Bradamant: Body(suit) Brilliant

Bradamant-body

Bradamant_bodysuits

Bradamant-bodysuits-3

Bradamant_bodysuits-2A long term fan of the bodysuit, I was excited to hear about new brand Bradamant, and their collection of essential, fashion, and workwear bodies combining the classic style of a shirt or top with the comfort and reliability of a bodysuit.  Whilst you can’t beat a great, slim fitting blouse, I find that the tucking-in-and-dealing-with-the-shirt-fabric-underneath jeans, skirts and shorts problems are erased with the Bradamant range.

Bradamant have created ‘body blouses’ and leotards under the categories of Essentials (the building blocks to your wardrobe) Fashion, (high on style, low on maintenance) and Workwear. My favourites are The Expert; a silk Crepe de Chine style with double pocket detail and buttons along the front. It reminds me of the shirts from French brand Equipment, at half the price.

Here I am wearing ‘The Hostess‘, a bodysuit made of soft modal fabric with an asymmetrical neckline.  I pair this most often with pencil skirts for work, but I also like to style it with my slouchy boyfriend jeans on weekends.

Why Bradamant, you ask?

“Before there was Lara Croft and Buffy, there was Bradamant. She was a sword-wielding, horse-riding, machine of a woman. Bradamant (Bradamante, in the Italian version) has been branded as one of the greatest warrior heroines in literature. As a champion of several Charlemagne legends, she was also the sister of Rinaldo, the famous fictional French knight.

She was strong. Very strong. Both physically and mentally. Regarded as one of the most fearsome female knights, she was an expert fighter who brandished a magical lance that could unhorse any opposing rider. She was feared by many strong and powerful men; an impressive feat for a woman during the 16th century.  All this while being a single mom.

Yes, she was a force to be reckoned with. More than that however, she was a woman of principles. Despite being madly in love with fellow warrior Ruggiero, she refused to marry unless he would convert to her religion. She had her beliefs, and she wasn’t willing to compromise them.  What can we learn from her? Bradamant Bodysuits is more than just a line of fashion tops. We believe in the strength that lies in being female, and while at risk of sounding like a Spice Girl, we believe in Girl Power.

Bradamant is the type of role model we should all have. She’s strong, she’s a fighter and she stays true to her beliefs. We’re proud to have a woman like her as the face of our brand.”

To view the entire Bradamant collection, click HERE.  Also, be sure to read their brief ‘history of the bodysuit‘ for some interesting insights about this style. It’s not all Jane Fonda and leotards, we can thank Donna Karan for bringing the body into the fashion sphere:

Bodysuit history

 

Stacy Chan Clutch Bags

Asos-full-skirt-amoralle-top-stacychan-bag

StacyChan-Bags

ASOS-full-skirt-amoralle-top-2

I probably lean towards carrying a clutch bag with me for going out, and favour them over a shoulder bag or a cross body for that little piece of elegance that will elevate an outfit come evening time.  When designer Stacy Chan approached me about reviewing a bag from her collection of exquisitely made clutches, I jumped at the chance to carry a little piece of luxury around with me. Inspired by Chan’s travels around the Mediterranean, this cerise coloured Imogen clutch from her Elaphe collection features a delightful contrasting light turquoise silk satin interior and metal hardware with gold finish.  It is a style that never fails to prompt conversation around a dinner table (“where did you get that bag?”) and its unique style will see you making it your evening staple. 

I spoke with Chan about her design ethos and love of accessories. Read more about Stacy Chan clutch bags, below.

Chan is also offering StyleOnTheCouch readers a special discount if you purchase a bag from her online boutique. Enter the code STYLECOUCH20 at checkout to receive 20% off your order.

What inspired you to move into design?

