Wednesday, 30 April 2014

The Trends on Wednesday: Flower man-power


Florals are for life and not just for girls!



Some fashion staples are timeless investments and some fashion themes change with time but never really go away. Over the past year, florals have been on trend, both in summer and in sombre, dramatic hues over the winter, so where to go from there? Why, menswear, of course. Boys, James May is your muse for this season. Your mileage may vary as to whether his distinctive taste in sartorial motifs was always ahead of its time or just 'right twice a day.' Word has it that the trend has blossomed more recently, in the light of Givenchy's summer 2012 collection. Since then,  Tinie Tempah, Nick Grimshaw and Kanye West have all jumped on board the blooming bandwagon; Fashion data analysts Editd estimated an increase of 130% in the sale of floral pieces over the past year; Topman's Hawaiian Toucan shirt has become the brand's current bestseller and Gucci's floral paisley espadrilles have almost sold out completely at Matches Fashion. The shift in paradigm has cornered a young market, with the juxtaposition of floral prints in conventionally 'tough' garments, such as bomber jackets - well, if real men can wear pink then what's a bit of floral pattern amongst trendy urban professional friends?


 Luke Day, GQ Style's fashion director, recently said that  "the sun brings out something a bit more adventurous in us Brits." Presumably, he wasn't referring to our inexplicable urge to change into shorts and sandals as soon as temperatures reach double figures. From the Liberty-style paisley designs to Hawaiian prints and 1960s vintage psychedelia (pictured here in a design by John Pearse of Granny Takes A Trip), the pool of references is wide and set to be a key fashion influencer this summer. It's also being trailblazed by a new type of man in town - the Yummie, or young urban male with a taste for fine grooming and keeping abreast of catwalk trends. This status-conscious demographic is on the up, along with the value of the UK menswear market, which stands at around £10.4bn this year with a projected rise of 11% until 2017. According to Esquire's fashion director, Catherine Hayward, "Colourful florals tap into our spring time plans for summer travel in foreign climes." Designers have cottoned on and the results have been blooming marvellous!

Monday, 28 April 2014

DIY-namite: How to craft a pair of Marc by Marc Jacobs Dynamite MetalEye Studs

Just a quick one to let you know what I've been up to this weekend: my homage to Marc by Marc Jacobs' Dynamite Metal Eye Studs. The project took less than an hour to make from stud earrings, nail polish (including clear lacquer) and polymer clay. Talk about easy on the eye!

Image: My-Wardrobe.com




Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Trends on Thursday: All the rave





Once again fashion's going raving mad this year but, unlike the neon glows we've seen in recent seasons, it seem's fashion's passing the acid hues and serving up a cacophony of colour clash, frenetic pattern and kaleidoscopic linear designs reminiscent of the 60s - which, incidentally, was another reference pool fashion is set to dip into this autumn.

Image: Style.com

So, if the muted vibe of normcore really isn't for you, why not experiment with graphic patterns and colour clashes, or even add a pop of metallics or iridescent greens? Even if you don't own anything flamboyant, try different colour combinations or even add a statement accessory, which you can DIY or customise using fabric offcuts.


Image: Style.com

The great news about the rave trend is that you neither have to compromise on flamboyance nor comfort, as statement trainers are the ideal starting point - and centre piece. The look is the perfect balance of fun and flamboyance that might not take itself too seriously but certainly boasts plenty to rave about! 

Image: Style.com

Monday, 21 April 2014

DIY-scapades: Keeping memories

Having been away enjoying the Easter weekend sunshine, I thought I'd share my latest project with you: turning a cassette tape into a neat little SD card holder.



Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Trends on Wednesday: Crafty for Coachella

With Coachella already upon us and the main festival season on the horizon it's time to sort out that all-important festival wardrobe. I've put together a set of four easy-to-DIY festival outfits with some quick hints on how to make them.


