5 December 2014

The Christmas List - A Christmas CARAT*


As a devotee of sparkles and anything that shimmers, the festive season is my favourite time of year, thanks to Carat* London, one of the world's leading luxury fashion jewellers, I have the party season covered!

Whether you are looking for jewellery to accessorise your outfit or perhaps require a little gift direction, browse my festive favourites and add a touch of glamour to your Christmas 2014. 

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27 November 2014

The Christmas List - The Ultimate Fashion, Jewellery and Accessories Gift Inspiration

Whoever you are looking to gift this Christmas, I have found the best selection of perfect presents available from fabulous independent British brands in my ultimate Christmas List, also-known-as my Christmas wishlist! 

I have also included my favourite items available from my go-to luxury e-tailer's, The Gift Library, Selfridges and Liberty. Peruse my selection above and shop the page instantly from the links below. Don't forget with Black Friday sales, you might also have a nice surprise at checkout...Happy Christmas Shopping!

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Page One (L-R)
Lemongrass and Neroli Scented Candle, Wick and Tallow
Veracruz Earring, John and Pearl
Mini Lipstick Trio, Charlotte Tilbury at Selfridges
Dainty Kiss Necklace, Laura Gravestock
Alice Teacup & Saucer, Ali Miller London
SW1 Bangle, Whistle & Bango
Leather iPad Sleeve, Tusting
Check Notebook, Studio Sarah London
Infinity Hand Ring, Jessica de Lotz in collaboration with Louise Androlia
Chelsea Flower Shoes, Yull
Titania 18ct Gold Plated Bubble Friendship Bracelet, Caroline Creba
Woodland Mini Blue Butterfly Watch, Olivia Burton London
Oak Leaf Pendant, Lucy Jade Sylvester
The Eleanor Leather Tote, Grace Gordon
Lavender Eye Mask, Holistic Silk
Leather Jewellery Box, Stow London
Rose Gold Vermeil Labrodorite Stacking Ring, Monica Vinader at Liberty
Jewelled Pump, Boden
White Gold Parfum, House of Thara

Page Two (L-R)
Amarreurs Woven Wrap, Claire Gaudion
Jet Faux Fur Huff, Helen Moore 
Cashmere Blend Poncho, Winser London
Cosmetic Beauty Case, Aspinal of London 
Book Clutch Bag, Bags by M 
Edie Neon Pumps, Jemima Vine 
Pret A Portea Classic Fashion Tea Bags, Donkey Creative 
Pippa Purple Glitter, Lucy Choi London 
Lily of the Valley EDT, Floris London 
Haute House Gift Set, Ciaté London 
1960s Vintage Trifari Faux Pearl Feather Brooch, Susan Caplan 
Mini Wallet, Alexa Jay 
Cashmere Hot Water Bottle Cover, Charlotte & Co 
Fashion Jet Set Briefs, Cheek Frills at Gift Library 
Set of 4 Champagne Saucers, LSA International 
Mirrander Kerr Cake Stand, Royal Albert 

9 October 2014

Savage Beauty At The V&A Preview

Pictures: Courtesy of the V&A

Today I attended the preview of McQueen's Savage Beauty retrospective opening at the V&A Museum, in partnership with Swarovski and supported by American Express and MAC. The exhibition will be the biggest showcase of a designer's work ever. 

The V&A is a fitting venue for this exciting exhibition as Martin Roth, Director of the V&A, confirmed how McQueen "while studying at Central Saint Martins (CSM) spent many many hours in the V&A, in the galleries and in the archives and in the storage."  McQueen said of the V&A in his own words; "The collections at the V&A never fail to intrigue and inspire me. The nation is privileged to have access to such a resource..it's the sort of place I'd like to be shut-in overnight." Savage Beauty at the V&A is a homecoming in its purest form.

The exhibition, which completely sold out in its three month run at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, will open on 14th March 2015 and has already sold 16,000 tickets.  If you haven't already booked tickets, to avoid disappointment. I advise you to buy as soon as you can by clicking here)

The exhibition will be presented in ten sections, the first an addition to the original exhibition, focuses on McQueen's London roots. Lee Alexander McQueen was born and raised in London. He learnt his tailoring skills on Savile Row and based his first collection on the city, while studying for his master's degree in Fashion Design at CSM.

The Details
It will be a third larger than the original exhibition, with 30 additional garments, including pieces lent by the Isabella Blow Foundation and the House of Givenchy.

