Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The Trends on Thursday: Scrunch Time

I didn't think I'd see the day, but then a the 25-or-so years that make up a generation in trend terms seem like a lifetime when you're in the throes of teenagehood; you've no option but to do as you're told, wear what your legal guardians approve of and put up with whatever slop is broadcast by the mainstream media because mass-scale broadband hasn't been invented yet!

Fashion is a challenge - a challenge of conventional notions of taste, a challenge to wear within the unfavourable constraints of everyday practicality and the perennial dare among designers: a challenge to take the interchangeable paradigms of art, and some luxury fabrics, to reinvent quintessentially naff fads of yester-decade.  Of late, we've seen pieces of past pop culture frippery taking themselves very seriously in their recent incarnations with designers getting on board in their droves. Fashion's latest intrepid outing has taken us in the direction of scrunchies - a staple of the 80s and 90s, alike - courtesy of Marc by Marc Jacobs. This time I'll casually forget that I don't really suit long hair or ponytails, that being a kid in the 90s actually sucked and that six months from now, we'll all be wondering what the hell we were thinking trying to reawaken a sartorial beast of burden that should really have been left to rest! I'm going to say Marc's scarf-like prints give the scrunchie an elegant, contemporary lease of life and, by the way, it's so delectably easy to make you'll be thanking me effusively until its next in-vogue resurrection - whenever or however that may be!

Perhaps I am being too cynical and unimaginative; if scrunchies are good enough for Cara Delevingne then maybe they do have an enduring - even timeless quality. Timeless, like a broken clock: "right twice a day!"

Monday, 25 November 2013

Bible belle - How to DIY an Alexander McQueen floral bible book clutchbag

DIY-ing by the book?
ALEXANDER MCQUEEN Black Gold Floral Bible Book Clutch

It's (nearly) that time again - T-minus one month to Christmas/ Winterval/ Saturnalia/Festival of Feverish Consumerism (delete as appropriate - put your fingers over the words or something). A combination of shambolic organisational skills and a jaundiced view of advanced capitalism ensure that I'm always woefully late with my festive preparations. However, when it comes to getting all things sartorial in place for the party season, the show must go on. With that in mind, I thought I'd indulge you with a DIY idea that combines luxe and gold sparkle to make the perfect accessory.

You will need

+ Craft mount.


Quite easy

While working with gold leaf can be a fiddly business, of which I've got plenty of bitter experience, this one wasn't too much of a struggle. However, I will say knowing what you're letting yourself in for with the gold leaf and its temperamental nature helps.

Time and total cost

A few hours, excluding glue drying time. This was a relative splurge with time and money, setting me back about £20-25. Finance never was my forté. Still, it's not like it set me back £1215 like the original - that much I did notice!

Clutch a load of this...

Looking at the original you may notice that it's covered with leather, so we're going to follow suit with the real McCoy or if you're vegetarian/ not lucky with charity shops faux leather will absolutely do. If your glue isn't strong enough, craft mount should do the trick.
Cut two pieces of lace big enough to cover each side. Cut away as much of the netting as possible on both pieces, so that you're left with a floral outline.

Cover your fabric with glue and - taking care not to get any onto your fingers - pat your gold leaf over it, piece by piece. I recommend you do the glue in stages, too. Gold leaf is very delicate and has a nasty habit of sticking to your fingers with an annoying amount more gusto than the intended surface so clean any glue off your fingers before applying each piece. You may want to press against some of the tissue paper packaging between the layers if you use the Fimo gold leaf like I did, or you can use tweezers. Also, don't hammer your gold leaf too hard or it'll crack and peel.

Once you have covered both bits of fabric, leave them to dry overnight. After they've dried, use your scalpel to scrape away the excess gold leaf and the back of your fabric as a guide for cutting, where necessary.

A cool optional finishing touch, if you've got some pearlescent ivory nail polish lying around is to paint some of the petals for a subtle 3D effect. Use your fabric glue to stick your gold lace to the clutch.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: Pumped-up Chic

It's time to get pumped for the hot shoe trend of autumn 2013!

A quick check-in to share the good news that fashion is still on the trajectory of practical problem-solving with ballet pumps staking their claim in the arsenal of 2013's seasonal staples. This pain-free, transport-friendly accessory - which was traditionally a popular choice among beatniks, including Juliette Gréco and Jean Seberg - has been revived at Saint Laurent by Hedi Slimane. The designer gave a literal interpretation of the ballet pump when he recently directed two videos with the models dancing. The theme was also carried forward by Jean-Paul Gaultier, with Coco Rocha Irish dancing down the catwalk.

Still can't shake off the association with the flats you feverishly slip on for the tube? Rock the block heels, like Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Zooey Deschanel did last year. Whistles' Nico mary janes aren't a bad place to start, with 1.5" heels. Even Christian "comfort is not my focus" Louboutin is getting in on the act with a matching brogue and backpack set for next spring.

So, if you're rushed off your feet this season, just make sure you're down with the kids and you'll manage it in effortless style!

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

The Trends on Wednesday: House haute goods

London Fashion Week heralded a season of DIY fashion - but not quite as we know it...

In its ever-enduring bid to establish itself as a serious art form, every generation - no, season - in fashion has a design or three that are potty past the point of parody (see Arkadius).While it's both irrelevant and too late in the day to dissect what makes a garment revolutionary or just plain random, I will say these creations tend to err pretty far in the direction of unwearable. Imagine, then, my surprise at London Fashion Week's outré outings, which were derived almost literally from hardware! Well, we're always up against the challenge of finding remotely practical ways to look fabulous so it appears there's no time like the present. Having tried painstakingly to navigate the enduring trend of neon yellow amid a slew of 'dad jokes' about 'high-vis shoes,' it appears such facetious ridicule was nothing if not forward-thinking; Ashish reworked the ultimate regalia of health and safety in sequinned resplendence (relive the moment here and do not adjust your monitors!). Elsewhere, Givenchy gave us bungee rope belts, Louis Vuitton etched the brand's distinctive logo on a domestic-sized padlock pendant and Céline gave their tote bags some laundry (bag) service. Last but not least - and not one to be left out - Loewe stayed true to their name (German for 'lion,' since you ask) by attaching manes of brush-like bristles to their sandals.

So, how do you DIY fashion that's already DIY-themed? Check out your local fabric shop for neon and gunmetal sequinned material and be lucky; buy a cheap lock and firm chain, then hunt down a reasonably-priced engraver; cut open the backs of your old shoes and feverishly wedge some paint bristles in with hot melt glue; check out this tutorial...and the bag? You'll just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Re-line my fur - a snuggly way to recycle a summer-weight jacket

For those of you who've been wondering where I've been, fear not, for you have not been abandoned. I did, however, enjoy a short family weekend break and used the cold yet beautifully atmospheric bonfire night weather to inspire my latest creation: a skimpy summer-weight jacket (courtesy of my local charity shop - recycling for the win!) winter-proofed by some left-over multicolour faux fur.