Paris Fashion Week AW14/15 Series: Stella McCartney







StellaMcCartney-AW14-styleonthecouchIn London’s Browns Boutique a year or so back, I fell in love with a Stella McCartney dress from her AW12/13 collection. It was a beautifully feminine and flippy little number – a sporty luxe skating dress with tweed and silk fabrics in electric blue, black and white colouring.  From that moment I began to view Stella McCartney as a wonderfully grown up designer, styling clothes for real-world women rather than just creating something that looks good on the catwalk.

For AW14/15, McCartney brings us slouchy, cosy sweater dresses you’d want to throw on at the weekend, pull your hair back in a pony tail and skip straight out of the house to brunch at The Riding House Cafe.   And my love of Stella’s mini dresses continues – they remained short and sporty with some mesh and fringing.

“What Stella girl in her right mind wouldn’t want one of those huge tweedy salt ‘n’ pepper knits, all stretched out, with sleeves that extend way past fingertips? There was a panoply of them here this morning and they’re exactly the sort of thing her woman wants to pull on and skip out in, paired with nothing but bare honeyed skin, looking easy-breezy ravishing. They even came with matching knitted across body bags. (Stella isn’t the only designer exploring the concept of head-to-toe knit dressing, it’s shaping up to be a big trend).

This was an especially confident outing that tapped all that is good about McCartney’s repertoire: tailoring, need-it-now knits, and mini evening dresses with a sporty accent. That sportswear theme also came across via hiking rope fashioned into swirly appliqué across sweaters, she did the same thing with chunky silver zips too, recalling the work of British designer, Helen Storey.” –

I wish Stella had included more of her signature dresses over the tailoring and the knits, but as AW collections go this was a lovely offering with so much for Stella fans to like.

Images: Sonny Vandevelde, Dazed Digital.

Paris Fashion Week AW14/15 Series: Alexander McQueen





McQueen-AW14-styleonthecouch-4“Where are my dragons?” might the gasps have been at the start of this year’s offering from Alexander McQueen: the usual dark, ethereal mix of drama and haute couture – Rivendell meets Games of Thrones; ravens mixing with ghostly apparitions along the catwalk.

Burton’s oh so lovely way of retaining the McQueen signatures (the love of Victorian corsetry, frock coats,) whilst modernizing and softening the brand’s creations (Burton once told Women’s Wear Daily “There’s always got to be some darkness, because otherwise you don’t appreciate what’s light”) was present in the sheer white gowns embroidered with stars and moons in the show’s finale.  She also brought us broderie anglaise dresses with layered, billowing sleeves and – all very beautiful. My favourite design was a black sheer dress embellished with feathers that grew into a full feather skirt.

Burton gave us heavy trapezed layers of fur that swung as they trampled over growing grassy mounds as hooded parkas and laden jackets or fell out into cape cuts; white broderie anglaise folksy peasant dresses whose sleeves were swollen out into place and then tamed back in by ribbon bows; high Tudor and Stewart collars for regal effect on monochrome flowing gowns; and then indigo-to-green mossy print and moss textured variations of all of the above; then followed by mosaic-shine incarnations too which were surely the social media money shot of the evening.

It was sinister and fairytale all at once with a nod to a Midsummer Night’s Dream in there too, the corn rows so tightly wrapped up in the models’ hair the perfect segue between past and present that Burton so well has a handle on.” –

Gothic beauty, another wonderful hit from McQueen.

Images: Dazed Digital.

Paris Fashion Week AW14/15 Series: Isabel Marant





IsabelMarant-AW14-styleonthecouch-5If there is one thing I have learned from having a best friend who is French, it is the power of the a silk t-shirt or blouse, slim jeans and ankle boots.  Yes, that just-rolled-out-of-bed-and-can’t-be-bothered look, done so well by the French woman with that je ne sais quoi – whether it’s last night’s clothes (slouchy tee, grey jeans) or that perfectly coordinated designer outfit, the French woman always seems to look positively wonderful.

This is why, Blog Reader, Isabel Marant somewhat frustrates me.  Try as I might, as an Englishwoman, I have never quite been able to perfect her blend of essence-of-tomboy and bohemian chic.  Vogue says of Marant: “Equal parts confidence and nonchalance—that’s what makes this Gallic girl so enviable, and no one captures it better.”

For AW14, Marant ushered in understated power dressing:

“If you’re her kind of girl, you’re free-spirited, bohemian, cool and casual with a dishevelled chic that blurs the lines between what you got up to in the day and what you got up to at night. Today, that’s exactly what we got for military styles incarnated in evening shimmer, khaki knits, short skirts and big shoulders – in a stole-your-boyfriend’s-jacket meets Decarnin’s Balmain way.

The shoulders got bigger and more pronounced as the collection continued and a combination of trophy day-dressing ensued. A simple shirtdress rendered in silver metallic suddenly had nighttime appeal, while camouflage flourished in sequins, knitted trousers were punctuated with shimmer, and a sparkly T-shirt came worn with a supersized fluffy cardigan.” –

I really liked the paper-bag waist trousers, the quilted pants and the boots wrapped, bondage style, with leather straps.  If only I could just morph myself into this look of perfectly tousled French cool, I’d opt for a wardrobe full of Marant.

Photos: Sonny Vandevelde.