McQueen

New Establishment Designer – Simone Rocha

Establishment Designer – Preen

Special Recognition Award – Chris Moore

Outstanding Achievement Award – Anna Wintour OBE

Isabella Blow Award for Fashion Creator – Edward Enninful

Bee Shaffer and Anna Wintour (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Bee Shaffer and Anna Wintour (image courtesy of the British Fashion Council)

Fashion’s New Continent By K magazine

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative

Is ‘‘humble luxe’’ just another buzz word or is it making a difference, particularly in Africa?
K magazine explores….

A scarlet red cuff made from the fur of a springbok, a finely quilled olive green cardholder fashioned from ostrich skin, and a pale gold evening bag stitched out of leather and suede made from the skin of a blesbok, with a springbok horn charm and 18 carat gold chain. These exotic items may be considered the height of decadence for some, but are they also helping transform Africa’s economy?

The accessories are all made by Okapi, the label founded by Hannelli Rupert, daughter of luxury goods tycoon Johann Rupert. The brand’s Aziri handbag can retail for as much as £8,000, but with the company’s entire production process located in South Africa, they claim to be helping bring positive change to the country.

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative

When Bono and his wife Ali Hewson set up EDUN, their intention was to run a luxury label that produced clothing and accessories in Africa, an ideal that would have the benefit of raising the profile of the continent’s trade. But they ran into manufacturing problems, and financial losses resulted in the shift of production to China – ironic given that imports from Asia are one of the biggest threats to the development of Africa’s textile industry. In 2013 however, they opened new factories in Madagascar, Kenya, Tunisia, Morocco and Uganda, and 85% of their items are now produced there.

So are there genuinely humble motives behind the luxury market’s interest in Africa, or is it merely an attempt to capitalise on the world’s fastest growing middle class?

Made in Africa

Africa’s spending power is increasing; indeed since 2011, Forbes has been publishing an annual ‘‘Africa’s 40 Richest’’ list, while Nigeria is currently the world’s 26th biggest economy. Boutiques in Lagos’ chic Victoria Island neighbourhood stock international brands like Gucci and Balenciaga, as well as home-grown ones like Maki Oh, famously worn by Michelle Obama. In South Africa, Johannesburg’s exclusive Sandton City shopping centre is undergoing a £25 million expansion, with Alexander McQueen and others set to open concessions in 2015.

For brands starting up fair-trade initiatives in developing countries, it also means precious PR: one of the industries most associated with wealth and status is demonstrating responsibility. As the message trickles down, a ‘‘Made in Africa’’ trend is emerging – humble luxe could become the next boho chic.

Cynicism aside, there are tangible benefits to working in Africa. Stella McCartney realised it gave them an opportunity to create original items while giving valuable skills to the people crafting them. In 2010, the brand began collaborating with the UN International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) to make a range of tote bags in Nairobi; this has since grown to include backpacks and make-up bags.

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative. Photo credit - Tahir Karmali

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative. Photo credit – Tahir Karmali

The EFI provide training on a local level, which enables artisans to make high quality items, and not solely for the luxury market. “The increase in quality allows our producers to diversify themselves, including in very basic lines of work for the domestic market such as school bags and products for the tourism industry”, says Simone Cipriani, EFI’s head and founder. “The most specialised workers receive offers from other companies as they are now a point of excellence in the workforce of Kenya. This doesn’t only refer to production skills, but also to logistics and management.”

Ninety per cent of the 5,000 people employed on the project are women, and in a country where only 30% of the workforce is female, this is a meaningful effort. Moreover, in Kenya’s patriarchal society, few women have economic independence; as a result of this initiative some have set up their own investment group.

Me-too production

In the case of Okapi, the company’s localised structure means they are able to give jobs to everyone from the farmers and vets, who look after the animals providing the source materials, to the skilled leather and metal workers, who produce the accessories. It seems this system of traceability is being encouraged by the arrival of international brands, unlike some of the sweatshop conditions seen in the Far East.

“What we are seeing emerging is that you can get cotton that is grown in Arusha, an area in Tanzania, turned into fabric in Arusha, then dyed and stitched and shipped out of Arusha as a local garment,” says Conall O’Caoimh, director of Value Added In Africa, a charity that builds relationships between local producers and European retailers.

According to O’Caoimh, these ways of working set an important example. “They create a model, an openness and an interest, so they open real collaboration with European markets. The other thing that happens is that other African producers see it and say: ‘I can do that as well’, and that’s part of how we see change. It happens when African producers see the success of their peers and then give it a go.”

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative.  Photo credit - Tahir Karmali

Image courtesy of Kering and Ethical Fashion Initiative. Photo credit – Tahir Karmali

How can luxury brands ensure they make a positive change in the long run? Committing beyond just the one range of clothing or accessories is essential, along with investing in local crafts. “What Africa lacks in large-scale manufacturing capacity it more than makes up for in the ability to create hand-crafted goods using little-known techniques,” says Helen Jennings, fashion journalist and author of New African Fashion. “What needs to happen now though is for commitments to be made long-term, so that production capacity is built that local designers and makers can also plug into.”

Humble luxe could signify a new dawn for fashion, one where (as is typically the case in Italy, for example), employees are paid a fair wage, craftsmanship is favoured over mass-production and fully traceable, sustainable practices are the norm. “The tradition has been that Africa gives away its raw materials, and really those economics of colonialism are still in place”, says O’Caoimh. “But that’s the thing we’re trying to shift; it’s a high bar we set ourselves, but the transformation that it can bring about makes it worthwhile.”

For further information, visit www.kering.com.

German Watches: Teutonic Timekeepers By Scott Manson

Schaumburg

Think of high-end timekeeping and most people will cite Switzerland as the mecca of haute horology. However, over the last twenty years or so, watch aficionados have increasingly been buying up pieces from its northern neighbour, Germany.

On the face of it, Germany’s watch-making prowess shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. The country already dominates the holy trinity of football, motoring and beer and, mostly thanks to the industrious watchmakers based in the sleepy towns of Pforzheim and Glashütte, it now boasts a respected timepiece industry too.

German Peter Hele invented the first mainspring and even assembled the first known portable timepiece in 1504, decades before watch-making commenced in Zurich. However, WWII saw a lot of German watchmakers shut down and it wasn’t until the reunification of Germany in the nineties that some iconic brands were revived. Chief among these was A. Lange & Söhne, the most prestigious name among German watchmakers, which was relaunched in 1990 by the late Günter Blümlein, who relaunched the brand with a descendant of founder Ferdinand Adolph Lange: his great-grandson, Walter Lange.

Between this renaissance of great German watch-making names and the rise of younger, upstart brands, the country has quickly gained a reputation for superb engineering and craftsmanship, particularly in the field of metalworking, with watch cases renowned for their durability and precision tolerances. The innovative movement manufactures of Glashütte, combined with its rich history of delicate and difficult decoration, has seen the number of its watch-making workers swell to 1,200 people – a staggering figure considering the population of the entire town is just 7,000.

Complex, beautiful and desirable – a fine German watch should be in every timepiece aficionado’s collection.

German Brands of Note

MeisterSinger

Designed in Münster, Germany and made in Switzerland; founded in 2001

Head designer and founder of MeisterSinger, Manfred Brassler, places great emphasis on the German traits of quality and service. Watches are incredibly well-produced with an emphasis on simplicity – when they have additional functions, the standard movement is usually stripped down. The single-hand Paleograph references the early days of watch-making, using a single button to control the chronograph function to go with its signature single-hand time display

www.meistersinger.net

Meistersinger Paleograph

A. Lange & Söhne

Glasshütte, Germany; founded in 1845

Offering superb craftsmanship – the company’s very finest products are generally given the coveted ‘‘1A’’ designation – the Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time, seen here in rose gold, illustrates the skill the company is known for by integrating a resonant chiming mechanism. Three high-pitched chimes and one lower-pitched tone announce each passing quarter and full hour. The company prides itself on ensuring even the small details are perfect, with every part of their movements, visible or not, decorated with its own finissage technique.

www.alange-soehne.com

A. Lange Sohne Lange Zeitwerk Striking Time

Hanhart

Gütenbach, Germany; founded in 1882

Hanhart has a long history in the watch-making world, celebrating many technical landmarks over the last century. The company set the bar in the thirties with its first chronograph model which soon became its signature design and, determined to stay ahead of the curve, Hanhart debuted its stopwatches in the fifties, quickly becoming market leaders. Now, it is focusing on design and quality, basing current models on the chronographs that made the brand famous. The Pioneer pilots watches are particularly fine, as are its beautiful new Racer models.

www.hanhart.com

Hanhart Pioneer Racemaster

Junghans

Schramberg, Germany; founded in 1861

For over 100 years, Junghans has consistently produced innovative, well-crafted timepieces. It was the first company to introduce quartz wristwatches to Germany in 1970 and unveiled the world’s first radio-controlled watch, the Mega 1, in 1990. The company’s most popular ranges – the Aerious Chronoscope, Tempus and Creater lines – all feature in-house movements. Junghans’ focus on technological distinctiveness continues to result in original and desirable timepieces, as shown by a recent partnership with Bogner, a German ski wear brand. The result is a range of highly technical sports watches, which are renowned for their robust qualities. Its Meister line is particularly significant, as the styling pays tribute to the brand’s early 20th century models while combining that aesthetic with a modern dress watch appeal.

www.junghans.de

Junghans Meister Telemeter

Kudoke

Frankfurt, Germany; founded in 2007

Stefan Kudoke was awarded a master craftsman certificate in watch-making at the age of 22 and began his career working for Glashütte Original, developing prototypes and working on mechanical complications. This was followed by stints at Brequet, Blancpain and Omega before launching his eponymous brand, building exceptional, one-of-a-kind mechanical masterpieces. The Real Skeleton pictured here is a case in point, with its wonderfully gothic appearance comprising a gold skull with diamond eyes and bone-shaped, black rhodium-plated hands. Every element has been hand-finished, making for a wonderfully witty take on a skeleton watch.

www.kudoke.eu

Kudoke Real Skeleton Print

Nomos Glashütte

Glashütte, Germany; founded in 1990

Another resident of the famous town of Glashütte, Nomos is best known for the utilitarian chic of its Bauhaus-inspired watch faces and simple yet elegant designs. Over the years, Nomos has become a respected manufacture, building its own movements from scratch and, most recently, producing an in-house escapement for its new Metro model. The Nomos Zurich World Timer remains of the best value-for-money dual time mechanical watches on the market.

www.nomos-glashuette.com

Nomos Zurich Worldtimer

Sinn

Frankfurt, Germany; founded in 1961

German pilot Helmut Sinn began making watches for aviators after being annoyed by the high cost of pilot’s watches. His brand quickly made a name for itself by creating top quality watches at affordable prices. Among some of its best innovations is the Diapal, the first watch escapement made with no lubricant. Sinn owners appreciate their high level of performance, their robustness and durability, as well as the quality and precision of the timepieces. As you can see from the Sinn 6000 in rose gold (pictured), they look fabulous too. Quite simply, some of the best tool watches around.

www.sinn.de

Sinn

Schaumburg

Rinteln, Germany; founded in 1998

This boutique watch house combines a broad range with outstanding quality control, making for a brilliant buy for any watch collector. Its Moon No 1 and No 2 models offer a movement complicated enough to calculate an Astron rotation for 27.3217 days rather than the simple 27.5 days, which lesser moonphase timepieces are known for, plus a wonderful lumed moon and, on the Grand Perpetual Moon Meteorite model, a dial crafted from asteroid fragments. The Retrolateur, with its two retrograde second-dials, is also a stunning piece of work. A must-check watch brand.

www.schaumburgwatch.com

Schaumburg Moon 2 Meteorite

London Fashion Week: Why SS15 Is Set To Be A Great Season By Charlotte India Smith

Somerset House

Upon arrival at Somerset House, there is that moment of trepidation as the swarms of fashion students juggle to take over the entrance. Everyone is looking and everyone is judging, vying to see who you are, what you are wearing and what importance you have in the fashion world. They look at everyone with contrived disdain, as they aren’t actually invited to any of the shows – they are just there simply to soak up the atmosphere and are desperate for you to take their picture and ask them for their take on this season, whilst they stream it through their iPhones. There is a great buzz and it’s a great place to people-watch, from the “everyone look at me” to the “I’m so in” to my personal favourite: “I don’t care about trends – I just care about great style!” I finally get through, having had a couple of pictures taken of my own outfit (hopefully I fall into the latter category). I grab my pass and make my way in to discover the delights of the showrooms upstairs.

All Things Mochi

The showrooms were such an exciting start to my London Fashion Week experience. Not only did I get to see and touch the fantastic fabrics, but I also asked for a sneaky try-on of my favourites! First up was All Things Mochi, with a brightly-coloured tribal chic that was so eye-catching, I was straight over to have a look! All the garments are hand-crafted by local artisans, giving an ethical edge to a dynamic brand. I also loved the clothes from Yui Atelier. The pink and floral themes blew me away, and I loved how such beautifully-made, delicate clothes were juxtaposed with the use of fun, shiny plastics and bow embellishments. Definitely one to watch!

Yui Atelier

My favourite showroom had to be Heavy London, and special mention must go to the designers Cheekldn, Monochrome, Tzuji and Vinti Andrews. With their fresh and exciting designs, I wanted to turn my tote into a Mary Poppins bag and take it all home with me when no-one was looking!

London Fashion Week

I got so carried away trying on all the clothes in the showrooms that I realized I had only 15 minutes to get to Vivienne Westwood’s Red Label collection show on Southampton Row. After managing to mistakenly hijack a Tanqueray Gin rickshaw, I joined the fashionistas hustling and bustling in their six inch heels trying to get wind of which queue they were meant to be in. Had a fab chat with the Liverpool and Glasgow buying representatives head to toe in Viv! The show itself was quite simply amazing, with the Dame’s signature eclectic style showcased to full effect, watched by her very eclectic (and often very eccentric) followers!

London Fashion Week

The biggest trends for the next summer (and the ones I’m most excited for!) would have to be the bright, floral 70s theme seen at House of Holland. In fact, bright colours were seen across the board, with Peter Pilotto, Ryan Lo, Temperley London and Fyodor Golan all going for multicolour. Shades of orange, blue and even pink were also heavily present in the shows, along with nudes and sequins. Ryan Lo’s pastel frills and beach set-up, and Ashish’s sensational sequins (again in fun colours) had a real mermaid vibe, while Mary Katrantzou’s legendary embellishment had an ethereal, under-the-sea feel. Sibling’s giant hair bows and froufrou skirts are also worth a mention!

Ryan Lo SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Ryan Lo SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

If I had to pick, my favourite shows were Fyodor Golan (who really encompassed all the trends emerging through the shows, from holographic and mesh to multicolours and striped prints), and also Lulu & Co. Both incorporated an element of fun, but were still wearable (a point so often overlooked in fashion). But then, not following the rules is what fashion in London is all about!

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Five By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights from London Fashion Week, Day Five….

Osman SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Osman SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Anya Hindmarch SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Anya Hindmarch SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Simone Rocha SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Simone Rocha SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Marques'Almeida SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Marques’Almeida SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Ryan Lo SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Ryan Lo SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Fashion East SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Fashion East SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Emilio de la Morena SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Emilio de la Morena SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Four By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights from London Fashion Week, Day Four….

Antonio Berardi SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Antonio Berardi SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Roksanda SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Roksanda SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Erdem SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Erdem SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Michael van der Ham SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Michael van der Ham SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Issa SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Issa SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Kane SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Kane SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Thomas Tait SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne)

Thomas Tait SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne)

Peter Pilotto SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Peter Pilotto SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Giles SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne)

Giles SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne)

Tom Ford SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Tom Ford SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Five.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Three By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights from London Fashion Week, Day Three….

Preen By Thornton Bregazzi SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Preen By Thornton Bregazzi SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Margaret Howell SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Margaret Howell SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Richard Nicoll SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Richard Nicoll SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Marios Schwab SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Marios Schwab SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Matthew Williamson SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Matthew Williamson SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Topshop Unique SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Topshop Unique SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Ashley Williams SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Ashley Williams SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Vivienne Westwood SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Vivienne Westwood SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Mary Katrantzou SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Mary Katrantzou SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

David Koma SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

David Koma SS15 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Jonathan Saunders SS15  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Jonathan Saunders SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Four and Day Five.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Two By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights from London Fashion Week, Day Two….

Jasper Conran SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Jasper Conran SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Lulu & Co SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Lulu & Co SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Emilia Wickstead SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Emilia Wickstead SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Julien Macdonald SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Julien Macdonald SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Markus Lupfer SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Markus Lupfer SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Danielle Romeril SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Danielle Romeril SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Hunter Original SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Hunter Original SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Holly Fulton SS15 (image courtesy of Holly Fulton)

Holly Fulton SS15 (image courtesy of Holly Fulton)

J. W. Anderson SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

J. W. Anderson SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

1205 SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

1205 SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Joseph SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Joseph SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Nasir Mazhar SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Nasir Mazhar SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Marchesa SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Marchesa SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

KTZ SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

KTZ SS15 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day One By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights from London Fashion Week, Day One….

J.JS Lee SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

J.JS Lee SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Faustine Steinmetz SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Faustine Steinmetz SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

DAKS SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

DAKS SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Eudon Choi SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Eudon Choi SS15 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Trager Delaney SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Trager Delaney SS15 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

FELDER FELDER SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

FELDER FELDER SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Raeburn SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Raeburn SS15 (image courtesy of Kensington Leverne, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day Two, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five.

Patrick Grant Gives Knight’s Uniform A Modern Makeover By The Luxury Channel

Affligem Knights Coat and Tails
In the lead up to this year’s London Fashion Week, premium beer brand Affligem has delved into its rich heritage by collaborating with renowned Savile Row tailor Patrick Grant, to reinterpret the traditional attire worn by the knights who founded Affligem back in 1074.

The bespoke “Knight’s Coat and Tails” suit aims to combine the elegance, sophistication and craft of Affligem, while encapsulating the historical background of its 11th century founding fathers into a suit fit for the 21st century gentleman. In order to keep the suit in accordance with the knights’ traditions, the collection was created under close consultation with Oxford University historian Dr. Dominic Selwood, who specialises in the era, whilst employing modern-day gentleman’s fashion, technology and tailoring techniques, and of-the-moment materials.

The Affligem story began early in the 11th century. After years of gruelling battle, six weary knights in search of a sincere and peaceful life returned home to Affligem in Belgium.

Affligem Knights Coat and Tails

Despite their allegiance to the Roman Emperor, they dreamt of exchanging their armour for monks’ robes, of dedicating their lives to the poor and of building a great abbey. Ten years later, it was now six monks who looked upon their finished abbey and began to brew Affligem beer.

To stay true to the historic accuracy of this period, Patrick Grant has crafted an imposing soldierly-styled 2-piece suit. With an elongated tailored jacked cut just above the knee and high-stand collar to replicate the traditional style worn, the outfit is finished off with a high whole-cut waist trouser with cavalry-cut hem. In keeping with the 11th century custom, the suit has been woven with a chain mail design jacquard in black wool, with silver and grey silks. Grant revealed that “it was fascinating to think about the function and design of the costumes of men in the 11th century and to try to meld them with Savile Row techniques and fabrics, and interpret them for a contemporary audience.”

Fashion Is All Ablaze – How The Rowing Blazer Has Made Its Mark By Hannah Norman

Taurus Boat Club (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

Taurus Boat Club (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

“The blazer is both ineffably cool and deeply traditional, equally at ease on a boat or in the boardroom, in the classroom or the club….”

As far as the British Summer Social Season goes, one of the places ‘‘to be seen’’ is at Henley Royal Regatta, known not only for the very high standards of international rowing, but also for one of the most colourful and social events of the year. Of course, as with any British tradition, the rowing scene is prone to the many eccentricities that characterise a good day out, and the most sartorially iconic of these is the rowing blazer. Even five time Olympic gold medallist and next year’s Vice President of the Henley Regatta Sir Steve Redgrave refers to the blazer as “an eccentric but wonderful tradition.”

Sir Steve Redgrave in a Marlow Rowing Club blazer (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

Sir Steve Redgrave in a Marlow Rowing Club blazer (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

One man who would know more than most is Jack Carlson, who not only raced for Oxford in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Races, but who has also represented the United States at the World Rowing Championships. In 2013, he won all three of the traditional international rowing regattas – the Henley Royal Regatta, the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta, and the Head of the Charles Regatta. In short, he knows his stuff. Carlson’s new book Rowing Blazers is something of a celebration of the striped, piped and badged blazers that have dominated the world’s clubs and boathouses, as well as the elaborate rituals and legendary races associated with them.

Cambridge University Boat Club (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

Cambridge University Boat Club (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

Accompanied by F. E. Castleberry’s gorgeous portraits of statement blazers, the stories and anecdotes behind them (such as beer-soaked blazer rituals in the Netherlands) are interspersed with thrilling action shots from the Henley Royal Regatta, the Boat Race and of course, the Olympic Games.

Lady Margaret Boat Club (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

Lady Margaret Boat Club (image courtesy of Carlson Media Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by F.E. Castleberry)

Whether you’re a rowing enthusiast, a Henley resident, or simply a lover of a good coffee table tome, Rowing Blazers is a wonderful keepsake of the jacket that fashion forgot about.

Rowing Blazers by Jack Carlson is published by Thames & Hudson at £34.95.

Fashion In The Rain By Hannah Norman

Henley Royal Regatta (image courtesy of the Press Association)

Henley Royal Regatta (image courtesy of the Press Association)

The British Summer Social Season is now well underway, and whilst we’re happy to sip champagne and watch some of the finest feats of sporting achievement the calendar can produce, there’s one problem we never really prepare for – the weather! We bring you our guide to keeping both dry and warm when the sun goes in, while maintaining the glam factor required for such functions.

Didit Hediprasetyo

No-one wants to hide a new dress under a coat, but designer Didit Hediprasetyo toughens up an evening dress with a leather jacket, keeping the look suitably elegant with a flock of birds taking flight across it. Keep the cold at bay by draping elegantly over your shoulders for another way to work this look.

Gemma Chan

To keep hands warm (whilst also sporting one of The Season’s most coveted trends), try Cornelia James. Glove maker to the Queen for a reason, the stylish designs are not just utilitarian, but utterly gorgeous too.

Clements & Church

Finally, the most inconvenient problem incurred during the Season – the rain! Stay dry with a Clements & Church umbrella. These bespoke brollies are handmade in Italy, in the only place left in the Western world that still manufactures by hand. Worthy of holding aloft!

The House of Britannia’s Royal Venture With Elizabeth Emanuel By The Luxury Channel

Elizabeth Emanuel

The House of Britannia, the British luxury goods investment and management company, has today announced a joint venture with Thresher & Glenny, shirtmakers to Her Majesty The Queen, to produce a new range of business shirts for women designed exclusively for the company by Elizabeth Emanuel, who became a household name all over the world as co-designer of Princess Diana’s wedding dress.

Thresher & Glenny by Elizabeth Emanuel

Managing Director of The House of Britannia, Simon Petherick, revealed that “our research in North America and Europe showed a real market need for a premium business shirt range for women. There is clearly no shortage of business shirt options for men in these territories, but surprisingly little choice for women seeking a well-designed and fitted premium business shirt. We are thrilled to have one of the world’s most iconic womenswear designers, Elizabeth Emanuel, working exclusively on this range in partnership with Thresher & Glenny, proud holders of the Royal Warrant to Her Majesty The Queen for Shirtmaking.” Thresher & Glenny’s Managing Director, Mark Finch, added: “We are delighted to be working with The House of Britannia and Elizabeth Emanuel on this exciting new venture and are really looking forward to manufacturing quality ladies’ shirts, in the finest fabrics, brimming with the many distinguishing features that make a Thresher & Glenny shirt so special.”

Thresher & Glenny by Elizabeth Emanuel

Thresher & Glenny by Elizabeth Emanuel will launch in North America and Europe in Spring 2015, with the first season’s shirts on sale in selected department stores and online.

Christopher Shannon’s Award-Winning Style By The Luxury Channel

Vertu celebrates the announcement of the British Fashion Council and GQ Designer Menswear Fund….

BFC GQ Winner

The British Fashion Council (BFC) and British GQ this week announced Christopher Shannon as the winner of the inaugural BFC/GQ Designer Menswear Fund, supported by Vertu, the world’s leading provider of luxury mobile phones.

BFC, GQ and Vertu launched the fund to provide a British based designer with a £200,000 support package, including a £150,000 grant to be spent on infrastructure to take them to the next stage of building their business into a global brand, and a £50,000 bespoke, high-level mentoring support programme.

Christopher Raeburn, E. Tautz, Lou Dalton and Richard Nicoll were short-listed for this year’s prize and participated in a mentoring programme where, as lead partner, Vertu played a key role and gave access to its team of business leaders in technology, global distribution, legal and finance. Other industry experts provided guidance on topics including strategic planning, branding, leadership, commercial retail, e-tail and wholesale and digital innovation.

Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of the British Fashion Council, commented that she was “delighted to award this year’s fund to Christopher Shannon. The label has a strong identity, a clear business plan and has been creating a buzz at London Collections: Men since its inception.”

Vertu Chief Executive Officer, Massimiliano Pogliani, agreed. “As a judge and mentor, I have seen first-hand the meticulous craftsmanship and uncompromising dedication these designers apply to creating such beautiful and inspired collections. It has been a privilege for Vertu to mentor the five shortlisted designers. What we were looking for was the willingness to always go the extra mile, the ambition to develop the business and the brand at the same time, and the enthusiasm to keep on learning. With Christopher Shannon, this was clear from the start. He demonstrated the vision and focus to build what I believe could be a global presence. Christopher has all the potential to build a very solid and distinctive brand and I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of him.” Watch this space!

Cannes Jewellery By The Luxury Channel

Many celebrities chose Avakian and Chopard as their jewellers of choice at Cannes….

For the launch of the Puerto Azul Experience Night Welcome Party, Andrea Bocelli’s wife Veronica Berti opted for a stunning Avakian floral necklace set with pink gold and white diamonds.

Veronica Berti, Andrea Bocelli’s wife

Kelly Preston, meanwhile, chose an intricate pink sapphire necklace and matching earrings.

Kelly Preston

Model Irina Shayk chose to wear Avakian jewellery for the premiere of The Search movie, opting for a ring set with a ruby marquise and diamonds from the latest Avakian Caché collection. Later that night, she attended the Roberto Cavalli party adorned with a stunning diamond cuff bracelet set with mother-of-pearl and another ring from the Avakian Caché collection.

Irina Shayk

Chopard continues its journey towards sustainable luxury by placing sustainable development at the heart of its values. Model Karlie Kloss chose to wear the latest creation from Chopard’s Green Carpet Collection ­– a pair of pear, round and marquise-shaped white diamond drop earrings set in Fairmined white gold. 

karlie kloss

Kendall Jenner’s choice of jewellery was also Chopard. She wore a pair of marquise-cut white diamond cluster earrings set in white gold, a white diamond cuff and an oval-cut white diamond ring.

Kendall Jenner

Japanese actress Masami Nagasawa wore a pair of pear-shaped white diamond chandelier earrings from Chopard’s Red Carpet Collection and an asscher-cut white diamond line bracelet. She also wore a cushion-cut sapphire ring set in white diamond pave and white gold.

Masami Nagasawa

Actress Uma Thurman chose to wear a pair of drop earrings with pink heart-shaped sapphires and oval amethysts.  She also wore a heart-shaped white diamond line bracelet, and accessorized her hair with a white diamond bracelet.

Uma Thurman

For the premier of How To Train Your Dragon 2, actress Cate Blanchett chose titanium chandelier earrings composed of sapphires and briolette and princess-cut diamonds. 

Cate Blanchett

Actress Jane Fonda looked beautiful wearing a pair of rubellite drop earrings from Chopard’s Temptations Collection, set with white diamond pave in 18 karat rose gold, with a matching rubellite rose gold ring.

Jane Fonda

Talking Vintage – Craftsmanship, Patina And Discoveries At Bentley’s By Melanie Sarah Brewer

Melanie Sarah Brewer, of Melanie Sarah Image Styling, talks to Tim Bent, vintage collector and owner of Bentley’s London to define what vintage means to him….

Tim Bentley

Examples of formal definitions of ‘vintage’ include, “Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind,” and “The time that something of quality was produced.” Vintage, it seems, is everywhere – interiors, outerwear, jewellery, wedding themes and garden design, amongst many. But who, what and where is staying true to vintage – where does one go to when a traditional antique shop isn’t quite “it?” I met with Tim Bent, founder of Bentley’s in London, to discover why people all over the world are on the hunt for “old items” which represent hours of craftsmanship.

