You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2008.

This week Avril Groom has been dashing about Milan, attending all the shows and in the midst of all the flurry of tumbling models, Ferragamo shoes and super-glamorous Italian women, she gave IC towers a buzz with her latest observations:

Model takes a tumble at the Prada show at MFW

Model takes a tumble at the Prada show at MFW

The Prada show had the fashion pack buzzing due to the poor models teetering on seven-inch platforms. The girls wobbled, stumbled, fell and one girl put her foot down quite literally and sauntered down the catwalk with the shoes in her hands, and not on her feet.

Prada model on her feet at MFW

Prada model on her feet at MFW

Seen at the shows:
Civilians (all totally glamorous!) were wearing enormous platform heels and cocoon shapes featured quite a bit in their outfits. Scarily, the 1980s trouser shape with peg tops and narrow legs seems to have invaded the continent as well.
Pretty prints featured at Etro, all very elegant and a bit boho with lots of long, floaty dresses.
At Prada, it was all a tad sportif with crinkled fabrics and the aforementioned vertiginous heels.
Great geometric, avant-garde prints featured at Marni.
Interestingly, Bottega Veneta are branching out into prints, and very successfully too.
Forget bags, this year it’s all about statement footwear!

If you’re lucky enough to be in Milan, some fab happenings include:
A fab exhibition at La Triennale profiling Salvatore Ferragamo with a showcase of his most iconic footwear.
Giorgio Armani has just opened his biggest boutique in the world in Milan. Armani muse, Cate Blanchett was there at the opening, looking lovely as ever.
Picture credit: The Telegraph

Decorex Exhibition, Royal Hospital Chelsea, 21-24 Sept 2008

Decorex Exhibition, Royal Hospital Chelsea, 21-24 Sept 2008


It’s exhibition season in London and our Home Décor editor, Rachel Meddowes has been in attendance, gleaning lots of information and inspirational ideas for our interior spaces. Here’s her lowdown on the latest happenings in interior décor and what to expect trend-wise:

Ralph Lauren Cottage Toile Bluebell wallpaper

Ralph Lauren Cottage Toile Bluebell wallpaper

Ralph Lauren Out to Sea wallpaper

Ralph Lauren Out to Sea wallpaper

Ralph Lauren have just launched their range of fabrics and wallpaper for children. It’s all tremendously fun and very pretty with charming themes: nautical, sweet florals and Rachel’s favourite, glow-in-the-dark star-themed wallpaper. Fab for children but equally suitable for grown-ups. Click on the thumbnails to view them larger!
At Decorex, bespoke furniture and rugs will be a huge trend for this coming year. Check out glorious, made-to-order floor adornments from the likes of The Rug Company and Luke Irwin.

Luke Irwin Parrots rug

Luke Irwin Parrots rug

At 100% Design that 1970s staple, marble made a huge showing so with rugs and marble being such huge news, does this mean we have to bid a fond adieu to our dear friend, the wooden floorboard?
Other insider snippets: Fab interior designer Andrew Martin is branching out with a diffusion line in lighting and seating.
Purveyors of gorgeous bespoke linen, Josephine Home have just launched their drool-worthy Trousseau collection.
And for guilt-free luxury, Le Lievre have introduced a range of ecologically sound fabrics.

Miracca David pendant

Miracca David pendant

Josef Koppann ring

Josef Koppann ring

Sarah Parker Eton pendant necklace

Sarah Parker Eton pendant necklace

Sarah Stafford pendant

Sarah Stafford pendant

Goldsmiths’ Fair is the place to buy jewellery from the most creative and talented individual jewellers and silversmiths in the UK. Fizzing with creativity, 160 of the UK’s top jewellery designers will be showing over a two-week stretch in London’s grand Goldsmiths’ Hall.
Take your time and don’t be overwhelmed by the amount and variety of jewels on display. Even if you only see a few stands at a time, it is worth the effort as this is where you will find the most original jewels as well as having the chance to talk to the very person who made them. It might not be as luxurious as gliding into a big name boutique on Bond Street but it is so much more rewarding to walk away with a jewel that is bursting with individuality and personality.
And even better, prices reflect the fact that at Goldsmiths’ you are paying for the jewellery, not a large advertising campaign, swanky boutiques or red carpet sponsorship so you will be surprised how far your money will go. If you love jewellery, do not miss this event. I challenge you to leave empty handed, something I have never managed. — Maria Doulton

