THE SHAPE OF BAGS TO COME

Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, "we got a feeling" that bags are going to take on a whole new shape come AW11. The massive, slouchy carry-alls we have grown used to over previous seasons are starting to look a little tired, and our backs have suffered serious damage from swinging these sacks from the crook of our arms.

The time is most definitely right for change, and our fashion instincts tell us that the medium sized, hard frame, top handle bag is about to have a resurgence. These ladylike numbers cropped up on various catwalks:

 Louis Vuitton AW11 (above and below)

 Marni AW11 (above and below)

 Prada AW11 (still ladylike, just held in an abnormal way. Only at Prada)

Of course, this style has been around for an awful lot longer than last season's shows, with famous handbag icons the Queen Mother, The Queen and of course Margaret Thatcher (whose man-beater Asprey bag sold for a measly £20,000, rather than the expected £100,000) all big fans of the box bag look. The hard frame hand bag is a key element in the power play of these strong women; it is a style synonymous with English heritage, quality and tradition.

HRH at some minor event on 29th April, with her Launer bag

It's not surprising, then, that our boredom with big bags is driving us to rediscover our roots. Along with Vuitton, Marni and Prada, there is one brand leading the way for ladylike, and that in Launer. We were not really aware of this company until it was brought to our attention that they make the Queen's iconic handbags, according to the email recieved by Fash Ed sales of the above bag shot up 55% following the Royal nuptials, and that many of the buyers are women much younger than HRH. I always wonder what on earth she keeps in her bag (the keys to Buckingham Palace? though the Fashion Editor at Large hears she keeps a golden gun and lipstick in there) but nevertheless, she is rarely seen without a Launer design.

 The classic Launer 'Adagio' £770 from http://www.launer.com/

We've now swotted up, so here's the brief Launer 101:
Founded in 1941, the company quickly became a favourite of The Queen Mother, and later on, her daughter.Margaret Thatcher was often seen with her Launer handbag during her rise to the political top. In 1983 they were granted the Royal W arrant, only a short time after the business had been saved by Gerald Bodmer, who recognised the importance of British heritage manufacturing and preserved it doing the Eighties move towards all that was cheap, fast and mass produced.


The Lydia bag is £615 and comes in pink..



At the moment, there is another move towards the preservation of heritage techniques, and all of Launer's production still happens in Walsall, near Birmingham, England. It's always good to discover that there are small British companies still producing beautiful fashion pieces in their homeland; long may this continue!

So there you have it, a tip for AW11: carry whatever bag you want, as long as it is ladylike.

Images: Style.com, Daily Mail, Launer.com


IN THS WEEK'S GRAZIA...

Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

...we wax lyrical about the brilliant idea of using your iPad case, make up bag or any other cool pouch-type-accessory as an alternative to your standard It bag. With the fantastic array of coloured zip-ups currently on offer, it's easy to switch from your standard shoulder bag to something a little more sleek. They also offer a sneakily lower cost option from a full on designer bag; one friend of the Fash Ed uses her £200 Mulberry cosmetic pouch instead of a £700+ Alexa, and the beautiful patterned Marc by Marc iPad case comes in at - you might want to sit down - £35.

This is one trend everyone can invest in - and one that was inspired by the super success of the Celine pouch, which kicked everything off. Available in lots of zingy colours, these colour-pop zip-ups were seen under many fashionable arms at the shows; as captured by Tommy Ton in the way only he knows how.


Images: Tommy Ton for Style.com

One Day Celebration Sale at Couture Allure!

We're Having a Party!
Couture Allure is celebrating the fact that we now have 3000 fans on Facebook!  We're having a party and you get the presents!  Today only, take 20% off your entire purchase at Couture Allure.  Use coupon code "facebook3000" at checkout and your discount will automatically be applied.  The discount is good on the entire site, even sale items!  Discount does not apply to shipping or previous purchases.  Sale ends at noon on Thursday, June 30.

DUCHESS KATE AND THE ART OF DRESSING FOR THE OCCASION

Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

You'd think that the craziness surrounding Kate Middleton might have calmed down after she became the Duchess of Cambridge, but it seems the K-Mid fashion frenzy is continuing full speed ahead. That's a lot of pressure on the stylish shoulders of the newest Royal, so it is admirable that she has so far failed to put a foot wrong in the fashion stakes.

