I’m not sure if an outfit can technically count as a ‘#TBT’ post if the first time I’ve actually worn it is today but my NYC inspired combo reminds me of the New York trip I had back in October so there’s my tenuous link!
Now I’m a girl who loves a) a good print and b) a bargain so when I found this Peter Jensen ‘Central Park West’ print silk dress in the ASOS sale just before Christmas, it seemed daft not to make it mine. It goes brilliantly with the Orla Kiely handbag I treated myself to which I’d been lusting after since spotting it at Orla’s AW14 presentation. It’s the most I’ve ever spent on a bag (even at 20% off) but it’s utterly perfect and been my constant companion through autumn and winter, giving a dash of colour to dreary days.
For finishing touches, I’ve added a colour pop of Sephora Cream Lip Stain in ‘Always Red’ and my amazing ‘NYC’ necklace by Virginie Millefiori. I’ve previously blogged about Virginie here (she’s the jewellery designer I Google-stalked and raced across NYC to find as I’d fallen in love with her pieces) and this ‘NYC’ necklace is my most recent purchase from her. You can choose from either the gold or silver plated brass version and the enamel detail also comes in a variety of colours (because choosing which of her pieces you want isn’t a hard enough choice already!). I love how the ‘NYC’ letters have been cleverly combined to create the Statue of Liberty’s crown, making this necklace the perfect souvenir reminder of my trip to New York whilst still being subtle and super stylish!
The question is though, can I get away with wearing a New York outfit in New York? As I’m currently in the process of booking a September return trip to NYC, I feel that’s another tenuous ‘#TBT’ post sorted come the autumn…
If you love Virginie’s designs as much as I do, she’s kindly given me a code to get 15% off her e-shop until the end of the year. Simply enter ‘HOLLY’ at the checkout to be the envy of all your friends…
As classic colour combinations go, red, white and blue takes some beating. A good chunk of my wardrobe seems to consist of variations on a breton theme and I’m always on the hunt for the perfect stripe. I love nothing better than teaming these timeless tops with some dark denim and colour popping accessories to create simple, stylish looks which can be worn pretty much anywhere. The above outfit consists of an H&M top which has been a wardrobe staple for many years and is as close to perfect as any I’ve found on the high street (to the point where I repeatedly chastise myself for not buying in bulk!) and a Topshop denim skirt that I bought at the end of last year which looks equally good with tights as with bare legs and has also been worn to death (and it has pockets which I LOVE!).
In my head this look is ‘classic with a twist’ so I’ve tried to keep the colour palette fairly restricted so that the hints of red really ‘pop’. My beautiful barrel bag gifted to me by Cut Make Trim (which I’ve raved about before here. Still haven’t learnt to not overload it though…) is perfect for this outfit as its timeless shape and colour compliment the neutral base pieces of the outfit.
My red Lotta From Stockholm clogs are another piece I’ve previously blogged about and I love the pop of colour they bring to the outfit and the leather ‘buckle’ detail on the toes echo the shapes found in the barrel bag.
If there’s one word that I can’t stand when it comes to fashion it’s ‘kooky’ and even just typing it makes me shudder and want to vomit in my mouth a bit. I’m all for having fun with fashion and injecting personality but for me, ‘kooky’ conjures up reductive connotations (see also ‘adorkable’ and ‘anything recommended by Zooey Deschanel’) that only serves to belittle and infantilize those it is applied to. Thankfully, Tatty Devine’s creations although whimsical, never manage to cross into this territory. Their ‘Dog On Wheels’ necklace whilst cute, is simple enough to be extremely wearable without crossing the line into the dreaded ‘K’ word (and dachshunds are definitely in this season if Orla Kiely AW14 is anything to go by…).
Finally I’ve added slick of MAC’s ‘Lady Danger’ lipstick (could there be a better colour for making you looked a bit more with it when you really can’t be bothered?) and a couple of coats of Barry M’s ‘Coral’ nail polish to pull the whole outfit together.