Jewellery by Kathy Vones, courtesy of The Goldsmiths' Fair

Jewellery by Kathy Vones, courtesy of The Goldsmiths' Fair

Goldsmith's Fair, London

Goldsmiths' Fair, London


Essential info:
GOLDSMITHS’ FAIR 2008
The annual selling exhibition of contemporary jewellery and silverware by designer-makers
Week 1 – September 22 to 28
Week 2 – September 30 to October 5, 2008
The Goldsmiths’ Company
Goldsmiths’ Hall
Foster Lane, London EC2V 6 BN
www.thegoldsmiths.co.uk

Jelly shoes designed by Zaha Hadid for Melissa

Jelly shoes designed by Zaha Hadid for Melissa

Never mind overblown Fashion Week charity bashes – the place to be on Thursday night was the Wapping Project, an old pumping station still full of massive machinery, but now an installation gallery and restaurant. It was the perfect setting to launch the latest arts world crossover – brilliant architect Zaha Hadid’s extraordinary, organic-looking sandals for hot “jellies” firm Melissa. They’re asymmetric to make a complete design when you stand with your feet together and they come in a great colour range – the silver is other-worldly. — Avril Groom

Vanity Fair October 2008 cover

Vanity Fair October 2008 Collector

Vanity Fair’s October issue celebrates its 25th birthday with one of the most iconic women from the last century on the cover. The cover shot comes from Marilyn Monroe’s last shoot which took place weeks before her death in 1962.

Top features include the collection of the past quarter century’s worth of covers (all 309 of them!), a Fall Culture Guide to New York, Masha Gessen’s piece on Putin’s death-grip on Russia in the wake of the recent conflict in Georgia and the tragic saga of Brooke Astor’s final years as her son heads to trial on charges of fraud and conspiracy. Society gossip, political discourse, celebrities and fashion tips… might all seem incongruous but when it’s Vanity Fair, it’s sublime… www.vanityfair.co.uk

Some iconic Vanity Fair covers from recent years

Some iconic Vanity Fair covers from recent years

Last week, design deity Marc Newson won the 2nd London Design Medal.

London Design Festival 13 - 23 September 2008 www.londondesignfestival.com +44 (0) 20 7734 6444

Marc Newson with his London Design Medal, Photo credit: London Design Festival 13 - 23 September 2008 http://www.londondesignfestival.com +44 (0) 20 7734 6444

He’s an absolute genius who specialises in funky, futuristic designs and interiors and produces iconic pieces that become instant design classics. We swoon over pieces like his Embryo chair…

Marc Newson Embryo chair

Marc Newson Embryo chair

Sinha-Stanic at London Fashion Week S/S '09

Sinha-Stanic at London Fashion Week S/S '09

Peter Pilotto at LFW

Peter Pilotto at LFW


Still mired in the miasma of floral prints, shoulder pads and platform heels under the tents at London Fashion Week, our Fashion Ed, Avril Groom managed to tear herself away to give us the following update:

Dries Van Noten’s influence is pervasive and very strong with mismatched prints on the catwalks as seen the other day at Nicole Farhi but with a real Eighties twist.

Peter Pilotto (a real star in the making) paired his abstract prints with long, loose jackets.

Fashion team Sinha-Stanic also presented a very strong and impressive collection.

Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin, House of Holland, Julien MacDonald, Basso and Brooke

Left to right: Christopher Kane, Louise Goldin, House of Holland, Julien MacDonald, Basso and Brooke

For more catwalk pictures from London Fashion Week, go to the LFW website.

It has been a frantic week for fashionable folk as London Fashion Week has arrived to brighten up morose September skies. Our resident fashion guru, Avril Groom has been on the frontline, in the catwalk trenches armed with her mobile phone, ringing IC Towers with updates during lulls in proceedings. Here are some of her observations:

Celebrity spotting:
Mischa Barton, Emilia Fox and Rosamund Pike at the Temperley show.
Shirley Bassey, Joely Richardson, Natalia Vodianova, Erin O’Connor at Julien Macdonald.
Samantha Cameron at Giles Deacon

Roland Mouret Pigalle dress

Roland Mouret Pigalle dress


What civilians were wearing:
Women were making a stab at the ‘new elegance’ look – think slim, longer, ladylike silhouettes and high heels, all very Mouret. The new pointed toe goes with this look.
Clothes took second stage to footwear which divided into two camps: huge heels in every shape, or flat-soled shoes, with very little in between.

