LK Bennett Shoes: Born in Britain, Made in Spain

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LK Bennett Shoes

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LK Bennett Shoes

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LK Bennett Shoes

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There are those brands who come and go, and there are those brands whom you come to love and rely on again and again for beautiful design and comfort.  LK Bennett, who I adore for their attention to both great fit and glamour, are one of ‘those’ brands for me and my style. Back in 2012 I reviewed their collaboration with Caroline Issa – Fashion Director of Tank Magazine – a series of playful and unique heels inspired by Issa’s travels in and around Thailand.  Themes of neon, embroidery, oriental flowers and the occasional pom pom made for a delightful summer collection, perfect for giving you that spring in your summer step.

This fashion-forward collaboration with Issa was a phenomenal success, and Issa remains involved with the brand today.  Recently Caroline worked with LK Bennett on this video to promote the high quality of craftsmanship that goes into the brand’s designs, a project that took Issa to Spain to witness the creation of LK Bennett’s heels in their main factory in a rather unassuming corner of Alicante, chosen for its artisan approach to design; where skills from the factory workers are passed down from generation to generation.

The video is an interesting demonstration of the process that goes into the creation of one of the brand’s signature designs, their Floret court shoe, which I styled in this blog post. Did you know that there are up to 70 steps that go into the process of creating a basic court shoe? For more detailed styles, as many as 100+ steps are involved.

LK Bennett are proud to combine British heritage with Spanish artisanal expertise.  The Floret court, with her perfect heel height, pointed toe and timeless silhouette, is a firm fashion favourite.  Head over to LK Bennett today to discover more about the making of this iconic shoe.

Wearing: Floret patent leather court heels, LK Bennett.  Dress: Cameo The Label.

Photography: With thanks to James Chastney.

Fringe Benefits: Styling with Sassoon Salon London

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My instagram followers will already know that a couple of weeks ago I had an appointment with the Sassoon Salon in Central London for a little bit of a re-style.  I worked with uber-stylist Lidia Marino who has handled my curly locks many times before: this time I set her a new challenge, to work in a fringe for new style for me.

Fringes seem a very a beautiful way to enhance the face shape and provide more styling opportunities.  Lidia approved right from the start: “From shorter and above the brow to softer and a heavier bowl shape, fringes will always look chic and cool and will instantly freshen up your look”.

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How do I choose my fringe style? 

Lidia believes that a side-fringe is the easiest to maintain and suits most people.  She commented: “Fuller fringes are flattering on girls with big eyes and an oval-shaped face.”  To get the best from your fringe, I learned that you need to blow-dry in the direction you want it to fall (a Ceramic Vess Brush will ensure a sleek finish) and finally spritz with a hairspray.  Lidia used Sassoon Professional, Heat Shape on me as I have super curly hair: “This product is the perfect daily blow-dry spray with heat styling protection that gives amazing shine without making your look greasy and weighed down” Lidia told me.

Spring Summer 2014 styling tip: 

Keep your fringe super sleek and keep the texture rough at the ends of your hair. Apply heat protector throughout the lengths of the hair, then dry smooth with a hair dryer, a large paddle brush will ensure a sleek finish. Style your fringe and use the straighteners through if necessary. Finish by running product through with your fingers to break it up, concentrating on the ends for a tousled, undone look.

Deciding whether or not to take the face-framing plunge can be one of the most unnerving style commitments you can make. Lidia Marino gave me her top tips on what you should consider…

THE TRIMS:  Hair grows about a half an inch a month and just a fraction of that amount will change the way your fringe compliments your style. Lidia suggests popping into your salon for a fringe trim every two weeks to keep it perfectly polished.

EXTRA STYLING TIME IS NON-NEGOTIABLE:  Fringes take styling priority. If you’re in a rush, slightly dampen just your fringe, then blast strands with a hair dryer to reshape them.  However, for a more lived-in finish gently lift the roots with your fingers as you blow-dry.

WORK WITH, NOT AGAINST, YOUR HAIR TEXTURE:  When you have finer hair, getting fringes can create instant volume, simply because the front section of hair appears thicker. For thick, even coarse or wavy hair, opt for a longer fringe that can easily be pushed to the side and having a little movement to hair actually works with the finish. 

DITCH THE STRAIGHTENER:  A hot iron to smooth strands of your fringe is for sure a fast fix. Only go over hair quickly with an iron if hair is very coarse or curly, otherwise, a hair dryer and brush is all you need. Using a paddle brush pull the hair at the root, pull it straight through to the ends without curling them under, then repeat until hair is completely dry. Lidia reminds her clients point the hairdryer in downward direction and use lots of tension to pull the curls straight. 

With thanks to Sassoon Salon for the styling.  Visit the Sassoon Salon Website to find your nearest salon and book your appointment!

Photo: Beth Morton.

Under the Boardwalk: Cropped Tops & Warm Coats

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Zara-crop-top-styleonthecouch-1Cropped tops and warm coats, you say? Yes, Blog Reader, welcome to a beach shoot in the East of England.  Best laid plans and all that…

Last week I hung out with photographer James Chastney in Great Yarmouth, one of those wonderfully predictable English seaside towns (cue: rain, wind and umbrellas) full of old amusement rides, candy floss kiosks and the obligatory carousel.  In between dodging showers during which we challenged each other in the arcades we found some shelter underneath the pier (not so much shelter from the wind perhaps!) for some photos.

I’m always about keeping things simple with black, white and denim and summer whites in particular seem such hot property for 2014. Hence the investment in this simple tee with a twist here.  I swear that some of the most amazing pieces from Zara come and go in the blink of an eye – not only did I spy this Balenciaga-style cropped, frilled and layered top in store without getting a whiff of it on the Zara website beforehand; I couldn’t find the link back to the style by the time I wrote this post two weeks later. In the hope it may appear again – here is a link to some similar styles.  Wear with high-waisted jeans or full skirt, or pair with white trousers if you dare.

It’s a long bank holiday weekend here in England, which for me means lots of free time after a very busy week (you’ll notice the absence of posting, due to work and traveling here there and everywhere).  Tonight I’m spending some time catching up on my favourite blogs and browsing online.  I’m also finishing off some posts about my recent trip to Iceland, so check back soon if you want some travel and shopping trips for Reykjavik and beyond.

Wearing: Zara top; ASOS Ridley high-waist jeans; Marks & Spencer coat; Shoe the Bear sneakers.

Photographer: The awesome James Chastney.

Make-up artist: With thanks to Flamingo Amy.