Bentley's London

Knightsbridge in London is home to luxurious boutiques, department stores and flagship stores of British and international fashion houses – and does it bustle! Close by all of this, yet tucked away, is the vintage haven of Bentley’s, in Walton Street. “The Best Is Good Enough,” states the shop’s interior wooden sign. Tim Bent founded Bentley’s in 1989 – a showcase for all his vintage treasures found on fascinating tours around the world – English leather accessories and travel goods, beautiful Edwardian silver and the finest vintage trunks from the great French houses of Louis Vuitton, Goyard and Hermès. I say all of his treasures – some pieces are “traveling” – on loan to prop departments of some of the most prestigious film production companies. Our fascination with past design – costume, furniture, luggage, cars and architecture – has been partly responsible for the highly successful export of Downton Abbey and numerous other British TV and film productions. That said, “the choice of gifts here is endless and constantly changing as our stock evolves,” Bent says. “New pieces are introduced every week. We could offer an exceptionally rare crocodile skin desk set designed by Paul Dupré-Lafon for Hermès; a desk made from the aluminium wingtip of a Dakota DC-3; a Victorian leather cigar case, perfect for one’s favourite Robustos or perhaps a leather covered, brass military telescope by Negretti & Zambra.”

Bentley's London

What is the riskiest item Bent could buy, I wonder, and how much of an ROI hurry is he in? Bent smiles and explains that “there really aren’t any risky ones because I am buying for myself – I have to like it, fall in love with it and when it is sold, I know it’s going to be looked after and enjoyed too.” Considering there are few accessories a man can actually wear, there is an abundant choice of desk, library, and sporting accessories to discover at Bentley’s. I ask Bent why men enjoy collecting vintage items – what are they looking for? “We sell the finishing touches; briefcases, cigar cases and luggage that is beautifully made. The men that buy them from us are not looking for brand names, they are looking for beauty, for detail and for individuality.” As each object is unique, it’s always interesting. He adds, “The demand for vintage Louis Vuitton, vintage Hermès and vintage Goyard is not based on the name, it’s based on the fact that these craftmakers had the best craftsmen, used the best leathers and came up with inspired solutions to their customer’s sometimes outlandish requests. For instance, in 1886, the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire, Abdulhamid II, asked Louis Vuitton to make him a trunk purely for his underwear and of course, they produced the perfect, leather-lined, brass bound example for him.”

Bentley's London

Increasingly, it would seem, there is a growing appreciation of luxury craftsmanship and a move away from fast-pace, disposable objects. Bent explains, “In the past, there was a feeling that you were buying for life, investing in pieces that were made to last. Price was less important than buying the best. Whether it was your luggage, your suits or your boots, the craftsmanship was valued. There was no thought of making something that would wear out and need replacing – it was a matter of pride to build something properly and do it beautifully.”

Bentley's London

Bent believes that “leather is a beautiful material that should be allowed to age and mature – that’s when it gets better and better. Sadly, few of the British luggage makers that were famous at the turn of the century have survived, with the notable exception of Asprey, but recently a growing band of British craftsmen have started to make their mark.” It’s why the Made In Britain tag is valued abroad – it’s perceived as the best and worth the price difference.

Bentley's London

Our discussion moved to Bent’s favourite films and how some of his collaborations are, of course, all about timing. “I suppose that Out of Africa is still one of my favourites and the luggage and accessories that they used in the production were exceptionally well observed. The Darjeeling Limited, Wes Anderson’s classic, is full of wonderful, bespoke-made Louis Vuitton luggage that Marc Jacobs designed especially for the film. We work with a lot of film and TV productions to supply what are known as Hero Props – pieces that have to be immaculate as they’ll be seen in full frame – and the attention to detail that the costume designers and prop buyers go to is admirable. Downton Abbey is a particularly good, recent example for us. We have also worked with a number of other productions, including Martin Scorcese’s Hugo, Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock and Madonna’s W.E. The attention to detail was exceptional in this production. We had a number of pieces from Edward VIII’s personal collection that we allowed the film to use.”

Bentley's London

The term “vintage” is getting much global traction in style discussions, design and indeed retailing. “Vintage evokes a period of fine design and craftsmanship,” Bent says, all of which is evident in the shop. But Bent also recognizes that Bentley’s online offerings (their photography is particularly good) play an important role too. “The website is a crucial tool for our international clients – we spend many hours running through the selections with customers around the world. We want to make the experience as close to that of visiting our London shop, as possible.” I learned that the website, and indeed shop, frequently inspire the youngest of collectors-to-be, as Bent goes on to share that “interestingly, I always find that the natural inquisitiveness of children mean that they really enjoy the shop. They love the extremes – the oldest, the biggest, the rarest, the most powerful – and we have lots of pieces that fit those descriptions.”

Vintage – what a pleasure it is! All those specialist histories of craftsmanship, the layers of genuine patina that add to each story and every piece, involving a real voyage of discovery – whatever age you are!

Bentleys
204 Walton Street
London SW3 2JL
+ 44 (0) 20 7584 7770
shop@bentleyslondon.com

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling is a bespoke service for men and women, fine-tuning personal style www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Roland Iten Commemorates The Mille Miglia Race With Special Belt Buckle By The Luxury Channel

Belt Buckle

Roland Iten, creator of purposely playful, mechanically sophisticated and aesthetically elegant accessories for gentlemen, is a main sponsor of this year’s Mille Miglia.

Roland Iten himself is racing in the 2014 edition of the Mille Miglia, which takes place from Thursday 15th to Sunday 18th May. During the 1000 mile, 4 day rally, he is piloting a historic 1953 Porsche 356 Pre A Coupé 1500 with Dutch driver Joop de Hoogh. Their Porsche features a 70hp, air-cooled, 4 cylinder Boxer engine and can reach a top speed of 170 kmph (105mph).

As a tribute to this iconic Italian road race, the Swiss inventor has issued a limited edition of four high-precision R8 MKII buckles in honor of the Mille Miglia, launching a new collection called “The Driver.” Each of the four buckles is engraved with the name of one of the main cities on the Mille Miglia 2014 route – Brescia, Padova, Roma or Bologna – making each buckle a very exclusive and unique piece.

Roland Iten

Crafted from solid gold, steel and titanium, and using the same state-of-the-art machinery as used in Swiss watchmaking, “The Driver” features a five-axel construction comprising over 110 components – more than many high-end mechanical wristwatch movements – including moveable roller bearings, plates, levers and hinges, as well as a patented “double ardillon” tang to ensure a super secure grip of the luxuriant leather belt strap.

Roland Iten’s mechanical luxuries go hand-in-hand with the legendary Mille Miglia race. Roland studied car design at the Swiss campus of the Californian Art Center College of Design and draws on his automotive knowledge when creating his high-end men’s accessories. The proportions and lines of Roland Iten’s belt buckles echo those found in sports cars.

The Mille Miglia commemorative “The Driver” is a limited edition of four unique pieces, each 100% made and hand-finished in Geneva, Switzerland.

www.rolanditen.com

Silvia Campbell And The Great British Shoe Revival By Melanie Sarah Brewer

Personal stylist Melanie Sarah Brewer, of Melanie Sarah Image Styling, meets Silvia Campbell, West Berkshire-based shoe designer and maker, to find out what makes a pair of bespoke shoes truly bespoke….

Silvia Campbell

It’s official – the Great British Shoe Revival is making confident strides when it comes to ladies bespoke shoes. With her design studio/showroom nestled in the picturesque West Berkshire village of Yattendon, the sun is shining on this unique shoe designer and shoe maker. I met with Silvia Campbell to find out when, indeed, is a pair of ‘‘bespoke shoes’’ truly bespoke and just how confident is she about the current British bespoke shoe revival.

Lasting Process

With wafts of leather hide dye all around us, the conversation rooted back to resourceful beginnings and a lack of formal education in art and design in a communist country. Campbell reveals, “My parents were teachers and their outlook for me was as a lawyer, or a doctor. It was my grandmother, a dressmaker in Slovakia, who was the strongest influence of all.” As a young girl, Campbell could see the potential of fabric leftovers and made them into dolls clothes. “Making them was far more fun than buying,” she beams. “But I was very aware of shoes from a young age; my mother paid a lot of attention to hers – a petite and elegant woman, she was stylish too.” Campbell explains that the making of shoes was less accessible in her youth and way too complicated, but it really intrigued her.

Silvia Campbell Silk & Satin Shoe

After the collapse of the old Regime, many ideas could be accessed via magazines and Burda was a favourite – Campbell’s design aspirations were already taking shape. She moved to England, gaining all the necessary certificates to accept a place with The London College of Fashion. She was awarded a distinction, graduating at 27 years old, and immersed herself in some training on the job with shoe and boot maker (and double Royal Warrant holder) John Lobb, and Freed of London. “Being another shoe designer wasn’t an option – my work would not be a repetition of something already there. My creations would be significantly different and better,” she states. “My principal goal was to achieve beauty and comfort.” At the age of 30, her dream came to life – founding Silvia Campbell Bespoke Shoes For Women.

Silvia Campbell Collection

Campbell reveals shoes “are bespoke when measurements are taken of both feet and those measurements are actually used. These precise numbers are translated to the wooden shoe lasts and the bespoke journey begins.” Which is good to know when you think a foot has 26 bones, 33 joints, 107 ligaments and 49 major muscle groups – it’s a mass of sensitive nerve endings too.

Bespoke Lasts

Flats may be back this season but the stiletto seemingly has staying power. For fashion houses, the stiletto has generated high revenue but there is a dilemma – the side effect of pain! Passing wooden lasts, individual shoes and various working photographs to me, Campbell explains the relationship between the internal shape of the shoe and the forces that one’s feet exert on that internal shape when worn. “Few people have a pair of feet that properly resemble an average shoe last. When we put our unique foot into an average-shaped shoe, it will fit in some places, over extend in a few and fall short in others. If, however, the last is not a good approximation, the load will not be spread evenly and those parts of the foot, typically the toes, that extend beyond the last shape, will be forced against the stretched shoe upper.”

Silvia Campbell Guipure Lace Boots

Being a bespoke shoemaker, Campbell is naturally obsessed with good fit and craftsmanship. “Globally, there are some expensive shoes out there for the ‘well-heeled woman.’ I get a little crazy when I see big price tags attached to badly made shoes. One short cut I regularly spot is an inside seam – minimising the pattern-cutting wastage from each piece of leather. The upper is cut into smaller sections, introducing a seam on the inside of the shoe. It is ugly, but it does keep costs down. Imagine if Mercedes started selling cars with the door panels made of two smaller panels welded together. No, no, no!”

Silvia Campbell Walnut Heel

Campbell works with an intriguing mix of ingredients, which includes the traditional, prestige British craftsmanship she has mastered and her dynamic, modern design flair. How about exotic snake skin, sting ray, or a touch of lace with classic leather? Perhaps nude-nappa leather, black matt python, crystals or exquisite beading? But this is not about customisation from a list of options. The original, bespoke design is at the heart of Campbell’s work – along with a desire to “go out and source the best.” Campbell confirms, “I have refused in the past to work with some merchants as they could not supply Cites paperwork with their skins. All of mine are traceable to source, with their certificate. If the skin is not farmed, it is not as supple and certainly if the animal was poached, there are more scars. I can notice the texture and feel from a farmed species – it’s cleaner, softer.”

Silvia Campbell Karung Heel

Campbell is also very real about what women want and her own personal reference points as wife, mother and business woman bring true value to her bespoke consultations. It can take up to six months to create the first pair of bespoke shoes (priced from £2,500) – the lead time for subsequent pairs is much less (from £1,500). This is about trust and investment, both ways. The final creation is an expression of individuality, for women with an eye for perfection who know that “good” is not good enough when it comes to beauty and comfort for their feet.

Collection of Silvia Campbell Heels

“We opened our showroom in Yattendon in November 2012, where we meet our clients and make our shoes. Some of our clients are local to Berkshire, with the majority being London-based, and others come from countries all around the world.” I ask if the rural setting inspires ideas and brings clarity to the design process. Campbell smiles, and sighs. “Some contacts in the industry said I’d not make it outside of London, and the mix just wouldn’t work.” Berkshire is well connected to London and the contrast between the two locations is superb for her work. “My creativity has room to breathe here and I’m always excited en-route to a London client meeting, returning to my studio to ‘do’ and ‘make’.”

Silvia Campbell Rolls Royce Wraith Shoe

Collaborations in recent years have been with Rolls Royce (RRMC Sunningdale), Sunseeker (London Boat Show), Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saison and The Clerkenwell Collection London. Add these to her individual client listing and just how confident is she about a Great British shoe revival? “Shoe-making is a classic mix of form and function. When we buy shoes based on the way they look to the detriment of how well they suit one’s feet, it should be no surprise that shoe designers produce beautiful shoes that are practically unwearable, as these are usually the ones that return the highest profits. I am beginning to see a change in attitude to this, however, and hope that the value of superb fit combined with gorgeous looks will be appreciated by more women. I can really see this leading to a craftsmanship-led revival of the British shoe-making industry.”

Silvia Campbell
Old Brewery Shop
Yattendon
Berkshire
RG18 0EU
+44 (0)1635 201404
www.silviacampbell.co.uk

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling is a bespoke service for men and women, based in West Berkshire and available to clients from London to Bath. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Lulu Guinness Celebrates 25 Years With Hilary Alexander By The Luxury Channel

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Despite tube strikes and traffic jams, a slew of editors, stylists, photographers and designers turned up en masse at the Condé Nast College of Fashion & Design to celebrate Lulu Guinness’s 25th anniversary with Hilary Alexander, to find out exactly how one of Britain’s most cherished accessory designers parlayed one little handbag into a global brand.

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

“I wasn’t drawn to fashion,” explained Lulu as she turned back the clock to talk through the early days of the business. “I loved glamour and I loved old-style glamour. I started by designing briefcases – but people used to say to me, we want bags that look like you do.” Founded in 1989 when Lulu was 29 years old, briefcases quickly grew into rose baskets. It was a surreal idea that sold.

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Outré concepts sit at the heart of the Lulu Guinness brand – and 25 years down the line, Lulu insists that she’s not likely to run out of them anytime soon. “When people say to me ‘what’s your inspiration,’ I don’t get it because I have ideas all day, everyday, just rushing into my head.” As if to demonstrate, Lulu opened the meeting by showing the room her brand new virtual press day box, complete with popcorn and champagne.

Hilary Alexander & Lulu Guinness

Dressed in a Moschino cheesecloth black and white check dress, smattered with red roses to match her trademark red lips, Lulu was every inch the fifties glamour puss. “The bags that sell for us are the ones that have our character,” she explained. “People don’t want a bag that they could get from anyone else. That’s not what we’re for.”

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Regularly spotted on everyone from Dita von Teese to Alexa Chung and Paloma Faith, Lulu’s designs have built up an enviable fan base. “Back in the day, we never gave anything away, as the celebrities bought everything,” Lulu explained, recounting her first experience of celebrity endorsement. “She came into the shop, the actual Madonna. She was this tiny little person, with a big parka, a big hood and a giant bouncer. That was our first celeb. These days, you’d do Twitter but we just rang our friends up. We were quietly very happy and told everyone we knew.”

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

Image courtesy of Fran Hales for The Industry

With a few top secret collaborations in the pipeline, Lulu’s 25th year is set to be bigger – and more iconic – than ever before. She’s even produced a collectable silver clutch to celebrate. “I think that my 25th anniversary handbag, a mirrored lips clutch, is actually the most beautiful bag I have ever made.” You can even put your lipstick on using it, a perfect reflection on the central motif that made her.

It’s All In The Eyes By Melanie Sarah Brewer

Personal stylist Melanie Sarah Brewer, of Melanie Sarah Image Styling, meets Tom Davies, founder of British bespoke luxury eyewear brand TD Tom Davies….

TD Tom Davies Horn Glasses

Our eyes are totally extraordinary, recognising some 10 million colours and making, on average, some 200,000 movements a day. The global market for optics and eye wear is expected to expand at the rate of 6% in the coming years to 2017 and will go on to account for a total of $20 billion in revenues, with frames and sunglasses being increasingly viewed as personal style products. Innovative materials for lenses and frames plus other technological advances have presented new designs with better aesthetic appeal, style and quality. Eyewear in the luxury sector, including couture spectacles, is getting seriously attractive when it comes to an individual’s style statement.

Tom Davies

As a personal stylist, the colour of the eyes and facial shape are some of the most guiding assets of a client when it comes to fine-tuning personal style. The eye is in fact a complex organ, and our eyes are unique and play a big part in capturing our memories. Think of something important to you – chances are the thought is an image. Eyewear is increasingly the facial accessory and an integral item for an array of outfits, not to mention enhancing the personality of the wearer. So, with champagne flowing at this year’s Spring launch of his Sloane Square flagship store, I caught up with Tom Davies, the designer and founder of British bespoke luxury eyewear brand, TD Tom Davies, although the art graduate came to design eyewear almost by accident. “I hadn’t really considered this as a student,” Davies confesses. “But I took the job I was offered as an eyewear designer as I couldn’t think of anything more important in terms of design than an object which helped you to see and was such a dominant part of your features.”

TD Tom Davies Store

The rest, as they say, is history. A celebrity client list notwithstanding (The Luxury Channel spied Heston Blumenthal amongst those gathered at the launch night), Davies has also entered into a partnership with Zeiss. “I love the Zeiss quality and integration of technology across their product line,” he reveals. “It really enables us to offer the best solution possible for vision correction and I’m lucky enough to be able to work so closely with the technical experts at Zeiss to integrate these advantages so seamlessly. It’s this relationship with [them] and our ability to offer this level of clinical testing, with bespoke lenses being fitted into a bespoke frame, which makes my concept the most luxurious eyewear service in the world.”

Heston Blumenthal

When pushed about his high profile clients, though, Davies remains discreet. “I rarely gift anything so it is not actually so easy to name drop,” he says simply. “Let’s just say that some of the powerful people are fitted by me personally. Their needs are often very different. For example, some design briefs I’ve been given are: ‘I’m really famous and I don’t want to be recognised. Can you make me glasses which give me a different look, kind of like a disguise’ or ‘Give me something to hide my jetlag!’ My aim, when I am designing for someone personally, is to identify their lifestyle needs as well as their natural features. Given how dominant eyewear is on someone’s face, you can’t under estimate the importance of what it communicates. A lot of the people I see personally are really aware of this and if they are not, it is my job to discover this and create the image.”

TD Tom Davies Glasses

Image, it would seem, is key to the bespoke design ethos employed at TD Tom Davies. He readily admits his issue with other people’s eyewear – “Glasses which don’t fit. It drives me crazy!” he says. “Generally, people aren’t aware that they can actually have glasses which don’t constantly slip down their nose or pinch the sides of the head in. From a design point of view, it’s all about balance. I try to keep the face open and sculpt the lines of the frame and thickness of the frame in harmony with the customer’s natural features. I am constantly amazed to see people in great outfits, dressed impeccably and then presenting themselves with glasses which look terrible. One of the worst things one can do is to add ten years of age by using ‘ready readers.’ I can see how it starts out – they are convenient, quick and a temporary measure. But, then the user gets used to them and years later, still pulls out these terrible items (more than they realise they are doing!) and put them on the end of their nose. It’s the image equivalent of wearing an elasticated waisted trouser from an 8 year old’s fancy dress costume!”

Handmade TD Tom Davies Glasses

Nothing less than the best will do for Davies, who prides himself and his staff on the quality of their work and the subsequent attention to detail. “My workshop is full of craftsmen and women,” he says. “I only employ ‘masters’ – this means someone who has had ten years in their trade. It is considered a qualification and has a high pay grade. But, in order to meet my quality demands, we simply must have the best hand work.” That work is undertaken in Davies’ workshop in Shehnzen. “I used to live there,” he explains, “and built many friendships in my time in Hong Kong, who now work for me in my workshop. I always say that it is not where [glasses] are made, but how you make them, and from what. I use materials from all around the world. For example, my acetate comes from Japan, because the Japanese make the best acetate. My darker horn colours come from India because they treat the animals very well in India (and that is important to the quality of the material). I buy white horn from Africa, since this is the best quality white water buffalo in the world. I buy my beta titanium from Germany, as this material’s spring is dependent on superior engineering only found in Germany, and I buy my pure titanium in China, because I found it to be stronger than anyone else’s.”

TD Tom Davies Glasses
The TD Tom Davies range also includes sunglasses. Whilst the mainstay accessory of choice for the fashion-conscious and the film star alike, prescription lens wearers have traditionally had a harder time. “With sunglasses being such an essential accessory, you would expect more people to be using them all the time,” Davies says. “The reason they don’t is simply due to the limitations sunglasses have with prescription lenses in them. Most sunglasses can’t take most prescriptions – unless you don’t mind walking around with jam jars. A lot of the sunglasses we are designing bespoke are for people who want the glamour, but also need to see!”

TD Tom Davies Horn Sunglasses

TD Tom Davies eyewear is available worldwide via partnering opticians. Tom’s bespoke and customisation services can be enjoyed from his ready to wear collection, his Limited Edition delights and his couture personal consultations for Him or Her. The personal touch is extended by having one’s name discreetly laser-engraved on the inside of your eyewear frames.

Tom Davies Opticians
54 Sloane Square
London
SW1W 8AX
+44 (0)2077305454
www.tdtomdavies.com

Melanie Sarah
Melanie Sarah Image Styling is a bespoke service for men and women, based in West Berkshire and available to clients from London to Bath. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

A Kind of Magic From Shawish Genève By The Luxury Channel

Mini Mushrooms

Renowned for its dazzling World’s First All-Diamond Ring, Shawish Genève jewellery is the allegory of a world full of surprises and fairy-tale creatures. During this year’s BaselWorld Fair, Shawish Genève will unveil jewels representing a unique look at the Haute Joaillerie, combining old tradition and magical technology. Featuring spectacular designs, and combining precious stones and technical skills, the Shawish collections truly excel in the art of bringing fascination and emotion into traditional fine jewellery.

Fancy Mushrooms

The Shawish Genève booth at BaselWorld will be a symbolic embodiment of sensual beauty, styled to experience the enchanted world of Shawish – a place to discover the fine jewellery inspired by a magical forest and fairy-tale world, as imagination is an infinite source of inspiration and creativity.

Dandy Mushrooms

The idea of travelling back to our childhood in an enchanted forest – perhaps reminiscent of Alice In Wonderland – is a thrilling one, oscillating between dream and reality. The Magic Mushrooms collection evokes purity, elegance and sublimity comprising necklaces and bright, coloured pendants (which are also realised in a mini version with a series of gold charms, enameled in vivid colors and set with brilliant-cut diamonds), as well as bracelets, rings and earrings. Rich in tastes and smells, the mushroom can alter one’s perception of reality and take us through to the other side of the mirror in the land of dreams. The mushroom is also a symbol of longevity and even immortality in Asia.

Beauty of the Sea Ring

Another perceptible legend is the underwater world of the Beauty of the Sea collection, inspired by the exploratory voyage of the Nautilus and the legend of Atlantis and its underwater kingdom. The nymph Columba displays her slender features and graceful postures. She represents the very essence of femininity with her abundant tresses flowing between the gemstones. She is delicately perched on a crystal ball holding a handful of rough diamonds flying in all directions, like a light dusting of magical snow, which brings to mind the grains of sand on the bottom of the sea. This poetic ensemble is worn as a pendant or ring.

Beauty of the Sea Necklace

Precious stones are enhanced and staged through a fine balance between unbridled creativity, authentic artisanal gem-setting work and a touch of magic technology. The Bespoke creations thus out-do each other in terms of exuberance and poetry, while preserving the most refined jewellery craftsmanship traditions. Blending finest luxury jewellery with the thrill of catching light and intriguing theatrics, the Octopus bangle, the mermaid’s defiant buckler full of mystery and awe, appears to have emerged from unseen underwater spaces. Crafted in 18-carat rose gold and entirely paved with diamonds, it is enhanced with a pale pink pearl. Its eight tentacles encircle the forearm with an ingenious system ensuring a comfortable feel. Behind this voluptuous design lies advanced technology, and a luminous system makes the inside of the diamonds sparkle randomly. Shawish’s Octopus is a marvel emblazoned with sparkling diamonds that can change its scintillating color whenever you desire.

The Octopus

Shawish Genève’s jewellery creations are transformed from authentic legends, bringing to life the most improbable visions. Is that not indeed the very essence of jewellery?

For more information, please go to www.shawish.ch.

Turning Heads With Rosie Olivia Millinery By The Luxury Channel

Turn heads this Summer with bespoke headwear from Rosie Olivia Millinery….

Rosie Olivia Millinery

If, like us, the Grand National and Royal Ascot feel less about the betting odds and more about what you might possibly wear, then you’ll know that the perfect hat is key to looking the part at the racecourse.

The Spring/Summer ’14 bespoke haute couture hats from Rosie Olivia Millinery have been sported by HRH Princess Beatrice (whom The Luxury Channel met at Fashion For The Brave) and by Pippa Middelton at her best friend’s wedding. It’s unsurprising, given that the thirty stunning pieces in the collection embody the use of colour and luxury materials – not to mention the craftsmanship – that discerning consumers have come to expect, resulting in wearable statement pieces.

Rosie Olivia Millinery is available at Fenwick’s of Bond Street for the fourth season running, as well as Get Ahead Hats.

Power Dressing At The Oscars By Melanie Sarah Brewer

When the stars get dressed for specific roles, their clothes and style are of paramount importance in projecting the personality and feeling of each character.  Indeed, when the stars arrived at The 86th Academy Awards, it was their most important projection moment of the year! The guest list of the Hollywood calendar is unrivalled by any other event and 2014’s opulent night oozed luxury and confidence once again.

Cate Blanchett

The red carpet contrasted against a spectrum of nude fabrics – Cate Blanchet wore an embroidered toile Armani Privé gown and jewellery by Chopard while Jessica Biel wore a Chanel column dress with Tiffany & Co jewellery.  Julie Delpy wore Jenny Packham and jewellery by Chopard and Naomi Watts was in Calvin Klein Collection and Bulgari jewellery.

Jessica Biel

There were shades of blue right up to navy, and red to wow too.  There were metallics, delicate pretty-pretty colours and of course, the ever-present, evening black.  There were peplums, fishtails, sculptured lines and capes for shoulder cover – caped star Kate Hudson was dynamic in a white Atelier Versace.

Lupita Nyong'o

Best Supporting Actress, Lupita Nyong’o, wore a pale blue plunging Prada gown with a Fred Leighton headband and jewellery – perhaps the soft blue will now be known as “Nairobi blue,” as Miss Nyong’o said the colour reminded her of her hometown.  Sandra Bullock also chose blue albeit a different shade, as she beamed astro-confidence in a midnight Alexander McQueen gown.

Sandra Bullock

Charlize Theron also exuded confidence, wearing a very chic, black Dior dress with plunging neckline and fishtail  – accessorised with $15 million worth of Harry Winston diamonds. 

Charlize Theron

Amy Adams wore a navy (quietly matte), sculpted Gucci Première gown and jewellery by Tiffany & Co.

Amy Adams

Jennifer Lawrence wowed in sleek, red Dior Couture.  Certainly, this was the night of the sculpted, strapless dress.  Adding that chic wave and that playful tuck of a lock over the ear is sure to keep hairstylists busy this spring as some translate the 86th Academy Awards in to their clients’ dos for spring. Bradley Cooper, Lawrence’s co-star in American Hustle (and ‘camera man’ for the most re-tweeted group-selfie to date!) turned up in a peak lapel Tom Ford tuxedo – immaculate.  Oh yes, it’s all about fit and proportion!

Jennifer Lawrence

Brad Pitt, likewise, in a Tom Ford tux with Angelina Jolie in a long-sleeved glittering Elie Saab gown.  For the men – when does the Oscar-look truly work?  It’s the attention to detail which appears to make everything effortless – and the star can focus on enjoying themselves. Specifically, it’s the jacket – gently, and expertly, hugging the torso with sleeves allowing just enough of his shirt and watch to show, and the trousers breaking at just the right point atop his shoes.  Navy for the men always photographs so well and is kinder to the complexion during that all-important speech. 

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

As with the sea of whites, nudes and ivories, the men’s white dinner jackets lightened things further – Jared Leto, in a Saint Laurent tuxedo, red bow tie by Monsieur Jean Yves, cufflinks and studs by Neil Lane.  Matthew McConaughey, Best Actor in a Leading Role for Dallas Buyers Club, wore white Dolce & Gabbana and a contrasting black vest.  Ryan Seacrest,  in his Burberry white tuxedo, kept his look simple – white shirt, black tie and slim trousers, and very successful it was too. Michael Fassbender’s beard showed us groomed-ruggedness and his shawl collared Tom Ford tux brought us Old Hollywood glamour with a hint of now.  Chiwetel Ejiofor smiled in his modern evening wear and Christian Louboutin shoes – I noticed narrow peak lapels and more exaggerated points to his bowtie. 

Anne Hathaway

Is there Oscar-perfection?  It shows up when the star has excellent (yet relaxed) posture, with little trace of tension in the jawline, elegant and steady (!) feet and that starry-essence beaming through the eyes.  It’s the success of style and how the Academy guest feels wearing it – no single element dominating, except of course that Tinseltown energy which touches anyone who is curious about how luxury can wow and excite.

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling, based in West Berkshire, is a bespoke service for men and women built on sound, expert knowledge and strong collaborations. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas. From London to Bath, Melanie’s projects help her clients to fine tune their personal style.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Award-Winning Fashion At The BAFTAs And The Oscars By Hannah Norman

Let’s face it, last year’s Oscars were as much about the dresses as they were about the winners. J-Law’s pearly pink Dior gown earned her a million girl crushes overnight, and her now infamous fall up the steps on the way to receiving her award for Best Actress for Silver Linings Playbook earned her equally as much sympathy.

