London Fashion Week AW / 2012…. My pick of the trends

I have never considered myself at all trendy, in fact, probably anything but. I love thrifting, vintage shopping, charity shops, mixing and matching etc. far too much. But at the same time I adore fashion, and to me, the trends of London Fashion Week are a taste of things to come…..here is what is going to be on the High Street soon and what you’re going to want.

Whilst I never go in for a whole trend and clothe myself top to bottom in Top Shop’s very best ‘now’ look, I am definitely prone to a little peer pressure….and because I could happily shop every day and collect a wardrobe the size of the entire United Kingdom (if only) it’s pretty hard not to succumb to the impressions of a trend or two.

And so it is with great excitement that I look out for the offerings of London Fashion Week and I find myself aching for a huge shopping session. I’m not one to be swayed too badly though, and will always pick out as many ‘never in this worlds’ as ‘wants’, and so here is my little round-up of my favourite trends to come out of London Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2012….and a little about those I certainly won’t be hankering after too!…..

The Peplum

Perhaps because it has its roots firmly in British Fashion History, I’m ever so keen on this trend. A cute and chic frill over a skirt, or from the waist down of a blouse… it’s so deliciously vintage. Not to mention the wonderful effect it has on those of us with proper girly figures…..

Peplum at Burberry Prorsum, Mary Katrantzou, Stella McCartney

Cinched waists, bows and belts for an hourglass figure

And along those same lines, I will always be grateful to see the hourglass figure featured in a season’s trends…. blessed with large hips and a defined waist, I love the little bows and belts cinching in the waists and providing a voluminous skirt beneath…..

Cinched waists, bows and belts at Burberry Prorsum, Erdem and Stella McCartney

Big Knits

I can’t always be girly and refined though, and my current winter uniform of over-sized jumper and leggings is both comfy and practical. And, if it’s on the runways, it can’t be *that* slobby!…..

Big Knits at Acne, Mary Katrantzou and Jonathan Saunders

Leggings

And speaking of leggings…. True, on the runways they weren’t so much a comfort feature as a chic alternative to tights….and seen with longer length skirts and heels rather than minis and pumps as they have been, I’m keen to take this look on……

Leggings at Clements Ribeiro, Issa and Bora Aksu

Winter Florals

It goes without saying that the spring trends will feature girly florals, but I’m delighted to see some here for winter too, which is of course when we really need some cheering up and colour lift……

Winter Florals at Erdem, Giles and Temperley London

Military

I like this because it’s feminine but not girly….. I’d love to invest in a really good military style coat this year, and one with a good waist-hugging belt would be splendid…..

Military at Burberry Prorsum, Top Shop Unique and Alexander McQueen

As for the not-so-likelys…. I really can’t see me picking up the padded hips seen at Beradi, McQueen and Mary Katrantzou (I have enough in that area already thanks)….. nor am I keen to accentuate my chunky calves with the mid-length skirts seen at Roksanda Ilincic and Top Shop Unique…… and it’s a definite no to the loose leather trousers everywhere! I’m not yet taken with all the purples on show, but then I said that last year about orange and then became obsessed with it…. It is more likely though that I’ll take advantage of all those lovely pink hues, like those at Holly Fulton.

All in all though, and without having been to a single show….I’d say that this year’s London Fashion Week has thrown up some very useable trends. Now just to get shopping!

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Stylishly Patriotic…. Union Jack crazy for the Diamond Jubilee



What with the Royal Wedding last year, and the upcoming Jubilee and Olympics, there’s never been a greater excuse (in my life time at least) to celebrate all things British. Amongst all the souvenirs and paraphernalia though, it’s our splendid Union Flag that will remain my fondest nod to the festivities. With more street parties, special commemorative dishes, and already busy media attention for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, I’m looking forward to plenty of red, white and blue…..and here is a sampling from my current favourite Pinterest Board, celebrating our wonderful flag…..