The show’s centrepiece is entitled 'The Cabinet of Curiosities' where more than 100 garments and accessories will be presented in a double-height gallery, showcasing the collaborations with milliner Philip Treacy and jeweller Shaun Leane. The exhibits will be set against screens showing catwalk footage from McQueen's famously theatrical catwalk shows.

One of my favourite sections is an exhibit devoted to recreating the spectacular 'Pepper's Ghost' which formed an unforgettable finale to the 'Widows of Culloden' collection from AW06. Using nineteenth century technology, a spectral version of London’s supermodel, Kate Moss, will appear nearly life size.

View my photos from the preview on instagram.

The finale of the exhibition is 'Plato's Atlantis' the Spring Summer 2010 collection, remembered most importantly as the last collection McQueen was to see finished. To close this morning's presentation we were invited to watch the finale of this runway show, held in Paris on October 6th 2009.  As I sat watching his limitless creativity flowing through the collection and the models walking in the renowned "armadillos", which quite literally staggered me when I saw them in reality five years ago, I felt a sense of contentment that after all of the campaigning, Savage Beauty was happening; but I also felt we were cheated that his lifetime was cut off too soon.  As Claire Wilcox, Curator of Savage Beauty at the V&A, said; "Plato's Atlantis was widely considered his greatest achievement but who knows what McQueen would possibly have amazed us all with next".

6 October 2014

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


Now the Spring Summer show season has come to an end. My focus returns on the current AW14 season. 

Last week, on Buy British Day, I spent a few hours at Best of Britannia. It's an exciting trade show - if you can call it that - as the brands which pop-up are incredibly cool, sophisticated and also happen to be made in Britain. 

It's unlike any trade show you have experienced, there's music, lots of fresh, tasty food, alcohol and good coffee, but the reason Best of Britannia stands out is because this event places the brands in the spotlight and allows us the opportunity to celebrate them.

I could spend ages explaining who I saw and what I loved, as there really was so much to see, however instead, over the next few weeks, I am using my wishlist as a visual introduction to these exciting brands, here at home. 

To allow you a closer view of these irresistible 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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1 October 2014

Spring Summer 2015 Front Row Style


As Fashion Weeks draw to a close I have selected four of the simplest and enduring celebrity looks from the front rows of the Spring Summer 2015 shows.

Lily Donaldson shined at the Burberry show wearing Burberry head-to-toe. This enduring monochrome outfit is one that everyone should have in their wardrobes. Few can go wrong with a luxurious white knit and black mini skirt, layered with a single-breasted longline jacket as a cover-up.

At the Topshop show Poppy Delevnigne sported a Topshop floral printed blouse from the Spring Summer 2015 collection, black J Brand velvet super skinny 485 jeans, accessorised with a House of Holland's furry bag and the most amazing light-up heels by Chanel.  I love how Poppy's look combines contrasting textures, which is a current Autumn Winter 2014 trend. 

Olivia Palermo hardly ever gets it wrong. She's mastered the art of mixing textures, tones and designers to create eclectic, cool and undeniably chic ensembles. This is another example of a perfectly edited look. The pearl adorned leather jacket by Rebecca Minkoff is the stand out piece and Olivia allows it to attract the attention it deserves by pairing it with a light and airy grey knit. The black leather pencil skirt draws the eye down to her well loved, cream, Gianvito Rossi double strap pumps which echo the colour of the pearls. If your eyes are drawn to Rebecca Minkoff's pearl leather jacket, it comes with quite a price tag, currently available on pre-order the jacket is yours for just over £750. An alternative for you to draw the eye the eye down to the shoes is to wear a pearl necklace and keep the jacket alternative with light silver hardware which connects with the grey knit.

Finally my last front row look is from the Queen of shoes, Sarah Jessica Parker. This incredible patent trench by Calvin Klein is sadly unavailable until next year, however the colour is one you can adopt now. The beautiful flash of bright blue is one that can turn heads. I have opted for a similar trench style coat, although for a luxe feel I would swap the coat belt for a leather alternative. Not only will this help you to pull in the silhouette but it will also add another add another texture to enhance the look. Lastly add black accessories, patent high-heel courts and a structured leather clutch.

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Lily Donaldson

29 September 2014

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

Over the last few months I have been very busy working with my clients on lots of exciting plans.  When I am able to let loose on the details I will share everything with you all.

