Talking exclusively to French designer Anne Fontaine, we discover the craftsmanship behind the iconic white shirt, re-embroidered lace and the foundations of the feminine universal design encompassing their Maison de Couture.
What inspired the classic white shirt that is a staple of your brand?
I wanted this piece, which usually belongs to the masculine wardrobe, to become an essential for women! White shirts have a timeless elegance; it’s an item that every woman can play with to create her own identity and express her own creativity. “Nothing is more sexy than a woman in a white shirt.”
You have created a unique range of designs with ample amounts of versatility in every piece. What is your favourite from the Fall/Winter 2015 collection?
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Talking exclusively to French designer Anne Fontaine, we discover the craftsmanship behind the iconic white shirt, re-embroidered lace and the foundations of the feminine universal design encompassing their Maison de Couture.
In celebration of the luxury cashmere brand Brora arriving at the British Wool Collective boutique, we spoke to the founder Victoria Stapleton about the inspiration behind her designs …
We love your passion for textiles and cashmere, but having studied interior design at university, how did you move sideways into fashion and what drew you in?
I actually studied Art History at university but always had a love for textiles. I was brought up in the north of England, close to the Scottish border and surrounded by the best textile mills in the UK, many of which are suppliers today. In 1990 my family bought a tweed mill in Brora. I worked for the mill and two years later started my own business specialising in fashion and focusing on British textiles. The rest is history!
What was your inspiration to create this brand?
The fabulous Scottish cashmere mills in the border were very familiar to me and I saw that what was being produced in the early nineties was very safe. I saw a gap in the market for the very best cashmere in a wonderful array of colours and with a modern aesthetic but using traditional skills.
We know you don't need an excuse to invest in a new handbag – but a statement carryall is a truly effortless way to inject a hit of colour and texture to your autumn wardrobe.
With tartan, snakeskin, faux fur and jewels all back on the scene, it’s time to replace that summer tote and search for a more refined bag to complement those new season staples.
The end of summer always feels a little sad. But, in order to deal with the blues, why not concern yourself with a little sartorial refresher for the approaching winter season. Nothing cheers us up like the impending thoughts of a new wardrobe to ponder over.
This winter has a particularly strong thread of dark, gothic-tinged drama to it. If there was one fabric which abounds, it’s velvet – seen on practically every catwalk, in every guise. Whilst velvet trousers may not be for all (I am yet to be convinced of their flattery), velvet accessories are, if not necessarily the most practical in a rain shower, utterly divine.
It's all about knits, colours, layering, loose-fitting designs and graceful style. Maje leads the way with unique silhouettes. Belts are trimmed with tassels, coats are oversized, waists are clearly defined. Judith Milgrom plays with light and has fun with fabrics. A feast for the eyes every winter.
Maje puts together new silhouettes in different volumes and lengths. High waists are nipped in with belts, whilst coats go oversized.
Maje continues with its feel-good quest. Knits are teamed with cashmere for comfort, softness giving a chic feel. Oversized cardigans double up as coats.
Experience Paris like a local with our top picks for exploring the city in style…
Nestled amongst the picturesque bookshops and artistic boutiques of Rue Charonne lies charming restaurant Septime. Created by French cooking sensation Chef Bertrand Grébaut, each dish is pure, seasonal and delicious. Designed by a former student of Penninghen design school, the mirrored walls, industrial accents and antique furniture set the scene for the perfect meal. What’s more, the menu changes by the day so prepare to be happily surprised on each and every visit.
American leather brand Coach has teamed up with Pac-Man to celebrate their 75th Anniversary as they unveil their latest partnership following previous collaborations with American favourites Peanuts and Disney.
The novel pieces feature Pac-Man characters designed on Coach favourite silhouettes like the City Tote, the Bennet Satchel, and the Charles Backpack to add funk and novelty to the superior leather and craftsmanship emblematic of the Coach brand.
This range will be exclusive in Europe to Bicester Village and is subject to availability.
Where to visit? I love Cambridge for its vibrancy, history and the incredible architecture. Being in a small city that has contributed to the world in such a major way – it is inspiring just to be here. If there is one thing to do when visiting it is to take a punt (boat) on the river Cam, behind the colleges – there is no better way to see what makes this city special.
Must see? The colleges, the bustling market and the beautiful and tranquil Orchard Tearooms in Grantchester.
What's the story behind The Cambridge Satchel Company – where did the idea first originate?
The Cambridge Satchel Company was born from the need to make money to send my children to a brilliant school – everyone needs motivation and a very strong one as when you start a business you will hit bumps in the road. For me there was no better motivation than making life better for Emily and Max and a great education is the best start in life. I had £600 earmarked to start the business and never borrowed or took on any form of debt – that is until a couple of years ago when I took on an investor but by then I had grown the annual sales to £13 million a year. It’s amazing what you can do with sheer determination and focus.
Do you still have the original table that the initial designs were created on?
I do, it is still my kitchen table. Homework is done on it, baking is done on it and countless cups of tea and coffee are drunk sitting around it. The kitchen is still the heart of the business in many ways as that’s where everyone ends up and it’s a great place to discuss issues. I find it difficult to work in a creative way in a conventional office, it’s suffocating at times. I would much rather be outside or in the kitchen with the dogs wandering around. Many of our best ideas have been hatched from the team having meetings in the park – it’s not conventional but it works for us.
