Category Archives: Fashion

Back To The 80s

During the summer I received an invite from my friend Tracy inviting my husband and I to her 50th birthday party.  It was to be a “Back to the 80s” fancy dress party, to boot.  Normally, I’m not a big fan of dressing up but it sounded really fun to relive memories of being a teenager in the 1980s.  In 1981, I was 16 and pretty shy but by 1984 I had embraced the 1980s with fervour – I loved the big hair, the bright colours and the sexiness of the decade – and then by 1988, I swapped my blonde spiky big hair for a brunette perm and shiny tracksuits … (that part was a blip!) Make up was just as bright – and plenty of black eyeliner!  I needed to get some ideas on what to wear for the party. First of all I looked at Amazon – the fancy dress outfits were mainly leg warmers, leotards and from the Flashdance film era; with a splattering of early Madonna outfits. They were very nice but wasn’t what I had once worn, so I decided to look back at some old photos to see if I could recreate my old looks.

1981 – My old bus pass aged 16!  I was wearing a long black leather coat (my first purchase with my first wage packet!) and a black & gold glitter jumper.

1982 –  I used to wear a lot of red and matched my outfits with red lipstick, red earrings, red handbag & red shoes! My hair was in the style of Lady Diana.

1984 –  This was me aged 19 on a night out.  The shirt was one of my favourites.  I was wearing a faux black leather pencil knee length  skirt.

1989 – perm!  I kept this style until 1997 when I then had my hair cut short.

I remembered I used to love the strapless peplum dresses on a night out; my denim jacket used to take pride of place alongside my leather jacket; and if I was going to the local disco – my shiny black satin tight trousers with a yellow lace body and a yellow & black kimono style shirt; a winter’s date in the pub – fuchsia pink knitted dress with fishnets and high leg boots; or a rib knit purple maxi skirt with matching cardigan teamed with a fuchsia pink satin blouse…. 

In my wardrobe, I found my original denim jacket and a black string vest …. 

 

Looking in my Bon Prix catalogue, I realised that a lot of the 1980s style were making a comeback – I found white slouchy boots, sling back shoes…

I found stirrup pants (used to be known then as ski pants); jeans with piping down the sides (I used to have a khaki pair with red piping); fishnets (haven’t really faded from the fashion scene); tight satin disco trousers and black faux leather skirts. 

It was harder to recreate the make up but, not impossible.  Having a pale matt foundation was no problem but I had to forego the subtle contouring or hint of blush that I favour today – in the 1980s blush was loud and proud!  In 2017 I like a pale or nude lip gloss; me in 1984 favoured red or burgundy – it was really strange to wear such a bright colour.  Even more embarrassing was that I found at the bottom of my make up drawer my original Charlie red lipstick….

When it came to my husband – he said he used to wear a rock band t shirt and jeans… not much different to today’s attire.  He decided to join in the fun and become an iconic favourite of his in the 1980s – Axl Rose of Guns n Roses.  He managed to get hold of a kilt, wig and bandana from Amazon.

In the end I got my outfit: blonde rockers wig (from Amazon); denim jacket; 80s red/black/white strapless satin dress from Envy Boutique; black fishnet faux stockings; black slingback shoes from Bon Prix.

The party was a big success… there were Baywatch star lookalikes, early Madonnas, Flashdancers, and even Slash from Guns n Roses too. We drank pimped up prosecco but I somehow thought babycham would have been great if it was still around…. then guess what I found on my supermarket shelf the other day….

What would you wear to an 80s party?  Can you remember any favourite outfits from that era? Do share your stories … 

Linda x

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All photographs are by Linda Hobden 

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An Interview With Akosee

Whilst the  days in the northern hemisphere in November are getting colder, those countries that straddle the tropics and those countries south of the Equator are welcoming the sun – so now seems to be a perfect time to introduce onto my blog the Singapore based resortwear brand, Akosee. Ana, the founder, hails from Australia  and she has designed a range of resortwear that draws inspiration from the beaches of Australia, Maldives, St Tropez & Goa.   Launching her latest collection this week, “The Elements”, Ana has once again produced a stunning collection that can be worn all year round, both on holiday and in everyday life. I managed to catch up with the busy lady to find out more about her latest collection… hi Ana!

Hi! I’m Ana, the head designer and founder of luxury resort wear brand Akosée.

What inspired you to set up Akosée?

My travels have been a huge inspiration in the creation of the brand, but starting a new life chapter has been my main inspiration. Enrolling in a Diploma of Fashion Design and Technology was the start of a dream becoming a reality. The thrill of learning something new was a huge motivation and from there, the first Akosée collection was born.

Have you always had a passion for fashion, or did you have other career aspirations when you were younger?

When I was younger I wanted to work in travel mainly because of a desire to travel, so I’ve been lucky enough to travel for pleasure as much as I have. But yes, I’ve always had a love and appreciation of beautiful, effortless clothes and that’s exactly why I created Akosée.

I love the Kaftanna green Paisley dress & the leather tie belt! What items are proving popular amongst your customers?

