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Lovers of fashion and shopping will undoubtedly be aware that Matches is a slice of virtual shopping heaven but did you know that they also have a totally addictive blog? It’s run by the super stylish Ruth who offers fashion advice, insider Matches info and random bits of whimsy that keeps us coming back for more. As for the busy bees at Matches, they’ve worked hard to supply us with the most covetable pieces that makes it almost impossible to resist clicking that ‘Buy‘ button.
Some of the pieces that have caught our eye include Lanvin’s latest bags in cheery colours so apt for such sweet arm candy, a gold boheminan style necklace from Annina Vogel, Alexander McQueen’s bird print silk chiffon scarf that we want to wear around our heads a la Grace Kelly but lest anyone thinks we’re looking too demure, how about McQueen’s black leather biker jacketto toughen up the look? And the perfect finish for this and let’s face it, most outfits is a pair of killer glossy leather heels. All hail one-stop fashion solutions!

 

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In times of hardship like these, most retailers and designers would expect sales would slow down due to the recession but I guess obviously not if you’re Stella McCartney. Her work is currently at its peak with two magnificent recent collections for Autumn/Winter 08-09 and Spring/Summer 09 to hold her on the ground if things ever got shakey. It has been a good year for the designer and after opening her first flagship store in Tokyo this past November and previously in London and New York, she will soon be celebrating the launch of yet another recently opened store  – her first flagship in Paris.

The store is located in heart of the city at the ‘Jardin du Palais Royal’ an unusual location for luxury compared to how Avenue Montaigne or Rue Saint Honore are more for the high-end fashion consumer. However, Stella has obviously come up with her own prediction if her brand survives the credit crunch and says that she thinks the Palais Royal has “just the right balance” as it will not only draw in those who already know her brand but the tourists as-well. She boasts her company’s eco-friendliness as an added quality that should hopefully give customers another reason to choose her brand in these times of economic instability.

If you’re soon to be taking a trip to Paris, The Stella McCartney store is located near the end of the Palais Royal gallaries at No.114-121 Galerie de Valois or visit www.stellamccartney.com – Liv

The season of giving is thankfully also the season for parties! Tired of the same-old, same-old? Update your festive wardrobe with Iconic Chic’s handy party style tips and even if you don’t have a celebrity make-up artist on hand you too can achieve a fab look with their expert make-up tips at Elle UK’s marvellous beauty site with words of wisdom contributed by the likes of Bobbi Brown, Ruby Hammer and Pat McGrath. Click on the images below to discover Iconic Chic’s tips on party accessories, and Elle Beauty’s experts’ advice on how to wear your make-up. Party on!

 

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Shining Look

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Heel Thyself

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Winter Colour

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Winter Colour

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Chipped Polish

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Smoky Eye Tips

Dreamy scents on display at an Annick Goutal boutique

Dreamy scents on display at an Annick Goutal boutique

A limited edition Annick Goutal bottle

A limited edition Annick Goutal bottle

To fulfill all your Christmas dreams in one easy move, take a peek at either of the shops that Parisian perfume company Annick Goutal have just opened. Goutal, who died in 1999, was a great “nose” – her cult citrussy scent Eau d’Hadrien merely scratches the surface of her amazing talent. There is a huge choice of fabulously classy scents, from the purest flower (Rose Absolu) to the ancient and haunting (Sables). Now her bright and beautiful daughter Camille is running the show and expanding it in new directions. She whizzed over from Paris this week and showed me round her Mount Street domain. Upstairs, around the elegant fireplace and mirrors, it’s like a sweet shop – gorgeous ribbed bottles with gold or coloured ribbon, some with butterflies perched – and helpful assistants to guide you through the different fragrance areas. There are also deliciously scented bath, facial and home products. Downstairs is more a sexy boudoir feel, with the fantastically sensual newest range – Les Orientalistes, of which Musc Nomade and Encens Flamboyant are guaranteed to make you swoon. Add in beautiful, slightly boho jewellery inspired by the new perfumes, and fabulously elegant lingerie in classic silk satin and lace but unusual spicy colours, and you have a girl’s heaven on earth. Look foxy, feel smooth, smell great – what better seasonal gift for you and the man in your life? – Avril Groom
www.annickgoutal.com
109 Mount Street W1, 20 Motcomb Street SW1


