Sunday, 26 February 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Sunday to you all!
Thus far this week I have been confined to the realms of my bed having been struck down by the dreaded Winter flu! Many a fresh orange and long sleeps later the Sunday Sunshine popped its head out just in time for a much-welcomed day out with my wonderful family, beau and modelina friend Rachel.
A quick look post as I am now headed off to watch the Oscars Red Carpet Live!!
Top: H&M, Cardigan: Cash CA England (via The Hambledon, Winchester), Belt: Mulberry, Bag: Miss Selfridge, Dress: American Vintage also seen here, Ballet Pumps: Russell&Bromley, Sunglasses: M&S
B-E-A-UTIFUL London today!!
Happy Sunday Evening all!
Posted by Monica Beatrice at Sunday, February 26, 2012
Sunday, 19 February 2012
LFW Day 1! BBC Radio1Xtra, Headonism, Estethica, Georgia Hardinge aaaand Bumping In To Bip Ling! Double PHEW! x
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A Very Happy Saturday evening to you all,
I do hope that you've all been having a marvellous beginning to your weekends,
As it is the London Fash Pack world is amped up to the max as London Fashion Week is upon us! Wahoo! February's Fashion Week, which showcases next years' Autumn/Winter trends is organised in a mere 4 months (compared to September's which is done in a leisurely 8!) hence forth many a fashionista has worked/is working her shellac'd nails to the bone in preparation! As per usual, London has pulled it off with aplomb!
Scarf: Vintage @ Beyond Retro, Silk Top: Monsoon, Ombre Jeans: River Island, Tote Bag: H&M, Shoes: Zara, Jewellery: Menorca Finds, Anthropologie and soon-to-be launched The Editor's Letter, Watch: Burberry, Coat (Below) John Lewis Collection
Somerset House is peppered with a furore of the eccentric and fabulous as flashbulbs pop at every fantastically-turned-out fashionista’s feet with bloggers and photographers documenting the Fash Pack World’s every move.
The electricity surrounding Fashion Week begins days before the event even kicks off, and whether you have a direct interest in the goings-on or not, you cannot deny the level of skill and creativity exhibited by the array of designers on show.
HEADONISM at SOMERSET HOUSE
The art of millinery (or hat-making put simply!) was given its own dedicated space in the Somerset House galleries this season for the aptly titled ‘Headonism’ exhibition curated by the Legendary Stephen Jones, with Milliners including Charlie le Mindu, J Smith Esquire, Noel Stewart, Piers Atkinson and William Chambers.
Whilst there were many incredible designs on display this little red bow number by Piers Atkinson really caught my eye...!!!
Dubbed Atkinson's "Mammalian Millinery Season" his whole collection was a veritable feast of fantastical textures - think fur, feather, pony skin and sumptuous velvet with lion, tiger and bear references. The ribbons and buckles are "Gifts waiting to be unwrapped...puckered kisses tied up in knot" A hopeless romantic I may be, but I don't think I was the only one falling head over heels for Atkinson's designs!
Also on display were these phenomenal designs by Noel Stewart and a stunning model draped entirely in a lilac plait! Only at Fashion Week!
ESTETHICA at SOMERSET HOUSE
Next stop I moved on to the Esthetica Rooms which are dedicated to designers and brands who create and trade ethically. There are so many fantastic brands coming through now who, in the words of the BFC are "chosen for their design excellence and commitment to working in a sustainable way are exhibiting this season and all adhere to at least one of the key Estethica principles of :- fair trade and ethical practice in the production process; the inclusion of organic fibres; the use of upcycled and recycled materials and fabrics."
By far my favourite brand was millinery-centric (I can’t get away from the hats!) Pachacuti, whose oh-so-chic yet playful fedoras were longingly fawned over by many a LFWista. Recognised largely for their collection of Panama hats, the back-story of Pachacuti makes for seriously great reading, one of, if not the, first British Fair Trade Company, Pachacuti’s founder Carry Somers persevered through ferociously challenging conditions to develop what is now an internationally best-selling brand, with companies including Paul Smith, Gieves & Hawkes and Brora having employed their hat-making mastery.
