A few days ago, I was all set to fly out to my holiday in Tuscany, when the unthinkable happened and I was forced to cancel my first holiday in five years. Sure I was upset at first and my mental health was at an all time low, but a talk with good friends and some much needed laughter soothed my wounded spirit. But it struck me that all the events and shows I had turned down because of my holiday, might have been a blessing in disguise and I set about re-contacting the event management teams to explain that circumstances had changed. I am a firm believer that ‘things happen for a reason’ and ‘what is meant to be, will be’, so perhaps the holiday not going ahead was a sign that maybe this year just wasn’t meant to be my ‘year of travel‘. And that’s ok, we might have precious time but I know that one day my wanderlust will be sated so I remain hopeful that destiny is still in control of my fate. Whether I wait one year or two, my time capsule will not be running out any time soon!
While my travel dreams might lay dormant ready for their time to shine, the fashion enthusiast in me is hopeful that London Fashion Week might still be an option for me to attend, now that my holiday has been cancelled. I remember covering London Fashion Week in 2014, the year before I started blogging, as an online editor for a start-up magazine that is now defunct. Photographers were poised with their cameras, ready to capture street style trendsetters, while cliques were formed and I remained optimistic. I was never part of a clique-fashion or not- and don’t intend to be now, but I thought to myself, that someday , I too will be living out my dreams. As time would have it, I was able to quit my full time job (s) to blog full time and took a plunge into an unknown world where I and only I could be free to map out my own path in life. No boss telling me what to do, no being chained to an office desk, instead I could work anywhere I pleased and if I wanted to go for a s**t by all means I would go for that s**t. But crass language aside, I remember being interviewed by a street reporter who asked me a few questions about my job and what fashion meant to me. I answered her questions casually, like someone might talk to a friend, but one of her questions stood out to me more than the rest. She flipped over her notebook and tapped her microphone before gazing into my brown eyes ‘ have you ever thought of becoming a blogger’? Her question struck me as prophetic, earlier in the year I had wanted to start a blog, after following blogs from the age of sixteen, but as usual I had let my ‘fear of failure’ stop me from living out my dreams. I replied in measured tones ‘maybe someday, but I will know when the moment is right. And when that times come, I will give it the best god damn go that I can.
And boy did I give blogging a shot. A year later, diagnosed with several health conditions, including a struggle with mental health, I forayed into the blogging world and it changed my life. I got to work with brands like Public Desire and Pretty Little Thing, who believed in me and my vision. I got to attend events and shows and be offered a new insight into how fashion shows are created and above all I connected with my beautiful readers who believe in me, even when I don’t. And that is the most special feeling of all. I have been feeling pretty s**tty this month , that much is true but when the going gets rough, I like to A. acknowledge that I am struggling and seek help and B. know that no matter what happens-whether that be positive or negative- it happens for a reason. So even if I missed out on a chance to attend London Fashion Week because I was meant to go on holiday next week, instead of getting upset about it, I will pop it into my ‘wish fulfillment jar’, breathe and just imagine creating a lookbook of what I would wear if by some miracle I could attend. I can picture the textures and the printed fabrics wafting before my eyes, I can see bloggers I admire waving hello and I can envision the ecstasy I would feel witnessing the trend catwalks before my very eyes, where anything is possible in the catwalk of life that they call fashion.
- The 50’s Prom Dress Inspired By Audrey Hepburn
I was never the girly type growing up and was more likely to be found climbing trees than putting on makeup. In fact I remember aged 14 experimenting with make-up and when some one commented on my ‘new look’ I was horrified and went back to wearing no make up at all. Aged 18 I began experimenting again and by university I had taken make up to the extreme. I wore heavily kohled eyes, rimmed with blue or green and slapped on so much foundation, that was clearly not my colour. And it was the same with fashion, growing up I was not exposed to fashion until I was working in my own job and thus had the choice to buy my own clothing. But sometimes I was truly dressed in some garish clothes and while it makes me cringe looking back at my university outfits, I have to remember that A. fashion is indicative of the time period and B. all about trial and experimentation.
Thankfully my make-up skills have (slightly improved) and my fashion sense is definitely more aesthetically pleasing to the naked eye. With some it takes them a while to find their ‘own style‘ or fashion identity and the same could be said of me. That day, three years ago where I was covering LFW, my transition from ‘trashy’ to classy was on its way to becoming complete and I can even remember the exact dress that I wore. It was pale blue and pleated, paired with a statement necklace from Zara, heeled sandals and a print motif bag. In fact it is still an outfit I would wear today and is definitely synonymous with what readers would call my ‘princess dress style’.
