Friday, 31 August 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Friday to you all!
I have spent much of this afternoon compiling a special London Fashion Week Lust List of goodies, from all of my favourite designers showing in a mere two weeks!
Yes. Two weeks.
(For more info on LFW see here)
Despite my best efforts I have not quite finished the Lust List to MB standards, and will have to share with you tomorrow - I cannot wait!
In the mean time I thought best to share with you my shock (really, I do not exaggerate.) sartorial revelation of the day...
Yours truly in monochrome.
Whether it was the fact that I was three-times awoken this morning when not wishing to be, "Nooo Mrs. 'X' lives down stairs. Nooo I did not request an engineer. No no no I am not Mrs. 'X' and my fridge is fine."
or perhaps because it really felt rather chilly today, something in me just clicked and the monochrome-chromosone just proved over-ridingly powerful.
You know what, as much as it felt a little kooky,
I kinda liked it!
Silk Printed Trousers: Topshop Unique (comfiest. things. ever.), High-Heeled Trainers: c/o Daniel Footwear (ditto.) and also seen here, Grey Faux-Fur Trimmed Shawl, c/o Next, Tuxedo Blazer: Zara, Snakeskin Clutch and i-phone Case: c/o Capulet London, Breton T-Shirt: Vero Moda, similar here, Sunglasses: H&M, Long Necklace: c/o Satya @ Caratime.com, bracelets: Bought in Menorca, Nail Polish: Topshop
Righto must dash,
Have a super evening all and beginning to your weekends!
Love, as always,
Thursday, 30 August 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Thursday (almost Friday!) to you all!
As I write I can just about see the first Autumn leaves curling on the pavement and I can hardly believe that the next season is just around the corner!
Living in London there is no such thing as waving goodbye to the Summer
(or, er, waving hello!)
however popping to one side my Summer wardrobe is both a happy and reluctant occasion.
(The same torn feelings often hit after Christmas party-dress season!)
This said, I was delighted this week to spend some time with my baby sister (all 19 years of baby that is!) and oggle at just how darn gorgeous she looked in her peplum-waisted Topshop dress, with a perfectly trans-seasonal floral print!
Peplum Dress: Topshop, Tan Shoes: New Look, Necklace: Accessorize
Admittedly, given that we have been experiencing a rather nice bout of weather
(read: notching above 17°C!)
Marietta was still able to showcase her pins sens tights, however, given the black background of her floral print, black opaque tights and a buttery leather jacket would look just as fab.
A truly sound investment!
This dress was actually a pre-college gift for my baby sis that I picked up in the TopShop sale, and unfortunately I do not think that it is available online any more, howeverrr this little River Island number at ASOS is also a total peplum treat!
Thank you baby sis for inspiring a little Sartorial urge!
So what about you guys? What are you looking forward to for the next season?
Is any one sharing my love of late-Summer ankle boots?!
Let me know - I wanna chat seasons!
Have a super evening all!
Friday, 24 August 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Friday to you all!
Here's a little snapshot of the look I wore to the amazing Friends gig at the Diesel Covent Garden store on Wednesday.
I only have a single shot as my dear Dad took the pic en route back from a little father/daughter lunch we managed to sneak in before the event.
Thanks Paps x!
Jacket: Zara, Dress & Bag: Vintage, Boots: c/o Diesel, Watch: Swatch, Hooped Earrings: Claire's Accessories, Bangles: Bought in Menorca
The gig was such great fun, Friends were ahhmazing and lead singer Samantha Urbani and I got chatting about buns and braids.
My favourite kind of natter!
Later on in the evening my girlfriends and I decided to party like it was 2005 and ended up dancing the night away at Mahiki, where not only did we spot the gorgeous Rita Ora but Rizzle Kicks too!
Talk about a celeb fest!
Celebs aside, one of the most wonderful things from Wednesday evening was seeing all the Tweets from the winners of my ElginAvenue ticket giveaway where six of you lovely readers, and plus ones, were able to come along to the gig too!
I hope you all had a wonderful time!
Thank you to Diesel for hosting another fantastic event, and to Friends for putting on such a darn good show!
Have a super Friday all and brilliant beginning to your looong weekends!
Wednesday, 22 August 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Wednesday to you all!
Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure of working with the very talented (and very beautiful) photographer Lea Salomone,
on a couple of new pics for TheElginAvenue.
There are many many more pictures to come
(and taken on an actual pro camera!)
but something about the feathery ruffleness and evening sunshine of these quick iphone snaps made me want to share with you.