Rock 'n' roll


Bohemian beauty

Evening glamour


Casual daytime

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Girl with the Pop Art Earring - How make an earring holder by upcyclinga photo frame

You will need


NB: Make absolutely sure the gauze sheet is bigger than the photo frame - check sizes against each other or dimensions online. I didn't and lived to regret it.

Difficulty




Very easy

One of the easiest, least time consuming projects to date - happy days!

Time

About an hour. Mine took longer, due to technical difficulties (more on that later) but they're easily avoidable.

Ear(ring) we go...


Staple the gauze to the back of the frame. Staple along the sides and close to the inside edge, so that they are 'sealed' without any gaping holes.

Once again, it is imperative that the gauze sheet is bigger than the frame - you might need to overbuy size-wise. Mine wasn't and I had to use some filler along the edges, which proved time-consuming and compromised the overall design.

Staple the picture hanging wire securely in the middle of the top of the frame - unless, of course, your frame already has one, in which case you don't have to worry your pretty head about this stage!



Tonight we're drizzling from the bottle! Get as many colours of nail polish as you can (I never get round to wearing mine so I had several colours left over from the past few years - I literally had a lot to work with!)  and pour them in wavy linear lines all over the frame.


Upcycling - it's the Pollocks!



Wednesday, 9 April 2014

The Trends on Wednesday: Flat Haute

As I've stated in a previous post, when I heard that poolside glamour was going to be the signature look of the summer, clumpy pool slides were the last thing to cross my mind. How uncanny, then, that Céline's shoe-du-jour is exactly that, albeit in finest patent leather, python and crepe fabric. Trainers are keeping in with the theme of comfort but in a way that's far removed from the modesty of normcore; they're embellished, metallic panelled and patched in multicolour tweeds. Be inspired, be very inspired.

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Take a bow - How to DIY a headband in the style of Christian Louboutin

I made a headband with a painterly floral style inspired by Christian Louboutin's Loubibow flower clutch.

I have loads of bags and thought I'd do something different with the Christian Louboutin's painterly take on florals.

For my headband you will need...


NB: If you're not making the headband, why not try making a satin bow for a matching satin-covered clutch. If you can't find a match, try covering your bag in fabric, using Craftmount first.

Difficulty

For the paint effects

Pretty easy

It's technique-led but generally straightforward and quick.

For the headband/ bow

Moderate

Satin can be difficult and painstaking to work with, as it's so slippery, so I'd call it moderately challenging.

Time


3-4 hours - you could probably complete the project in an evening.

 A bow in bloom



Cut four pieces of satin, measuring 40cm in length using the following pattern:

Take two pieces and pin them together with the right sides (the shiny ones) facing each other and the wrong sides (the matte ones) facing outwards. Sew all of the sides together - with the stitches 1cm from the edge - apart from the narrow ones at the tip.

Cut away some (not all) of the excess fabric around the stitching with one layer slightly wider than the other, forming a 'step' effect.

Turn the piece inside out and press it so that the stitching is along the edge and the fabric around it is flush. Turn the non-stitched edges inside by 1cm and press them flat.

Repeat the process with the remaining two pieces of satin.


Cut out the elastic section of the headband and feed the tips inside the non-stitched edges of the two pieces. Top stitch them as close to the edge as possible.

If you're making the bow for a bag, now would be the time to attach the pieces to the flap or front.
Now for the paint effects!



I used two techniques for this; the first one involves dipping your paintbrush in silk paint, dabbing it with a tissue so that it's dry but the paint is still intact and flicking it in a quick streak so that it tapers off.



The other technique involves allowing your brush to get a bit dirty by using numerous colours or not completely cleaning them away before adding more paint. This allows different coloured paint to build up along the bristles. Use the whole length of the bristles, place them flat on the fabric and roll the brush to help them blend.


Tie the two pieces together.