Experience Milan like a local this fashion season with our top picks for exploring the city in style…
Carlo e Camilla in Segheria
This unique dining concept opened in 2014, but its unexpected offering and pioneering aesthetic continues to make waves across the city years later. Created by Michelin-starred chef Carlo Cracco and art director Tanja Solci and set in a former sawmill, take in the restaurant's soaring structure as you savour exquisite dishes. The graphic, monochromatic space is part of a new wave of creative dining – and it’s worth noting that this is as much a social experience as any, with visitors dining side by side on the elegant, elongated tables.
Via Giuseppe Meda 24, 20141 Milan, Italy
Seamlessly balancing strong durability with an edgy and elegant aesthetic, Coach has been crafting the finest leather goods since 1941 – and although the brand’s identity may have evolved over the years, the dedication to quality and focus on refined expression has remained the same.
The brand’s humble beginnings trace back to 1941, with a small, family-run workshop in the heart of New York City. Inspired by the precise design of a baseball glove, company founder Miles Kahn and his team of six artisans created a collection of 12 handbags using the same meticulous stitch work – and so the Coach brand was born.
The classic pieces struck a chord with the fashion crowd and gradually the label began to expand. In 1962, American sportswear pioneer Bonnie Cashin designed the famous duffle bag, firmly securing Coach a coveted spot on the luxury landscape – but it was the appointment of new CEO and future Chairman, Lew Frankfort, that really enabled Coach to find its niche. Frankfort recognised consumers’ desire for affordable luxury and by bridging the high street and high-end gap, Coach rapidly grew into the iconic fashion brand that it is today.
Recognised across the globe for its distinctive representation of American style, Coach beautifully captures the vibrant energy of New York through its carefully crafted pieces. Resonating with fashion-forward men and women of all ages, the label has been worn by high-profile icons such as Madonna and Prince – and, today, has caught the attention of a younger celebrity crowd, thanks to British visionary Stuart Vevers.
Leading the brand’s reinvention in 2013, Vevers’ editorial eye and offbeat energy propelled Coach in an edgier direction, introducing a fresh, urban attitude while still keeping the rich heritage intact. From city-ready baseball jackets to clean, contemporary high-tops, the designer’s collections defy traditional dress rules, casting aside luxury age codes with their universal relevance.
From charismatic cocktail bars to Art Deco hotels, we’ve got everything you need for a stylish stay in the capital…
Bourne and Hollingsworth Buildings
Light, airy and eclectic, this Clerkenwell brasserie is a botanical paradise simply perfect for a spot of brunch. The characterful interior is a bespoke mix of old and new – with antique armchairs, sumptuous textures, clean lines and tropical plants. As for the menu, from homemade granola to Huevos Benedictos, B&H has got you covered – and don’t miss the bottomless Bellinis made with fresh fruit puree.
Salmontini Le Resto
It’s a watch minefield out there, or a timepiece smorgasbord, or an overwhelming, overcrowded horological marketplace. Whichever way you look at it, we’ve broken it down to a few of the basics and some.
Quartz or mechanical
The issue of how your watch is powered is probably the biggest pre-purchase decision you will need to make. Quartz timepieces are more accurate, invariably cheaper and more convenient – you should only need to get the battery replaced every couple of years. If you love the inner workings of a watch and you have the budget, you should invest in a mechanical one – your choice is hand-wound (exactly that) or automatic – which relies on the movement of your wrist to store kinetic energy to power the watch.
Get with the lingo
The face of the watch is called the dial. The numbers are called indexes. The button that you wind and adjust the time with is the crown. The ring around the dial that protects the glass is the bezel. The parts of the case that join to the strap are the lugs. The amount of time your mechanical watch will last without being wound is the power-reserve. Any functionality that measures time, such as a race, is a chronograph. This is enough to get you through most ‘watchy’ chats with ease.
It's all in the detail this autumn with so many elegant watches to choose from. To help you navigate the timepiece minefield, we spoke to Ryan Ould, head of product design at Rotary, to discover his top tips for choosing the perfect style...
Quartz or automaticDo you want the easy life with a quartz watch, which offers incredible accuracy that only requires you to change the date a few times a year, or do you want the romance and craftsmanship of a Swiss automatic with its unmistakable sweeping second hand and visible parts through its see-through case back?
Case sizeThis applies to both men’s and ladies’ watches, make sure it fits and sits on your wrist perfectly! Whether on a metal bracelet or leather strap, the timepiece should feel moulded to your wrist, never too heavy and always matching what you are wearing.
Plating colourThis is a very individual choice, most men tend to go with stainless steel as this is the safe option, however an emerging women’s trend is two-tone metal, which often consists of either rose gold and stainless steel or classic gold and stainless steel, and this works with all types of jewellery. If you are looking for the vintage vibe you can never beat gold plate.
Bracelet or strapThis comes down to what the watch will be used for and who is wearing it. If the individual making the purchase is very active then a bracelet makes much more sense; on the other hand, if the timepiece is for a person working in the city, working long hours and wearing business attire, a strap will complement a suit perfectly!
In this era of expressive, individualised fashion, accessories are witnessing a renaissance with a whole array of joyful, playful pieces that add a sense of character to any look. Hunt for designs that are meaningful to you, whether that’s a crystal hair clip or a tapestry handbag.