Our dresses and kaftans are always really popular as they are versatile, throw-on pieces that can easily be worn by the pool, beach or bar so there’s endless styling options. The most popular items from our first collection have been the Blue Mosaic Kaftanna and the Pink Mosaic BeachLyd.

Tell me about your new collection 🙂

Our new collection, The Elements, has been designed with comfort and style in mind and to be more versatile so we aren’t just limited to beachwear but rather offering a summer style element so that the garments can also be used for every day wear. The Elements should be seen as a capsule collection of everything you would need on a holiday, relaxed beach cover ups, casual shorts and top sets, no-iron travelling clothes and smarter dresses for evening and lunches. There’s plenty of mix and match separates that are great for different occasions, from a weekend brunch to easy everyday wear.

Out of all the outfits in your collection, do you have any favourites?

I can’t possibly say a favourite! We’ve got some amazing new styles coming soon in our latest collection so there’s always lots of new styles to get excited about.

Your travels around the world have left you with plenty of inspiration for your collections – Australia, Maldives, St Tropez & Goa – as well as pop up shops in glam spots such as Monaco and Singapore. So, what place is on the top of your travel bucket list?

I’d love to go to Machu Picchu in Peru and see something totally different. I haven’t been that far afield yet.

Which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of Akosee?

I have always loved Nicole Richie’s style, elegant with a touch of cool. She’s probably busy being the face of her own label though!

What new items are in the pipeline?

We have recently produced some luxury hand printed beach bags, made exclusively for Akosée in Bali, a beautiful matching tweed shorts and jacket set as well as dresses for day and evening, shorts, skirts, tops and more!

Your company is registered in Singapore, are your products available to purchase worldwide?

Yes, all styles on www.akosee.com can be shipped worldwide within 2 days of receiving the order. The delivery time depends on the courier company though! We offer free shipping in Singapore too.

When designing outfits to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional styles or bits of all those?

Our collections are constantly being developed to cater to our audience around the world and the luxurious fabrics we source mean that our customers can enjoy wearing something that is unique, relaxed and comfortable whilst looking stylish too! We always welcome feedback from our customers so this information often gives us some direction when creating new collections.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Silk shorts, I love tailored silk shorts.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I enjoy shopping on Net-a-Porter and FarFetch for designer pieces and I also like looking for bespoke vintage pieces such as accessories to mix my outfits up a little.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Red Velvet Yves St Laurent boots for winter!

Boots or Shoes?

Living in Singapore, the only way to go is sandals! That said, for evening I’ll wear heeled espadrilles, wedges or high heels from Jimmy Choo. I’m a fan of white trainers for day time too.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Akosee.

To shop the Akosée collection you can visit www.akosee.com or follow us on our social media channels here:

Facebook @akoseethreads – https://www.facebook.com/Akoseethreads/

Instagram @akoseethreads – https://www.instagram.com/Akoseethreads/

Twitter @akoseethreads – https://twitter.com/Akoseethreads

I hope your new collection is a success, Ana! I love the idea of a capsule holiday wardrobe – however I do tend to overpack still.  I found on holiday this year my most useful and worn item were my pink sparkly espadrilles – for beach through to bar at night! I nearly left them at home but decided to pack them at the last minute! Dear readers, what item of footwear or clothing did you find most versatile on holiday?  Did you pack anything that you didn’t wear or use? Do share your stories, I’d love to know.

Linda x

All photographs published with kind permission from Akosee.

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Shopping Fairtrade Style

It’s September already and here in the UK, harvesting is in full flow.  It’s time to think about farmers around the world who toil endlessly – growing cocoa beans, coffee, cotton, tea, bananas, flowers.  I found out the other day that September is the time to celebrate all things organic.  When I think of “organic”, I automatically think of Fairtrade – The Fairtrade Foundation is the UK based organisation behind the Fairtrade trademark – although, to be fair, not all Fairtrade items are organic.

So, what is Fairtrade? Fairtrade is a global movement with a strong and active presence in the UK. There are over 4,500 Fairtrade products from coffee and tea to flowers and gold. According to Fairtrade’s website, their mission is “to connect disadvantaged producers and consumers, promote fairer trading conditions and empower producers to combat poverty, strengthen their position and take more control over their lives”.  Fairtrade’s vision: ” a world in which all producers and consumers can enjoy secure and sustainable livelihoods, fulfil their potential and decide on their future”.  Fairtrade has strict standards for companies, farmers & workers  as well as ensuring that worker’s rights are maintained, that payment is made of at least the Fairtrade minimum price and that extra money is given to reinvest in business/community projects of the community’s choice. By choosing to buy Fairtrade goods, you can positively help farmers, workers & their communities.

Buying Fairtrade products is easier than you think – products are on sale in supermarkets, independent shops, cafes, restaurants, catering suppliers & wholesalers, as well as online.  I’m lucky, my local village coffee shop/book shop is also the local mecca for Fairtrade goods from companies such as Divine and Traidcraft.  It’s great to see the crafts, products, jewellery and clothes – they make fantastic gifts and it is great to have a browse.

