Sunday, 25 September 2011

London Fashion Week SS12 - MENSWEAR


Shannon keeps his signature sportswear orientated staples but this time with a more formal edge and fitted silhouette giving a more grown up appeal. However after saying that there are still the fun touches of youthful playfulness energising the collection:  White polka dots on knee length shorts, digital prints and the rows of chunky tassels adorning the bottom of shirts, shorts and middle of tops.

Classic navy and white was the main colour palette with block colours of bright orange, greys and shades of blues.

Shirts and jackets are in the usual Shannon mix of wide strips of colour blocks but this time he introduces a patchwork of small squares in the colourful Madras check. Love the blue madras patchwork check bomber jacket with its plain navy sleeves and the blue madras patchwork check shirt with its white yoke. Both worn with slim jogging pants.

Shannon keeps a boyish charm and adds his own version of eco-friendly by using a mix of different hair combs to create headpieces reminiscent of the Native American headwear.

Footwear by Swear was plimsolls with raised platforms and two tone block coloured soles.


Titled ‘Rebellious Decadence’ this collection is a mix of sharp edged tailored suits and rich bohemian style casual wear.

Suits are double breasted in pale cool colours of greys, stone and blues in cotton linens, whilst single buttoned jackets are in the deeper tonic jacquards. All worn with digital stripe printed jersey tops and kick flared trousers.

The decadence really hits its peak with the casual wear - printed silks, short suede shorts and luxury knits.

Making a statement is the silk pyjamas in pink and orange patterns worn over a digital striped jersey top and under a chunky knit cardigan with a gorgeous pair of pink patent tassel loafers, Bedtime has never looked so good.

The prints have a Kashmir and Moroccan influence in their design and use burnt oranges, teals, sky blue, purples and raspberry hues.

Bag of the season is a printed Maroc leather shopper rolled and belted to form a harder hand held piece.

Shoes are coloured and/or patterned. The loafers range from the more conservative navy leathers, the cool light grey patents to the more vibrant patents in bright orange and pink. And then there are the attention grabbing multi coloured patterned cotton Derbys.
Words of warning, if one of your silk or knitted pieces goes missing, look in your girlfriend or wife’s wardrobe.


Titled ‘Massai Punk’ here Mara warrior meets dangerous street chic in a wild eclectic blend of Massai ornaments fused with Punk culture and digital prints.

This collection of both men and womenswear was bright and colourful.  The guys were more subdued with the main colour palette of black trimmed with colourful digital prints: A black blazer trimmed around the lapels and pockets, skirt flaps over trousers trimmed on the hem, and digital printed belts adorning the legs of shorts and around the chest of jackets. Black leather bondage straps were worn as ornate braces or as detail to black jackets The first male model wore an American black and orange nylon baseball jacket which was like a cuckoo in the nest, neither warrior nor punk, although the baseball cap was decorated with African inspired patterns and bondage straps adorned the wrists as bracelets and decorated the shoes. The Massai Punk shone out as a pair of multi colour low crotch shorts worn with a black leather gilet and a wide round beaded collar Masai necklace.


CAT Footwear provided a heritage work boot style for Martine Rose’s SS12 collection. It was a customised adaptation of the signature Sequoia work boot with mustard yellow laces adorned with brightly coloured enamel painted jewels.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Friday, 23 September 2011

London Fashion Week SS12 - Day Five


Titled ‘Mechanical fAILURE’, this collection’s aim was to form an expression of defiance in an age of retraction.

It was a high contrast of fabrics, shapes and colours coming together. Neutral shades of khaki, black and beige with the richer yellows and iridescent purples. Crisp cottons and wool with taffeta silks. Sharply tailored serious shirts with the more flirty voluminous short trousers and skirts.

Knee length jodhpurs created movement with their 3D folds imitating a propeller whilst the bunching up of fabric on taffeta skirts and dresses created the illusion of light fluffy clouds. All were paired with no nonsense tailored blouses which gave a grounded and edgier feel to the whole look.

The only failure present here was in the title.


Although the collection is titled ‘A Fairy Dance’, inspiration came partly from the traditional Manila shawl of Madrid. In the 18th Century, beautiful hand embroidered silk shawls made their way from China and featured peonies, pagodas and dragons. However soon the patterns changed from their Chinese essence to accommodate the Spanish taste of birds, butterflies and roses.

Palomino’s collection is a mix of these patterns, from oriental patterns of pagodas on bold red gowns to the laser cut white appliqué butterfly and floral motifs on black gowns. 
But a fairy dance feel was there in the lightness and the ethereal movement of the fabrics, the cobweb sleeves and bodies adorned with floral embroidery and the wonderful flora and fauna headpieces by Angel Amor.