Right now, personal, symbolic jewellery should be top of any wish list with badges, brooches and pins decorating everything from jackets to heels. More is more – so go for excess with a multitude of crystal clips to ‘do up’ tousled locks and an array of brooches to soup up utilitarian jackets.
Enjoy the visceral appeal of a faux fur or sheepskin handbag. Once worn, you will never forget how friendly they feel to the touch and how effective they can be as icebreakers in social circles. The only word of caution is to keep these furry wonders out of the rain.
From autumn trends and workwear to post-work pick me up, Content Creator Elena Sandor lets us into her secret of a happy work-life balance...
THE CONTENT CREATOR: Elena Sandor of www.eatweartravel.com
On her capsule working wardrobe
Currently coveting… This autumn, I’ll definitely be embracing the capelet trend - it’s such a retro yet elegant look. The pinstripe suit is also highly coveted for next season, lengthening all body shapes as well as adding power and mystery to every look.
From go-to office look to work-life balance, student and fashionista Lily Kate takes us through her must-have fashion pieces and rituals.
THE STUDENT: Lily Kate of www.jolihouse.com
On her capsule working wardrobe
Currently coveting… Velvet. I’ll be keeping my eye out for a well cut pair of high waisted jeans, and maybe a skirt or two. It’s not overly dressy, but is just that bit different for when denim gets boring. I’m loving the dusky pinks and purples trend too, so lots of plum and raspberry.
The Giuseppe Zanotti brand recently celebrated 20 years. What has been the highlight for you so far?
Every stage of the past 20 years has brought its milestones – seeing the brand expanding globally, launching menswear and ready-to-wear – but above all it has been my continued fascination with shoes. They will always come first since they are not just accessories; they are my universe.
What's the best advice you've received about running your own business?
I think that no one can give you better advice than yourself – for me it has always been to follow my passion, to stay true to myself and to love what I do every day.
We hate to break it to you, but come September you’re tousled hair and sandals just won’t cut it for the office. Time for our annual reinvention. From what to throw on when you’re running late to nailing that Pinterest-worthy desk, fashion insider Chloe shares how they go ‘back-to-school’ in style. You might even make it in for 9am.
THE POST GRAD: Chloe of www.oh-chlo.com
On her capsule working wardrobe
Currently coveting… I’m really loving the minimal look at the moment, with simple colours and statement sleeves to add a bit of edge. I think that vibe will transition into my AW16 work wardrobe, for sure. I love the classic feel that Sandro offers, and Kurt Geiger shoes are just perfection. Comfort and beauty in one. I always think a bag says a lot about a person though, so I'd head to Coach, Mulberry or Chloé. It’s always been my dream to own a Chloé bag, and I should really get priority since that’s my name. Don’t you think?
Festival season is just around the corner, and whilst you may start off with the perfect side braid and artfully applied make-up – crowds, camping and crazy weather can really throw your look off point. So to get you ready for the most Instagrammed season of the year, we’ve asked three top bloggers to share their style, beauty and wellness secrets. Selfie sticks at the ready!
Sophia from theskinnyandthecurvyone.com
Style tribe: Edgy urban.
Where she’s going: Chiemsee Summer Festival.
Jane Winkworth founded French Sole in 1989 and is regarded as the ‘Queen of Ballet Flats’. Jane and French Sole made their mark by combining a classic ballet flat with never before seen colours, textiles and materials. All French Sole products are handcrafted in Europe, made with care by third generation craftsmen who use only the finest Italian leathers and skins.
1. Flats look great with everything and anything as long as you have confidence, so decide which style suits you best and are the most comfortable for your lifestyle and leg shape.2. For practical glamour try pointed flats with glitter embellishments or sparkling ballet flats with oversized bows.3. If your style is ‘sports luxe’, French Sole’s Moochers and Boardwalkers make the perfect transition from gym to party and special occasions. These styles were everywhere on the catwalks of the SS16 shows.4. Ballet flats are everywhere right now and this classic, feminine shape should show a little toe cleavage for maximum impact.5. Luxurious leather sandals also translate brilliantly from beach to city and look wonderful with everything all summer long.
Discover French Sole pop-up boutique this summer located near Le Pain Quotidien restaurant.
London based style creative influencer and artist Nik Thakkar shares his top tips from his recent trip to Jordan.
Destination: Dead Sea
Where to visit: I recently spent an amazing four days in Jordan travelling across the country from Amman to Aqaba via Wadi Rum and the coast of the Dead Sea. It was an incredible experience in a truly beautiful part of the world that few people have visited. A personal highlight was floating in the Dead Sea at the lowest point on Earth; Dead Sea is 304 m (997 ft) deep, the deepest hypersaline lake in the world where you literally float.
When it comes to summer beauty, mastering that effortless post-beach glow isn’t always easy. Sun, salt and chlorine can all interfere, wreaking havoc on our hair and skincare regimes. From textured waves to beautifully bronzed skin, the perfect sun-kissed finish calls for a touch of beauty prep – so we’ve asked three top bloggers to share their rituals for the season ahead…
MONICA OF mesvoyagesaparis.com
Beauty muse: I adore a chic daytime vibe – Olivia Palermo and Chiara Ferragni are my make-up muses.
