Category Archives: Shopping

Swarovski Crystallized’s SS10 collections

There’s only one thing I love more than beautiful jewellery, and that’s being able to get creative and make up my own creations.  So, I went to the Swarovski Crystallized press day to check out which new pieces I’d be lusting after when the sun comes out again.

The Azzaro collection, designed by Vanessa Sewell, is full of bold, simple and sparkly pieces in silver and gold.  One of the main pieces is a vintage-style black and silver shell locket necklace with a chain tassel.  It reminds me of something from Titanic and it would look amazing with a silk, drop-waist evening dress.

My personal favourites from the Azzaro collection are a blingtastic crystal encrusted wave cuff and slim bangles with rows of tiny crystals.

I was blown away by the new collection by French jewellery designer Philippe Ferrandis and would put every single piece on my wish list (mysterious benefactor, take note please).

I’m not sure what most of the stones are, to be honest, so I’ll let you judge the pictures for yourself….

I love the contrast between the iridescent white flower and the spiky crystals on the ring and earrings.  They look quite Japanese and futuristic – perfect for the winter snow queen look.

The pearl and emerald necklace and earrings have a vintage, Jazz Age feel and are priced between around £250 and £500.

The new ready-to-wear collection is inspired by the fresh, clear light of a Scandinavian summer.  Pieces incorporate oval spheres and interchangeable pendants in subtle, neutral colours.  The silk cord necklaces reflect the beach element and they will go perfectly with next season’s nudes.

The mainline collection featured some pretty affordable pearls for under £20 and everyone was fawning over the stretchy crystal bracelets that you can stack up, costing just £10!

We were also treated to a sneak peak at the exclusive Daisy Lowe collection that she designed with the Creative Director.  The pieces are typical Daisy with black, green and silver stars and moons – flirty but a little bit dark and mystical.

All collections are available from January at the Swarovski Crystallized store.

Swarovski Crystallized 25 Great Marlborough Street, London, W1F 7HU.

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From the catwalk to Hackney…

Inspired by Burberry’s new ‘social networking site’, Art of the Trench, I met up with my Italian friend Cristina for breakfast and a long-overdue trip to the Burberry Factory Outlet at Hackney Central (ah, the luxury of Bond Street shopping just five minutes away).

Having heard rumours on the net about Burberry disciples hunting out jackets for a mere £80, we had high expectations and fully intended to emerge dressed like the slightly smug, Sartorialist-snapped hipsters on the site.

The outlet is like a shining fashion beacon, almost temple-like, in the middle of a particularly non-descript part of Hackney. On arrival, we were asked to put all of our world belongings (apart from our purses, conveniently) in the lockers at the entrance. Usually I’d be horrified at the thought of being separated from my keys, phone and other handbag essentials, but it actually lent to more efficient browsing and I knew my possessions would be safe under the watchful eye of the burly security guards and stern Italian lady on the door.

Our hearts leapt when greeted by a large, checked, although slightly hideous bag at the front of the store, which was just £149.  We were ready to scoop up some of the more tasteful pieces, however, the so-called bargain was more of a mirage than a taste of things to come. The bags that you’d actually want to have on your arm, from the runway collections, were priced between £300 and £700, although this was a mighty discount from the original £1000+.

Discounts range from a shy 20% up to a massive 70%.  Cristina found a gorgeous silk and net cocktail dress in either brown or red that was reduced from £1230 to £120!

Burberry tend to go for one style of shoe for the catwalk shows, and low and behold, I spotted the black patent leather heels with ruched straps from the Autumn/Winter 08 show and the olive green lace-ups from the Spring/Summer 09 collection, all gracing the tootsies of models like Agy, Daisy, Irina and Sasha.

My tops picks of the trip included a delicate, iridescent silver mac for £150, some studded/warrior leather gloves for £89 and some incredible black lace-up, calf-lenth boots for just £200. Cristina hunted out a gorgeous silk and net cocktail dress in chocolate brown or berry red that was reduced from £1230 to £120!

There are some more affordable items like perfume gift sets from £29, checked wool scarves from £69 and a selection of purses and jewellery, including the square warrior cuff from last summer.  The great thing about the Burberry outlet is that there are timeless, investment pieces that you buy for a snip of the price and can keep forever.  The prices aren’t exactly cheap, but if you’re in the market for one excellent quality bag or trench, then you can upgrade from high end high street to luxury for just a little bit extra.

The outlet doesn’t offer refunds or exchanges, so make sure you’ve tried on your purchase, that there are no visible production faults and most of all, that you really love it.  It can be quite easy to kid yourself into liking the best of the pile in the name of a bargain! Come armed with Christmas money and scour the clearance rails with a fine tooth comb for the real discounts.

