H&M features its first Muslim model in a hijab

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H&M has featured its first ever Muslim model in a hijab in a video showing off its most recent clothing collection.

H&M, which is the world’s second biggest fashion outlet, saw keen social media interest after its first covered Muslim model, Mariah Idrissi, appeared in a diverse video for the brand.

Old and young, Sikh and Muslim, large and slim models were included in the promotion – dividing commentators as to whether it is a cynical use of the headdress or a progressive step to be applauded.

Yet the model, who is from London and began wearing the headdress at 17, said she went to the photoshoot with the consent of her parents, was able to mostly work with female staff and has been called an inspiration by Muslim women’s sites.

In an interview with Fusion blog, 23-year-old Mariah said: “It always feels like women who wear hijab are ignored when it comes to fashion.”

She features briefly in a doorway, in a peach-coloured coat, headdress and shades, before the camera switches to a man in Islamic outfit. The voiceover says: “Look chic, look sheikh”.

An image of Mariah Idrissi from her Instagram account

Uniqlo was the first major high street shop to create fashion-forward headscarves as part of its collaborations. But whilst they were designed by young British designer Hana Tajima, the headdresses are currently only available in some countries in Asia.

Since appearing in the H&M video, meanwhile, Mariah has found herself beset with fashion requests for the style she wraps her turban hijab in, according to Fusion. She recently opened her own salon specialising in henna and nail-polish, called Salon Marrakesh, in London.

Blogger MuslimGirl wrote of the photoshoot:  “In a simple and quiet way she made others look at a Muslim woman without fear or contempt but with a healthy curiosity. Mariah opened a conversation that has always been strained.

“Because sometimes, throwing Muslim rage at social issues doesn’t always work. Being super nice doesn’t always work either. But to stand and be noticed, to be accounted for, that’s an example anyone can follow.”

Last month an Islamic model in Italy competing for Miss Italy came under fierce criticism for her decision. Similarly there are comments across Twitter and on the MuslimGirl blog about the photoshoot being in conflict with the religion’s commitment to modesty.

Either way, reports have tracked the growing popularity of the hijab for several years, with the Economist pointing in 2014 to a growing market demand for fashionable headdresses and abayas in several continents.

Fashionable anti pollution masks make their debut in the UK

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Keys? Check. Mobile phone? Check. High-fashion, anti-pollution facewear? Strapped on and ready for the morning commute.

On the grubby streets of east London the air is thick with pollution but my designer mask – billed as the world’s first luxury anti-pollution facewear – means I can breathe easy. It is filtering out dirt, dust and harmful particles and, according to its designer, giving me an on-trend fashion edge.

Commuters in smog-filled Asian cities such as Beijing have worn surgical-style face masks for years. With air pollution an increasing concern in Britain’s big cities, it is a sad possibility that urbanites will one day don protective masks as readily as a hat or scarf.

Described as a “bold blend of science and style”, the £160 Freka mask is ergonomically designed to fit the wearer’s face and uses an infusion of Japanese Hiroki wood to calm the senses while a filter blocks out harmful pollutants.

Freka spokeswoman Bhoomika Partap says there is no reason safety gear cannot look good. “Brits generally prefer not to wear something on their face because it’s not very comfortable or fashionable,” she says. “We wanted to create something of the highest ergonomic quality that made a statement.”

Described as a “bold blend of science and style”, the £160 Freka mask is ergonomically designed to fit the wearer’s face (Teri Pengilley)

It certainly achieves the latter. On the street, passers-by stare or swerve to avoid me. Maybe they think I’m ill or hiding something unsightly. Or about to hold up a bank.

On the tube, a woman laughs and takes my photo. But I’m the one who should be laughing; I’m protected from the PM 2.5 particles that fill London’s air – less than a hair’s width but linked to around 29,000 deaths a year in the UK.

“In Asia air pollution is a lot more visible, so in the UK it’s a little more difficult to get people to notice there’s anything wrong with our air quality,” says Frank Borsboom, a Dutch engineer who helped design the mask.

Dr Benjamin Barratt from the Environmental Research Group at King’s College London said there is “some evidence that a mask can reduce the levels of stress to the heart and lungs caused by breathing elevated levels of air pollution”.

He added: “To be effective, a mask must be very well fitting otherwise the gases and tiny particles that make up air pollution will just flow around the mask when you breathe in.” Above all, Dr Barratt said, efforts to improve air quality should take precedence over “sticking plaster solutions” such as masks.

To be honest, wearing a piece of silicon on my face is not enjoyable. My breathing is shallow and my peripheral vision is impaired; walking up steps is a nightmare. But is it fashionable? Well, the designers may have been aiming for a catwalk look but a colleague suggested I resembled a giant pigeon.

Milan Fashion Week Pretty peachy frocks for posh party girls

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There has been a mercurial sense to Milan fashion week so far this season; the long-standing home to established brands known for their rigidity has suddenly seen them shifting and changing with a new-found verve. The most immediate example of this hot-stepping is Gucci, at which Alessandro Michele’s third womenswear collection, shown on 23 September, confirmed that he has ushered in a new era. Michele was officially appointed only in January so a change of pace is understandable, but it’s also happened at labels where there’s been no obvious change in personnel. Versace is a case in point: Donatella Versace’s vision of a modern woman was actually just that, and her customer could be identified immediately.

The same could not be said of the Roberto Cavalli customer next season. On 26 September, the first collection for the brand from former Emilio Pucci creative director Peter Dundas was shown. You can see why Dundas got the job. At LVMH-owned Pucci he carved out a niche creating sexy, body-skimming dresses that were deeply respectful of the house codes.

Add to that the fact that he already has a three-year stint at Roberto Cavalli on his extensive CV – which also includes two years as creative director of Emanuel Ungaro and stints with Jean Paul Gaultier and Christian Lacroix – and the show could be seen as something of a homecoming for the Norwegian designer. Suitably the champagne was flowing before the first model stepped on to the catwalk. The content of those fluted glasses, though, was the only things that fizzed, as the collection which attempted to realign the house’s established codes with the tastes of a modern shopper fell rather flat.

So what will the young, and young at heart, be wearing to dance the night away next summer? Well, if Dundas has his way she’ll be flashing the flesh in second-skin leather minidresses, slashed down the side and trimmed with flat, swaggy bows. Those flounces and ruches were straight out of the Eighties, a decade which is being picked over once again. But the designers who do it best – such as JW Anderson in London– do so with a knowing wink, acknowledging quite what an audacious proposition it is.

But there seemed to be nothing humorous about this, although they are certainly designs that the wearer will have fun in. Dundas was a little too fond of Sixties and Seventies references during his time at Pucci, so it’s good that he has moved on in this new role. But on occasion – namely a peach lace-fronted off-the-shoulder minidress – it seemed that he had focused solely on the party pages of Tatler and issues of World of Interiors (laden as the latter was with swagged curtains and bowed tiebacks) from that era.

The Cavalli customer is particularly hard to pinpoint in London, where scruff or sophisticate are the two overriding aesthetics, but she certainly exists somewhere. She’s probably shopping at Balmain and Saint Laurent. And some Insta-starlet will no doubt be trussed up in that peach frock in no time. Whether she’d make it on to the pages of Tatler remains to be seen.

The One Stop Professional Dress Service

Professional dress services are exactly what this particular generation craves for. There may be many a times situation risen when the dresses may require drastic changes and then can be worn as new again but with rare options available one finds buying a new dress easier. This problem can be brought to a halt with the help of www.seamstresstoronto.ca. This particular site makes sure that one’s each and every type of dress needs are met and thus they generally get to retain happy customers. One can totally trust their services and after going through this article will know why they should trust this site too.

The Exclusive services provided by the company:

Different companies work differently and have their own unique selling points. This particular company manages to sell most of their services as unique. Among the services that they provide there are few that are totally unique and extremely favourable:

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  • Replacing the lining:

This is one service that can be hardly found nowadays and most important requires the best kind of hands and eyes. These are the reasons why finding the service for lining replacement can be such a head ache. Replacing the lining is not a easy job but the site of www.seamstresstoronto.ca if contacted for the same can make one realize that how easy is it for them. This service done by them is extremely commendable and makes a spot in people’s heart too.

  • Dress preservation:

Preserving dresses can really be a difficult job. This one task is extremely hard and at the same time extremely necessary. One can find the best kind of dress preservation with the help of this particular site. They take care of the dresses and also manages to educate one with the knowledge of handling it properly. One can find the best preservation service on this site and also make sure that they never lose their special memories in form of the dress.