So how is she managing to pull it off? According to Clarence House, Catherine does not have a stylist (although she has enlisted the help of a 'personal shopper' for her upcoming tour of America). She still pops to the shops by herself, and is not afraid to recycle successful outfits. Not that there is anything wrong with that, it is a tactic that works for Michelle Obama, and gives a public-pleasing appearance of austerity for someone whose engagement ring costs more than Joe Blogg's yearly salary.

However, we think that we have uncovered the secret to K-Mid's success in the style stakes, and it has nothing to do with crafty shopping or expert advice. Instead, the new Duchess has turned protocol and tradition into a template for her outfit inspiration. It's dressing for the occasion, except the occasion takes on a more thematic role. Catherine thinks about what the occasion she is attending is all about, and picks out an outfit that reflects the activity. We present to you the photographic evidence:

Atttttteeeeeennnntion!

When Prince William has to don full military regalia, the Duchess of Cambridge follows suit. This navy double- breasted coat with gold accents complemented her husband's uniform to perfection, while also creating the illusion that she herself was in uniform, making her seem more involved in the event (the couple presented the Operational medals to the Irish Guards at Victoria Barracks in Windsor.)


Kate's Temperley 'Moriah' dress: perfect for Murray watching

Whilst cheering on Mr Murray at Wimbledon, Kate rocks up in a white pleated 'Moriah' dress by Temperley. Not only had the (now half price) dress sold out within 30 MINUTES of her taking her place in the Royal Box, it also looked like she had come prepared for her own game on Centre Court. The Fash Ed and I are divided on this look; on the one hand, she looks elegant, tanned and chic, but on the other, I do believe she might have taken dressing for the the occasion too far on this, er, occasion.

It's pretty likely that Catherine is going to continue with this plan of action, so in the spirit of helpfulness, we thought we'd offer up some suggestions for some of K-Mid's future fashion dilemmas from the resort collections.

A Royal Garden Party

Obviously, if we are sticking with the theme, Catherine is going to need something featuring a bloom or two for this traditional summer occasion. This watercolour floral Valentino frock would be perfect for the job.

 Valentino Resort 2012

Theatre Trip

No doubt their Royal Highnesses will be popping up at an opening night over the course of coming months, so Duchess Catherine will need a suitably dramatic gown for such an evening. This Erdem number is slightly different from Kate's usual pastel-toned style, but teamed with a subtle smokey eye and discreet jewels, it should look spectacular for a night at the theatre.

Erdem Resort 2012

Hollywood Charity Gala

While they are over in the USA, William and Kate may be required to attend a swanky Hollywood black tie event; it's a hard life. In order to maintain her style icon status, it's only right that Kate would look for inspiration from the Hollywood greats, and it doesn't get more Monroe than this showstopper of a Zac Posen gown.
Zac Posen Resort 2012

Opening of London Fashion Week

It's only fair that SamCam, in her role as ambassador for British fashion, would rope in our current greatest export to help launch LFW in Spetember. The Duchess will therefore need something seriously 'fashion' yet still befitting an HRH, so step up to the plate, Peter Pilotto.

Peter Pilotto Resort 2012

So there you have it: outfits for every occasion, fit for a future Queen. If the job of Royal Stylist does come up, one will know who to call, won't one?

Images: PA, Style.com

HAILEE SEINFIELD 4 MIU MIU

Posted by Fashion Editor at Large

Lots of hoo-ha about the fact Miuccia Prada hired 14 year old Hailee Steinfeld to be the face of her younger line Miu Miu. Makes perfect sense to me. Steinfeld is astoundingly good in True Grit, and Prada is as highly attuned to new talent as it is to projects that will garner maximum attention in every media stream available to them. For her part Steinfeld clearly has management leading her down the high fashion road to a A-list longevity. Thankfully Hailee is no Lindsay Lohan, (who starred in a Miu Miu campiagn shot by Mert & Marcus back  in 2007), as evidenced by the fact, for the first time, Prada hired Bruce Weber to shoot their campaign images. Weber is famously "wholesome" in his photography of women, and his usual territotry is cute homoerotic young men and labradors. So just in case there was a shout of "child exploitation!", playing the Weber card is a master stroke. Of course the styling by Joe mcKenna is as genius as usual. Now onto my favourite bit, the wonderfully written, fashion-intellectual press release.
Hailee Steinfeld poses pensively on a lush lawn, and makes us all want those shoes

