I love it when designers start off with one product item before slowly expanding into other areas. It’s much easier to get your head around their aesthetic and it gives you a hook to latch onto too. Example: Le Kilt. Samantha McCoach grew up watching her grandmother make kilts and forever inspired, launched her own modern kilt line this year (it’s currently stocked at Dover Street Market).
Here’s a sneak peek at her SS15 line (look away now Topshop, ASOS et al), isn’t the styling and casting just perfect? Check out her answers to my nosy questions below…
DISNEYROLLERGIRL: Did you always know you would be a kilt maker?
SAMANTHA MCCOACH: Not at all. My gran made me a small Black Watch kilt one Christmas. I wore it all winter with everything. It was smart, casual and chic all in one. I started to think about how this little kilt had so easily fitted in to my own wardrobe. My gran then started to make kilts for some of my close friends and that’s really how Le Kilt stated.
DRG: What’s the best thing about kilt making?
SM: Mastering one thing. There’s loads to learn about modern day kilt making for me yet and that’s really exciting. I’m really lucky to be working with a factory in Scotland who have been making kilts for years!
DRG: Where do you source your fabrics from?
SM: I currently source fabrics from British mills, but find inspiration and small off-cuts all over the place.
DRG: What’s your favourite tartan?
SM: Black Watch will always be a classic favourite, it was the start of Le Kilt. However I also love the brighter, more bold colourways. I’ve been mixing a yellow MacLeod of Lewis tartan kilt with some bright Nikes over the summer.
DRG: Do you wear kilts? How do you wear them?
SM: All the time. With almost everything I own. I stick to the same sort of uniform mostly. Shirts, crew neck sweats, tailored blazer and oxblood George Cox monkey boots mostly.
DRG: What sort of people are buying Le Kilt?
SM: The Le Kilt girl is modern, youthful and classic. It’s early days to know who’s buying them but I hope there’s a space in a few girls’ wardrobes for the timeless kilt.
More information can be found at Lekilt.co.uk
This new shirt-centric brand is a good example of what I call ‘gentlewoman style’. The shapes are utilitarian but feminine, while the white cotton-linen fabrics nod to indestructible men’s shirts. Paris-based Atlantique Ascoli is inspired by her cache of Victorian blouses as well as Cristobal Balenciaga, which is reflected in the balloon-shaped sleeves and ruffle collars.
I like her take on white: “White has been my color forever. Even if I put on a black sweater, I always put something white underneath. It’s like a face cream in the morning, it wakes you up. You instantly look fresh,” she told Barneys.
It’s crunch time for Coach. Will Stuart Vevers’ new ready-to-wear vision sell or not? (They’ve certainly spent considerable budget on the launch.) You be the judge.
Net-a-Porter has first dibs on the Coach AW14 collection which is pitched at the more luxury end than Coach customers would expect. The online exclusive launched yesterday (it arrives in the New Bond Street store on September 15th) with fourteen key pieces including the excellent Apollo spaceshuttle jumper, the shearling-lined wedge boot, a perfectly proportioned leather trucker jacket and the supersized houndstooth parka.
I’d like to hope that Coach will give Vevers more than a couple of seasons to prove himself and for the trad customer to appreciate the direction he is steering the brand. Any thoughts?
This is possibly my favourite coat from the AW14 collections. It’s men’s, it’s double-face cashmere, it’s Louis Vuitton and it’s way out of my budget.
It’s perfect though. I love this style of overcoat and the maroon stripes add a bit of old school military flavour (by way of Helmut Lang). I also like the styling with the wool and alpaca scarf layered underneath. British winters are so dreary and hard work, your coat is the one thing that can help you stand up to them. That’s the power of fashion, no?
Could there be anything chicer than vegetable tanned leather right now? Those saturated colours, that unmistakable polish? Mansur Gavriel thinks not. The brand is all the rage at the moment, for its pared-back totes and bucket bags. This article in the LA Times last week explains its success. Simple, modern shapes, a reasonable price point and their signature contrast-coloured innards contribute, but the leather is a key factor. The bags are produced at a tannery in Tuscany and because of their hand made nature and current in-demand status, they’re understandably in short supply. (But that makes a bag more desirable, right Hermes?). Matchesfashion.com is expecting a delivery soon…
Il Bussetto is an accessory brand that keeps popping up on my radar. Launched in 2004, its vegetable-tanned coin purses, business card holders and iPhone covers are made in Italy using an age-old Tuscan technique of moulding wet leather on wooden forms. After the leather has been cut, it’s hand-painted, then dried, polished and waxed.
