Thursday, 26 February 2015

The Trends on Thursday - Art of the furniture

London and Milan fashion week have been a tour de force of decade references but with one thing in common, while the trapezium silhouette and quirky paradigms (hello, Afghan gilets) of the '70s rule the roost - they're manifested in pattern form. Having barely made it beyond infancy for most of the decade, I don't remember the '80s particularly well; the image most authentically etched in my memory was one of primary coloured patterns straddling every last inch of upholstery in sight, comprised either of obnoxious dots and squiggles or geometric, slightly Bauhaus-esque shapes (and no, to avoid confusion, I don't mean the band). The decade's more iconic features of shoulder pads, frizzy hair and cruelty to poor people came to me later in life through historian's curiosity, rather than first-hand experience. So, imagine my nostalgic delight at JW Anderson's dresses, coats and belts sporting the very colour scheme and patterns that were burned so warmly into the deepest corners of my memory. The vision with which the designer embraced the decade, keeping shoulders and sleeves controlled and incorporating leather skirts and slouched boots into the references instead of the clich├ęs, was made distinctive by the motifs. The collection was visibly inspired by the '80s but still looked like it was from 2015.

The same could be said of Jonathan Saunders' prints of wavy ombre lines that brilliantly echoed the psychedelic geometry of '70s fabrics; of the minimal and contrasting colour schemes of Peter Pilotto's collection; of the  warm, two-colour patterns on Gucci's coats; of the '60s-style geometric prints at Fendi; of the scattered patchwork florals on Burberry Prorsum's coats and a bow to Ossie Clark at Topshop Unique. These references capture the aesthetics of their respective decades in a way that isn't costume-like pastiche. Much like the furniture, upholstery and wallpaper that the designs that inspired them adorned, they convey a mood like the warmth of a room. It's a subtle, evocative and almost ambient take - a unique art of the furniture.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

The Trends on Wednesday - Symphony of deconstruction

As the rush and frisson of fashion weeks across the various style capitals begins, New York fashion week had the media heralding big coats, (American) football fever and an official return to polo-necks as the go-to feature. I couldn't help but to notice another trend in one of the more traditionally commercial and conservative fashion capitals: deconstruction and juxtaposition. And let's not dispute who's coming up with the wacky ideas about fashion around here! Take Rag and Bone's 90s hip hop homage, for example, with authentically-referenced slip dresses over chunky trousers, as well as sharply tailored sportswear that mixed matte, sturdy fabrics with shocks of satin in geometric panelling. Also throwing contrast into the mix was Jeremy Scott with a psychedelic head trip of patterned pastel colours, swirling round in brilliantly contrasting hues. Not that this was merely about collage but a rethink of garment construction, experimenting with colour, cut and choice of fabric. Among them, Opening Ceremony took the eyes on a journey with diagonally offset seams among larger-than-life proportions and a boldly angular cut. Marc by Marc Jacobs and Phillip Lim  offered relentless assaults on the senses with mash-ups of contrasting fabric and seam lines along every possible angle, while Narciso Rodriguez worked grid-like horizontal and vertical lines and a stark monochrome colour scheme into fluid drapes.

The distinctive angularly flared and tailored silhouette of the 70s remains a key talking point this season, yet many of the diagonally offset cuts and fits seen here added a contemporary, shape-shifting dimension to the trend. It was unlike the decade's handicrafts-inspired paradigms that were also recently referenced. It has its own DIY-inspiring potential in the use of fabrics and panelling, as well as - well - taking things apart and putting them back together differently. This is more than just pastiche; it is taking distinctive features, like the 70s silhouette, and reinventing them in a way that's still recognisable in its references. When referencing the past, the only way to stop history from repeating itself is to mix it up a little.

Saturday, 14 February 2015

DIY my Valentine - a 20 minute DIY tutorial inspired by Marc By MarcJacobs Open Heart Stud Earrings

A quick DIY you can learn by heart.

Owing to apathetic moping, this DIY tutorial will fit neatly under the category of Valentine's Day leftovers - time zones permitting - a category which, I appreciate is best associated with discounted chocolate but, given the relative neutrality of the versatile heart motif and the comfort that there's always next year I thought I'd share this 20-minute tutorial with you.

