Friday, February 24, 2017

Sophia Webster Fall 2017

If there’s one thing you can be sure of at London Fashion Week, it’s a surrealist escape created by none other than shoe and accessory designer, Sophia Webster. For Spring 2016 she created the most fantastical launderette, with resident mermaids surrounded by pearls and casually lounging in clam shells. The following season, for Fall 2016 she was inspired by Lydia Deetz and the macabre characters created by Tim Burton with the show taking place in a Gothic church. Last season we were transported to a tropical rain forest, with bright 60s-inspired designs as colorful as Sophia Webster’s Dolly Birds of Paradise, sitting in a gilded cage. This season, Webster transformed the basement of Soho record store Phonica into a winter wonderland, inspired by the giant ice sculptures and neon light’s of the annual Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival. The resulting color palette, saturated in glitter and comprised of shades of ice blue, emerald green and pale pastel pinks was a stark contrast to the designer’s previous shows. “As a brand known for color, for some time I’ve wanted to use a more minimalist backdrop, and a snowy landscape was the perfect scenario,” Sophia said. “It’s unexpected territory for me to showcase products against white, but visualizing this gave me new perspective.”

For fashion-goers and casual observers, Sophia Webster’s latest collection ‘I Scream for Ice Queens’ was an instagramabble, completely immersive experience, with the sounds of Emerald Rose Lewis greeting guests at the door. The singer was standing in front of a projection of the Harbin Ice Festival, while inches of fake snow carpeted the floor. At the center of the spectacle, ice queens sat on thrones more akin to ice sculptures but the real talking point was the larger-than-life snow globe. Last season it was a bird cage, but this season we saw women trapped within the confines of a giant inflatable snow globe. I wonder what Sophia Webster’s psychologist thinks of her creative decision to trap women in each of her collections. However, her genius cannot be denied, it gives viewers the opportunity to admire the models products from all angles and makes for some exciting photographic opportunities. Staying true to her tongue-in-cheek humor, Webster’s other inspiration for this season was none other than snow queens Anna and Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. Yes, it seems not even Fashion Week is able to escape the grips of Walt Disney, rather unsurprising given that Sophia is also the mother of a two-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Disney princesses aside, Webster remains adamant her Ice Queens can be summed up using three choice f-words: “Frosty, fierce and fearless.” 

Ruling over the snow-dusted wonderland were ethereal women dressed in pristine white fur covered snow boots, equally fluffy hats, and frosted French manicures by Orly Beauty. Alongside the fur hats were crystal headpieces, rivaling those of the White Witch from the Chronicles of Narnia. However, the crystal crowns were no match for the jewel encrusted Glacier sandals, which provided a wintry take on the gladiator sandals, thigh-high and covered in a gob-smacking 3,352 crystals, each individually hand-stitched. It’s those mind-blowing statistics which are a testament to Sophia Webster’s creative vision and the dedication of her team to creating enchanting spectacles and parallel universes where her fellow fashion lovers can escape – if only for a brief moment. 

Webster’s iconic butterfly backed Chiara high heels were updated for the season in a stunning shade of iridescent green, whereas speech bubble bags and purses alike carried punchy slogans such as ‘Melt Me’, ‘Ice, Ice, Baby’ and ‘Cooler than Cool’. Alongside the Sophia Webster favorites, were the innovative show-stoppers that took everyone’s breath away. Enter the thigh-high leather boots fit for an Ice Queen, shining in all their iridescent glory and emblazoned with the sassy slogan ‘Hot Like Fire’ and ‘Cold Like Ice’, illuminated in blinking blue and red LED lights. According to Webster, they were expertly crafted but “a labor of love, my team in Brazil and I spent a long time working out the wiring for that”. I can confirm the work paid off, those boots alone are the toast of the accessories day roster at London Fashion Week! 

Images: 1, 12-13, 15-19, 21-41 via Vogue, 2, 6, 8-9, 11, via The Impression, 3, 14 via Refinery29 instagram, 4, 20 via Yahoo Images, 5 & 10 via Rex Shuttershock, 7 via Sophia Webster instagram.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Hot Hot Heat

Wearing: Vintage dress, Asos collar, Chloƫ Sevigny x Opening Ceremony suede boots and Poppy Lissiman sunglasses.