Israeli born Inbar took her SS12 inspiration from the theme of nightmares and hell of her own hometown which was destroyed by fire this year.  Focusing more on the fear which is mixed with happiness at a large gathering such as a wedding, her collection was not as darkly gothic as I expected. In fact the colour palette was gold, white, dusty pink and pale green with only a smattering of black.

Creating a Goth like royal court, the first models wore voluminous gold and silver brocade faux leather jackets and coats over frothy tulle skirts.  No straight lines here but wavy zip fasteners and undulating padded sleeves.

The darker side appeared in tulle strips wrapped around metallic faux leather and lace dresses like bandages, whilst diaphanous metallic embossed lace dresses clung to the body in uneven folds giving the impression of scarred tissue.

It was the honeycomb tulle dresses that fascinated me, loved the fullness, the texture, the look and how they bounced as the models walked. A white floor length tulle dress wound its honeycomb self around a model like a giant swirling meringue.  Thinking that this was the finale dress as how could you top that? To prove me wrong, a golden faux leather dress appeared with a floor length honeycomb skirt instantly reminding me of a beautiful 3D bell decoration you hang up at Christmas. This dress needed respect as it bounced and moved to its own tune, and the model had no option but to move slowly providing us with a great opportunity to see the intricate laser cut perforation designs. 


Not titled ‘A Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing ‘ but ‘A Wolf in Lambs Clothing’, it was every little girls dream from the runway with arches made of pastel coloured balloons, the gaggle of little ballerinas pirouetting in the middle and the bigger girls in blonde wigs and pastel satin baby doll slips playing with lipstick and powder puffs.  

The models emerged in childlike inspired clothes, blue pinafore dress with large multi coloured buttons layered over a multi coloured checked dress with tie, red skirt with heart shaped pockets and a smiley face heart shaped bib , pink leotard with bloomers peeping through.

Slightly more grown up was the next procession of models in 18th century French court inspired garments – baby blue coat dress embellished in gold brocade but with cheeky powder puffs peeping out of the breast pockets, and a baby pink leotard with short cape attachment and blue lacy blouse underneath.  There were cheeky elements in the guise of a white crystal embellished bustier style leotard with fluffy skirt and a baby pink cardigan with peek-a-boo holes revealing a sequined bra underneath.  

All gloriously over the top and very  sugar and spice even down to the wedge shoes which were trimmed with metallic frills top and bottom and looking very much like slices of cake.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

London Fashion Week SS12 - Day Four


Titled ‘Autour d’un Point’ after Frantisek Kupkas’s painting of a succession of small shapes which form abstract circles. This season’s collection sees circular shapes of metallic adornments over soft fabrics, bold geometric shapes merging with animal prints to form an abstract pattern, metallic circular embellishments and sequins overlapping to create the illusion of 3D studded pattern on oversized pockets, pauldrons and belts. Not overly keen on the sequined belts and pauldrons, but the oversized metallic pockets bring dimension and interest to the little black dress and glamour to the long simple jackets.  The black and white abstract print is a breath of fresh air as an alternative to wearing a pure animal print.

Also inspired by Diana Vreeland, his muse for the season, and for her ability to blend hard and soft elements, his collection plays on all things contrasting- light and shade, day and night, hard and soft.

Like the painting the colour palette is contrasting black and white with metallic hues of silver and gold.  

This collection seemed to have something for everyone, the more structured dresses, soft blouses with oversized frilled sleeves, tailored trouser suits, a 60’s take on space age wear with metallic embellishments and a tribal nod from the abstract print. 


Images courtesy Chris Dadey

After a long day running from show to show and queuing for hours, you may go in to a Ziad Ghanem show feeling exhausted and agitated, but you’ll come out feeling invigorated and on a high!

Titled ‘Matka Joanna’ the collection’s inspiration came from the Polish film ‘Matka Joanna od aniolow’ (Mother Joan of the Angels). Here is good and evil in a tale of a nun processed by demons and where love and sacrifice is her only salvation.

OK the inspiration doesn’t sound like something that will lift your spirits but Ziad uses fine art performers as well as models. These performers know how to work that catwalk and work it they did!  The gorgeous singer Miss SaHHara sashayed in a silk flower print evening gown dramatised with the red colour bleeding, and even more so with red drips painted down SaHHara’s shoulders.  Dominatrix and fire performer Jessica Love Dougher showed tough love in a see through corseted dress and g string.