Gucci’s latest initiative, the 2008 Gucci Campaign to Benefit UNICEF shows the world that high fashion has a conscience. Celebrated chanteuse, Rihanna is a strong supporter of UNICEF and in aid of her favourite cause, she is the global representative of this Gucci campaign. From November 19th 2008 until January 31st 2009, 25% of all sales from the very striking white Tattoo Heart Collection of highly covetable accessories will be donated to support UNICEF programs for children affected by HIV/AIDS in Africa. We hope that this is just the beginning of a trend for enduring collaborations between fashion houses and great charitable causes.

Bag from Gucci Tattoo Heart Collection

Messenger bag from the Gucci Tattoo Heart Collection

Aren’t men just terribly difficult to buy gifts for? Thankfully, My-wardrobe.com are striving to make our gift-shopping a wee bit easier by launching a section for men’s accessories from great designer labels. Before you brush it off as too prohibitively expensive in these credit crunching times, Iconic View took a peek and was excited to see lots of gorgeous things for under £50 (how about a Paul Smith scarf?).We were particularly taken by the aforementioned Sir Paul’s fabulously striped accessories, classic Persol shades and a Mulberry day bag, all of which, you’d be pleased to hear, have unisex appeal. And there’s more excitement to come as My-wardrobe.com will launch their menswear site in January 2009! Stay tuned!
 

 

 

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Autumn Display at Few and Far, winner of Best New Shop 2008

Autumn display at Few and Far, winner of Best New Shop 2008

British Design Award winner, the Few And Far shop in Knightsbridge

British Design Award winner, the Few And Far shop in Knightsbridge

If you’re facing an unticked list of names on your Christmas gift-giving list, why not check out the winner of the British Design Awards for Best New Shop 2008, Few And Far in Knightsbridge? Founded by Priscilla Carluccio (yes, of the Carluccio’s and also sibling extraordinaire to Sir Terence Conran) it stocks a wide range of super desirables: accessories, furniture, lighting, clothing and food! And best of all, all products are stocked in small quantities with a wide price range so you’re bound to find something for everyone on your shopping list! For shop info, go to their website.

Fashion and Fantasy by Iain R Webb

Bill Gibb: Fashion and Fantasy by Iain R Webb

A night for golden oldies – one of the year’s best and quirkiest fashion parties was at Zandra Rhodes’ Costume and Textiles Museum in Bermondsey, where Twiggy opened a fantastic exhibition of designs by the late and much lamented Bill Gibb, and launched a brilliant new book about him by Iain R.Webb. Ladies of a certain age swigged champagne and swapped personal stories about the designer while looking fab in his originals especially the knits, with complex patterns by Kaffe Fassett, and sinuous jersey dresses with sequinned insets. For anyone who knows little about this outrageously talented Scot, who sadly died in 1988 aged 45, he was a style icon of the 1970s and still quoted as a big influence by designers of the calibre of John Galliano and Giles Deacon. Given that he flourished in a recession, expect to see similar wildly romantic designs and fantasy fabric mixes on a catwalk near you soon – he is well overdue a revival. – Avril Groom

Our fabulous Fashion Editor Avril, hot foots it from show to show and in between squeezes in the odd call back to update those of us not lucky enough to be there, on all the latest,…

The shows all ran very late, so Paris made Milan look like a well oiled engine in comparison – there’s a surprise! The overall feeling was back to what they do well for most of the designers probably because of the current economic climate – the majority of the designers focused on what will sell rather than the revolutionary.

One theme seemed to be the underlying African, tribal vibe, with prints on effortlessly light fabrics, lovely soft spring colours with more wearable shoes than in Milan, though not so sure about the pregnant lady heels (fertility symbol!) by John Galliano for Dior.