It's official - I've given up all hope of this summer ending and have finally become comfortable with permanently being covered in a small pool of sweat. There's no end in sight to this summer, which also means little to no hope of dressing in layers, wearing long pants or some of the many gorgeous jackets that litter my wardrobe. There's some small comfort in creating outfits which are basic in their construction, but also reference some amazing designers. Today's look echoes Milan-based fashion label, Vivetta and aims to exude the same light-heartedness whilst also carrying an air of 'assertive femininity'. Sadly my red lipstick only stayed on for about half an hour due to the heat, but it was fun while it lasted. Apparently, makeup wasn't made to withstand temperatures above forty degrees Celsius.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Anya Hindmarch Fall 2017

A winter wonderland set the scene for Anya Hindmarch’s Fall 2017 collection. Her eponymous label has become renowned for its elaborate staging, and innate ability to transport show onlookers from London to wherever her heart so desires. This season explored “the contrast between the romanticised notions of winter and wanderlust and the darker motifs found in old Norse folklore,” in spectacular fashion. It was like conquering Everest and the stylish decent down to base camp or climbing over the iceberg which sank the Titanic all rolled into one. The journey her women embarked on was that of epic proportions, with models metaphorically trekking up a mountainous runway while a kaleidoscope of colour danced behind her mirroring the dazzling northern lights. Shades of lilac, dusty pinks and baby blue mirrored those seen on the runway. The fur coats, Fair Isle knits and gargantuan white shearling hats (made by milliner Stephen Jones) were all a loving tribute to life on the mountain, whilst also celebrating traditional leather craft techniques. 

Sensible coats in eye-popping shades of emerald green, egg yolk yellow, aqua and burgundy were made all the more lovely with the addition of fur stoles worn across the arms and bust, and those incredible cut-out shoulder panels. In preparation for their arduous journey, many of the models appeared rugged up in almost cocoon-like states to shield themselves from the cold. And then we saw cashmere hot pants and PVC knickerbockers paired with alpine sweaters, and ski google style sunglasses by Cutler and Gross. It’s moments like those that reinforce the idea that this is imitation skiwear and not the real thing – but fantasy is so often better than reality and in the fashion world, that certainly seems to be the case. Take for example the lilac cape with scalloped detailing around the pockets and a contrasting mustard yellow fur collar. There’s no way the accompanying purse contained an ice pick and grappling hook, things you’d actually need if you were indeed travelling the frozen tundra. But it’s certainly fun to pretend that it could have!  

Bags came in all shapes and sizes, and no embellishment was off limits. In keeping with the Nordic theme, some straps were lined with or in some cases entirely covered in luxurious furs. Others were adorned in paper chain inspired leather straps, while others took cues from nature, featuring curious dragonflies and stylised leaves. We also saw the introduction of modular handbags, bucket bags with artisanal hand-woven straps and those which looked as though they were assembled from several purses. The most exciting news of all? Anya is set to launch her potentially revolutionising and time saving build a bag initiative in May, whereby the woman (or man) can build their bag from scratch and tailor it to their wants and needs. A collection of pouches will be stackable and able to merge into a single carry-piece, which is set to make more women want to play Tetris than ever before. Mind-blowing. A company that, in 2017 is actively seeking to involve the consumer in the design and development of new products. Just another reason to absolutely fall in love with Anaya Hindmarch. 

Hindmarch, best known for her quirky emoji themed accessories has reinvented the much-loved smiley face, debuting a tried and true design in a more enviable shade of gold lurex. Googly eyes and smiley faces were again a permanent fixture, seen on everything from slippers to fur-lined Birkenstock sandals. A brand for those who love luxury but refuse to take themselves too seriously, Anya has once again proven she is a much-deserved and well loved accessory designer with ideas as noteworthy as any of her peers. And honestly, who can go past a rainbow heart-cut out leather strap for their favourite handbag? Now, more than ever we need to see optimism and positive change. And if a quick glance at your handbag is what you need to remind yourself to make steps towards positive change, then who am I to judge? 

Images 1-38 via WWD and 39-42 via The Impression.