Here temptation abounds in burlesque curve enhancing corsets and diaphanous silk organza body skimming silhouettes worn with nothing underneath. One little black dress although body skimming, looked quite demure and ordinary compared to the rest of the collection, until she walked past and showed a long row of loosely tied laces exposing her back and derrier.

The colour palette was monochrome representing good and evil with splashes of blood red, pinks and peaches.

Bringing innocence in to the collection was Ziad’s little niece wearing a white bridesmaid style dress, although she gave a little diva toss of her hair as she walked off the stage- bless! 

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

London Fashion Week SS12 - Day Three


Korean born Newgen designer, Jackie Lee graduated from Central Saint Martin’s in 2010and launched her label the same year. This year she looks to the 1920’s style of dropped waists and boyish straight silhouettes for her SS12 collection.

For her fabric, she has taken inspiration from her niece whilst she was eating candy floss. It was not the fluffiness of the candy floss itself that caught her eye, but she became fascinated by the look and feel it had on her niece’s clothing. She replicated the effect and created a high shine embossed film on to her garments.

Expecting candy floss pink to be in the colour palette, it was not to be as monochrome black and white dominated with accents of cobalt blue and peach. I suppose it would have been too sweet and girlie for her sleek and androgynous shapes.

A few styles where a bit too clinical looking but most looked ideal for a hot summer’s day. I could imagine the peach top with plunging black neckline worn over a white shift dress looking stunning for a lazy warm hot day at Wimbledon or cricket.


Originally a print brand only, Japanese designer Rira Sugawara’s Dans La Vie has now evolved in to a full blown label.

The print theme for her SS12 collection started as Clash Beauty and was inspired by the aftermath of Tokyo’s earthquake in March. The collection has since developed with Madonnas overcoming the situation in the style of ‘My Pop Madonna’ with four musicians and four different prints and Rose’s motif.

The four prints were:

‘Camouflage Madonna’ –the face of a green Madonna hiding amongst foliage and behind orange and black stripes. The musician is Madonna herself and the song chosen was ‘Like a Prayer’ with a dark red cross on the top of a pyjama style top and pants set.

‘Red Angel’ – cherubs amongst oversized red flowers on a caramel background. Here Amy Winehouse’s ‘Back to Black’ played.

‘Rose Madonna’ – the face of a pink Madonna amongst pink roses, hearts and cherubs climbing ladders. Touches of blue are added here and there. Rihanna sings ‘Only Girl’
‘City Tokyo’- street scenes next to religious figures and green apples being a dominant image. This time it was Lady Gaga singing’ Born this Way’

There was a 50’s vibe with the calf length full skirted shirt dresses and their wide belts and the holiday style shorts and matching blouse sets. Although of course for Lady Gaga there was the not so 50’s style diaphanous blouse with black plasters covering the nipples.
Loved the plastic coating over the fabric used for the skirts and mac.


                         Images courtesy Chris Dadey

The models for Cristina Sabaiduc’s collection started in simple vests and high waisted knickers and then dressed along the way by adding layers which could be adorned and customised to suit the wearer’s needs and create different looks. Initially the garments are displayed on a clothes line.

The soft draping is inspired by Tibet and Ancient China culture with silk and jersey fabrics being used.

The models showing how to layer the pieces was a great idea in theory. However in practice not everyone could see this part and it was a long wait in-between each model walking down the catwalk aisle.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

London Fashion Week SS12 - Day Two


                                  Images courtesy Chris Dadey

Inspired by the tale of Scheherazade who captured the heart of King Shahryar by her storytelling every night for one thousand and one nights and so sparing her life, this collection translates in to a starry Arabian night.

The colour palette was full of Eastern promise from  high contrasting midnight black and silvery star panels to the softer sandy tones of Sahara beige and ivory harlequin patterns. An oasis of light sorbet pinks and pale lime yellows joined the sandy hues whilst the deeper jewelled tones of coral and oriental blue shined against the midnight black.

Hemlines were mainly below the knee and either cut in to geometric zigzag pattern or slit in to panels. The shorter skirts were lengthened with long fringing.

It was not all dresses as the cropped trousers and slouchy boyfriend jackets brought a casual elegance to the collection.

Maybe like King Shahryar, you are left wanting more as the models depart and show the stunning backlines of the dresses. On some, delicate chain racer backs join the top tip of a star panel whilst on others two stars form the corners of low backs. And don’t forget to check out the shoes with the half star shapes.


This poor woman was suffering from a high temperature a few days before the show but ever a professional the show must go on and what a show. This season the inspiration was simple – Asian trees and flowers, but the results were beautiful hand drawn flower prints, the first time Bukia had introduced a print to her collection.  