You will need...

Picture hanging wire.

Two earring studs.

Soldering iron and solder.

Long-nosed pliers that can cut wire (or, failing that, long-nosed pliers and all-purpose scissors)

Pink nail polish.


Quite easy

While the project, itself, is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, it has its fiddly moments and helps to have a touch of manual dexterity.


10-15 minutes per earring, excluding the time it takes for your soldering iron to heat up.

You will heart it

Cut about 10cm of wire and loop it around the stud in the middle. 
Bend the wire into a heart shape and twist the two ends together at the bottom with your pliers.
Cut away the excess wire at the bottom.

Attach the wire to the stud at the top and fix the wires together at the bottom by soldering them.

Cover the wire with pink nail polish.

Quick, simple and perfect for throwing together at the last minute, much like my Valentine's Day plans.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Time is stripe - How to DIY metallic stripes on a top

Now that fashion's on its 'metal'...

Two reasons to keep the fleeting party season dream alive with glitter and related matters: first of all, metallics are to remain totally a thing for the (technically) upcoming season (spring, in other words, depending on whether you follow fashion in the traditional predictive sense or the  real-time online sense) and secondly, as overrated as new year's eve is (in practice, at least) its one use is to serve as a retrospectively-inclined distraction from the egregiousness of Valentine's day. Still, enough about the involuntary pity I feel for those who are 'taken' and socially obliged to splash out in order to validate it! Also, while I appreciate that it's not very fashion to display cynicism towards the idea of romance or disapproval for paying £50 for a taxi because of the calendar date, Chic Cheat and I are all about enjoying the escapism of fashion without the cost; what we lack in money and expenditure we make up in creative problem-solving.


PA.R.O.S.H. t-shirt (clipped to

You will need...

 NB: I used metallic green lycra, which you can find in shops that sell fabric or dance costumes.

While you can use a slim-fitting top, make sure it  does not have to stretch when you wear it or put it on, otherwise the  metallic stripes will come off (yes I did just learn that the hard way in this instance).


Very easy

Can you draw straight lines? Can you cut straight lines? Can you iron things before the spectre of unprecedented boredom sneaks up on you, with the revelation that two minutes goes strangely slowly when you're trying to time it exactly, with no distractions and repeat the process ten or so times? Then this one should be a doddle for you.


About half an hour (mine took longer because I ran out of spray glue (which was caused by poor planning and multiple projects beforehand, rather than insufficient supplies, I can happily assure you).

Stripes for the picking

Monday, 2 February 2015

Convert-a-skirt - how to transform a maxi skirt into trousers

Those who know me and all that I like to indulge in when left alone in a walk-in wardrobe that's home to a treasure trove of bric-a-brac from yester-millenium, could probably hazard an educated guess at what I might do when I stumbled across a genuine '60s batik-patterned skirt - and no, it wouldn't be to let it go to waste. Maybe it's the up-and-coming trend for all things hippie, and the slew of crafty new-age pastiche we're seeing, that prompted me to rethink its place as a long-forsaken denizen of the dressing-up box. We're often told that this post-modern era is one of reinventing looks and concepts through novel combinations of paradigms, rather than creating totally new ideas. I like to think that I did my bit in this evolutionary process with this quick, easy skirt upcycle that also references the current slouchy trouser trend.

I chose to detail the process in infographic form; just to avoid confusion, you need to try the skirt on and start by pinning the front fabric to the back at the crotch. I used a safety pin to avoid nasty. painful accidents (ouch!) and recommend you do the same. It is also easier to hold in place when you take the skirt off; you would need to do this and pin the skirt flat - you might need to iron it to ensure both sides are completely flush - when cutting along the centre-back seam.

Turn the skirt inside-out to sew the trouser seams together. You will probably need to adjust the width, even if you're making palazzo pants. If so, make extra sure both legs are the same width.

Glad I could be of help. Though I say it myself, I was pleased with the result (and yes that might be a half-baked attempt to justify my facial expression in the picture) and hope that you're pleased with yours too!