Fashion, Weekly Words

Weekly Words: 12th August 2017

“Here‚Äôs the Full Lookbook for Kith and Coca-Cola’s Nostalgic New Capsule Collection” – Complex

I’ve spoken about Kith quite a few times now because I really like the store. I think it is really cool and does a tremendous job of drumming up anticipation and creating a great sense of urgency around its products. Most of the time, I will look at something and think about it for a while before purchasing whereas with Kith you know that you have to get it instantly or it will be gone. Throughout the summer they have been releasing new logo tees every week, each of them generating a round-the-block line and selling out online almost instantly. The t-shirt program is surely highly profitable for them and a fun, creative outlet for the designers. However, the new Coca-Cola collaboration is a large feat for the brand, and for women’s Creative Director Emily Oberg who worked on the capsule collection. I really like Emily too. Based on interviews I’ve heard (like last week’s Improper Etiquette podcast), she seems like a genuine person with a good head on her shoulders. Plus, she has a killer Instagram so that helps in the social media age. The Coca-Cola collection itself features styles for both men and women, hoodies to swimwear and everything in between. The pricing is pretty standard for Kith’s limited edition drops too – fairly high but potentially worth it if you’re a fan/eager reseller. By the time you read this (Saturday), it will have launched the previous day and probably have already sold out. I’ll let you know if I end up buying a piece.

“Do Fashion Collaborations Need a Revamp?” – BoF

Continuing on the same theme of collaborations, Business of Fashion posted this interesting article about fast-fashion and designer collaborations like the H&M X [insert brand name] and the similar offerings from Target. The piece argued that the fast-fashion stores like the aforementioned should make the collaborations more like streetwear drops which generate buzz and have high resale values almost instantaneously. People camp outside for drops. People get in fights over drops. This is really what some people live for (and make profitable businesses from). The article came about after the news of the H&M x Erdem collaboration failed to generate the same level of noise that previous collaborations have (like Balmain, Alexander Wang, and Versace have, to name a few). The choice of Erdem did seem curious to me when the news was first announced because I didn’t realize that the designer had enough mainstream success to really warrant a collection. I don’t mean for that to sound negative but generally the brand that collaborates with H&M is one of the biggest brands in that moment in time, so for Erdem, a young London-based brand celebrated by the fashion set for the beautiful and intricate embroidered pieces, to receive the same¬†honor seemed strange. However, H&M’s communications director reiterated that they are excited about the brand and that they have many others on the list for the future. Regardless of who the name on the banner is, the collection will sell well and there will be people waiting for the store to open to get their hands on the goodies. I’ll be interested to see what the pieces in this collection look like and how they can replicate the small details for a smaller price-point.

“The 2018 Met Gala Theme Is Here ‚ÄĒ & It Might Be Controversial”¬†– Refinery29

Hussein Chalayan (1996)

Fashion and religion. Sounds like a strange combination at first glance but surprisingly there is a lot of crossover. If this Refinery29 article is anything to go by, Andrew Bolton will be dissecting that crossover in great detail and placing all of the overlaps in a neatly curated exhibition at the Met starting next May. If this is the case, I am excited because this also means we could get some really amazing Met Gala looks next year. Fashion and religion don’t sound like they go hand in hand, but many designers force them to. Religion is often about modesty yet fashion can be extremist, baring all and showing off. Many designers use religious iconography in their pieces too. Think of Dolce & Gabbana’s various odes to Catholicism, like dresses with the Virgin Mary embellished on the chest and large crosses. I think this could be a really interesting exhibition to see and I can already think of a few pieces that I can imagine may be included – Nicki Minaj’s Versace pope outfit, Hussein Chalayan’s veils that got more and more naked by the outfit back in the 90s, and lots of Jean Paul Gaultier. There are also various different routes that this could follow as there are so many religions and interpretations of them out there. This could be one of the most thought-provoking Met exhibitions in years and I can tell already that I want the coffee table book when the time comes!