In the summer make-up bag: Lip balm, face cream, lip-gloss and bronzing pearls.
Bonnie Rakhit, editor and founder of award-winning, luxury fashion and travel blog TheStyleTraveller.com takes us to Marrakech to discover some of the hidden gems of the magical Moroccan city.
Where to visit? Marrakech is an enchanting, ancient city filled with exotic treasures. From the labyrinth of rose and terracotta hued alleyways in the old town, bustling bazaars and colourful crowds in the souks, to the hectic cacophony of sights, sounds and smells, you can’t help but fall in love with this enthralling city. Visit the world heritage site, the famous square of the DJemaa El Fna, filled with street food shops, snake charmers, acrobats and dancers. Be hypnotised by the scenes reminiscent of Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves or retreat into one of the many traditional hammans or spas in the old town and have an indulgent massage.
Ingredients for 6 cross buns
250g strong white flour7g active dried yeast45g caster sugar1g cinnamonZest of one orange150ml whole milk20g unsalted butter1 egg70g dried raisins For the cross paste4tbsp flour4tbsp water syrup for glaze4tbsp sugar4tbsp water
Method￼￼￼￼1. Warm up milk and orange zest in a small saucepan until steaming and add the butter.2. In a large bowl mix flour, cinnamon, caster sugar and yeast.3. Pour in the warm milk mixture into the flour and mix with a spatula.4. Add the egg into and mix with a spatula until the mixture clumps together.5. Incorporate into the dough the dried raisin.6. Preheat the oven at 30c7. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces.8. Roll each lump of dough into a smooth ball.9. Place the dough balls on a lined baking tray.10. Leave the tray in the oven and to prove for 30 min until the dough has doubled in volume.11. Preheat the oven at 180c12. To make the paste for the crosses, mix together the flour and water and spoon into a piping bag.13. Pipe crosses onto the buns.14. Bake the buns for seven minutes, or until fully baked and golden. 15. Prepare the glaze while the buns are baking by heating the sugar and water together on a low heat until the sugar dissolves.16. Remove the buns from the oven when they are baked and lightly brush with the syrup glaze while they are still hot.
Serve and enjoy!
A Royal Warrant is perhaps the most defining accolade a company can attain. In an age of spurious paid-for celebrity endorsement, the Royal Warrant exists in a vacuum, decided not by expensive contracts and numbers of followers, but by discerning, methodical judgement through tried and tested use.
Only three members of the Royal Family are entitled to bestow warrants: HM The Queen, HRH The Duke of Edinburgh and HRH The Prince of Wales. Companies can only be awarded the honour after their goods or services have been bought consistently by one of these members of the Royal Family for five years out of seven. It’s a dedicated and thorough policing of companies – currently there are around 800 registered as holding a Royal Warrant – ranging from plumbing services to the more glamorous worlds of fashion and beauty.
The challenge of producing goods and services fine enough for Royalty has been around since the Middle Ages; in 1155 Henry II granted a Royal Charter to the Weavers’ Guild as a reflection of goods used by the Royal Household. Workmen and craftspeople continued to seek favour from, and impress, the Court with competition throughout the decades being fiercely fought for royal recognition. By the eighteenth century tradespeople began displaying the Royal Coat of arms on their stationery and premises, and by 1840 the Royal Warrant Holders Association was formed to oversee companies holding Royal Warrants.
Today’s Royal Warrant holders are varied but perhaps it is no wonder that, at the luxury and fancy goods end, they are all companies with a rich British heritage and craftsmanship.
Tatler magazine claims that there is a set of Molton Brown (awarded a Royal Warrant by the Queen in 2013) Orange & Bergamot in every bathroom at Balmoral. In competition for ‘Supplier of Toiletries’ is the historic perfumer Penhaligon’s, which was first awarded a Royal Warrant by Queen Alexandra in 1903. In 1956 HRH The Duke of Edinburgh followed suit, as did HRH Prince Charles in 1988, with Molton Brown supplying the palaces from their Mayfair boutique. It’s certainly an insight into how fragrant The Royal Household and its members must be.
This season, pack beautifully with statement pieces that combine bold design with delicate detail. Here are our top picks for your favourite destinations…
For long days by the water, rich hues will lend a refined aesthetic when layered under free-flowing silhouettes. Think luxe separates with bold undertones for subtle summer vibrancy.
With summer around the corner, we are sharing some of our favourite Karen Millen pieces and styling tips to help you prepare for the upcoming social season.
Donna: 'The social season provides so many opportunities to dress up! For daytime gatherings, such as garden parties or sporting occasions, I might choose a floral dress or a jumpsuit with a jacket thrown over in case the weather turns. Flats are a must, lawns and heels don’t mix. For evening, I might opt for a more tailored dress and lace is perfect for summer. I tend to avoid black and opt for bright, fresh colours. Transition from day to night with a gorgeous pair of heels. Rules have relaxed, although in some cases – for example, Royal Ascot – a strict code still applies; check before choosing your outfit.'Gemma:Dresses are key for the summer season. You’ll find a beautiful selection in our collection to suit every occasion, from floor length and floaty to elegantly tailored styles. My advice for dressing for summer events is have fun with it. Choose bright colours or floral prints and wear with a simple clutch to let your dress shine. Above all, wear something which will make you feel confident and comfortable!