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  • Dress Alteration:

Nowadays people hardly go for this service as finding a good one is almost impossible. Yet people prefers this site when it comes to altering the dresses. They alter the dresses with such ease that it may look new forever. They can even provide with the very perfect fit for the body. One may find the dress alteration to be the best possible service by their team.

Features that make the site attractive:

Each and every company must have some or the other features that attracts the customers in the very best way. This particular site or the company actually comes with the best set of skilled workmen. The workmen actually can be called the most skilled due to the commendable work they perform. The 100 money back guarantee in another feature which works wonder for the company. The various services along with the pickup and drop facilities are other features that make the company the most favourable one.

Dresses For Mother Of The Bride At Fashionable Collections

mother 2In wedding functions dresses are given more importance. Not only the bride and broom are giving importance to their dress but also the other relation use to give more importance to their dress. Start from the kids to the older grandpa and grandma will be dressed in an attractive manner. In these way dresses are given importance for each and every person in a wedding function. While selecting dress for the mother of bride, most of them have confusions in finding the right shop and also the right collections of dress. Here in this article you could able to see the information about dresses for mother of the bride.

Select The Dress That Suits Mother Of The Bride

In online shopping you could able to get the right choice of collection that in a traditional shopping. If you are gifting the dress, then online would be the right choice for variety of dress collection. Here in online you could able to find out various styles of dress at lowest range of price. Flattering styles are available in online shopping, therefore this styles of collections you could able to purchase the dresses, as it suits at any sizes and shapes of the mother of the bride. The Mother of the Bride usually prefers a long garment for them, therefore such type of dresses are available in the online shopping. In UK the fashion house you could find out the dresses especially for mother of the bride. Wedding is the special period of each and every one’s life, at that occasion are you interested in providing your mother with an excellent dress then choose the best online store.

Flattering Styles Of Collections

Finding the right dress that suits your mothers outfit and also the dress should fit your mothers shape. And so get the glittering style of dresses that suits your mother. Mother of the Bride dresses is available at huge anthology for wedding and also for any other special occasions. In florentyna dawn you could able to get out the best dressers for mother of the bride. In this sit the collections are in huge and are available at various collections like bride dress and also for mother of the bride you could able to get casual wear dressings or even dresses for any occasional wearing.

This site also offers you with the facility of returning the dress in case of any default. It will also deliver the dress within the stipulated period of time. They are also facilitating in providing elegant accessories that suits your mothers dress. Shoes, jeweler, hats, handbags and other collection of accessories are also made available in this site. This site is well known are ladies collections of dresses and so make your purchase here and try to explore yours outlook and also your mother. For mother of the bride dress this site would provide the best garments with entire collection at lowest price. Therefore shop your desired and favorite dresses from here to have an unforgettable moment of collections in your day.

Gаnt Wаtсhеs fоr Yоur Wеаrs

Веrnаrd Gаnt wаs thе сrеаtоr оf Gаnt wаtсhеs whісh wаs еstаblіshеd іn 1910. Ніs fіrst аrеа оf ехреrtіsе wаs nоt mаnufасturіng wаtсhеs, but rаthеr сrеstіng shіrts іn Νеw Yоrk’s сlоthіng dіstrісt. Fеw уеаrs lаtеr, Gаnt gоt fеd uр оf сrеstіng gаrmеnts іn Νеw Yоrk аnd dесіdеd thаt іt wаs tіmе tо stаrt а nеw lіfе іn Νеw Наvеn Соnnесtісut. Тhе соmраnу саllеd Gаnt hаs аn ехсеllеnt wаtсh thаt hаs а rерutаtіоn оf рrоvіdіng сustоmеrs wіth grеаt wаtсhеs оvеr thе уеаrs.

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Іt dіdn’t tаkе lоng fоr Gаnt tо mаkе а nаmе fоr hіmsеlf іn thе nеw сіtу. Іn nо tіmе flаt, Gаnt wаs mаkіng shіrts fоr sоmе оf thе bеst brаnd аrоund. Аs а sіgn оf ехсеllеnt quаlіtу, thе G frоm Gаnt’s lаst nаmе wаs рrіntеd оn еvеrу sіnglе shіrts bоttоm hеm.

То thіs dау, Gаnt wаtсhеs аrе wеll knоwn fоr thеіr іmрессаblе stуlіng. Тhеsе wаtсhеs dо а wоndеrful јоb оf соmbіnіng bоth саsuаl аnd аthlеtіс vіbеs. Тhеу аlsо hаvе mаnу mоdеrn еlеmеnts аbоut thеm, but аrе stіll аblе tо kеер а vеrу оrіgіnаl fееl tо thеm. Реорlе frоm аll оvеr lоvе nоt оnlу thе stуlіng оf thеsе wаtсhеs, but аlsо thеіr nісе реrfоrmаnсе аnd сооl fеаturеs.

Аwеsоmе stуlіng іs whаt Gаnt wаtсhеs аrе knоwn fоr nоwаdауs. Тhе соmраnу dоеs а mаstеrful јоb оf соmbіnіng bоth соntеmроrаrу аnd аuthеntіс аsресts thаt соmрlеmеnt еасh оthеr vеrу wеll.

Еvеrу Gаnt wаtсh соmеs stаndаrd wіth thе bеst mоvеmеnt іn thе busіnеss, knоwn аs Ѕwіss Quаrtz mоvеmеnt. Наnds dоwn thіs іs thе mоst ассurаtе mоvеmеnt thаt уоu саn роssіblе соmе асrоss. Веіng соmрlеtеlу wаtеrрrооf аlоng wіth hаvіng аn ехtеnsіvе sеlесtіоn оf mоdеls tо сhооsе frоm аrе twо mоrе реrks thаt уоu gеt wіth Gаnt wаtсhеs.

In this article, we are going to take a look at some of the samples of Gants watches. Веlоw уоu wіll fіnd а smаll sаmрlіng оf sоmе оf thе соmраnу’s рорulаr wаtсh mоdеls fоr bоth mеn аnd wоmеn.

Gаnt Меn’s Моdеls:

  1. Gаnt Wеst Сrееk: Соmеs wіth а brоwn fасе аnd brоwn lеаthеr strар. Тhіs wаtсh іs аlsо еquірреd wіth Rоmаn dіgіts аnd whіtе hаnds.
  2. Тullу Вlасk Моdеl: Тhіs раrtісulаr mоdеl соmеs еquірреd wіth а blасk fасе, whіtе hаnds, stаіnlеss stееl bаnd, аnd а stаіnlеss stееl саsе.
  3. Wіnsоr Вlасk Моdеl: Fеаturеs оf thіs wаtсh іnсludе а lеаthеr strар, blасk wаtсh fасе, Rоmаn dіgіts, аnаlоguе dіsрlау, аnd whіtе hаnds.

Wоmеn’s Моdеls:

  1. Κіngstоwn Моdеl: Тhе Κіngstоwn hаs mаnу nісе fеаturеs іnсludіng а sіlvеr fасе, whіtе bаnd, аnаlоguе dіsрlау, аnd bluе hаnds.
  2. Наmрtоn Ѕіlvеr Вісоlоr: Соmеs stаndаrd wіth а twо соlоurеd bаnd аnd whіtе fасе. Еquірреd wіth sіlvеr hаnds аnd Rоmаn dіgіts.
  3. Gаnt Rіkеrs Іslаnd: Тhіs раrtісulаr wаtсh mоdеl соmеs wіth а blасk fасе, whіtе hаnds, stаіnlеss stееl sіlvеr bаnd, аnd а squаrе fасе.

Gаnt іs vеrу рrоud оf thеіr hіgh standard chains оf wаtсhеs аnd thеу tаkе grеаt pleasure іn еасh аnd еvеrу оnе thаt thеу рrоduсе. Wіth sо mаnу аwеsоmе fеаturеs аnd mоdеls tо сhооsе frоm, thіs іs оnе соmраnу thаt trulу dеsеrvеs аll thе сrеdіt thеу gеt.

 

How To Look Thinner Using Fashion

Holiday season is upon us and the only reason why someone would be dreading it is because of the pounds that person is going to put on. Regular fitness routine and healthy diet take a backseat during those days and make it difficult to fit in favourite clothes. However worry not because we are here with a post that will teach you how to use fashion to your advantage and fake looking thin. With a few clever tips and tricks, you should look lean in those picture sessions which you and your friends are going to indulge in.