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Fashion, Fashion News

Coachella Fashion

According to the below article from the New York Times, festival fashion has become such a big deal that retailers are almost thinking of “festival” as its own season. Landing in stores after the spring collections drop but before pre-fall arrives, the mini-season’s collections are increasingly important.¬†The evolution of this trend has undoubtedly been marked by the Instagram-fodder that is Coachella. So much so that H&M has created a collection specifically for Coachella, the popular California desert music festival that spans two weekends.¬†

There has been a lot of criticism of Coachella in the past, not so much for the lineups but more so for the festival-goers. People have been described as posers for putting more effort into their outfits than actually having fun and enjoying the music. Everything about the festival has boiled down to the perfect Instagram shot. Coachella fashion has been the topic on every fashion outlet that I’ve read over the past few weeks, ranging from in-depth business articles like the aforementioned piece by New York Times to style & shopping guides to satire pieces about how not to be “that girl” at Coachella (i.e. the one in the culturally appropriative headdress). I’ve seen stylists doing their edit for their celebrity clients who are attending the festival, filled with designer pieces and impractical outfits that really have no place at a music festival but still are super cute (think Kylie Jenner’s all over bodystocking last year). I’ve also seen people on YouTube discussing their Coachella purchases, with one buying a Chloe & Valentino bags to take with them. It just shows that both high end designers and fast-fashion retailers are benefitting from the hype of the festival. Type in “Coachella lookbook 2017” on YouTube and there’s already¬†100k hits.

I haven’t attended Coachella myself so I can’t personally comment on it. However, I found it interesting just how big the whole festival phenomenon has become and how it benefits the fashion industry so much. I’m curious to see how long this lasts as well as I was under the impression that the whole Coachella bubble was about to burst. I am keen on attending Panorama Festival here in New York in the summer. On the Friday both Solange and Frank Ocean are performing so I’d love to see that. Are there any festivals on your to-go list?

Further reading

“Brands are capitalizing on Coachella before the festival even begins” – Fashionista.com

“You can now shop H&M’s Coachella line, starring the Atomics” – Refinery29

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Fashion, Opinion, Shows

Balmain X H&M is a slight disappointment, and here’s why

I have to admit something, I am disappointed with Balmain x H&M and I never thought I would be. When the collaboration was first announced I was excited and even wrote about it on here, when the initial campaign images came out I thought it would be good, and when the lookbook was shown I planned what I would buy. Everything was going well until I seen the prices and then I was confused.

Now I know you’re probably thinking it’s a designer collaboration so it won’t be regular H&M prices, and that was something that I was fully expecting, don’t get me wrong. However, I didn’t expect the prices to be quite as steep. Reading comments on message boards and online articles, I realised that I wasn’t alone in my surprise. I think we all had one common thought: who is the target market? If you can afford full price Balmain, you won’t compromise the quality and buy it from H&M; if you shop at H&M regularly, you can’t afford $500 for half-fake Balmain. It is confusing.

There are quite a few beautiful, intricately detailed pieces which I can imagine will be the first to sell out, and these are, as you can imagine, the most expensive ones. Incidentally, these also happen to be the pieces worn in the ads and by the Jenners (and any other celebrity who has worn the label). It is disappointing because I knew they’d be pricey but I didn’t expect them to be so pricey. You see, the embellished blazer that Kendall Jenner wore to the announcement costs over $500, as does this stunning velvet and embroidered dress that Kylie Jenner wore to the launch party (which I really wanted to buy as soon as I seen the lookbook). Basically any of the pieces you’ve seen on famous people are $400+ and the rest of the stuff is cheaper. I didn’t have a problem with paying more for these pieces. I actually thought Kylie’s dress would cost around ¬£200 ($375-ish), and I thought that price was steep but still reachable, so when I seen the real price I felt slight sticker-shock.