"It seems particularly apposite that Hailee wears a highly structured silhouette reminiscent of that from the forties. Here, the below-the-knee modesty is countered by the toughness and strength of the shoulder and each is balanced by the playful sprays of blossoms and daisies, shining swallows and glittering heels – with all of their ‘ruby slipper’ connotations. It is a magical time that is captured in the campaign and it was an event not lost on the young actress. “I had such an amazing experience working with the Miu Miu team on this new campaign,” said Hailee. “It's so much fun to have the chance to work with such a gifted designer and wear these incredible clothes. I feel so lucky to be a part of it.”


"The multiplicities and dichotomies of Miuccia Prada’s Miu Miu woman are further explored this season through the advertising campaign for Autumn/Winter 2011. Making his photographic debut for the label is Bruce Weber and this, together with the casting of the gifted actress Hailee Steinfeld as the ‘Miu Miu girl’, brings with it yet another layer of meaning to an already complex view of femininity contained within this sophisticated and elegant collection. Both ‘contemporary’ and ‘discerning’ glamour are the touchstones for this season’s viewpoint. In today’s world they are often seen at odds, but in Miu Miu for Autumn-Winter they are united in purpose. The idea of ‘discretion’ functions in both senses of the word and is personified by a woman confident in her individuality, someone who is not conditioned by the dictates of design. Her elegance is fresh and feminine and far from conventional.


In Bruce Weber’s photographs Hailee is the conveyer of this message. She is a girl who has the stature – in both senses – to carry these mature and elegant silhouettes whilst still remaining true to her youthful spirit. It is this timeless exuberance in attitude and strength of character that is sort in all Miu Miu women, both surpassing and diminishing years."

Marvellous.

Etsy VFGteam Treasury ~ Three Cheers for the Red, White and Blue!

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Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

June 20th Fashion Parade: Get The Look: Grace Kelly

The cool, aristocratic charm of Grace Kelly was revered well before she became Princess Grace of Monaco. Sophistication, flawless natural beauty and a certain reserve give her look an iconic appeal to this day.


Characterized by unerring elegance, the actress-turned-princess was known for well-tailored suits, neat twinsets, full skirts, simple and effective evening gowns, pearls and long white gloves. She loved hats.


Grace's Helen Rose wedding gown made for a very royal wedding in 1956, when she married Prince Rainier of Monaco. Her namesake handbag came into being when Grace carried a Herm├Ęs bag to obscure her pregnancy months after her marriage.


See what Grace-worthy elegance the members of the Vintage Fashion Guild have in store...




1950s Beaded Blue Satin Gown previously sold by Past Perfect Vintage

White Pearl-beaded Gloves available at Joules Vintage
1950's Black Straw Hat With Side Bows & Veil from Viva Vintage Clothing
"You can find more fabulous vintage items from more sellers at the VINTAGE FASHION GUILD WEEKLY FASHION PARADE!










































Fresh Vintage June 2 - 15th

Playing a little catch-up with 2 weeks worth of Fresh Vintage, the weekly VFG forum thread that gathers together early peeks at the latest listings from VFG trade members. Let's get started!

Get 4 inches of glamorous sparkle with these rhinestone and faux emerald chandelier earrings from Personal Pursuits


CatBooks1940s recently listed (and quickly sold) this 70s draped jersey dress by Luis Estevez.


This beautiful orange rhinestone and gold mesh set is signed Weiss, and can be found at PinkyAGoGo's.

TheVintageMerchant recently listed this beautiful tooled leather bag.

For a splash of patriotic color, check out this 1976 Bicentennial hat and scarf set from RuedelaPaix


And finally, a pretty purple voile 1940s dress from JoulesVintage



See you next week, on time(!), for more Fresh Vintage.

THE WEEK IN FASHION 20TH-24TH JUNE

Posted by Fashion Junior at Large

This week in fashion has been all about making up, breaking up, love and hate. It's been emotional.  Here's our look at the goings on from the fashion playground over the last 5 days...

 Galliano's last couture collection for Christian Dior. There will probably never be anything like this ever again.