Jennifer Lawrence (courtesy of Getty Images)

Jennifer Lawrence (courtesy of Getty Images)

The favoured style de jour last year was big, big and even bigger. Big ball-gowns with sweeping tails, not to mention the volumised hair to match, were the trend of choice for last year’s A-listers. Whilst Ms. Lawrence was almost certainly leading the charge in the world’s best-dressed columns, she was by no means the only one to go for a couture-esque vibe. Amy Adams ravished in silver Oscar de la Renta, whilst Reese Witherspoon went for deep blue Louis Vuitton.

Amy Adams (courtesy of Getty Images)

Amy Adams (courtesy of Getty Images)

At this year’s BAFTAs, however, there was a definite change in style. The big show-stopper skirts of the Oscars were notably absent, with stars opting for slim-fitting dresses instead. Bold, dark colours dominated the red carpet, and hairstyles were noticeably sleeker compared to this time a year ago.

Cate Blanchett (courtesy of British Fashion Council)

Cate Blanchett (courtesy of British Fashion Council)

So the saying goes, if in doubt, wear black, but there can be no doubting the style of Cate Blanchett, who oozed glamour in satin Alexander McQueen, or Amy Adams and Sheherazade Goldsmith, who looked equally elegant in Victoria Beckham and Stella McCartney respectively. Michelle Rodriguez, more recently in the news due to her growing closeness to model-of-the-moment Cara Delevingne, made sure all eyes stayed on her in a teal Emilio do la Morena dress, with statement black embellishment.

Michelle Rodriguez (courtesy of British Fashion Council)

Michelle Rodriguez (courtesy of British Fashion Council)

It does seem that no-one passed the slim-fit dress memo on to Dame Helen Mirren though. She might have gone for on-trend midnight blue and a sleek up-do, but her Jacques Azagury dress had the full tulle skirt seen at last year’s Oscars. Perhaps she was just gearing herself up for this weekend?

Helen Mirren (courtesy of British Fashion Council)

Helen Mirren (courtesy of British Fashion Council)

Jewellery At The BAFTAs – Get The Look By Vashi Dominguez

The BAFTAs have defined the jewellery trend for 2014. Gone are flashy statement pieces, which scream ‘‘look at me!’’ and threaten to outshine even the most extravagant ballgowns. Opulent elegance has arrived. Fine jewellery still pervaded the red carpet, of course, but pieces were dainty and sophisticated, complementing the wearer’s ensemble rather than outshining them completely.

Gilliam Anderson (image courtesy of Lia Toby and WENN)

Gilliam Anderson (image courtesy of Lia Toby and WENN)

The girls’ best friend, diamonds were the gemstone of choice for the stars. Elsewhere, I spotted glittering blue sapphires and classic pearls. I predicted blue stones would have a shining moment as, back in January, an exceptional 29.6 carat blue diamond was discovered (which recently sold for a whopping $25.6 million). American actress Gillian Anderson stood out for me in this jewellery trend. She sported a spectacular diamond and blue sapphire pendant necklace and matching drop earrings, which caught the light beautifully and complimented her vintage Balmain Couture dress.

Vashi Diamonds Necklace

Get The Look: Diamond and Blue Sapphire Pendant in 18k White Gold (£599)

Uma Thurman (image courtesy of FameFlynet)

Uma Thurman (image courtesy of FameFlynet)

Superstar model and actress Uma Thurman, looked chic in navy with glittering accessories. I spotted her diamond bracelet, as it adds the perfect amount of sparkle to contrast her dark dress. Model and contributing British Vogue editor Laura Bailey also worked this look in a classic black gown with stunning diamond bracelet and necklace ensemble.

Vashi Diamonds Bracelet

Get The Look: 5.00 Carat Tennis Diamond Bracelet (£9,099)

Lily Allen (image courtesy of Just Jared)

Lily Allen (image courtesy of Just Jared)

Popstar Lily Allen turned heads in a bold colour block Vivienne Westwood dress and unusual hair piece, but it was her eye-catching diamond earrings which got my attention. Diamond hoops are a best-seller, and the trend looks set to continue after this year’s BAFTAs jewellery showcase. My collection includes these ravishing diamond hoop earrings, which feature 48 round diamonds in a prong setting with a total carat weight of 0.33ct. They’re popular because they can up the glamour for an evening do, adding exuberance to that LBD, yet they work well for daytime too. They can give an ordinary everyday outfit the ‘‘wow’’ factor, without being overkill.

Vashi Diamond Earrings

Get The Look: 0.33 Carat Diamond Hoop Earrings in 9k White Gold (£679)

Overall, jewellery pieces were dazzling without going over the top. Diamonds were in abundance, whether on stud earrings (as seen on Angelia Jolie and Dame Judi Dench), or necklaces and bracelets.

Angelina Jolie (image courtesy of Reuters)

Angelina Jolie (image courtesy of Reuters)

Rising star Lupita Nyong’o dazzled in pearls and gold pieces, whilst coloured gemstones were favoured by the likes of Gillian Anderson (who chose blue sapphires), and TV star Gwendoline Christine, seen in exuberant emerald earrings.

Vashi Dominguez is a diamond expert and founder of www.vashi.com.

Trends On Trend By The Luxury Channel

Courtesy of www.newlook.com

Courtesy of www.newlook.com

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Five By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights from the final day of London Fashion Week….

Marques'Almeida AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Marques’Almeida AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Anya Hindmarch AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Anya Hindmarch AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Simone Rocha AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Simone Rocha AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Zoë Jordan AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Zoë Jordan AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Helen Lawrence at Fashion East AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Helen Lawrence at Fashion East AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Ashley Williams at Fashion East AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Ashley Williams at Fashion East AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Barbara Casasola AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Barbara Casasola AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

KTZ AW14  (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

KTZ AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Meadham Kirchhoff AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Meadham Kirchhoff AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

SIMONGAO AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

SIMONGAO AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Click here to see highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Four.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Four By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights of London Fashion Week, Day Four….

Christopher Kane AW14 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Kane AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Roksanda Ilincic AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Roksanda Ilincic AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Whistles AW14 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Whistles AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Erdem AW14 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Erdem AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

ISSA London AW14 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

ISSA London AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Burberry Prorsum AW14 (image courtesy of Burberry)

Burberry Prorsum AW14
(image courtesy of Burberry)

David Koma AW14 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

David Koma AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Peter Pilotto AW14 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Peter Pilotto AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

GILES AW14  (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

GILES AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Three and Day Five.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Three By The Luxury Channel

We bring you the photo highlights of London Fashion Week, Day Three….

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Pringle of Scotland AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Pringle of Scotland AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Margaret Howell AW14  (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Margaret Howell AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Sophia Webster AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Sophia Webster AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Richard Nicoll AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Richard Nicoll AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Nicole Farhi AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Nicole Farhi AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Temperley AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Temperley AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Topshop Unique AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Topshop Unique AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Ryan Lo AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Ryan Lo AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Paul Smith AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Paul Smith AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

palmer//harding AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

palmer//harding AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Jonathan Saunders AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Jonathan Saunders AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Two, Day Four and Day Five.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day Two By The Luxury Channel

It’s only Day Two of London Fashion Week and we still can’t quite contain our excitement at seeing what we’ll be wearing come the Autumn….

Emilio de la Morena AW14  (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Emilio de la Morena AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Holly Fulton AW14 (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Holly Fulton AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Emilia Wickstead AW14 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Emilia Wickstead AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

John Rocha AW14  (image courtesy of Darren Gerrish, British Fashion Council)

John Rocha AW14
(image courtesy of Darren Gerrish, British Fashion Council)

SIBLING AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

SIBLING AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

J.W. Anderson AW14  (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

J.W. Anderson AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Hunter Original AW14 (image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

Hunter Original AW14
(image courtesy of Christopher James, British Fashion Council)

House of Holland AW14  (image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

House of Holland AW14
(image courtesy of Daniel Sims, British Fashion Council)

Julien Macdonald AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Julien Macdonald AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day One, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five.

London Fashion Week Photo Diary – Highlights From Day One By The Luxury Channel

London Fashion Week has started, and we can’t quite contain our excitement at seeing what we’ll be wearing come the Autumn….

J JS Lee AW14  (image courtesy of Jack Grange, British Fashion Council)

J JS Lee AW14
(image courtesy of Jack Grange, British Fashion Council)

Fyodor Golan AW14  (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Fyodor Golan AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

DAKS AW14 (image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

DAKS AW14
(image courtesy of Sam Wilson, British Fashion Council)

Amanda Wakeley AW14 (image courtesy of Amanda Wakeley)

Amanda Wakeley AW14
(image courtesy of Amanda Wakeley)

Mark Fast AW14 (image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Mark Fast AW14
(image courtesy of Shaun James Cox, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Raeburn AW14  (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Christopher Raeburn AW14
(image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Nasir Mazhar AW14  (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Nasir Mazhar AW14
(image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Central Saint Martins MA 2014 (image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Central Saint Martins MA 2014
(image courtesy of Dan Sims, British Fashion Council)

Click to see highlights from Day Two, Day Three, Day Four and Day Five.

Haute Couture’s Heyday Gets A Contemporary Revival By Hannah Norman

Ralph & Russo

Sumptuous flowing silks and volumes of organza with incredible embellishment, encompassing hundreds of hours of careful artisanship. Sounds like a typical offering for Couture Fashion Week in Paris, but in fact, this was Ralph & Russo, the first British brand to have been invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture to show their collections in over a hundred years.

Ralph & Russo

This is a true testament to the work of a talented team of couturiers, led by Creative Director Tamara Ralph, particularly given the strict criteria set by the Chambre Syndicale. “It’s the ultimate distinction for a designer to achieve in fashion, and we are truly humbled to be the first British designers in a hundred years to be accepted,” Ralph revealed.

Ralph & Russo

She and co-founder Michael Russo have found their niche within the haute couture market. “When we set up the brand for the first time, we really wanted to do something very different,” Russo told us. “We thought, at the time, especially in London, there’s a lot of competition in the ready-to-wear market. For a new designer, it’s quite difficult to get discovered and you really need to make an impact. So what we did, we found a niche where haute couture was just non-existent, or at least very small.” He added that, “obviously, haute couture has been associated with Paris and the big fashion houses for a few hundred years, so we decided to go with that angle, to really focus on not so much the broader market, but a very niche market, [with] quality, high-end products that are fashion-forward, but at the same time, still glamourous and elegant and wearable.”

Ralph & Russo - Tian Yi

The pair have certainly achieved this with their SS14 collection. Hailing back to haute couture’s heyday, a world in which glamour was rife and reality was forfeited for fantasy, the end result is a sweeping array of beautiful ballgowns, epitomising the ideal of feminity, glory and glamour. In many ways, this is a modern-day revival of 1950s Hollywood style. Ornate patterns intricately embroidered by hand on Chantilly lace give a delicate, but striking, finish. “The hand craft is so important,” Russo emphasised. “Hand-stitching is a dying art, in a way. There are a lot of graduates coming out of London who want to be designers, but there are very few people who want to be craftsmen. But to be a good designer, you have to understand the craft, and you have to understand the construction of a gown. It¹s a beautiful skill.” This skill is evident in the SS14 collection, with a single garment boasting as many as 1,600 hours of hand embroidery, 800,000 beads and crystals, and 120 handmade fabric buttons -­ attention to detail at its very beautiful best.

Didit Hediprasetyo

The spirit of “Old Hollywood” was also seen at Didit Hediprasetyo’s show. Tailored cardigans, ultra-feminine mermaid dresses and chic jumpsuits were showcased in warm, earthy colours, perhaps reminiscent of the Californian sun. Leather bomber jackets and straight-cut trousers toughened up the look, while delicate cloth embellished with sublime broderie anglaise and ornamental vine leaves gave a classic feel, more subtly sensual than overtly sexual. The location may have been Paris, but this was a modern take on Hollywood glam. Clearly, when it comes to couture, there is no mistaking the impact of classic 1950s to create a contemporary collection for the catwalk.

First Look At The Ermanno Scervino SS14 Campaign By Sally Ashley-Cound

Ermanno Scervino SS14 Campaign

Ermanno Scervino has released a new spring/summer 2014 advertising campaign with Italian actress, model and director Asia Argento as the star. ‘‘Asia succeeds in expressing the different nuances of my style, interpreting them with passion and strong personality,’’ says Ermanno Scervino.

In the Cinecittà studios in Rome, a luxurious yacht provides the cinematographic backdrop for the shots by Francesco Carrozzini. On a set inspired by the historic yacht Christina O, Asia Argento becomes an icon of glamour, drawing inspiration from legendary women such as Maria Callas, Jacqueline Bouvier, Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, all of whom were guests on the famous yacht.

Model Jarrod Scott, male co-star of the campaign, appears alongside the actress in a play of seduction and complicity that accompanies them in a journey to the heart of the Ermanno Scervino style.

For further information, visit www.globalblue.com.

Stuart Weitzman 5050 Boots At Russell & Bromley By The Luxury Channel

5050 Boot

The Stuart Weitzman 5050 boot, with its classic and versatile silhouette, is now available at Russell & Bromley. This season, the iconic boot celebrates twenty years since its first production. In that time, the over-knee boot, with its classic silhouette and elastic back for added comfort and fit, has become a must-have staple of many a fashionable wardrobe – frequently selling out globally.

At Russell & Bromley, the 5050 boot comes in butter-soft black calf leather, and luxurious black, brown, wine or blue suede, with the trademark stretch panel at the back for a clean fit and elongated silhouette. Team with denim or a dress for a stylish look all year round.

For further information, please visit www.globalblue.com.

What Is A Moon Phase Watch? By Sally Ashley-Cound

Patek Philippe was not satisfied with the ingenious creation of the Annual Calendar movement, so the brand decided to add a moon phase dial to a select number of its watches, taking the total number of parts in the movement over 330. We take you through everything you need to know about moon phase watches….

Patek Philippe 5146

Simply put, a moon phase watch displays the current phase of the moon. But why would you need one in the 21st century? That’s an easy question to answer. It’s the same reason you would want an expertly crafted watch that displays the date and month, even though you also own a computer and smartphone which automatically remind you of this information. It’s about tradition, love of technology and personal preference.

Not satisfied with the ingenious Annual Calendar function which automatically displays the month, day of the week and date regardless of the length of the month, Patek Philippe has added the further complication of a moon phase dial to a select number of its watches.

5205G

While other Patek Philippe watches with perpetual calendars and moon phase displays comprise 275 parts, the increased functionality and accuracy of the Annual Calendar movement with the addition of the moon phase display consists of upwards of 330 parts – making it one of the esteemed watchmaker’s most complicated and detailed movements.

The Patek Philippe Ref 5146, with a 39mm case available in 18-carat yellow or white gold and two dial designs, cream or slate, has the strong presence of a highly technical watch. The hours of the Ref 5146 are indicated in Arabic numerals while the month and days of the week are written around miniature dials in the centre of the watch face. The plus and minus signs of the power reserve indicator add a further scientific feel to the watch.

Patek Philippe 5146

While the Ref 5146 has the utilitarian style of a pilot’s watch, the Ref 5205 is simpler in design, although it has the same number of complications. This simplicity of the 40mm white-gold case is aided by the base design for the watch, the Patek Philippe Calatrava, inspired by the Bauhaus and premiered by Patek Philippe in 1932. The Calatrava is one of Patek Philippe’s signature best-loved and most versatile watch designs.

Despite the understated vintage effect that this watch’s heritage brings, its exceptional colour combinations give it a decidedly modern look. One model unites silvery grey and rhodium grey, the other combines matt black and slate grey. Baton-style hour markers, white-gold dauphine hands and recessed windows for the date and days of the week further enhance the simplicity of the dial, without sacrificing function. The heaviest of the 356-part caliber 324 S QA LU 24H manufacture movement is the 21-carat gold rotor, which automatically winds the watch with every motion of the wrist.

Patek Philippe 5205G

The moon phase complication adds a touch of fantasy to thoroughly modern watch designs without detracting from the elegance of the face and, along with its aesthetic merits, the moon phase mechanism has been praised for its high precision – deviating from the true lunar cycle by only one day in 122 years. Patek Philippe is the expert in creating watches which are not only ultra-sophisticated, grand-complication watches but also watches which simplify life in the 21st century.

For further information, visit www.globalblue.com.

Dare To Be Red By Hannah Norman

The colour this year is bright, bold and very distinctly red. As just a hint of red can make an impact, we bring you the pick of our best red alerts….

Ralph & Russo

www.ralphandrusso.com

Couturists Ralph & Russo, fresh from the catwalk at Paris Couture Fashion Week, are the perfect choice for updating a lacklustre wardrobe and throwing in a vivid splash of colour. From stunning ball gowns to perfectly tailored jackets, making a statement has never been so much fun!

Ralph & Russo - Tian Yi

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

www.somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts/isabella-blow-fashion-galore
Entrance £12.50; concessions £10; £6.25 on Mondays; until 2nd March.

Somerset House is presenting a major fashion exhibition, called Fashion Galore!, celebrating the extraordinary life and wardrobe of the late British patron of fashion and art, Isabella Blow. With a thirty year fashion career under her belt, Blow is credited with discovering model Sophie Dahl and launching the careers of Alexander McQueen, Philip Treacy and Julien Macdonald, to name a few. With hundreds of pieces from her rich collection showcased, this is a rare opportunity to sneak a peek into the wardrobe of one of the world’s most fashionable women.

Isabella Blow, 1997 (c) Mario Testino

Isabella Blow, 1997 (c) Mario Testino

Burberry at Monnier Frères

www.monnierfreres.co.uk , £695

If ever an excuse was needed to buy a new tote, we like the Salisbury by Burberry. Perfect as a desk-to-bar bag, the luxurious leather bag ensures you can fit almost anything in!

Burberry Salisbury

Carven

Léonie Sunglasses by Carven at www.monnierfreres.co.uk, £156

Escaping the northern hemisphere for some winter sun? Don’t leave home without these sunglasses from Carven. Whether worn for their intended purpose, or simply perched atop your head as an accessory, these sunglasses will see you through the summer and beyond.

Carven

Baume & Mercier

www.baume-et-mercier.com

If you’re not the biggest fan of red, try a Baume & Mercier Linea watch on for size. A rich red leather strap, along with a clear face, mean you can rock the red trend without feeling like you’re overdoing it.

Baume Et Mercier Linea Watch With Red Strap

Vashi

www.vashi.com/valentines-day

Now, from watches to other jewellery. The Valentine’s Collection from Vashi is a glittering array of jewels that are sure to impress the lady in your life. Rubies and diamonds cluster on white gold settings, and the sparkling collection encompasses necklaces, rings and earrings (like the ones below, worn by actress Paula Lane to the National Television Awards). Diamonds are forever, after all!

Vashi Diamond and Ruby Hoop Earrings

Burberry

Burberry Mega Scarf at www.monnierfreres.co.uk, £250

To add a splash of bright hue to an outfit, Burberry’s Mega scarf is the perfect, inter-seasonal accessory.

Burberry Mega Scarf

Vertu

www.vertu.com, £4200

If you’re going all-out red, then make sure your phone doesn’t let you down in the style stakes, with this release from Vertu.

Vertu Constellation

Campari

www.campari.com

If you’re hitting the town, make sure your drink matches your dress, with Campari. Uma Thurman was recently used as the face of Campari’s 2014 calendar, and with previous “faces” including Penelope Cruz and Selma Hayek, this is a drink with some serious A-list endorsement.

Uma Thurman

Avakian

www.avakian.com

If it’s A-list looks you’re after, you can’t go too far wrong with jewellers to the stars Avakian, whose heart-shaped pieces make a statement. These are definitely not just for Valentine’s Day!

Avakian Necklace

Smythson

If you’re looking to book a hotel over Valentine’s weekend, Dorchester Collection’s UK properties and Smythson have partnered together to produce an exclusive keepsake. Prior to a stay at The Dorchester, 45 Park Lane or Coworth Park, guests can contact their chosen hotel via Twitter using the hash tag #headoverheels in order to receive a complimentary Smythson Head Over Heels cross-grain leather flip book on arrival.

Head Over Heels

Bennison Fabrics

www.bennisonfabrics.com

On the other hand, if you want to avoid the crowds and the inflated price tags by going out, try your hand at adding a little romantic warmth to your home with Bennison Fabrics’ Special Lipstick Pink Roses On Oyster print. Let your imagination run wild to create a stunning statement wall….or chair….or cushion….or dress….

Bennison Fabrics

La Maison du Chocolat

www.lamaisonduchocolat.co.uk, £68

Finally, we know it’s a bit clichéd, but let’s face it – it wouldn’t be Valentine’s Day if there wasn’t a mention of chocolates somewhere! French chocolatiers La Maison du Chocolat’s coffrets are a divine mix of jasmine, violet and vanilla. One word – sublime!

La Maison du Chocolat Coffret Coeur

Luxury Channel Picks For The Year of The Horse By Hannah Norman

Happy New Year to all our Chinese readers! As the year of the horse commences, we couldn’t help but feel a slightly equine touch to our lives was called for. Get ready to canter away with 2014’s latest trend….

Lilogi

www.lilogi.com/ronnie-wood

Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood is more traditionally seen with a guitar rather than a paintbrush, but it transpires that the rock star is actually something of an aspiring artist. Wood has collaborated with Lilogi to create a scarf that features his painting Wild Horses. Warm, earthy tones means this go-with-anything scarf is the perfect seasonal accessory. They’re limited edition, so get yours before they’re gone!

Ronnie Wood

Mika Organic

www.shopmikaorganic.com

Equine-lovers everywhere can go one step further with a horsey number from Mika Organic. Made from the finest organic and sustainably made materials, 5% of every dress purchased is donated to protecting the natural habitats of endangered species. Think of it as your good deed for the day!

Horse Mini Dress

Gucci

www.gucci.com

Not a horse-lover but still keen to fit in with the fashion crowd? Gucci’s 18 karat yellow gold horse bit bracelet is the perfect accessory for those who want to embrace the trend without appearing totally horse-mad.

Gucci Horsebit Bracelet

Vacheron Constantin

www.vacheron-constantin.com

For the fashion-forward man who wants to add an equine touch to his wardrobe, Vacheron Constantin has produced a (very) limited edition watch as part of its Métiers d’Art collection. Available in either pink gold or platinum, the Legend of The Chinese Zodiac Year of The Horse watch is a subtle but superbly crafted tribute to Chinese heritage.

Vacheron Constantin

Hermes

www.uk.hermes.com

With the wintry weather still upon us in the northern hemisphere, we intend to wrap ourselves up in this luxurious cashmere blanket from the house of Hermes. Featuring a Lusitano horse presumably in the middle of a dressage routine, this beautiful blanket is certainly a statement-maker.

Hermes Cheval Blanket

Royal Crown Derby

www.royalcrownderby.co.uk

Fine bone china specialist Royal Crown Derby has produced a new collection, called “Equus.” Launching in Harrods, the equine-inspired range features ink artwork of a horse, with the image deconstructed and applied to five different plates. A table centre piece with a difference!

Royal Crown Derby's Equus

Shanghai Tang

www.shanghaitang.com

Go one further with Shanghai Tang’s Chinese Zodiac Chopsticks. Guaranteed gourmet sophistication!

Shanghai Tang Chopsticks

Lalique

www.lalique.com

Finally, what about Lalique’s Kazak Horse paperweight? Guaranteed to keep your papers neat and tidy!

Kazak Horse Paperweight

Time For A Ferrari (And A Meccaniche Veloci Watch) By Scott Manson

BACKGROUND

Is there a watch aficionado out there who doesn’t also harbor a passion for fast cars? The link between the two has been extensively documented, with scores of top brands – from Hublot to IWC to Breitling – linking up with luxury motoring marques to produce limited edition timepieces.

Italy is arguably the European nation that’s home to the most passionate petrolheads. For proof, look no further than the obsessive Ferrari fans – the tifosi – that attend F1 races at Monza. It’s little wonder, then, that a motor racing influenced premium watch brand would also hail from the spiritual home of automotive excellence.

BACKGROUND

That brand is Meccaniche Veloci (‘‘mechanical speed’’) which, since 2006, has combined elements of motor engineering with high quality watch craftsmanship, resulting in timepieces that are both striking and unique. These are large, unashamedly masculine pieces, some of which use materials that have been sourced from racing cars, bikes and even helicopters. A statement watch, then, but one that eschews the bling so beloved of other bold men’s watch brands, in favour of a tougher, stripped back aesthetic.

Sergio Cielo

Sergio Cielo

“I discovered this brand at Baselworld, and I fell in love with it,” says Sergio Cielo, founder and president of Cielo Venezia 1270, the Italian luxury goods company that includes Meccaniche Veloci in its ‘brand umbrella.’ “Just as the brand was born out of men’s passion for speed and challenges, I love doing challenging things in my life. So I decided to take this challenge too, and launch the brand internationally.”

Since then, the brand has continued to evolve. From its initial offering, the Quattro Valvole, with its four movement four timezone face that took its design cues from a famous four valve Ferrari engine, to later iterations that include a power reserve model and a dual time zone version, they proved an instant hit with a new breed of watch fans.

Martin Castrogiovanni

Martin Castrogiovanni

“Our customers are a broad mix,” says Cielo. “Of course, there are those who are passionate about speed, motorsports and watches. But we also have football players – Cristiano Ronaldo is a fan – plus VIPs, CEOs and so on. The Italian rugby star Martin Castrogiovanni is also one of our brand ambassadors.”

Unsurprisingly for a brand built on a love of adrenaline-fuelled adventure, the Meccaniche Veloci designers continue to reveal thrilling new models. These include a collaboration with Brembo, manufacturer of disc brakes for sports cars, on the CCM limited edition models. Taking the brake’s carbon ceramic materials as a starting point, Meccaniche Veloci uses high-pressure water jet technology to mould the tough material and transform it into the thin plates of the dials of this special collection.

CCM

The most popular piece to date, though, is the innovative Quattro Valvole Only One. Genuinely one-of-a-kind, each watch in this collection is constructed using recovered materials from the world of speed, such as the fibreglass body of a Ferrari Formula 1 car, a helicopter’s fuselage or the petrol tank of a Moto GP bike. “We literally travel the world to source special components which have been used for speed and sports competitions throughout history. No one will own the same watch as you,” says Cielo.

A skeletonised Quattro Valvole and a neat driver’s watch, the Chrono Driver – which offers an adjustable case position for ease of viewing while doing some speedy motoring – complete the brand’s core collections. Of course, there are a number of luxury limited editions also available, plus the occasional bespoke request.

Says Cielo: “We were once asked to create a unique piece made of gold and diamonds for a princess from Arabia. I have to be very secretive on her name!”

This is a brand that has generated a serious and devoted following in a relatively short space of time and with next year’s Baselworld fast approaching, you can expect Cielo and his team to produce a suitably full throttle offering for the world’s biggest watch show. The Meccaniche Veloci journey has only just begun.

www.frostoflondon.co.uk

In Brief: Sergio Cielo

What can’t you live without?
Definitely my company.

Would you rather create a groundbreaking watch or get to walk on the moon for ten minutes?

Walk on the moon….to be inspired for a new groundbreaking watch!

When you meet people at a party, what’s the first thing they say when you tell them what you do for a living?
The first thing they say is, “Your watch is awesome,” before I’ve even mentioned my company!

If you were put in charge of the watch industry for the day, what rules would you impose?

I don’t like to impose rules; I think that being independent and free is a prerequisite for being creative and for guaranteeing innovation in the watch industry.

Having achieved so much already, what’s next for your brand?
We’ll work on developing new functions in our watches, by being consistent to our own essence at the same time. We’re also planning to cover new market segments.

Fashion At The Olympics By Martina O'Boyle

Keeping warm but staying stylish, athletes from the United Kingdom, Italy, Germany, the U.S, France and Russia will be increasing fashion competition at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi….

Team France

Team France

Lacoste has signed a deal as the official Olympic outfitter for the French teams through the upcoming Sochi games, and through the Summer Games in Rio 2016. Embodying French “chic and elegance,” the athletes will each sport a special ceremonial outfit, an official outfit and two relaxed looks for the Olympic Village.

The entire Italian contingent will wear Armani, after the label signed a two-year deal with the Italian National Olympic Committee (which also takes their partnership through Rio). This is not the first time Armani has styled Italian athletes – the Milan-based house provided tracksuits and formal wear for some of the athletes at the London 2012 Olympics, while the Italian sailing team wore special designs by Prada.

Team USA

Team USA

All-American fashion label Ralph Lauren will return to dress the representatives of the United States Olympic Team. The athletes will attend the ceremony wearing the classic colours of red, white and blue, with a Nordic-style knit polo-neck sweater underneath a navy peacoat, with cream slim-fit fleece athletic pants.

Team GB – keeping things on the traditional side of British – will wear designs by Chelsea’s Oliver Brown. The London outfitter, which has a long tradition with sport and is the only trader inside the Royal Enclosure at Royal Ascot, will kit British athletes out in more than 1,100 items, including bespoke jackets featuring the team logo on the outside pocket and a Union Flag on the inner pocket. This marks a departure from the sleek London 2012 apparel designed by Stella McCartney.

But just in case the British, American, French and Italian greys, blues and reds start to meld, Germany is sending athletes to the opening ceremonies in bright, rainbow-coloured duffel coats and orange flowered trousers by designer Willy Bogner.