The dress Kylie wore in the runway show

It’s just disappointing because of other designer collaborations as of late which have been better priced. For example, the Lemaire x Uniqlo range was affordable for all budgets, as was the Alexander Wang x H&M range last year. Also, recently Olivier Rousteing was interviewed and he said specifically that he wanted the range to be accessible to all the people who commented on his instagram saying they wished they could afford Balmain – I think he has missed a massive chunk of that market. He also said something about wanting to lower actual Balmain prices too (which makes sense as it’s one of the most ridiculously expensive brands out there).

I don’t mean to complain too much. The range is pretty great with almost identical copies of real Balmain pieces (which no doubt has the original owners riled up), there is some jewellery and t-shirts at the lowest price points, and if you’re someone with a fair income who can’t afford real Balmain but wants a piece of the brand, perhaps you’ll be able to afford one of the pricier items. However, for me, a student, and many others who are in the same boat (love Balmain, could never afford it), it is still out of reach. Oh well. Did I really have a use for a micro-mini dress anyway? Sour grapes.

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Shopping

SHOPPING FIND OF THE WEEK: Chloe VS H&M

Left - H&M, Right - Chloe

Left – H&M, Right – Chloe

Do you ever forget about Chloe? Because I know I do. It’s strange because my favourite ever perfume ad, actually the first one I ever tore out of a magazine and kept, is¬†a Chloe ad (for Love, Chloe perfume starring Raquel Zimmerman, I think about 2010).¬†It does seem to slip under the radar sometimes and I’m not sure why. I know that the Spring/Summer 15 collection, which is in stores now (well, if there’s still anything left in stock) has made quite an impression.¬†The brand has switched creative director a lot in its history, from Karl Lagerfeld back in the 70s to stints from both Stella McCartney and Phoebe Philo, to the current designer Clare Waight Keller.

From the SS15 show

From the SS15 show

Keller’s SS15 collection has been in virtually every fashion magazine I’ve looked at in the past few months. If it’s not shot on the models, it’s featured in the shopping pages. Every magazine is pushing for that typical Parisian¬†girl look that unless you’re actually from there, you’ll never emulate properly. There’s lace, there’s crochet, and there’s lace-up suede gladiator sandals in all of the shops (heck, I could dedicate a whole post to them if you’d like). Now it’s not delicate, romantic lace like the type you’d find on a wedding dress, nor is it eyelash lace (which looks best in black anyway). It’s bigger, more like embroidery, and it comes in a range of colours from the typical white that was the opening look on the runway, to a mustard colour, and finally a burnt orange. See the full collection here.

The top that I’m showing you (in white) seems to be sold out pretty much everywhere – it was the stand out piece of the show (the dress was, anyway) so it makes sense, considering that the pre-fall collections will be arriving soon – but H&M have similar designs, one in white and one in mustard, and a dress in red. The H&M items are almost all sold out too but they restock quite often so it’s likely that if you’ve missed out this time, you’ll find them next. Also, always check in-store in H&M because they often have things that I haven’t seen on the website and vice versa. Looking at the two cami tops side by side in the collage above, you can barely tell the difference. I think the H&M one really is a steal if you can get your hands on it.

TO BUY

I actually have a bunch of links for you today since there’s so many different colour options available.

First off, from H&M, the white top in the collage Р£29.99 (only a few sizes left). Secondly, the same top but in mustard, also £29.99 (more sizes are available in this colour). And finally, a sundress of the same style (similar to the Chloe runway dress) in a burgundy colour Р£49.99.

The Chloe top in the photo is actually sold out on mytheresa.com (where I got the image from) but it did retail for ¬£725, hence why the H&M version is a pretty good deal. You can buy a similar white¬†dress from Farfetch for ¬£920.¬†It’s tricky to find pieces of this style remaining in stock from this collection because it first retailed a few months ago, so all the most popular pieces from the runway (that made it to the stores) sold out quickly.

Furthermore, Topshop also have similar dresses in orange and yellow and white (which is actually well lined so not totally see-through) for £36 each.