Click here to read the full back story - believe me it is pretty darn incredible!
Given my penchant for yellow, and wide-brimmed hats, this canary (both in colour and adornment! Natch!) number below was an absolute dream!
An array of Pachacuti's fine hats! Lust lust lust!!!
BBC RADIO 1XTRA
Having trawled the Headonism and Estethica spaces in the morn I had to swiftly hop-foot it up to the BBC Radio1Xtra Studios to meet the lovely Gemma Cairney to talk Fashion Week and Sartorial Yes's & No's! I was joined by two fellow Fash Pack students Max Hailwood and Nick Smith who accompanied me in discussing what is going up and what is going doooown! Follow the link below to listen back to the whole show!
Listen here to yours truly, on BBC Radio1Xtra - Skip forward to 1hr24mins!!
Nerve wracking as it can be on live radio I absolutely L-O-V-E-D it!! Thank you so much to Gemma for being such a gracious host, to Mel at LCF for supporting us students and my fellow guests!! I may have bonded with Gemma over our joint love of Olivia Palermo but it was my ombre jeans which got the Twitter mention!!
Gemma's 'Weekend Jeans' Tweet!
L-R Nick Smith, Me, Max Hailwood
As an added bonus I was lucky enough to bump in to uber-blogger Bip Ling as she exited the Radio1Xtra studio ahead of our arrival! Ling will be Radio1Xtra's official LFW reporter so have a listen come Monday for the full low-down!
L-R Me and Bip Ling
AND BACK TO THE SHOWS...!!
Post Radio natter it was a quick coffee with my great friend Bo and back to Somerset House to peruse some of the fab new designers on show! Read on...
MB'S LFW PICKS
Central St Martin's MA Fashion Grad Work
I loved how totally fresh this shaggy neon-dabbed jacket looked and the crispness of the sunset-hued pencil skirt next to it. I didn't get the names of the specific designers so if you recognise them drop me a line and I will credit accordingly : )! We really do have some amazing up and coming talent in the UK!
Sophie Hulme Tote and Mini Satchel
BFC/ELLE Talent Launch Pad
BFC/ELLE Talent Launch Pad
Catzeflis's divine shirting and dress collection was completely covetable. No detail was left unanswered and a colour palette of creams and ocean blues felt fresh. The attention to fabrics with 'hand pulled' silks was like feeling art in a clothing buyers fingertips. Sure to go 'boom!' on the fashion scene!
I am a complete sucker for detail, therefore having already been lured in by my magpie-esque fixation with neon highlights, when Jone's kind sales assistant drew my attention to the contrast buttons and incredible linings on all coats I was completely sold! Oversized shapes provide a fantastic counterbalance to luxurious metallic-shot fabrics and gorgeous abstract prints. Available for all ages, shapes and sizes - not an easy feat to have conquered!
Hermione de Paula
Stocked already in London luxe-shopping mecca Liberties, Hermione's collection was quite obviously outstanding. Each print was hand designed and featured an array of 'tricks' for the eye as curving carp fish were made to look like blooms and swans craned their necks in a manner which mirrored the stems of flowers. Hermione's pieces just get better the more you stare. Wearable art work indeed!
AND THEN THERE WAS A SHOW!!!
Turns out that LFW is a serious physical feat! Just as well Somerset house has some super-yum cafes to recharge the batteries!
In the evening of the 17th I was lucky enough to have an inside peep in to one of Britain's hottest new design talents, Georgia Hardinge, and her clean futuristic designs. Having lined up with a whole hoard of LFWistas it was clear that Hardinge was a hot ticket to have and my did she not disappoint. Nurtured under the BFC umbrella of Vauxhall Fashion Scout, Hardinge's collection was completely succinct. Model after model marched down the runway in perfectly sharp tailoring in either mustard, cobalt blue or a rich berry hue, interspersed with Hardringe's slightly out-of-focus print designs. The model's hair and makeup was kept accordingly pared back with fresh skin and tight sleek ponytails - definitely a look to try at home!
