Bodice & Flare: PINGHE’s Long Hot Summer

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Pinghe-dress-styleonthecouch-1There are some people who don’t understand black as a summer colour. I (strongly) disagree that summer should be about floaty white sundresses and cropped ivory tees – thought if I had a pound for every time someone asked me “aren’t you burning up in that?” I’d be able to afford a whole wardrobe of Victoria Beckham right now. The science even backs me up – the best colour to keep cool in the heat, it turns out, is black (just make sure the fabric is loose and light).

Happily, designer Ping He agrees with my philosophy that all black in a number of different textures can work in summer time.  In the second of my features in collaboration with the brand, I’m wearing the Caesar Cocktail Summer Dress from PINGHE, with its beautiful fitted bodice and flared skirt with cutout detail.  What other proof do you need that all black can look just as good as a colorful sundress? Visit PINGHE for more details.

Photos: Alma Rosaz. With thanks to PINGHE.

Monochrome me: Oxo Tower Restaurant London South Bank

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Hatch collection

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One of my favourites places to lunch in style in London is the Oxo Tower Restaurant on London’s South Bank.  A favorite for on-location filming (Natalie Portman re-discovers Thor here in “The Dark World”) the restaurant is modern and minimal with wonderful views across the Thames from its 8th floor position.

Their cocktail list is a superb range of old and new: try the ‘Room with a View’ ~ a decadent mix of Sipsmith London dry gin, kirsch eau de vie, chocolate bitters & cherry sugar syrup charged with OXO brut champagne.  My husband stuck to his favourite ‘Manhattan’ (you can take the man out of America but…) and I the champagne, though it was a close call between that and the ‘Mad Hatter’ ~ Chase Marmalade vodka, Kamm & Sons ginseng spirit built with cassis, fresh lemon juice & honey with a dash of 1901 Absinthe.  (I deemed the green fairy too much in light of the long day of exploring we had ahead of us…)

I like the restaurant because for all the chic-ness of the design, the attention to detail in the menu description and food presentation, the extensive wine list and the spectacular views, the service is relaxed and food is very tasty. There is a set lunch menu – my main course of salmon raviolo, leeks, samphire, herbs and champagne sauce was the highlight.  If you find yourself on London’s South Bank and in need of rest and sustenance, do try the Oxo Tower.

Wearing: Hatch Collection long sleeved tee;  Joseph leather pants;  Dune boots.  Carrying Wink & Winn cross body bag.  

Images of the Oxo Tower: TimeOut and Steve Kelly.  Photos of me: William Williams.

Leather, Silk & Neoprene: Vibe Johansson SS14

Vibe Johansson

Vibe Johansson

Vibe Johansson

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Geometric styles interacting seamlessly with body are Vibe Johansson‘s signature.  Danish-born designer Johansson studied fashion design at the Polimoda Fashion Institute in Florence (Italy), followed by Design Technology in Copenhagen (Denmark).  She established her eponymous label in 2008 and her collections are now sold around the world.

Her clothes are described as having dual function. In an interview with Te Dore magazine, Vibe said of her designs: “I work very much with the idea that garments should be useful, I do not divide the collection in daywear and evening wear, but love the idea that people will wear them at any setting because they feel comfortable and special in them. By duality, I also mean that some pieces have a dual functionality or can be altered to serve different purposes, for example exposing or covering up fragments of the body.”

When asked what makes her brand unique, she continues: “My brand combines the best qualities from Scandinavian minimalism and the more deconstructed dark worlds of irreverent Japanese and Antwerp designers. Dark and gloomy meets clean and modern. In my work, I try to avoid clear references to the design aesthetics of past decades. I am very much interested in how aesthetics are going to evolve over the next few years, where technology gets more and more incorporated in garments and accessories and thus embodied in our identities.”

For SS14, Vibe uses some of my favourite fabrics; leather, silk and neoprene, to create a collection of wonderful shapes and silhouettes.  Take a look at more from SS14 and other collections over at Vibe Johansson.