As a bit of a reader treat (it’s Bank Holiday weekend, what else is there to do but a bit of internet shopping?!), the lovely people at Cut Make Trim have offered a 15% discount on their beautiful bags to the first 50 readers who enter ‘highheelsandrecorddeals’ in the voucher code section of the shopping basket on their website (oh and they do free delivery too!).
Now I’m not generally one for overly themed outfits (dressing like you’re a character from a Wes Anderson film doesn’t count) but as a Yorkshire lass, I couldn’t let the weekend pass without a homage to ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ which is dominating the TV this weekend and showing the world exactly why Yorkshire is the best place on Earth!
People may criticise the disposable nature of ‘fast fashion’ but I very rarely buy things that I only plan to wear for a season and so even when buying at the cheaper end of the high street, I try to pick pieces that have longevity. I purchased this bright yellow Primark dress several years ago (and in several colours) and it’s still a wardrobe staple that can be worn with bare legs in the summer and a pair of black opaques when it turns a bit cooler. Primark can be very hit and miss and when buying from there I tend to stick to natural fabrics such as cotton or wool as they tend to last longer than man made fabrics and not look ‘cheap’.
I’ve teamed the dress with cream Topshop heels for a 60s vibe and I’m keeping the yellow theme going with Barry M nail paint in ‘Lemon Ice Cream’. No celebration of ‘Le Tour Yorkshire’ would be complete without some snacks and a limited edition bottle of Yorkshire’s finest sauce, Henderson’s Relish, is the perfect accompaniment (it’s seriously good sprinkled over popcorn).
Although I’m not the biggest cycling fan, the last two days spent watching the race travel through some of the most beautiful countryside in England has made me very proud of my home county and for those of you not familiar with ‘God’s Own County’, I definitely recommend a visit – Vive La Yorkshire!
I’ve always thought of myself as a shoe girl and if you were to see the floor to ceiling stack of boxes in my wardrobe, you’d probably agree. Over the last year or so however I seem to have switched my allegiances (or run out of shoes to buy…) and my collection of bags has grown at quite an alarming rate. I think my initial hesitance towards bags stems from my dislike of the whole ‘It Bag’ craze which swept through the fashion world in the early noughties as I’ve always been the sort of girl who once I’ve found something I love, I tend to wear it to death and the thought of spending extortionate amounts on a piece of arm candy (or buying a high street copy) which would then be deemed ‘unfashionable’ a season later just seemed a bit daft. Thankfully the need for statement bags seems to have abated and for those of us who like our fashion to last longer than one A/W or S/S season, the decline in all things ‘It’ has coincided with a renaissance in mid-price, classic, well made bags from British companies. When one such company, Cut Make Trim recently got in touch to ask if I’d like to road test their bags and new website I jumped at the chance.
Based in London, all of Cut Make Trim’s products are made by a small team in their Dalston workshop and their new website is another milestone for the growing brand who also have a stall every Saturday and Sunday at Covent Garden’s Jubilee Craft Market (which is now firmly on my ‘to visit’ list the next time I’m down in London).
The company currently offer three styles of bags on their website – the Satchel (which comes in three different sizes), the Saddle and the Barrel – and each of these come in a myriad of colours including fluorescents and pastels along with more traditional shades which makes it a little hard for the indecisive (i.e. me) to choose which of the gorgeous bags is best! As you might be able to tell from previous ‘OOTD’ posts, I tend to favour an 11″ satchel when it comes to bags (as I think anything larger looks a bit too big on me) but this does mean that I generally have a cloth bag with me too for any overspill. Whilst CMT’s satchels are all very lovely indeed, the style which really caught my attention was their Barrel bag as despite its classic shape, it’s not a style I’d seen elsewhere and I also had a sneaking suspicion that with its 220 x 310 x 190mm dimensions, I might just be able to leave the cloth bag at home. I opted for a dark tan version as I realised recently that I don’t actually own any bags in ‘classic’ colours and as the Barrel bag has such a striking shape, I felt that it didn’t need a bright colour to show it off (plus in my head it reminds me of an old fashion doctors bag and the dark tan will look great teamed with my brogue boots). The website is very user friendly (once you’ve decided on your style and colour options – decisions, decisions!) and delivery was both free and super speedy! I think my only criticism would be that at the moment there is no embossing service offered which is a shame as the chance to have items initialled does make them feel that little bit extra special.