Burberry Factory Outlet, 29-53 Chatham Place, Hackney, London, E9 6LP

Opening hours: Monday – Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm.

How to get there:  Overground: Hackney Central   Tube: Bethnal Green + 106/254 bus to Hackney Town Hall or 20 minutes walk.

Anthropologie arrives in London

So, I finally got to see the new Anthropologie store on Regent Street and in just a short visit, I managed to compile a pretty extensive Christmas wish list.

I first came across Anthropologie on a trip to New York about six years ago and I remember being in awe of their Snow Queen-style silk dresses and embellished homeware. 

blankets

This is Anthropologie’s first European store out of America, which will be followed by another store on the King’s Road, housed in a former gentlemen’s club.  All of the Anthropologie stores are unique and the three-floor Regent Street branch is pretty spectacular, with a wall tapestry of over 200 sq. metres of living plants, sustained by the rain-water collected on the roof.

green stairs

Inside, it is a wonderland of bobo, Amélie-style patterned dresses, rustic Americana bed linen and velvet embroidered cushions and good, old-fashioned crockery with a modern twist.

Some of the clothes can be a bit on the twee side, but the collections have clearly been picked because of their excellent quality and fine details, like felt patchwork hearts sewn on the inside. 

clothes

It’s great to finally have access to Anthropologie’s designer labels like Leifsdottir and Moulinette Soeurs, as well as New York-based Mise en Scene by Ruffian and Eva Franco and high-end pieces from Sara Berman.  I am currently lusting after a Mise en Scene by Ruffian black velvet cocktail dress with a white silk collar – think Eva Green wearing YSL and smoking a cigarette in The Dreamers, that’s how fabulous it is!

spot dress

Anthropologie’s buyers have scoured the world to source some of the most beautiful things for your home. I recognised some of the stationary that is stocked in Selfridges, but they also have an enormous collection of jewelled, wooden and ceramic drawer handles, hand-painted china cups and saucers and exquisite bold striped and patchwork quilts.

cushions

I had serious envy on their amazingly-styled in-store bedroom and had the store assistant not being restocking the drawers, I would have been tempted to curl up among the cushions.  While I already have a gorgeous handmade patchwork quilt in my room at home, I can’t help feeling that this bedroom would make me into the organised, serene and breezy person I’ve always wanted to be (must make storage notes).

bedroom

The greatest addition to Anthropologie’s Regent Street store would be a cafe (see Avoca, Belfast’s adorable lifestyle store) where you could have afternoon tea, as judging by Style Bubble and disneyrollergirl’s mouthwatering pics from the press day, they have some real cakemaking talents.  If you’re reading, Anthropologie, grab some of those tea pots and cake stands and get a pop-up shop going, we’ll be in there all day!

Anthropologie, 158 Regent Street, London, W1B 5SW

A.P.C…easy as YMC

Following the pre-recession trend of investing in simple, classic pieces, London fashion has gone back to basics. Luckily, the leaders of the utilitarian revolution have set up camp in London, just in time to supply us with some natty autumn knitwear.

British label YMC (You Must Create) opened their new loftspace a few days ago in Soho and French fashion house A.P.C (Atelier de Production et de Création) have made themselves at home close to Dover Street Market in Mayfair’s most minimalist neighbourhood.

YMC store front

YMC has been delivering well-made classics with a twist since 1995, but is having a bit of a ‘moment’ right now, with devotees Alexa Chung, The Horrors and Claudia Schiffer championing the label.  Their Spring/Summer 09 collection was awash with twee embroidered knits, sailor girl dresses, patterned playsuits and a multitude of stripes – mixing folk and prairie chic with a good old dose of Northern Soul.  The store is now stocking their Autumn/Winter 09/10 collection, but if birdwatching chic isn’t your thing, then it’s still worth a gander round the shop.

YMC inside

YMC’s loftspace is like an old curiosity shop with victoriana artefacts, retro gym equipment and some creepy taxidermy.  You’ve got to be impressed by a two-headed crow, but I can imagine A.P.C owner Jean Touitou’s gallic lip curling at the sight of such antiquated articles of yore.  

A.P.C’s new London flagship store is a much sleeker affair, and has just been officially launched, despite being already open this summer.  The interior is just as unfussy as A.P.C, with smooth wooden shelving and plenty of natural light.

A.P.C

A.P.C are best known for their innovative denim, but their Autumn/Winter 09 collection is all about checks, bright statement colours and marine-inspired tops – so, not that far away from YMC, then.

While a £100 plaid shirt doesn’t feature highly on my new season wish list, it’s good to know that it’s now a lot easier to find a decent winter coat to go with the H&M coral angora mitten I’ve got my eye on!

A.P.C  35a Dover Street, Mayfair, London

11 Poland Street, Soho, London W1