There are cuts that camouflage, fabrics that flatter best parts and shape wears that change the whole game. Let’s get started with the list:

1) Invest in a good shapewear

– Like a little black dress, a good quality shape wear is also a must have. It’s that tiny tummy protruding out of your bodycon dress which can pull down your style quotient. There are different kinds of shape wears targeted for different areas and you must invest in the one which you feel is going to take care of your problem area. It will hide bulges effectively. You can shop for a variety of them online and don’t forget to use Jabong coupons present on CashKaro.com to fetch them at wonderful discounts.

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2) Wrap around trick

– Wrap around is a fashion editor approved trick which can instantly take off pounds from your middle frame. The bonus with it being that it also helps you make an instant style statement. So the next time you feel like that the only thing standing between you looking good and your beautiful outfit is your bloated tummy, you know what to do! All you have to do is pick a sweater, denim jacket or even a warm snugly scarf and tie it around your waist.

baju23) Choose shoes carefully

– Shoes with a low vamp cut allow more skin to be shown. As a result of which they give the appearance of long as well as slender legs. Shoes that have a vamp cut going high instantly take off an inch or so from your height. So the next time you go for shoe shopping, ensure that you keep the vamp cut in mind and then go ahead with your purchase. If you are a sneakers fan, opt for one that end at ankle length and don’t cover any more portion of your leg. You can find a beautiful variety of such shoes online without breaking your bank by checking out Converse shoes price list online on CashKaro.com. Talking of heels, also avoid thick straps and square toes.

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4) Go all Black

– Yes! Be women in Black! Black is a universally flattering shade, a visually slimming color and a beautiful dark hue. When you wear a single shade in your outfit, you create an illusion of a long vertical line. So go head to toe outside in Black and set hearts aflutter. Just make sure the fit is well tailored.

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5) Opt for high waist pants

– Luckily they are also in! High waist paints work great at elongating your lower body. Choose ones that fall above your belly button as they are the most suitable ones. Ensure that the one you purchase comes with a bit of elastic for easy movement. This is one of the oldest tricks in books. So don’t miss out on it. Add one to your closet soon and see the magic for yourself.

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Hope these tips and tricks help you a big time in creating an illusion of a lean body.

Everything about the designers in Greater Kailash and their uniqueness

Every woman plans her wedding right from her teens. She dreams of herself as a bride donned in an elegant long dress with sparkling jewels on. She dreams of her day with all eyes fixed on her, adorning her graceful self. She begins practising her walk and her smile years before the special day. When the day finally arrives, she gets a chance to live her dreams. Every woman begins her wedding preparation with intense shopping. Brides are ready to travel to any part of the country to just get their perfect attire of dreams.

Wedding shopping begins with lehenga

fourThe biggest part of a beautiful bride is her wedding clothes. Every woman begins with shopping for a dress because she could then set the entire wedding mood to complement her dress. For instance, she can choose flower decorations for the day, garlands, jewels and everything to complement whatever she picks to wear on that day. So the first step towards every planned wedding is to identify the right store selling bridal wear. One such popular wedding destination is the Greater Kailash.

The town of boutiques especially for brides

It is surprising that a much small place like Greater Kailash, almost resembling an urban village can house such trendy boutiques. The reason for these start-ups is the presence of National Institute of Fashion Technology in this town. Several students of this institution have set up innovative shops, especially concerning bridal wear. So this is a destination that every bride must visit during her shopping spree. Not only do they have lehengas, but also splendid choices for sangeet or mehndi functions.

Several designers in Greater Kailash

Jungi house which refers to an area situated in Greater Kailash is considered to be the hub of designer clothes for women. Several stores there possess unique lehengas in an array of colours. For those brides who wish to wear a light lehenga, Monika and Nidhi is a great option. They have lehengas with gold lacework and other such long gowns in a range of prices. Jungi house also offers very expensively but one of a kind stores like Bhumika Grover and Madsam Tinzin. For those who can afford to buy here, the stores offer great options that only Greater Kailash can manage to. There are also designer stores like Kaira and Nikasha here that are famous for their bridal lehengas.

Customized lehengas for perfect fit

While buying a lehenga, a bride will first analyse if it fits her shape well. Though lehenga is only a skirt and blouse, it comes in several cuts to suit the body shape of several women. Most of these lehengas bought in Greater Kailash can be customized to suit the buyer’s needs. The boutiques also have tailors who make sure that the dress fits perfectly. Certain alterations like height are inevitable before buying the piece. There is also a separate category called the replicated lehengas. The dresses worn by celebrities at their weddings and in movies are replicated with immense creativity.

Fashion commonsense in fashion week

Admit it. How many times have you said to yourself “I would wear that” as you watched rake-thin models with fabulous makeup and hair strutting down the catwalk? The fact is, most of the “fashions” that make people go “ooh” and “ahh” are not only ridiculously impractical, they are downright weird. Rather than spending a fortune on clothes you should not wear in public if you value your reputation as a reasonable person, you will get more mileage with the best teeth whitening treatments you can get. However, some spark of sanity remains in fashion shows. Here are some designs that take out the haute in couture to bring it down to human levels.

Duster coat

Shapeless and overly long, duster coats are supposed to protect your inner clothes from, well, dust. Cut it from fine cloth and you have a smart fashion trend that jazzes up otherwise ordinary clothing. Strap it on or wear it loose, it gives you that added pizzazz without making you look ridiculous. It can keep you warm during the fall season, too.

Fringes

Back in the day, tie-dyed shirts circa 1970s ended in ragged fringes to give you a glimpse of what was underneath. Today, the fringe is back with a bang, giving the plainest outfits a bit of flirtatiousness and fun. On a shirt, skirt, or satchel, it gives the term “swinging” a whole new meaning.

Pantsuit

Nothing makes more sense than a pantsuit. It is infinitely wearable, comfortable, and classic. You can wear it at the office before swinging over to a party after, and you will not even have to change shoes! It looks good with heels, flats, and everything in between. It is not really a trend, though. It is more accurate to call it a staple.

Fashion can be within the reach (and tolerance) of most people. All it takes is a bit of commonsense, and a sense of style.

Elegant Celtic Jewellery that speaks volumes

Celtic jewellery is extremely popular with ladies of all ages as well as men. It’s the type of jewellery that stands out from the crowd, is very reasonably priced and stunning to look at. One of the many pieces that is typically Irish is the beautiful Claddagh ring. With two hands holding a heart and a crown on the top, this ring is well known for showing love between two people who maybe oceans apart. It’s believed to have been designed by Richard Joyce, an Irish man in the early 16th century and is as popular today as it was then.

The widely recognised Claddagh ring is both a symbol of friendship and love given as a gift from a man to a woman. Online jewellery stores also sell Claddagh pendants and earrings which go perfectly with the famous ring of the same name. Available in both gold and silver, this type of jewellery depicts Irish heritage and love for Irish traditions.

Claddagh rings, earrings and pendants

Along with the world-famous Claddagh rings, there are amazing earrings and pendants to match. Choose from:-

There are even children’s Claddagh and pearl stud earrings to buy online too.

Surprise your friends and relatives this Christmas

Why not surprise your family and friends this Christmas by buying them something Irish. There are many different gifts for everyone, no matter what their age. Give your loved one a magnificent Claddagh ring, your mum a pair of Claddagh earrings, your father a warm Irish sweater and your little sister her first pair of pearl Claddagh earrings. Don’t forget to treat yourself too!

All orders are delivered as quickly as possible and in good time for Christmas or any other special occasion. You can track your order to see just where it is en route to your address by entering your order number in the box provided via online websites

There’s also the option to make contact either by telephone, fax, email or if you prefer, by completing an online form with your:-

  • Name
  • Email address
  • Contact phone number
  • Order number
  • Short message

Why not join an online mailing list to find out about new products available to order, discounts or special offers.

Unique Celtic jewellery

It’s a cast iron certainty that Celtic jewellery is not only unique but highly sought after too. The unusual and popular Claddagh ring is totally Irish while being truly authentic to Ireland. There are lots of lovely Celtic rings to choose from including unisex silver and gold Claddagh rings in a variety of sizes for instance. Why not order beautiful Irish wedding rings with fantastic Irish designs that can be personalised with the bride and groom’s names on? Now there’s something romantic to wear on this very special day, what more could you ask for?