Today, finding me being dressed down is a rare sight and London Fashion Week is no exception. Regardless of protocol or ‘trend’ guidelines that tell you what you can and can’t wear- why can’t I wear a ballgown to Tesco’s?- a 50’s midi dress is my ‘safety net’. Not only is a full skirted dress easy to accessorize but the overt grandeur of the dress style means that you can go easy on the accessories front, as the dress is the ‘statement piece’ so to speak. Beside’s when it comes to ‘formal wear’ nothing screams ‘glamour’ more than the 50’s with its glamorous full skirted dresses, often bequeathed with a rope necklace of pearls, a diamante clutch and a faux fur shrug. I remembered watching Old Hollywood Movies like Breakfast At Tiffany’s with the titular actress Audrey Hepburn in the lead role and then researching her impact on the world through her dedication to the humanitarian cause. I admired the way that she was so poised and elegant and how she revolutionized the scope of 50’s fashion, both through movies and her personal life. But there is one dress that stood out to me the most and that was of Audrey in a pink full skirted ballgown, similar to the one above, nestling her head in pink flowers, as she smiles coyly into the camera. She was a style chameleon, sporting cigarette pants one minute and a black LBD the next, and there will never be another fashion icon quite like her.
Shop The 50’s Prom Dress ‘Look’ Below
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2. The 70’s Wrapover Dress Revival
At one point all I wore was maxi dresses and between the ages of 14-17 a typical ‘Ana’ look would be a floral maxi dress, a statement necklace and coloured courts. If the dress had a split leg (or two) which was popular at the time , I often wore black leggings underneath so that the wind would not blow to show my ‘hoo-hah’ and would team with a quilted jacket, when the weather was a little cooler. While maxi dresses are no longer as much of a ‘staple item’ in my wardrobe as they were three or four years ago, there is something so satisfactory about styling a maxi dress for autumn, creating the perfect transitional look. And speaking of transitional, these days it would be hard to imagine me without a headband, a hat or flower crown of some sort, so what could be a better way to create a 70’s inspired look than through a wrapover, kimono style maxi dress paired with ankle boots and a floppy hat? Street art optional. While maxi dresses were worn in the 60’s, the ‘maxi’ was no match for the ‘mini-skirt’ that dominated the latter part of the sixties decade in thanks to Mary Quant, who revolutionized 60’s skirt lengths. But with the 70’s fabrics became less streamlined, clothing became more ‘flowy’ and skirt lengths would fluctuate between midi and maxi lengths. Maxi dresses became a popular 70’s wardrobe choice and while not neccessarily practical, designers like Christian Dior would fashion maxi dresses out of materials like polyester and cotton, breathable fabrics that work well all year round. The ‘maxi length’ was not always suited to ‘working environments, but nevertheless, consumers lapped it up and soon designers were creating ‘maxi coats’ to be paired with the maxi dress, making it the transitional staple that we know and love today.
But as with all trends, by 1977 it was seen as ‘passe’ to wear maxi dresses and instead early 80’s trends like ‘disco pants’ and ‘shiny jumpsuits’ with block platforms became the ‘outfit staple of choice’. Maxi dresses were locked away, until the 2000’s (especially 2009-2014) where once again they had come out to play. In 2015, there was a huge 70’s revival and everything from peasant blouses to knee high boots were popularized once more and of course the infamous maxi dress was back. Like it’s predecessor, the dresses were often ‘peasant’ style kaftans that would be ideal for the beach while some drew inspiration from the far East and created ‘silk-based’ maxi dresses, that were worn to special occasions. The one below of course is very much more a ‘casual’ 70’s maxi dress but it is the wrapover asymmetrical hem that adds interest to the dress, while the black accessories accentuates the piping on the dress. And lets face it, nothing screams more transitional than a maxi dress you can wear all year round and that can be worn to any occasion.
Shop The 70’s Wrapover Maxi Dress Look Below
3. The White Ruffle Dress Inspired By ‘History’s Biggest Trend’
Throughout history, the ‘ruffle’ has been Britain’s most popular trend spanning a time period of over 600 years. From Queen Elizabeth I, who like her poor mother Anne Boleyn was admired for both her ‘political prowess’ and ability to command fashion, to modern day street style starlets who wear ‘ruffles’ as ‘dresses’ rather than ‘collars’, the beauty of ‘the ruffle trend’ is in its ability to transform any outfit. While 16th Century fashion used ruffles to create both puffy, multi-coloured sleeves and as an ‘oversized necklace’ adornment of ‘grand gowns’, ruffles tend to be more ‘streamlined’ and ethereal in modern day wear, with white lace ruffle dresses romanticized to the naked eye and ruffle skirts, not too dissimilar to the noughties ‘ra ra skirt’, being popular choices. Of course the likes of celebrities like Lady Gaga, quite enjoy looking like giant cakes – and why not they look freaking awesome- so to them the bigger the ruffles and volume of the outfit, the more that they can command their peoples attention. And we all know that Drag Queen’s like Kim Chi, see ‘ruffles’ as their go-to trend, especially as their persona is meant to be an exaggeration of ‘femininity’ cast through their own interpretation of the female gender.