And so LFW Day 1 came to a close, my Zara heels served me well, and the prospect of a late dinner date with one of my best girls was definitely a welcome antidote to the buzzzz of Fashion Week!!
Day 1 down, I am SO looking forward to tomorrow - day 3 - when I will be attending the HEMYCA presentation and Kristian Aadnevik show!
Have a super evening all (or rather very early morning as I write this!)
Wednesday, 15 February 2012
Monday, 13 February 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Monday to you all!
Wowza what a busy week this one is turning out to be! My lifesaver of a diary - Moleskin and purchased only last week! - is completely choca bloc with goings on and happenings! Of these happening I am particularly looking forward to my impending interview with legendary designer Zandra Rhodes and uber-cool LA superstar Kat Von D later this afternoon at Pure London.
This afternoon popped to one side, I was fortunate enough last week to be invited along to the Spring/Summer preview of gorgeous London-based/Aussie-beach-babe-centric brand Melabelle, at their fab pop-up shop at 201 Portobello Rd, and have a thorough tet-a-tet with the brands oh-so-lovely owner Bella Cager.
Read on for all the MB/Melabelle happenings...!
Cape: HEMYCA (Borrowed - thank you!), Amber Top: H&M, Black Jeans: Topshop, Over-the-knee boots: Zara, Headband: Vintage, Jewellery: Anthropologie and Menorca Mixes
Me and Bella
by Bella Cager
MB: Why Portobello?
BC: Our studio is down in Chelsea, but I actually live quite close to here (Portobello) I had had observed a couple of like-minded brands and friends who had tried pop ups themselves, and it seemed like a really great way to test the water, the long term goal would be to have a lovely boutique, and so it is a really great way of getting out there, and seeing how you go.
MB: This Space and the way you’ve designed it already looks like a little Melabelle store, what was your thought process behind the the interiors?
BC: Well I’ve always been in to interiors I come from a textiles background myself and I really love colour ways. We do all our own prints and dye our fabrics up to match. I’d say that there are quite a lot of textures in here (the pop up), lots of tonal colours.
MB: It’s very beachy...
BC: Yes! Well I’m from Brighton, if you grow up by the sea you never quite froget it, I love beaches and I love Summer, definitely more of a Summer girl than Winter, having had a really mild Winter we were hoping for quite a spring like feel...
(We both look outside to the snow-flecked pavement!)
MB: Where abouts did you study and what is your background?
BC: I did my foundation degree in Brighton and then I did my main degree at Bristol Art School, weirdly I wouldn't say I was one of those people that was dead set on what they wanted to do, so actually when I left University I went in to PR and worked in house for Ozwald Boateng for three years, and then I worked for various interior companies doing PR for them aswell, textiles and fabrics were always really close to me, I dont know if it was always intentional but I think I just always wanted to be close to these things and industries. I found it very easy to PR things I loved. Slowly I ended up doing an evening course at the London College of Fashion on Dean St, and that helped me focus, ten weeks, every week for 3 hours, we had an amazing man teaching us who was the MD of Belle and Bunty. Finally after that I quit the day job, went in to research, went in to production and sampling and then 2 boutiques in Sydney bought my first season because I was living in Sydney then, then moved back to london and sold in to three or four boutiques just selling myself without even doing Pure. It gave me the incentive and confidence to go "right im going to carry on and I am going to make this work”
MB: What did it feel like to finally launch your own brand and label?