Divine chocolate – I love the plain dark chocolate but I am tempted to try the Dark Chocolate with Himalayan Salt! Divine is the only mainstream chocolate company 44% owned by the farmers who supply the cocoa!  Other Fairtrade chocolates include Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, Green & Black’s Organic, M & S, Rawr Foods, Sainsbury’s “Taste The Difference” White, Dark & Milk chocolate bars, The Co-Op; Meaningful Chocolate Company, Raw Chocolate Company, Traidcraft, Waitrose “Seriously” & Belgian range, and Zotter Chocolate.

Traidcraft do some fantastic stem ginger cookies – I devoured packets whilst I was pregnant with my children ( ginger cookies and lemons/limes were my pregnancy cravings!)  Traidcraft itself has been at the fore front of Fairtrade since 1979. The company offers the widest range of fair trade products in the UK.  They even do Fairtrade wine – but I haven’t tasted it yet so I can’t comment.  I can recommend their range of spices, dried fruits and rices; their craft boxes, jewellery, socks, scarves are all pretty and make good gifts. Their clothing range is pricy but having said that the Fairtrade ethos is fair price to the workers and to be honest I rather pay a bit more knowing that the workers are not young children toiling under horrendous conditions to produce a t shirt. I know that they are getting a decent wage for their labours.

I have included some pictures of the Fairtrade items sold in my local shop … if you wish to find out more about Fairtrade or wish to shop/browse Traidcraft’s goods online, here are some websites you might find useful:

http://fairtrade.org.uk

http://www.traidcraftshop.co.uk

Happy Shopping!

Linda x

All photos are by Linda Hobden

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Crazy About Shirts

Do you like shirts?  My husband is a fan. I have 4 sons – my eldest lives in football (soccer) shirts; my 2nd son likes his Jack & Jones t shirts; my 3rd son worships his baggy trousers, t shirts and hoodies ….. and my youngest son, well, he is just plain crazy about shirts! So he has agreed to talk about his love of shirts and give us some insight into what is “cool” in the world of shirts today!

Hi! I’m Ethan.  I’m 10 years old and I really love shirts!

What is it about shirts that you really love?

They are airy and cool you down in summer.

Do you prefer long sleeves or short sleeves?

It depends on the time of year – I like long sleeves in winter and short sleeves in summer. I don’t like my sleeves rolled up.

Do you have a favourite shirt?

Yes, my flamingo one. It is summery and cool.  ( I bought this shirt for Ethan from Next )

From Next

Do you have a favourite colour? 

Blue is my favourite colour.  I like wearing all colours apart from black. I do like bright colours.  

From Next

Who is your style icon?

Ricky Wilson (lead singer of the Kaiser Chiefs). He wears cool shirts and waistcoats. I would like to wear a shirt and waistcoat for Sian’s wedding next year.  (Sian is my daughter, Ethan’s sister).

Out of your dad’s shirts, do you have a favourite that he wears?

My dad has a really cool butterfly shirt.

Dad’s butterfly shirt

What outfit do you like to wear when going out somewhere special?

Short sleeve white shirt, skinny blue jeans, and my leather jacket.

Do you like wearing your school uniform?

Yes, because I can wear a white shirt and it makes me look smart.

I notice that you and your friends wear your shirts buttoned right up to the top. Why?

(Shrugs)… I like to look smart and it’s how everybody wears a shirt at school. 

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What’s next on your clothes wishlist?

A shirt, of course …. or jeans, skinny not baggy.  

What would you like to do when you are older?

I would like to be an airline pilot.

So, dear readers…. out of the mouth of babes, my youngest child has carved out a fashion style of his own – in stark contrast to his older brothers!  Do you have children who follow different styles?  Do share your observations!

Linda x

All photographs are by Linda Hobden

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An Interview With The-Bias-Cut.com

Are you a lady who is 40,50,60,70, 80… and beyond? Are you frustrated trying to find an outfit that wasn’t dowdy/frumpy/boring/unflattering?  Jacynth Bassett’s mother was frustrated and Jacynth became saddened at her mum’s frustration.  So Jacynth launched her own online boutique and blog, the-Bias-Cut.com, for women who know that age shouldn’t limit style.  I caught up with Jacynth recently to find out more. Hi Jacynth and welcome…..

Hi! I’m Jacynth. I’m 24 and the founder of the-Bias-Cut.com – Shopping With Attitude. It’s the first multi-label online premium fashion boutique that truly celebrates style at every age. I founded it straight out of graduating from studying law at Cambridge – where I was also president of the law society – using my minimal savings and some insurance money after my suitcase got stolen off a train with all my belongings in it (including some amazing Emporio Armani sandals that had been recent birthday presents from my mum!!). I developed, built and created the business entirely on my own, and now I’m one year in I can’t believe how much it’s already taken off!

What inspired you to set up “Bias-Cut.com”?

