Wednesday, 29 May 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: Keep 'em Sweet

My next stop on the top trend trail is in pastel camp, not merely because it's set to continue as a directional statement into the winter (on the authority of at least) but because the pastel palette remains among the most timeless of classics, always giving clothing an ethereal, feminine quality when it comes back into vogue. The autumn/ winter 2013 shows offered a plethora of interpretations, including fifties silver screen chic at Louis Vuitton and sumptuous textured fur at Jonathan Saunders. Certainly classic cinematic-inspired couture has had its day in the cultural limelight recently, with Miuccia Prada working her magic touch on  the costumes for The Great Gatsby, and with that in turn, inspiring a roaringly good twenties fashion revival. What lies ahead in fashion looks to the past with a confection of classic colours and retro pastiche to choose from. Let the good times roll!

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: For Your Inspiration...

Yes, the fashion world's intellectuals and illuminati, alike, have often gushed liberally about the conceptual connections between fashion and art, while many a style-smitten student or couture coveter might also attest to its artistic value, but some designers appear to be taking it somewhat literally. This art (if you will) of borrowing seems to be a sporadically recurring theme of recent years, rather than a directional trend, but it proven a hit, time and time again from last year's famous Roy Lichtenstein inspired designs by 3.1 Phillip Lim to Mondrian wedges and t-shirts, at Christian Louboutin and Topman, respectively. Maybe designs like that are a better investment for the long haul as they carry a timeless quality that transient trends lack. More importantly, this fabulous Assemblage Unique clutch is a breeze and a blast to replicate with Pollock-style paint splatters. A future tutorial? Keep it here to find out.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Boxy Clever - How to DIY a Givenchy Geometric Paisley Blouse

Giving it some Givenchy with an old shirt, vintage scarf and fabric offcuts.

Here's a DIY-scapade I thought I'd share with you, both to whet your creative appetites and show you that if you keep hold of old scarves, fabrics and clothes (and find yourself coveting a £1200 Givenchy blouse worn by Rihanna and Fergie) you never know what creatively motivated rewards you may reap. Both the aforementioned stars stepped out in the Givenchy boxy paisley printed check blouse (okay, RiRi's was the bomber jacket version but picky picky!) and I wanted in - to be in a geometric vintage silky piece de resistance, that is!



In principle, the method's straightforward but it does have some fiddly bits and requires a lot of patience (as well as mild hoarder tendencies like I have!)


20+ hours

Sadly, this one's a long'un requiring a lot of neat hand stitching, namely the slip stitch.

You will need...

A black blouse and...

Optional extras:

Tailor's chalk or gel pen

Ruler, patternmaster or graded setsquare

Blue fabric paint (make sure it's intended for dark fabrics)

Iron all your Bondaweb onto the wrong side of your scarf (where applicable) and satin fabric.

Pin your pattern paper to the back of your shirt and trace the outline.

Unpin your shirt and, referring to the original, trace out some similar geometric designs or whichever shapes you wish to use for your DIY version. You may want to use a ruler, patternmaster or graded setsquare, which will also come in useful for giving your pieces a 1cm seam allowance. Otherwise, you can use a fine pen of tailor’s chalk pencil to trace out your pieces and cut closely around them.

Make sure you’re clear as to which pieces are meant for your satin and which are meant for you scarf (label them if necessary).

Cut your pieces out, fold the seam allowance back on itself and iron it in place. If your seam allowance is 1cm then eyeball it, like I did, otherwise, fold along the lines you traced.

Hint: Bondaweb glue can get quite messy when ironed, so try to press with the edge of your iron and keep to the edge of the fabric, away from the adhesive.

Iron your pieces in place and slip stitch the edges down. You might want to use your pins to get your placing exact.

…And there you have it:

Optional extra:

You can use some blue or navy fabric paint for dark backgrounds to get the same subtle navy patterns that the original has, if you want some extra real McCoy authenticity.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

The Trends on Wednesday - 5 cool things to do with safety pins

Get them in the mix!