Wednesday, 2 April 2014

The Trends on Wednesday: Phe-norm-enon



"You're not going out in that - it's too formal! You look like you're going to a party! People will be dressed casually in shorts and t-shirts. It'll be completely inappropriate for what we're going to be doing. Put on something snug and practical." That baying imperative left my mum's mouth throughout my teenagehood - a time spent in the glare of late 90s girl band glamour - and on many an occasion over the past decade, as I battled her sartorial sanctions. Maybe I should be sorry, because maybe - just maybe - my mother was at the forefront of avant garde fashion forecasting, with insight so cutting edge it was decades ahead of its time. Yes, fast forward 15 years (or just skip the track - duh! More on technology later) and it's purists' practicality that the cool kids are wearing, or normcore as it is currently known.

Fashion has ventured beyond the obnoxious 'irony' of the hipster look to outright avoidance of fashion's standard fare: commercialised branding, transient fads and conventional glamour. Key pieces for the summer include Céline's skater shoes, Prada's crystal hiking sandals, unfitted jeans and tracksuit bottoms, grey marled sweatshirts and 'ugly' pool shoes (perchance bringing new meaning to the term, 'poolside glamour'). Some see it as a shift of paradigm from binding, ornamental sufferance for one's style to comfort: a slow-burning zeitgeist reacting against years of impractical, constrictive opulence. Richard Nicoll, a designer with a penchant for relaxed-fitting, timeless staples said: "fashion in the last five to 10 years has been quite shouty and bold. It's an old-fashioned idea that aesthetics matter above comfort. It's outdated." Within that timeframe - one which began with the 'fierce' look of binding bandage dresses at Christopher Kane, hazardous, tottering heels and short bodycon dresses at Burberry and Balmain that groaned under the weight of rhinestones - the world caught up with the elusive glamour of the privileged few, with reality TV shows trailblazing their take on catwalk fashion and reworking desirable looks through face-contouring makeup and immaculately tonged hair. The elusive became ubiquitous, so fascination turned to the 'off duty' aesthetic on celebrities. This new approach is echoed by designers. in their mission to make the wearer feel good because the clothes are good to wear. If you consider the Mary Quant quote: "The fashionable woman wears clothes. The clothes don't wear her," perhaps it's not such a new idea, after all. By the same token, it's not thought to be the end of an era for ostentation either. Be prepared for the pendulum to swing back towards binding, tottering glamour over the next five years!


Maybe a shift back to flamboyance wouldn't be so bad in the long term. Since the bland, anti-style ethos of normcore begun in the summer of 2013, it's seen its share of controversy and disapproval. The concept of embracing sameness as a way of looking cool, rather than striving for individuality was born in a world of frenetic technology and communication. Everything is so easy to find, research and publish via the internet, that "everyone is a researcher now" according to Natasha Stagg, the Online Editor of V Magazine. Trends and cycles happen so fast that the concept of staying current is no longer possible or existent. It is for this reason that trend forecasting collective, K-HOLE identify normcore by conceptual rather than aesthetic means - as co-founder Emily Segal asserts, “it’s not about being simple or forfeiting individuality to become a bland, uniform mass, (rather, it's about) seeing (recognisability) as an opportunity for connection, instead of evidence that your identity has dissolved.”


It is a salient point that the normcore mentality offers a means of sartorial discourse instead of individualistic flamboyance. I'd rather not have to forfeit any of the artistic expression in my dress sense simply to not look sad and old hat - apparently, neither would Grayson Perry.To quote Henry Van Dyke: "Use what talents you possess; the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except those that sang best." The same principle applies, surely, with sartorial expression. Where the normcore mentality might just be right, however, is that fashion, like any art form, is read and decoded as a set of signs. If we are to take the reins of communication and break new ground, perhaps it should be done, not with what we want to say in mind but how we know people are going to read it and where we fit within the wider discourse of fashion. It ain't what we say, it's what the world says it is. Face it, you're unique - just like everyone else!