Save Money on Fashion Year Round

Everyone needs clothes, but depending on how much money you have and what clothes you are trying to buy, you can’t always afford the things you want. Fashions are always changing, so in order to keep up, it will cost you money. However, just because you are choosing to keep up with today’s fashion trends doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your money doing it.

Here are a few ways to save money on fashion year round.

Thrifting– Not everyone has the money to spend on fashion, nor do they want to. Thrift stores are great for these people because it allows them to find clothes they love for a more affordable price. Most cities have at least one thrift store that people can visit when they are looking for clothes for a cheaper price.

Groupon Coupons– People may enjoy thrifting, but the idea of wearing used clothes doesn’t appeal to everyone. This means that those who want to wear new clothes will have to pay a bit more to be fashionable. With the help of Groupon Coupons, they can still shop and get the clothes they want for an affordable price, but without having to let someone else enjoy wearing them first. Retailers like Macy’s and Charlotte Russe have coupons and discounts available to customers free of charge. You just have to go to the Groupon Coupons’ site and search the stores you are interested in shopping at to view their available deals.

Staying up to date on fashion doesn’t always require you to spend a lot of money. It can be expensive, but there are always ways to save on things. Anyone can avoid spending a lot on clothes shopping if they go about things the right way. If that means checking out thrift stores or accessing discounts through Groupon Coupons, it will be worth it when you are wearing the clothes you love.

The cult of Diana Vreeland Model and muse Suzanne von Aichinger channels her inimitable sense of style

Despite her love of the past, Diana Vreeland was resolutely, dynamically modern. She shot the miniskirt, coined the phrase “youth quake”, and brought the then-unusual faces of Penelope Tree and Edie Sedgwick to the pages of Vogue. Vreeland had her finger on the pulse.

So, what would she wear today? Definitely not what she was wearing in the Sixties, nor when she died in 1989. “I think she would have been wearing these clothes,” says Suzanne von Aichinger – muse and stylist, who also modelled for this shoot.

Von Aichinger was once described by Yves Saint Laurent’s right-hand woman Loulou de la Falaise as “the modern archetype of the Parisian woman”. She was born in Germany and raised in Canada, but there’s a lingering sense of Paris to her cupid’s bow lips and penetrating stare. A sense of Vreeland’s Paris, of those polished women who dressed in haute couture and had their gardening clothes made at Balenciaga (that was Mona von Bismarck, in case you were wondering).

Von Aichinger was discovered in New York by illustrator Antonio Lopez, while grocery shopping. “I went to meet him and I pulled together a look. I was really nervous. As I walked into his studio, I saw this big Warhol portrait of Antonio…” she pauses, laughs. “It was the real deal! He came around the corner to meet me, and looked me up and down and then asked: ‘Do you want to pose for me now?’ He put me in the Charles James ‘Shrimp’ dress,” – the style sometimes called Sirene, which originated in the 1930s – “and that was the start of a close friendship. We did a lot of things together, Saint Laurent campaigns and Missoni.”

Von Aichinger has modelled for designers including Azzedine Alaia, Claude Montana and Thierry Mugler, as well as working in-house as model-cum-inspiration, first for Christian Lacroix, then John Galliano, and latterly Jean Paul Gaultier – all stylish, all original. All very Vreeland.

The shoot was staged in London’s Maison Assouline, a bookshop that feels like anything but, whose exuberant furnishings and brimstone-hued walls seem very much in keeping with Vreeland’s aesthetic – “I can’t imagine becoming bored with red,” she wrote in her 1984 autobiography, DV. “It would be like becoming bored with the person you love”.

Von Aichinger acted as model and stylist on the shoot, outfitting herself in a selection of clothes from designers as diverse as Marc Jacobs and Lanvin, Haider Ackermann and the Japanese designer Jun Takahashi’s label Undercover. She also chose an archive haute couture Yves Saint Laurent cape from 1983, in saffron silk-faille, included in the retrospective Vreeland staged at the Metropolitan Museum of Art the same year. It was the first dedicated to the work of a single living designer. Vreeland wore Saint Laurent to the gala opening. Not this cape, but perhaps she would have done. She would certainly have approved of it. After all, it was Vreeland herself who said so memorably “Exaggeration is my only reality”.

Photography: Ruth Hogben

Model and styling: Suzanne von Aichinger

Hair: David Wadlow at Premier

Make-up: Terry Barber at David Artists using MAC Cosmetics

Manicure: Pebbles at Streeters using M∙A∙C Cosmetics

Retouching: Emma Tunstill at Touch Digital Production: Drue Bisley Art direction: Joseph Larkowsky Photographer’s Assistant: Laura Falconer Digital Operator: Alexander Meininger c/o proVision Runner: Melody Micmacher Equipment: ProVision/Kez Styling assistance: Louis Plummer

Location: Maison Assouline, 196A Piccadilly London, 020 3327 9370,

All furniture by Assouline Interiors

Thanks to Le Meridien Piccadilly; special thanks to Zeina Dakak, Emilia Bairamova and all at Maison Assouline

The genius of Azzedine Alaïa Fashion’s contradictory colossus is the last of the craftsmen couturiers

Despite his diminutive stature – he stands just five feet three inches tall, allegedly – I didn’t measure him myself, but it seems about right – Azzedine Alaïa is a giant in the fashion world. It’s just one of a knotty bundle of contradictions that make up his character, his career, and consequently his legend. He refuses to show his clothes at fashion week, but everyone wants to see them; he chafes against the confines of the fashion system, while being one of its defining figures. He creates garments that eschew the relentless novelty of contemporary fashion, instead offering gradual developments of idea and technique. But women clamour, season after season, to buy them. In Harrod’s, Alaïa outperforms all other international brands. He doesn’t advertise, and doesn’t loan to celebrities – although they buy his clothes.

The brand flies in the face of all convention, as complex as the riddle of the Sphinx. And Alaïa sometimes deflects questions about his age – somewhere around 75 – by declaring himself “as old as the Pharaohs”, so that’s appropriate.

Alaïa was born in Tunisia, is based in Paris, and makes clothes. I mean, he really makes them. He is one of the few designers who takes up needle and thread himself to work on his garments. He always has. When he used to present his fashion on a seasonal basis, the shows were frequently weeks late. spring/summer 1990, one of his last, was shown a month and a half after every other Paris label, because he insisted on steaming every garment and sewing every prototype himself. I am loath to call him a designer at all, because really Alaïa is first and foremost a craftsman, a couturier. Today, he presents occasionally, quietly, in his headquarters in the Marais in Paris. The audience is made up of friends, like the artist Julian Schnabel, the photographer Jean-Baptiste Mondino, and Alaïa’s gargantuan St Bernard, Didine. It’s still shown a few days after everyone else.

Why? Because Azzedine Alaïa stands apart from fashion – literally and ideologically. His clothes are frequently characterised as sexy – even by Alaïa himself – and often are. But for me, a more telling notion is of the corporeal. Alaïa is fixated with the body; we in turn associate that with sex. At one point, Alaïa created clothes for the showgirls of Paris’s Crazy Horse cabaret: look at the way his seams delineate zones of the body, like an external musculature mapping the flesh. Many sneer, with not a little salaciousness, that you don’t have to wear underwear when you wear Alaïa. What that illustrates is that his work is about dressing a body, not constructing a dress. Those are the words of the great Madeleine Vionnet, inventor of the bias cut, describing her own approach. Alaïa is a passionate admirer; if she were alive, I suspect that admiration would be mutual.

Alaïa’s garments seem engineered rather than simply sewn, their fluctuating, distinctly physical relationship with the individual beneath them the real mark of his mastery of craft. They flare and wrap and grip and knead the human body, as if the flesh were clay ready to be sculpted. Like sculpture, they belong in a museum.Many of them end up there. That’s where I meet Azzedine Alaïa for the first time.

We were in Rome, where an exhibition of his clothing – or, to borrow the phrase of the curators, Mark Wilson and Anna Coliva, his “soft sculpture” – has been installed at the city’s Galleria Borghese. Erected in the 1600s for Cardinal Scipione Borghese, nephew of Pope Paul V, patron of Bernini and something of a Caravaggio fanatic, it’s one hell of a backdrop for his work. Alaïa’s clothes are, arguably, the only ones that could stand the test. Exquisitely realised, timeless, the product of obsessive devotion to the act of creation, they’re the closest fashion comes to a masterpiece.