Since I was 14, my intention was to become a lawyer but, by my second year at uni, I realised it wasn’t for me. Instead my mind started to drift to business, and I knew if I were to start up my own one, it would need to be in an area I really loved. So fashion was the obvious answer. I then started thinking about how frustrated and saddened I’d become at seeing women, like my mum, being treated as invisible and irrelevant in the eyes of the fashion industry – largely because of their age and changing shape. My mum and I are very close and for years we would go shopping together, but she’d often end up fed up by a demoralising shopping experience. I began speaking to lots of other similar women, and realised there was a real problem. So that’s when I became determined to create a boutique that actually empowered and celebrated women like my mum as much as everyone else.

Your brand name certainly stands out from the crowd. – but I was wondering, is there a meaning to why you chose “the-Bias-Cut.com”as your brand name?

I wanted the name to have a direct link to fashion, and to ‘cut on the bias’ is the fashion technique where someone cuts diagonal across the grain of fabric rather than along its lines. But equally we’re about cutting through bias and ending prejudice, largely based around age, in the fashion industry. So the name is a double entendre.

I am totally in love with the “Gigi Nude Brogues” – totally gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

They’re a lot of people’s favourites, and one of our best sellers! This season our new label POM Amsterdam is doing really well – from their fabulous fun scarves, to their jackets lined with the scarf prints. They are cut really well, and they just bring a smile to your face. But also our cashmere and our 100% cotton poplin printed shirts are always a big hit throughout the year.

Out of all the outfits, do you have any favourites?

Personally I’m a little bit obsessed with the sashenka moon midi skirt by Baum Und Pferdgarten. It is such and elegant shape, and it has pockets! And I love a cool print that also incorporates texture. Baum always cuts everything so well, from their trousers to their tops.

Your boutique is for those who like to shop with attitude – where ageism is never in style. On your website your designs are all modelled by normal women – different heights, shapes and sizes. I’m also impressed that you can search on your website for items by your body shape as well as size. Hypothetically speaking though, which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of “Bias-Cut.Com”?

Thank you! They’re certainly feature that have gone down very well. If I’m honest I don’t see any particular famous lady being ‘the face’ of the-Bias-Cut.com, just because we’re about encouraging our customers to aspire to be the best versions of themselves, rather than someone else. But, with regards to celebrities, it would be an honour to have women such as Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kristin Scott Thomas, Viola Davis and Christine Baranski as brand ambassadors. They all have great individual style and fabulous attitude, which is exactly what we’re all about celebrating.

You feature in your online boutique an impressive number of designers, the latest being Cove Cashmere. Are there any other new designers you are hoping to feature this year?

Yes! We have a fabulous Dutch label called Fabienne Capot coming in September with a range of lovely embroidered cotton tees, blouses and an emerald velvet blazer I keep dreaming about. We also have a few other surprises but I don’t want to spoil them all for you!

Looking ahead, what colours/patterns/styles do you predict will be popular next season (Summer or Autumn)?

Constellation map prints are going to be big in Autumn – stars are always popular, and it’s a cool progression from the classic pattern. In fact, space all round is going to be big; there’s going to be quite an intergalactic feel! Plus the other big pattern is going to be lightening bolts. Velvet is still going to be very popular, as are bell sleeves and ruffles. And forest and emerald green is going to be seen a lot, as is red. If you look at the trend reports, there are lots of other looks that are forecast to be popular, as well as lots of contradictions. But, in my opinion and from the research I’ve done, these will be the big ones.

As you are based in London, do you offer worldwide shipping?

Yes we ship to 33 countries, and have lots of happy customers overseas! And at the moment it’s free worldwide shipping on all orders over £50 to celebrate the opening of our first public pop-up shop in Greenwich, London later this month (25th-31st)!

When choosing outfits/designers to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional charm or bits of all those?

I have a set of rules I go by:

  • Everything I select has to be of a flattering cut. In other words, you shouldn’t have to be 6ft or size UK 6 to look good in it. In fact I often use my mum as the fit model as she has a very common apple shape.
  • Everything I select has to be of excellent quality for the price. I’ve spent a lot of time researching fabrics, so I know when it’s good or bad, or when the wrong fabric has been used. Sometimes I come across an awesome piece, but a very impractical fabric has been used, so then I won’t select it. Equally, I make sure to study the technological developments of fabrics, such as polyester, so that I don’t discard it straight away, and can spot the good quality from the poor.
  • Everything has a modern twist combined with a timeless appeal. Our clothes are premium, so they are more of an investment than highstreet. So the last thing I want is for a customer to feel it’s outdated within 6 months. With that in mind, I do consider the trends, but only pick pieces that subtly reference them.
  • I don’t want to wear the clothes, why should my customer? We’re all about celebrating style at every age, so we refuse to sell brands that patronise the older customer, or offer frumpy clothing. So I have to like everything that we sell. But equally, I make sure to keep my customers, their comments and their feedback at the forefront of my mind, so that I never end up choosing something that’s just for me.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

That’s a very good question… I’m quite a style chameleon really and I have a rather excessively extensive wardrobe that reflects that. Every outfit is a reflection of who I am and what I’m feeling that day, but that might mean wearing a girly dress and brogues one day, and on another black jeans, ankle boots and a leather biker jacket. But if I had to define my style generally it’s feminine with a funky edge.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I adore Maje. Their aesthetic is very me – feminine yet cool – and their cuts work well on my figure. And I wear a lot of Whistles too. Designer wise, I love Brand for their quality jeans, and for shoes I wear a lot of Rupert Sanderson and Miu Miu. I also love traditional Moschino; I’m less of a fan of it now since Jeremy Scott has taken over as I find it a bit OTT, but I have a lot of the brand from before him, and still enjoy finding vintage pieces.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Idealistically, I would love a badass cape and a pair of Malone Souliers heeled sandals. Realistically, it’s a new crop top/sports bra and some Nike trainers for dance class!

