2 September 2014

September Jewellery Notes - Cara Tonkin

Yesterday I went on my yearly visit to International Jewellery London to support my clients and also in the search of new jewellery talent. Within ten minutes of arriving I found Cara Tonkin's collection and was pleased to have successfully completed my task. Cara's jewellery is beautiful. With elegant designs and a unique bold aesthetic, which travels through the five collections, Cara's collection is a perfect fit for the stylish, contemporary and independent women. 

Cara blends modern shapes with a nod to the Art Deco and Art Nouveau period and fuses these inspirations to create unique, timeless pieces with a streamlined yet sculptural quality. 
Cara graduated with a First Class degree in Jewellery Design from Central St Martins and set up her namesake brand in Brighton.

I have found my favourite pieces within the five collections Siren, Vesper, Volute, Plume and Laelia. I love the tactile quality of Cara's jewellery which works wonderfully with the current Autumn Winter 2014 'tactile texture' trend. 

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1 September 2014

Label to Love - Amanda Wakeley: Classic Collections With An Understated Seduction


My first close encounter with Amanda Wakeley was during the Spring Summer 2006 season when I was working backstage at London Fashion Week. This was my second season working as a Backstage Coordinator, where I was responsible for dressers and models.  I loved the job as it was fast paced compared to shoots which would involve a lot of waiting around.  Amanda Wakeley was my sixth show and my favourite collection because it oozed style and sophistication from every stitch. Off-white pencil skirts were teamed with cream leather jackets, and fluid soft wrap dresses were belted at the waist.

At the end of the next year I was assisting a stylist dressing an actress for a film première. At the last minute there was a problem with the first choice dress, amid the panic I managed to organise a sample from Amanda's Spring Summer 2007 collection to arrive at the hotel we were based from and thankfully the floaty Grecian dress worked and the star of the cinema screen looked picture perfect! Sometimes situations are meant to be.

In January I attended the launch of the new Amanda Wakeley flagship at 18 Albemarle Street in London.  The new store is set over two floors in a beautiful townhouse, with bespoke interiors designed by Amanda herself.  Everyone who was anyone was there, including Elizabeth Hurley, Darcey Bussell, Alexandra Shulman, Caroline Rush and Harold Tillman to name a few.  Guests sipped the 'Eightini' a special Belvedere cocktail to mark the occasion.

For Autumn Winter 2014 Amanda hosted her comeback London Fashion Week show at the new store.  The collection was very exciting using Japanese Warrior Women contrasted with Geisha women as the starting point. The all-black collection featured leather separates juxtaposed with woollen and sheer fabrics, strong silhouettes and cinched in waists. It was wardrobe heaven for the contemporary style concious career woman. 

Amanda Wakeley has the ability to create collections that are not only undeniably feminine and classic but also which feature an understated seduction.

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29 August 2014

The New Season: Tactile Textures AW14


Autumn Winter 2014 fashion is a seriously cosy affair with contrasting textures. Pair a sprinkling of sequins with stroke-me shearlings and frothy fur details.  Layer textures over each other for a new season interpretation. 

I have found some amazing 'new in' pieces which will kick start your AW14 style journey.

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Simone Rocha at Browns
Roksanda at Matches 
Missoni at net-a-porter.com
Junya Watanabe at net-a-porter.com

28 August 2014

The New Season: New Knits AW14

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My favourite element when looking forward to Autumn Winter is the arrival of the key Knitwear shapes. This season the look is cosy and relaxed with patterned sweaters, elongated tunics and knitted dresses.

I have found 10 perfect styles, available online and on the high street, all featuring with individual design details.  My favourite is AnhHa's statement embellished sweater, wear with a leather skirt or trousers for an effortlessly stylish and key season look.

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AnhHa at my-wardrobe.com
Mauro Grifoni at donnaida.com
Philosophy at net-a-porter.com
Karen Rising at wolfandbadger.com

27 August 2014

The New Season: Buckle Up AW14

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As we look to the coming Autumn Winter 2014 season and the new arrivals in stores, one dominant shoe trend is all about buckles. Featuring both as detail and as a fastening, strap up and show off your new seasons purchase. 

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26 August 2014

The New Season: Shades of Grey AW14


Textural and tonal, Grey featured in abundance on the catwalks with Giorgio Armani basing his entire collection on the colour, adding a little lightness with lime embroidery. In London emerging designer, Barbara Casasola, focused on grey daywear with woollen jumpsuits and polished suits. 

To update your wardrobe for Autumn Winter 2014 team the pale shades of dove, silver and taupe with your darker tones of slate, charcoal and gunmetal. For detail add colour either subtly in the form of metallics or boldly with cobalt or acid tones.

I have found some of the best grey pieces online and in-stores, take a look at my style inspiration above.

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25 August 2014

The New Season: Animal Instinct AW14

Autumn Winter 2014 is taking a walk on the wild side. Firty feline prints are everywhere, from luxurious coats at Céline and Saint Laurent to separates at Gucci. In London, Simone Rocha looked to Snake prints for her stand out leather pieces. 