Alaïa himself trained as a sculptor at the Institut Supérieur des Beaux Arts in Tunis. “Un peu,” he says, smiling wide, his fingers pinching the air to indicate the brevity of time spent in that pursuit. Alaïa does not speak English, and my French is as ropey as one of Alaïa’s macramé dresses, so we speak through Caroline Fabre, his commercial director and confidante. He continues: “When I realised I couldn’t be an amazing sculptor, I changed direction.”

Not entirely, though. Rather than representing the body like traditional sculptors, Alaïa chose to mould on to it. His work is in the tradition of ancient Greek sculptors, who chose the perfect components from imperfect sitters to fashion their own superhuman ideals.

Alaïa at the exhibition ‘Azzedine Alaia’s Soft Sculpture’ at the Galleria Borghese in Rome (Getty)

He did much the same with the supermodels of the 1980s, a decade he helped to shape stylistically. Linda Evangelista, Helena Christensen, Cindy Crawford – all broke other bookings and flew to Paris to model for Alaïa, for little more than his clingy little dresses. Naomi Campbell, whose career Alaïa helped launch, would sleep on his floor during the Paris shows. When I ask if she would say something about Alaïa, the notoriously tardy Campbell responds in an uncharacteristic instant. “Azzedine is one of the most unique designers in the world, he has an unparalleled work ethic,” she says. “I am honoured to have watched him work and to have worked for him. He has been my papa since I was 16, and I love him very much.” Many in the fashion industry, and beyond, feel the same overwhelming affection for the man, and his clothes.

Back to Rome and the Borghese Berninis. Nestled among the grand marbles and gilt-framed masterpieces are leather jackets and velvet dresses; others woven or knitted from bands of fabric to resemble mummies or especially elegant crustaceans. There are 60-odd Maison Alaïa interlopers on show until the end of October. Wilson, who has worked on five exhibitions with Alaïa over the past 15 years, suggested that he was a “visitor” to the Borghese; “How can he be a great visitor?” Wilson asked, rhetorically. “By making himself at home, but also being respectful.”

It’s a neat inversion of Alaïa tradition: the couturier is known for hosting dinner parties during Paris fashion week, where the likes of Rihanna, Rei Kawakubo, the designer Marc Newson, a few international fashion editors and a number of dogs all cram around a table in Alaïa’s atelier for a home-cooked meal. Obviously at ease in someone else’s home, Alaïa looks about the gallery. “At the beginning I was a little afraid to have so many masterpieces,” he says, carefully. “Because fashion next to Bernini can be dangerous. I tried to respect that. I was praying at lot, that Bernini would accept me into his house. And he agreed.”

Alaïa grins again. He grins a lot – that’s another paradox, because his clothes, on the whole, can be seen as fierce, imposing, aggressive even. He exploded on to the fashion scene in the Eighties with an eyelet-studded leather coat and matching gauntlets. He dressed Grace Jones and Tina Turner. He had, in fact, been making clothes for years in Paris before then. He first came to work with Dior in 1957, just as the Algerian war intensified. Fresh off the boat, he was dismissed for having incorrect immigration papers (ironically, following the departure of John Galliano in 2011, Alaïa reputedly declined an offer of the Dior reins).

After his Dior dismissal, Alaïa worked for Guy Laroche for two seasons, taking up residence with the first of a series of high-society patrons, the Comtesse de Blegiers, who offered him a temporary home in exchange for services as dressmaker and occasional babysitter. Alaïa has said: “From two seasons at Guy Laroche I learned how. From the last elegant women in the world, I learned what.”

Alaia with Rula Jebreal at Couture/Sculpture Vernissage Cocktail in Rome, held in honour of the designer in July (Getty)

Alaïa’s “What” dressed the demanding clients of French haute couture – Picassos, Rothschilds, Mitterands – as well as odder types. Besides those Crazy Horse showgirls, the reclusive Greta Garbo had him sew a pair of trousers and a navy cashmere overcoat big enough for two. Once more, the body – this time, swamped and swaddled and moving inside a cocoon of material.

Alaïa isn’t just the “King of Cling” – a misleading moniker bestowed upon him in the Eighties, which reduces his wide oeuvre of semi-fitted or unfitted tailoring in boiled wool and leather (still a large swathe of his business); his experimentations with Vionnet’s bias-cutting techniques (ahead of the curve of a mid-Nineties revival); and his ground-breaking development of fabrics (for 40 years Alaïa has worked with the knitwear factory of Silvia Bocchese in Florence to devise new textiles), to a tight skirt on a skimpy dress. Although he loves those too.

Not much has changed, really, since the Eighties, for Alaïa. His exhibition at the Galleria Borghese juxtaposes dresses made in the Eighties and Nineties with those from last year. Time has no meaning here, just as Alaïa has no age. “There is an evolution, but fashion hasn’t changed so much,” he says, looking around at his work. “For women, there is the body. The body is the most important thing. Technically, some dresses are more modern than others, because of the technique of the knitwear. The evolution of the technique and of the fabric is very important, And how you wear it too. You maybe have to be more comfortable today. This is the difference.”

The handcraft, however, hasn’t changed. Just as when he lived in the back-room of the Comtesse, Alaïa still handles each sample himself. “I take care of the fabric, the pattern, I do all the patterns myself, all the fittings,” he states. “From the idea to the reality. I’m not very often satisfied by what I do.” Nevertheless, there isn’t a sense of frustration with what he does, but there is a drive to go beyond fashion – which, at its most basic, is about hawking as many clothes as possible.

Alaïa’s business isn’t small: the annual turnover is around £40m. It could be much bigger, but Alaïa doesn’t want that. When I ask him if he considers himself part of fashion today, the grin vanishes. “Pas de tout. I do not agree at all with the system of fashion today.” He doesn’t like the speed, he says, the dismissal of ideas as worthless when the seasons expire.

How to reconcile, then, that the anti-fashion Alaïa just launched his first fragrance, with the backing of Beauté Prestige International and luxury conglomerate Richemont, who partnered (but didn’t buy out) Alaïa in 2007? Perfume is the most conventional mass-fashion move possible. Can’t afford one of Alaïa’s eyelet-cotton shirts (around £1,000) or a leather coat (five times that)? Try a spritz of Alaïa’s essence at 1 per cent of the price (well, £62 for 50ml). His fragrance bottle comes topped with a cap to resemble a golden spool of thread, and stamped with a relief of the vaguely North African shapes that often make up his laces, and are punched through the iron doors of his Paris headquarters.

The Galleria Borghese in Rome has an exhibition of Azzedine Alaïa clothes cheek by jowl with classical sculpture (Ilvio Gallo)

Back to the riddle of the Sphinx-like Alaïa: why launch perfume, if you don’t want to be part of the big, bad fashion industry? He shakes his head violently. “Non, non, non. Perfume was always in fashion, by couturiers, always.” I think, immediately, of Parfums Rosine – the first designer perfume line launched in 1911 by the great couturier Paul Poiret, of whom Alaïa is both an admirer and a collector. “I have been working on it for a long time, several ideas have been proposed to make perfume. I didn’t think that the time was right. The smell – the first briefing I did, I said, ‘Comme de l’eau!'” Water? Alaïa grins wider. “I wanted something light and fresh. I’ve been trying for years and years.” So, I imagine, has the long-suffering “Nose” of BPI, Marie Salamagne, responsible for the final fragrance. It doesn’t smell like water – rather pink pepper, freesia and peony – although it is fresh. I know a few people who don’t like it. I know more who have bought it in bulk.

Coming as it does two years after the flush of publicity around a major retrospective at the Palais Galliera in Paris (the Rome affair is smaller, quieter, off the beaten track), I wonder why Alaïa decided to launch his perfume now. “It’s the right time,” he states, simply. “And also because of Richemont. They offer possibilities to develop it properly. Before, I was not as free. I couldn’t do anything. Today it’s easier, because I have the backing of a big corporation.” Alaïa is, genuinely, the first designer I have ever heard espouse, unprompted, the wonders of working with a conglomerate. Generally, there’s an uneasy silence when you ask that, unless it’s already been ironed out in a pre-vetting of the questions. (Alaïa didn’t ask for anything like that, despite the language barrier).

He continues, “I always feel free – I feel really free. When I don’t want something, I don’t make it. Even if there’s finance behind it, if I don’t feel it, I don’t do it. I always feel free, this is my strength. Truly, I don’t need much to live.”