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Film & TV, Shopping

Elvira Hancock Look – Polyvore

Elvira Hancock look

I’m sure you have all seen Scarface – if not, get on it – and as it is one of my favourite films of all time, I thought I’d do a look inspired by it. All throughout the film I am envious of Elvira’s outfits, this white skirt-suit included. I was in H&M a month or so ago when I first seen this suit and I fell in love. I’m planning to buy it for myself when I get some money. I thought I’d do a bit of an update on a skirt-suit to a pant-suit because women wear them so well, too. I remember last year, Cara Delevingne wore a teal coloured suit to London Fashion Week¬†and I loved it; unfortunately she wore it with trainers, but each to their own! If you’d rather wear a pencil skirt, I like this split front one from Jane Norman¬†as it reminds me of the Altuzarra Starfish ones.

Anyway, the shoes Elvira wears in the film are white but I’m not the biggest fan of white shoes so I switched them for a pair of nude ones instead, in this case Louboutin So Kates, but any nude pumps would do fine, like these from New Look¬†(only ¬£15). I also used quite expensive sunglasses from Linda Farrow but similar styles can be found from Oliver Bonas, River Island, and Urban Outfitters¬†all for under ¬£25.

Let me know what you think of this! I could try and recreate other looks from this movie too. Honestly, the costumes are to die for. Also, if you haven’t already, watch the film. It’s truly a masterpiece that was misunderstood when it was first released and can still be misunderstood today. It’s a good mix of social commentary, facts, and fiction. I love it.

PS – The world is yours…

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Shopping

SHOPPING FIND OF THE WEEK: J.W. Anderson VS H&M

Let me start this off by saying one thing: I love hats, specifically big floppy ones. The kind that make you think of summers on the French Riviera, Grace Kelly in To Catch A Thief, or Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The brim should be wide (in my eyes, the bigger the better) and a scarf tied around the crown of the hat is an added bonus.

Left - H&M, Right - J.W. Anderson

Left – H&M, Right – J.W. Anderson

When I saw the J.W. Anderson hats on the runway at the SS15 shows I was so excited. I mean, of course I would be, the hats fit all my requirements. Big, check. Floppy, check. Preferably black, check. Unfortunately for me, the designer hat in question is hella expensive, especially since it’s only PVC (not real leather). Also, I’m not sure pleather is the best material for summer but fortunately H&M came out with their own version. To put it in short, it’s not leather, it’s just as brilliant, and it’s of epic proportions, similar to the J.W. Anderson hat. I first saw the H&M hat in store when I was with my mum and I said “If only I were in New York, then I’d buy it.”, but I bought it anyway. This is actually one of the few items that I’ve managed to get my hands on in this entire “Shopping Find” series. I realise that it will probably look ridiculous on and will be something that I get little use out of, but I love it. And one day when I’m living somewhere a little more lively¬†I’ll be able¬†wear it all summer long, free from judgement.

From the J.W. Anderson website

From the J.W. Anderson website

I think that’s one of the shitty things about fashion: you see something you love but it doesn’t work in your hometown. Often it’s just not appropriate to wear things you see on the runway, they don’t translate well into real life. I think this is less of an issue if you live in a big city or at least a cosmopolitan area because there’s always a smorgasbord of styles. Living in a small town near a relatively small city, I’d look like a damn fool in half the things I want to wear. I know people say fashion is about your own personal style and you should wear things because you like them, but often it’s better (and easier) to blend in/tone down your style if it feels more appropriate. I’m starting to stockpile things for when I move away and I really can’t wait to dress how I want, sounds ridiculous I know.

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Anyway, back to the hat. I ordered mine online from H&M and they had a 30% off one item code (I think it was 3032 but I ordered it a few days ago so that might be wrong), so I got the hat for around ¬£17.50 instead of ¬£24.99. Hopefully that code still works for you. It was sent to me in the post with one of the leaflets saying “We miss you! You’re one of our best customers!”; my mum got the same leaflet the same day. But hey, I always appreciate a discount code! H&M used to have a great one where you got ¬£5 off your order each time, but unfortunately it seems to have expired.

