Three trends

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So spring is the new summer (it’s 23 degrees outside and it’s still only April) which got me thinking, what are the big summer trends going to be? My three predictions so far:
COLOURED DENIM. The coloured skinny jean is even harder to wear then the regular skinny jean which naturally means people will be super-keen to wear them. Of course, I bought my hot pink Silas jeans two years ago – more straight than skinny actually – to wear Matthew Williamson-style with turquoise tees and yellow Converse but obviously being the fashion snob that I am there’s no way I want to wear them now.

MAXI SUMMER DRESSES. These are surprisingly practical. Great for skinny and heavy girls alike, if you hate your legs you can still be fashionable –yay! They look just as good worn casually with cowboy boots or sneakers or for dressier occasions like weddings or parties with jewelled flats and a sequinny shrug. Unfortunately, I think these are going to be EVERYWHERE come festival season and for the entire summer as it’s such a democratic look. Hmm, I think I’ll probably pass on it (especially being a short arse who can’t walk in heels).

SHORTS PLAYSUITS. This is one of those trends you see on the catwalk and think ‘oh please, design something for the real world’ and then, as you keep seeing it you think, ‘maybe I could wear that. If I wore it with a tailored jacket? And wedges?’ The silky ones by Stella McCartney do look semi-wearable, especially in neutral colours and they’re a bit daring so I reckon a dead cert for the Lohans and Richies of this world. The jersey and velour variety from American Apparel are totally hot and not too slutty if worn on the beach. In any case playsuits are already present in all the high street stores so I give it three weeks of consistent sun before there’s a big fanfare about them in Grazia.

Photo: Stella McCartney/www.vogue.co.uk

Happy shopper

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If you want plentiful designer bargains but can’t bear to shop the sales I implore you to take a trip to Bicester Village in Oxfordshire. I was treated to an impromptu visit last week and boy, was it a-mazing. In addition to Ralph Lauren, Dior, Celine, Loro Piana, Tods and Mulberry, there’s a new Anya Hindmarch store which literally had my heart pogo-ing (it doesn’t take much does it?). I bought this jacket in navy wool crepe reduced from £345 to £172 (although I was also given a free £50 voucher). Now if you bought this in the sale it would be all squished up against a random mix of crap and would probably have a button dangling off it and foundation on the collar. Well here’s the beauty of Bicester Village. Each shop is exactly like a regular branch of Mulberry/Tods/Anya Hindmarch. The stock is beautifully displayed, the staff are attentive without breathing down your neck and your goodies are lovingly swathed in tissue paper and packed in a beribboned bag, not bundled into a plastic carrier with SALE emblazoned across the front. The best bit (apart from the Carluccio’s restaurant) is it’s sale time all year round, so if you fancy some select splurging in a civilised environment, get yourself to Marylebone station, it’s a mere hour on the train.

Name to watch

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I keep seeing the cutest shoes. First in Liberty, then in the Toast catalogue. Chie Mihara is a Brazilian-born Japanese designer who studied in New York before interning at an orthopaedic shoe store. After two years designing shoes and bags for Sam & Libby she spent another two years at Charles Jourdan. Her USP is mixing fashion with comfort, how novel but how cool! I especially like her website, www.chiemihara.com,You can buy online too.

Freebies r us

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The press days continued this week. Everyone seems to be wearing a press day uniform of grey skinny jeans, Cons and trench – more variety please ladies! So far, here is the best swag:
Filofax
Ghost sunglasses
Strange but-in-a-nice-way Kenzo bow keyring
Les Nereides plastic alien keyring and phone charm
!t Jeans

Not impressed with Chanel’s bottle of Chance perfume. More imagination needed next time.

Star attraction

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G Star unveiled its spanking new footwear range G Star Raw this week. I don’t know what I was expecting – maybe some sort of rugged work-boot affair – but I wasn’t expecting this. The main attractions are some gorgeously-made pared-down boots with chunky stack heels, almond toes but understated details. Colours are strictly neutral black, brown or grey and branding is thankfully minimal. The surprise is the pricing. From £40 for a Stan Smith-style trainer to £180 for the knee boots these are pretty affordable. They hit the stores (USC, Office, G Star) in August but I’m getting this preview pair (see above) to try out. Lucky me, I’ll report back.

Right Said Fred

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Oh gosh, Fred Perry really are stepping up their game. A trip to their new showroom in Holborn revealed a huge collection for autumn/winter– big on accessories, shoes and designer collaborations. A cool intern called Lola showed me the range and I have to say, it’s pretty damn exciting.

From the designer collaborations I’m loving the Jessica Ogden chunky boat neck knits in two tone stripes and Peter Jensen’s genius grey pique tennis dress. However, the star attraction was the showroom itself. Kitten out in gorgeous Castle Gibson-esque drapers drawers (but not in a contrived way) with original mod and punk 7-inch sleeve artwork adorning the walls, the environment really sums up the roots of the label without overdoing it.
My Fred Perry wishlist:
Porkpie hat
Dogtooth Harrington jacket
Ruffle placket stripy knit – very Sonia Rykiel
School-girl grey V neck jumper

Bag lady

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Chanel’s press day was something of an anti climax. Last season (ie this season, spring-summmer) was all futuristic perspex and vinyl. The autumn winter offering didn’t have much of a theme but I did pick up on a white patent Beatle boot – so clearly the 60s theme does continue. Other than the fur earmuffs, scarves and ski gloves (yawn) the big story was quilted chain strap bags. It’s the turn of jewel brights and primary colours so think tomato red, turquoise, yellow and orange plus a rather special silver mesh chain-strap bag. If you’re over the classic chain-strap bag you might prefer the vintage-look minaudieres. Of course, you can’t auctually put anything IN them, but hey, why would you want to do that?

Jean genius

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Levis invited me to their ‘new fits’ presentation last week. They launch in June and I don’t have pics but it’s all good. I liked their 471 higher wait skinny jeans. They’re not an extreme ‘fashion’ high waist but just sit on the natural waistline, yet since we’re so used to hipsters it’s a style that looks new. The super-sophisticated dense black wash was my favourite. Then there’s the 770 bow leg jean. It looks vastly better on the body than on the hanger and the idea is it’s cut to deliberately scrunch up at the hem. But the standout pieces for me were the dresses. Yes, Levi’s is stepping away from the jeans –woo hoo! These cool babies launch in August so keep your eyes peeled.

Exceedingly good

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So you think Kipling is all naff bags with a sad monkey keyring? No way Jose, ex-Celine designer Isabelle Cheron is now on board as creative director so next season is all about satin-nylon holdalls a la Longchamp and printed velvet Le Sportsac stylee. Kipling’s growing up and I’m behind them 100%! (PS Did you know the monkeys all have names and are named after the staff who work there…?)

Ooh controversial…

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Simon Doonan, Creative Director of Barneys, New York has been quoted in the UK press as saying Kate Moss is “a working class slag from a crap town, like me.” Cue defensive counter-quotes from a Croydon Council bod (“Croydon is a vibrant place to live with great shopping”) and TopShop’s optimistically misguided PR (“I think he is trying to say that Kate is playing to her strengths and can appeal to the masses”). Well, it doesn’t really matter does it? As Kate knows more than anyone, all publicity is good publicity. Say what the hell you like, it’s all more kerching for Croydon Kate.

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