SS11 Fashion trend: White

WHITE HOT!!

Monsoon's high street take on romantic white - dress £95

The colour white has long been a key player in our summer wardrobes and on the SS11 catwalks proved no different as we saw designers like Versace, Calvin Klein, Narciso Rodriguez, Nicole Farhi, Yves Saint Laurent and Stella McCartney using dazzling white as a stark contrast to bright colours and bold prints.

We were given plenty of ways to wear the trend too, from crisp, sleek and tailored favoured by Stella McCartney; relaxed, casual and loose-fitting at Calvin Klein or lacy, romantic and boho which we saw at Erdem, Chloe and Emilion Pucci respectively.

                

Romantic vs Minimalist

From Chloe, to Erdem to Dianne Von Frustenberg, designers had us falling hard for the romantic and sexy allure of white, mixing it up with lace, crochet, embroidery, ruffles and sheer, floaty layers. 70’s influences were rife on the SS11 catwalks and when it came to the white, romantic vibe we saw cool, hippy and bohemian girls in white maxi dresses and skirts, embroidered waistcoats, delicately ruffled tops and lace work peasant tunics.

 

Personally, I fell in love with the soft, relaxed and boho looks put together by Alberta Ferretti and Emilio Pucci – the layering, details and movement of garments were gorgeous! The most striking interpretation of the trend was at Dolce and Gabbana, whose beautiful all-white collection was filled with lace and broidery Anglaise. You can get the look for less on the high street at New Look, River Island, Miss Selfridge and Next. Accessorise with stacks of bold silver bangles and necklaces and team white trousers with an embroidered waistcoat and tan wedges.

In contrast to this soft, romantic feeling, we were also given a new take on white in crisp, tailored and minimalist styles. Chic, sleek and seductive with a nod to the glamour of the sexy 70’s, the white trouser suit is this years sleek alternative to a party dress, with the white blazer promising to be a key investment for your summer wardrobe!  

For the Calvin Klein Collection, Francisco Costa embraced minimalism like no other this season with long dresses and wide-legged trouser suits sashaying down the catwalk. Stella McCartney also gave us the ultimate chic summer statement with covetable tailored suits and waistcoats in luxurious silks, long jackets and flattering high-waisted, tapered trousers. The look is relaxed, cool and seriously sexy – the best places to find fairly affordable high street versions of this trend would be Zara and Warehouse.

How to wear the look

The easiest way is to invest in a white blazer and maxi dress or skirt; pair white trousers (if your lucky enough to have the pins to pull them off!) with a crochet/lace waistcoat and opt for plenty of accessories in silver or earthy tones. To really embrace the trend wear head-to-toe white, like below!

Warehouse sleek white Jacket £85 Trousers £55 Hat £16

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Key 2011 Fashion Trend: Bold Colour

COLOUR ME BOLD!

Right now rain is battering wildly against the window, yesterday it was snow and for as far as I can remember its been grey skies all round … yes, the good old British weather does make it hard to believe that spring is really here! But its being shouted loudly from the pages of every style bible; its time for us to embrace this season’s trends, as the SS11 catwalk collections are now available to buy and their influence is once again penetrating the high street. Among them, thankfully, is one pervading trend that will prove a surefire antidote to our current melancholy; bright, bold, beautiful colour!

From bright orange and pinks, acid greens, canary yellow, ultra violet, electric blues and turquoise, last season’s catwalks were drenched in a crayola cocktail of unashamedly vibrant hues. Of all the fashion weeks, Milan is regarded as the ultimate trend setter and, as its designers proved, the fashion capital of the world was retaining its strong stance on colour.

Gucci screamed it from the off, as supermodel Raquel Zimmerman opened the show in an orange blazer, purple bandeau and tapered turquoise trousers; zingy colours are a must for SS11, here with a 70’s glamour twist. Miuccia Prada agreed, saying “It’s time to be bold!” which she certainly was in her collection of eye-catching looks in single primary colours, bright Club Tropicana prints and vertical stripes of neon and black. 

Jil Sander followed suit, opting for clashes of bold, brutal hues tempered with black or white. She offered a classic example of how to easily work the colour blocking trend, pairing a pink maxi skirt with plain white T-shirt to show impact of simple block colour.

MaxMara, Fendi and Versace also embraced this season’s optimism through brave colour combos in which purple, pink, orange and turquoise dominated. Aquilano.Rimondi gave the trend a citrus twist in acid lime, yellow and orange which was used elsewhere in London by Christopher Kane and Christopher Bailey in Burberry Prorsum’s cool metallic biker chicks. Issa and PPQ drew inspiration from Morocco and India and invested in jewel bright tones.

Along with Burberry Prorsum, PPQ was one of my favourite shows of London Fashion Week as they were one of the few who truly exploded colour onto the catwalk in London. While its set to be a key trend this season, bold bright and brutal colour blocking and clashing is not a look for the fainthearted or body consious! To achieve it, the key is balance. Mixing two tones of colour in silk trousers and a lightweight top in classic, simple shapes like PPQ showed below is an easy way to go, or like Jil Sander, pair a statement piece like a coloured maxi skirt with a white t-shirt, or a brightly coloured dress with a black or white blazer.

If you want to go bold with colour blocking, pick two or three shades to pair together – orange, purple and turquoise seemed a popular choice on the Milan catwalks, but generally citrus hues of orange, lime and yellow balance well together, along with pinks, purples and reds. Even introducing one key piece in a statement colour to a neutral outfit will salute the trend that champions the fun, daring and eccentric experimentation with colour.