1) The big one. John Galliano's trial took place on Wednesday at the Paris magistrates court. Just in case you were under a rock/in rehab/on the moon when the scandal broke, Galliano is being sued on moral grounds for an alleged anti-semitic, racist, and generally offensive rant directed towards three people in a Paris cafe earlier this year. He also subsequently lost his job at both Dior and his own label. It's a really sorry state of affairs, which has seen a former shining light of the industry reduced to a shadow of his normal gregarious self; hidden away in a rehabilitation program since the alleged attack, his future remaining highly uncertain and bleak.

He appeared in court to explain his behaviour (apparently a consequence of problems with drink, drugs and stress) and the result of the trial will be announced in September. This is undoubtedly a very dark moment for both the designer and the industry, and the case should be given the coverage it deserves - however is the slew of commentary about the outfit he wore for his court appearance really necessary? With that in mind, I won't be posting a picture. If you do crave a blow by blow account, the Telegraph have it covered in their live blog.

Tania Fares, Bella Freud and Lulu Kennedy, all in Lulu &Co

2) In a much friendlier turn of events, this week Lulu Kennedy hosted a lunch to celebrate the launch of the latest Lulu and Co collection. According to a certain Fashion editor at Large who happened to be in attendance, "the whole of London" turned out for the fashion feast, proving that there is a lot of love for Lulu. The new collection will be in stores from August.
 
3) Back to the business of bitching, and Azzedine Alaia has exploded with the outburst to end all outbursts, and the subjects of his disapproval are one Karl Lagerfeld and one Anna Wintour.

 Grace Jones and Azzadine Alaia. Who do you reckon is scarier? Read on to find out...

Lucky it was no-one important, eh? According to Alaia, Karl "has never touched a pair of scissors in his life", and "no-one will remember" Anna Wintour. Despite her scary rep, Alaia claims that when the Editor-in-chief of US Vogue sees him, "she is the scared one." Somehow, we're not surprised! 

4) As far as fashion relationships go, this week has been more on and off than Made in Chelsea's Caggie and Spencer (oh! the drama!). After joining in the whoops and hollers that followed the announcement of a Versace and H&M collaboration, the industry was subdued by the news that Jil Sander will no longer be designing for Uniqlo, and the next J+ collection will be the last. There were audible sobs emitting from fashion editor's offices across the city. If you are a fan of the Sander/Uniqlo collab, you better start preparing for the last offering now; it will no doubt be elbows at dawn when it hits stores.

Jil Sander: no longer + Uniqlo

5) Florence Welch 'got the love' from Nylon magazine (sorry, that was terrible) when she hosted a party at the Mondrian Hotel in New York, to celebrate their music issue, of which she is the cover star. Florence can do no wrong in my eyes; she is consistently beautiful, inspiring and unique. Her choice of this quirky Anna Sui dress for the party has divided opinion, but the people who don't like it are, well, wrong.

Flo: it's good to see you back. New music soon please!

6) Fashion doesn't get much more friendly than bestest buds Leith Clark (Ed of Lula) and Kirsten Dunst, who are rarely seen at events without each other, and have obviously been having a bit of a girly week out and about in London town. These two are so close, they are even co-ordinating outfits like schoolgirl best friends do - but you know what? They are so cool, they can get away with it.

 Leith and Kirsten looking demure yet achingly stylish at Wimbledon  (nice sunnies, Ms Clark!) ...

...and just a little bit naughtier as they skip out of The Box in matching trenchcoats. Kirsten&Leith4Eva!

7) And finally, a little bit of eye candy to put a spring in your step this sunny Friday afternoon. The SS12 Menswear shows have been happening over the past week and yesterday's offerings from Paris were causing ripples all the way over this side of the Channel. Friend of the Fash Ed, Kim Jones, sent his debut Louis Vuitton collection down the catwalk to rave reviews, with critics hailing his arrival as the best thing to happen to the label since Marc Jacobs.

 Louis Vuitton SS12

However, before Kim Jones took Paris by storm, one other designer had got everyone hot and bothered. Twitter exploded, pictures were being sent round the world, journos who normally pay no attention to the menswear collections were suddenly clicking onto Style.com like there was no tomorrow.
Five words: Nicola Formichetti, Mugler, ARMOUR BOY.

Mugler SS12

Images: Splash, Getty, AFP, Style.com