Team Germany

Team Germany

The host country always enters the arena last, but the Russian Federation will be worth waiting for, looking sharp in subdued black and burgundy velvet blazers emblazoned with a Russian crest. For competition, the athletes will have tracksuits and hats adorned with a large red “RU,” all provided by Bosco Sport, a division of Mikhail Kusnirovich’s Bosco di Ciliegi group.

Pro Hunter – Fit For A President By The Luxury Channel

Pro Hunter Submariner

Pro Hunter Submariner

The likes of former American president Bill Clinton, actor Orlando Bloom, luxury brand owner of Kering Francois-Henri Pinault, as well as financier Arpad Busson, are owners of the uniquely designed Pro Hunter Watch.

Pro Hunter is a personalised range of limited edition steel Rolex sports watches, which create a collection of stunning and desirable timepieces. Originally designed as a robust timepiece for hunting, the collection has now plugged the gap in the Rolex product line of sports watches. For many years, hunting clients yearned for a Rolex designed specifically for the hunting community, one that was both practical and pleasing to the eye. As a result, Pro Hunter was born.

Pro Hunter Blue

Pro Hunter Blue

The designs not only pay homage to the golden years of Rolex of the 1950s and 1960s but are also faithful to the Rolex style and history. Designs are inspired by Rolex vintage models such as the Daytonas with anti-reflective bezels, the 4-line James Bond big crowns, the Military Submariners specifically created for the Special Boat Squadron, and especially the black-coated Rolex Submariner made for a few British Army Officers based in Africa. Each limited edition Pro Hunter is individually engraved with a numbered case back.

www.discoverprohunter.com

Milan Fashion Week – A Parallel Universe At The Hotel Principe di Savoia Words and images by Rosalind Milani Gallieni

This grande dame of a hotel, in all its splendour and elegance, transforms completely during the three key dates of this bi-annual menswear occasion, hot of the back of LC:M in London and Pitti Uomo in Florence. The entire ground floor and lobby area are rocking with the influx of the world’s opinion-leaders, designers, models, stylists and international press. Congregating here from about 11pm onwards until the early hours, it’s the wind-down after the day’s appointments, which have been a roller-coaster of presentations, fashion shows and entertainment hosted by leading menswear designer brands such as Giorgio Armani, Gucci, Prada, Burberry, Pal Zileri, Missoni, Brioni….

Pal Zileri Winter 2014-15 Collection

Pal Zileri Winter 2014-15 Collection

The concept to throw open the doors of this influential entourage was the vision of Angelo Rizzi, Resident Manager of the Hotel, who has made this the playground for the fashion press and brand designers to exchange ideas and opinions, and spin off new contacts and concepts for their next presentations, features and interviews.

When we arrive at the hotel (rather on the later side by now after a truly exquisite Milanese dinner with Pal Zileri’s creative director Yvan Benbanaste at the oldest trattoria, La Libera), I ask for Mr. Rizzi. At this request, I sense unexpected electricity in the efficiency of the staff, who put out a search party and within 5 minutes, he appears. It has now gone midnight and he is impeccably dressed in a double-breasted navy blue pinstripe suit; with a radiant smile, he explains he is on call 24/7 at this very busy time. Angelo speaks with energy about the hotel and its eclectic clientele, which is always very diverse, but also quite different to the collective here tonight, and to be fair, most walk past him without the slightest knowledge as to who they owe this momentary, parallel universe to.

He casually walks us through the jam-packed bar, arranging some drinks along the way, whilst talking to us over his shoulder. At this point, I must mention the Bar Manager Daniele Confalonieri, who worked really hard to guarantee an impeccable service, and he definitely did an amazing job. The DJ was playing his latest mix from his pop-up booth in the middle of the bar, and the music was loud.

Models wearing Pal Zileri's Winter 2014-15 collection  with Communications Director Manuela Miola

Models wearing Pal Zileri’s Winter 2014-15 collection
with Communications Director Manuela Miola

As we walked, we greeted a host of interesting people, including the new investor behind Kiton, who are building a whole Palazzo for the brand; the Malenotti brothers, who are busying themselves with the launch of a new Belstaff-type brand (that explains the motorbikes and leather jackets dotted all around the hotel lobby); the editor of GQ Japan in D&G; the president of Europe’s largest silk screen-printing company in Como; the fashion editor of Figaro in the latest Berlutti fedora hat; the entire équipe of British GQ all in sharp British suits; Esquire USA in more casual mode wearing denim and leather bombers; the FT How To Spend It team dressed in Gieves & Hawkes, and many more. Yvan Benbanaste, in his bespoke Pal Zileri Sartoriale navy wool suit, is discussing the new winter 2015 collection which has just launched at their showroom on Via Montenapoleone no. 1. Manuela Miola, the Director of Marketing & Communications at Pal Zileri, discusses the new Doge jacket and the photoshoot scheduled for the next day. All rub their fashionable shoulders here and catch up on the day’s style direction and fashion news.

Pal Zileri Winter 2014-15 Collection - Venetian Doge Jacket

Pal Zileri Winter 2014-15 Collection – Venetian Doge Jacket

And when this dynamic troupe takes off again and the music stops? Well, it never stops. Mr. Rizzi then starts his globetrotting and networking demands with all the top hotels of the group, which today includes The Dorchester, The Beverly Hills Hotel, Le Meurice and the Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, The New York Palace, Hôtel Bel-Air, Coworth Park and 45 Park Lane in the UK.

The fashion industry reaches into many walks of life and to see such a monumental building of international fame and timeless style host such a progressive collection of people, is a testimony to the common denominator this exceptional hotel and its old world luxury can give to all.

www.hotelprincipedisavoia.com

Which Postcode Is London’s Most Fashionable? By The Luxury Channel

Gieves & Hawkes (Image courtesy of Dan Sims and the British Fashion Council)

Gieves & Hawkes (Image courtesy of Dan Sims and the British Fashion Council)

The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, is launching a new campaign to promote the booming British menswear industry, which brings £10 billion to the UK’s economy and is growing at such a rate that it is predicted to overtake womenswear sales by 2016.

The capital’s pioneering and creative menswear designers are once again being showcased at London Collections: Menswear, which takes place every January. Organised by the British Fashion Council, LC:M has, in just three seasons, become an essential fixture on the international fashion circuit, with its mix of classic British brands, new independent London labels and designers, and the best in fresh, up and coming talent.

Bobby Abley (Image courtesy of Sam Wilson and the British Fashion Council)

Bobby Abley (Image courtesy of Sam Wilson and the British Fashion Council)

“As the birthplace of the three-piece suit, the trench coat and the bowler hat, London has an unrivalled men’s fashion heritage. But our city is still setting the pace, with the emergence of new, exciting and cutting-edge designers. Their creative talent is why London Collections: Men has become the most important showcase of men’s fashion in the world. Our goal is to ensure that London remains ahead of the world fashion pack, and to support an important sector that creates thousands of jobs and generates £10 billion pounds each year,” the Mayor of London said.

Hardy Amies (Image courtesy of Shaun James Cox and the British Fashion Council)

Hardy Amies (Image courtesy of Shaun James Cox and the British Fashion Council)

Dylan Jones OBE, Editor of GQ and Chair of London Collections: Men, said that LC:M “is a fabulous way to kick off the season. We have all been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm for the project, and the scale and ambition of all the many designers who are now showing here is incredibly infectious.”

Christopher Raeburn, the British fashion designer and Artistic Director of Victorinox, said: “I’m proud to be a designer in London, the home of menswear. With such a rich heritage and groundswell of creativity it’s an exciting place to be; the momentum building with London Collections: Men has given us a platform to be proud of and it’s fantastic that the eyes of the world are now truly looking to see what’s next.”

David Gandy, Dylan Jones OBE and Dermot O'Leary (Image courtesy of Shaun James Cox and the British Fashion Council)

David Gandy, Dylan Jones OBE and Dermot O’Leary (Image courtesy of Shaun James Cox and the British Fashion Council)

From Mayfair, St James’s and the West End, to Shoreditch, Hoxton and the East End, London is not just an important menswear shopping destination, its streets are steeped in fashion history. Some of that history is featured in the London Menswear Heritage Study published last year by the Mayor of London and British Fashion Council, and there are a number of other opportunities to explore menswear design whilst London Collections: Men is on. They include The Anatomy of the Suit at the Museum of London, Hello My Name Is Paul Smith at the Design Museum, and the fashion galleries at the Victoria & Albert Museum.

Jonathan Saunders (Image courtesy of Shaun James Cox and the British Fashion Council)

Jonathan Saunders (Image courtesy of Shaun James Cox and the British Fashion Council)

To coincide with this high-profile men’s fashion event, the Mayor is launching the London Home of Menswear competition to find the most stylish postcode in the capital. Londoners are being encouraged to say why their area is the capital’s fashion hotspot. Those entering have the chance of winning some fantastic fashion prizes. These include a covetable made-to-measure three-piece suit by E. Tautz, the 19th century British military tailors, brought back to life by Norton & Sons in 2009; a pair of sharp shoes by Mr. Hare, famed for its rakish designs and elegant details; and a delightful tartan dog designed by Christopher Raeburn. Five runners-up will receive tickets to see the Hello My Name Is Paul Smith exhibition at the Design Museum. Over the course of the competition, there will be a dedicated poster campaign run on the London bus and underground network featuring Londoners wearing some of the UK’s signature menswear styles. To enter, get onto Twitter, Facebook or Instagram and explain why your London postcode is the most stylish using #londonmenswear and the start of your postcode (e.g. E17, NW10, SW4).

The Luxury Channel Meets Interior Designer Catherine Milner By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel meets Catherine Milner, interior designer to London’s ultra-high net worths, to talk about prime investments and design inspiration in the Capital….

BRAND PHOTO

Catherine Milner offers property acquisition, renovation and interior design services in London’s most exclusive residential locations, sourcing prestigious, and often off market properties in Belgravia, Knightsbridge, Chelsea and Holland Park. Catherine only takes on one major renovation project at a time to ensure that clients get her undivided attention and a very impressive return on their investment.

Why do your clients invest in London, and how do you help them make that investment work?

London is the oldest and most established real estate market in the world – with a wonderful architectural pedigree. The return on investment in one of London’s most desired and prestigious addresses, after a renovation project, is very high. In fact, turning bricks and mortar into gold is a guarantee when the right renovation and interior finishes are put in place. I hate to cut corners – there is no substitute for true luxury. My team is always made up of incredibly talented architects, artisans and highly skilled craftsman to ensure quality at every stage. Meanwhile, London is a city where contacts are key and I am grateful to have an excellent working relationship with the Grosvenor Estate, Cadogan Estate and other landed estates which facilitates all aspects of property acquisition including lease extensions, freehold acquisitions and acquiring necessary planning permissions. This adds so much value to the work I do for my clients.

Catherine Milner

Catherine Milner

London is a very stylish city – are there any design trends to look out for in 2014?

There are some very stylish people buying and curating at the top of the design industry and it is a pleasure to find so many of these unique boutiques and shops in London. However, I try not to follow trends religiously but I do take note of what is going on in the industry and in the fashion, culture and art worlds. I get great pleasure sourcing product designers and artists or discovering new talent for my clients. It is always deeply satisfying to find beautiful object d’art or vintage pieces, as they can completely elevate the design of a room or be a cherished item for years to come. However, I would actually encourage clients to move away from what is ‘‘fashionable’’ and instead focus on what will become a timelessly, beautiful classic piece.

Where do you find design pieces?

One of my favourite places to find design items is Birgit Israel as they often have beautiful and unique vintage pieces. For art deco pieces, I go to Valerie Wade or Gallery 88 where I can find beautiful Murano or Italian glass, and other such pieces. For furniture, I like Tillmann Koehn’s sleek and unique designs; Herve Van De Straiten is superb for his impressive sculptural lighting; Bisazza for their mosaics; Bernard Dru Oak for their beautiful oak flooring; and for beautiful fabrics, Bruno Triplet and Jason D’Souza are sensational. However, it’s all down to how they are used to maximise their luxurious effect!

Basil Street

Where do you encourage clients to buy, and where do they live?

Belgravia is absolutely one of the most prestigious addresses in London to own property and I personally love this area. Belgravia continues to draw the aristocracy, the gentry and leading professionals, as well as celebrities, and has been doing so for over 150 years due to its location and rich heritage. Eaton Square particularly retains its very private air – with grand terraces and the high security offered within the impressive facades. Many of the properties that come on the market still have their original layout and there is often much scope to re-configure this space, adding further investment value and bringing the property into the 21st century whilst honoring the elegance of the past. The same applies in Knightsbridge – an area that is also seen as a prestigious address; desirable for overseas clients as they enjoy the close proximity to Sloane Street, along with all the wonderful restaurants and bars located nearby. There is also grandeur to Holland Park – the houses are larger and the facades are intricate and elegant. With pretty independent shops and the cultural hub of Notting Hill nearby, Holland Park is a secluded paradise for those fortunate enough to live there. Chelsea is also a highly desirable area to own a residence. Parts of old Chelsea near the river are particularly beautiful, where you can find a more diverse selection of prestigious properties. The very beautiful Albert Bridge is near my own home and the sight of it when lit up at night never fails to evoke a sense of pleasure in me. It is very important that clients love the area in which they live – I want them to feel happy and inspired by their homes.

www.catherinemilnerinteriors.com
55-56 Oakley Street, 
London SW3 5HB
+44 (0) 207 352 3302
+44 (0) 777 164 7975
info@catherinemilnerinteriors.com

Swiss High-Jewellery House Bogh-Art Opens In London By The Luxury Channel

Acclaimed jewellers Bogh-Art have opened their first boutique in London, in a prime location on Bond Street, and the aim is to court the international clientele that make Bond Street such a highly desired destination.

BOGH-ART LONDON

The Boghossian family has been in the gemstone industry for four generations, creating exceptional pieces for other jewellers and well-known brands, but as their reputation grew, collectors would commission pieces directly – including royalty. As a result, Bogh-Art was born in 2007, and the launch reflected their desire to bring something new to the world of gems: innovative creations pushing the limits of jewellery design. Bogh-Art works only with fine and rare gems, and seeks to marry the old and the new by blending ancient techniques and charming old mine stones with the development of modern new materials.

BOGH-ART Jewellery

The new Bond Street home of this Swiss house is in a brand new retail location, specifically created for the brand. The luxurious surroundings are dedicated to displaying the brand’s high jewellery, Art of Inlay and new material creations. Split over two levels, the serene, warm and inviting space evokes the interior of a jewellery box. Rich tones of beige, gold and bronze are punctuated with accents of amethyst, combined with sensitive architecture.

BOGH-ART LONDON

Inspired by the works of Gerhard Richter, the architects, StudioParisien, have designed an illusionistic space, calling upon the finest craftsmen in Paris for the textiles, lighting and furniture. Varying textures, refracting light a myriad ways, form differing perspectives and interest within this sensual box. The focal point of the design is a wall-mounted sculpture in bronze, an oversized broach inlaid with rock crystal, underlining the know-how of the brand.

BOGH-ART LONDON Rock Crystal

Taking centre stage is Bogh-Art’s high jewellery collection – unique pieces and rare stones complimented by the Art of Inlay collection and the Kissing Diamond pieces. Bogh-Art’s innovative Titanium Fibre and Carbon Fibre collections can be found in the large display cabinets in the retail space on the ground floor, whilst clients with commissioning pieces will be invited to the brand’s private room downstairs, where they will be afforded seclusion and undivided attention from the Bogh-Art jewellery experts.

BOGH-ART LONDON Private Room

The exceptional stones and master craftsmanship married with audacious design makes Bogh-Art a worthy entrant to this historic jewellery enclave.

Bogh-Art, 45a Old Bond St, London W1S 4QT, www.bogh-art.com.

Innovative Luxury From The House of Dormeuil By Melanie Sarah Brewer

The cutting-edge spirit for discovery and innovation is relentless at the House of Dormeuil. The roots of this family story wind back to 1842 when at the age of 22, Jules Dormeuil began to import English fabrics to France. He was joined by his brothers, Alfred and Auguste Dormeuil some sixteen years later, setting up the company as Dormeuil Frères, with headquarters at fashionable 4 Rue Vivienne in Paris.

Dormeuil Coat of Arms

By 1871, Jules Dormeuil had opened his first shop in the thriving tailoring district of London at 10 New Burlington Street. The momentum continued for the family with premises on Fifth Avenue, New York in 1905 as well as forming strong relationships in Japan and China. The roaring 1920s marked the beginning of its ladies division and the build of the prestigious Dormeuil House in London’s Golden Square.

Burlington Street

The expanding cloth collection was boosted by Pierre Dormeuil (who went on to invent Sportex® in 1927, nicknamed “the cloth of champions” – the first ever cloth to use a woven selvedge) and Xavier Dormeuil (who introduced the famous Tonik® cloth composed of mohair – including its reputation for resisting creases and keeping its wearer comfortable in both warm and chilly temperatures).

Dormeuil Amadeus Fabric

Over 170 years on and the family passion for the world’s finest and rare fibres continues to cement the company’s reputation across five continents today. Dormeuil has its own design team and manufactures in England, using that special combination of the best of modern technology and traditional methods. I met up with Dormeuil’s Sales Director, Mr. Patrick Bunting, at their elegant London showroom in Sackville Street. Patrick’s knowledge and luxury antenna is evident – he is the master of the detail throughout the collection – fibre compositions, cloth construction and weight properties and, naturally, the design potential throughout the collection. I must also mention Dormeuil’s New York-based Sales Manager, Mr. Luke Mayes, who is equally fabric-fluent. Luke is inventive – he shares his passion for cloth brilliantly in the digital world, keeping the Dormeuil audience up to speed with tempting style and the latest cloth developments.

Dormeuil Amadeus

Across the pond, in September this year, Dormeuil was crowned Winner In Suiting. In partnership with The Woolmark Company and Saks Fifth Avenue, Dormeuil scooped the Fabric No.1 Award, a prestigious prize that commends the season’s finest fabrics for made-to-measure suits and sport coats from the world’s premiere textile mills.

Dormeuil’s winning fabric’s pure long filament Super 150’s worsted wool has the enigmatic name of “15 point 8.” This refers to the very fine diameter of the fibre used (a mere 15.8 microns) to create a fine, wonderfully soft cloth perfectly suited for wearing every season of the year. The extraordinary handle is further enhanced by the special 2/120 compact yarn used in both the warp and the weft. The compact yarn is woven in an extremely tight British setting, which gives incredible quality, regularity and performance for such a fine fabric. Dormeuil’s exclusive finishing process is applied to create a lustrous soft handle. This fabric is 100 per cent wool and available exclusively at Saks Fifth Ave as a limited edition, individually numbered, two-piece made-to-measure suit.

Leonardo DiCaprio

Dormeuil’s innovative cloths dress the globe’s elite – kings, presidents and Hollywood’s A-listers. Even Baz Luhrman, with his much-anticipated adaptation of Scott F. Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby, couldn’t resist Dormeuil, either. I heard that Jay Gatsby, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, and other cast members were dressed in suits made from Dormeuil fabrics.

Extreme Vicuna

In addition to dressing Tinseltown’s elite, one of Dormeuil’s latest innovations is Extreme Vicuña. No stranger to the vicuña at The Luxury Channel – the Channel’s film feature of this beautiful and protected species was enjoyed around the globe. Vicuña are protected and regulated by CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species) and are the smallest of the Camelid family at just 2ft 8″-3ft 7″ (0.8-1.1m) at the shoulder. They typically weigh in the region of 99-121lb (45-55kg). They are extremely refined to look at, cinnamon in colour with an apron of long white hair on their chest – and produce one of the finest fibres of any animal in the world.

Vicuna

For Dormeuil, the fascination is the native vicuña. The protected animal is treated with great care and respect during the shearing process, which takes no more than ten minutes. Each animal is only sheared every two years, providing approximately 300 grams of wool. For the very first time, in addition to Peruvian vicuña, Dormeuil has recently used Argentinean fibres. Extremely rare and very pale, it’s also extremely difficult to weave – the exclusive raw material gives Dormeuil’s Extreme Vicuña collection its supremacy. From careful shearing to precision weaving and finishing, Dormeuil ensures the traceability of this precious fibre. Its unparalleled length and fineness have an unmatched brightness. This really is the secret of their beauty and dreamy lustre. These qualities have allowed Dormeuil’s master weavers to create cloth of highly unusual colour and brilliance. Looking through the palette of ten colours, I noticed several unexpected choices, including gentle beige, light grey and plum – a reflection of the South American Mountains. For those working with this incredible cloth, vicuña wool allows scope for much technical virtuosity. The Extreme Vicuña collection stands out as unique – representing excellence, cutting-edge spirit and luxurious chic.

Vicunas In The Mountains

Sales Director Patrick Bunting and I threw water over some of the Dormeuil cloths. It was time to get in to Nano mode and the world of the Modern Man – crossing business frontiers and managing the unexpected moments in life. Dormeuil’s Aquaplan is a Super 130’s merino wool and is treated with a special Nano surface finish – just brilliant when surviving the changes in weather, lively coffee and mobile evening cocktails! Any liquid will just roll over the surface of this dynamic innovation. Aquaplan is the high tech fabric and should be worn in all weather conditions. I dare you!

From New Zealand’s merino wool to silk from India and China, cashmere from Mongolia to vicuña from the Andes, Dormeuil is the all-time top cloth creator for me, with an unparalleled knowledge base that has led the company to successfully (and sometimes exclusively) weave some of the finest and softest fibres in existence.

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling, based in West Berkshire, is a bespoke service for men and women built on sound, expert knowledge and strong collaborations. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas. From London to Bath, Melanie’s projects help her clients to fine tune their personal style.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Strictly Fashion For The Brave – Julien MacDonald Designs Dress For Abbey Clancy By The Luxury Channel

Fashion For The Brave

At the annual Fashion For The Brave Gala, the highlight on the catwalk is always the stunning finale dress. Every year, a celebrated designer creates a spectacular one-off piece for a model personality to make a star turn on the catwalk for this noble cause.

Julien Macdonald

In previous years, Vivienne Westwood and Jasper Conran have produced amazing dresses, and fashionistas were not disappointed to hear that this year, Strictly Come Dancing star and British fashion designer Julian McDonald was set to stun with a bespoke, patriotic evening gown with a twist. The striking creation was worn by model (and Julien’s co-competitor on Strictly), Abbey Clancy.

Abbey Clancy

The clean-cut dress captured a modern bodycon style in the iconic British colours of blue, white and red. There is no question that this dress made a statement – tiny Union Jacks created a sparkling, iridescent pattern with nude sheer panelling at the sides to create a barely-there, fantasy illusion dress, accessorised with a red glove by Sheeva. The look was finished off with a glossy, polished hair style, courtesy of Knightbridge-based hairdresser Paul Edmonds.

Abbey Clancy

The eagerly-awaited event took place on 8th November at none other than The Dorchester Hotel in London, in support of Household Cavalry Foundation and Soldiering On. Host of the evening Sir John Standing said, “I am so excited to be involved with such a fantastic cause. Having done my national service as a soldier in Germany, I partially understand the horrors that today’s soldiers are going through. Fashion For The Brave is the worthiest of causes, and we hope to raise vast sums of money for the most deserving charity, The Household Cavalry Foundation.”

Princess Beatrice

HRH Princess Beatrice was the Royal patron of the glitzy Gala, and the fashion show itself was organised by Hilary Alexander OBE and Lesley Goring. The show was preceded by an auction of various items, after which of course, came the now customary unveiling of the dress. Our film here.

Fashion For The Brave

Ben Saunders Models Fedeli By The Luxury Channel

Polar explorers Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere prepared to depart to Antarctica, to make history by completing Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition. We caught up with Ben before he left, and he modelled a rather fetching Fedeli hat. Get yours from Fedeli’s online shop.

Ben Saunders

Bremont – History, Horology And A Whole Heap of Awards By Melanie Sarah Brewer

Following their relocation from Switzerland, The Bremont Watch Company has now not only settled into its new custom-built watch making facility in Henley-on-Thames but gone on to open its second luxury boutique. Loyal Bremont collectors and those who seek a new direction in mechanical wrist watches can now enjoy the full collection in Mayfair, London and Lyndhurst Terrace in Central Hong Kong.

Bremont Hong Kong Boutique

The latest boutique of over 2000 sq ft showcases the company in Asia, to compliment the brand’s growth in the region. Giles English, co-founder of Bremont, told us: “When you have your own store, you can really communicate your own brand message and DNA to your consumer.” As a personal stylist, my experience of the Mayfair boutique on all visits has been just this – the compelling Bremont story and passion for sophistication and robust engineering shines through. It’s no surprise that the boutique scooped UK Retail Store of The Year at the prestigious Retail Jeweller Awards in July 2013. As co-founder Nick English explains, “It’s a place for watch collectors to come and meet to talk about watches over a coffee or a Chivas whiskey. We will also be expanding our Explorers Club from the UK to Hong Kong, where we will have monthly events.”

Nick and Giles English

Bremont won Watch Brand of 2013 at the UK Jewellery Awards, and the Best Breakthrough Brand at the 2012 Luxury Briefing Awards. Each watch remains true to its original principles of durability, legibility and precision. Bremont also manufactures watches for some of the most exclusive military squadrons around the world, and has been influential in revitalizing the British watch industry (Britain once being the dominant place for watch and clock making).

Bremont Codebreaker

Some months on from a Bremont Adventurers Club event I enjoyed at the boutique in Mayfair, it was time to catch up on the brand’s collection, from a style point of view, and their exciting new collaborations. I shared coffee with some of the London team and can report that the awards for expertise and quest for innovation keep on coming. On this particular day, everyone was in a celebratory mood as Bremont had scooped joint winner of the prestigious Global Connections Award 2013 – an HSBC initiative to find the UK’s most innovative and forward-thinking companies.

Bremont Codebreaker

The Henley-on-Thames workshop has been busy as more designs are added to its collection. Whilst there is more choice, Bremont still only makes small numbers of watches each year across the total range and on occasions, produces a watch that is very limited in numbers and is distinctively different from the core range. Nick and Giles have always said there has to be the passion factor from the outset and some real uniqueness to each design. Their first limited edition, the EP120, is a key example as the Spitfire is not only iconic in their minds but the EP120 was owned by a friend of their father’s, and is one of the most famous Spitfires flying.

The new Bremont HQ, in Henley-on-Thames

Bremont had announced the beautiful addition of the ALT1-C Rose Gold, which launched in November 2013 and retails at £13,950 / $18,250. Earlier in the year, I had been trying on the Victory Limited Edition and can see a similar elegance in the ALT1-C. The classic collection has received much attention because of its timeless style – the British dress watches of the early 1900s have certainly influenced Bremont’s design direction of late. The case is 18 carat Rose Gold Bremont Trip-Tick® construction with a scratch resistant PVD treated case barrel. The case back is 18 carat Rose Gold with integrated flat crystal. The strap is embossed leather with an 18 carat Rose Gold pin buckle. It’s an exceptional piece and a handsome addition to the collector’s case.

Bremont Victory

Coloured metals continue with the release of the beautiful, bronze-sided MBIII. The Bremont MB was designed and built to become the definitive aviation chronometer, embodying all that is meant by ‘‘Made in Britain.’’

Bremont MBIII

The collaboration of the year was announced when the Bremont Watch Company and the Bletchley Park Trust revealed that they would be working together on the release of a new Bremont limited edition watch that will truly incorporate history. It will be called the Codebreaker – a classic 40s officer’s watch being the style inspiration – and a percentage of the proceeds will go towards the ongoing restoration of Bletchley Park. The Codebreaker will incorporate a Flyback chronograph GMT automatic movement and some relevant historical artifacts: pine from the iconic Hut 6 and paper from one of the few remaining punch cards (used to analyse the vast amount of coded data created from the daily Enigma communications.) Part of the rotor of the watch will be made from the wheel of an original Enigma machine. 240 steel Codebreaker watches will be created and 50 rose gold watches. Iain Standen, CEO of Bletchley Park Trust confirmed that, “Bremont accomplished a great deal with the HMS Victory watch, both in terms of product and the benefits to the National Museum of the Royal Navy. Knowing this and seeing Bremont’s vision, we were keen to work with them. The mission of the Bletchley Park Trust is to preserve this important part of history for future generations.” Bremont are certainly testament to this idea.

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling, based in West Berkshire, is a bespoke service for men and women built on sound, expert knowledge and strong collaborations. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas. From London to Bath, Melanie’s projects help her clients to fine tune their personal style.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Loro Piana’s Interiors By The Luxury Channel

Loro Piana Denim Flower

Since selling 80% of their business to LVMH earlier this year, all eyes have been focused on what luxury Italian textiles company Loro Piana will do next. Famed for searching for the most precious raw materials to turn into exquisite clothes and accessories whilst ensuring local sustainability, it would seem that it is business as usual in the Loro Piana camp, with the launch of their new Home Interiors range. CEO Pier Luigi Loro Piana gives The Luxury Channel an insight into the business….

Weaving

What is special about this year’s Loro Piano Interiors collection?