Use and abuse; as they say, who dares, wins!

All images courtesy of style.com

Key 2011 Fashion Trend: Ballet – Our Latest Love Affair

 

With the exception of Natalie Portman, Darren Aronofsky’s mesmerising Black Swan may have lost out during the awards season, yet its magnificent costume design by Amy Westcott and cult New York fashion label Rodarte perfectly captured the fashion zeitgeist.

The imagery of the ballerinas and their costumes has been a perpetual source of inspiration for fashion designers, and in terms of trends for SS’11, ballet is once again taking centre stage. We witnessed its influence back in September, when a host of designers sent ballet-inspired creations down their SS’ll catwalks.

The structure and flow of ballet costumes was reflected in dresses with fitted bodices, tight waistlines and pleated skirts either flared out just above the knee or billowing down to the floor to replicate the graceful movements of ballerinas onstage.

        

Chloe’s artistic director Hannah MacGibbon was clearly inspired by the exquisite art form as the label’s latest collection was awash with soft, natural hues, velvet bodies and billowing sheer skirts with plisse and satin trims, while her models took to the catwalk in gorgeous ballet flats. At Lanvin, the essence of ballerina’s movements was captured through sweeping, volumous skirts while Julien Macdonald mimiked the contruction of a tutu with layers of fine fabrics used in dresses with Flamenco-style hemlines which flowed down the catwalk.

      

Erdem was another designer who chose to build his collection around the classic ballerina silhouette with tiny waistlines above full and floaty knee-skimming skirts done in lace and white shoes with ribbons tied up the calves like ballet slippers. For those looking for a less feminine edge to the trend, Christopher Kane gave us his take on the ballerina style in eye-catching pops of acidic pink and orange.

                                 

                                                           

David Koma provided the most literal nod to his inspiration when it came to presenting his SS’11 collection, opening to the familiar lilting notes of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. Taking his cue from the story of the beloved classic ballet, he began with his Odiles dancing down the catwalk in flared thigh high skirts and fitted bodies with linear edges, instilling  both the white and black incarnations of the character with undertones of sexual appeal. He followed with monochrome pieces depicting the princess in transition, and closed, of course, with the all-black Odette, updated in leather.

 

While ballet costume design clearly impacts on the creations of top fashion designers,Giles Deacon is returning the favour by designing the costume for Swan Lake’s Odile to mark the English National Ballet’s 60th anniversary this month. While they have been publically scraping over the spoils of recognition for their work on the film version, Amy Westcott and the Rodarte twins have set the bar high with the stunning outfits Natalie Portman wears as her character Nina makes the transition from innocent white swan to its dark, dangerous and sexually charged twin.

As she completes the exceptionally danced and choreographed piece Nina literally sprouts feathers, as in her mind she has finally killed off her fragile side to become the black swan; it could only be done in film and looks incredible!

As the popularity of Black Swan has suggested, it’s not just the world of fashion that has become captivated by the most delicate form of dance; the ballet aesthetic has hot-footed it to the beauty counter as well, with the public going head-over-heels for pretty pallettes of pink from Yves Saint Laurent and Chanel. Later this year will see the release of Pina, Dance, Dance, Otherwise We Are Lost, a 3D film about choreographer Pina Bausch from indie film director Win Wender.

Ballet’s long and illustrious history is set to be showcased through literature and exhibitions dedicated to the art form; Jennifer Homans, a former ballerina has published Apollo’s Angels: A History of Ballet in which she sets a case for ballet as the central art form to every civilisation, and The Proud Gallery in London is showing its first exhibition dedicated to ballet. There’s also plenty of opportunity to see the real thing for ourselves, as The Royal Ballet and Scottish Ballet will be retelling the magical tale of Alice in Wonderland throughout April and May, and the The Royal Ballet are also dancing Romeo and Juliet at the O2 Arena in June with superstar dancers Carlos Acosta and Tamara Rojo as leads.

BBC4 is currently showing a documentary following the English National Ballet as they prepare for their own production of Swan Lake. While it demonstrates the enormous amount of time, work and commitment put in by all those involved in the process and proves a fascinating insight into that claustrophobic and competitive world , for me it detracts from the magic of watching a ballet production in its entirety. What fascinates me most about ballet is the poise, elegance, grace and beauty shown in the dancers perfectly controlled movements and the pinpoint precision of the mesmerizing chorus and the overall ability to tell a story in such a beautiful way without any words at all. In a world dominated by film, TV and mass media in general, its nice to observe a narrative solely told in movement and music.

As far as fashion’s concerned, I’m really excited about the fun, feminine and romantic ballerina trend and can’t wait untill summer when I can waft around in a tight body suit under long pleated skirts with billowing layers of chiffon worn with cute ballet pumps and my hair done up in a messy ballerina bun. (Okay so given Glasgow’s temperamental weather I probably won’t be doing this but hey, a girl can dream!) It’s a look that’s simple and elegant, achieved in soft materials and floaty fabrics kept minimal in natural tones and clean lines. See below for some high street inspirations!

    

Left to right from top to bottom: Dress Mango £79,90, Dress Mango £99.90, Skirt Topshop £35, Dress Topshop £150, Satin Pleated Skirt Rare £20, Bodysuits American Apparel £65, Ballet Flats Topshop £18, Coral Dress Topshop £35, Shoes Ted Baker £90

All catwalk images are courtesy of Style.com