Tagged: Manchester fashion blog

Cause Me Pain Hedi Slimane!

Saint Laurent SS15

I think it’s been established thanks to my previous lust post that I’m a big admirer of Saint Laurent since Hedi Slimane took the helm. Saint Laurent’s SS15 collection was amongst the numerous ones to channel the 70s trend which has dominated the catwalks over the last few Fashion Weeks and has been responsible, along with a desire to dress like Sydney in American Hustle, for the contents of my wardrobe seeing a 300% increase in lurex, polyester and other no doubt highly flammable fabrics.

The other thing I love about the current Saint Laurent collections is that they’re also very easy to pay homage to on a budget. Now, this might not be considered a positive attribute for a certain designer or fashion house and it has made me think whether what I actually admire is Slimane’s ability to style his pieces rather than the pieces themselves. Yes of course they’re beautifully cut, use some gorgeous fabrics and a large part of the price tag is the ‘concept’ behind them but, being lucky enough to own a couple of pieces bought when sale prices have been slashed to ridiculous amounts, if I swapped the label for one that said ‘Topshop’ I’d challenge you to tell the difference. On the other hand, every season I lust after Miuccia Prada’s designs viewing them as exquisite works of art that, unless I can afford to purchase the real thing, I will never manage to convincingly emulate on a budget and any pieces I may end up owning will be treasured forever as relics of fashion history. Fundamentally, being a Saint Laurent girl is an attainable goal should you wish it. Being a Prada or Miu Miu girl is something to aspire to. Style versus substance in the most basic terms?

vintage belt

Fashion philosophising aside, having been a teenage fan of Pulp and Manic Street Preachers my wardrobe consists of enough glittery tops, velvet blazers and assorted accessories gathered from charity shops to be able create my own version of Slimane’s ‘Studio 54’ look. The top came from Peacocks many moons ago and sat languishing at the bottom of a drawer until I recently rediscovered it, deciding it was the perfect accompaniment to the vintage 70s denim hot pants that used to belong to my very stylish mum.

Terry De Havilland Anya Hindmarch

I think my favourite bit of the outfit however are the accessories. The leather and metal buckle belt is a charity shop find that I’ve worn so much as it goes with everything that I now live in fear of either 1) losing it or 2) wearing it so much it falls to pieces. The shoes are a recent sale purchase from Yoox and were created by the ‘Rock n Roll Cobbler of the 1970s’ Terry De Havilland for Anya Hindmarch’s AW12 collection and come packaged so amazingly that they will no doubt get their own blog post soon (it’s completely acceptable to buy shoes on the strength of packaging alone isn’t it?!). The necklace, another sale purchase, is part of Alex Monroe’s exclusive ‘Verity’ collection for ASOS and adds a finishing touch of sparkle.

Alex Monroe necklace

Sadly Manchester is just a bit too cold of an evening for me to ditch the 50 denier opaques in favour of oh so fashionable sheers as I dance off into the night in search of the North West’s answer to Studio 54 but hey, there’s always room for improvement…

Empire State Of Mind

Peter Jensen Dress

Dress – Peter Jensen, Bag – Orla Kiely, Necklace – Virginie Millefiori, Lip Stain – Sephora in Always Red

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. Orla Kiely bag

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!

New York necklace

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…

Scarlet Lady

Top - H&M, Skirt - Topshop, Shoes - Lotta From Stockholm, Bag - c/o Cut Make Trim, Necklace - Tatty Devine, Nail Polish in Coral - Barry M, Lipstick in Lady Danger - Barry M

Top – H&M, Skirt – Topshop, Shoes – Lotta From Stockholm, Bag – c/o Cut Make Trim, Necklace – Tatty Devine, Nail Polish in Coral – Barry M, Lipstick in Lady Danger – MAC

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!).

Cut Make Trim barrel bag

Bag – c/o Cut Make Trim

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.

Lotta from Stockholm clogs

Shoes – Lotta From Stockholm

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.

Tatty Devine necklace

Necklace – Tatty Devine

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…).

Nail Polish in Coral - Barry M, Lipstick in Lady Danger - MAC

Nail Polish in Coral – Barry M, Lipstick in Lady Danger – MAC

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!).

Barrels Of Fun!

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.

Cut Make Trim Barrel Bag

Barrel Bag in Dark Tan c/o Cut Make Trim

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.

Barrel Bag in Dark Tan c/o Cut Make Trim

Barrel Bag in Dark Tan c/o Cut Make Trim

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!*