1. Master smart/casual dressing – it’s that fine line between being overdressed and underdressed. We say you can’t go wrong with a pair of sleek culottes and an easy Breton top. It’s nonchalant yet chic.
2. Always take a jacket – British summers are notoriously unpredictable, so it always pays to be prepared for unexpected downpours. Lightweight blazers and trenches are perfect – even if just draped around your shoulders.
3. Wear white – Wimbledon whites aren’t just reserved for the players. From dresses to blouses and handbags, no shade feels more summery. Just be careful with those strawberries…
4. Comfort is key – being a spectator involves a lot of sitting around, so it’s important you feel comfortable in your outfit. I’ll definitely be packing a pair of flats in my tote bag.
This year Jimmy Choo celebrates it’s 20th anniversary, a huge milestone for the eponymous shoe brand that has consistently dressed the most fashionable and famous women over the last two decades. From the formative days when Jimmy Choo was favoured by the Princess of Wales, the brand has blazed a trail from Kensington Palace to the red carpet.
Famed for its innovative design, exceptional craftsmanship and enticing cut – a pair of Jimmy Choos have become a symbol of sophistication, attracting celebrities and royalty alike.
The brand has evolved over the years, from its routes as an East End atelier in the late 1990’s. The brand quickly caught the eye of the fashion cognoscenti and by 2008 Jimmy Choo was awarded Designer Brand of the Year by the British Fashion Council and ‘ACE Brand of the Year’ by the Accessory Council.
We are excited about the launch of the pop-up, can you share with us how the concept for this project began?
Our projects have two souls: on one hand, we like to offer the public a range of special, limited-edition products that express our identity and our code. At the same time, we believe that supporting charity causes through these activities make them even more extraordinary. We have a lot of fun developing these events and initiatives; we feel that it is always interesting to translate our aesthetic into something that is not necessarily linked to fashion. It all started with Marni Flower Market, the first event we hosted to celebrate our twentieth anniversary: the idea was to create a big flower market open to public, where people could move freely buying flowers and Marni products exclusively made for the event.
Marni has worked very closely with several charities, tell us about Associazione Vimala and how the work they do resonates with the brand’s values?
We collaborate with Associazione Vimala for many projects; we love their transparency and their practical approach. They really help people in a simple and efficient way. With Marni Prisma, our events for our twentieth anniversary, we supported the renovation of a school for disabled children in India. Some months ago I went there to attend the opening of this school; it was hugely emotional to witness the children’s happiness while being conscious that our work made that possible.
How did you decide on the natural, botanical theme behind the pop-up?
As a designer and creative director, I'm constantly travelling from one country to the next, visiting our factories or gathering inspiration. Therefore any beautifully designed items that make this process more enjoyable are always high on my list. Distinctive prints and colour combinations always make me smile – even if it’s raining - so bold and bright pieces are an absolute must-have. I’ve chosen some really eye-catching yet practical pieces from some of my favourite design houses – including jewellery from Marni and Coccinelle and a leather travel organiser from Smythson. I also love this beautiful travel bag from Diane Von Furstenberg to keep all my belongings safe and sound. Molton Brown is perfect for travel size toiletries – it’s so nice to make your hotel room feel like a home from home and these instantly add a personal touch! Finally, our Penelope Chilvers Skipper Espadrilles are the ideal travel companion - lightweight and easy to take on and off when required. The metallic finish allows them to dress up an outfit when necessary so they offer great versatility. Discover Penelope's must-haves below...
Beautifully crafted and artful in design, a timeless pair of shoes can act as an anchor for a more creative aesthetic, providing the perfect base for a new signature look. To help get you inspired, we’ve asked two top fashion bloggers how they’ll be styling the classics this season…
DENISIA OF polishingcolors.com
A good brogue can smarten up any outfit – I like to team mine with a loose-fitting pair of cropped jeans and an oversized, crisp white shirt. To complete the look, invest in a dark grey or bottle green fedora, a small crossover bag and a delicate necklace.
Your collections resonate with people around the world - is there a particular woman that you design for or does this vary from pair to pair?
The wonderful thing about shoes is that they can tell a million stories, and I suppose women will have a million moods and so it’s very hard to just design for a specific woman. A woman that’s comfortable with making decisions and wearing brands that speak about her, who is confident in her choices and knows what works for her, is the sort of woman who wears my shoes.
Where did your passion for footwear first originate?
Deep down in my soul. It seems to have found me and it works perfectly for me. It encapsulates pretty much all the things I like doing – making lots of things and working with beautiful materials. The transformative power of shoes is second to almost nothing.
Are there any practices you have that keep you creatively engaged and inspired?
By Victoria MossVictoria Moss is Senior Fashion News and Features Editor at The Telegraph
Having successfully got this far into the year, it’s probably about time to start thinking of a few wardrobe refreshers. They’ll be new season trends coming at you from all angles, but we’re going to hold on those for now: no one needs to debate the pros and cons of a shoulder baring ruffled top in April (or, perhaps ever). Instead we’re going to look at those essential, key pieces which will help elevate tired wardrobe favourites as well as put a little spring in your step – all the better to help you get through to actual Spring.