One of the most important novelties introduced this year is the Loro Piana Denim Flower®, an extraordinary fabric obtained from prized and certified organic cotton picked in the Valley of San Joaquin in California, and considered the finest product available in the USA. This fibre is exceptionally unique in terms of length, finesse and resistance. Only a longstanding textile tradition and the rediscovery of antique manufacturing techniques – the same used for cashmere – have enabled us to spin and weave this precious fiber to obtain a compact and resistant fabric with a denim structure that exudes a soft cocooning sensation. It comes in five color variants, four neutrals and an indigo. For upholstery and decorations, I cannot forget to mention the Ikat fabric, one of the most ancient forms of textile decoration still in use in diverse areas of the world (among the Malaysian and Indonesian populations in particular). This is a precious and diffused technique, in which the yarn dyeing process takes place prior to the weaving, resulting in fabulous variations of designs characterized by multiple shades. Another important novelty is the Dehors fabric for outdoor life, terraces and conservatories, a segment that we didn’t approach before. Dehors is high-performing, waterproof and climate resistant and available in natté, twill and chevron textures. It’s available in three different designs and a total of ten different shades of color.

Loro Piana Denim Flower Fabric

Where are your materials sourced?

The quest of quality is a never-ending journey that takes us to the most extreme regions of the world, if necessary. We have been to Mongolia and China to find and collect the best cashmere and baby cashmere – the new frontier of cashmere is sheared from one year old Hyrcus goats. We have been to Peru and now also Argentina for Vicuna, then to Australia and New Zealand to reach for the finest merino wool and to Burma for the Lotus Flower.

Weaving

How do you find and select your fabrics?

We produce our own fabrics and to produce the best quality possible, we always search for and go to the places where the best raw materials come from. We constantly search for the highest quality.

How important is tradition to your brand philosophy and what measures do you take to stick to it?

Tradition is extremely important to our brand; Loro Piana stands for uncompromised quality, finest raw materials from around the world, Made in Italy. We made Loro Piana a total vertical integrated company that allows us to control all stages of production – from raw material to finished product.

Loro Piana Interiors

In what direction would you like to see the Home Interiors range move forward?

The Loro Piana Interiors business unit has grown a lot in the last few years. Our fabrics are perfect not only for private houses, yachts and jets but also for hotel rooms and lobbies. I would love to see this business unit grow even more; it’s pretty recent (we launched it in 2006) but it’s performing very well and I am confident that it will give us much satisfaction in the future.

What Makes An ‘It’ Bag? By Camilla Harrison

Some may say it all began with the Chanel 2.55. Others would argue that it was the Hermes Kelly. Either way, since the latter half of the 20th century, ‘It’ bags are the accessory that everyone from the Hollywood actress to the teenage girl on the high street lusts after.

Grace Kelly with the iconic Hermes Kelly Bag

Grace Kelly with the iconic Hermes Kelly Bag

But what really does make an ‘It’ bag? When Chanel created her iconic 2.55 bag in February 1955, the designer put part of herself into every stitch and seam. From the Mademoiselle lock that referenced her life as an unmarried woman (but is now more commonly replaced by the Double C lock), to the chains that mirrored those worn by the caretakers in the convent she grew up in, this bag told the story of her life. It is now worn by every one from Paris Hilton to Anna Wintour and will go down in history as one of the most recognisable icons of fashion. Equally, both the Kelly and Birkin bags by Hermes were created with a personal touch. The Kelly was named after Grace Kelly, Princess of Monaco, who famously used the bag to conceal her growing baby bump, and the Birkin after Jane Birkin, who sat next to the Hermes chief executive on a flight and her belongings spilt out of her straw bag. These bags now symbolise wealth and exclusivity; to get your hands on a Birkin bag is no easy challenge.

Anya Hindmarch’s ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’

Anya Hindmarch’s ‘I’m Not A Plastic Bag’

However, when Anya Hindmarch collaborated with We Are What We Do in 2007 to create an alternative to the plastic carrier bag, she created a storm. Priced at just £5.00, the unbleached cotton bag was emblazoned with the words ‘I am not a plastic bag.’ Despite Hindmarch being a highly respected bag designer, the frenzy that ensued was unforetold; it was selected to feature in the Vanity Fair goodie bags for the Oscars, 100,000 people registered to purchase it online and thirty people in Taiwan were hospitalised after being caught in a scrum to get their hands on the bag.

Celine's woven bags by head designer Phoebe Philo

Celine’s woven bags by head designer Phoebe Philo

So from the Hermes bag that can take up to 18 hours to construct, to a simple canvas bag that costs a few pounds, is there such thing as an ‘It’ bag anymore? It seems that those at the heart of the industry themselves are now looking at the idea of an ‘It’ bag with a rather more cynical eye. Take Celine, the label that in recent years has come to epitomize the effortless and almost nonchalant style that is so desired in 2013. Remember the large plastic coated checked bags that are most commonly seen toted by your Granny for her shopping, or to pick up your washing from the laundrette in your student days? Well, for her Autumn/Winter 2013 offering for Celine, head designer Phoebe Philo took this somewhat banal print and reinvented it into luxurious, tactile woven bags that topped the wishlists of fashion bloggers and editors across the world. Of course, were you to adopt an authentic laundry bag to accessorise your Celine look, it wouldn’t quite have the same effect minus the designer label. This bag may have the fashion world salivating with desire, yet rewind to Spring/Summer 2007 and across the pond, Marc Jacobs showed near identical versions albeit stamped with the infamous LV logo. Six years later and few consumers would associate this must-have Celine model with its Louis Vuitton predecessor. Will the 2013 version withstand the ephemeral world of fashion, or will it be a short lived fad as with Jacobs’ offering? Can we class Philo’s luxurious laundry bag as an ‘It’ bag? That remains to be seen.

Ashish Gupta's sequined version of an everyday plastic carrier bag

Ashish Gupta’s sequined version of an everyday plastic carrier bag

It seems that the criteria for an ‘It’ bag has changed since the days of the Kelly and the 2.55; the desirability of the accessory is not necessarily determined by the extortionate price, or the hours of workmanship that went into its creation. The hype that surrounds an item in itself creates ‘must-have’ status rather than the quality of leather or intricate stitching. Delhi-born designer Ashish Gupta took things one step further this London Fashion Week, showing sequined versions of our everyday plastic carrier bag. Ashish’s sartorial commentary has summed up the culture of ‘must-have’ consumerism in the form of a glitzy grocery bag. Witty and ironic or simply outrageous? You decide!

To see more of Camilla’s work, go to www.camillafloraharrison.wordpress.com.

Grace Kelly – A Timeless Style Icon By Camilla Harrison

Grace Kelly

Regarded as one of the most stylish women of the 20th century, Grace Kelly was an icon in her own right even before she became Princess of Monaco in 1956. An established Hollywood actress, she was and still is synonymous with sartorial elegance. Despite being only active in the industry for around six years, Kelly starred in pictures that were later to become screen classics, including Rear Window and To Catch A Thief. She embodied everything that audiences wanted from their leading ladies – sophistication and wholesomeness, with a subtle sex appeal and undeniable allure.

Grace Kelly In Pringle

As one of the most photographed women in the world, Grace Kelly was most often pictured in her impeccable fairy-tale looks, from chic cocktail dresses to ballgowns. However, her off-duty style was as much a part of her enduring iconic status as her formal wear. A recent exhibition focused on a particular relationship that Kelly was faithful to for many years; that of the knitwear brand Pringle of Scotland. In collaboration with Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, the design house explored the less documented images of Kelly’s life. The actress favoured the simple Pringle twinsets often paired with a string of pearls, and her daughter Princess Caroline remembered her mother wearing these knitwear separates during their happiest times. The design house later presented a knitwear collection designed by MA fashion students from the university, inspired by and based on pieces from Grace Kelly’s archives. The Pringle twinsets were undeniably elegant and classic, yet embodied an altogether more relaxed look for Kelly; perhaps illustrating that her natural grace was present in whatever outfit she wore.

Grace Kelly In Edith Head

One of Grace Kelly’s most iconic dresses was a design created by Edith Head for Rear Window (pictured above). Head was undoubtedly the most prolific Hollywood costume designer during Kelly’s era and perhaps of all time. This particular piece features a chiffon and tulle mid length skirt, nipped at the waist with a simple black bodice with cap sleeves, and patent belt. The inevitable question to be posed is, did Head predate Dior’s renowned “New Look” (or Corrolle Line) collection of 1955? Prior to the 1920s, the opening of a film often tied in with a new fashion; not just clothes, but also interiors and other trends. After the Second World War, this pattern was turned on its head and fashions began to be inspired by the images on the big screen. Unquestionably, fashion trends and film often go hand in hand. For example, the flapper trend seen across the catwalks and now in high street stores has coincided with the release one of the most anticipated films of the year, The Great Gatsby. Whether Head pre-empted the styles worn by Grace Kelly or not, Kelly epitomised the sophisticated 1950s style that is now synonymous with Christian Dior.

Grace Kelly's Wedding

So, does Grace Kelly’s style still have a place in fashion today, or will any reference to it now be seen as a pastiche of the era of classic Hollywood glamour? It is impossible to comment on Kate Middleton’s wedding dress worn for her marriage to Prince William, without making reference to Kelly’s own dress. Designed by Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, the delicate lace bodice, high-waisted silhouette and slim sleeves mirrored the design worn by Kelly in 1956. Raf Simons’ 2012 couture offerings for Dior are undoubtedly indebted to the early designs of the house’s namesake, but also to the women who wore them. Grace Kelly’s innate dignity and poise are timeless and would be difficult to imitate; yet the image of Kelly, be it on screen or in her personal life, will be remembered in fashion history for many years to come.

To see more of Camilla’s work, go to www.camillafloraharrison.wordpress.com.

Diamonds – The Best Friends of Ultra Wealthy Investors By Tara Loader Wilkinson

Diamond Ring

The diamond industry is notoriously secretive. Some of the world’s leading diamond dealers are largely unknown, including Indian companies Rosey Blue and EuroStar, Israel’s Leo Schacter and Lev Leviev, and Russian-government-backed miner Alrosa. Their clients, who are among the wealthiest and most secretive individuals in the world, prefer to keep low profiles.

“The market is very un-transparent and revolves around a very small, closed community,” said John France, a jeweller in Milan who sells diamonds to the ultra wealthy.

Which is why it came as a surprise earlier this month when Ming Yin Chen (known as Tiffany Chen) revealed herself to be the buyer of what Christie’s auction house called “the largest and most perfect briolette diamond ever sold at auction.”

Chen, the multi-millionaire vice chairman of China Star Entertainment, a film production company, renamed the 75-carat diamond “The Star of China” after she purchased it for US$11.15 million in May, setting a world record for an auctioned briolette diamond.

Fifty-seven year-old Chen has a net worth of at least US$55 million according to data provided by Wealth-X, a research firm that tracks the ultra wealthy. Chen is married to Keung Wah Heung, the founder of China Star Entertainment, whose assets total at least US$110 million, according to Wealth-X.

Chen is part of a trend that looks set to stay in the current low-interest, turbulent financial climate. For an ultra high net worth individual, wearing your assets around your neck can make more sense than keeping them in the bank.

Worldwide diamond consumption is forecasted to surge by as much as 60% by the end of this decade, according to consultant Bain & Co. Demand for diamonds – bolstered by growing affluence in India and China – will push global sales to US$26.1 billion by 2020, a sharp increase from the figure of $15.6 billion in 2010. Sales of the most expensive diamonds are hard to track, but experts say demand is on the rise at the top end of the market, too.

“The appetite for one-of-a-kind jewels has been especially vigorous in recent years,” said Vickie Sek, director of the Asia Jewellery & Jadeite Department at auction house Christie’s. “Investors and collectors are looking for creative alternatives where they can store cash and remain portable. For this reason, diamonds and coloured gemstones have become alternative asset investments,” she added.

But as much as they love their diamonds, UHNW individuals are picky about their jewels.

“For UHNW buyers, quality reigns supreme. The most in-demand stones are large ones of top colour and clarity worth between US$5 million and US$10 million. For colourless diamonds, a DIF grading – the best in colour and clarity – is naturally prized, but stones of E or F colour and VVS clarity are also highly sought after,” said Sek, “For coloured diamonds, pinks and blues are the most desirable. UHNW buyers are looking for a colour grading of Fancy Intense or above.”

Brilliant Diamonds

She added that signatures by famous houses such as Cartier, Graff, Harry Winston, and Tiffany & Co. also add to the jewel’s value – if they are vintage.

Indeed, when it comes to the top end of the market, experts say the auction houses and private dealers are more successful than retailers, which typically attract aspirational buyers.

“The top jewels are sourced via diamond dealers, auction houses and private sales, but rarely from retailers like Tiffany’s or Harry Winston,” said Edward Alvarado, a director at diamond dealer Diamintel.

This is good news for diamond dealers and auction houses. According to data from Wealth-X, the world’s population of UHNW individuals (those with US$30 million in assets and above) grew 0.6 percent last year to 187,380, with a combined global wealth of US$25.8 trillion. Wealth-X forecasts that the growth of the UHNW population – particularly in countries such as diamond-hungry China and India – will accelerate.

Mindful of new streams of business, the diamond industry – dealers, miners, jewellers, and now fund managers – is growing apace. Bankers, fund managers, family offices and wealth managers, led by those in Hong Kong and Singapore, are increasingly advising clients to gain exposure to this physical asset class.

“Diamonds have outperformed more traditional investments like stock markets and gold, since the onset of the global financial crisis,” said Alvarado.

Well-connected new dealers are also coming to the fore. One such individual is John France, who left his job as a lawyer to set up a Milan-based jewellery broker, JF Diamonds. Having worked closely in his previous career with the top Italian fashion houses — Versace, Cavalli, and Armani — France understood the world of high-fashion jewels inside out. “My clients often lamented the difficulties of sourcing reliable suppliers of fabulous diamond jewellery. So I saw my opportunity to sit on the other side of the desk,” France said.

France sources some of the world’s most flawless diamonds and will frequently fly to visit his clients to help work through a design. His clients hail from the billionaire hotspots of Monte Carlo, Gstaad, Dubai and Moscow, where wealthy individuals have weathered the global crisis with barely a scratch.

The long-term appeal of diamonds is clear. The last 25 years have seen diamonds of a carat doubled in value, according to the Rapaport Diamond Index (RDI). Five-carat-plus diamonds are now 250% more expensive, said the RDI. Diamonds have shown steady growth over the last two decades, have a proven track record and have a limited supply against growing demand. On top of that, they look much better than a stock certificate.

A shining example of a secure and lucrative alternative asset, diamonds are becoming the investment of choice for an ever-increasing number of UHNW individuals.

www.wealthx.com

Fit For A King By Melanie Sarah Brewer

Personal stylist Melanie Sarah Brewer, of Melanie Sarah Image Styling, gives us an insight into Prince George of Cambridge’s first photo shoot and talks to Cocobaci, a new online luxury store for newborn babies.

Baby Boy

On 23rd July, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge proudly showed the world their baby son, a future king, before taking him home for his first night. Their Royal Highnesses were seen cradling the baby prince and posing for pictures on the steps of the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London. HRH Prince George of Cambridge snuggled up in a soft, white, traditional shawl. The Prince’s parents smiled broadly, their baby boy wrapped immaculately in super-fine Merino wool.

White Cashmere Shawl

It transpires that dressing decisions for this special appearance favoured a creation from Nottingham based G. H. Hurt & Son, who “were so delighted when the Royal couple emerged from St Mary’s Hospital with their new-born son….wrapped in one of our traditional hand finished shawls.” Not for the first time either, as HRH Prince William was wrapped in a similar shawl in 1982 – like father, like son! Other members of the Royal Family have also previously used G. H. Hurt & Son shawls, and the company revealed that they felt “honoured that William and Kate have chosen to use our beautiful merino wool shawl and in doing so, have continued a tradition for the next generation of royals.”

Cashmere Shawls

Cocobaci (which translates as ‘chocolate kisses’) can’t resist G. H. Hurt & Son’s creations either. Launched in April this year, Cocobaci is a luxury online boutique for newborn babies and toddlers. Their selections bring gifts for a baby shower, christening or newborn baby to one accessible location – and their website has attracted much interest in their pick of G.H. Hurt & Son’s christening shawls. The Soft White Cashmere Shawl is seriously sumptuous. Cocobaci also drew my gaze to the Boxed Cupcake Bodysuits from Bluebird Creations, and soft sole leather baby shoes by Starchild are great for ‘pram-time.’

Navy Sport Shoes

Magnetic fastenings – oh, I wish I’d had these with my own son! The Blue Kites printed all-in-one from US brand Magnificent Baby is fun and with its no ‘over the head’ design, meaning newborns can be dressed in a jiffy.

Cocobaci’s up and coming brands will continue with the handmade and bespoke theme, with more new products sourced from Dorset and Cornwall and their exciting discoveries from Ireland in the pipeline too.

Blue Kites All-In-One

Another success story for a British textiles specialist as our featured specialist, G.H. Hurt & Son, is experiencing a surge of orders! Their creations, including the Heritage Range, celebrate 400 years of this proud industry: “When William Lee invented hand frame knitting in 1589, he could never have dreamed that we would still be celebrating his work 400 years later.”

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling is a bespoke service for men and women, based in West Berkshire and available to clients from London to Bath. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

David Gandy – The Original Catwalk King By Hannah Norman

David Gandy

Being the world’s only male supermodel with film star looks must surely make one just a little self-assured! However, when The Luxury Channel meets David Gandy, aboard the John Walker & Sons Voyager, he couldn’t have been more down to earth. He even laughs at my unfunny jokes (and trust me, that’s going way beyond the call of duty!).

We’re on board the Voyager yacht because Gandy’s role as an ambassador for Johnnie Walker Blue Label whisky means he just so happens to be co-hosting a party to celebrate all that is good about the amber nectar. “Johnnie Walker is a very high-end brand and I’m quite an advocate for anything British,” he tells me, as we sit sipping Johnnie Walker cocktails, looking over the panorama of Tower Bridge. “We went to the Cardhu distillery, and then we went to the Diageo castle, which was a lot of fun, as you can imagine, so it was good. The lovely thing is, the master blender is called Jim Beveridge – I’m absolutely not making this up! When I met him, I was like, really? But when you learn all about the whisky, you have a different appreciation for it. You can suddenly taste it. They’ve got [the whisky] downstairs [on the Voyager], and they have all the different flavours and they go, what does this taste like? You go, I have no idea! But downstairs, there’s figs and dates and pineapple, and then suddenly you smell them and you can taste them in the whisky, and it makes you appreciate it so much more.”

John Walker & Sons Voyager

Gandy may now be sitting pretty as the co-host of an exclusive celebrity party, but his rise to super stardom was probably a little less conventional than many people realise, after he was unknowingly entered into a nationwide modeling competition. Despite winning, his career didn’t take off overnight, but he freely admits that may have been a good thing. “For the first five years, even though I was doing a lot of commercial work, it was very observational for me,” he reflects. “It was probably a great learning curve.” Even the advert for which he is probably best known (yes ladies, that 2006 Dolce & Gabbana Light Blue ad), came about due to a bit of good old-fashioned blagging and orchestration on his part. “It hasn’t been easy,” he says of his career trajectory, “but it’s been an adventure. But anything that’s easy isn’t very exciting.” Although becoming successful has brought its own unexpected rewards. “Guys are always coming up to me and saying, how do you get to where you are and do you have any advice? It’s really, really nice,” he smiles. “But I never know where to start because it’s been a thirteen year progression, so there’s no magic formula!”

Today, Gandy is a firm favourite on the fashion circuit, and his place in history was cemented when he took part in the London Olympics closing ceremony as the only male model. “The Olympics were just phenomenal,” he enthuses. “Being typical Brits, we were all a bit skeptical about the Olympics and not very excited, but they turned out to be brilliant.”

David Gandy

As well as the day job, he writes and edits for various publications, and is an ambassador for several organisations, including, as you might expect, for London Collections: Menswear. As LC:M grows in stature and popularity, is image something men should be more aware of? “The British have never been the best,” he confesses. “If you look at Europe – the Italian men and the Parisian men – they’re very aware of their image, and they’re very high-end. British men have probably been a bit behind them. It’s not a bad thing, don’t get me wrong; I don’t think it’s great to take everything so seriously in fashion. I think that’s proved now with LC:M, it’s just getting more and more powerful. We have McQueen, we have Burberry, we have Tom Ford and it’s going from strength to strength. But you can see it in the street. There’s guys walking around in very colourful trousers and T-shirts, and there’s this individuality, which London always started off. I really think we’ll be the number one male fashion capital in the world in a few years.” He laughs and then adds, “Milan and Paris are getting a little bit worried!”

DG6

One of the other organisations Gandy is an ambassador for is Battersea Dogs And Cats Home. “I was there today,” he says. Interestingly, despite being a lover of dogs, Gandy isn’t a dog owner, so where then does his love of dogs come from? “I don’t know,” he admits. “I think you either have a love of dogs, or you don’t – you just have a love of animals. I got a kennel sponsored for me as a birthday present a few years ago. I walked into Battersea and said, can I help out in any other way? So I went on to become an ambassador. That’s why I was there today, because we have the Coats & Collars Ball in November so we were thinking of how to raise money.” The idea that looks like a winner may be familiar to those who keep a close eye on Gandy’s charity work. “Something we did for my charity, the Blue Steel Appeal, was a celebrity dog walk. We did one-off prizes and events, and Simon and Yasmin Le Bon very kindly did a dog walk in Richmond Park, which raised a hell of a lot of money. So I said to Battersea, why not do the same thing? So I think that’s the way we’re going to go with that, so you can have a dog walk with a very famous celebrity or a sportsman and their dog. So yeah, hugely involved with it. People think it’s strange I don’t have a dog, but what I’m trying to push is responsible ownership. I take ninety flights a year, and even when I’m in London I’m working, so I would not be a responsible dog owner.” So how about when he gives up the modeling? “Yeah, one day, of course, absolutely!” he smiles. “I’ll have five dogs, believe me, I really will!”

Philanthropy, it would seem, is something very close to Gandy’s heart. As well as the Blue Steel Appeal and his work for Battersea, he is also an ambassador for Style For Soldiers, a charity that supplies luxury goods to injured military personnel founded by Jermyn Street shirt-maker Emma Willis. “I think it’s a necessity,” he muses when I ask him about his charity work. “If you’re in the public eye and you can raise money in that way, then you should do it – it’s not an option. There’s people who don’t and that’s up to them, I suppose, but we try to encourage those people. But sometimes, you need a platform and then once you build that platform, people will join in.”

David Gandy

Flying all over the world to work with the biggest names in the fashion industry must surely have exposed him to some of the most extraordinary luxuries in the world, so I’m curious to know what his favourite luxury is. “My favourite luxury?” he considers, thinking. “Right okay, I’ll try not to disappoint. I don’t know what my favourite luxury is. This could be something stupid! I have two very expensive habits – watches and cars. I’m renovating a 1960s Mercedes Benz at the moment. That is a luxury. It’s a very expensive luxury that I’m regretting!” he laughs. “The only other thing is my watches – I’ve got quite a good watch selection.” I tell him I’ve had watches before when I’ve asked other people this question. “But not a Mercedes? Go with that one, then. I don’t want to disappoint with something unoriginal!” As the world’s only male supermodel, being unoriginal is surely something Gandy doesn’t need to worry about. His crown as undisputed king of the catwalk doesn’t show any sign of slipping just yet.

Jardins Florian And Porselli – Dancing To Their Own Stylish Tune By Hannah Norman

Jardins Florian

When it comes to collaborations, there are some matches that work so well together (Butterfly by Matthew Williamson for British retailer Debenhams, or London silversmith Grant Macdonald’s designs for Silver by Aston Martin), but for up-and-coming French company Jardins Florian, their most recent collaboration with Italian brand Porselli has already got us dreaming ahead to our summer wardrobe.

Predominantly for the artistic, eclectic and fashion-forward, Jardins Florian features founder Florian Gonzalez’s collaborations with several brands, to bring his loyal consumers a carefully curated selection of goods, ranging from summer candles to limited edition, state-of-the-art bikes – and everything in between! The latest collaboration is with Milan-based, ballet shoe manufacturers Porselli, which has seen the launch of a range of fabulous ballerina flats. The collaboration has resulted in the creation of three distinct styles – pastel pink married with bright fuchsia accents (seen below), black suede mixed with smart patent, and a striking cherry red (seen in the top photo), for a fiery colour pop.

Jardins Florian Ballerina

Porselli themselves have a long history to fall back on, having supplied ballet shoes to the dancers of La Scala since 1919. Style bloggers, including Garance Doré, have raved about them, so it’s no surprise that Gonzalez felt they were the best brand to partner with. The result of their endeavours has certainly been worth waiting for. “Porselli has a cult following, while remaining a well-kept secret – until now!” Gonzalez reveals. “Accordingly, we felt they were the most legitimate brand partner for us. It is a fabulous privilege to have collaborated with them on an exclusive selection of three styles.”

Just in case you were wondering what else they had up their sleeve, Jardins Florian’s other major current collaboration is with Cutler & Gross, British rap star Tinie Tempah’s go-to glasses brand.

Whilst still only a young business, Jardins Florian is proving that when it comes to seeking out style, collaborating is most definitely the way forward. If the collaboration with Porselli is anything to go by, this is one innovative brand with pure passion for craft at its heart. That’s got to be a tune worth dancing to!

Ralph & Russo – Dressing Beyoncé Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

When she stepped out on stage for the opening number of her Mrs. Carter world tour, few would have disagreed that pop star Beyoncé looked anything less than her usual polished self. All eyes were on that now iconic white outfit, which perfectly showed off her enviable physique. But the real secret behind the style lies in the dress design, dreamed up by couture house Ralph & Russo. We caught up with its CEO, Michael Russo, to talk gowns, glamour, and what it’s like to dress one of the most famous derrières on the globe.

Beyonce

“She’s amazing to work with – a real treat,” Russo smiles when we ask about Beyoncé. “She’s amazing fun. She’s one of those genuinely lovely people. She’s a very hard worker, very focused on what she does.” So, just how involved is she? “Usually, we’ll get a general brief from her about the theme of the show or what she’s looking for, and that’ll be it,” Russo reveals. “She’ll let us come up with the ideas and the options, and then we’ll sit together and go through them and she gives us her input.”

This isn’t the first time Beyoncé has called on the creative talents of Ralph & Russo, however. “We’ve just had such a great relationship and we’ve worked with her on so many different things, from the red carpet to stage performances to a private performance for President Obama – it’s all been so varied,” Russo tells us. “To have her in our outfit in front of the President, that was definitely a real highlight. There have been so many different highlights over the last few years, but that was definitely a moment where we were very proud.”

For her current tour, Ralph & Russo have created the majority of Beyoncé’s main stage outfits. “Stage is something we only do for Beyoncé,” Russo admits. “It’s more of a creative outlet – it’s done for the purposes of entertainment and it’s a little bit more fun and fashion-forward. It’s very different to doing haute couture gowns, not only because they look different but because there’s so much to take into consideration – she has to get changed so quickly between performances, but you’ve still got to make it look amazing on stage with the crystal work.” Not only that, but there is the added pressure of dealing with one of the globe’s biggest stars, but as Russo reveals, “she knows what she wants, and working with her is a real collaborative process.”

Ralph & Russo

Russo should know about collaborative processes. He and Creative Director Tamara (the Ralph half of the duo), founded their couture house in 2007, after they quite literally bumped into each other in the street. “Tamara had been in the country for literally only three or four hours and had just dropped her bag off at the place she was staying and went out to discover London for the first time,” Russo says of their chance meeting. “I was just walking the other way, and we literally bumped into each other. I apologized and realised she had a very heavy Australian accent at the time – it’s now been diluted somewhat! We started talking and realised we had the whole Australian thing in common and it went from there.” It took another two years before the pair set up Ralph & Russo – and the rest, as they say, is history as Ralph & Russo is now considered a world-class haute couturist. “From the feedback we get from everyone, from clients to press to retailers, we are perceived now as a major couture house, which is so impressive for us,” Russo says. “We feel so proud, as we’re only five years old, and we’re stood in the realms of other houses who have hundreds of years of heritage. In such a short time frame, we’ve managed to elevate ourselves so much.” But, he continues somewhat pragmatically, “we’ve always got to stay ahead and be different.”

It’s this commitment to brand and business that has seen Ralph & Russo becoming something of a celebrity favourite. “It happened that two of our first clients were the Minogue sisters – Kylie and Dannii – and we had the Australian connection, so that helped! The really put us on the map put the name out there. To be honest, the whole brand today is really just grown from word of mouth,” Russo reveals.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

The Aussie stars aren’t the only famous clients on the Ralph & Russo books, having even attracted the attention of Hollywood royalty, in the form of Angelina Jolie. “We do a lot for Angelina Jolie,” Russo smiles. “She’s great to work with. We’re making a piece for her at the moment actually, which I’m sure you’ll be seeing on the red carpet very shortly. Angelina Jolie is very elegant and very stylish and the outfits we tend to do for her have more simple cuts and shapes, but they’re always quite unique in their style. So there isn’t a lot of fuss, but there’s always something that makes it a little bit more unique and different and keeps her that one step ahead in fashion.”

So, what about Kate Middleton? “Watch this space!” Russo laughs. “Definitely watch this space. There’s a lot happening in that area. You may very well see something! Kate is amazing. She’s so great for this country – really good. She’s a great role model. Her style is really not over-the-top and she knows what works for her.”