The bag itself is made of gorgeous leather and sturdy enough that the bag won’t lose its shape over time. The gold hardware of the buckles beautifully compliment the warm tones of the dark tan and it comes with a detachable shoulder strap which makes it comfortable enough for day to day wear but also gives the option of turning it into a more ladylike handbag for the evening. Size wise, I possible should have ordered the royal blue version to reflect its Tardis-like properties! At the last count it’d not only managed to fit my everyday essentials (keys, money, lipstick) but also the book I currently have my head buried in as well as a small umbrella which is an essential when living in Manchester. My cloth bag days are definitely a thing of the past!
The quality and choice of Cut Make Trim’s products along with their easy to use website are a winning combination and I’m completely in love with my new bag. With a shift back to quality rather than quantity in the fashion world and a growing desire to know more about the ethics and origins of the pieces we buy, there is a resurgence for British made products and Cut Make Trim are definitely a name to watch out for.
*The Barrel bag was gifted to me by Cut Make Trim for review purposes but as ever, all opinions, words, spelling mistakes and photos are my own!*
Spring has well and truly sprung and whilst the glorious weather makes me think of holidays, all of my allowance this year seems to be taken up by attending weddings (although it has meant I have a legitimate excuse to visit New York in October – outfit planning started before the flights were even booked!). At the start of April I headed up to Glasgow for my cousin’s wedding and my four day mini break not only gave me the chance to finally tour the stunning Mackintosh designed Glasgow School Of Art building but also gave me an excuse to wear my amazing Luella prom dress from the SS09 collection.
I’m a massive fan of Luella Bartley and her now defunct ‘Luella’ label (I’m still in mourning!) and this prom dress was yet another eBay find at just a fraction of what it originally cost. I’ve previously documented my love affair with eBay and regular readers may recognise the Miu Miu heels featured in this outfit as another eBay find (after several years of stalking!).
Along with Luella Bartley, Miuccia Prada is another designer whose genius I can’t get enough of (it’s just a shame my bank balance rather restricts me!). I fell in lust with these heels at first sight and of all the pairs I own, they’re definitely my favourite. The deco detailing on the heels echoed the venue for the wedding reception, House For An Art Lover (yet another Mackintosh designed treasure) and despite the ridiculous height of the heel, they’re surprisingly comfortable and I managed to survive a particularly fast Gay Gordons without toppling over!
Apart from fashion, another great love of mine is literature so anything that combines the two is a bonus! I stumbled across P.S. Besitos’s range of book clutches whilst browsing Etsy and after much deliberation as to which title to buy, I plumped for ‘Dracula’. Unlike quite a few book clutches I’ve seen, the ones from P.S. Besitos aren’t made from real books (I’m not sure fashion ever justifies destroying a book!) and instead the covers are printed on cotton which is not only much more book-friendly but also means that Jessica, the woman behind the brand, can create custom orders if you have a favourite title (keep an eye out on her Facebook and Twitter for more details). The clutch itself is roomy enough for everything you need for a wedding (camera, phone, money, make-up, confetti…) and certainly provides a talking point!
To reflect the colours found in my shoes, I painted my nails in Barry M black with gold glitter tips which also helped to strengthen the tips and keep them chip free all day!
I absolutely love, love, LOVE this outfit and am already wondering if it’d be impolite to wear it to all the upcoming weddings I’m attending. If it ain’t broke etc…
As a dresses girl, my main issue with the spring months of the year is that whilst the weather’s no longer arctic enough to warrant woolly tights, it’s still far too many degrees below ‘acceptable to have bare legs’ temperature (someone please explain to me how all these bloggers and fashion week attendees don’t get hypothermia when posing tightless in February?!?). The return of the sunny weather though makes me want to bring out my summery dresses but my version of transitional dressing (which is basically thinner dress + black opaques) doesn’t work with all my summer items (brogue boots, tights and a spaghetti strap dress is not a ‘look’ anyone should be working, not even in a 90s revival way) so it’s important to pick items that will work.
