Sunday, 29 January 2012

Pretty In Paisley

Ever since I can remember I have always had a thing for different cultures, perhaps it came from my families enthusiasm for holidaying and seeing the world, but in my eyes there is nothing better than taking influences from other countries and applying them in to everyday life. So this season’s trend for spring/summer 2012 has certainly tantalised my taste buds, as we all go crazy for paisley.

I know what you are thinking; paisley reminds you of the white voile curtains that feature in old peoples homes across the country, but I can assure you that the designers haven’t lost their marbles and taken influences from Zimmer’s and bed pans, the traditional print has been given a modern revival, suitable for any fashion forward individual.

The origin of paisley stems from India many years ago and in fact is meant to resemble the seed of the mango fruit. The swirls and curls have been used for decorative purposes, fabrics and even henna tattoos; my old bedroom was COVERED in silk paisley saris (told you I was obsessed), but now its time for the catwalks to be adorned in the eclectic print and I cannot wait to give this trend a go. With bold patterns being a key element of the summer line up, paisley fits in perfectly, bringing a little taste of India to the bright lights of London.

Just this week I visited the renowned Camden Market and was drawn in to…yet again…the many Indian heritage inspired Aladdin’s caves, selling vast arrays of gorgeous fabrics in every shade of the rainbow and MORE. Surprise, surprise I ended up purchasing a beautiful teal handmade patchwork sheet, for only £7.99, BARGAIN. My spending habits aside, everywhere you turned there was paisley, whether it be on a bag, jewellery or silk top this really is a wonderfully feasible trend (as well as affordable) for all.

Indian Fabric, £7.99, Camden Market
There are many ways to wear paisley, from high drama to simple and subtle. If you are opting for a more classic Asian influence, Jil Sander has put together a collection bursting with ethnic elegance; with white fabric and clean cut shapes acting as a blank canvas, for the high drama print to take centre stage. 

Jil Sander Spring/Summer 2012 
 If like me and you fear looking like a magic carpet, an all time favourite of mine, Matthew Williamson, has incorporated the paisley pattern in a unique manner that brings the ancient design in to the 21st century. 

Matthew Williamson, Spring/Summer 2012
Matthew Williamson, Spring/Summer 2012
With the high street already having jumped on the bold prints bandwagon, there will be no escaping the summer’s passion for paisley. I love this bright printed playsuit from ASOS, as it really captures the Indian essence in a modern and youthful manner, which would certainly sit proudly in my wardrobe. If you aren’t feeling brave enough to go head to toe in Paisley, there are plenty of accessories on offer… check out this Topshop umbrella, perfect for the upcoming April showers.

ASOS Playsuit, £38
Topshop Umbrella, £15
I have already kick started my paisley collection in the form of an electric blue dress from H&M, its laced sleeves are subtly covered in the Indian pattern, allowing me to ease myself in gently to one of this seasons most daring trends.

H&M Dress, £24.99
There really is a print for everyone, so there is no need to shy away from this distinct and vibrant cultural clashGo ahead and release your passion for paisley.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

A Race To The Spring Fashion Finishing Line

So the year has finally arrived for London to host the eagerly anticipated 2012 Olympics and with the many events and mass popularity of the global games on offer, it’s no wonder that it’s not just the athletic kind and sports minded that will be glued to the screens throughout the Olympic season. Fashion will be EVERYWHERE, the increase in tourists to the country will bring in new inspiration for designers, diffusing different cultures and lifestyles to make for interesting, up and coming collections; as well as British Heritage wear from UK based brands, such as Mulberry, flying the flag proudly for London and the country.

One trend that cannot be ignored as the build up and hype surrounding the event increases, is the Sports Luxe image that is currently taking the catwalks by storm. Think performance versus femininity and imagine you were back on the running track at secondary school (when P.E was compulsory on a weekly basis…how I hated those days) and you are on to a winner. Sporty separates, neutral shades contrasted with bright sports stripes and practical elegance will form a key basis for the athletic trend, which will guarantee you a head start in the fashion race.

Last season fashion was restricting and damn right uncomfortable for us women, with harnesses and waist belts acting as wardrobe staples, so you would THINK that we would jump at the chance for comfort over high glamour; the revival of leggings and baggy tees acting as a pleasant surprise, right?...WRONG! Personally, this trend fills me with nothing but fear and pre race nerves…how on earth do I wear tracksuit bottoms in an elegant manner, without looking like a skinny Vicky Pollard?

Thankfully the designers in the know how have created numerous teams of track and field worthy garments, suitable for the fitness fanatic fashionista, as well as the girl that never quite made the squad (that’s me by the way). If you are like me, with this in mind, it’s time to put the negativity behind us, grab some team spirit, saunter up to the starting line and shout GAME ON!

For those ladies lucky enough to own a streak of athleticism, you may enjoy some of the more literal sporting shapes, that combine the use of new technical fabrics with function and practicality. Designer Isabel Marant has redefined the connotations that were previously linked with “the tracksuit” and has come up with this clean cut revival, that is both understated and eye catching at the same time…it’s genius! 

Isabel Marant, Spring/Summer 2012
If like me and a little hint of glamour is more your thing, Stella Mccartney has combined both freshness and fitness in her latest collection. Despite the sporting influences being dominant throughout, she has not forgotten a women’s need to feel feminine. I love these simple shift dresses, in an almost tennis-esque style, they are a perfect way to work the trend in to the night time.

Stella McCartney, Spring/Summer 2012
Stella McCartney, Spring/Summer 2012
I know, I know – designer price tags are out of most people leagues, so here are a few simple garments that will be kick starting my sporting outlook on style, taken directly from the highstreet. With the weather still being miserable, it seems like the perfect opportunity to buy my first hoody (although I am partial to wearing the boyfriends) and to focus on simplistic, clean cut t-shirts that give off a no fuss, athletic vibe

Topshop £20

River Island £22
So maybe sports luxe ISN’T so scary after all, the trend is out there ready to be taken to victory…on your marks, get set, GO!