It’s not hard to see why Ms. Middleton and the toast of Tinseltown have come knocking at Ralph & Russo’s door. “Quality’s become more important to people,” Russo reasons. “If you come for a really beautiful, tailored jacket from us, it’s something that you will buy for a lifetime – it’s not just going to last you a season, because of the quality of it. Each of our jackets has something like four and a half thousand hand stitches. It can take four or five weeks to create – the quality is incredible. It will last for fifty years and it’s still very timeless. All the stitching is done here in London. Our craftsmen come from all around the globe but everything’s hand-made here for quality control. I think we’re one of the few brands that do everything here – every bead, every crystal.” But with two Aussies at the helm, is Ralph & Russo an Australian company? “No, we’re definitely not an Australian company!” Russo laughs. “We’re definitely global. But in terms of our craftsmanship, it’s all British-made. We make everything in Britain and we pride ourselves on that – it’s very important, as it allows us to control the quality.”

Ralph & Russo

So, what’s next for Ralph & Russo? “World domination!” Russo laughs. Joking aside, the next step for the brand is in fact a diversification into making a range of limited edition handbags. For a company whose work centres on creating bespoke, one-of-a-kind dresses, creating a matching, bespoke handbag seems like a logical step. “It’s our first product that isn’t associated with couture gowns,” Russo confirms, “but they are very high-end and the most incredible bags. You’ll have to come and see them when they’re ready!” That, Mr. Russo, is a promise we’re holding you to!

Visit the website at www.ralphandrusso.com, or have a look behind the scenes at a Ralph & Russo photoshoot.

Massimo Ferragamo On Leonardo Da Vinci, Philanthropy And Twitter Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

Massimo Ferragamo

When I meet Massimo Ferragamo, the Chairman of Ferragamo USA, in Vienna he has just touched down from New York, where he spends a good majority of his time, but despite the hours of traveling and the pouring rain outside, Massimo is in jubilant spirits.

Massimo is in Vienna to speak at the Financial Times Business of Luxury Summit, on the subject of philanthropy. As subjects go, it’s one that is very close to his heart. “It all goes back to the DNA of Ferragamo and the important underlying elements of the company,” he says, “and that will come out in anything you do.”

Leonardo da Vinci's The Virgin And Child With Saint Anne, oil on wood, 1503-1519, Louvre Museum, Paris

Leonardo da Vinci’s The Virgin And Child With Saint Anne, oil on wood, 1503-1519, Louvre Museum, Paris

Ferragamo has several philanthropic projects on the go, because “we have always constantly been involved with philanthropy, to a certain extent,” Massimo explains. “Consumers are much more sensitive to corporate social responsibility, and they are much more informed about it, so the company has a responsibility to respond to it.” Ferragamo likes to be involved with projects that will – understandably – complement the brand, and it is apparent that such links are mutually beneficial to all parties involved. They helped with the restoration of the last painting of Leonardo da Vinci, The Virgin And Child With Saint Anne, and in so doing, became the first brand to have a fashion brand at the Louvre, “which was nice.”

Away from shorter-term projects, there is one ongoing initiative that Massimo is particularly proud of. With 40% of young people in Europe unable to find work, Ferragamo is focusing on bringing more young people into the workplace. “We’re not going to be able to make a dent into that 40%,” Massimo reluctantly concedes, “but at least, for our part, we can try to help.” That help has come in the form of teaching young people the art of artisanship. But in today’s mass-production market, does he not think the whole concept of artisanship is something of a dying art? “I actually think there’s going to be a revival of that,” he says, before adding, “but I’m an optimist!” Contemporary attitudes towards traditional craftsmanship, it would seem, have altered the way in which it is viewed. “To be an artisan is a noble job,” Massimo says. “Before, you were someone stuck working at the back of a staircase in an untidy, dirty place. Today, I think an artisan should have a university degree. Someone who can make a pair of shoes by hand should have a degree.”

Salvatore Ferragamo Sandal with upper in black satin stocking, called a Kimo (also in gold kid or red satin), 1951.

Salvatore Ferragamo Sandal with upper in black satin stocking, called a Kimo (also in gold kid or red satin), 1951.

Above all else, this is the bread and butter of the Ferragamo business. Set up by Massimo’s father, the eponymous Salvatore Ferragamo, the brand almost didn’t happen due to a little parental friction. “My father was the eleventh of fourteen children,” Massimo explains. “When he set up his business, he wanted to be a shoe-maker. My family fought him tooth and nail. They didn’t want him to be a shoe-maker, but he insisted because he said it’s not a question of being a shoe-maker, it’s a question of trying to do it better than anyone else.”

The youngest of six, Massimo followed his older siblings into the family business, but is more relaxed with his own children – “I would never tell my children to work for Ferragamo!” he laughs. “If they really wanted to do it, if they were dying to do it, then they would have to go through some very difficult doors in order to be able to qualify. But the toughest thing they have to do is look inside themselves to really see what they want to do.” Massimo remains a proud father, however. “In my personal life,” he reveals, “my proudest achievement is my wife and kids. I have a fantastic wife, Chiara, and I have two great kids, my boys.”

Salvatore Ferragamo Sandal with crocheted upper in coloured raffia, ankle strap formed of plaited raffia, and low heel formed of four corks sewn together, with natural hemp insole edge cover, 1936-38.

Salvatore Ferragamo Sandal with crocheted upper in coloured raffia, ankle strap formed of plaited raffia, and low heel formed of four corks sewn together, with natural hemp insole edge cover, 1936-38.

Speaking of kids, how does he view the digital behemoth that is social media? “A lot of friends of mine who are my age have said, ‘Massimo, have you tried Twitter? It’s fantastic!’ I said, ‘look, I am sorry, but beyond e-mails, I have limitations.’ It’s true, I have big limitations – so I don’t do Facebook and I don’t do Twitter. They said, ‘you don’t know what you’re doing!’ Three months later, I was talking to them and I said, ‘how is it going – are you still doing Twitter?’ They said, ‘oh no, forget it – I don’t have time!’ So I think [social media] is for a certain group of people, definitely for a younger group of people, and companies are obliged to respond. From a company point of view, we need to be very attentive, actually much more attentive than we were before, because people out there are talking a lot and commenting a lot.”

A philanthropic family man with a finger on the digital pulse (and with fantastic footwear to match), Massimo Ferragamo is very much the embodiment of the values his company champions. “I personally feel very lucky to have been born into this family,” he says earnestly. You suspect that pride works both ways.

From Formula One To Fashion At The Amber Lounge By The Luxury Channel

Eddie Irvine and Rachel Hunter

Eddie Irvine and Rachel Hunter

Founded by Sonia Irvine, sister of Ferrari Formula One star Eddie Irvine (pictured above) and launched at the Monaco Grand Prix in May 2003, Amber Lounge has always been surrounded by a bit of a buzz. The premise was simple: to create a truly VIP party that reflected the glamour and exclusivity of one of the most prestigious sporting events in the world. Over the years, Amber Lounge has carved a reputation as a unique venue where F1 drivers, celebrities, royalty and regular race fans can come together to enjoy a stylish, fun night out. Amber Lounge parties have been hosted throughout the world including Shanghai, Valencia and Barcelona.

The Amber Lounge Fashion Show was launched in 2006, under the patronage of HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco, to raise funds for notable charities. Amber Lounge Fashion has received support from major fashion labels including Missoni, Matthew Williamson, Hervé Léger, Hugo Boss, Chopard and Jimmy Choo.

Jules Bianchi in Pal Zileri as Jenson Button looks on

Jules Bianchi in Pal Zileri as Jenson Button looks on

Hosted at Le Meridien Beach Plaza’s stunning poolside, Amber Lounge Fashion once again united the worlds of fashion and motor sport to support the event’s official charity, the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund. A dazzling combination of feminine grace and masculine distinction took over the catwalk this year. Headlining designer Andrew Gn dressed the models, celebrities and the women of Formula One in his opulent designs, which boasted luxurious, exquisite fabrics. Aennis Eunis had everyone on the catwalk wearing Middle Eastern-inspired shoes, which accompanied Andrew Gn’s designs.

Adrian Sutil in Pal Zileri

Adrian Sutil in Pal Zileri

Stars of Formula One, including Adrian Sutil, Esteban Gutierrez, Valtteri Bottas, Jules Bianchi, Charles Pic, Giedo van der Garde and Max Chilton took to the catwalk, alongside sports stars Cameron Jerome and Damian Batt. Gentlemen were all fitted and prepared for the runway by Italian designer Pal Zileri and enjoyed the attention of the runway for a spectacular night, amidst the pressures of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Heartthrob Brian McFadden gave this year’s Amber Lounge Fashion audience a one-of-a-kind performance, entertaining the VIP guests present, and tying together the whole evening, with performances from his new album The Irish Connection.

Max Chilton in Pal Zileri

Max Chilton in Pal Zileri

From inspiring surprises to astounding donations, the Charity Auction had the guests on their toes with one-off auction lots, including a unique lot donated by HSH Princess Charlene of Monaco: a 7-star Safari Experience in South Africa combined with an original Nelson Mandela photograph board signed by the Princess. Other lots included a Formula One World Champions photograph signed by Mr. Bernie Ecclestone and F1 title winners including Michael Schumacher, Fernando Alonso, Kimi Raikkonen, Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button.

The post-show cocktail party had all the guests, including Jenson Button, Stacy Keibler, Rachel Hunter and Jeremy Clarkson, mingling and enjoying G.H.Mumm champagne. For those wanting something lighter, Gize offered their gold-filtered sparkling water, and EQ8 provided everyone with natural energy drinks.

After the sunset, guests had a chance to experience a remarkable dinner, and later moved to the Amber Lounge to continue the party until the early hours of the morning.

Hey There Georgia Girl! By Ben Mirza

Georgia Hardinge

Ben Mirza introduces British fashion designer Georgia Hardinge….

Fuse together Fritz Lang’s futurist masterpiece Metropolis, colourful exoticism, playful fantasy and an abundance of femininity and what you get are the eye-catching designs of Georgia Hardinge.

Fast becoming the enchantress of British fashion, Georgia’s creations are structured with a perfectly balanced amount of eccentricity, eclectic beauty and kaleidoscopic colours. British fashion has forever been in a state of flux, with new designers pushing the sartorial boundaries, emerging from those creative bastions like St Martin’s and Goldsmith’s, yet in the second decade of the new century, none trigger such awe as Georgia. The magic formula which keeps her surging ahead of the rest is purely down to an intense and unique work ethic, and she has turned the creative process into an art form all of its own.

Georgia Hardinge Design

It is often said that the beauty is in the delivery, but in Georgia’s case, the beauty begins with the conception of an idea, a fantasy which becomes a reality. The creative process is a wildly intensive event for any designer, yet where many view the process as an ephemeral component in the road leading to the finished product, Georgia takes it to a new level – the creative process is something that gives birth to its own beauty. For example, her installation piece for Fashion 156 at London Fashion Week, titled Army of Spiders, is a testament to that, illustrating the way in which she designs, saying “this piece especially reflects a dark nature with the feel of an architectural model. Before starting any collection, I manipulate paper or card to create interesting structures, then transfer these into fabric.”

Georgia Hardinge Collection

It is extremely difficult to place Georgia in any particular category, as her designs embrace the bohemian and the classical, the colourful and the conservative; like a magpie, Georgia collects curiosities from diverse places in her pursuit of creating the most deliciously beautiful garments. However, it is art and sculpture that continue to be the source of her unbridled inspiration, as “I was always interested in art and sculpture…fashion came to be a way of expression. Fashion has become my media which allows me to recreate my forms of architecture. What I love is to challenge myself to make something creative yet wearable at the same time.”

Since leaving the Parsons School For Design in Paris, success has grown and industry attention has flourished, with shows in London, Paris and New York, and some of the brightest stars in the entertainment industry clamouring for her designs, including the likes of Lady Gaga, Erin O’Connor, Jess Mills and Beyoncé, to name but a few. Georgia remains unphased by such attention, keeping a clear head and her innate creative eccentricity intact.

Georgia Hardinge Show

The fact Georgia has been able to ignite such a flurry of interest so quickly is certainly no mystery. Her clothes are an embodiment of all that is fresh and exciting in the world today, tipping the boundaries of convention, yet keeping elegance and sophistication at the forefront. From the Spined Collection to the Cubed Collection, each garment is unique in the way it flatters the body and catches the eye, whether it is flowing bohemian gowns, cat suits or blouses. Some would say it is impossible for a designer to invocate so many themes all at once, but when it comes to a Georgia Hardinge collection, themes overlap and intertwine, mixing together romanticism, exoticism and far-out fantasy, which is another reason why Georgia is a designer who will continually grow with success.

For more information about Georgia Hardinge’s designs, go to www.georgiahardinge.co.uk.
To read more of Ben Mirza’s work, go www.benmirza.com.

Dasha Kapustina – In Her Own Words By Hannah Norman

The Luxury Channel catches up with Russian model Dasha to talk fun, fashion and Fernando Alonso….

Tell us about your steps into the fashion world – did you always want to be a model?

In the past, I never thought that I ever wanted to be a model, but at 17 years old, I won a beauty competition in my country and one of the Japanese agencies liked me and chose me for a future job with them in Tokyo. So I started my career as a model at 17 years old in Japan.

Dasha at Anyos Park

Dasha at Anyos Park

Why did you want to become involved with the cometoandorra.ru venture?

Because this is a very new project, and a new place for me to relax! It’s very nice and tourists will enjoy their time here – it’s a really perfect place. I have visited many interesting places here and enjoyed it so much. Good restaurants, good shopping, and one of the most important things – great skiing!

What was your favourite thing about your trip to Andorra?

Many good things; I enjoyed it all but one of the exciting things was riding on snow bikes at night, and the hotel in which I stayed was incredible!

Dasha goes snow-mobiling

Dasha goes snow-mobiling

If someone was thinking about coming to Andorra, what would you tell them?

Come, come, come! If you ski, you will be happy here, but if not, you will be happy here too, because there are many nice places for every person and for any age. Just try to come – you will love this place!

What did you think of the clothes that you modeled during your photoshoot in Andorra? What was your favourite look?

The clothes were great. One of my favourite looks was when I was on top of the mountain with snow and the pink gloves -so cute and comfortable! And the clothes when I was in the Vodka Bar; so glamourous and still elegant.

Dasha at GranValira - complete with pink gloves!

Dasha at GranValira – complete with pink gloves!

How would you describe your own style – what do you usually wear when you’re not working?

I think I would describe my style as casual elegance. Sometimes I prefer to put on jeans and a T-shirt and sport shoes for comfort, but sometimes, like every woman, I like to put on some high heels, an elegant dress and I feel very sexy but still very comfortable, which is very important for me!

What do you wear when you are at the Grand Prix or the race track with Fernando? Does he have a certain look that he likes you to wear?

He likes me whatever I wear! I wear more or less comfortable clothes, as when I am there, I am not in the fashion world; I have come to support him, so I don’t think to wear something glamourous, just jeans or shorts, and a jacket.

Dasha at Anyos Park

Dasha at Anyos Park

How supportive is he of your career?

He is doing everything for me that he can! I thank him everyday. He supports me every moment – when I think something is not good or when I feel great – any moment we are together!

What do you think women should be wearing this year? Any style trends or predictions that you can share?

For the last month, I like to wear bright things with bright accents. It is soon the spring and summer, so to maintain a good mood, I recommend doing some bright accents in clothes, but only to an extent, not too much! One bright jacket or pair of shoes!

Dasha at Inúu Wellness Spa

Dasha at Inúu Wellness Spa

If you could do a photoshoot anywhere in the world, wearing the clothes of any fashion house or designer, where would you go and whose clothes would you model?

[Laughs] Some time ago I was thinking about this! I would like to try to do it in the desert at sunset or sunrise with couture clothes – it would be very effective!

Who or what is your greatest influence?

I can’t say that anybody was a great influence for me, as I create my world around me myself, but one strong and powerful woman for me is my mom; it is true! She is a great person.

Dasha at GrandValira

Dasha at GrandValira

Which models, past or present, do you admire?

Kate Moss and Gisele Bundchen.

What is the one luxury you can’t live without?

Love, smiles and good food!

What are you up to this year?

Work, travel, love!

Dasha is the face of the cometoandorra.ru campaign – have a read of our article.

Fedeli Cashmere – Made In Italy Comes To London By Philippa Baker

As winter continues to bite across the Northern hemisphere, The Luxury Channel goes in search of a fashionable solution for keeping the big freeze at bay – and comes up trumps with cashmere.

Fedeli

Established in 1934, the Fedeli family set up a workshop in Monza, originally specialising in the hand making of felt hats, an essential accessory for the sophisticated male wardrobe, up to the 50s when Fedeli became the very first Italian company to specialise in the production of premium, cashmere knitwear. Today, each Fedeli garment has the unequivocal touch and look of the hand-made, using this noble yarn in up to 8 ply knits.

With their original flagship store still in Milan’s fashionable Via Montenapoleone and a second in Draycott Avenue, London, Fedeli combine traditional practicality, simplicity of lines and the finest quality materials, such as cashmeres, silks, cottons and linens. Although classic styles are available all year round for the international clientele, The Fedeli Cashmere collections – icons of the Made In Italy knitwear brand – present a spring/summer 2013 collection designed for the professional male who likes to live a relaxed style.

Fedeli

The Fedeli spring/summer collection draws its inspiration from the cosmopolitan cities of Milan and Havana, and the romantic seaside locations of Capri, Saint Tropez and Miami. The bright and vibrant colours of the collection range from the intense blues of a Capri sea, through to the coral reds, whites and greens typical of the city of Miami. Fedeli chooses colors such as navy, pale blues and neutral whites for urban styling, and The Great Gatsby meets the city of Havana in a selection of linen styles available in safari shades of beige, khaki and green, with complex weaves and interesting detailing. With summer just around the corner, vibrant colours and patterns are key in Fedeli’s beachwear collection, where swim trunks are made from a water resistant fast-drying fabric, and come in a range of prints taken exclusively from the Fedeli archive.

A love of elegance and passion for individual style are the guiding principles that define the Fedeli collection, bringing the creativity and excellence of Made In Italy to London. We love the soft cashmere jumpers, perfect for the inter-seasonal weather, and the luxurious quality of each garment. Comfort has most assuredly not been passed over, whilst the fashion-forward can be satisfied that style is still key. With plenty of options to create the layered look favoured by a lot of London’s fashionista elite, it’s the perfect time of year to wrap up warm in cashmere – so the winter weather needn’t be a worry.

To see the full range, go to www.fedelicashmere.com.

Nicky Haslam’s Folly De Grandeur Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

Nicky Haslam

Nicky Haslam is never too far away from the gossip-columns due to his numerous social engagements, but it’s his day job as one of Britain’s top interior designers for which he has earned his well-deserved reputation. In addition to his interior design and packed social calendar, Haslam is also a journalist, author, photographer, gardener and more recently, a singer. He has also thrown open the doors of The Hunting Lodge, his beautiful home in Hampshire, and made it the subject of his latest book, Folly De Grandeur. This is his third title following Redeeming Features and Sheer Opulence, and after a long career, Haslam shows absolutely no sign of slowing down, let alone stopping. “I never get bored – I’m so lucky that what I do is 24 hours a day,” he says.

It’s clear he’s still very much young at heart. “I worship Topman,” the UK fashion store – not exactly what I was expecting to hear! “The one thing the British have is street style, which nobody else is any good at,” he elaborates. But Haslam is quite a fan of the eclectic. “It seems everybody wants to do the same things and they have the same aspirations, and I find it frightening,” he says. “People should surely want a bit of oomph and a bit more luxury and individualism, and not just rooms by the yard, which so many decorators do,” he says, seamlessly moving the conversation back to the reason I’m here.

I’m keen to learn more about Haslam’s own style – he’s been at The Hunting Lodge for forty years. Owned originally by John Fowler, of Colefax & Fowler fame, Haslam has retained some of Fowler’s own decor. “I’ve changed bits and moved things around, but I won’t change the walls. I’ve rather studiously kept the walls as Fowler did them, because he got them very right.”

The Hunting Lodge

It would seem that Fowler was something of an influence on Haslam. “He pulled England out of war-time with his decoration. There was a tremendous strictness about the decoration, even in very grand houses, until Fowler put a lot of fringe on the curtains and made them touch the floor and put sashes on them,” he says. “I like colours that are completely opposite to each other. I don’t think that just painting it white is always right – unless you want to sell your house!”

In his early years, Haslam was also influenced by his time spent living in Arizona. Upon returning to England, “my first interiors were very American-based – I didn’t do ditzy English interiors,” he explains.

Haslam has moved on since then, and has accordingly changed how he thinks about interiors. “I think the whole point of a home is to stamp it with your personality,” he reveals. “I do get people’s personalities quite quickly – I’m quite good at that, so I understand what people want almost from the word go. I’ve got this theory that houses have a sort of voice that tells you slightly what to do – you’ve got to listen to the walls and listen to the person too, a subtle combination between their dream and the house’s reality.”

A room at The Hunting Lodge

Another important influence on Haslam was his mother, Diana Posonby. “I went to a Dior party for dinner last night,” he says. “I said, ‘I bet I’m the only person in this room, out of all these hundreds of people, that actually saw the new collection the first time – my mother took me aged eight in Paris in 1947. All the people at Dior simply couldn’t believe it – they’d never met anyone who actually saw it the first time! But my mother liked good clothes and she had a great style.” Haslam speaks very fondly of her, and it’s her portrait that he would save if he had to leave his house in a hurry. “My mother was interested in music and dancing,” he says, perhaps revealing where his love of singing comes from. “She really was a character! She loved having people around. She was a ‘get up and go’ person.” Interestingly, Haslam doesn’t credit his interior design aspiration to her, however, because “my father was more influential in the design of the house,” he says, referring to the former family home of Great Hundridge Manor where he grew up.

Hundridge has since passed hands. “It’s owned by Charles Mullins and he’s bought back quite a lot of land – more than my father had – and he’s trying to put the house sort of back to how we had it.” One wanders whether he’s referring to opulence as opposed to ostentation. “I’m rather anti valuable things,” he confesses. “I like things that resonate, with a story – I love that. I like connections.” An avid collector, Haslam continues to add to his house to this day. “I still collects things now,” he says cheerfully. “A chair just arrived that I bought the other day, a nice, Gothic chair. But I’ve just got a new flat in London, so I’m on the buy!” Speaking of which, in case you were wondering where Haslam likes to get his furniture from, “Lillie Road is wonderful.” What Haslam doesn’t reveal is whether his newly-purchased chair is from here, or from his new range for Oka. “We’ve done a couple of lines of Gothic furniture for Oka for September,” he tells me. “It’s incredibly British.”

A dining chair at The Hunting Lodge

Since we’re on the subject of British, I take the opportunity to ask him about his connections to the Royal family. “The Queen, when she was young, looked ravishing, and her sister, of course,” he says. “But I think the Queen was actually better looking than her sister. She has terrific style. She just knows. But the trouble with the Royal Family, of course, is that they can’t wear black – they’re not allowed to. They have to wear bright colours, and I think that’s given the Queen her style, which I think is terrific.”

Haslam was also friends with the late Princess Diana, so I’m keen to know what he makes of Kate Middleton’s looks. “I think she’s rather wonderful. She’s got such lovely limbs. She’s very graceful. She is not totally aware of her beauty, I don’t think.”

I’m curious to know Haslam’s idea of beauty. “It suddenly occurred to me that there is nothing more important in the world than female beauty,” he says. “It’s what really matters. I think female beauty, from Helen of Troy onwards, it’s been this sort of thing that has kept the world going, in a way.” So, who does he think is beautiful – Audrey Hepburn, perhaps? “She was wonderful, but I don’t think she was beautiful. But I loved her. The few times I met her, she was adorable. She had a terrific sense of style, but of course, Givenchy helped a lot there.” Who else then? “Lena Horne was one of the most beautiful people I’d ever seen. Unbelievable. Diana Cooper was amazing-looking, but she didn’t know it. She always wanted to be dark and didn’t want to have blue eyes and wanted to be quite different.”

In addition to mixing with the royal, rich and famous, Haslam has also designed interiors for them, and examples of his best work read like a who’s who. His favourite projects have been “largely when I bond with the client and everything goes perfectly. Ringo Starr, that was a wonderful job, and they were terrific. We couldn’t photograph it because he’s very, very private, but it was a fantastic job.” I can’t help asking if Haslam has ever sung with him. He laughs. “No, but I sent him a piece I did the other day, so maybe after that, he’ll sing with me!”

It’s another unfulfilled ambition, of which Haslam still has several. “I’d love to decorate for films. But that’s very specialised, and you have to know about lighting, and what works and what doesn’t. But I’d love to do that. I’d love to have been the set decorator for Liza Minnelli,” he muses, before suddenly showing me a picture of Clark Gable. “Look at these trousers – I’m having them made,” he says, before getting back to the topic at hand. “I’d like to be a film star, I suppose.” With Clark Gable’s trousers, it’s surely only a matter of time….

Folly De Grandeur UK Book Jacket

Nicky Haslam’s Folly de Grandeur: Romance and Revival in An English Country House by Nicky Haslam and photography by Simon Upton is published in the UK by Jacqui Small, £40 (book jacket above), and in the USA by Rizzoli, $50 (book jacket below).

Folly de Grandeur USA Book Jacket

The Mirror of East And West: Indian Influence On Western Design By Melanie Sarah Brewer

The pattern has a visible Indian influence

The pattern has a visible Indian influence

I can think of no other language in the world which is as expressive and evocative as the language of textiles. One region of our abundant world which has influenced Western design and fashions for centuries long is India.

The first significant contact with modern Europe came when Portuguese traders reached India in the wake of Vasco de Gama’s discovery of the route around the Cape of Good Hope in 1498. Trading posts were set up first by the Portugese on the west coast and then in Bengal. Spices were their main interest, but glorious embroidered textiles were also made by Bengali craftsmen for export to Portugal. The marriage of local materials and Indian craftsmanship has a very long history indeed.

Look back to India’s Royal Courts – the Maharaja, defining great king, expressing splendour in vibrant colours and intricate detailing. Paintings of Royal processions of the mid 1800s capture richly-coloured turbans, bejewelled silk cloths, royal parasols and magnificent fans. Flowering plant designs are popular to this day and indeed have been a dominant theme in Indian art since the reign of the 17th century Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan. British designers looked to the Indian visual twists and turns for inspiration, particularly when creating floral motifs. One easily recognised result, a famous leafy motif design, the ‘Paisley’ pattern, grew its roots in one of the leading manufacturing centres of shawls in Paisley, Scotland.

Flowers and plants, such as this date palm, often influence design

Flowers and plants, such as this date palm, often influence design

Indian chintzes and embroidery have captured imaginations so often; exotic colours from a broad palette work in harmony – reds into oranges, metallic reflections, yellows with purples – all so very alive. A curious, British audience enjoyed the rich displays of Indian art and design showcased at the Great Exhibition of 1851, and subsequent exhibitions influenced many British designers and expert specialists in the second half of the 19th century.

Onwards…the seductive vehicle of Bollywood has been a feast for the senses too. During the 40s and 50s, many of these films celebrated a historical and princely India shot on spectacular, grand sets and clothed in magnificent costumes, dramatic make-up and energetic music. Indian cinema art through large-scale hoardings to the original film trailers celebrated colour and garment detailing with great verve. By the 1990s, a new generation of film directors, actors, costume and set designers brought a higher calibre of talent to the productions. They also reflect the modern, affluent, consumerist lifestyles of India’s middle class today.

The Maharajas and their Maharanis are long gone but their legacy lives on in palaces, music, clothing, accessories and jewellery. There’s a glamour and happiness through clothing design which keeps evolving. Take six yards of cloth – and you have a saree. Worn by millions of Indian women it is, by far, the most elegant, and has withstood the onslaught of many different cultures, to emerge today as a symbol of the resiliency and of the Indian way of life. The chosen colour reflects the occasion and the way it is draped signals the community. For men, the Sherwani, the Prince or Jodhpuri Coat, the Budni or Nehru Jacket as well as the Kurta Churidar have had a long reign in Indian clothing. The Sherwani is the most traditional – normally teamed with Churidars or Aligarh pants, which are a combination of Churidars and trousers. It can also be double-breasted or with an asymmetrical opening. There is an elegance through Indian menswear, whether formal and traditional or more relaxed. Comfort is achieved with the magic of the physical qualities of cotton, silk, linen and wool. These mentioned Indian attire, ladies and gentlemen, are just a toe dipped in the water – there are many more.

International fashion houses have embraced India again in recent seasons. Sarah Burton created a collection of panjas, which is Indian-inspired hand decoration from wrist to finger ring. Her collection for SS12 brought gold rings and a bracelet with intricate detailing in champagne-coloured gold, at Alexander McQueen.

Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2012 designs were very much inspired by Indian Royals but crafted in Paris. Every Chanel model’s forehead was adorned with a shining Maang Tikka. LVMH launched a collection L’ame du Voyage, inspired by travels in India through handbags, travel bags, jewellery and accessories.