What could be more British than a pot of tea….especially one emblazoned with Union Jacks like Emma Bridgewater’s……



I can’t think of many places more British than my beloved Liberty….and amongst their Best of British offerings, it’s this gorgeous necklace by Stella Macartney I’m most after….



I actually have this stapler….when I found it I couldn’t disguise a squeal of joy for its shiny Union Jack glory….

Source: unionjackshop.co.uk via prettypretentious on <a style=’text-decoration: underline; color: #76838b;’



Of all the lovely Union Jack cushions out there, this is certainly my favourite to date! It’s a *Jack* Russell….wearing a Union *Jack* scarf….LOVE!



I’ve been after a Roberts radio for ages, and this one has got to be the best!….



Our flag is so iconic that it can keep its identity in any colour….I adore this stunning Liberty print quilt….



And almost any colour goes for this beautiful ribbon too, which I love in the traditional colours as well as the shades of green and grey….



The chances of me riding any kind of bicycle are slim to none, but perhaps this could tempt me…



And no British celebration (or any of mine for that matter) would be complete without the BUNTING… The Cotton Bunting Company has the best quality selection I’ve ever found and it’s this I’ll be hanging up everywhere come June!

The Stew House by The Dead Dolls Club

As far as pop-up restaurants go, I’m not terribly experienced. But in view of this year’s resolution to not miss out on things, and having only just made it to the very last night of the Minotaur pop-up, we booked early for The Dead Doll’s Club‘s new venture.

The Stew House is rather charming in its modesty, purveying the no-fuss staple alongside contemporary art. But despite the no-frills menu, the ‘secret’ location (shared only by invitation shortly before our booking date) and the request to dress up, was enough to capture my attention.

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We arrived to an unknown (to us) corner of Hackney, intrepidly seeking out the transformed venue, and finding our target behind heavy double doors and a red and gold glowing window. Inside we were met by a wonderfully long table set with candelabras, vases of pheasant quills and old liqueur bottles for water…..Above us, broad streamers made up a false ceiling, cleverly lit from behind in hot tones creating a cosy glow…..And on the walls false windows and fireplaces in thick black ink on white, interspersed with real framed drawings of antlered skeletons and strange portraits of men wearing feathers. The effect is of an opulent, ancient feast, somehow sprung up in a contemporary picture book, and as guests arrived dressed fopishly in top hats and blousey shirts I felt rather transported into a strange time that never existed.

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Our cocktails (a yummy LDC of Gin, Elderflower and Lychee) arrived in cute hexagonal jam jars as we chatted to our neighbours on our large, sociable table. And having been asked if we were hungry to start (yes we are!), we were brought pretty starters on slates. We did our usual half and half switch, as Adam started off with the veggie tart and I took the meat option before swapping half way through. The goats cheese and red onion tart was tasty enough and based on an excellent puff pastry. But the ham hock terrine with piccalilli was sublime and melt in the mouth tasty.

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And for the main event, we chose what seemed to be the super popular choices of Welsh Cawl and Venison with Port and Chocolate. The latter was made up of deliciously tender and tasty meat, but the sauce was rather too rich for both of us and we needed several of the hunks of seeded bread to get through. The Welsh Cawl however boasted both perfectly cooked meat and perfectly balanced sauce….everything was beautifully cooked and seasoned and brimming with fresh, hearty flavours.

I was somewhat upset that the bread and butter pudding the sample menu hinted at wasn’t on the evening’s menu, but the apple crumble with fresh custard that came as our pudding was by no means a disappointment (especially accompanied by a gorgeous Dark and Stormy cocktail).

But it’s really the surroundings and the fabulous atmosphere that will take us back to The Stew House, and probably next time with friends….I think it’s less of a couples night out and more of a group thing. And if they happen to pop up elsewhere in the summer, it’ll certainly make my list of birthday events!

The Stew House has been extended into February now….catch it whilst you can!

February…..