That much is true. I’d been warned, beforehand, that he may be late, or not show up at all. The next day, he did just that at a dinner hosted in the French embassy, following a contretemps with a diplomat. Alaïa, in short, doesn’t do anything he doesn’t want to do. He’s reached an age – and, more importantly, a stage – where he can please himself. It isn’t indulgence, rather practicality.

Hence, don’t be hoodwinked into thinking anyone is making Alaïa do perfume, besides Alaïa himself. “I love perfume,” he declares, emphatically. “Having a perfume with my name – everyone who is wearing my perfume, it’s like I am sleeping with them all!”

Azzedine Alaïa grins, wider than ever before. “Just to let you know.”

Autumn’s most sought after accessories From fetching footwear to bijou baggage

Ditch the holdall and decant your belongings into a tiny minaudière. For winter, the most desirable handbags are hand-held numbers barely big enough to clutch an iPhone and credit card. Nicolas Ghesquière sets the pace – and defines the silhouette – with his dinky Petite Malle (pictured above), a Lilliputian Louis Vuitton trunk reimagined as a hand-held objet d’art made of interlaid leather and metal. It is as intricate and precious as a Fabergé egg – but, thank goodness, a touch more hardy.

Volatile stock-markets abound, but one thing never becomes worthless: gold. Perhaps that’s why, as traders tear their hair out, carats are still to be seen on the necks of the richest women in the world. Chanel placed them centre-stage at its winter haute couture show, while Fendi coated the fronds of a sable in the precious metal. Why? Because this stuff stands outside the fluctuating world of fashion. Gold never really gets old (see gallery below).

Decadence? Divine! So thinks Marc Jacobs, who launched his latest perfume in a bottle adorned with gold chain and faux-snakeskin, like a disco-primed evening bag. Packed with plum, saffron and iris, it’s an ode to excess. What else would you expect from a designer who recently upped his notoriety a few notches with a risqué instagram selfie. The caption on that photo could even be the strapline for this new fragrance: it’s yours to try.

Velvets and satins are the only suitable covering for after-dark shoes this winter. Miuccia Prada shod her ladies like debutantes in low-heeled silk satin slippers in a macaron box of colours, occasionally enlivened with Fauvist shades of chartreuse, cyclamen and an acidic limoncello. If you’re investing, treat them with kid gloves and wear at night, adding a bit of daring to plain black dresses.

London Fashion Week Hunter struggled but not JW Anderson his return to form saw soldier meet socialite

For the wrinkled, weary press not-so-fresh off the red eye from New York, the big draw of London Fashion Week is ideas. That’s what’s pulled in Donatella Versace too, who chose the city to show the latest collection from Versus – the sexy, teenaged sister of the grown-up Versace label, designed by young buck Anthony Vaccarello.

Fresh ideas aren’t the draw at Hunter, of course. It’s a jumped-up Wellington-boot brand manned by Stella McCartney’s husband that once had one half-good conceit – high-fashion galoshes. Granted, it has milked that cash cow for far more than its worth – to the tune of a 2014 turnover of more than £80m. That is what justified the presence of the press at the latest show, of much the same stuff, by Alasdhair Willis, spouse of said McCartney, who was also there. I mean familiar stuff both for Hunter and the spring/summer 2016 season as a whole, but the latter is far more interesting to talk about.

The leitmotif of Hunter’s show was the dangling strap, like loose guy ropes on a wayward two-man tent. They tried to introduce a new “icon” (their word, decidedly not mine) – a clog. They resembled those rubberised clogs that are an essential component of nurses uniforms – both aesthetically and by the fact that you could only imagine someone wearing them if they had to.

Anyway. The interesting things were those tangled ties, a design motif we’ve seen plenty of in New York, and will doubtless see far too much of in London. They make it look a bit like designers either haven’t quite finished, or just haven’t made up their minds what to do. Both are a major issue with fashion right now, highlighted by a season that, by and large, feels weak and undecided.

Neither is true of Jonathan Anderson, whose own-label collection felt like a return to form. Backstage, Anderson raked his hand through his hair and pontificated, asserting that his woman this season looked like a new kind of army, and that it was about “a woman’s odyssey”. It sounded like gumpf, but when you thought about it, you got it, with the waxed cottons and camouflage-ish patterns, and saddle-bags slung two-at-a-time over the torso to hang at the hip. There was an air of Lara Croft to all that, but it was Croft meeting Gloria von Thurn und Taxis – otherwise known as Princess TNT, the dynamite socialite of the Eighties, most often clad in puffed-out, over-the-top ball gowns. Her presence was felt in Anderson’s generous gigot sleeves, ballooning his models’ skinny shoulders to gargantuan proportions. There was a touch of Jean Paul Gaultier to the exposed brassieres and waist cinchers over clinging knit skirts and dresses, emphasising curves. So if Anderson was thinking of a feminine odyssey, it was about the rediscovery of the landscape of the female body, or perhaps its reengineering.

Those gowns reminded me of Tom Wolfe’s “social X-rays”, society women whose flounced and tucked and ruched surfaces compensated for the concupiscence missing from their bodies. There was a lustiness to this JW Anderson offering, a lust not only for the body, but for fashion itself. The American hyper-intellectual Fran Lebowitz grumbled over the show’s soundtrack – in snippets selected from Scorsese’s documentary on Lebovitz, Public Speaking – about Andy Warhol’s act of making fame famous, griping “that’s what happens when an inside joke gets into the water supply”. You’ve sometimes felt that about Anderson’s shows, with their sometimes alienating clothing (I half-though he said a woman’s “oddity” rather than “odyssey” backstage).

Two models in JW Anderson creations (Getty)

According to Anderson, it “changed his perspective” on his creativity. What it boiled down to, though, was something more concrete and less cerebral. Maybe he was thinking about Warhol’s cult of fame, and its impact on society and creativity, of fashion designers as superstars, and of bringing it back to the craft? Or maybe he was just thinking about Warhol silk-screening socialites in their Christian Lacroix dresses, and making a lot of money?

Fashion is all about making the everyday extraordinary London Fashion Week, Vivienne Westwood, and slithery slips

The elevation of the everyday is sort of what fashion is all about – we all wear clothes, everyday. Good fashion designers manage to convince us that we need theirs, rather than other people’s.

The elevation element is most important when it comes to ideas, rather than price – although those are generally elevated too, given the materials and the workmanship in the really good stuff. Brilliant fashion designers should be able to (re)design a T-shirt and make it exciting, and interesting, and inventive. Vivienne Westwood actually did that in the Seventies, deconstructing its already simplified form, turning it inside out to expose scruffy seams. She was looking for something new, in the familiar.

It’s not on the same level, but I can’t help but ally that with the work of designer Anya Hindmarch: politically Westwood’s diametric opposite (she has signed photographs of Margaret Thatcher in her office; Westwood once dragged up as Maggie on an “April Fool” cover of Tatler), but with designs that also questions that status quo. Hindmarchs’ work is rooted in luxury though, not changing culture like Westwood’s.

Her most successful handbags resemble a crumpled crisp packet or a box of Frosties cereal. For spring/summer 2016, she’s selling a common or garden scouring pad. Except, it’s made of mink. There’s something wonderfully perverse about that; perhaps even obscene.

Perhaps this whole idea – of elevating the everyday – is characteristically British. It would explain the fact it’s preying on my mind while we’re are knee-deep in the final flurry of London Fashion Week, before the action moves across to Milan and everything gets far more precious.

I can’t help but contrast Italian and French fashion with ours – there’s a long history of them razzing things up far more jazzily than we do, and a tradition of the British drawing on working clothes for even the most formal of garments. The tailcoat, for instance, was a result of revers being cut further and further apart to facilitate riding on a horse. It’s fashion born of function – although a mink scrubbing sponge is something different.

I wonder if that’s why I, personally, react so violently against clothes that seem crafted just for decoration, or to reduce women (and sometimes men) to the same. There’s been plenty of that this season, ruffles and florals and flounced skirts that grip and impede movement, slithery slips that threaten to expose the models’ undercarriage, or make it look like they’ve dressed in haste, and forgotten to put their top layer on. Stupid stuff. Stuff that gives fashion a bad name.

Maybe you’d lump that lump of fur in with that notion. But at least it makes you laugh. That’s another essential component of British fashion, after all.