Most, if not all of my clients are British brands who made a commitment to themselves and their customers to make their products in Britain.  A few weeks ago I attended the launch of 'Best of Britannia's' new initiative ‘Buy British Day’, at the House of Commons, which will take place this week on Friday 3rd October 2014.

The aim of Buy British Day is to encourage consumers to not only buy British-made products but also for us to ask ourselves questions about the benefits of being manufactured in Britain.  To keep up to date with all the news and to join in the conversation, use the hashtag #BuyBritishDay and follow @BestBritannia on twitter.

My #shwishlist features fundamentally British owned brands and as much as possible I try to find labels who manufacture in Britain too.  However, despite being passionate about promoting made in Britain brands, the reality is we have a depleted skill set within the British manufacturing industries.  Unfortunately not all brands are able to encompass this into their brand at present.  I think it is vital to support brands who are not (yet) made in Britain, but owned and based here, for the future of their brand, their employees and for our countries economics.  We hope that with this support and when the time is right for them these brands will develop a viable made in Britain approach.   In the meanwhile shift your attention to the brands who painstakingly produce their products in Britain and let's celebrate their efforts on Friday.

I am so pleased to have found my latest selection of covetable brands.  Holland-Street create beautiful printed silk loungerie  - and yes I did mean 'loungerie', I haven't spelt 'lingerie' wrong - Pieces include kimono-style gowns, robes, kaftan-style nightgowns, scarves and eyemasks. The brand was named after the street where founder and designer, Lauren Barfoot, grew up.  A thoroughly made in Britain brand, at Holland Street even the fabric is sourced and made in the UK.

I must admit with my textile fashion degree I often focus on surface pattern design. I am thrilled that prints, pattern and embellishment are now a foundation of our style. At Holland Street the brands ethos is based on textiles which undeniably shows within the pieces.  I love the innovative floral prints, designed in house.  It is clear that Lauren knows exactly how to use print in fashion especially considering her impressive history.  Not only did Lauren train at the RCA but also after graduation was print designer for Zandra Rhodes. To see Holland Street's 'Poppy Red Scarf' featured above click the link at the bottom of the page.

Susan Caplan Vintage is a special brand because it allows beautiful jewellery a new home and cherished owner.  I have always loved vintage jewellery, regularly wearing my Grandma's pearls and scouring antiques fairs for jewellery which came with an untold history from another era.  My first vintage Chanel bracelet was first discovered by Susan Caplan and team, bought by my best friend in 2008. Since then the brand has developed and is now stocked in some of the UK's most loved luxury department stores.  If you're looking to add a hint of old-Hollywood to your evening attire, look no further than this trusted vintage label. 

For some of you, Shrimps, the fashion faux-fur brand will need no introduction. London based Hannah Weiland launched the playful label for the Fall 2014 season. At fashion week EVERYONE was wearing something from the collection. Featuring bright colours and a contrasting Breton stripe, the fluffy sixties looking coat is unmistakable. Another fabulous feature is that the brand only uses faux-fur, allowing everyone an opportunity to enjoy it. My first foray into the sweet world of Shrimps is through their 'Pablo Clutch Bag' which I happily carried this fashion week. If you are looking for something to stand out in this season, Shrimps is the label for you!

Another brand which is one to remember for the season ahead is Lilah. Inspired by classic designs, Daisy Fellowes creates timeless coats and jackets that are perfect for so many occasions.  I found the label when I was researching for outfits for a client of mine attending Ascot.  A year previously I attended the brands launch and took photos of the clothes on mannequins surrounding the space of the Dean Street venue.  When I began to trawl through look books, business cards, emails and some four thousand photos I suddenly found my photo of a beautiful jacket by Lilah.  If you have an upcoming Wedding or beginning to plan your wardrobe for next year, Lilah is your go-to brand for pure and simple elegance.

To allow you a closer view of these irresistible 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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3 September 2014

the ICON 9 - Dries Van Noten's Op-Art Prints

Dries Van Noten launched his line in 1986 and is known for his artistic approach to fashion. Each season the brand delivers a colourful collection with directional prints. 

For Autumn Winter 2014 the collection delivered everything we expect and more. His signature elements were in abundance, op-art prints, florals adorning mannish coats and curves of colour.

As always I want it all, but one of my favourite pieces is this Kaleidoscopic Wool Top, available at Browns. I love how the bold yellow floral pattern is paired with a solid-color background and enhanced with an eye-popping central motif. Wear with a contrasting bold print or block-colour trouser.

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