Boots or Shoes?

That’s a tough one. It would have to be shoes because there are more varieties, so then I have more excuses to need a new pair. Plus, because I’m short, knee-high and thigh-high boots don’t work on me. But ankle boots trump all shoes for me, because they are so cute and sexy whatever the heel height!

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Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the-Bias-Cut.Com.

www.the-bias-cut.com

facebook: www.facebook.com/thebiascutcom

facebook forum: www.facebook.com/ageismisneverinstyle

Instagram: @the_bias_cutcom

Twitter: @the_bias_cutcom

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/the_bias_cutcom

Thanks Jacynth … and your galactic prediction sounds mighty fine to me.  Just remember dear readers to look out for those stars and lightning strikes! I am so pleased that all sizes are considered at the-Bias-Cut.com – I am a UK size 10/12 and I find that a lot of companies geared towards the older woman have a starting size of UK12/14. Same goes for shoes – my feet are narrow – and a lot of shoes offered are wide fit, or extra wide. What fashion frustrations do you have, dear readers?

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of the-Bias-Cut.com

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An Interview With Kites & Bites

Ladies – if you’re looking for something beyond the Little Black Dress for your nights out; if you’re a woman who is outspoken, who likes to be unique and willing to try new styles – then my guest tonight on the blog will be right up your street! I’m chatting to Alexandra Ursan, founder of London based but globally inspired fashion brand, Kites & Bites. Hi Alexandra and welcome….

Hi! My name is Alexandra Ursan and I’ve got a Romanian heart that fell in love with the vibrant London scene. Influenced by this multicultural city I founded KITES AND BITES womenswear.

What inspired you to set up “Kites And Bites”?

I’ve always been interested in discovering different cultures and fashion worldwide. This melting pot brings together people and styles from around the world and there’s no better place to set up a fashion brand that stands for diversity and multiculturalism than London. However, the initial idea came to my mind with a trip to Morocco where I bought some traditional fabrics, made some clothes and wore them at London Fashion Week. Then came the development, the sourcing, the sketching, the white nights and endless learning.

Your brand name certainly stands out from the crowd, as well as your outfits – but I was wondering, is there a meaning to why you chose “Kites And Bites” as your brand name?

I actually have a kite tattoo. It’s the only thing that can rise as high as it can without losing its ground sight, as it always has a string towards Earth. Plus, it’s bright, colourful and has great patterns and prints. As for the bites, they leave marks, just like a confident woman never afraid to try new things.

I love the “I’m In Heaven Dress” and the “Champagne For Breakfast Skirt” – both are totally gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

I feel like this spring we’re all living “La vie en rose”. Pink is getting a lot of attention, so I would say that “Be always blooming” trousers and “Save your goodbye” dress are definitely the favourites. Also, prints are winning again, with “Fight for this” skirt being a popular one.

Out of all the outfits, do you have any favourites?

Honestly, I don’t play favourites with my brand’s clothes nor any other piece in my closet. Today, I could love a huge tutu, tomorrow, I could be obsessed with metallic leather or fringes.

Your clothes are for the woman who is unique, outspoken and always willing to try new things – so which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of “Kites And Bites”?

I love Anna Dello Russo’s kaleidoscopic style. She’s an inspiring woman that not only I would be honoured to dress, but also to meet. If Anna would wear something by KITES AND BITES, just to buy juice at the shop around the corner, I would probably do a flicflac in my heels.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2017, have you got plans to expand your range?

I will launch a capsule collection of accessories.

What colours do you predict will be popular next season?

Blue, all shades of it. From cobalt to lapis to berry. I personally can’t get enough. It’s my favourite colour and you can see this in the KITES AND BITES collections.

As you are based in London, are your products available to purchase overseas?

Yes, definitely. The brand is multicultural inspired and would be crazy not to be available worldwide.

When designing / choosing outfits to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional charm or bits of all those?

A little bit of everything. I’m trying to follow trends my own way, as I’m not creating fast fashion. It’s time to be more independent, to build our own unique style, to dare more and step into new territories. It’s such a shame to see so many women dress alike.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Now that we’ve dumped the coats, I’m back in my blazers. They’re my first love. Currently obsessed with an Escada sequinned embellished one. Friends are calling me MJ, but sadly I can’t moon walk in my heels. So yes, for shoes I normally wear heels. Red soles for when I don’t need to walk at all.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

Bookmarked on my browsers: & Other Stories and Asos. However, I honestly like the old fashion shopping. I know that time is limited, but browsing through brick & mortar vintage stores calms me better than yoga. Moreover, nothing compares with the thrill of finding an amazing piece. Viva London for a great variety!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Believe it or not, I’ve never made a wish list. If I see something I like, I buy it. If I don’t buy it straight away it means it wasn’t love at first sight and I’m going to forget about it. As for the expensive items I’ve learned not to obsess anymore. It’s not healthy to have crushes on material things. Love people. It lasts longer!