All images by Lea Salomone
Dress: Zara (Old)
Shoes: c/o Dune,
Feathered Clutch: By Marlene Birger (gift from the beau)
Jewellery: Bought in Menorca
I can't wait to see what Lea has lined up with the rest of the images, for now I hope these will provide a suitably tasty taster!
Have a super afternoon all!
Love, MB x
P.S. Tonight is the Diesel Covent Garden gig with uber indie band Friends!
Congratulations to all of the winners from my ticket giveaway - see you all there!
Tuesday, 21 August 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Tuesday to you all!
Tuesday, once the day known only to me for following a Monday, is now my new favourite day of the week.
Well, my new found favouritism is largely because Styled To Rock, Rihanna's new television series, which features twelve insanely talented designers competing in weekly design challenges, and coincidentally (biased a tad!) the show which I worked on, is airing each Tuesday for the next 9 weeks and tonight is episode 2!
Whilst working on the show, selecting and co-ordinating the accessories and the styling-up area (best. job. ever.) there were so many bits and bobs, conversations and laughter we experienced which will probably not make it onto screen, so here, my lovely readers, I would like to share a couple of snippets exclusively with you!
Here are some snaps from week 1, where the designers had to create a stage outfit for none other than Kanye West.
Designers' Looks L-R: Jaqueline, Zainab, Sally and Steve
Designers' Looks L-R: Ralph (glow in the dark! Amaze!), Heidi, Chanelle and Ben
Designers' Looks: L-R: Meganne, Brett, Anam and Ricky
Who's design was your favourite from the first show?!
I am rather partial (although you know I love them all!) to Ben, Steve and Heidi's.
Hair and Makeup! A rather short task for the male models!
OK and now a little bit more of the backstagey stuff...!
First and foremost,
I have a feeling that I was slightly spoilt working on Styled To Rock for my first television job as every one, from cast to crew to judges, to technicians, to PR's...were ab-so-lutely lovely, sort of unbelievably so!
And really I am not just saying that! Really really.
The designers which feature on the show including... (deep breath!)
Steve, Heidi, Zainab, Sally, Ricky, Jacqueline, Ralph, Meganne, Chanelle, Brett, Ben and Anam all went through a rigorous selection process prior to the programme which meant, when it came to the ultimate Rihanna-led seal of approval for the final 12 we had some insanely talented designers on our hands!
One of the most amazing things about working on Styled To Rock was that we were in the privileged position of seeing these weekly works of art being produced bit by bit - from conception, to fabric-buying, to construction and styling.
I was just a little bit in awe.
Read: a lot in awe!
(and um totally made a cushion cover when I finished the show! Hm.)
In terms of going about selecting the accessories, and working on the Styling Area, which the designers would select all of their additional outfit pieces from, we were so fortunate to work with PR's who were generous, flexible and often worked to extremely tight time schedules, and for that I extend a BIG thank you!
Having worked in fashion now for the pst 6 years (oh gosh how the time flies!) I have really come to appreciate how each role in the industry leans on another, and how if you are lucky enough to build good working relationships then you hold on to them! Tightly!
They are invaluable.
The Styling Up Area! Also credit must go to my colleague Hayley who worked alongside me! And to Charlotte and Vicky who helped out too!
I will aim to keep you guys up to date with weekly snippets from the show, but for now, I hope you enjoy a few of the behind-the-scenes snaps and musings, and will be tuning in this evening at 9 on Sky Living!!
OH and I have to give props to Claire who fashioned together the Styled To Rock website for Sky Living, often we would both be at the showcases, wiping the sleepy dust out of our eyes (early morning call times!) and chowing down on a bacon sarnies - Claire conducting interviews with the cast and me helping high heels on to the feet of the models, and now we can both see the fruits of our labour and I think Claire and her teams did a darn good job!!!
Check out the site here!
Okiedoke, so now I must dash, I have a very exciting afternoon shooting with one of my photographer pals Lea Salomone, and for the life of me I have not yet decided on what to wear!
Have a super afternoon and evening all!
Let me know what you think of the new episode!
Love, MB x
Sunday, 19 August 2012
Dear Elgin Avenue readers,
A very Happy Sunday to you all!
A few weeks ago I had the absolute pleasure of interviewing one of the most interesting and inspiring business women in fashion right now - Gabrielle Chou, of French custom-made clothing brand -
For those of you that follow me on Twitter you may have seen a few sporadic "look at what I made!" Tweets over the past few months, given that when using the MoodByMe site you can design, create and save your own clothing designs.
(warning: completely addictive!).
