Paint it red

On Monday, I was invited to the launch of new beauty brand, All For Eve. I don’t cover beauty much on here but I wanted to go as two of my favourite beauty buddies were involved. All For Eve is a not-for-profit brand launched by George Hammer to raise money for gynaecological cancer research. It launched its first capsule collection to the public on Monday but has already won four industry gongs at the CEW Awards (the CEW Awards are voted for by industry insiders).

The launch gave us the opportunity to try out the two make-up products, Daniel Sanders’ red lipstick and Sophy Robson’s red nail polish. Sophy is one of the UK’s most innovative nail artists with a client list to die for – French Vogue! Chanel! Tom Ford! Nancy Del’Olio! She’s also a top blogger and tweeter – her tweets are like juicy little nuggets of insider trend forecasting. I couldn’t resist the offer of having my nails done by Sophy’s assistant Zaida. I find it really therapeutic watching my nails being painted and Sophy has created a beautiful, clear red with a great, smooth consistency.

I am slightly obsessed with red lipstick at the moment. In my teens I used my mum’s Revlon Love That Red and it became something of a trademark. Rediscovering it recently, it looked all wrong, giving my skin a not-chic porridgy hue. Ugh. Daniel Sandler’s tip for those having trouble finding their perfect red is to ‘custom blend’ it over your usual lipstick to give your colour more depth and he asserts, “when you find the perfect red, you don’t need any other type of make-up.” (Watch his red lipstick tutorial on Daniel has to be one of the loveliest make-up artists around, we have known each other for years and he didn’t mind one bit when I plonked my champagne glass on top of a display case, obscuring his CEW award – oops. (BTW, don’t you just love that Daniel is surrounded by a Ready Brek glow in this photo?)

The All For Eve range is slowly being rolled out to the best-known retailers in the country. So far, the lipstick is available from and launches at Harrods on 1st May, followed by Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, Fenwick and Fortnum & Mason from mid-May. The nail polish is available from mid-June and there’s a chance to win one on Sophy’s blog.

UPDATE: The nail polish goes onsale from 15th June from

[Top photo:]

Way to go, Ally Capellino

Last Thursday’s Ally Capellino exhibition launch was a treat for the eyes on several counts. Firstly, the venue. Yes, the Wapping Project is a bitch to get to but once inside, it’s well worth the trek. The triple-height space of this former hydraulic power station lends itself perfectly to an impressive wall of bags, topped with gigantic Ally Capellino signage.

Ally Capellino has been in and out of fashion for the past 30 years. Designer Alison Lloyd has gone from clothing design to recently focussing on accessories (running a whole fashion line proved too much of a headache) but throughout has maintained a legion of hardcore fans. The clothes are of the wearable utilitarian variety so you’ll see no feats of McQueen-esque engineering here, which is why this lovingly curated show works so well. Yes, the clothes are displayed but in context, so the designs are hung against suitably utilitarian pegboard, juxtaposed with magazine and newspaper cuttings, photographs and typed notes which narate the Ally Capellino story. As a lover of collage and moodboards, I really enjoyed this element of the show which was art directed by Rupert Blanchard*.

The exhibition incorporates some wonderfully interactive elements. Exhibits have been sourced from Ally Capellino’s loyal customers and the website allows visitors to upload their own pictures of their well-loved Capellino pieces. Happening upon a pair of familiar-looking mannish lace-up shoes (below) I had an ‘ooh’ moment. Readers, I am the proud owner of an identical pair of these shoes! Mine were bought from Ally Capellino’s Wardour Street store in (I think) the mid-’90s. They were in the sale, reduced as they were a mis-matched pair. One is a 5 and the other a 5 ½. You can’t tell though, honest. The shoes are made by Church’s which will explain why they have lasted more than a decade. (Yes I know they could do with a polish.)



Another lovely feature of the exhibition is Donald Christie’s life size portraits. Lloyd persuaded her friends to be photographed, self-styled in their favourite Capellino pieces. These pictures add a charming human quality to the show – what better way to display clothes that being enjoyed by their satisfied owners?

*Check out Rupert’s salvage blog. Awe-inspiring

Gucci Gucci Choo

So last week rammed the point home that trainers are very much back on the fashion radar. Not only did Gucci launch its shinysupersexy Icon-Temporary pop-up trainer store in Covent Garden, but Jimmy Choo has gone all social media-savvy and used an interactive Foursquare/Twitter/Facebook game to launch its first trainer collection. The idea is to follow @CatchAChoo on Twitter to find out where an elusive pair of Choo trainers will be as it flits on its travels around London. If it tweets a destination and you happen to be there, you simply find the Jimmy Choo bag, present it to the Choo representative and say ‘I’ve been following you’. The trainers then become yours, but I don’t know what they look like and how they know they will be your size. Er, maybe you get a voucher? To join all the social media dots, CatchAChoo is also on Foursquare and Facebook. I think it’s a jolly idea but it launched last Monday and I don’t know how much of a buzz it has created as it only has 275 followers on Twitter. I would have expected more. Perhaps the fact that the game is only being played in London has put a few punters off.