February saw us hooked back on Glee, and totally transfixed by the second series. I was provided by a new heart throb in the form of Blaine, who alongside favourite Kurt was set to make me squeal with delight on a moment by moment basis. And by the time he performed Teenage Dream, Adam and I were devotees, and thus ensued the household Katy Perry craze. No greater craze was there to be set in February though than the Ballet trend set forth by Black Swan which I watched in both terror and delight….friends who had also danced were quick to judge Natalie Portman’s performance and the film’s shortcomings, but I was so caught up in the horror and hysteria of it all that I was able to take it for what it was, and by the end was egging the poor girl on just to finish the show and not caring one jot for her sanity or physical health (providing Adam with plenty of ammo in his ‘Ballet is bad for you’ argument!). I’ve loved what the film has done for fashion though and have pulled out the mid length full-circle satin skirts and wrap-around knits, and have been promising myself all year I’ll go back to ballet class to keep fit. The long waiting lists are a fine procrastination device though!

February also saw our first trip up to Hitchin (Adam’s home town) after Christmas, and with us we took late gifts of treacle toffee and ginger truffles for his parents. The truffles were a fine success….melt in the mouth, just fiery enough and ever so naughty. My first attempt at toffee however may well be my last. I would like to blame the absence of a sugar thermometer, although I did try the little ‘put a bit in a cup of cold water and wait for it to turn into a ball’ trick, which I thought would help, and still ended up with a batch full of jaw glue. It tasted good though. And not put off by this culinary disaster, we embarked on the delightful Lavender Tea Rooms which are found in an old village hall and are adjoined by a treasure trove of an antiques shop! We tucked into the most delicious home baked cakes and scrummy tea at our chintzy tables, set with tea cups filled with local flowers, before pottering around the shop….I found these amazing miniature coloured glasses which I decided to use for nibbles at parties.

Ever so less elegant was when we got home to unpack and do the weekend’s washing, and our wretched washing machine tried to escape from its rightful place in the kitchen. As we sat watching the TV, we honestly thought there was some kind of invasion occurring as the machine began making the most frightening noises, to the point where we though it was going to burst through the kitchen wall to join us in the living room. Machines are scary. I mean who knows what to do when that happens. I had Dorma sheets inside! I was terrified! Imagine if I had delicates in there! Thank heavens for dry cleaners I say.

And on invasions and terror, February’s next film was Paul….and rather less serious than the last it was! As huge Spaced fans, we joined neighbours and dear friends Jason and Kate to see Nick Frost and Simon Pegg release their inner (well not that inner) geeks on screen. I wish I’d been able to get all of the in-jokes, as with Spaced (although I’m still finding them in there and must have watched both series about 12 times) but the alien and Sci-Fi references were rather lost on me I’m afraid. The boys kept chuckling amongst themselves knowingly, but still it’s a terrificly hilarious film and I very much enjoyed Kristen Wiig‘s character who transforms from a Creationist Christian to a super-swearer.

Possibly the most exciting invite for February though was my pre-opening tour of the new 5* hotel, The Corinthia. Donning high-vis vests, hard and steel toe-capped boots, myself and the team all got to see the near-finished hotel before the grand opening. We loved the bright ballroom, finished with sliver detailing, and the central courtyard which will provide so much light to that amazing central chandelier in the foyer. But it was little touches as ever that set the place apart, like the books in each room specially chosen for each guest, and the wine drawers made up by their sommelier to their guests’ liking. The walk in wardrobes caught our eye too, and the must have tv in the bath…..we’ve started to set high standards now for these hotels, but then why ever not?!

Everything is Beautiful at the Ballet…..

http://maskevents.wordpress.com/2011/02/28/at-the-ballet/

Delia’s Divine Truffles….

http://www.deliaonline.com/recipes/type-of-dish/sweet/home-made-chocolate-truffles.html

Can you make treacle toffee…..?

http://britishfood.about.com/od/festivecooking/r/parkin.htm?p=1