Issey Miyake Paris S/S 09

Issey Miyake Paris S/S 09

Very strong collections from Yohji Yamamoto, Dries van Noten and Issey Miyake show a design spirit typical of those designers but not specifically trend identifiable – these are collections that could have come from any time and don’t appear to be seasonal specific. Very useful when clothes may have to last longer than we are used to. Ann Demeulemeester is another who sticks to her guns, adding more colour – flame and saffron – and lighter fabrics but her asymmetric, occasionally androgynous, style seems more feminine and wearable this season.

Many designers are celebrating anniversaries – Margiela twenty years in the business, amongst rumours that this most reclusive of designers is, or already has, taken a back seat in his company, though as usual with him this is shrouded in mystery and there are denials. Sonia Rykiel celebrated forty years and going strong, though mostly her daughter Nathalie designs now. The Paris icon’s show and party was the bash of the week, especially the 30-odd outfits designed by other top names in Rykiel style, with most applause going to the “wig” jacket by Margiela which looked like her bushy red hair, and Gaultier’s long, loosely knitted mohair dress which looked like a work in progress – its strapless neckline was formed by a pair of giant knitting needles with the stitches still cast on.

Spotted: One super cool fashionista seen struggling to walk in the über-high Stella McCartney heelless clogs – these seem best left for the mantlepiece as a piece of art, rather than running around the shows. Ironically the very strange Marc Jacobs – ‘backwards’ heel which shows off the sole, should one want to see it, seems a far easier ‘walk’.

Friday, 3rd

All week the press have been seen stomping around in black strappy cage shoes on huge platforms but their days are numbered now that style leader Carine Roitfeld, the Editor of French vogue (who virtually started the bondage shoe trend) has opted for plain black patent, high heeled classic courts with no platform.

By Friday, the shows had started to heat up and the fabulous Yves St Laurent Show had THE accessory of the season, a mesh boot with Eiffel Tower- girder heel – a must have on every fashionista’s list – wow, we want those NOW! Stephano Pilati is very clear as to where he’s taking things – strong, modern, no wishy-washy lack of direction and even a shoe you can walk in!

Talk about folie des grandeurs for Chanel – Karl Lagerfield took over the huge Grand Palais and built a set from the façade of the Rue de Cambon store with the roadway in front of if as the catwalk – mixed chic suits with Victoriana, and Wallis Simpson-style hair with narrow Alice bands for the models – hmm… make of it what you will.

Hermes, Paris S/S 09

Hermes, Paris S/S 09


The last two days produced a welcome relief in the form of colour, which had been somewhat lacking earlier in the week. We loved Jean Paul Gaultier for Hermès’ Western heroines, who made blonde fringed suede look chic and silk versions of Clint Eastwood’s striped poncho (complete with cigar) the last word in desirability.

Check out the strappy sandals with abstract versions of house symbols, and the python clutches with “dog collar” studs. Best of all were Naomi Campbell and Stephanie Seymour as two very sophisticated saloon bar girls – really separating the women from the waifs.

 

 

John Galliano, Paris S/S 09

John Galliano, Paris S/S 09

Galliano is the only place to go for a great frock – he might have shown in a tram shed beyond the Péripherique but this was so not industrial, just fabulous dresses in all colours from hot red and pink to soft pastel prints, many shown under variants of his favourite jacket shapes, from Poiret-style opera coats to eighteenth century frock coats but all given a slouchy parka look. Forget the mad hats, and the extraordinary shoes with what looked like two curlicued heels at right angles – this was his most wearable collection for years and the buyers were in heaven.

Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton reckoned more was more – great little separates, mainly a fitted, sharp-shouldered jacket with a pair of wide, soft trousers or a flirty, duck-tail skirt – but then he added wrapped belts, bags, sandals and huge jewels, mostly metallic and sporting beads and feathers – slightly tribal, slightly Parisienne but wow, one at a time please! Even Alber Elbaz at Lanvin, having done beautifully couture-cut, calm, colour blocked clothes with easy volume, suddenly broke out into bright leopard print, metallics and crazy sunglasses. Never mind, it all gave a great lift to a slightly sombre week and something to look forward to if the winter of the credit crunch ever ends.

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