Boots or Shoes?

Both, preferably with heels. Also, boots during summer and sandals during winter. I hate “rules”.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Kites And Bites.

Shop online at: www.kitesandbites.com
Social:
www.instagram.com/kites_and_bites/
www.facebook.com/kitesandbites
www.kites-and-bites.polyvore.com/
www.pinterest.com/kitesandbites/

Thanks for the chat Alexandra and I look forward to seeing your accessory collection later in the year.  I love that you change the “rules” eg  wearing boots in summer & sandals in winter!  I like to wear white in winter and black/navy in summer.  Dear readers, which fashion/beauty “rules” do you like to flout? Do share!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Kites And Bites.

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Lilac Invasion

Spring is nearly here in the Northern Hemisphere!  This Spring THE pastel colour to be seen in is shades of lilac ( I do include hues of lavender, violet, mauve, iris blue, cyclamen, hyacinth and purple here). For UK at any rate, Mothering Sunday will be here on the 26 March, and as my own mum is rather partial to all things lilac, this post includes lilac gift ideas too.

Flowers  –  a traditional good gift.  Instead of a traditional bunch of multi coloured flowers why not look at pots of hyacinths or plants for the garden. Talking of gardens, do you colour co-ordinate your plants or do you mix colours? The photo below is taken from my mum’s garden – she has green fingers and finds gardening therapeutic.

Books – many garden centres, stately homes, and public gardens have gift sections/shops where other gifts can be purchased other than plants.  How about a book about flowers?  I bought this book from a National Trust property … 

Toiletries –  from body lotions to foam baths and shower gels to soaps; there is a vast range of lavender based colours and smells all set to entice you to relax and breathe in that lavender scent reminicescent to Southern France in summer.  I quite like the Tesco lavender bath foam – plenty of bubbles –  and the new shower gel scents from Avon. I just love jasmine perfume.

Make Up – lilac colours have been around since time began but I do so love the new eye colour and lip glosses from Body Shop…

Eye shadow can be so versatile – in this photo I’ve used the eye shadow as an eye liner too.  Avon do nice eyeliners in purple hued colours too. This particular eyeshadow is by Sarah G Cosmetics.

Sometimes I like to buy a perfume based on its bottle and this perfume by Vera Wang not only smells divine it looks good too.  So pretty to have on your dressing table!

When it comes to slippers, these lilac polka dot slippers by Avon caught my eye.

And there are some pretty canvas shoes and sandals about too!

Dear readers, are you ready to embrace the lilac invasion? Have you dyed your hair lilac?  Do you like the lilac pastel hues or have other pastel colours caught your eye? Do share your thoughts!

Linda x

Photo credits: Linda Hobden

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The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book

I love colouring.  I love fashion. I love art. I love the latest fad for adult colouring books. And I love “The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” by fashion designer Natasha Itzcovitz.  “The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” features 100 hand drawn fashion illustrations, showcasing her own unique designs as well as her interpretation of fashion styles of previous decades.  I just had to interview the talented lady that has created through this book a chance for us all to be budding fashionistas, designers and artists in our own wacky colouring world. Please welcome onto the blog Natasha….

Hello! I’m Natasha Itzcovitz, a fashion stylist/ author/ illustrator from London 🙂

“The Whimsical Fashion Colouring Book” is a fabulous adult colouring book that showcases your designs. So what was the inspiration behind compiling this book?

I was working in a retail shop that was selling patterned colouring books and felt inspired to make one in my own fashion style. I had already been drawing colouring pages for my cousins for years but never thought to make it into a book until then!

There are 100 hand-drawn illustrations that follow fashion through the ages – from famous fashionistas including Marie Antoinette and Jane Austen, to more contemporary styles eg boho chic and hipster street styles. Where did the inspiration for each colouring page come from – your own fashion designs, historical designs, fashion magazines, your own wardrobe?

The colouring pages are a mix of clothes I’ve made, some I wish I could make, clothes I own and fun characters in my head! I looked to fashion photoshoots for poses as well as manga and vintage fashion for historical inspiration and my cat may feature in a few pages.

Do you have a particular favourite colouring page? What fashion style is easy to recreate? Which fashion style was hard to capture?

My favourite page in my book is the drawing of the girl made of wool that’s knitting herself – it’s just so mad! I’ve drawn a lot of street style and the men’s wear especially, can be recreated. Also, if you head to a costume shop, I’m sure you’d find Mary Antionette’s dress and wig! The historic fashion eras which I found hard to capture were not included in the book – only the best for my readers.

Although you are based in the UK, is your book available to purchase overseas?

Yes, my book is available on Amazon worldwide and if you search the title on google, you’ll find that it is on book related websites from many different countries!

Have you any plans to expand your range of colouring books in the future?

