Stripes and Sparkle for the Sea…

Stripes – last summer we saw a lot of this on the catwalk; wide bands of orange, blue and red at Prada, billowing striped maxi dresses at Jil Sander and fruity striped jumpsuits at Marc Jacobs.  Without a doubt last year stripes were bold.  This spring, stripes give way to florals, but stripes remain a perennial fashion favourite for me – a pattern with lasting charm.  Floral is cute, stripes can be a little more edgy:

Besides, I’ve been experiencing mixed feelings about the ‘prettiness’ of the current spring fashions anyway.  I like to dare myself to be different but the florals we are presented with this summer are now feeling a bit too pristine and glossy for me.  As you can tell, Blog Reader, I’m having a few doubts this weekend about where florals will ultimately sit in my wardrobe… (for a great discussion on this read the excellent and thought-provoking article by Daphne Merkin in Elle about spring’s ‘new prettiness’).

So, I’m taking a trip to Turkey in May and thoughts are already turning to my holiday wardrobe.  I spied this split stripes maxi dress in Anthropologie and thought it was the perfect item for my travels.  Anthropologie have some lovely items in store right now and most of them make me think about holiday wear. I love this cute flared Akebono Halter Dress and these Kivi wedges by Leifsdottir are such a crazy unique style to make a statement in (although sadly I don’t think I’ll be trekking around the ruins of the Lycian Way in these).

There is something quite comforting about a dress you can roll up and pack, then unroll throw on and wear day-to-night… I’m thinking about this dress for long walks on the beach, lunch by the sea (my head is in Turkey already, my body is still in New York City, can you tell I’m missing Europe?!)

Photos: the fabulous Lydia Hudgens.

Taking any trips this year, Blog Reader? What else do I need for the perfect summer holiday wardrobe? Also, your thoughts on stripes?

Wearing: Striped dress from Anthropologie; boyfriend jacket from ASOS; Izabela suede pumps from Nine West; diamond pendant necklace from Anjolee.

Yan To and Young British Designers.

Earlier this year I was the lucky winner of the Young British Designers (YBD) competition to win a dress by Yan To.  YBD is a collective focusing on new and emerging designers in Great Britain, providing a dedicated retail environment for those in the formative years of their label.  The site hosts some phenomenal talent – Yan To,  Olivia Rubin, J.W.Anderson and Eudon Choi amongst others – across the arenas of fashion, accessories and jewellery design.

My dress was to be made-to-measure and I was thrilled to win the competition.  Yan was incredibly approachable and communicative about the fit, style and structure of the dress, questioning me about my likes and dislikes as well as taking all manner of measurements to ensure the final piece would be perfect for me.  We talked a lot about depth and texture – initially I wanted something quite simple (you know me, Blog Reader) but I can now see that with the different elastics; some matt, some with a sheen (there is a close up, below) the dress has a more unique visual effect. Yan sent me images of the creative process as it unfolded in his studio and to be so close to the anatomy of a design was a really lovely thing for someone who adores fashion but who does not have a design background.

The dress forms part of Yan’s forthcoming winter 2012 collection, with many pieces created using elastics, one of his signatures:

I met up with Yan during my trip to London last month to take delivery of the dress and we talked about his inspiration for the new line (a thought process I felt showed a lovely awareness of the psychology of being female) and about his work in general.

Yan explained, “Autumn winter 2012 is inspired by the stripping away of the perception of woman as seen through the eyes of the media, to expose her inner light /dark.  It is realised from the point of love, not cynicism.”  He continued, “For those with a more mischievous disposition it’s kind of like throwing down the gauntlet. ‘If you see me as an object, then check out what’s beneath.  Scared?  Intimidated? Please close the door behind you.  Intrigued? Well…’.”

Yan’s inspiration tends to come from a combination of emotions and thoughts.  He told me that  there are very few drawings in his design process.  ”I prefer to work in 3D either in my head or on the stand.”  His design process? “It’s as much about experimenting with a technique as it is about trying to satisfy an inspiration.”  With a collection of thought provoking, beautiful dresses that are amazing to look at and great to wear I am very excited to see Yan’s future evolution as a designer.

Outfit photos by Lydia Hudgens.
Many thanks to Yan To and Young British Designers for the competition!!  Special thank you to fellow Tweeters Lorien and Jessica from Atelier 36 who I met for the first time in Lahndan town and who came along to see the fabulous new dress.
Wearing: dress by Yan To.  Heels by Dorothy Perkins. Diamond pendant by Anjolee jewellery.