There are two alternate ways to rock this trend this season. If you don't want to stand out keep the look edgy and minimal.  Don't go over the top and use the print to add accents. Accessorise your look with a leopard-print scarf, bag or pair of shoes.  For evening wear a printed dress, with plain flats or team a printed jacket over a tee and jeans for a subtle feel. If you are brave, be bold and wear matching separates or a striking printed coat.

However you decide to wear it, I bring you my edit of the latest 'animal instinct' pieces to drop in stores and online.

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MaxMara at Harrods

22 August 2014

A Change of Face - Eight Of The Best Watches

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Looking for a new timepiece? I have found eight perfect watches which combine style and elegance with practicality. My favourite is Olivia Burton's 'Big Dial Chromo Watch'.  The brand was created by two friends Lesa Bennet and Jemma Fennings, who met on their first day at, my old college, LCF. The entire collection is affordable, wearable and distinctive.  The vintage inspired designs paired with a fashion-forward branding wonderfully balances our need for contemporary styles with a nostalgic twist.  

If you dream about sparkles, you need Carat* London's 'Victoria Watch' shimmering on your wrist.  The creamy leather strap boasts a rose gold tone metal bezel, adorned with Carat* lab created stones. 

New Look's 'Mink Tonal Dial Watch' at ASOS.com is one of the best bargains I have seen. Featuring a three hand movement, gold-tone bezel and leather look strap, I defy anyone to believe this design is yours for under £15!!

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New Look at asos.com
Michael Kors at net-a-porter.com

12 August 2014

Label to Love - Simone Rocha: Innovation and Experimentation


When I was studying Fashion at LCF, my second year collection was inspired by the textiles of Simone Rocha's father John Rocha.  While Simone is following in her father's footsteps, their style, whilst different, unite with the understanding and manipulation of fabric. 

I attended Simone Rocha's debut SS11 show at LFW through Lulu Kennedy's pioneering non-profit Fashion East initiative. The collection was stunning, I still remember the clean lines, white palette, and cut out panels. It was an instant hit and it is no wonder that four years later the fashion press eagerly anticipate her next collection. 

For Autumn Winter 2014 Simone Rocha seems at her most playful, the collection features a nod to the Elizabethan era, experimenting with the proportions of sleeves on coats and tops, adding a flouncing effect to create a dramatic silhouette. Short skirts were exaggerated at the hips and belted. One of my favourite looks is the red, sleeveless brushed wool check dress, developed by brushing wool over tulle. This is a further example of Simone Rocha's knowledge of fabric and aptitude for innovation.

Simone Rocha is a rising star today but most definitely a megastar of tomorrow. Look out for her next LFW show which will be streamed on the site in September. Until then take a look below for a glimpse of the AW14 collection.

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5 August 2014

EIGHTEEN - The #shwishlist - A weekly edit of my favourite items..

It is eighteen weeks since I started these #shwishlist posts. It all began on my seasonal visit to Pure London. As I sat in the press lounge I realised I had the ability to use the site to shine a light on the independent brands which I had met during the day, these great brands, mostly British, were collectively explaining that they do not receive the same attention as designer brands, in the mainstream press. 

I have really enjoyed finding new brands and I love reading your emails and feedback.
Each post takes about two weeks to collate, from research and layout to writing and publishing.  I also think about the post all the time, as soon as I see a brand I want to investigate it's added to my dedicated Smythson #shwishlist notebook. 

This week the #shwishlist features a few of the names I jotted in my notebook. I am really excited by these brands and hopefully you will feel the same.

When the Doe family's tannery business closed after almost 100 years in Northampton. A set of old sample books, dating from the 1920s, was discovered, containing hundreds of different pattern and colour variations. This inspired Deborah Thomas to design a new collection of bags and accessories using the archive as a starting point and incorporating the samples in the designs. Today Doe Leather is once again made in the UK and producing the most covetable pieces. I especially love the iPad cases made from bridle hide.

Beehive is another storied label which started in 1785. The Knitwear brand create forever classics and staple basics that will be a part of your wardrobe for many years to come. I love the creativity on the Beehive website with the hand-drawn images you immediately feel as if your buying a piece of history.  I have chosen 'The Thoroughbread' for my wishlist as I love a chunky cable crew neck knit. (try saying that fast...!) It is currently available for pre-order and can be made in three colourways. If you like quality products made from British wool, this brand is the perfect fit for you.

Today I'm Me is a British brand made in London. The label blends experimental 3D visions with a 2D world, playing with scale and pattern to create an optical illusion that is practical and desirable. With fabulously quirky design details the bags are noticeable for the right reasons, this is all about creativity!

Linen Lawn was established by Maragaret Appleby, in 2009, to produce high quality garments with a nostalgic and feminine edge. With a focus on print, the collection features a variety of Liberty prints. I love this colourful skirt and shirt set which would work wonderfully for a Summer Wedding.

To allow you a closer view of these covetable pieces, I have pinned everything I have featured to my #shwishlist pinterest board. If you would like to recommend a brand or item, email: moi@sarahhayleyfreelance.com or tweet me with the hashtag #shwishlist.

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