Without wanting to veer into too much fashion-speak territory, the serious style shift is happening in terms of silhouette – it’s loosened up. What does this mean? Wide trousers! Or, even more ideally, what is being touted in certain circles as a troulotte, i.e. something half way between a culotte and a trouser – think cropped and wide. Not only are these eminently flattering, but they are entirely comfortable and a serious no brainer: hence, sold. If you’re brave, wear with your ankles out (or not, add a jaunty sock – coloured and printed designs are currently a thing – embrace it). Which brings us to the next addition: loafers, if you’re showing off – a pair from Gucci. The Italian stallion, with a little help from Alessandro Michele (just celebrating his first year as creative director) has made the classic horse bit style a super-charged staple. Also look to reassuringly chunky pairs from Marni – which season after season offers something for all ugly-but fabulous shoe lovers to lust over.
Given that the new fashion mood is all about ease, comfort and making your clothes work for you, it follows that your accessories (note the flat shoe of choice offered above) including your bag should fit into this. Which is why we’re advocating a cross body handbag – look for interesting quirks – be it a drawstring bucket bag, tasselled messenger, a kitsch shape, or strikingly sculptural. Worn across you, it will help draw your outfit together (literally – they’re great for keeping a flighty jacket in check) and let you keep your hands free for important things like, shopping!
Inject a hint of the coming summer-romance with a pretty silk blouse: layering is fashion’s current buzz word du jour, but when the weather is hot one day, cold the next, looking for chic items that can be worn on their own, over a vest or under a cardigan and jacket come into their own. If you find one with ruffles – then you’re really winning. Again it’s all in the details – pyjama-esque style (even an actual pyjama top – seriously), pussy-bows (very Saint Laurent), sweet ditzy prints or bold stripes, look out for pieces with a little va-va-voom to them.
SWEET POTATO HUMMUS
Ingredients: 245 g roasted sweet potato 130 g chickpea hummus 50 ml water 25 ml lemon juice 30 ml olive oil 15 g harissa 1 g smoked paprika Salt & pepper to season
Ingredients: 2 x 400g cans of chickpeas (reserve the liquid and a few chickpeas for decoration) 4 tsp tahini 2 garlic cloves, crushed 1 tsp crushed sea salt 6 tbsp quality extra virgin olive oil (plus extra for drizzling) 3½ tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
After searching high and low for the perfect pair of riding boots, Penelope Chilvers decided to create her own, launching her highly successful shoe business. With a background in interior and product design, Penelope developed a passion for beautifully crafted footwear and never looked back. With a loyal following including Alexa Chung, Cate Blanchett and the Duchess of Cambridge, Penelope Chilvers has become a staple for stylish women everywhere.
In an exclusive interview with Bicester Village, Penelope gives us an insight into her design world, sharing the stories behind her most iconic pieces…
You originally trained as a painter, has this experience influenced your designs in any way?
I had a fine art education and left school thinking I wanted to be a painter or an artist rather then a commercial designer. The teaching I received was probably the best kind of training for anything in the creative industry. It taught me the fundamentals of craftsmanship, which has been an important factor for me in my business. I draw all the styles myself freehand in order to understand the pattern and scale of the shoe. I have a sketchbook which I take everywhere to keep all my ideas with me, starting with a new one each season.
Have your childhood memories played an important role in your work?
From soft silhouettes to colour-pop contrasts, discover our edit of stunning guest wear, available now at the Bicester Village Gucci boutique….
1. BLUSH ROMANCE
Perfect for the summer season, this tailored mini dress in soft rose has a distinctly elegant feel with its structured neckline. Style with a contemporary angle and create a contrast with minimal metallic accessories for a touch of lo-fi cool.
Get The Look:- Gucci 50 glow light clutch- Pink hibiscus dress in heavy crepe stretch- Studded metallic leather shoes
2. STATEMENT BRIGHTS
1. BLENHEIM PALACE
With over 300 years of rich history to discover, Blenheim Palace offers visitors an immersive and fascinating experience. Built in the early 18th Century, the iconic palace provides a romantic, whimsical setting that’s simply perfect for a wedding celebration. Historically used to store orange trees for the palace gardens, the elegant Orangery room can host up to 250 guests for your ceremony. Features include a glass panelled roof and stunning views over the Duke’s Italian Garden. Alternatively, choose the Marlborough room for smaller ceremonies - its double vaulted ceiling and fireplace provide a magical, intimate setting.
Amanda Wakeley launched in 1990, how has the label developed since then?From a small studio on the Fulham Road, Amanda Wakeley now offers a variety of lifestyle luxury products from bridal gowns, to ready to wear, to fine jewellery and a gorgeous range of handbags. We dress our woman for any of her special occasions; be it her wedding, her work meetings or brunch with friends.
Your collections often reflect your personal style, how would you define your signature aesthetic?My aesthetic vision reflects sleek lines with an impeccable cut, exceptional quality and accessibly luxurious and cocooning fabrics.
When designing a new collection, what ignites your creativity?I’m constantly working across a few collections and my design inspiration never stops. I find inspiration in people I meet, my travels, nature but most of all from architecture.
What does a typical working day entail for you as a designer?At my studio, there’s always plenty of work to be done and fun to be had! From sketching with my design team, board meetings with my equity partners, fittings with the technical team or discussing strategy with my communications team; no day is ever the same.
What should brides keep in mind when deciding on the silhouette of their dress?You’ll be spending up to 12 hours in your dress. It should move with your body, not against you. By the end of the night, it will be one of the most precious memories of your special day!