BUY ONLINE

H&M Р£24.99

J.W. Anderson Р£495

 

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Fashion News

Balmain X H&M

I know I’m a little bit late writing about this – the announcement was made a week or two ago – but I thought I’d add my two cents. First of all, I’m excited. I love Balmain and I love Olivier, and I predict this collection will be a sell out in hours. You see, Olivier makes smart use of social media to bring people into the Balmain brand. Those who want to be a part of his Balmain army, his gang of hot models and celebrities, but can’t afford the usual Balmain price tag can feel included if they buy the collection. It’s fun. The last collection for H&M that I was this confident about was Versace, because you knew that it would be pure Versace in it’s essence. I remember lusting after the palm-tree printed leggings (printed leggings were so cool at the time and I had a brilliant collection…), and I actually still have a tiny photo of them cut out of a magazine. I never did get them, however. I think I will try and buy something from the Balmain collection.

 

A lot of people are opposed to these high-street/designer collaborations but I think they’re a great idea. It allows people who can’t normally afford these brands or their authentic styles to purchase them for a fraction of the price. Yes, the quality is regular high street, not high end, and the label still says H&M, albeit in a smaller size, but it’s a little slice of the brand in your wardrobe and that’s the most that many of us will ever get. It’s sheer snobbery when people say these collaborations shouldn’t be allowed, that they cheapen the brand, because the collaborations are just a way of bringing designer brands to the masses. If it makes you feel better, the Balmain X H&M is still H&M and everyone who buys it will know it. I do agree that some things don’t go hand in hand (say a Groupon deal for¬†afternoon tea at the Plaza), but this collaboration is no less than someone buying a Michael Kors bag but not his clothes. It’s accessible to people. I do think it’s wild when things sell out and are then sold at grossly inflated prices on eBay. I’d never buy a high-street/designer collaboration on eBay for the same price where you could get the legit brand¬†clothes.

I feel like, unless there’s a lot of effort put into the quality during the manufacturing process, this collection could be a bit of a hot mess, and that’s a worry. You see, Balmain uses lots of embellishments and heaps¬†of silk and satin. If the materials, probably some polyester and whatnot, aren’t right this could look cheap. Moreover, if the seams aren’t sewn correctly or the beading isn’t secure enough, everything could unravel before your eyes. It could really go so wrong, but I’m hoping it goes right.

I don’t want to get too hyped up about the collection like I was for Alexander Wang X H&M because I was so disappointed by it, but if the previews (worn by Kendall and Kylie Jenner) are anything to go by, this will be better. I love the top that Jourdan Dunn is wearing on the red carpet and if that’s a part of the collection, I’ll definitely be buying it (if I can get there/log on early enough).

I think choosing Balmain to collaborate with was a smart business move by H&M. Balmain is a brand that is so hyped up these days, although it often produces some awful clothes (as all brands do I suppose) it also makes clothes that so many girls want to wear. Just look at the social media following or the amount of times a photo of Kim Kardashian, Adriana Lima, or¬†the rest of Olivier’s girls wearing Balmain is liked, shared, and reposted. Social media is a good indicator of something’s success nowadays, especially Instagram, and people are increasingly vocal. Although the majority of teenagers who love Balmain can’t afford the real deal, they can probably afford the H&M collaboration, and with the Jenner sisters endorsing it, it will reach an even bigger audience. You know there’s hundreds of girls clamouring to get their hands on anything they’re wearing, or at least something similar.

So here’s to a probable sell-out collection, on sale from the 5th November! Here’s my runway picks that I’d love to be translated into a cheaper option:

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Shopping

AUTUMN 2014 WARDROBE

AUTUMN 2014 WARDROBE

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