Charlotte Olympia’s bags mean business

Charlotte Olympia business handbags

Question: what do sexy-shoe designers do when footwear fashions shift from £600 super-stilettos to £100 trainers? Well I guess they switch focus to bags. Is this the reason for Charlotte Olympia’s forthcoming business-friendly line? The new line of work-appropriate leather handbags launches for AW14, focusing on structured top handles, totes and clutch bags. (I love this ruby red ‘Bogart’ top handle, above.)

But shoes aren’t totally neglected. There’s an accompanying ‘Nine To Five’ line of lower-heeled pumps that nod to Dellal-style whimsy (think leopard print and peekaboo details). Served up in a briefcase-style box, complete with matching stockings, look out for them in June on Charlotteolympia.com and Net-a-Porter.com.

Beauty bits: Sephora’s social platform, upcycling Diptyque, Bobbi’s new foundation stick, the best lip balm ever…

SEPHORA’S SHOPPABLE INSPIRATION BOARD

Sephora-The-Beauty-Board

Done well, Sephora’s shopping platform could be a gamechanger. Launched two weeks ago, its new Beauty Board is a Pinterest-esque gallery of user-generated photos, which customers engage with, posting reviews, comments and tips. It’s what beauty forums do best, but this adds an all-important shoppable component and the ability to share widely on other platforms. With mobile’s increasing importance in syncing content with commerce, I imagine we’ll be seeing a lot more brands attempting similar feats. Read more here. (more…)

Paris Fashion Week: Dries Van Noten’s eclectic inspirations

1 0 Dries-Van-Noten-Inspirations-exhibition-disneyrollergirl

Sorry PRs but my big highlight of Paris Fashion Week wasn’t the shows or the parties but the new exhibition, Dries Van Noten: Inspirations. Showing at the Arts Decoratifs Museum until 31st August, Dries Van Noten and curator Pamela Golbin have coincidentally created an assemblage of exhibits that encompasses a number of my own favourite themes.

Downstairs is big on the foppish overlaps of masculinity and femininity, the romance of youth subcultures and a fascination with British monarchy and society. As you enter the exhibition through Azuma Makoto’s giant floral fantasia, you’re greeted by a room wallpapered with pop culture references. From camp Divine posters to Interview magazine covers, these are easily recognisable to anyone who grew up in the 80s. Dries Van Noten’s early designs from his student days at the Antwerp Royal Academy (his 1981 sun motif coat looks especially contemporary) sit alongside influential pieces by Kenzo, Mugler, Versace and Worlds End-era Westwood, culled from the museum’s own archive.

The subsequent vitrines are grouped in themes such as ‘Iconclast’, ‘Graphic’ and ‘Butterflies’ and display seemingly disparate items – a film clip, artwork or ancient textile piece – alongside examples from a chosen Dries Van Noten collection, to demonstrate his creative through process. It’s funny to think this is the first time a designer exhibition (it’s not billed as a retrospective) has been presented this way because it really makes a lot of sense in revealing the common passions and aesthetics of the brand and the man. (more…)

Vogue time

4 Nigel Shafran Paris Avenue Montaigne

What a surprise to see a Nigel Shafran shoot in Vogue. And styled by Joe McKenna too. Shafran’s last Vogue shoot was 21 years ago and he has brought his quiet observational style to the the UK title with this ode to consumerism (beating Karl to the punch), shot in the temples of Vuitton, Chanel and Celine on Avenue Montaigne… (more…)