What first attracted you to jewellery design- have you always been creatively minded?I almost came in to jewellery design by accident. Although I always had an eye for aesthetics, it wasn’t until my mother who supplied fish to restaurants in London asked me to come up with an idea for a gift for 60 of the top chefs. I designed my first piece of jewellery - a pair of humorous fish cufflinks!
Many might be surprised to hear you’re not trained as a traditional jeweller - how did you learn your craft and what advice do you have for others starting out in the industry?I spent long summers in the studio of our great sculptor friend in Tuscany where I must have absorbed the subliminal understanding of the making process of casting and of the way that pieces are formed and how they feel to the hand. Other than this, I had had no formal jewellery design training. I built on what was an instinctive sensibility to a more conscious, decision-making design process, often driven, for me, by the practicalities of wearing jewellery. Over the years, I have learnt to rely on my ability to describe the visions in my head in detail to my craftsman. So my advice - everything is possible.
The organic materials featured in your pieces give a unique, energised feel to luxury - can you describe the kind of woman you design for?I think I really design pieces that I would really like to wear, so that is my starting point – but my clients are self-assured; the vast majority are independent and well travelled, with a confident sophistication. There is no doubt that jewellery that is designed for women, by women feels and looks very different to jewellery designed by men and I think this is why so many of our clients are women buying for themselves. I think most of our clients are women that are more interested in style than fashion.
You began creating in Hong Kong - what was it about the city that inspired you?My travels have always been a key source for my inspiration in designing fine jewellery. Intoxicating cities and magical landscapes, along with my love of art and interest in foreign cultures definitely influence my collections. Hong Kong specifically is a city so full of multicultural diversity, history and beauty, that you can’t help but be inspired.
Your love of colour is evident in your designs - what are some of your favourite shades and why?I prefer to work with yellow gold and warm coloured gemstones as they reflect my personal style and the character of the stones gives life to the jewellery. Colours that can be worn together yet can equally be worn alone as a stand out piece to complete an outfit are the most attractive to me.
1. Be sure to consider your venue when choosing floral displays. For example, huge arrangements on the tables won’t work if it means your guests can’t talk to each other or if they obstruct the view of the bride and groom.
2. As well as flowers, why not use also use trees to add a sense of scale and grandeur to your wedding? A placement tree is a creative way to display your table plan for instance and looks beautiful lit up as day turns to night. While outdoor weddings with an avenue of beautiful blossom trees looks breath-taking.
3. Of course, it’s not all about big statement pieces. Personalised place settings are simple but add a lovely touch. Try a single rose or a knot of herbs tied together with a pretty piece of ribbon, or spray napkins with a favourite scent, so that when they’re opened your guests are treated to something fragrant.
4. Candles create instant ambience and lend an intimate and romantic feel to your venue. Try mixed-height storm lanterns, or large glass bottles filled with stylish white or grey candles for an eclectic, informal feel.
What led you into the world of floristry? I used to work in advertising but got involved in arranging the flowers for a close friend’s wedding, and loved it. Floristry seemed like the perfect way to express my creativity as I can’t paint or draw and I knew it was the career for me, so I got a job with a small florist and then the opportunity for the turquoise island became available.
What are your favourite wedding flowers?It’s so hard to choose an overall favourite as it very much depends on the season, venue, location etc… However, in general my favourite flowers are garden roses or anything English, like peonies or sweet peas. They are classic and luxurious with amazing colours and textures. They also always smell so fragrant.
Which flower do you think is the most romantic? Well, it has to be the rose. Not only are they beautiful and scented, but they also have such a wonderful meaning. In Victorian times, a yellow rose defined everlasting love while a red rose signified passion. Every colour had a meaning which is very romantic. I think they make the perfect wedding flower as they typify love and sensuality and luxury and opulence, plus the fragrance is so provocative.
What’s a good starting point for a couple to plan their flowers? Think about how you want to feel on your wedding day and create a mood board as your starting point. Use Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and to find images of your favourite flowers, as well as ideas you have gathered from other weddings. Your florist can then use this to make suggestions and recommend flowers that are in season and suit your theme and the venue – which really sets the tone.
This wedding cake is for approximately 30 people and uses 2 x 8” and 2 x 6” pans. You can scale the recipe up or down to suit your needs and use different pans – just be sure to adjust the amount of batter accordingly.
If adapting the tins you will need to split the batter accordingly - always fill your cake tin no more less than ½ full and no more than 2/3 full, depending on how deep you want the layer to be, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, but not longer.
SIMPLE DECADENT CHOCOLATE CAKE
Preparation time: 25 minutesCooking time: 35 minutesServes: 30
690g unsalted butter, room temperature1650g caster sugar12 eggs6 tsp vanilla extract1260g plain flour, sifted270g cocoa powder, sifted3 tsp salt3 tsp bicarbonate of soda1140ml soured cream750ml strong brewed coffee, cooledTwo 8” round cake tins, greased and linedTwo 6” cake tins, greased and lined
Creating sweet treats for clients including Alexander McQueen and House of Holland, artisan baker Lily Vanilli is on hand to help you find the perfect wedding cake…
1. Decide on FlavourStart with a flavour - make sure the cake is going to be something you both actually want to eat! What's your favourite cake? This can influence the design too.