I’d love to illustrate more books and do more with my art in the future – look forward to it!

What do you do when you are not drawing?

I’m currently a freelance stylist so I assist on photoshoots and when I get down time, I like to watch anime, ballroom dance and play the guitar.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

A typical Natasha look would be a fun printed dress, over-the-knee socks, grungy boots, a choker, chunky knit and maybe a cheeky bandanna – I’ve gotten into those recently (try and spot one in the book).

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

High-street shops are my favourites, I find different ones are good for different things. Topshop, New Look, Forever 21 and asos are pretty good to me and recently I’ve fallen in love with Zara’s Kidswear.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I went into Zara kids for a styling job and wanted to buy things for myself – think my next purchase will be a dress from there. I’m also planning on getting summer shoes as soon as it brightens up!

Boots or Shoes?

Both boots and shoes suit different occasions so it’s hard to pick one or another. I personally love boots and would wear them all year long since I love how they grunge up a feminine look and are comfy at the same time but you can wear shoes for all occasions and in any season so shoes win on practicality.

Links you would like to share:

Check out my Instagram @itzdrawings for regular artwork! My twitter is @natashaitz and my website is www.itzfashion.uk if you’d like to see some of the clothes and accessories I hand-sew.

Thank you very much Natasha!  I find colouring therapeutic – I loved art as a child and my children do too. Dear readers, do you find colouring therapeutic?  What sort of illustrations would appeal to you?  Do share your thoughts!

Linda x

All photographs have been published with kind permission of Natasha Itzcovitz

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An Interview With Ann-Celeste London

For a special night out when you need to be the belle of the ball you can’t go much wrong with a dress.  Not just any dress.  You need a dress that has that “wow” factor.  I’ve come across a fashion line that has certainly made me go “wow” :  Ann-Celeste London.  This London-based fashion line is for that confident lady and the range of edgy cocktail dresses, regal full length gowns and trendy 2 piece ensembles are to die for!  Using the opulent, patterned traditional fabrics of Africa the dresses are crafted into contemporary, European silhouettes.  Every single piece has the wow factor!  I recently caught up with the lovely Celeste, Founder & Creative Director to find out more behind the designs…. hi Celeste!

Hi, My name is Celeste. I am the Founder and Creative director of Ann-Celeste London fashion brand.

What inspired you to set up your fashion brand, Ann-Celeste London?

I have always loved and enjoyed fashion. In 2012, I was able to pick it up properly when I found myself in between jobs. I started doing research and learning the ropes of starting a fashion brand. Heritage is important to me. It is what distinguishes me and informs my identity.  Through my designs, I can share my story and inspiration

Have you always had a background in, and a passion for, fashion?

My background hasn’t always been about fashion design although as a young girl, I always wanted to sew my own dresses! Later in life, I worked in the retail fashion industry for over 3 years and eventually decided to guide my passion and focus towards developing a brand.

I love the Abby Dress, Lulu Dress, Oyin Dress & the Lade Cape – I couldn’t pick just one favourite, they are all so gorgeous & glamorous. What styles are proving popular already amongst your customers so far this season?

Thank you! We have 13 different styles and 5 of the styles are in demand. Which are Lulu dress, Calabric Dress, Oge Jumpsuit, Abby Dress and Oyin Dress.

Out of all the outfits in your collection, do you have a favourite?

I love the Lulu dress. It’s very versatile you can wear flat shoes or heels depending on the occasion or mood.

Your brand is influenced by the African love of colour/patterns mixed with European silhouettes, giving a fresh approach to fusion fashion. If you could go anywhere in the world to photoshoot for a new collection, where would you go?

Tanzania would be ideal having Mount Kilimanjaro
(highest mountain in Africa) in the backdrop, riding on a horse would be epic.

Hypothetically speaking, which famous lady (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “face” of Ann-Celeste London?

I would like Michelle Obama to wear our brand as she very elegant and gracious. Her strength and presence would be perfect fits for some of our designs and looks..

In September 2016, your “Mope” collection was showcased during London Fashion Week under the renowned House of iKons catwalk. How did you feel seeing your outfits on the catwalk? Was it a good yet nerve racking experience?

The House of iKons boasts of showcasing some of the world’s most creative designers and with all the hard work and pressure that was building up to my first catwalk, I told myself to stay calm and enjoy the moment!

As you are based in London, are your outfits available to purchase overseas?

Yes! Our outfits can be purchased on our website: ann-celeste.com. We are looking towards having stockists in different locations around the world.

When designing outfits to add to your collection,do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional styles or bits of all those?

I would probably say a bit of everything.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Mid-length dresses, warm jacket, tights and a pair of heels

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)

I have lots of favorites shops. I currently like Whistle, Reiss, Hobbs and Cos for everyday wear. However, it changes from time to time depending on what the brand has to offer for the season.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Double breasted navy blazer and chelsea boots.

Boots or Shoes?

I love shoes but have to go with boots! Boots keep my feet warm and comfortable during the winter months.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Ann-Celeste London.