Well knock me over with a tailor's tape measure, after playing designer for hours on end, the lovely people at MoodByMe offered to send me one of my designs!
And by gosh was it tricky to chose!
The results of my endeavours are below....
Peter Pan Collared Tunic: c/o MoodByMe, Clutch: c/o Dune, Multi-coloured Shoes: Bullboxer, Gold Jewellery: Bought in Menorca, Pink and Green Bracelet: H&M, Nail Polish: 'Celestial' Topshop,
Having tweaked my design a hundred and one times, and after having been torn between which item to chose in the first place (check out the ballet pumps - they came a close second!) I went for a thigh-length washed silk tunic, in a matt red, with contrasting fuchsia cuffs and collar, alongside a peachy button trim down the middle.
Basically a whole lot of colour!
When it came to styling the tunic I found that my Marni for H&M silk shorts worked a dream, equally I can imagine using the shirt come the chillier months, tucked into high-waisted black jeans and a contrasting tailored jacket.
I picked up these colour-blocked mega heels from Bullboxer when editing the accessories for Rihanna's new television series - a steal at £37!
Buy them here.
Given the colour, on colour, on colour, on colour I chose to par back the outfit just a tad with a navy i-pad case/come clutch I was so kindly given by the fab girls at Dune.
Absolutely L-O-V-E it!
Other than the shirt, shoes and clutch, a couple of small bangles, a slick of lippy and some popping nails ('Celestial' at Topshop- amaze!) I chose to let the tunic do the talking.
(although having read through the list I see there were rather a few added extras! Hm.)
Okiedoke so now on to Gabrielle!
As I imagine I will have mentioned in some previous posts, I have an absolute fascination, and admiration, for women who have paved their own paths in business, specifically in fashion.
Over the years I have been lucky enough to work for, and meet, some amazing women, each of whom I have learnt invaluable lessons from.
So, it was with great pleasure I was able to pick the brains of the lady behind my new favourite fashion site and retailer.
Read on for the full interview - it's a long'un!
MB meets Gabrielle Chou
MB: Gabrielle, you have created a new addiction in me - I cannot stop building new clothes!
GC: London is such a creative place and people have a really personal way of dressing, so I think it is great that people are able to design their own clothes to show that individuality.
MB: Your biography makes for really good reading!
(Read on - I'll explain why! Wow.)
GC: Thank you! I think my life is a bit similar to the way in which my friends speak about making their own clothes: the idea that you do not have to follow a particular path, we all come up with with our education, and some people have a very specific route, but you know at the end of the day the beauty of the World that we are living in is that we can do whatever we want, and it is exactly the same idea with MoodByMe, we all have to wear clothes, but we are all individuals, and we all have a different idea of things - one person's idea of a trench in a red colour is different to someone else's idea of a trench in a red colour.
MB: Yes I love MDB for that exact reason! I often look at something and wish there was something ever so slightly different about it.
GC: Well look we are girls at the end of the day!
MB: Haha yeah we are girls, we always something else, a little bit more, something ever so slightly different, we are fussy arn’t we?!
Obviously you have a real eye for style and your business is to do with fashion, but I was reading your biography and I was really interested to learn that you trained in intellectual property law, I imagine that was invaluable knowledge to have when you start up an online business but that is quite different to being in fashion, what made you want to move in to fashion and how has it helped you to have the law degree behind you?
GC: Well the law degree was really about when you are young and you are convinced you want to do something, but after you think hmm maybe not.
The area of law specific to intellectual property is really quite exciting and the rules which are assigned to it are constantly moving - what was there one day is different the next.
Precisely what is happening with the internet.
Copycatting in fashion is really poignant to me, some brands are getting by just by literally copycatting the high fashion shows and reproducing them.
Just today we were looking at our Summer Collection '13 and we were astonished that something that was in Chloe's show was already reproduced in HnM, almost immediately.
That is not something we want to do with MoodByMe, we are bringing something there, we are bringing the spirit of your own deisgns, new designs, it is really this idea that we want to mix and match.
MB: Developing your own look - I like it! What is your look Gabrielle? What’s your favourite MoodByMe item? What do you love to wear and what are your favourite colours?
GC: Well right now today, we have a new silver leather for the shoes (MB: I saw those they are gorgeous!) and so today I am wearing a pair of Derbies in silver and the laces are in blue. I might wear them with jeans like today or with a dress or shorts. But my look is really about being with a twist. I like that you dont see everything at first sight, brings a little bit of a surprise, like we have a silk and cashmere line and I have a tank top without sleeves and you can put a little collar on it, it is just a normal tank top but the lace on the neck and the colour adds something, you know it is really hot in Shanghai so I have to think about that. I have been based in Shanghai for 20 years - actually I moved there just as I was graduating from my law degree.
