Saturday, 24 September 2011

My Favourite Outfit

Brief: Write 200-300 words on your favourite outfit. It could be something you once owned, currently have or an outfit that you admire. Be creative.

The Red Velvet Dress

The tatty cardboard box overflowing with photographs from my childhood. Looking through these I'd grimace at some of the clothes my parents dress me in. What were those purple flares with pink hearts, or that outfit of beige, beige and more beige? Although somewhere, right at the bottom of this box, were photographs where I believe I was a rather fashionable child. Wearing girly dresses and bonnets while picking flowers, or a little blue polka dot dress, complete with a white peter pan collar at Christmas.

My favourite of these has to be the red velvet dress. It had little puffball shoulders and a bow in the same material around the neck. Very much like the pussybow blouses that designers like Chloe and Marc Jacobs favour. Red has since then been my favourite colour, although more of a deep scarlet red than double-decker bus red. The dress was sophisticated yet feminine, even if I was only four or five years old. My parents can't remember where they bought it, and almost 15 years later it is now no where to be seen, but at least I still have the photographs. My style (not including the dodgy teenage years) has since then been French chic mixed with English rose, the dress of my childhood weaving its way back into my wardrobe in the form of pretty blouses and yes, even another velvet dress.
Although this new one is black, simple yet chic.

Everyone looks back on their childhood days, cringing at their outfits, hiding the photographs away for the world not to see. I however look back with a smile on my face, wishing that one day, I shall again find a red velvet dress, and this time, I'll keep it forever.

Written: 23rd Sep 2011

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Paul Costelloe S/S 2012 Opening Show, London Fashion Week

It started with everyone on the move. Men with ladders fixing up the logo, stapling the floorboards, checking the lighting. Just like the scene in ‘The Devil Wears Prada’, Anna Hathaway standing for the first time at Runway Magazine while people run around her, getting ready for the arrival of Meryl Streep, the big boss. I felt like I was watching everything come together around me, and honestly wished I could be part of it. Part of the hustle and bustle, be one of the people with an earpiece and a walkie talkie. It’s fascinating being at a catwalk show before it all begins, before anyone else arrives.

White benches make up the length of the room, running parallel to each other. The end of the room is where the photographers are getting ready, this will be the way the rest of the world see what this show will look like. Little brown bags adorned the front row; I never did get to see what was inside, maybe some goodies for the VIP’s. 

At around 9am, the people started to file in. I spotted Hilary Alexander, Director of Fashion at the Daily Telegraph and Style Guru amongst the crowd and found later on that Ellie Goulding and Paloma Faith were at Fashion Week watching shows too (unfortunately I never spotted them).

Within ten minutes, every seat seemed to be full, and with the amount of people, a lot ended up standing for the show. I was glad I had a seat, and a good one at that. With perfect eye line to where the models emerged in the designer clothes to flaunt it down the catwalk. I was very snap happy once the show began and honestly loved every outfit. Everyone was waiting in anticipation for the start, and as the lights went down, it was as if I was at the cinema. The soft slightly classical piano music began, and the lights came up as the first model emerged from backstage. The first selection of clothing from Costelloe was simple yet chic. Tailored jackets and skirts and floaty dresses, using neutral colours with metallics thrown in to give it a bit of pizazz. It wasn’t just womenswear on show that morning, some rather dashing male models showed off Costelloe’s suits and jackets, again in neutral tones, greys and whites.

The next stage of the show presented the more feminine styles, pretty and lacy. Short white and cream dresses with frills and floaty skirts, and the tailored jackets still worked in there, very French Chic. The men’s again followed in the colour spectrum footsteps of the ladies and had slightly looser fitting suits ready for the (hopefully) warmer weather for Spring Summer 2012.

With the next part of the show coming, and the more vivid colours blooming, the music became louder and more upbeat, I began to tap my foot and even started to nob my head to the beat and everyone knew something was coming.

Bring on the men in vibrant suits, sherbet purples and dark yet ‘out there’ blues that would turn any heads in the middle of London. The silver accents from the first set of clothes moved through to the end of the show for the ladies. Peppermint green and coral pink intertwined with silver, giving the items a day and night feel to them. Costelloe has used classic sophisticated shapes, ladylike you may say, but added his own twist with the colours and giving them that extra edge that makes you want them even more.

I didn’t want the show to end, but as the models came out all together, the room applauded and smiles rang off the audience’s faces. Costelloe’s sons could be seen across the room, I reckon they were very proud of their Dad. Paul Costelloe himself walked out dressed in jeans and a white shirt, kissed the last model on each cheek and smiled and raised his hands in the air, a thank you to everyone in the modest of ways. As the show ended, everyone began to file out, and the black plastic was laid down on the catwalk, presumably to keep it from getting scratched from anyone walking on it. I did take this chance to get a photograph of me on the catwalk, I couldn’t leave without one.

After the show we thanked Justin Costelloe, one of Paul Costelloe’s sons for inviting us to the show, and how much we loved it. Unfortunately with everything so hectic and another show in the same building shortly, Paul himself was whisked away backstage, so I didn’t get to thank him or congratulate him personally. On the way out, we were offered champagne, which before 10 in the morning is a new one for me. We listened to a speech by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson on why he was excited to be opening London Fashion Week. I even spotted Erin O’Connor, she was engulfed in the crowd so I didn’t get to speak with her, but she ran past me later on and I got a photo. My best friend asked afterwards “Is she as tall and beautiful in real life as I imagine”, my answer was simply “Yes, she is”.

Paul Costelloe’s opening show was fantastic. Other people may go to shows, or see photographs and scan past them, not taking it in. I’m the opposite. If I could go to every single catwalk show I would, whether it is someone less known like Paul Costelloe, or someone huge like Gucci. The range of clothing and styles from each may be at completely opposite ends of the fashion spectrum, but that’s what’s interesting and exciting, that no piece is the same as the last. And I can’t wait until next year, hopefully then I’ll be able to attend more shows, after all, while sitting in the third row on the first day, I was tempted to never leave and stay there forever.