Again it’s the simple designs and glossy, colour-saturated leather in classic shades that appeal to me. They make cigar holders too, which I misread as cigarette holders. I definitely think they need to make a cigarette-case holder on a strap. (Not that I smoke but it would be the perfect mini-mini shoulder bag.) But my standout piece is the unisex Tacco coin holder. I’ve always loved this clam shell shape, it feels tactile in the hand and is a great example of easy, practical design. And of course, it partners perfectly with a Mansur Gavriel tote.
This weekend I’ve been testing out the new Chanel Vitalumiere Loose Powder Foundation which launches on August 29th. First things first, the packaging is amazing. How could you not love a powder pot with its own dinky kabuki brush?
The foundation is composed of two powders enriched with a canola oil derivative, designed to offer day-long hydration. So it’s a moisturising powder foundation. These soft-focus powders create a ‘blurring effect’ on the skin caused by light-reflecting micro beads.
The powder is indeed incredibly fine and I found you only need the teeniest bit. It’s very easy to apply; using the kabuki, you just tap off the excess, then buff it in, in small circular motions over your moisturiser and it blends in really smoothly.
The problem I first had was that I used too much and the result was visibly dry cheeks and a bit of a ‘dead’ effect. The next time I tried it, I used a little more moisturiser and a lot less powder. That did the trick. The result was a very nice medium-coverage effect that felt light, but not dry.
I suspect this formulation is best for those with youthful, hydrated skin rather than dry or combination but I did love applying the foundation with the kabuki. The foundation comes in five shades which I really think is a little skimpy – come on Chanel, time to up your shade offer please. These will retail at £55 but considering how little you need, one pot should last ages.
I’m usually a cream blush girl (Tory Burch Lip & Cheek Tint is my current go-to) but Chanel’s powder blushers are always lovely. The two new ones (also available 29th August) are 170 Rose Glacier and 80 Jersey (Europe-only limited edition). I tried Rose Glacier (£31, below) on top of the powder foundation. It’s a versatile candy pink with a hint of golden iridescence that you can apply lightly for day and intensify for evening. On the skin it’s not as scary as it looks in the compact and it has the prettiest scent of just-picked roses. I was slightly dubious about putting powder blush on top of powder foundation but everything blended beautifully, with not a flake in sight.
Finally, good news for all those people who love Le Blanc De Chanel highlighter fluid but hate the bottle. The new version comes in a 30ml pump bottle (below, on counter from 29th August) so no more worries about leaks and spillages. Amen.
[PS, in the photo I'm wearing Revlon Colorstay Gel Envy in Queens Of Hearts]
I stumbled on these Mahibis slippers via a Facebook ad of all things. But I think they’re really cool.
After being subjected to three ‘ageing raver’ DJ types having a serious discussion about slippers a while ago, I said ‘someone needs to hurry up and exploit this market’. I was thinking along the lines of Stussy, Junya or Nike even, the brands that people of my generation grew up with and respect, because we want comfy slippers, but we also still love our credible brands and aren’t ready for Bhs.
While we wait for Stussy et al, in stepped Mahabis. Just launched this summer, these indoor-outdoor slippers look like a hybrid of old school Keds, felt Birkenstocks and those neoprene sock shoes you wear on the beach. They’re extremely practical, featuring a felt upper (made in Poland) and a wool-mix lining. The collapsible neoprene heel gets them on and off quickly, and the best bit is the customisable element – a removable, Italian-made rubber sole (choose your colour). Developed through 3D printing, this flexible sole protects them if you need to pop outside. I can see them being especially useful for travel, aren’t they the perfect airline and hotel slipper?
Having only launched a few months ago, Mahabis has been embraced by the likes of Hypebeast, and has an engaging social media strategy. I think it has the potential to be massive.
Mahabis are available at Mahabis.com.
[Images: Mahibis, Hypebeast]
Nope, still not bored with this year’s fashion-art love affair. Which is just as well as it’s only set to intensify. Late October sees the big reveal of the Frank Gehry-designed Fondation Louis Vuitton art museum in Paris (above), showcasing the LVMH corporate collection of art. The 126,000 square foot ‘glass cloud’ is rumoured to be the venue for the next Vuitton womenswear show, so expect your Instagram feed to be flooded with art-fashion-architecture amazingess of the highest order… Continue reading