MB: Did you move because you had a job in Shanghai or because you fell in love with the city...?
GC: Two things actually, I fell in love with both the city and a man.
MB: Ahh they go hand in hand!
GC: Haha no I fell in love with the country when I was 15 years old, I learnt chinese on my own when I was very very young and I have been hooked ever since. You know the work that we are doing with the manufacturers, we would love to do it with French manufacturers for instance, but there is no way that they would take an order one by one for a product, with a different order for every single piece, however over here (in Shanghai) people are very interested, they are interested in looking for big opportinities, and they see it as an opportunity because they know that the world is changing, I think that what has defined China is that they are ready to change. They know that they have to embrace every change that is happening and it is thanks to that that we are able to offer what we do with our maufacturers.
MB: That is so so interesting! (thinks to self this is probably the most fascinating thing I have heard in a long time!)
So you are French, you live in Shanghai, your business is based in Shanghai but operates in Europe and Scandinavia, so what you are doing is translating style across the World, do you notice trends for different countries?
Do they go for particular deisgns or colours? Can you get a sense for a style for a country by what they buy?
GC: I do not know if it is that but it is contrary to what you you think, people in the North of Europe are more daring more willing to create pieces which are extremely original, they love putting a touch here or there, is it completely different to what you could find in a shop. The pieces that we sell obviously depends on the season, the trench sells very well in England for example!
MB: It has been raining solidly for 4 days...!!
GC: The Jubilee was raining yes? But really the trench sells well in France too and in other places, but the colours are different the colours are more daring, and the mix of colours. England, Holland and Germany are more about doing pieces which are multicoloured and in England the colours which are selling are generally more in fashion.
In France the woman would have fun with the inside of a trench or the blazer, putting a daring colour on the lining. And the outside looks very chic, like a piece that you would buy somewhere else, and then on the men...the men tend to buy the colours and my gosh do they like colour!
There are definitely some trends in the colour. In the silk - I know that you have ordered a silk blouse...
MB: Yes but I ended up changing my mind because I designed it about 5 times! I kept changing colour and cuffs!
GC: Very good! The silk is really a beautiful silk, tell us what you think after you see it! (MB: I love it!) One colour which is selling realy well is the pale green, for some reason this pale green is selling really well, and the coral. Those colours are definitely happpening.
MB: Fresh in the Summer and nice with a tanned skin!
GC: Exactly! The silk blouses you can wear very casual or you can go out in them, the material speaks for itself it is very nice and generally speaking we love beautiful materials we really love going for great fabrics and colours that you want to feel like ‘wow’ I have a beautfiful piece. At the end of the day you wait three weeks which we know is a long time but we want you to receive the item and really think ‘wow this is better than I imagined it could be’
(In order to complete the custom orders MoodByMe products take around 3 weeks to assemble and ship from Shanghai)
MB: The three weeks process was really interesting for me, we are used to immediacy with fashion.
With MoodByMe you get a custom tailored service - it is my inclination that people are happy to wait for a one off piece.
GC: We want it to last more than H&M, it is not disposable, I think there is something where we become a bit more happy about what we are buying and I love that our customers share their experiences with us.
MB: Yes your customers can share photos of their outfits with you...
See the MoodByMe Gallery here
GC: In fact the sharing of the pictures came from the consumers who were sending their pictures, we didn't ask for it but once they started we wanted to show it somewhere, we wanted to put it on the website. Sometimes we receive pictures which are really really creative, and sometimes we see a lovely scenario in the picture we quite like that, I think part of the beauty of it, even our stylists, it feels good to see one of your pieces worn by someone.
MB: I can imagine - you must be proud!
GC: It is a great feeling!
MB: You have had your own business previously, it must be such a proud momet to look back and see what you have done and I am sure this is just the beginning for MoodByMe.
GC: You know when we began MoodByMe we didnt have an idea that we were changing the game, but we are, we are changing the way in which things are manufactured and the way that we interact with the customer.
To be honest it is extremely complicated, we like to receive those pictures (of our customers) and the testimonies of a customer or a trend leader like yourself (MB: cue blushing) who enjoys playing with the MoodByMe design process and who enjoys the pieces you created.
Because the business of it is more complicated.
MB: When you use the site is it so easy to navigate and everything comes up in a matter of seconds, but technically you must co-ordinate like mad, how did you find the correct business partners?