Indian influences can be seen in jewellery and other accessories

Indian influences can be seen in jewellery and other accessories

In January, we saw the talents of the ever-spicy Jean Paul Gaultier deliver an Indian story in his couture collection shown in Paris. Bangles were piled high on the arms and ears were elaborately jewelled. There were sari-style patchwork dresses with contrasting panels – one to the other in printed or beaded fabrics. There were floor-length column dresses glistening with golden sequins. A gold snakeskin trench coat surely wow-ed. The finale surprised with a wedding dress so large in circumference, that when the model lifted her bridal hem, a group of Indian girls ran out and down the catwalk.

For Spring ’13, visit Vera Wang for a truly magical collection of India-inspired colours, uplifting fabric designs and silhouettes. Intricate lace jacquard trousers, lace shifts, and slim-fitting Bermuda shorts – rich hues of deep ocean blue, purple, and forest green. Gaze at jewelled epaulettes and all of Vera’s design touches – she somehow has that balance of sparkle, drama and grace just right.

When I’m talking colour with my clients, I quite often refer to the ‘jewel colours’ in my selections with them – it helps them connect to the deep and bright blues, sensual reds, warm oranges, vivid greens (to name just some), and of course, the metallics. Whether brown, blue or green-eyed, and with the appropriate use of neutrals, as well as texture and silhouette, I can usually incorporate some or all of the India-inspired colours, no matter the skin tone – it’s the right balance of all of this which enhances the wearer’s natural assets. Energetic prints, fabric movement (and sound), rich embroidery, elegant necklines, symmetry in tailoring, eye-catching jewellery, dramatic shots of make-up technique – the variations of design-blending gives East and West all of the exciting design opportunities for the future. Never stale, the language and influence of Indian design is multi-lingual, expressive and evocative!

Melanie Sarah
Melanie Sarah Image Styling is a bespoke service for men and women, based in West Berkshire and available to clients from London to Bath. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Aruna Seth – Shoe Designer To The Stars By Hannah Norman

Aruna Seth

Quite often, people will talk about a passion for a craft being in the genes. In Aruna Seth’s case, it stands to reason that it is actually true. The internationally renowned shoe designer takes her inspiration from father Geoff, whose multi-million pound footwear empire was partly responsible for inspiring Aruna to start her own brand. “The connections we needed to get for the Aruna Seth business have been totally different to his business,” she stresses, “ but he has been great to get advice from and moral support. I can ask my dad anything from the finances of the business to the designs of the shoes. He is my biggest inspiration and role model.”

Aruna admits that whilst shoes are in her blood, her dad isn’t the only reason she started up her brand. “I could never find the perfect shoes for day to evening occasions,” she says. “I wanted to create shoes for the red carpet with that extra ‘wow’ factor, to create shoes leaving an impression and create designs girls quickly build up a strong emotional attachment to.” As with any girl with a passion for shoes, Aruna is also aware of problem numero uno – a shoe that embodies stunning design quite often eschews comfort in favour of a painful heel. So, how to get around that? “We like to differentiate ourselves from other designers, as our USP is the special padding in our shoes,” she reveals. “It is plush leather padding which supports the foot for all-day wear. Our shoes are glamourous yet comfortable – like comfort for the feet!” she laughs. Don’t just take Aruna’s word for it, though, as even Hollywood legend Goldie Hawn has been waxing lyrical about her love for the shoes: “The minute I put them on, I did not want to take them off. They were so comfortable….and for evening shoes, that’s saying a lot!”

Kate Hudson

As it happens, Aruna is equally complimentary of Goldie, when I ask her who she thinks has worn her shoes well. “We’ve had loads of great celebrities wearing our shoes,” she tells me, “from Kate Hudson and Olivia Munn to Goldie Hawn. It is so satisfying to see celebrities wearing our designs. It is what I started the brand for; the shoes were born to be seen on the red carpet and it’s great when it happens.”

One other celebrity who has worn Aruna’s shoes to great acclaim is none other than Pippa Middleton, who “dresses quite classically and is quintessentially smart,” Aruna says when I ask her about Pippa’s fashion style. “If you look closely at what she wears compared to her sister, you’ll see she is a lot more adventurous with the brands she chooses to wear. She’ll experiment with unheard of brands, whereas Kate sticks to well-known ones. But seeing Pippa wear our shoes with her Temperley green dress on the day of the Royal Wedding was amazing!”

I’m interested to know which shoe Aruna would say is her favourite. “Our butterfly shoe has been our best-seller,” she says. “Brides in particular love this design as showing a little bit of sparkle from beneath a bridal dress is lovely! A butterfly signifies independence and freedom, so I think this is why so many ladies are attracted to this shoe. My first fashion memory is playing with my mother’s shoes. She had a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo shoes with butterflies on. Seeing these pretty shoes inspired me to come up with my infamous butterfly design, which has become a best-selling shoe – it just really took off and consumers loved it!”

Aruna Seth Shoes

Aside from her own brand, Aruna is also a big fan of Manolo Blahnik. “I love his inspiring designs,” she confesses. “His shoes are colourful, great shapes and I love his iconic design which featured on Sex And The City. I love the magic he has created behind the brand.” Clothing-wise, Aruna dresses “classically,” with investment purchases from Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and Roland Mouret. “They may be more expensive than the average dress, but these dresses last, stand the test of time, are well fitted and created from great materials,” she tells me. On the subject of Victoria Beckham, Aruna speaks very highly of the singer-turned-designer. “I love Victoria Beckham dresses and her designs,” she says. “I wear her dresses a great deal for press days and events. Her designs are well-made, great materials and a good cut. I admire Victoria Beckham because even she had to fight her corner in the fashion world. Even though she was extremely famous, she had to win the fashion crowd around with her designs and work hard to gain recognition in the fashion industry.”

Aruna Seth Shoes

Finally, I’m keen to know who Aruna would most like to see wearing her shoes. “Kate Middleton, as she is a style icon,” she reveals. “She is doing a tremendous job of looking superbly classic and hasn’t put a fashion foot wrong. She has a highly pressurized position of looking utterly fabulous at all times. I’d love to offer her some of our Aruna Seth flat ballerinas to run around after the Royal baby when it arrives in July!” Kate, if you’re reading this….

Top Tips For A Stylish 2013 By Melanie Sarah Brewer

Personal stylist Melanie Sarah Brewer, of Melanie Sarah Image Styling, shares with us her top tips to make 2013 a truly stylish year – with a bit of a British twist….

Wherever you are in the world, enjoying a sumptuous dose of The Luxury Channel, I hope your 2013 brings you happiness, good health and opportunities to make you smile. I have some of my own experiences to share with you here, through my own eyes as a Personal Stylist. Better style decisions so often mean you can be confident, look younger and authentic. It is also possible to bring calm to your wardrobe/dressing room and enjoy selective, successful shopping. Clients with demanding schedules with important events to attend don’t have the time, nor can they risk, being distracted or unhappy with their outfit.

Mannequin

Colour, texture and shape are good for you. The interaction of these three elements gives me the possibilities for my client’s style strategy. Let’s consider British style, its heritage, individuals who inspire me, some recent events and brands which get me excited. There are many – this is an introductory flavour from a style feast. Perhaps I may bring further courses to you in the future?

Nail Polish

Rewind to the summer of 2012 – the best of British. Wow! The visually-magic and heart-warming celebrations throughout my home country were an injection of energy and release of talent. There was no other British summer to compete with it. This special time burst with colour, anticipation, style, attention to detail, creativity, team work and a determination to win. The glow and sparkle of the nation’s London Olympics and Diamond Jubilee celebrations lit up the world and made a global-sized smile.

The Queen celebrated 60 years as Monarch last year and through these six decades, she has worn some of the finest evening dresses and immaculate tailoring. The 40s and 50s were all about full-skirted dresses in sumptuous silks and duchesse satins, while the 70s blossomed with flowing chiffon dresses, which reflected the more relaxed style of that time. The designs of Hardy Amies, Ian Thomas, Maureen Rose, Stewart Parvin and Angela Kelly have all shaped Her Majesty’s clothing collection over the years. The Queen’s style formula has to be fit for the work diary and it has to adapt. How can we forget The Queen in her acting debut, in a capsule James Bond film during the 2012 London Olympics opening ceremony? Her Majesty was seen to leave Buckingham Palace with Bond, played by Daniel Craig, and boarded a helicopter, leaving her corgis behind to gaze and wonder. Thanks to the creativity of British film director and producer, Danny Boyle (Artistic Director for the open ceremony’s Isles of Wonder), this unique stunt opened the London Olympics with thrill. As The Queen entered the stadium, live, to take her seat – she was beaming a smile whilst we all absorbed the entire sequence and this most historical jump. Hold that thought – I will come back to this.

What influences and inspires a personal stylist? On my mother’s side of the family, I have a Royal court dress maker to Elizabeth Duchess of York on the family tree. This included dresses for King George VI and Elizabeth Bowes Lyon’s wedding – Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother. My late grandmothers continue to inspire me too – one a milliner, the other a wedding dress maker. People I meet fuel my ideas – how they walk, posture, their attention to detail or perhaps someone’s neglect of their personal appearance – especially when they are troubled by this aspect. Not everyone realises they have good-looking and unique natural assets in their eye-colouring, body proportions, skin tone or hair colour, or all four. A dressing strategy can help steer the outfit decisions all year round, any time, any occasion. Most of all, it’s the navigation for when you shop!

Landscapes, exhibitions, trend predictions, new and established designers, sporting events, museums, art galleries, vintage clothing, authors, window dressing, film and shows – there are many reference points and they all play a colourful role for the stylist.

Victoria & Albert Museum, London

Let me share with you a London event I attended in October of 2012, hosted by Nick and Giles English of Bremont Chronometers, an award-winning British brand producing beautifully engineered watches. In the first month of 2013, they relocated their workshop facility in Switzerland to England, proudly and with confidence. Bremont had been on my radar for a while; I needed to handle and try on the watches, and get more details. Held at the Bremont Boutique in South Audley Street, in Mayfair, London, the invitation-only gathering enjoyed the watch and accessories collection, its knowledgeable team and superb hospitality, in stylish premises. The evening was part of the Bremont Adventure Club series, held throughout 2012. No element of the evening tried too hard – that’s a quality in itself!

Bremont Boutique, South Audley Street, Mayfair, London

The ‘Adventurer’ speaker was a specialist in his field, a high-flyer, and he was enjoying sharing some recent achievements, with supporting photography of two important days in 2012 to remember. Our speaker, one of the Bremont ambassadors, turned out to be Henley-based stunt man Gary “Wingman” Connery. Back in May, Bremont had supported Gary’s biggest stunt yet. The stunt delivered and Gary did in fact make a new world record in being the first man ever to jump out of a helicopter with a wingsuit and land without deploying a parachute. This British ‘Wingman’ also wore a Bremont watch when he parachuted from a helicopter dressed as The Queen at the opening ceremony for the Olympics – wardrobe and timing were crucial!

Gary Connery as The Queen's stunt double

A particular watch to really follow this year is Bremont’s Limited Edition, Victory. With the blessing of the National Museum of the Royal Navy, Bremont is producing a totally unique watch which includes parts of oak timber and copper from the original ship to commemorate Nelson and the ship itself. Part of the proceeds of each watch will go towards the ship’s restoration. The Stainless Steel Victory is limited to 250, and the Rose Gold to 40.

If you are a Bremont Adventurer in the making, you will know about Bremont’s aviation heritage, from the English brothers’ family history of aviation and engineering, and its highly developed aviation inspired timepieces. Dressed for flight, this is all about creating something to make the aircrew unique on a Squadron level. These bespoke, mechanical chronometers closely mirror a Squadron’s DNA.

I caught up with Nick English this month and he shared this with me, for The Luxury Channel: “The last year has been an incredibly exciting one for Bremont. 2012 was the company’s 10th year and it saw the brand continue its growth, which was great. We won a number of prestigious awards, both in the UK and in the US, and we managed to open our own boutique in Mayfair in London. What is certainly the most exciting development for Giles and myself, however, has been the moving over of our watch manufacture from Switzerland to the UK. It has been no mean feat (!) and the new Bremont HQ and workshop was finally up and running this month. It is the first time that mechanical watches in these numbers have been made in the UK for a number of decades. This has always been a dream of ours, and fingers crossed this will bide well for 2013!.”

The new Bremont HQ, in Henley-on-Thames

The Bremont Watch Company has a handsome year ahead. On January 17th 2013, Nick and Giles English announced the launch of their new British watch-making facility in Henley on Thames, South Oxfordshire. The beautiful oak framed building in the heart of the Chiltern Valley has been custom-built to provide an ideal facility for the manufacture of their high-end mechanical watches. If I may say, those English chaps, who have always been proud of their pivotal role in this British revival, can feel even better when they say ‘Our workshop is in England.’

Someone who is making a big difference to how we think about make-up is British, Enfield-born, make-up champion, Jane Iredale, Founder of Iredale Mineral Cosmetics. I caught up with Jane this month to ask what British style meant to her, what she notices on trips back to her home country and what 2013 holds for the Jane Iredale brand’s colours and products. One of those location ‘moments’ as Jane spoke with me from her Berkshire County, Massachusetts HQ office to me in Berkshire, in the UK. We were both amused by the geography. Like an Olympic race, the Jane Iredale brand is all about the quest for the best. As a personal stylist, a make-up solution finishes off a wardrobe review or shopping assignment, and sometimes it’s a starting point. Whatever the timing, I needed make-up which offered my clients the best ingredients list. Iredale Mineral Cosmetics offered ‘no oil, talc, FD&C dyes, synthetic preservatives, parabens, or synthetic fragrance.’ I had found a make-up range for my savvy clients to enjoy.

A model wearing Jane Iredale Mineral Cosmetics

Today, the Jane Iredale brand is carried throughout the United States and in more than forty countries worldwide. The brand also includes the needs of men’s skin with the H\E range, including a Bronzer, camouflage and SPF all in one, with lip balm and wash glove. Jane Iredale products are popular in the UK because of their ability to cover and perform, be applied quickly and offer a range of finishes from sheer to full, from luminescent to velvety. With the ever-growing interest and support of broad spectrum sun protection, Jane Iredale has this covered too – six products have earned the Skin Cancer Foundation Seal of Recommendation. To earn this seal, a manufacturer must provide scientific data showing that its products sufficiently and safely aid in the prevention of sun-induced damage to the skin. Overall, the choice of colour is impressive.

Jane shared with me this beautiful insight into her world, for The Luxury Channel: “I’ve always loved British style because it has huge ranges from the very formal to tweedy country to street fashion – the creative putting together of unrelated objects that result in a unique and on-trend look. No-one does it better than the British girl who seems so confident in her choices. I think Kate Moss is such a good example of this. There’s a carefree, fun approach to fashion that isn’t evident in many other countries. Women tell us that feeling better about the way they look boosts their confidence levels to the point where they do everything better – even their jobs. That makes me feel really good.

As for trends for this spring in the US, make-up is fresh and luminous; brows are prominent if worn with little make-up elsewhere. Yellow is a popular shadow with lots of lashes. There are choices. Leave lips bare and wear tons of eye liner and neon shadows, or do the reverse and wear cherry lips with very little eye make-up except a defined brow. Make-up is going to continue to edge towards skin care. I really think the consumer is beginning to expect that her make-up should be an extension of skincare.

Jane Iredale Lip Glosses

We’ve redone our lip glosses for this spring. A new formula that’s even more nurturing for the lips – eleven new colours for a total of eighteen and beautifully sleek new packaging. I was also inspired by the berries I grow in my garden for the flavour. We ended up with a mix of blackcurrant and blackberry. It’s so fresh and luscious. I hope you like it.” Jane Iredale, a colour adventure, a brand with a bright future and confidently set to win more awards in its field.

The New Year arrived, hand-in-hand with a brand new colour, centre stage. Pantone Colour of The Year 2013 is Emerald Green. Pantone 17-5641 Emerald, a ‘lively, radiant, lush green’. Pantone, the authority on colour, describe it as “a colour of elegance and beauty that enhances our sense of well-being, balance and harmony.” Green was rekindled in my mind at an awards ceremony in December 2012 – an evening which wrapped the achievements and energy of a 2012 to remember. The BBC Sports Personality of the Year trophy was presented by the Duchess of Cambridge to Sir Bradley Wiggins, and she also handed the London 2012 chief, Lord Coe, with the Lifetime Achievement award. The Duchess of Cambridge wore a long, green Alexander McQueen dress with long bell-sleeves, a deep v-neck, trompe l’oeil belt waistband, high front slit and gentle peplum. A wonderful surprise for the nation to see the Duchess of Cambridge walk on to the stage, surrounded by so many sports personalities, at the end of a magical year.

What’s ahead, in fashion colours? For Spring 2013, Pantone’s ten leaders for this coming season are all about balance and colour as self-expression. For hectic schedules and life’s demands – there is something here for all eye colours, skin tones and mood. Dusk blue (a balanced neutral and representing serenity); Grayed Jade (strong grey undertone, calming influence from the green family); Linen (one of the ‘nudes,’ this one a light and airy tone); Emerald (vivid and bright, with clarity – a beautiful grounding amongst the spring palette), African Violet (for an exotic shot), Nectarine (progression of recent years’ orange family), Lemon Zest (brings in sunshine, cheerful), Tender Shoots (a fun colour, quite an attention-getter), Poppy Red (this one really pops and represents exuberance), and Monaco Blue (the anchor colour, calming and quietly confident, it’s the anchor player and friend to all in the spring palette).

The partner in crime of colour is texture. Add these two friends to heritage, a loom shed, remoteness and excellence and you have Harris Tweed. This is a special cloth with a bright future. The definition of Harris Tweed contained in the Harris Tweed Act of 1993 clearly defines Harris Tweed as follows: “Handwoven by the islanders at their homes in the Outer Hebrides, finished in the Outer Hebrides, and made from pure virgin wool dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides.” The Act ensures that all cloth certified with the Harris Tweed Orb symbol complies with this definition and is genuine Harris Tweed, the world’s only commercially produced handwoven tweed. Harris Tweed or Clo Mor (The Big Cloth) is the only fabric in the world governed by its own Act of Parliament. Harris Tweed stands for quality and style, history and heritage. Many designers have fallen in love with it, producing traditional tailoring, millinery, accessories, catwalk couture and innovative streetwear – it’s a versatile cloth. While it still holds its heritage for being practical and durable, it offers softness, breathability, warmth, colour, sustainability and it’s very adaptable. The love affair is set to continue, and when I caught up with the Harris Tweed Authority earlier this month, they were looking forward to a most buoyant 2013. Harris Tweed features in the recent archive at the HTA, showing collections from Paul Smith’s AW09 and in bright runway shots from House of Holland.

House of Holland

A snowy Berkshire in mid-January brings my thoughts to shoes and boots. Dressed for the weather, in an outfit you trust and enjoy – your stylish walk starts in the feet.

William Green, born in 1835, learnt his shoe-making skills from his mother – in their cottage industry, producing men’s boots, and later in his own home. In 1866, William stopped producing shoes and boots in his house and instead became a “factor” – in a nutshell, he began to employ craftsmen to fulfill the orders. It was not long before his reputation was about quality, craftmanship and durability. Later, his factory, The Greens Yard, went on to be the first factory in the world to use the Goodyear Welt Construction method in its gentlemen’s shoes. “Green & Son” soon became Grenson, registering its name in 1913. Today, it’s a strong and stylish brand, going from strength to strength in this brand new year.

Grenson Shoes

Tim Little has built up two shoe making brands – Tim Little and Grenson. On his travels, he can spot a high-quality pair of shoes, instantly. So many shoes in the world have a fake welt using a moulding – this is stuck-on and made to look like it is stitched. With the famous Goodyear welt, the sole is much larger – a knife is used to trim off the excess and then finished with a machine. Most of Grenson’s shoes are stitched with an old Singer machine. On the apron of a loafer – these may be stitched by hand. This is about skill, precision and a craft.

Grenson Shoes

I caught up with Tim Little on his return from Pitti Immagine Uomo, Florence and asked him to capsule the year ahead in words, for The Luxury Channel. “For Spring and Fall, the Grenson collection continues along the theme of classic, timeless shoes with new tweaks and in materials that make them relevant and fresh. The brand is a heritage brand with a modern attitude and we love to combine quirky materials, soles and details on classic styles such as the brogue, the loafer and the Chelsea Boot. Grenson will open a West End store this year, continue the growth of our women’s collection and maybe even open a store in New York if the wind is in the right direction. All in all it’s about doing what we do best, just doing a bit more of it.” My hunch is there’s a steady and confident sparkle to Grenson this year, and that’s good when you’re in shoes.

I would like to close this feature with a brief tailoring story. My chance to also highlight the continuing work of the Campaign For Wool, a global community of sheep farmers, manufacturers, designers, retailers, and the wool lover but also the heightened interest in men’s tailoring, especially Savile Row tailors. Savile Row never disappeared of course, it’s ‘always been there’ – the destination for the elegant male icon and discerning customer from all over the world, and many of these men have come to depend on it. My style barometer has detected more interest in this group of specialist firms than ever before. London’s Savile Row is a style and cloth heaven and haven, and collectively a matter of skilled observation and unique measurements. Anderson And Sheppard, its beginnings in 1906, can be found at 32 Old Burlington Street and today continues to follow the traditions of Savile Row and dress its individual clients.

Royalty, musicians, actors, politicians and designers have recommended Anderson And Sheppard over the years. A couple of clients to mention have been Fred Astaire and Bryan Ferry. The tailor received a visit from The Prince of Wales just before Christmas. The Prince has been using the services of Anderson And Sheppard since 1983 and it was indeed His Royal Highness who founded the Campaign For Wool – he asked the tailor to make suits for his visit to Australia and New Zealand last year, sourcing the wool from both countries to make them. John Hitchcock, the Managing Director and Head Cutter at Anderson And Sheppard, was proud to say that the Prince of Wales had come to see the company’s seven young apprentices who are learning the art of tailoring. John usually travels to Clarence House or Highgrove House to fit the Prince of Wales so it was therefore a real treat for the apprentices to meet His Royal Highness and see one of the suits being worn in front of their own eyes, which they had helped craft. The apprentices train hard and only the best work will do – they are the future, specialist tailors.

As well as the Anderson And Sheppard bespoke shop in Old Burlington Street, there is the addition of the firm’s haberdashery shop selling trousers, shirts, knitwear and accessories, which can be found around the corner at 17 Clifford Street. Anderson And Sheppard’s own summary is perfect: they have “had the honour of dressing some of the world’s most elegant and famous men.” A tailor’s shop can be a peaceful haven for the client, even tranquil, far from stuffy and blessed with skilled men and women who are very proud of their craft. I leave feeling inspired.

Stylish brands and highly experienced British expertise is abundant for 2013. For those who watch style and seek luxury, I believe there is a global appetite for an authentic and meaningful story and the need to connect on a deeper level when we buy. From the watch on your wrist to the ingredients in your makeup; your dressing strategy to the people who inspire you; from the cloth the designer fell in love with to the shoes on your feet and the perfect fit of a new jacket – what’s your personal style?

Melanie Sarah

Melanie Sarah Image Styling is a bespoke service for men and women, based in West Berkshire and available to clients from London to Bath. Many of Melanie’s clients are British and are based in the UK, whilst some book a style review as part of their visit from overseas.
www.melaniesarah.co.uk
+44 (0) 7715 113 632

Bennison Fabrics – Decorating The Future With The Prints of The Past Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

Ever since the eponymous antiques dealer Geoffrey Bennison realised that there was nothing in the contemporary fabric houses of the late 70s that would complement the style and antiques of grand European homes, Bennison Fabrics has specialized in producing – by hand – some of the finest designs ever transferred onto linen. These aren’t just any old designs, either – these are based on exquisite pieces from the 18th and 19th century. Fiona Sanderson met Director Gillian Newberry to understand more about the background of this traditional English brand.

Bennison Cushion

With such a large collection of prints to choose from, Bennison are happy to tailor their designs to suit the needs – and the interiors – of their clients. “English women have always had a very strong identity when it comes to planning how their houses should look,” Gillian explains. “They tell us what they’re putting with what, and the girls work with them for hours sometimes, with carpet samples and photographs of paintings or antiques. They work very hard putting a look together and finding different fabrics that will go.” It’s a very thorough process. With new clients, the Bennison team will want to know how a client will be decorating the entire room, covering everything from the floor – stone, wood, carpet, rugs – to the windows and the way the light will come into the room. “With all these things,” Gillian says, “you have to have an idea of how they want the house to look, so that you can help them.”

With the world changing at an ever-quicker pace, Gillian is increasingly aware of the circle of design that perpetuates the fabric market. “There’s a zeitgeist, which is peculiar the way it happens, but it happens in fashion, so it happens with materials too,” she says. “We’ll have a fabric and then everybody will be ordering it, and you think, how does that happen? They don’t all know each other, and they’re living on different continents. It’s like it just popped into their heads. I don’t look at colour forecasts or anything like that, but you just have a feeling with your next design what the colour should be.”

Bennison Dress

Since Bennison’s untimely death in 1984, Gillian has remained at the helm of the brand that bears his name, acquiring the rights to the fabrics and continuing to build on the collection, “always thinking, would Geoffrey have liked this?” It’s a philosophy that clearly works. With 35 years of experience to fall back on, she’s something of a master in her field. “I was more interested in the fabrics than the antiques,” she says, recalling the five years that she worked under Bennison in his antique shop. She’s also delighted that consumers are still interested in Bennison’s original designs. “He had a very small collection but people are still ordering the same ones that he used, which is fantastic – really, really lovely,” she smiles.

Bennsion Rose

That said, Gillian is as equally inspired by the more modern as she is by the comparatively traditional. “With prints, it’s how you use them. You can make it work, just as you can make a modern interior in a Georgian house work. The old and the new can work together for sure,” she says. But what would Bennison have said of her approach? “I’m sure that had he lived, he would have just gone with the flow and created designs that would work in either a classic or contemporary setting.”

Visit www.bennisonfabrics.com to see the full range of prints.

Photographs above arranged by Creative Designer Jude Massie-Taylor and shot by Ken Sparkes.

Carmen Busquets – A Style Queen To Rule Us All Interview by Fiona Sanderson and words by Hannah Norman

Carmen Busquets

As a pioneering luxury and fashion entrepreneur behind two of the biggest Internet fashion phenomenons (namely Net-a-Porter and CoutureLab), Carmen Busquets can claim to be an authority when it comes to high-end fashion and e-commerce. Having started her first business venture at the tender age of just 22, this forward-thinking Venezuelan businesswoman has risen to the top of her game by instinct, determination and a brazen sense of fearlessness.

“I was young when I started at 22, but it was not a big business then,” she says of the boutique store she opened in 1990 in the Venezuelan capital, Caracas. “It was a real challenge going to Paris to tell 18 designers that I was going to represent them at such a young age. I didn’t understand how the business would grow. What you don’t know makes you so much more courageous, in terms of the risks that you take. For me, it was not a question of failing. I told Chanel that I was going to represent them, and I was going to sell them. That kind of confidence and courage – you have it, but you don’t know what you’re getting yourself into.” For anyone thinking there may have been more than a little bit of good luck to help her along, Carmen remains resolute. “It’s all about positivity. You make your own luck. But luck is always preceded by a lot of hard work!”

Carmen’s business did indeed grow, particularly following the 1992 military coup d’état. Realising how hard it was for her friends and customers to buy clothes, Carmen began to send them photos from the catwalk shows in Europe, and built up a secondary business selling clothes in this way, pre-selling stock before it had even reached her store. “That’s why I knew you could run a business through photos,” she says, explaining her early days of investment into Internet companies. However, after a decade of attending fashion shows and having to give up six months of the year as a consequence, Carmen decided her next investment venture needed to include someone smart enough to run the business for her. After hearing about Natalie Massenet and Net-a-Porter through her investor friends, “I wanted to be involved immediately. I said, whoever came up with that name is brilliant! I knew Natalie was the person I was looking for. I just knew. I saw the business plan, I called Natalie and I said, where have you been all my life?!” Not that investment in an Internet company didn’t come with its own risks. Whereas now, Internet shopping is a normal part of life, this was at a time when, “I didn’t even know anyone who was using e-mails yet.” Undeterred, Carmen was convinced the venture would be a success. “I never doubted it,” she says. “I had developed a business formula over 10 years. Why wouldn’t it be successful? For me, there was no doubt about it.”

Part of this determination to succeed, however, is down to Carmen’s own unparalleled perception of trends, no doubt honed from her countless years on the fashion circuit. When asked about where she sees the future of retail heading, particularly given the rise of e-commerce, she is quite resolute. “E-commerce and retail will always link together. Retail will become more challenging, but for me, it’s all about evolution. As a retailer, if you don’t change and evolve with the times, you’re just going to get left behind and you won’t be going anywhere. I can imagine a whole world, completely virtual, where you sit down in your house. 3D selling will be the future. You would have the salesperson coming to you, but it would virtual. I find it quite exciting – how that would take place, how you would film it. You’d have all these people working on the camera, but the projection you see is the salesperson, in the most amazing dress. I can imagine the same story with a computer – when you click, you don’t even have to read anymore. A person will tell you the story or they will talk to you about a product.” But the implications of this kind of technology could go further. “Think of a hotel, when you’re making reservations,” Carmen instructs. “You can see the hotel, you can see the room plans, but you cannot actually see the room. Now imagine projecting that room virtually.” You heard it here first!