BC: You can't talk about starting business at this time and not mention the state of the economy, from that point of view any success you have feels even more rewarded because you really do feel that if people hop up and down to buy something, come back a couple of times and decided to buy it, they’ve really considered it, they really really want it and so I think that gives me again, some sort of confidence in the hope that when we are not so much in this sort of situation, when things improve a little, we will be in really
good stead, its been a really exciting time and it has actually been a time when I can keep some of my overheads a little smaller as every one is making an effort to be that much more competitive, so you know there is that rumor that starting a business in a recession can be the best time. It just takes two or three people who youve never met before to get enthusiastic, to send you a message saying ‘I LOVE your prints and I want to buy the whole collection’ to really give you that boost, and then we do something like this, it is our first ever pop-up, you saw it first, and I’ve already booked to do the end of April and beginning of May again.
MB: Can you select your top 3 Melabelle S/S looks for The Elgin Avenue readers?
BC: Of course!
Bella Cager's Melabelle Picks
Butterfly Striped T: £45
Emerald Tier Dress: £115
Parker Jacket in Linen: £170, Ticking Stripe Tote: £98
MB: Where is the main base of your clientele?
BC: We have 13 boutiques that stock us now, London and the periphary of the M25 is our main base, so we are talking Suffolk, coming right the way down to Sussex, Surrey, Bath...Shrewsbury but predominantly it is that circuit, we're also on the Kings’ Rd in London.
MB: Can you talk us through your prints and the designs - you do them all yourself!
BC: Yes that’s right, I complete the original design, then it gets put on to a screen, or screens depending on how many colour ways, you dye up your entire collection to match, so I might want teal or navy or berry, whatever I want, I dye it all up to match and then the prints feed in to the collection like that. You have signature colour ways all the way through.
MB: Do you outsource your printing or do you have your own studio?
BC: We manufacture in Indonesia, and that is actually because I was previously living in Sydney, and that’s why my initial production was out there - it was only a 7 hour flight, and also frankly I love it there! I have some great friendships and relationships and you get the opportunity to do small runs, which when you start out is an amazing opportunity because you are competing with people who can do very large production, massive, large brands who do...well I dread to think the quantity! There was the opportunity for me to produce slightly smaller collections, which for a small business starting out is absolutely imperative - you have to keep your costs down but at the same time you want to supply your retailers with their requests, so you may have one client who falls in love with one colour but you have a slightly small run of it, of course you don't want to let them down so I can call my manufacturers, its been great that I’ve been able to have the flexibility that I’ve needed; I am keen to continue with that. Indonesia and Bali in particular have an amazing history of textiles and batik (a special dyeing technique) and so I’ve really loved working with them.
MB: How would you style up your Melabelle pieces and who would be your ideal Melabelle girl?
BC: Funnily enough we had Denise Van Outen wear one of our dresses in Hello and she looked absolutely beautiful! I would say that I look to people like Rachel Weiz and Fearne Cotton, real Brit girls. Fearne sort of does this thing, even if something is a bit girly or a bit cutesy she would dress it and make it look a bit cooler, that is what style is about, it is totally personal and individual and that is what I love seeing people doing, when they walk out with something that they love...what appeals to them and how they style it... it is totally unique!
MB: Where does the name Melabelle come from?
BC: I was actually Christened Anabelle and then when I was maybe 10 it just started, you know when your friends just start calling you a nickname and it sticks? They started calling me Bella, and basically when we were kids, my sister Melanie and I, they would tell us to stop being naughty and call us as one ‘Melabelle’! "Melabelle stop doing that!"
MB: They merged you in to one like Brangelina!
The Melabelle Pop-Up Store will be open to the public, at 201 Portobello Road, until Sunday the 19th of Feb!
Check out the whole Melabelle Collection here
For a full list of stockists email firstname.lastname@example.org
MB's Melabelle Picks
Melanie Dress in Candy Stripe (Limited Addition) £30
I so fell in love with this gorgeous striped dress! Ideal for balmy summer days. Black tights, ankle boots a tailored blazer and a seriously chunky scarf make is appropriate for now too! Thank you so so much to Bella who obviously saw the lust in my eyes and gifted me this gorgeous piece! No doubt you will be seeing me in it a lot more ; )!