The show started with flowing grey chiffons grounded by structured white mandarin collars, with only a glimpse of red showing on chiffon shorts and blouses as the oversized flower print. The monochrome returned with an ethereal tree print silhouette on a white background. The red then made its dramatic entrance in the guise of silk satin cropped trousers followed quickly by a red satin bodice teamed with a wonderful pair of wide legged trousers in black and white wide horizontal stripes with the overlap of the large red flower print. These were my favourite until a red and white vertical striped empire line chiffon dress came along with its red silk satin cut away bust and pauldron.


At the Fashions Finest catwalk show was the fashion brand for party-goers, Substance Wear.

The colour palette all black except for a little silver metallic wrap dress. The metallic silver brings a classic style with elbow length sleeves in to the spot light.

Overlay of lace gives texture to the simple black sheath dresses. The lace is sexy with a little tantalising demureness thrown in as it provides a maxi overlay for a short sheathe dress.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Sunday, 18 September 2011

London Fashion Week SS12 - Day One


Inspirations are hedonistic Mediterranean summers and traditional European art and design – a heady mix of sensual and contemporary.

The  Mediterranean inspiration appeared to be of ancient Greece and Rome with the asymmetrical dress and gentle folds skimming the body.  Crepe jersey caressed the body in jewel colours of sapphire blue and citrine yellow, and the metallic platinum.  Whilst chiffon floated gracefully in an air of muted bronze and pink tourmaline. Not a lover of shimmering crepe jersey, the chiffon was more appealing and especially the colour popping paisley pattern. When you think of paisley, you usually conjure up colours of muted green or burgundy. Here Isham has injected his paisley with bright pinks and blues giving an essence of India which is of course where the paisley pattern originated from. The embellishments of gilded gold and platinum around the neckline take inspiration from the delicate craftsmanship of the Rococo period.

Moving away from the fluid jersey fabrics and the floaty chiffons, Isham brings a more modern opulence with the laser cut embossed foiled napa leather dress and skirt.

Not sure I understood the meaning of the veiled headwear and the finale where all the models come out wearing short white dresses and veils. But then sometimes you don’t have to understand to appreciate.


Armstrup’s inspiration centres on hot summer afternoons in New York City and the character of Iris in the 1976’s film ‘Taxi Driver’ – a cool but light hearted woman whose childlike strength of mind is reflected in her wardrobe. 

The colour palette reflects the hot summer with warm bright orange, and sun bleached colours of sandy peach, powder lilac, asphalt blue pairing with cooler whites and navy.

The collection has a mix of masculinity and girliness. Masculinity in the forms of the peach A-line bouclé coat with its lilac suede raglan sleeves and the cropped boucle drainpipe trousers. Girliness with touches of short pleated gym slips over longer skirts and dresses. Loving the silk New York traffic printed shorts.

Finsk has collaborated with Armstrup and used the same colour palette in a collage effect on a fender wedge shoe as a nod to the New York print. 


Inspired by Kensington Palace’s exhibition of the Enchanted Palace and its tale of the seven princesses who once lived there, Mansoor has used only two colours this season: black and shades of pink. The black represents the elements of pain, sadness and unrequited love some of these princesses felt whilst the pink symbolises the love and hope some experienced, with the key inspirations taken from the rebellious Princess Charlotte and Queen Mary II.  

The black gowns are elegantly simple mixing satin silks with chiffon and just a touch of Swarovski embellishment. The pinks have a lighter and carefree look with shades ranging from light petal pink to the deeper fuchsia and the styles and embellishments more ornate.

The whole show was caught in an aura of Royalty, on the catwalk and also on the front row where buyers from the Middle East could be spotted including Her Excellencies of Qatar.

PPQ / Bebaroque

This season saw the collaboration of PPQ and the fashion hosiery brand Bebaroque through their love of prints. 

Bebaroque designed a capsule collection of hosiery and body suits for the collection including a body and leggings decorated with an all over repeat digital print combining leopard print, PPQ brand letters, ropes and tassels.  Also a fully embroidered and embellished body incorporating Bebaroque’s Priscilla print blended with PPQ’s rose imagery. It's hosiery as a work of art.


This season BFC decided to move things around and it’s surprising how these little changes can confuse the brain. Like moving the entrance to the catwalk show space round to the other side, changing the inside catwalk entrance from the left to the right and moving the press lounge outside of the tent and in to Somerset House itself. It’s a bit too much to take in when you’re only half awake.

What didn’t change was Paul Costelloe opening London Fashion Week with his catwalk show.

