AW 09-10 trend report: Reiss press day

Major excitement at the Reiss press day where the first autumn/winter collection from new brand director Andy Rogers was unveiled. Rogers arrived at Reiss from Stella McCartney almost a year ago and he has really sharpened the focus of the brand. Not only has he fine-tuned the main range but he has also introduced a new label called 1971 for the Reiss girl to wear at the weekend. Comprising jeans (made in the same factory as Acne jeans) as well as to-go-with pieces, shoes and accessories, it has a lower price point but the same attention to design and detail as the mainline collection. I was mightily impressed.

Yummy basics – hello Reiss, goodbye Hanro…
Military details
Statement knitwear
Soft grey
First lady chic – Nancy-Reagan-meets-MObama
Studded silk – the weight of this is just beautiful
Class, elegance, sophistication – tick, tick, tick
The piece the press went mad over
Oops, how did this Karen Millen rail get in here?
Foot candy
Breton stripes
Tasteful trinkets
Suede is the new leather

First drop lands in-store end of July…

On fashion, art and retail relief

So today was one of those fun days. First a 9am meeting at Fresh Britain, a brand consultancy who have had a big hand in the successful rebranding of Dr Martens. My contact alerted me to Marc Hare’s most excellent shoe blog, Mr Hare’s blog. Hare is a mens shoe designer but his background is in retail so he has an interesting take on things. Back in the day, he ran a shop called Something in Westbourne Grove where I remember having a crush on a pair of Bruno Frisoni sock-boots. Hare has a keen eye for a snazzy shoe, that’s for sure.

With a couple of hours to kill before getting a hair cut, I breakfasted in Mayfair, drafted an article and read the supermodel issue of US Vogue. Excellent Lynn Yaeger article – how did I not know about her til now?

Next up I did some retail research (Ok, shopping). I headed to Mount Street as I hadn’t checked out the Marc by Marc Jacobs shop and also wanted to have a nose round Lanvin and Balenciaga. Not sure if it’s a recession thing or maybe I just looked rich today, but I got the ultra-friendly treatment in each and every shop I entered. I can’t put my finger on why but the Marc shop reminded me exactly of being in New York. Jacobs has famously said that he would love to design for Gap and I seriously don’t know why they haven’t signed him up already – get in Gap!

I was all over the cheap knick-knacks – from heart shaped compacts (£3) to lipstick pens, condoms, Oyster-card holders, reversible rain ponchos (I got one…£10), and on and on. Then there were the little bikinis in clear ziplock bags with the Marc logo. Fabulous. And an outstanding edit of art books.

As if that wasn’t exciting enough, I came out of Marc and literally stumbled upon an Elizabeth Peyton exhibition at the Sadie Coles gallery

(Just read on the Sadie Coles website that Elizabeth Peyton’s Live Forever show that I managed to miss in New York last year by a matter of days, is finally landing in the UK in July.)

In Balenciaga, a very jolly salesman let me have a good poke around undisturbed while he dealt with a customer fussing over a bag. Can’t wait to go back. Then to Lanvin which felt like the ultimate, expertly-curated fashion museum. I didn’t feel the urge to own anything though, just to look was enough.

Reading Lynn Yaeger’s piece in Vogue – which was all about how she had to learn to budget when she was made redundant – made me reflect on my own circumstances. Like everyone else, cashflow is slow for me, but being on a budget almost frees you from the relentless consuming bug, as you simply loosen up on the habit. It’s quite nice to be able to browse a shop without feeling the compulsion to buy. I wouldn’t want it to last forever though.

At home with Margiela, Diesel and Nicola Formichetti

I’m not sure what to make of the news that Maison Martin Margiela has launched a home collection. Is it selling out? I do love Margiela’s all-whitewashed utilitarian house style but ready-made and boxed up for people to buy off the rack? I thought I wanted it, but now I’m having second thoughts. (Fickle, moi?)

Even more confusingly, I find myself strangely drawn to the Diesel furniture shown at Salone in Milan last week – it’s just so un-Diesel! In fact, it’s more Margiela than Margiela!*
All this interiors talk brings me neatly to a new book I browsed through in Topshop yesterday on my way to the Mywardrobe press day.

A compilation of creatives’ live-work spaces in London, Paris, Barcelona, New York, Berlin and Tokyo, it comprises the dwellings of Nicola Formichetti, Julie Verhoeven and Gary Card among many others. Conclusion? A creative is not a creative without a higgledy piggledy mound of magazines and/or books taller than Trellick Tower (guilty!), an Hermes box or ten for storage and display (I have that too!), an abundance of cheeky retro toys (yup) and a carefully considered hotch-potch of found-in-skip furniture (check!). Hang about, why the hell aren’t I in this book???

*PS: yes, I know they’re owned by the same company…

AW 09-10 trend report: cashmere and cupcakes and geniuses at work

The first week of press days is nearly over – yippee! Prevailing trends so far have been the shaggy fur outsize gilet (one in pretty much every collection I’ve seen), thigh-high fetishy boots, Obama yellow (a kind of mustard-meets-chartreuse) and shit-loads of cashmere.

Funnest venue
Did I say I don’t like press days in showrooms? I take that back. French Connection’s showroom was bedecked in hundreds of giant blue balloons like a Tim Walker/Shona Heath shoot set. Bloody brilliant!

Best catering
Agent Provocateur’s cupcakes and fruit tarts

Best goody bag
Phone charms from Swarovski and Tatty Devine appealed to my inner twelve-year-old but were pipped to the post by the Jo Malone gift box at B2B Media.

OMG moment
Stumbling upon Tatty Devine and Charlie le Mindu’s actual work in progress. (They’re working on a collab together, what fun!)