Why London Fashion Week may redefine the contemporary fashion landscape From Mary Katrantzou

Is it facetious to say London Fashion Week has grown up, when it’s sliding into its fourth decade this year? I don’t think so, given that the shows have frequently been marked by a juvenile delinquency, by designers aesthetically sniggering and delivering clothes that seem not only unwearable (which sometimes isn’t an issue) but unbuyable (which always is).

Something switched for spring/summer 2016. When you have Anya Hindmarch, London’s queen of the visual gag, telling you four days before her show that she’s tired of the funny, punny stickers that have made her upwards of £12m in the past year, you know there’s a sea change afoot.

It’s nice to see designers taking themselves seriously – especially when that includes Hindmarch. She wanted the funny in her show this season to feel “odd” rather than laugh-out-loud, and while those stickers will still be there, they weren’t the main story for a collection of reappropriated high street slogans and logos (John Lewis’s graphic strips, the Nationwide and Mothercare logos) intricately worked with elaborate inlaid leather, on handbags made by the same factory as Chanel’s 2.55. They weren’t laughable, though they did make you smile. Hindmarch kicked it up a gear.

Mary Katrantzou

So did the rest of the best of London, for spring/summer 2016. Or maybe it’s just me that thinks that. The great thing about London is how it divides opinion, with shows being decried and hurrahed in equal measure. Maybe its because, by and large, designers showing here don’t have the Damoclean sword of advertising to wield to ensure favourable reviews. Perhaps that’s why debate swirled around shows such as JW Anderson’s, which would have been cheered if it came with a hefty ad spend, but was instead challenged: do women really want to look like this? Will anyone really wear this? I suspect they do, because it’s so definite in what it’s doing. Anderson fused Lara Stone’s Tomb Raider aggression with overblown Eighties gigot sleeves, short, tight skirts clenching their way up models’ thighs, and the occasional exposed brassière. Backstage, he dedicated the show to “a woman’s odyssey”, but really it was about oddity and, I like to think, about taste. Questioning what constitutes good and bad taste, and how to overturn those notions.

That’s the difference between a good designer, and a great one. Which was the issue with the much-feted Erdem Moralioglu. His show was an example of adroit dressmaking, not fashion. There was no attempt to challenge, or to experiment, just very many very pretty dresses, flaccid echoes of the work of Sarah Burton at Alexander McQueen, or the Valentino designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pierpaolo Piccioli. Erdem is often dubbed London’s Valentino, which sometimes feels like a sideswipe at how familiar his clothes can seem. At their best, they’re good, not great. And the same with the designers Roksanda and Emilia Wickstead, the latter showing her best, the former not so much.

Versus Versace

Burberry Prorsum isn’t really about good design – although Christopher Bailey can do that, and did this season. It’s about big-top showmanship. This season, he recruited Alison Moyet to belt out a few greatest hits, a welcome respite from the anodyne newcomers designers have enlisted to warble live with all the energy of piped-in music in a shopping centre lift. The richness of Moyet’s voice mimicked the richness of the collection, frogged in gold braid, Burberry trenches in technical silk, studded with faux regimental buttons. That fusion of pomp and practicality was dubbed, by Bailey, “Functionregalia.” All one word, as if typed out on Snapchat. Which was, incidentally, where Burberry actually premiered these clothes on Sunday, ahead of a show that became just that – the pomp of the presentation overwhelming the practicality of showing clothes. I guess we can all catch up on it all online afterwards, so why not ignore the clothes, enjoy the spectacle. And tweet it, please.

Credit where credit’s due, Moyet has one hell of a set of pipes.

Mary Katrantzou is a different matter altogether. She takes risks, and sometimes it doesn’t quite work out. She dubbed this season an exploration of exploration, doublespeak for a collection that mashed together Romany and Balkan styles as if, somehow, reflecting the turbulent socioeconomic climate of Europe circa right now. Katrantzou is Greek, but her clothes, unlike that country, were rich, and a safe investment. There was a niggling sense of an opportunity unfulfilled, though, because Katrantzou’s exploration seemed to occur entirely after night fell. Where was the day? Maybe she didn’t feel it was interesting to explore? Regardless, this collection was astute, assured.

Christopher Kane (Rex)

Christopher Kane’s was, perhaps, also thinking of bigger things. His collection was, he said, about “crash and repair”. With Chinese markets hurtling downwards, I wondered if his crash metaphor was financial, and how that may impact his still-young business even with the Kering conglomerate’s considerable backing. The repair is the more interesting element, here represented by fractured, patched-together dresses, windowed with PVC and swatched in neon laces. “Damaged goods” was an interesting phrase, applied to frayed knits, darned and embroidered with scribbled motifs, to fringes swaying like unravelling fabric at the hem of dresses or randomly spray-painted dresses. Kane’s work offered a striking alternative to the polished perfection that so preoccupied other designers. Maybe it was that genius rediscovery of the innocence of childhood. It wasn’t the conglomerate manipulating these clothes, but Kane’s hand. It was strong.

Versus Versace, by contrast, was all about perfection, and there wasn’t much to think about there. It’s short, sexy, brazen, skinny and permanently, preternaturally young. Its designer is young, too, a barely 30-year-old Belgian-Italian by the name of Anthony Vaccarello, whose gambit consists of suctioned-in cocktail dresses clanging with metal whatsits, very much in the very Versace mould of Gianni and Donatella’s finest. This Versus show – the first staged in London – whizzed by in a blur of energy, binliner-shine patent leather, bouncing blonde Donatella hair and exposed skin. I sat opposite the original Ms Versace, who had the odd experience of watching a show executed under her own name (well, part of it). “You like?” she mouthed at me across the catwalk. I did.

From Sam Cam to Benedict Cumberbatch London Fashion Week’s FROW

London Fashion Week doesn’t have quite the same star pulling power as other fashion capitals (namely New York and Paris) but when it came to a front row this season, there were one or two big name attendees.

Of course no fashion show would be complete without its it-girls and reality TV stars, but every now and then London’s flash bulbs go off for someone a little more (ahem) exciting.

Burberry is always the big attraction of the week and is famous for it’s jam-packed front row. This season it was a model contingent that dominated with Kate Moss, Cara Delevingne, Jourdan Dunn and Suki Waterhouse sitting ringside for once.

Sienna Miller, a longtime Burberry fan also made an appearance at the show. Benedict Cumberbatch fans were rewarded with an appearance of the Sherlock heart-throb who sat front row with wife Sophie Hunter.

Giles didn’t just boast a killer catwalk line-up, off the runway former model Jerry Hall took pride of place to watch daughter’s Georgia May and Lizzie Jagger do a turn on the catwalk.

Donatella Versace knows how to draw a crowd, for the presentation of the Versus collection which took place on Saturday night singer FKA Twigs was in attendance alongwith supermodel Irina Shayk.

Joanne Froggatt talks Downton style and celebrating women in film

With Downton Abbey returning to our screens last Sunday, there’s been much discussion around the sixth and final series. To celebrate its release, we chat with one of the show’s stars Joanne Froggatt (best known as Anna) about the decades that empowered women in the film industry.

In a photoshoot commissioned by American Express ahead of the BFI Film Festival in October, the 35-year-old Golden Globe-winning British actress pays homage to the twenties and sixties, as the two decades that saw leading ladies take the spotlight on the big screen.

Froggatt interprets two key looks styled by William Banks-Blaney, founder of WilliamVintage. “It was quite fun to be in the traditional, original vintage clothing and it also felt more of a character…trying to capture that feeling of the 1920s and 1960s, and what was happening at the time, what was happening to women,” she told The Independent.

For the twenties look she wears “a very traditional original black beaded drop waist dress”, which she claims “is a hard shape to wear, you had to have a certain height to be able to pull it off. I think because I’m petite drop waist don’t always do me justice, so I prefer the sixties look.”

The sixties look features an original bright canary yellow A-line coat – it has high neck, quite big buttons and big pockets. “That’s most like my character in terms of what I would wear,” she said while explaining why she felt more connected to that era. “Probably because it’s closer to where we are now. I like that sort of fun vibe.”

However, Froggatt believes the twenties was the stronger decade for female roles. “It’s sort of a time when women film stars started making a career that was well respected in acting, they made it a world-respected profession,” she said. “Then moving into the sixties it was a new era of female protagonist roles. So I think both those eras play huge part on where we are now.