Back in the present day, however, Carmen is currently focusing her attentions on GiftLab. “It’s all about gifting – it’s my philosophy in life,” she explains. “With CoutureLab, it was about all these wonderful items and beautiful things. But I found there was greater satisfaction in giving. When you give something, you not only give satisfaction to the person, but you almost give a bigger satisfaction to yourself. So I came up with GiftLab. It’s my journey at the moment – global domination!”

Finally, as an acclaimed authority on the subject, we couldn’t leave without asking Carmen to pass on some style tips. “I would never give general style advice to people!” she laughs. “I just think you need to know yourself well enough to develop your own style. The only thing I will say, if you’re not sure and you want to be safe – dress in black. If you want a bit of colour, add a scarf. Be aware of your body proportions. But don’t think too hard, and don’t worry about it.”

Insightful, inspiring and an incredible trendsetter, the fashion world should be counting its lucky stars that Carmen Busquets is one of its most celebrated figureheads.

Matt Goss – Good Things Come To Those Who Wait Interview by Sara Malocco and words by Hannah Norman

Matt Goss

At one point in his life, Matt Goss was one of the most famous men on the planet, with a string of hit singles and playing some of the biggest venues in the world. Alongside twin brother Luke, Matt’s trademark blonde quiff made him instantly recognisable as one third of boy band Bros, and as one of the biggest heartthrobs of the late 80s.

Fast forward some twenty years and the quiff has long gone, and whilst Matt’s fame may have lessened, it most definitely has not diminished. He’s now got a residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, no less, with a tribute to the Rat Pack.

“The style of the Rat Pack moved me a lot,” he explains. “I think when you’re a young man, you don’t have the courage to really wear exactly what you want – you go with trends and that’s what I did when I was young. But the Rat Pack fashion-wise – Cary Grant, David Niven – David Niven was an incredibly dressed man.”

Clothing, it seems, or more specifically style, is something that Matt is particularly passionate about. “I love clothes,” he enthuses. “My favourite brands are Pal Zileri, Vivienne Westwood and Tom Ford.” But, advises Matt, having a sense of style is not the same as following fashion fads: “I think that one thing for me that’s really important about menswear is that you shouldn’t be obsessed with trends, you should be obsessed with style and I think, guys? You should have the courage to maybe find a suit and then go and buy a vintage tie or a vintage pair of braces or something so that it belongs to you, just you. You can go to a vintage store and buy a tie and there’s only one of those ties.” Uniqueness, then, is the key to Matt’s current tailored look. “Most people, they see something from top to bottom and buy that outfit, but it’s more fun going to find something there’s only one of.” So, is there anything else style-wise that he’s a fan of? “I’m a watch freak – I love my watches! I wear Patek Philippe a lot. I love the workmanship. I think most guys love a watch. There’s something very, very intense about a watch. Under this serene face, it’s working its heart out. And an automatic watch never stops. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied when it comes to watches – there’s always a watch that I want.”

It’s not all that Matt wants right now. “I always want to stay in Vegas. I always want to have a show,” he smiles. “Right now, I have my own show room and my own bar. I’m proud of being at Caesar’s.” Rightly so – it seems Londoner Matt may have finally found somewhere to call home, which is an odd thing to say about a Brit living in the US. “Do I feel British when I’m in Vegas?” he muses. “I’d feel British on the moon! I’m an Englishman through and through. I’m very, very proud and very worldly – I’ve lived in Italy, I’ve lived in America, I’ve lived all over the world, travelled all over the world. I love culture and I love different traditions and I truly respect everyone’s faith. I have a saying, ‘only a fool knows everything,’ so when you go and you travel, you learn something every day. I think travel is truly the only real wealth left. Take away the money, and memories and travel is such a wealth. I actually do think memories might be one of the few things we can take with us.”

He certainly hasn’t abandoned his pride in his roots, and he’s very philosophical about it. “When I get off the plane and I go into central London or west London, the architecture is something that makes me incredibly proud because the buildings look back at you. They make you feel like you’ve only been here for a minute cos they’ve been here for hundreds of years and they’re going to continue to be here, God willing, for hundreds of years so there’s something very humbling about the architecture in London, not to mention how beautiful it is. Also, I’m a Royalist so I love the Queen. I go past Buckingham Palace every time I come back to London. I call her Lovely Liz,” he says, laughing. So, what does he miss most about his homeland? Probably not what you’d expect. “Quite honestly, I just miss the fact that people know me here – I’ll be on the street and a black cab driver will say, ‘hello Matt,’ and I’m like, ‘hello mate,’ and it feels like home, you know? I love it.”

For now, though, Matt has no immediate plans to return to live in the UK, but he’s more than happy to come back over to support a cause very close to his heart – The Amy Winehouse Foundation. “She was one of the first singers in a long time that really, really moved me,” he explains. “When I first heard her voice come out of the speakers, I didn’t know who she was, but I was like, that is a world-class voice – it’s so honest and organic. When I found out she’d died, it just broke my heart. I was truly sad. I was in Vegas when I found out and I was actually emotional. Then I found out Mitch was on his way to New York to do a show, only he didn’t, he had to turn around and deal with the tragic loss of his daughter, as did Janice, her lovely mum, so I decided just to call up Mitch. I didn’t know him, but I got his cell phone number and I called up Mitch and said, do you want to open up the show at the Royal Albert Hall and he said he’d love to, and my fans were really beautiful to him. Then from there, we became friends.”

Suddenly, Matt’s billing at the first annual Amy Winehouse Foundation Ball becomes clear. “Mitch asked if I would help him celebrate the evening, and really try and warm up the room – and we really did. Amy’s mum sat with my mum and they exchanged stories cos we both put our mums through a lot, you know, travelling for so many years and doing so many shows and being away from home.” But far from talking solely about the Ball, Matt is quick to point out the good work the Foundation is doing. “The cause of the charity is education about drugs and about homelessness and really in a sub heading, knowledge – anything that creates more knowledge around something so dark. As Mitch says, drug addiction is not a very sexy subject, but if you can create knowledge so when somebody hears about a drug, they know exactly what it is and why not to take it, then it’s better education, so that’s why I want to be involved.”

Matt’s philanthropic nature makes him very humble, but it isn’t just reserved for his work for the Foundation; it’s a principle he applies to his whole life. “Every time I think we’ve done something extraordinary, even for The Amy Winehouse Foundation, it never ceases to amaze me and I try and urge my band and the people around me to always remember to be humble enough to be excited about the little things, not just the big shows. The girl in the wheelchair you saw? I was asked to go and visit her nine years ago because she was very, very ill. But I had a chat with her and she’s still here at my show last night. To me, that’s a blessing. How do you explain that to somebody who thinks that your life is just glamorous and about singing? When I can see her face, I can sing better cos she’s still on this earth. So I have somebody who will come to this show that’s not well and they leave, and then they send me an e-mail and say, ‘I haven’t been in pain since I left your show and I feel amazing.’ There are things that are really not very sexy subjects but life can be pretty amazing. It’s not just about being glamorous; it’s about the things that touch your heart, and touch your spirit.”

Matt is clearly in a good place right now, a marked contrast from the fallout from when he was cheated out of his Bros millions by his former manager. “I wish I’d known a little bit more about the business when I first started out,” he reflects. “When an artist is young, I think it’s the duty of a manager to look after young talent but that’s not always the way, so I wish I’d known more about the business. I was only seventeen when I recorded my first album.” He remains steadfastly philosophical, however. “I still feel incredibly young, I still feel very excited about the future. To me, that’s a blessing. I’m still a contender, haha! To quote – who said that? Marlon Brando, I think. Yeah, I’m still a contender.”

So, as a contender, where does Matt see himself in ten year’s time? “People have asked me that for twenty years,” he says with a wry smile. “I just always say the same thing – I just want to keep singing. That’s the thing; I just want to continue to do what I love to do.” Not only does Matt have his Vegas residency to keep him busy, but he gets booked for other shows as well, often across the globe. Last New Year’s Eve saw him performing on a $600 million yacht to an audience of household names. “I’m lucky,” he acknowledges.

Speaking of lucky, what is his favourite luxury? Matt bursts out into infectious laughter. “Errrr, where do I start? I’m a Brit, so my favourite car that I drive is an Aston Martin. I think cars, clothes and watches – and very pretty women,” he adds, fixing us with his intense, blue eyes. “My favourite colour is when a woman blushes,” he grins. “That’s my favourite colour.”

Grateful, humble and impossibly charming – Matt Goss is perfectly poised to garner himself more fans second time round. Good things really do come to those who wait.

Avakian Diamonds For Men By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel looks at the new collection of haute couture jewellery from Avakian….

Avakian diamonds for men

Diamonds might traditionally be a girl’s best friend, but men are able to get familiar with them courtesy of a new collection of haute couture jewellery from Avakian.

The latest collection from the Swiss jeweller includes some spectacular men’s pieces, including eye-catching cufflinks which employ a complicated and innovative inlay technique in which one precious stone is set within another. Titanium, black onyx and amethyst are inset with yellow diamonds and emeralds, and for any man who feels that a cufflink just isn’t enough, Avakian has also launched a stunning black gold and sapphire ring.

Avakian have been creating men’s jewellery for over two decades. Noticing a gap in the market, they started to produce high-end accessories which had a level of design and intricacy often reserved for women’s items. Now, they number countless royals, heads of state and senior businessmen among their clients and have a dedicated men’s accessory team.

The new collection puts into practice Avakian’s commitment to merging traditional and modern tastes – it’s the perfect celebratory piece for any fashionable male. After all, this summer gold might be good, but diamonds are forever.

www.avakian.com

Home from home in Marrakech By Lauren Steventon

The Luxury Channel skips the chaotic streets of the Medina to stay in Rocksure’s luxurious villa.

Marrakech Rocksure Villa

There are riads and hotels throughout the city (see this issue’s Luxury Channel Marrakech Guide), however, instead of stepping out into the bustling and stressful streets of the city, I have managed to find an alternative that gives me a fully-staffed private country home minutes from the city. If i want a private tour, the driver will whisk me in to meet a guide. If i want to chill out, the pool and 2.5 acres of land are more than enough. And if I want to indluge… There are plenty of wonderfully home-cooked meals awaiting me. This is because I have managed to sneak in a rented week at El Boura, one of Rocksure’s luxury Marrakech villas.

The Villa

I say ‘sneak in’, because more often than not the villas are in use by the owners. Rocksure have properties throughout the world, all operating under a shared-ownership scheme. Properties are separated into ‘Funds’ each of which has a set number of investors are allocated a number of weeks a year to spend in any of the properties in their fund – or in properties in different funds.

Founder Director David Rogers is quick to allay any suspicions that it sounds a bit timeshare. “Investors in a Rocksure fund OWN 100% of the real estate between them” he argues, “so they are making a genuine property investment for the purpose of making a capital gain.” Unlike a timeshare purchaser, who owns nothing except the right to use the property, Rocksure shareholders actually own a fraction of each home. Funds have a finite end: after a set period of time, the properties in a portfolio are sold (although directors have a two-year leeway if they deem it prudent to wait before putting properties on the market) and the investors given their share of the profit. What makes this seem more attractive than simply owning and selling your own property is that the investment (and risk) are spread across different properties in different countries – and different currencies.

The reason people like me are allowed in to rent the properties for the occasional week is that Rogers and his Co-Founder, Desmond Patrick-Smith, want to keep running costs down for their investors. I’m glad they do – this is a completely different way to experience Marrakech. I have stayed in Riads, in Grande Dames and in country houses, but I’ve never had my own Moroccan country house and it is ultimately more relaxing.

The location is perfect – five minutes drive from the Medina and the airport, in full view of the majestic Atlas mountains – and the villa has been beautifully designed in a traditional style. El Bourra has seven en suite bedrooms and can easily accommodate 12 adults and 4 children. The main house is built around a cool central courtyard with a retractable glass roof, which provides a respite for reading or relaxing out of the harsh midday sun. The massive bedrooms in this building are both contemporary and classic Morocco – beautiful tiling in the bathrooms, comfy, draped beds and mod cons such as wifi. There’s even a specially designed kid’s room. Additional bedrooms are situated in two long buildings stretching back from the main house. These aren’t as pretty, but they are spacious and comfortable. Outside, a large pool is surrounded by loungers and trees, with the odd little shady alcove hidden away and filled with pretty sofas and cushions. This is just the place to while away the afternoon hours when it’s too hot for shopping and too early for the delicious, freshly cooked dinners.

Staff are always on hand to bring a refreshing mint tea, prepare a snack or organise a massage and, unlike a hotel, they will serve whatever meals you want – whenever and wherever you want them. That could be a traditional Moroccan dinner in the dining room, an al fresco lunch by the pool or a cosy winter supper in front of the fire in the sitting room. Ask nicely and they might even teach you how to cook it… Already, housekeeper Abdell has given me tips on where to find the best shoes in the souk – invaluable insider insight, as anyone who has ever stepped foot in the Medina’s labyrinthine streets of stalls will know. The driver is on hand to nip us in as soon as the baking midday sun abates, but for now, I’m happy to sit back, sip a cool drink and dream about being one of the lucky investors who get to call El Boura home.

El Boura rents from £4,500 per week.

Investment

Rocksure has three funds currently open for investors: the Capital Fund (which will eventually include 10 apartments in ten cities, of which Paris, Florence and Barcelona are completed), the Crystal Fund and the super luxe properties of the Quintessentially Platinum Fund, a joint venture with the high-end lifestyle and concierge company.

www.quintessentiallyrocksure.com/platinum-fund

www.rocksure.com

Beach Babe By The Luxury Channel

The Luxury Channel catches up with Heidi Gossman of Heidi Klein for her top tips on honeymoon beachwear….

Heidi Klein

What are the new swimwear trends for summer this year?

There has been a demand for swimwear for the bigger busted lady, so I have designed a D-G range of bikinis and one pieces, providing extra support and lift for the bust. Hot colours are also popular – a trend straight from the catwalks. So brights are big for summer – think hot chilli red and vibrant tangerine.

How do you make classic whites and blacks interesting?

Classic whites and blacks are always great for a honeymoon on the beach, but make it interesting with a bit of texture. Also, the nautical trend never goes out of fashion, and with this year’s High Summer collection, I have created two nautical styles. The Catherine is quite an elegant and sophisticated look while the Sicily reflects the fun and sporty side of the wearer.

How does the swimwear you should pack for a honeymoon differ depending on location (such Europe vs Caribbean vs Indian Ocean)?

Wherever you choose to go, pick something that will make you feel gorgeous. Something simple and elegant is ideal for a relaxing trip to the Indian Ocean, like our Sienna bow bikini. For the Caribbean or somewhere exotic, our Reethi coral print bikinis will work perfectly. For a European break, you cannot go wrong with Nautical. I recommend our Riviera rope bikini for a laid-back, classic style. A city trip needs a few great cover-ups, like our Chile waist tunic or a cute Nassau boat neck dress.

What would be the perfect capsule wardrobe for a honeymoon in different destinations?

For a honeymoon along the beautiful southern isles of Sicily, take our gorgeous Nassau padded bikini and Sugar Hill bow dress, pair with a large raffia beach bag and dark-rimmed sunglasses for an up-to-date chic ensemble. Look gorgeous on a Caribbean beach in our Reethi coral print bikini worn under an effortlessly cool Marrakech shirt-dress. Take our glamorous Chile bandeau maxi dress for a romantic dinner and show off your tan. The vibrant Tahoe padded bikini is perfect for an indulgent honeymoon in the Far East, full of culture and life. Accessorise with an elegant wide brim hat and throw on the Chile waist tunic in black – the perfect accompaniment to your honeymoon wardrobe.

How can you pack light while still ensuring you have enough outfits for a beach honeymoon?

It’s best to plan your outfits before you travel, that way you can be sure you are taking just the right amount with you. Pair a gorgeous bikini with a versatile light kaftan which you can also wear again with a different bikini. A mini dress can take you through your relaxing days into the evenings, with only a few chic accessories.

What about keeping light summer clothes crease free?

Rolling your clothes is better than folding to guarantee less creases – a brilliant packing tip that I recommend to everyone. For a very special outfit, I would pop it on a hanger and into a clothes bag, but not for everything. Pack your accessories into your evening bag to prevent snagging and intimates can be popped into the bowl of your hat.

How many swimsuits do you recommend taking? Should they be different styles?

I recommend packing about 4 or 5 bikinis and a one piece. You don’t need many different styles; if a style works well for your body, stick with it and just choose a different colour or print for variation.

How can one dress for both activity and leisure in the swimwear – for example, diving in the Maldives and sunbathing?

If you’re planning to mix activities with leisure, opt for something versatile. A tankini is great for diving into the ocean without the risk of it slipping off, and can easily be rolled up to optimise your tanning. Avoid skimpy bikinis and veer towards a halter neck which gives you more security. The Riviera bandeau bikini is perfect for minimising those tan lines and gives you extra support around the neck.

What would be your recommendations for going effortlessly from beach to bar?

Throw a gorgeous kaftan, like our Chile rope dress, over your bikini for a chic beach cover-up and add a gold cuff and sandals for an effortless trip to the bar. A beautiful batwing top is cool enough for day and stylish enough for a cocktail after a tough day at the beach.

Heels – are they always a no with swimwear?

No heels! A pair of flat sandals by day and a pair of espadrilles for your evening maxi. For a honeymoon, I would forego the footwear and indulge in a bit of barefoot luxury.

What about accessories – who does the best accessories?

A Heidi Klein wide brim hat and oversized Tod’s sunglasses are my beach staples, with a slight addition of jewellery; maybe a gold cuff bracelet or a long elegant necklace to dress up your look for the evening.

How do different shapes of swimwear work for different body shapes? What are your tips for keeping it sexy and chic on your honeymoon?

It is important to choose the right style for your body shape to ensure you have the perfect fit. Our padded swimwear is great for enhancing a smaller bust while an under wired style is great for a larger bust. Elongate the legs with a skimpy tie side bottom, flatten the tummy with a ruched one piece or a roll top bottom – all with the constant features of support and comfort. Keep it sexy and chic on your honeymoon with a style to suit you in an elegant, feminine print.

What is the best way to shop for swimwear?

Get yourself a spray tan the day before you head out shopping. Swimwear always looks better with a tan and this way, you are sure to make the right choice and don’t get too depressed. Make sure you have some time to try on different styles. Once you have found the right style, choose a colour or print that works for your skin tone.

How about hair and skin care – do you have any top tips for keeping them at their best in the sun?

Make sure you exfoliate before you travel, not only to ensure you are beach ready but it will help you on your way to an even tan. Keep your skin moisturised throughout the day and don’t travel anywhere without your SPF. I recommend St. Barth’s Roucou sunscreen for protection and St. Barth’s Avocado Oil to cool your skin after a day in the sun and you can even put it in your hair to keep it soft and shiny. Smells wonderful too.

What would be your perfect honeymoon?

I spent my honeymoon in the beautiful Isle of Capri – two weeks of pure bliss. We stayed in a wonderful little boutique hotel – great food and even better cocktails – so romantic and peaceful. Definitely the perfect honeymoon.

www.heidiklein.com

Top Ten Wedding Gifts By The Luxury Channel

Luxurious gifts for the newly-weds’ home.

Top Ten Wedding Gifts

Weddings & Movie Stars

Weddings and Movie Stars

From the low-key to the lavish, this collection of incredible images (many of which have never been published before) bring to life the most iconic Hollywood weddings from the 1920s onwards. From Grace Kelly swathed in lace to Sarah Jessica-Parker giggling on her wedding day, all the modern bride’s idols are here and serve as a love song to all weddings, not just the one you’re invited to.

Published by Reel Art Press, £49.95. Photograph of Grace Kelly and Esther Williams © Bettmann/CORBIS.

Animal Magic with Cavendish Stone

Cavendish Stone

Cement your place in your friends’ new life together and give them a gift that will stand the test of time. Justin and Adam Williams founded Cavendish Stone to provide the discerning with unforgettable outdoor sculpture. So, whether your friends have a country pile or urban idyll, one of their unique pieces will fit right in – and if you don’t believe us you can see for yourself. Cavendish Stone are exhibiting at this year’s Chelsea Flower Show from the 24th – 28th May, in collaboration with Country Life Magazine.

www.cavendishstone.com

Bernardaud Porcelain

Berndaud Porcelain

The most traditional of wedding presents, fine porcelain, need not be old fashioned. The Luxury Channel loves the French porcelain house of Bernardaud for their blend of traditional methods and gorgeous new design. For traditional tableware with delicate decoration and modern masterpieces such as their Marc Chagall collection, Bernardaud offers something for every newly wed’s table.

www.bernardaud.fr

Roomba Robotic Vacuum Cleaner

iRobot Roomba Vacuum

Give couples more time to enjoy being newlyweds by gifting them this highly desirable little gadget. The Roomba vacuum cleaner uses sophisticated technology to manoeuvre its way around a room all by itself. And when it’s finished, or low on battery, it will find its way back to its charging dock and go to sleep!

Available online and at John Lewis from £279.99.

www.irobot.com

Mappin & Webb Drinksware

Mappin & Webb

Renowned for its intrinsic British style and timeless good taste, Mappin & Webb has been silversmith to the royal family since 1897. Their sterling silver and glass whiskey tumblers and pyramid decanter are the perfect presents for a best man to give a groom-to-be.

The decanter, including luxury presentation case, is £299. A pair of whisky tumblers, including luxury presentation case, is £249.

For Winelovers…

Give your newlywed friends everything they need to start their very own vineyard. This kit from The Gluttonous Gardener contains, among other things, twenty grape vines, selected to thrive in the British climate and ready to plant. If you’re very lucky you’ll be sharing bottles of your friends’ vintage for years to come (and, to sip while you wait for that moment, the kit includes a very good bottle of vintage claret).

From £200 at www.glut.co.uk/wedding-gifts/the-vineyard.

Light Sculptures

Light sculptures

We love this Palm pendant light by Finnish designer Janne Kyttänen, which diffuses light through its petals, either up or downwards, resulting in a beautiful and totally unique light display. Also on our list is the Quin table light, which is astonishing in its perfect design. It’s hard to believe it has no joins whatsoever, but flows in harmony with no beginning and no end – just like the love your friend’s wedding celebrates.

Palm pendant light from £461.00. Quin table light from £426.00.

Great Exhibition Croquet Set

Jaques Croquet

Outdoor types will enjoy a Pimm’s and a game of croquet with one of John Jaques immaculately crafted deluxe croquet sets. We love the Great Exhibition Croquet Set, designed to celebrate the moment John Jaques II’s new game ‘Croquet’ was presented at the 1851 Great Exhibition. It includes eight beautifully finished mallets, including two brass ringed Oxford models and two square Hampton ones, as well as an eight band hand coloured gold lined winning post.

£999.99 from www.jaqueslondon.co.uk.

i:wing Fan

iWing fan

We’ve never seen anything like it – and we bet you haven’t either: a fan that could be mistaken for a piece of sculpture. The beautiful i:wing fan can cool down the hottest newlywed nest, as it soundlessly and peacefully sets the air in motion with its huge wings that mimic those of a bird in flight. You can see the fan in action at this year’s Grand Design Live show, which is on until 8th May at London’s ExCel or find out more online.

€1480.00

www.granddesignslive.com
www.bionic-motion.com

Baccarat crystal

Dom Perignon Pitcher Baccarat

Ensure you’re invited to toast all the important milestones in a new couple’s life by providing the very crystal they’ll toast with. The Luxury Channel loves the beautiful soft lines of Baccarat’s Saint Remy glasses & Dom Perignon Pitcher, while crystal bottle stoppers from their Tip Top collection (twisted by resident designer Thomas Bastide) are the perfect gift for any wine-loving couple.

www.baccarat.com

Hersey & Son Silver

Hersey and Son

Although a traditional wedding gift, silver never goes out of style, especially when it’s reinvented with a modern twist. Bring a touch of fun to a blissful breakfast table with a solid silver lid for a jar of Marmite – and have it engraved to mark a special occasion. Or if that’s doesn’t sound quite the thing, try these solid sterling silver mussel eater shells, which are perfect for a romantic supper of moules mariniere.

A Silver Marmite Lid costs from £62.50 and Mussel Eater Shells are £67.50 each

www.hersey.co.uk


www.theultimatehoneymooncompetition.com

Wedding Dress Hunt By Lauren Steventon

Daunting and exciting in equal measure – how to find the prefect wedding dress for you….

Wedding Dresses

Few items of clothing are invested with such a special significance as your wedding dress. Rarely does an outfit inspire so much thought and devotion – and pressure. Even if you think you know what you want, the amount of choice can be a little overwhelming. To give you a helping hand, The Luxury Channel has put together a stress-free guide to navigating the rails of lace, tulle, satin and chiffon. “It isn’t about being a slavish follower to fashion,” says designer Phillipa Lepley. “It is about elegance and simplicity and designs that flatter the individual bride’s figure.” Thinking about your shape and style, along with venue and weather, can all help.

In order to streamline your search, decide a budget and allocate this between dress and accessories. If you’re not sure which designers you like or can afford, head to a boutique that stocks several, like Pronovias. There are options for every budget and plenty of stunning, ready-to-wear dresses, such as from Monsoon. Personalise it with accessories and you have a beautiful dress that won’t break the bank.

Alternatively, if you’re splashing out, consider a bespoke dress. You will meet with the designer and create something that fits your exact requirements. This takes hours of workmanship and top designers such as Sassi Holford or Phillipa Lepley can cost thousands, but it’s a real treat and in return you’ll have something that is unique to you. Most designers also offer made-to-measure services, such as Le Spose di Gio, where a design from within the collection is tailored to you over several sessions. This costs much less than a bespoke dress, while ensuring a perfect fit. Plan ahead; appointments get booked up well in advance and the process can take over six months.

If you’re slimming, try to reach your ‘‘wedding-shape’’ by your last fitting and remember to wear the right underwear to avoid unsightly seams, and the right shoes to measure the hemline. Talking of hems, how low do you go? Many designers offer shorter dresses, which can look refreshingly different. Charlotte Balbier’s puffball Carrie is very ‘‘modern Grace Kelly,’’ while Jenny Packham’s Melody is a sexy thigh-length. You might think you know the style you want, but allow yourself to be surprised. Sales assistants at Vera Wang in Selfridges insist customers try at least one style that they wouldn’t normally consider – you never know, you might fall in love; after all, didn’t you once swear that your perfect man was tall, dark and handsome?

Colour is another consideration. White can look harsh against some complexions, so try ivory, cream, or even gold or pastel shades. Remember, you can wear whatever you want to. If that’s blue, red or even black – go for it! Suzanne Neville has some fabulous colours in her ‘‘Niche’’ collection.

Finally, choosing the dress should be fun. Take someone you trust, who won’t push their ideas onto you, plan to have a cocktail or two afterwards and enjoy dressing up. When you find a dress you just don’t want to take off, well, you’ll know it’s ‘‘the one!’’

Stockist Information

Phillipa Lepley – www.phillipalepley.com

Pro Novias – www.pronovias.co.uk

Le Spose di Gio – www.lesposedigio.com

Monsoon – www.uk.monsoon.co.uk

Sassi Holford – www.sassiholford.com

Charlotte Balbier – www.charlottebalbier.com

Jenny Packham – www.jennypackham.com

Suzanne Neville – www.suzanneneville.com

Wishing And Hoping By Antonia Pearce

The Luxury Channel’s pick on Net-a-Porter’s Bridal Boutique….

Wishing and Hoping

The Dresses

Alexander McQueen’s Silk Satin-Organza Bridal Gown

Alexander McQueen

This creation displays McQueen’s signature structure and tailoring whilst managing to be both ethereal and modern at the same time. As creative director Sarah Burton designed Kate Middleton’s dress, McQueen is surely the brides’ label of choice.

£7,395.00

www.net-a-porter.com/product/104778

Lanvin’s Ostrich Feather Trimmed Georgette Gown

Lanvin

Lanvin Blanche’s floor-sweeping georgette dress oozes effortless elegance and simplicity. Alber Elbaz, Artistic Director at Lanvin, knows exactly how to fashion a dress with charm and femininity. Adorned with Swarovski pearls and crystals, the bride who sashays down the aisle wearing this dress will shimmer like a bright young thing straight from the pages of an Evelyn Waugh novel.

£3,715.00

www.net-a-porter.com/product/65381

Stella McCartney’s Cotton and Silk Appliqué Dress

Stella McCartney

The off-white cotton and silk blend dress is laced with a delicate floral appliqué creating an understated, yet mesmerising look. It’s so successful in harnessing modernity and femininity, that anyone walking down the aisle in this gown couldn’t help but harness the spirit of a young Bridget Bardot.

£2,490.00

www.net-a-porter.com/product/104224

The Veil

Lanvin’s Organza-appliquéd Tulle Veil

Lanvin

This veil demonstrates Elbaz’s innate ability to understand bridal whims and fancies. The ruffle flowers, highlighted with crystals, are eye-catching but don’t steal the show, and the length means it would look great with a long or a short wedding dress.

£910.00

www.net-a-porter.com/product/108595

Cover-Ups

Valentino Chantilly Lace Shawl

Valentino

The old-world glamour of Valentino is perfectly captured in this shawl’s intricate detail and delicate design. It would lend itself perfectly to a strapless or simple bridal gown and after the big day, you could wear it again for any summer evening event.

£835.00

www.net-a-porter.com/product/105948

Temperley London Selena Lace Shrug