One of my staple items last summer was this white cotton dress from Oasis. Whilst it looks great with ballet flats or strappy red sandals in the summer, I think it works equally well styled with black opaques, brogue boots and a statement necklace from Tatty Devine’s AW13 collection. For a bright pop of colour I’ve add yet another bag from my Cambridge Satchel collection (it was on sale so I feel I’m allowed!) which also matches the tones in the necklace. My trusty brogue boots that I bought several years ago finally fell apart last week but thankfully (as the end of February is not the time to be trying to shop for winter boots!) I managed to find a near identical pair in the Bertie sale. The Essie nail varnish in ‘Parka Perfect’ which I’ve raved about previously brings a nod of winter coolness to contrast with the orange and reds.
Teamed with a fur coat and a scarf to keep out the chill, this is a perfect outfit to bring a bit of summer cheerfulness to those cold but sunny spring days!
Long time no blog and although I’d love to tell you that my blog silence has been due to the glamour of attending wall to wall Fashion Weeks daaarlings, sadly I am simply a victim of that horribly demanding thing called ‘my day job’. So, whilst the higher echelons of the fashion world are concentrating on A/W14, I thought I’d turn my attention to this season, and in particular Boohoo.com’s S/S14 campaign images.
I’ve been a fan of the monochrome look since I first laid eyes on the achingly cool sleeve of Blondie’s iconic Parallel Lines LP and quite frankly, who wouldn’t want to channel a bit of Debbie Harry?! Not that Blondie are the only band to understand the impact that simple black and white can have as both The Hives and Gwen Stefani during No Doubt’s ‘Rock Steady’ album campaign have used it to striking effect. Boohoo.com’s monochrome pieces not only offer an alternative to this season’s pastels but also show how you can rock the clashing prints and textures trend without looking like an explosion in a textile factory! The colour pops of hot pink bring a playful and summery touch to the edginess of the black and white and demonstrate how sometimes, the simplest of styling tricks can create the biggest impact.
In a change to my normal pastel hues, today’s outfit has taken a turn to the darker side to reflect the doomy skies and torrential rain of Manchester! Now I love a good collaboration, especially when it means I can buy the signature styles of labels I love at a price that doesn’t break the bank so when Carven collaborated with Petit Bateau back in 2012 I snapped up a couple of pieces from the range including this amazing collared dress!
I’ve teamed the dress with boots that I bought in the Aldo sale, my trusty ‘Downing’ satchel from The Cambridge Satchel Company and my Katie Mullally peg necklace which has become a firm feature of my wardrobe! My nails are painted with Essie’s ‘Toggle To The Top’, a glittery dark red, part of their Winter 2013 collection which I’ve *finally* managed to find in full sized bottles!
I love the combination of navy blue and burgundy as it always makes me feel very chic which given Carven’s French homeland seems very appropriate! Ooh la la!
One of the advantages of having very stylish friends as that they’re fantastic at giving tip offs about amazing new designers. Now I must confess that I’ve always been a bit of a shoe girl but since hitting the big 3-0 (not sure I’ve mentioned that quite enough have I?!), I’ve started to think about adding a ‘keep forever’ bag to my wardrobe. The problem for me when making purchases quite a bit over my usual budget (as ‘keep forever’ ones tend to be) is that I end up faced with the tricky balancing act of buying something timeless yet still contemporary enough to not look like I’m dressing way beyond my years. As fashion oxymorons go, it’s a tough one and whilst Chanel continually manage to update their classic bags in a variety of colours and finishes (but eternally over my modest savings), a lot of other designers’ bags tend to be very season led and therefore as redundant as an X Factor winner’s career once S/S or A/W is over. Faced with this conundrum, you can image my delight when Fashion For Lunch arrived for one of our sadly too infrequent weekend meet ups wearing a Kzeniya ‘Dream Bag’.