Inspired by the 1962 movie ‘What Ever Happened to Baby Jane’ , styles included short baby doll dresses, voluminous skirts, swing jackets, frills and exaggerated puff sleeves. The shape took centre stage as the first outfits were in a neutral palette of white, stone and pale silver grey with plain fabrics ranging from crisp cottons to floaty silks. There were a few little black numbers and a cute humbug stripe sleeveless coat dress.

But it was the men who brought the colour wow back to the show with a stunning raspberry pink long jacket suit and sharp teal blue suit. The girls soon followed suit but with a more toned down palette of coral pinks and pale peppermint green, and the fabrics became more textured with brocade prints.


Inspiration comes from the thirties, jazz age and the French Riviera.

She starts with relaxed wide leg trouser suits in navy, white and mint green. All accessorised with jaunty boater hats. The jackets just finishing above the hip. The boater hat theme continued with navy day dresses in the thirties style of dropped waistlines, pleated and fluted hemlines. Hand drawn designed prints on Como silk followed on blouses, dresses and trousers. Loving the black and white shorts and jacket – very French Riviera.

Black and ivory dominated the eveningwear with sequins and bejewelled embellishments. Worn with an elegant short pendant necklace of jewel clusters on a wide black ribbon.


                                 Images courtesy Chris Dadey

For SS12, Bernard Chandran looks towards the 1950’s glamour that once inspired his mother. The styles are given a contemporary twist with simple sculptural shapes in shimmering gauzy fabric. . Chandran kept the fabrics light and sometimes opaque without being floaty. The show starts with cool muted shades of black, white and silver along with the warmer shade of champagne. Then gives way to the popping bright greens, turquoise, pink and gold.

Zips became decorative pieces and super sized large bags almost dwarf the models.

Lots of shimmer and sparkle in this show but my favourite was the short gauzy champagne shift dress adorned with a long strip of light wispy feathers and matching bag.

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky

Thursday, 15 September 2011

AM Golhar AW11 Mens Knitwear Collection

Specialising in knitwear, Am Golhar gained her expertise of high quality yarns such as alpaca and cashmere from Central St. Martins where she achieved an honours degree in Textiles.

Here she decided to blend her love of creating art through textures with her passion for fashion and created her own menswear range.

When asked why she decided to design knitwear for men instead of women, Am replied:
“Everybody always asks why menswear” (ooops) “But then why do men design for women? I really love men’s knitwear, it’s so fun and exciting and I have so many ideas. It’s a challenge to always create a textured menswear fabric that does not look feminine. I’ve always fallen in to menswear throughout everything I did, if I was creating a swatch it always seemed so masculine, whether in the colours or textures.”

Knitwear is not only restricted to the tops but knitted cable joggers as well, not the usual pair of trousers a guy wears you might say, but Am is aiming for the guy who loves fashion and knitwear and does not mind being quirky.

The light silver grey panels of the fitted Blake polo jumper showcase the 3D effect of Am’s signature trellis technique perfectly.  Here worn with a pair of black Thomas cable knit joggers – one of Am’s original jogger designs.  She came up with the idea of knitted joggers when thinking of warm cable jumpers. She thought they would be playful and fun to wear whilst being warm and soft. The Thomas jogger is slouchy in the crotch area whilst fitted around the leg.

The Cameron is an oversized sloppy polo neck using a medium gauge lace hole technique resulting in what AM calls ‘the diamond lace hole effect’. Giving the illusion of layering, the main body is black with medium grey sleeves and cowl.  Teamed here with black and mid grey Blake stripe joggers in the signature 3D trellis technique.

Adding a touch of colour and plenty of boyish charm is the Bug jumper. This light grey jersey v neck has black rib and cuffs with a yellow bug print. Worn here with the black Thomas cable knit joggers.

If you’re not ready for so many bugs, then there is always the black Sam bug cotton joggers with just a few of those yellow bugs around the leg bottom. Team with the Codey draw string crew jumper in black with grey detailing using a cord technique.

For the more rugged look there is Lucas, here in taupe/ grey. This was originally a show piece with a military style influence and kitted out with major shoulder padding. To fit in with the rest of her AW11 collection, Am has redesigned it to become a more wearable slouchy polo. The polo neck has been layered by picking up stitches to create rolls whilst big hand knitted holes decorate the bottom of the jumper. Lucas is of an alpaca blend and hand knitted. The original was knitted by Am herself, but now they are sourced out to specialised hand knitters.

Here teamed with Ricco black leather jogging pants  with a subtle diamond embossed pattern.

More images can be seen on her website

By Karen Grace
Personal Shopper & Image Consultant for Frumpy to Funky