I have always loved fashion, but given that I worked in the conservative finance industry, I found that I was often looking for unique accessories to add interest and personality to move classic outfits.  Clutch bags became my go to accessories in the evenings, which always seem to elevate any outfit. After working for ten years in finance, I decided that it was time to make a change and bought a sketchbook with the intention of creating clutch bag shapes and styles that were both unique and also timeless.  After finishing the Handbag Designer Course at London College of Fashion, I was completely hooked and there was no turning back!

What are the ingredients of a great bag?

Bags have evolved from convenient carriers to hold items to truly designer pieces that can really add to much to your look. A great clutch bag can be chosen to complement your clothes, or it can be statement piece that elevates a simple dress. In either case, the materials should be of the highest quality and craftsmanship.

StacyChanBags1

Tell me about your spring summer collection…

All of the bags every season are unique shapes and are inspired by my travels that I show on my website.  My spring/summer collection has something for everyone.  The Gold Cracked Leather bags are perfect for a glam night out while the Elaphe Snakeskin bags add a fun pop of colour to your summer outfits.  The Bloom bags are covered with silk organza flowers and Swarovski crystals for a flirty complement to bring to girly brunch or a spring/summer wedding.

What is your favourite accessory?

Of course, my favourite accessory will be a Stacy Chan clutch bag!  However, it’s not easy to choose among the different styles and I have used them all to match different outfits.  The bag that I have used most the past few months is the Imogen Clutch Bag in Cerise Elaphe Snakeskin.  I love the bright pink colour which I have matched with everything from jeans and a white top to a slinky blue cocktail dress.  I already have a new versatile favourite from the Autumn/Winter collection though, so stay tuned!

What advice do you have for aspiring new designers?

Being a designer is hard work.  I have received a lot of advice from many different people at various stages of business and each person believes they know exactly what you need to do to be successful.  What I have learned is that people have their own path and what works for one business may or may not work for yours.  I listen to as many people’s (often contradicting) advice as possible, but at the end of the day, the most important thing is to find your own way.  Being a designer can be amazing, but there are many ups and downs along the way, so have lots of patience and try to enjoy the ride!

Wearing: ASOS full skirt. Black sheer polka dot top by Amoralle. Bag: Stacy Chan. Photos by Beth Morton shot on location at Camyoga studios.

Don’t forget! To receive a 20% discount on any purchase from Stacy Chan’s online boutique, enter the code STYLECOUCH20 at checkout.

 

Collections: Whistles Autumn Winter 2014

whistles_womens_aw14_look3

whistles_womens_aw14_look7

Whistles AW14

whistles_womens_aw14_look9

Whistles AW14 2

whistles_womens_aw14_look12

whistles_womens_aw14_look14Shot on location at The Barbican, the creative heartbeat of London’s financial district, Whistles Autumn Winter 2014 collection is full of minimalistic elegance with comforting textural accents (leather, faux fur, sequins, knits). You may even be welcoming the end of summer when you glance upon the full range (savvy shoppers will already have placed their orders – whilst they are not fast fashion, Whistles don’t seem to do huge runs of any styles, so don’t be caught out!)

With a beautiful colour palette close to my own heart: black, navy, and pale lavender, a collection of streamlined yet drape-y jumpsuits, skirts and tops (one is also reminded of the aesthetic of Ellery here,) furry coats and cocktail party dresses is waiting for you.

Lilac is a colour that was really important – it has such connotations of twinset and pearls so making it modern feels exciting. Oversized coats were the perfect shape, as if borrowed from your boyfriend. We love the contrast between the volume of a coat like this and a party dress worn underneath… {It is} A playful collection, shaking off sculptural silhouettes and embracing fluid pieces and fabrics that move. Confidence, comfort and chic come together here – we think you’ll find it’s a desirable combination.”

Whistles is one of those brands who provide middle market store offerings but place an emphasis on real, ‘high’ fashion.  From what I remember as being quite a whimsical, girly offering in my younger years, Whistles appears to be growing into an interesting and contemporary brand.  Cool not conventional is how I prefer you, Whistles, and I’m sending you much love for your stunning AW14 line.

To see more of Whistles AW14 click HERE.