But why ‘white’, when white is a colour that you very rarely see on Faded Spring? Being a maven of colour does not mean you can’t induldge in a monochromatic palette now and then and out of all of the looks listed, this white lace ruffle dress from the Pretty Little Thing Olivia Culpo Collection is most definitely fashion week approved. From the cut out side detailing and tiered ruffle skirt , to the netted chest area, the dress is a statement piece in itself. But why only tick off one major A/W 17 trend, when you can tick off five: Lace? Tick! Ruffles? Tick? White? Tick? Bodycon? Tick! Cut Outs? Tick! Not to mention the accompaniment of a rose gold beaded bolero jacket and shiny 80’s ankle sock boots, that elevate the outfit to a top freaking 10/10. Plus like the ‘maxi dress’ the white lace ruffle dress can easily be worn during harsher, winter weather through the simple device of layering. Wear underneath a faux suede pinafore, with a longline duster coat, over the knee boots, nude tights and a faux fur scarf to stay stylish during the winter chills.
Shop The White Ruffle Dress Look Below
4. The 60’s Patchwork Co-Ord Inspired By ‘Colour-Blocking’
Regular readers of Faded Spring will know that ‘colour-blocking’ is very much at the forefront of my personal style. From pink and blue to pumpkin and burgundy, my love of blocking two contrasting colours stems from the 1960’s, whose a-line shift dresses were often inspired by the boldness of the ‘pop art movement’. In particular, there was one designer who made the sixties memorable and that was Yves Saint Laurent, who created the ‘Mondrain Collection’, a selection of A-line shift dresses which comprised graphic black lines and blocks of white and primary colour, directly referencing the work of Mondrian. Naturally, there were designers before Yves, who had created graphic colour blocked shift dresses, but it was Yves who integrated Mondrain’s art and made it fashion, before selling it to a large mainstream audience. While the sixties would have paired a ‘shift patchwork dress’ with space boots, my look is a direct hybrid of sixties and seventies taste, with the patchwork co-ord’s graphic lines and shape/length being sixties and the autumnal pumpkin and burgundy hues being a seventies inspiration. The over the knee boots, faux suede coat and burgundy felt hat are all very much seventies ‘trends’, but the colour-blocking itself is nevertheless very much inspired by Mondarain’s art work. While the ‘shift dress’ was more aligned with the Mondarain art movement, the mini skirt element of the co-ord is still a sixties choice because of Mary Quant’s popularization of ‘shorter skirt lengths’ a opposed to the modest midi skirts that were associated with the 50’s and early sixties. Plus, while the London Fashion Week Catwalks might be forecasting trends for S/S 18, fashion bloggers will undoubtedly be sporting more ‘autumnal looks’ like jumpers and mini skirts with boots or embroidered denim with faux suede boots and maxi coats, so this sixties/seventies patchwork co-ord aesthetic would be an ideal guise for watching London Fashion Week Shows.
Shop A Similar 60’s Patchwork Look Below
5. The 80’s Business Suit Dress Re-imagined For Modern Day
One of the biggest and most wearable trends to come out of the 80’s were ‘power suits’ which commanded authority and respect for both men and women. Political leaders like Margaret Thatcher wore ‘tweed’ Chanel esque power suits, with pussybow blouses and kitten heels, but while the majority of women favored the two piece suit-whether that be a trouser suit or blazer and skirt combo, designers like Giorgio Armani, created well tailored suit dresses- and yes there might have been a shoulder pad or two- in neutral hues like navy, black and grey that were far removed from the ‘brash’ tackiness of trends like neon leg warmers and platforms that the 80’s was famed for. To update the suit dress for a modern day audience, Cecily, have created a fitted ‘mixi’ length ( a cross between a maxi and a midi) in a beautiful shade of ceramic pink. The slim monochromatic belt and aysmetrical neckline, helps liven up the business dress look, making it the perfect dress for after work drinks, office meetings and of course London Fashion Week. All fashion weeks tend to be awash with fashionista’s in colourful power suits, with draping trouser legs and tiered layering for winter, but for something more fresh and creating a subtle nod to the S/S 18 catwalk trends, try a fitted pencil dress, in a pastel spring hue. After all the weather might be more ‘drab’ than fab, but there is no excuse to not inject some much needed colour into your wardrobe!
Shop The 80’s Business Suit Dress Look Below
What Would You Wear To London Fashion Week If You Were Given The Choice? What Is Your Favourite Lookbook Trend From The Ones Listed Above?