Seen on the catwalks:
Body con skirts at Giles and models wearing the most extraordinary Louboutins with huge heels and triple ankle straps.
Abstract floral prints at Nicole Farhi, vaguely reminiscent of Dries Van Noten’s offering from last year.
Silhouettes and trims inspired by dinosaurs at Christopher Kane, and models wearing vertiginous and super-fab Manolo platforms on their feet – more dinosaur scales, plus rhinoceros horns.
Julien Macdonald, with a new backer behind the brand, pared down the glitz and showed a sophisticated collection in shades of the desert with a whiff of the 1980s – very Versace-esque, in a good way.
An abundance of flora at House of Holland, with sunglasses bedecked with flowers and fabulous floral-printed fabric bags with red leather trim (all very Gucci).
We time-travelled to 1985 at Topshop Unique with tongue-firmly-in-cheek teddy boy-style big, long, loose single-button jackets.
Similar but more grown-up, in gorgeous block-printed shades of pink, at Richard Nicoll.
At Louise Goldin it was all weirdly sportif yet futuristic, like Bladerunner meets the Bolshoi. Incredible, mind-blowing knits, some of them (padded geometric bra-tops especially) wearable only by the flat-chested.

Model wearing pearls at Luella Bartley (LFW)

Model wearing pearls at Luella Bartley (LFW)


At Luella, ruffles and bitsy florals comingled and accessory-wise it was pearls, pearls and more girls in pearls.
Even bigger, bolder, tougher pearls at Richard Nicoll.
Best prints in town – Basso and Brooke’s amazing Oriental excursion, with wonderful rich colours on perfect simple shapes, all cinched with modernist leather obi belts and set off with giant gilt hairpins and combs

Fashion predictions for next Spring/Summer:
The new erogenous zone: shoulders and shoulderpads, believe it or not – team with slim knee-length skirts so it’s not volume all over.
Mini-crinies will be huge – if a skirt is short make sure it’s voluminous.
Mirrored silver elements were spotted on fab Louboutin shoes at Giles and on great clutch bags at Mulberry, so hang onto your metallics.
Floral prints will still be huge, metaphorically speaking, as florals for 2009 will be dainty or abstract.
The Eighties is a decade that refuses to die stylistically so embrace your inner Melanie/Sigourney circa Working Girl as we might be wearing lots of draped jersey tops with body con skirts and dresses, sharp suits with sharper shoulder pads and even paper bag-waisted, pegtop trousers (oh the horror).

From the pen of our High Priestess of Jewellery, Maria Doulton who's been attending the most dazzling events in the world of high jewellery:

“At the Van Cleef & Arpels launch party for their stunning Les Jardins high jewellery collection, Christian Louboutin was spotted amongst the great and the mighty of the world of jewellery collectors. Does this mean that we are going to see diamonds on the soles of his shoes or is he also a lover of the art of the jeweller?

Isabelle Huppert and Christian Louboutin

Isabelle Huppert and Christian Louboutin


And talking of footwear, whoever said that the web is not the place to sell fine jewellery may well want to insert their foot into their mouth as Browns, the much loved London couture boutique, sold its highest value item to date. It was a piece of jewellery and what’s more, it was sold online. Much like fashion’s hot must-haves, Browns is constantly updating its fine jewellery website as items are whisked off the page faster than you can say ‘demantoid garnet’. Are we going to see a Net-a-Porter type online frenzy in the world of jewellery?

Another observation from a few days in Paris visiting the top jewellers at the Biennale des Antiquaires is the rise of stealth wealth. Top of the list of anti-bling style is the old-fashioned rose cut diamond. This traditional diamond cut has less facets and bigger planes, giving a softer glow than the clever modern, multi-faceted cuts that throw about more light. Often lower value diamonds were employed for this cut but today top grade rocks are being used to great effect as we appreciate their age-worn allure over the brighter bling of the perfect brilliant cut. Very Keira Knightley in The Duchess and one way to make your jewels look like Granny left them to you, rather than fresh out of the workshop.

Keira Knightley, The Duchess poster

Keira Knightley, The Duchess poster


Go one step further and consider wearing emerald, diamond and even tanzanite beads. This has to be the most indulgent yet discreet way to wear your carats. This is how our ancestors strung them around their necks before they had figured out how to cut facets into stones.”