Please check out our website and social medial platforms.
www.ann-celeste.com
https://www.facebook.com/AnnCelesteLondon/
https://www.instagram.com/anncelestelondon/‎

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An Interview With My Dress List

Imagine scenario A:  You are invited to a wedding reception, you buy a new outfit only to find another guest has the same dress sense as you.  Imagine scenario B:  You have been invited to a prestigious social gathering and you don’t want to look overdressed or underdressed or drop a social faux pas.  Imagine scenario C:  You want to host a party, you have an idea for a theme but unsure how to get your ideas on dress over to your guests.  Well, my guest on the blog tonight has launched an app that can address all three scenarios.  I recently caught up with Leila, founder of My Dress List, to find out more…. Hi Leila!

Hi! My name is Leila,  I have  just turned 30 and I’m the founder and CEO of My Dress List app. Originally from France,  I actually live in London . What an amazing city! I love fashion and technology.

What was the inspiration behind developing your app, My Dress List?

My dress list was created to solve a problem . Most women love dressing up  & looking their best whilst attending events, unfortunately there is always a little chance  that you turn up at events not feeling your best. How many people attend events feeling underdressed, overdressed or wearing the same as someone else? How many people spend hours trying different outfits without being satisfied? How many people decide to skip events because they don’t know what to wear? Our answer is too much. Women work so hard, so when it comes to having fun with friends and family they should have a tool to guide them. My Dress List was born with an attention to details – guiding users by creating a platform that helps people feel good whilst enjoying events.  You can create events, personalise your page and invite your friends. Once invited every person will be able to see what the others will wear without knowing who is who. You will just know, for example, that there are already 2 people wearing red dresses or blue jumpsuits, etc. It’s visual so it’s easy and you can be sure to feel unique. Going to events feeling and looking your best is the main objective for My Dress List.

 

As a party-planning tool, what makes My Dress List so appealing to customers?

My Dress List is popular for a few reasons: people love planning big events with their friends; they love sharing pictures;they love to give fashion advice to their friends. My Dress List helps girls feel better together. The app also acts as a guide, when the host creates an event, she can add information such as select color swatches and add location time, etc. Once done, every guest will receive information and see what others plan to wear. Sometimes on party invites, the dress code – whether casual or formal – is not clear, therefore, with the chance to visualise what people are going to wear beforehand, you can be sure to understand the dress code and see it. It’s so easy you will love it.

 

I love the idea that someone can download the photos onto the app of the outfits they plan to wear to a party, for example. It does cut down the odds of turning up in the same outfit as somebody else – which has happened to me before at a wedding. What kind of reasons did you decide to create My Dress List as a photo-sharing app too?

The app was created to guide people as a group. Women are so supportive of each other, but having your own style is also very important. In a group of friends everybody has got their own identity but sometimes it happens that you do buy the same clothes and I think it’s really nice but,  going to a special event, wearing exactly the same dress as your friend can be a little bit uncomfortable. For example: you plan to go the Races on Ascot Ladies Day. You are a group of 12 girlfriends  so using My Dress List you can all see what everyone will  be wearing as soon as they get their outfit. Being sure that everyone is not wearing the same style or the same colour or simply the same dress can ensure that everyone can spend the day feeling their best.That’s why My Dress List is an asset for every woman because it gives her assurance that  when you attend events you are satisfied with your outfit.

Can the app be downloaded globally?

The app is available worldwide, in IOS and IPAD. My Dress List can be used for every type of event: girls night outs, proms, weddings, birthdays, Halloween, galas, fashion events, corporate and much more. 

Prior to the app launch in September 2016, what was your career background? Have you got any other app ideas up your sleeve?

Before My Dress List I worked in advertising and sales for years, but I had always wanted to do something related to fashion . Technology just happens to be the answer. The fusion between both made me decide to launch My Dress List in September 2016. I’m focusing on My Dress List at the moment but  I would love to launch two more apps with a fun theme. Look out 2017!

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Depending on  the situation, I can be find wearing trousers and  a shirt or a pencil dress at work; a midi dress when I socialise and just jeans and a lace top at the weekend.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

When it come to fashion, it’s such a privilege to live in London. With retailers  like Selfridges, Harrods and much more, the list is endless. However, I have to say  that I love shopping online – finding the perfect dress whilst sitting confortably is definitely my favourite.

What’s next on your fashion wishlist?

With the sales on, I’m looking for the perfect coat that will help me get though this cold winter.

Boots or Shoes?

I love sandals and heels in Summer but, at the moment, my heeled boots are the perfect companion.

Links you would like to share.

Check our website: www.mydresslist.com
Download our free app : https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/my-dress-list-share-your-fashion/id1130319985?mt=8
Twitter: https://twitter.com/dresslist
Youtube: https://youtu.be/adKYqEr9Quw

Thank you Leila for introducing the app on my blog.  So, dear readers, have you ever encountered  an embarrassing moment where you’ve been to a formal function dressed in the same outfit as somebody else? Or have you attended an event where you’ve turned up overdressed or underdressed?  Come on, spill the beans – I’d love to know, so please do comment!

Linda x

Photos have been published with the kind permission of My Dress List. 

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