Kzeniya Oudenot, the talented designer behind the lustworthy range, is a London St Martin’s College graduate and founded the label in 2010. With previous employers as diverse as the Royal Opera House and Alexander McQueen, Kzeniya’s designs have the perfect mix of classic shape with contemporary detail through the contrast of the perspex and brass elements. Curious to find out more about Kzeniya and her designs? Well thankfully she very kindly agreed to answer a few of my questions…
Your biography says that before you started the label, you designed sets and costumes for operas and ballets. How did you make the leap from that to designing accessories?
I originally studied theatre design for set and costumes, so after graduation assisted with the designs for opera and ballet. It was really a fantastic experience, theatre is still my great passion, but I was always leaning towards something slightly more commercial, so decided to try myself in fashion.
I was approached by some technological companies who had amazing innovative materials and who wanted me to create unique costumes with them to illustrate the technology. I did several projects like that, we showcased costumes in museums and galleries and had lots of press, I was invited to conferences to speak about my experience, so it was really fun. My last project was to create 3D holographic prints, the best material for these prints was leather so I started working with leather and decided to create a small range of leather accessories. I enjoyed it so much that decided to focus on accessories since then.
Do you think your previous career has influenced your designs in any way and if so, how?
Perhaps there is something similar to designing theatre sets, when I design accessories, I think of them as 3D objects. Instead of drawings, I love working with patterns and 3D shapes in cardboard.
What do you think has been the biggest influence on your designs and what’s currently inspiring you?
Sculpture, art, architecture and jewellery elements.
When designing, do you have an image of the ‘Kzeniya’ customer in your head and how would you describe them?
Someone experimental, very cultural, educated, who likes to be different, original, to stand out from the crowd and be very attractive.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why?
I am discussing collaborations with various jewellery designers.
As a designer, what’s been your proudest moment so far?
Having seen my designs on so many celebrities and also to be chosen for Vogue Talents and having an opportunity to present my collection to Anna Wintour and Franca Sozzani.
If you could only keep one bag from your collection, which one would it be and why?
Dream bag as you can wear it day and night.
Where would you like to see the brand in five years’ time?
To sell in more amazing stores, perhaps introduce jewellery and maybe open own store.
And finally, what are your handbag essentials?
Notebook, diary, pen and phone.
Having studied one of the ‘Dream Bags’ close up (and then reluctantly returned it to its owner – bah!), I can confirm that the quality is brilliant and the leather has a very subtle shimmer meaning that the bags will see you through from desk to disco (and back again if it’s been one of *those* nights…)! Available to buy through her website and at various online and international stockists, these bags are proving to be a hit with both celebrities and the fashion elite and hopefully it won’t be too long before I own my own dream ‘Dream Bag’!
I’m not sure if it’s a rebellion against the dullness of January but I can’t seem to get enough of pastels at the moment (I’m also partly blaming Miu Miu’s S/S 14 campaign…). I picked up this turquoise (or ‘petrol’ as the website called it) leather pencil skirt and fluffy knit jumper from Topshop back in October and have been wearing them to death ever since! I always find Topshop very inconsistent when it comes to sizing, which is a shame as they had some really brilliant pieces for A/W 13, so I almost never tried on the skirt as I assumed, like previous Topshop pencil skirts I’d tried, that it would fit very oddly. Reader, it fitted like a glove (or at least a glove that gives you enough movement to walk and sit down in) and I’ve since bought an identical one in black.
I’ve teamed the skirt and jumper with my trusty Dune brogues, Essie nail polish in Parka Perfect and my Katie Mullally peg necklace. I love this necklace as it’s so unusual and it always picks up compliments whenever I wear it! I’m busy debating whether to invest in some New Balance trainers at the moment (another fashion ‘trend’ I was rockin’ at least 10 years ago along with dip dyed/ pink hair) and I think this pair from ASOS would go perfectly.