“We’re in a great place really. Now women are leading movies, and not just leading but realising that there’s such a huge audience for films with female protagonists. And that doesn’t mean that I dislike a film with a male protagonist, but there’s a place for both things.”

In these images, Froggatt looks worlds apart from her Downton Abbey character Anna, whose trademark dowdiness will not change in Season 6. “I’m afraid Anna is still in the black dress; her evening dress and day dress,” she said.

“Anna doesn’t have the most adventurous wardrobe.”

But although wearing stunning period gowns can be exciting, the award-winning actress explained how it eased up her costume and fitting. “For a long job, sort of six months, it was definitely a happy costume.

“They were not original,” she added.  “They’re based in the original design, but they were made new and they made the material more substantial,  so if I wanted to have a little power nap at lunch time, I could do it without worrying about ruining lace on the dress.”

But with the final series of the Sunday night period drama coming to a close, Froggatt moves away from Anna in her next role, radically changing her wardrobe in ITV’s brand new series Dark Angel, in which she plays a real life British serial killer from the Victorian era called Mary Ann Cotton.

“In this I have a lot of costume changes. I feel like every season is quite another change. This is fun as well, but this is only sort of an eight-week job.”

Giving a sneak peek of what we’re about to see of her, she said: “I quite like the Victorian series really, I think it’s very flattering to all shapes and sizes really.

Giles hosts a superstar model line up at London Fashion Week show

You can always count on designer Giles Deacon to stage a spectacle. His London Fashion Week show is a highlight on the schedule and last night’s spring/summer offering did not disappoint.

The designer is well known for impressive casting and this season Deacon outdid himself with undoubtedly the most impressive model line-up of the season so far.

The show, held in the heart of London’s Westminster saw a parade of superstar models take to the catwalk ending with Karen Elson in a spectacular laser-cut gothic gown.

Erin O’Connor preceded her, in a similarly intricate design. Sibling model duos were hand in the form of Georgia May and Lizzie Jagger and Dree Hemmingway and Langley Fox.

Eva Herzigova took a turn on the catwalk, as did Anna Cleveland – daughter of legendary model Pat Cleveland.

Victoria’s Secret models were on hand including Irina Shayk, Stella Maxwell, Lily Donaldson and Bella Hadid.

Andreja Pejic, a regular on the runway for Giles also made her spring/summer 2016 debut, only her second catwalk appearance since making her post-gender reassignment debut back in February.

Pirelli Calendar revamp gets rid of models and will celebrate the world’s coolest women

The Pirelli Calendar or The Cal, as it is more commonly referred to is famous for its racy images of the world’s most famous supermodels shot by legendary fashion photographers.

The 2016 version however, is set to look a little different and in a teaser video shared by Pirelli yesterday, the tyre company described it as a ‘radical and inspirational departure from previous years.’

Shot by Annie Leibowitz, next years calendar will be a celebration of the world’s coolest women, moving away from it’s sexy reputation.

Already confirmed to be starring is tennis champion Serena Williams who confirmed she’d been shot for the project on twitter last week.

Other participants include singer Patti Smith, writer Tavi Gevinson and Yoko Ono.

The new direction is welcome news with critics slamming the yearly calendar as an outdated notion and anti-feminist in its portrayal of women.

Last years version was one of the raciest to date, shot by Steven Meisel with a fetish theme. It starred a role call of supermodels including the likes of Gigi Hadid, Candice Huffine, Isabeli Fontana, Adriana Lima.

The full calendar is set to be released next month.

Cara Delevingne hits out at paparazzi for making her feel like a zoo animal

Cara Delevingne may have made her name by being photographed, but the model turned actress is not overly happy with the attention.

Delevingne, who has been in town for London Fashion Week where she attended the Burberry Prorsum show on Monday, launched an attack on paparazzi on her Twitter account last night.

“The paparazzi only get worse! I am not complaining but I just find it sad that I can’t live in my own city because for that reason.”

“If only I could make you feel the way you make me feel, I just hope that outside of this, you are able to feel empathy for others.” Delevingne argued.

“I refuse to let these grown men treat people like objects with no feelings and get away with it, I will never be silent.” she continued.

Delevingne who was due to make an appearance in Milan this morning alongside fellow model Kate Moss to promote their roles as the face of high street retailer Mango, also took aim at the Italian press:

“Also to the guys in Milan! I only cover my face when you are rude to me, please do not make me feel like a zoo animal.”

Gucci spring or summer

This summer, I went to Gucci’s museum in Florence, a great big glob of historical reenactment snuggled up against the Palazzo Vecchio. That Palazzo is a Romanesque fortress, a monument of Florentine victories past; Gucci’s museum is also a palazzo, and is also about memories of past glories – the place is filled with the stuff.

The thing I was struck by, there, was the Gucci I didn’t know – the stuff before the strumpets of Tom Ford, in their glossed lips and Halston-y jersey, redefined the brand’s identity in the nineties. It was an identity Gucci embraced, wholeheartedly, through two successive creative directors after Ford’s departure – briefly Alessandra Facchinetti, and a drawn-out spell under Frida Giannini. Honestly, they probably embraced it for a bit too long. Change is good.

That’s the whole point, I suspect, of both Alessandro Michele’s appointment and his aesthetic direction. To reignite interest in Gucci, and introduce something different. At the moment, different is not what most people would describe Michele’s wares as – they’re different to the Gucci we know and used to love, sure. But they haven’t really shifted greatly, from one collection to the next, although within the collections themselves Michele’s ideas buffet about, ricocheting from frumpy mid-calf skirts and granny suits through to underwear-exposing sheer dresses and, this time, platform heels. They were a big deal – it’s the first time Michele’s shown them. Although his Gucci tenure is only three seasons old, if we count pre-collection. Because it now counts for so much.

That Cruise show sowed the seeds of Gucci’s spring/summer 2016 offering: you headed backstage after to see the intricately-crafted details of buttons, beads and brocades, like heirlooms unearthed in some Milanese grand dame’s attics and dusted off, miraculously free of moth holes. As is Gucci’s way, under Michele, a proselytising manifesto unravelled the mysteries of the collection – or rather, expounded on them, whipping the whole thing up into a thick schlag of philosophy and historicism. One bit leapt out, the idea of “maps of tenderness,” a sixteenth-century map of desire. It’s original version came printed on a dress, but I kind of think the Gucci collection embodied its contemporary fashion counterpart.

Let me explain: the Gucci collection was about desire, just as they were under Ford and Frida. Only the desire Michele hopes to incite isn’t carnal, but commercial. He’s talked, multiple times, about his love of the woman on the street – his New York pre-spring show had models walking in off a New York avenue, as if clad in their everyday attire. Of course, they weren’t. Few people dress exactly like this. Nevertheless, the mixed bag of Michele’s Gucci – sort of playful, this time sort of sexy, sort of always all over the place – will find a place in many women’s wardrobes. It’s about widening the label’s remit.

Michele anchored it with looks riffing on the signature Gucci green-and-red webbing straps – spanning the waistband of a green lace dress to open, banded into a full-length skirt to close. Inbetween was open season, of diaphanous chiffon and brocade dresses, gratified suits with boxy retro-style handbags, seventies suits in brilliant brocades, plenty of embroidery. Elsa Schiaparelli was the obvious antecedent here, directly quoted in embroideries of eyes and mouths and scrambling bugs (Schiap did those as a necklace back in the thirties).I suspect Michele was forcing the fact that Schiap’s surreal inflected fashion was always seen as eccentrico, just like his. And, hence, that there is more than one vision of Italian fashion, and should be of Gucci too.

There is also more strings to Michele’s bow, although he’s still playing some kind of bohemian troubadour tune. There was an unexpected touch of sexiness to sheer dresses, and those platforms. Their heft occasionally read “Hooker” – Saint Laurent have a similar style called the “Tribute” which has been a best-seller for almost a decade. Coincidence? The shoes actually told a lot of the story, with heels inset with pearls or carved with orientalist motifs, the backs tromped down into mules, a style we’ve seen everywhere for spring and which originated (at least, in this recently popularised incarnation) with Michele.

Plenty of people won’t like the whole thing, as a total look. No bother. I suspect plenty more will like them as individual pieces, beautifully realised, visually interesting, and oddly covetable. Michele’s Gucci marks a sea-change. It’s mapping out desire – and new notion of desire – in fashion today. As with many trips, not everyone will want to go all the way, but you can get why some people will want to visit it.