As well as adding instant rock 'n' roll attitude, safety pins work fantastically for adding a bold metallic statement. They're also great for teaming up with beads and diamant├ęs for an eclectic, detailed statement. Take a leaf out of the Alexander McQueen, Jeffrey Campbell or Tom Binns book and experiment with neons, metallics, monochrome fabrics and crystals in your safety pinning endeavours.

Let's get 'em on!

...Alternatively, you may decide that safety pins against block colour is a killer combination that needs no further action. Check out Charlotte Olympia's take on the trend for inspiration and just pile them on!

So it should seam

Where were you when Liz Hurley caused a stir in that Versace frock at the Four Weddings and a Funeral premiere? (Okay, if you were even born by then, showoffs!) Aside from quick-fix, no-sew practicality, adorning your seams with safety pins gets just the right balance of rebellion and sex appeal - provided you still leave the relevant areas to the imagination - culminating in a look so iconic it was revisited by Lady GaGa in Milan last October. Well, if it's good enough for GaGa, it's unsurprisingly proven more than fertile inspiration ground for Jeremy Scott and 3.1 Phillip Lim.

Full Feature

Is it the stark metallic hues that get you pinning or the stylish, swirling shape? Maybe you want to give your safety pin sartorial centre stage. making its unaltered design the key feature of your look, like with Henri Bendel's hair band. Maybe you want to keep the shape but change the colour to look like Genevieve Jones' design. If you want to get the creative, colourful look exemplified at McQ by Alexander McQueen, Rebecca Minkoff and Versus, play around with polymer clay, paints (including nail polish) and diamant├ęs for a personally customised look.

A novel twist

Are you so inspired by the famous safety pin you want to push its style potential to the limit? Tom Binns appears to be! Jennifer Fisher, Giles Brother and Juicy Couture have also been getting in on the act, twisting, stretching and encrusting safety pins until they take on a whole new form, yet still stay recognisable. Like what you see? Rather than try to bend safety pins (which can be tough to sculpt and break easily) use some thick wire and some metal panelling from old jewellery to replicate an oversized safety pin that's perfect for shaping.

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: Get The Picture

Skirting the trends of '13 we have the very beautiful, very artistic photo print fad. Add a touch of depth and illusion to your look with an oversized landscape motif or a blur or abstract pattern, while using its colour palette to detail your look with matching accessories, whether they be in melancholic blue or richly decadent plum hues. So far this season, photographic prints have clicked with Roberto Cavalli, Tara Jarmon and McQ by Alexander McQueen with a spectrum of colour, pattern and mood to suit every taste. What image will you go for?

Monday, 6 May 2013

Of Gems and Geometry: How to DIY a 3D geometric necklace

Still inspired by the geometric 3D jewellery trend? Got an hour to kill? Need inspiration? Chic Cheat can help...

You will need...

Gold picture hanging wire (about £1.50 from Wilkinson)

About 5 black drinking straws (free at all participating restaurants)


The string of an old necklace or pendant

Long nosed pliers


For the method I used...

Polymer clay

Fimo gold powder (about £3 if you shop around)


Pretty easy

A little fiddly in places and picture hanging wire splits really easily, which can be a headache when you're trying to join pieces together.


I'm going to say an hour each but, thanks to nearby distractions, I think I made heavier weather of it than I needed to. Also, I'd recommend a quicker, simpler method than the one I did (and learnt from) as I'll explain later on.

Wire it up...

I constructed each pyramid by making 3 flat wire triangles, joining the ends together by bending them back on themselves, hooking them together and locking them in place with a twist of the pliers; I inserted them into pieces of straw as I went along (not pictured).  Each side was 3cm long.

Here's a picture showing how I constructed the pyramids by adding extra sides, only I also inserted them into pieces of straw (again, not pictured).I also threaded the wire through a jump ring at the top.

After I made each pyramid, I threaded the cord through the jump rings at the top and alternated them with a 3cm straw "stoppers" so that they stayed spread out.