Tux Top in Flamingo Print: £90, Silk Flamingo Wrap Scarf: £100, White Bed Shorts: £30, Fringed Sandals: £40
These cutesy little white shorts are actually designed for beautiful bed-time apparel, however so taken was I with their feather-light cotton and gently scalloped edges I couldn't help but shun the icy weather outside and incorporate them in to this super Summery ensemble. A huge devotee of oversized scarves I was overjoyed to wrap this amazing silk flamingo-print number over its matching tux top counterpart! Now just drop me off somewhere seriously toasty...!
Leila Dress in Cornflower Blue (Sample): £180, Gold Brogues: £30, Butterscotch Suede Bomber: £300
This cornflower blue dress caught my eye the minute my gorgeous pal Charlotte and I walked into Melabelle's pop-up store, a rare shade of blue (I have tried searching for it so many times in Summer's gone by) I was absolutely overjoyed to give it a whirl! Amazing for beachy sun-soaked hols, but equally appropriate for City strolling style up with Melabelle's amazing butterscotch suede bomber, flats and of course my Christys' trilby!
A truly fantastic initiative, Melabelle has fashioned a fabulously beach-chic pop-up right in the heart of our dear London. If Wednesday night's antics were anything to go by, I am sure that a permanent stand-alone is not too far off in the future!
Thank you so much to Bella and her wonderful team for such a fab event, the girls at Jam PR and my gorgeous date for the night Charlotte.
Bella and her gorgeous team!
Me and Charlotte - I am L-O-V-Ing C's hair! Note to self - must try!
Having been perched at home since the wee hours, I must now get some serious skates on and haul myself to Pure!
Have a fantastic Monday all!
Monday, 6 February 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Monday evening to you all,
I hope that you have all had a lovely beginning to your working weeks!
I L-O-V-E London at the best of times, however lend me a little snow fall and I pretty much want to marry the darn place!
Despite trains, planes and automobiles not getting along all too well with frostier climes I for one think everything looks rather pretty with a sprinkling of snow!
Naturally wrapping up warm is a necessity so with steaming hot coffee cup in hand, the beau and I set off for a leisurely lunch with friends and family for which I revelled in the opportunity to dress like a true snow bunny!
Coat: Vintage - Beyond Retro, Cashmere Scarf: On Loan From The Baby Sis!, Hat: Kilburn Market, Jeans: Topshop, Chelsea Boots: ASOS
Transport systems now functioning A-OK I had to share this piccy of the soldiers, um well soldiering on (sorry!) yesterday in the freezing snow! The amazing contrast between their pristine uniforms and the iced branches made me smile.
Soldiers Marching Through The Mall, London source: BBC News
Have a super evening all,
Friday, 3 February 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A Very Happy Friday evening to you all,
My my what a nippy time we are having! Are you all feeling the freeze?!
The beginning of this week was absolutely phenomenal - winning The Marie Claire Best Fashion Blogger Award was more than I ever could have hoped for and since then my e-mails have gone through the roof!! With this in mind please forgive me for not having put up my own down low on the events just yet - it is in the works!
For now I thought I'd share my look of the day with you - the cold snap has had me layering like nobodies business and clutching to my collection of hats in a bid to stay snug!
Turban: Topshop, Coat, Waistcoat, Necklace, Belt: Vintage, Bag: Miss Selfridge, Ring: Soon to be launched The Editor's Letter
This fab knitted Turban was one of my favourite pressies last year - so sweetly given to me by my gorgeous flat mate Erica of L-BD. Layering can look a tad bulky so I always find that a harmonious colour palette helps - this turquoise coat was also featured in my Sunday Time Style pic which you can see here - it has seen me through many a great occasion!
Have a super Friday evening all - I hope you begin your weekends in true style!