Over at Gucci, Frida Giannini has enlisted pop hottie Mark Ronson to design a capsule range of Gucci trainers. Ronson doesn’t have any design credentials but hey, he’s well-connected and looks good in a Gucci suit, I guess that’s enough these days. The trainers are inoffensive but not nice enough to get me to to part with £395 (for the cheapest pair).

Jimmy Choo trainers:

Gucci trainers:

I think I would prefer them if they looked more like Phillip Lim’s AW10 trainers:

Having said that, you’d be hard pushed to find me in any fashiony trainers these days. My Nike Blazers and Vandals have been neglected for years because they just don’t sit right with a skinny jean and well, I think I just generally grew out of the whole competitive trainer mania thing.

Although I did get a wee frisson at the Canoe press day when I was introduced to the AW10 New Balance collection.

I have always had a soft spot for New Balance, primarily because their old school 576 running shoe is my trainer style of choice – classic, functional with just a whiff of geography teacher. Also, did you know that many of the 576s are made in the UK? But the real reason I love New Balance is mostly to do with one Wes Anderson. The nerdy-but-stylish one has the very same New Balance 576s as me, complete with reflective logo. Fancy! Now I bet you wouldn’t catch him in a pair of Choos.

AW10 trend report: Oasis press day

I have enjoyed this season’s round of press days much more than usual, I think due to PRs editing down their rails and not showing every coat, dress and shoe in the collection. Of the high street brands, Oasis gets the most points for putting on a memorable press day*. This season we got a fully functioning Bistrotheque cafe – I can’t tell you how nice it is to start a day of press days in genteel style with posh granola, tea in a cup and saucer, table service and a fellow who comes round to cut a silhouette of your portrait!

Oasis loves a theme and this time they dreamed up a museum setting with accessories displayed in glass cabinets, complete with explanatory cards. Strangely it did have the effect of making you linger longer to look at the ‘art’.

Oasis is embracing British hertiage style for AW10 with plenty of tweed, camel, equestrian and military references. There are jodhpurs, there are saddle bags, there are saucy leather mini-kilts (could they be the new leather ‘short’?). Coats and accessories are very strong and I heard much swooning over the shoes and ankle boots. A capsule collection of Little Black Dresses was based on “taking an iconic piece from every trend we’re feeling good about and putting it into a dress”, as Head of Design, Iain Ewing explained. This included a ’60s one, a gothic one, a Russian one and my favourite – a long-sleeved sheer dress detailed with black lace and a waterfall of cascading ruffled.

The perfect military coat – look at that piping!
Mid-heel ankle boots – you will be wearing them (well I will)

Oasis asked Sophie Ward and Susanna Cole King to write and record poems about the collections…
Amy May serenaded the press as they worked the rails

Little Black Dresses

AW10 trend report: Matches press day

“Heels are coming down,” said my tour guide, Matches buying director Bridget Cosgrave as she held aloft a pair of Tabitha Simmons kitten heels. And these really were kitten heels, not the 7cm ‘higher kitten heels’ I’d been reading about in Harper’s Bazaar earlier that morning. Cosgrave told me they have been feeling it for a while and now designers like Marc Jacobs and Rupert Sanderson are fully backing it. Which isn’t to say long, thin heels have had their day by any stretch. There were plenty of plat-heels still on show, in particular a Burberry hiker-stiletto and Charlotte Olympia’s in-demand cocktail heels. But alongside were all manner of more managable heels – wedges, brogues and a super-wearable shearling-lined Burberry biker.

Tabitha Simmons


A good in-between is the Celine boot with tall, stack heels – classic but sexy. Stealth sexy if you will…

Away from shoes, Bridget enthused about Richard Nicoll. His T dress is a top seller at Matches (“it has a stealth following”) and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a loose, easy shape that suits all silhouettes, but its fluidity offers a dressiness that makes it versatile for work or evenings.

Knitwear news: Lutz & Patmos are celebrating their 10th anniversary with a greatest hits collection. Matches will be selling all the Lutz & Patmos collaborations – Sofia Coppola’s dress, Christy Turlington’s poncho and Carine Roitfeld’s laddered cashmere sweater.

Matches’ vintage Chanel bags sold so well for SS10 that they are buying more for AW10. And they have added a selection of vintage jewels to the offer too.

Bridget also drew my attention to a new luxe label to Matches. Raoul is from Singapore and it has to be said, they make a pretty good handbag. The balance of clean lines with luxury hardwear is right on the money. have just written about them here.

Finally, coats. I couldn’t tear myself away from Stella McCartney’s strict masculine coat (below) but the real winner fair and square in the outerwear stakes is the shearling-lined aviator jacket (but you knew that already). Second to that, like it or not, is fur. As Bridget puts it succinctly, “fur demand is huge”.