GC: You know how it started, I was working in Shanghai for another business and my friends kept coming to China and kept asking "can you take me to that place where I can custom make something?" and then it was another friend and a friend of a friend and there were just so many asking.
And that was really how it started. I thought "OK, maybe there is a business that we can build around this" and it all came very naturally. For some reaosn the people that I was meeting were excited by the concept and it was one of my very good friends that worked in manufacturing who said "great I want to join" and it worked very naturally with the team, of course along the line it will get better and the original fashion we had has definitely got better and improved, we work with incredible talent and incredible luck and I am very fortunate.
It is not the idea which will make a successful business, it is the people behind the idea. We have an incredible team, here and in Europe.
MB: How many people?
GC: We are around 60 people.
MB: Thats amazing. A lot of my readers are young women, I love to do interview with women like yourself who are able to inspire my readers, they may be young entrepreneurs themselves. What advice to you have for my readers who may want to start their own business?
GC: Two things really that worked for me...
First never believe someone when they says that is is impossible. I think that to try something that you truly believe in, eventually you will find your way, it may not be exactly your first idea, but to dare and to try.
And the second thing is always, if you have people around you that support you, everything is completey done. To have support to have people believe in you, whether that is from far, from your readers for example, if you receive a little bit of support from your readers or your customer, from a friend that wants to join you...they give some of their time to share ideas or a bit of their expertise, the more you build this, there is strength.
Financially or professionally, it is hard to start a business and to every day find some new ideas but just to be able to think that you have this support is definitely something which will encourage you, in particualr in times when it is hard, and there will be times when it is really hard.
So I find those two things the most important and especially now I could never pull off such a thing without this amazing talent which surrounds me.
It is a tough thing what we are trying to do, it is unconventional and therefore we have to work much harder than just copying something which has already been and I have a team which I am so fortunate to have and if I can extend a thank you to the investors then that is extremely important too.
MB: You mentioned earlier that people in Shanghai embrace things more, do you think trying out a new business plan you were in a better environment there than you would have been in Europe?
GC: Well lets put it this way: because our business relies on manufactiring. Yes. We could not have done it somewhere else, or in Europe, it would have come at a cost which the customer would not have been able to pay or would not have been willing to pay. If the business was not related to manufacturing then the talent for marketing business and styling I am sure we could have also done it in Europe. Here we do not sell to the Chinese customer.
MB: Yes I noticed that - why not?
GC: Really it is a consequence of the group of friends that started at the begining to ask me for pieces that the company even exists, so I started to think about selling to the European customer and then really we just have not started thinking about "OK, we are ready to start thinking about the China customer." We just havn't had the time.
We are too busy with the European market and the Chinese market if of course different, not in the clothes they are wearing - they have exactly the same brands or similar in the UK - but it would be really different to market it. It is the same as to why we are not in the US, it takes a lot of effort, in a market the size of the US, one step at a time.
MB: Two quick final questions...
What is next for MoodByMe?
And what are you going to personally order next?!
GC: We are preparing the A/W collection and there will be very beautiful new shoes, new high heels, new loafers and boots so that will be a very important part. And then we have a range of new colours in the cashmere, really beautiful for women - a bit casual and a lot of femininity. I love the pieces and the new colours. In the blazer, we have velvet...
MB: (overly excited) I LOVE velvet! SO luxurious
GC: I also love velvet! I think this will be a beautiful new addition.
As for what is new for me... I think I will continue on my silver shoe obsession, (MB: I can relate!) and the silk cashmere is really pure and I love it so I would like to order some more, I find the knit so comofotable in really hot weather, but if you go into air conditioning or out on a Summer's evening those pieces are actually really comfortable to wear, so I am going to get a cardigan and probably some tank tops because they are really comfortable.
The colours I will chose will be dark blue, marine blue as well, and off white and cream. Those are easy to match. Then there is the boyfriend cut, sweater...
GC: Ah thankyou! It is really nice in silk cashmere because you can still see your shape but it is also luxurious.
MB: (Now more in awe of Gabrielle than ever and wishing I would wear silk cashmere every day too)
Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me and share your passions with TheElginAvenue readers.
I am so excited about your business, and am in awe of what you have managed to do!
GC: Send us a picture of you in your shirt!
MB: Will do!!
And so there you have it my lovely readers, a lady who has completely inspired me (and I hope you too!) at the helm of a business changing the face of fashion retail.
If you haven't already done so, make your way over to Mood By Me now to let your creative juices flow and get in on the act now.
And just so that I can show off my own design a little more (so chuffed!) here are a few more pics...!
Have a super evening all!