2. Seek InspirationHave a look at Pinterest or elsewhere and start building a mood board, it doesn't have to be just cake references, just look for colours, details and shapes that you really like as everything is useful when it comes to building the design.
3. Decide On The SizeThink about size and shape - how many guests? How many tiers?
4. Consider The LocationThink about the location it will be in - is the wedding outside? Will it be in a very warm place? Will there be a good position in the room for the cake to be viewed from? All these things might affect what you can make your cake with.
Tell us the the story behind Lily Vanilli - how did you first break into the industry?I was a self taught baker and I started selling a few cakes to make ends meet in 2008, it was before the cupcake/baking revival had happened and the press picked up on it quite quickly. Soon after I sold my first cake I was stocked in Harrods and baking for the likes of Elton John.
What makes Lily Vanilli wedding cakes so unique?I have always had a really natural and fresh aesthetic, using things that look like they're going to taste good as well. I use a colour palette and sense of playfulness that keeps it young and modern, while designing very grand, stunning cakes, I think it's a nice mix.
What does the process entail - how do you ensure both the bride and groom’s personalities/tastes are incorporated in the finished creation?I always work with the bride and groom from the flavour through to the design, my theory is that it's probably the most lavish cake you will ever buy, it should be exactly as you like it. Also, there are often enough tiers for everyone's tastes to be incorporated into the finished cake.
Can you share with us the story behind your most memorable wedding cake?I made a wedding cake that was exhibited as a sculpture in the V&A Museum the weekend of the Royal Wedding (and inspired by it) - it was exhibited as a sculpture during the day, and then cut up and eaten in the evening. It was enormous, gold, (candy) jewel encrusted and flavoured with made of chocolate cake, grapefruit mousse & bucks fizz curd.
Your cakes really are works of art - have you always been a creative person?To an extent, but it was really when I discovered cakes and baking that my creativity came through, I had just never felt as passionate about anything else before.
What does your creative process look like when it comes to working with new clients. How do you find the perfect style for each individual bride?When I meet my bride for the first time, I like to sit next to them and chat, not just about the wedding but about them, their life, their fiancé, what they like and what they don't like. This leads onto the plans for the wedding, what sort of wedding will it be? What sort of feel does it have? is it romantic, modern, wonderland or classic?
We discuss the dress and, if it has already been chosen, I need to see a picture of it. From this and the conversation I can build the look to suit her. I can go as classic or fashionable as she wishes.
Where do you pull inspiration from for each new look?My inspiration comes from all over and not necessarily linked to something bridal – places I've been, people I work with, the catwalk, photographers – but my main inspiration comes from my client.
Can you share any beauty rules for keeping hair in tip-top condition?Keeping hair healthy is simple. Have a trim every 6 to 8 weeks even if you are growing it. Watch what you eat and drink plenty of water. Stay away from products that contain silicone and use a heat protecting spray on your hair if you use tongs or straighteners.
What if a bride wants to dye her hair? How far in advance of the big day would you recommend a colour change?Ideally hair colour should be done 8 to 10 days before the wedding – it needs to settle and looks the best after a few washes. I normally don't recommend a massive change in colour, if you don't normally colour your hair you can have a glossing treatment to give shine. Our motto is we want to look like you, but the 'red carpet' version.
1. Hydration is so important for healthy hair - you want your locks to be looking shiny and glossy on the big day. Drink plenty of water and treat yourself to two intensive treatments each week.
2. Be sure to have regular trims, even if you are trying to grow your hair - split or dry ends can really spoil the final look.
3. Whilst a touch of colour can give you definition and movement, don’t over do it or go to blocky as you can easily damage the hair’s natural shine.
4. Shampoo the night before your big day and let it dry naturally. It allows the hair to settle and ensures it won’t be too soft for styling.
5. 2016 is all about plaits and hair with movement - keep the look natural and take care not over style.
Discover our hand-picked edit of beautiful wedding pieces…
1. THE SPRING WEDDING
A true investment piece, this vibrant dress from Oscar de la Renta with its two-tone palette is perfect for a wedding in the spring. Play on the bold print with a pair of point-toes - the deep pink hue provides a beautiful contrast to the fresh lime.
Swedish personal trainer and fashion-focused fitness blogger Faya Nillson launched her blog Fitness on Toast back in 2013. With a passion for living an authentic and healthy lifestyle, the blog's beautiful content covers everything from delicious recipes and nutritional tips to powerful workouts and the latest fashion trends.
Throughout her professional life, Faya has found that tackling your health goals in an organised, realistic and structured way can successfully boost your success. We sat down with the blogger to discuss her tips for living a healthier, happier and more energised life...
THINK LONG TERM To me, the word ‘diet’ conjures up tired thoughts of bland and boring foods alongside abstinence. I think that diets are ultimately self-defeating and unsustainable, often unhealthy and seem to universally fail those who invest so much emotional energy into them. Instead eating healthily should and can be colourful, exciting and full of exciting flavours - it’s very much a long term solution. You can find plenty of nutritious recipes on FitnessOnToast.com if you're looking for some inspiration.
Always remember that a ‘slip up’ isn’t the end of the world. I would argue that it's only human and to expect perfect adherence is unrealistic. Instead, I simply accept it and move on. That doesn't mean there should be four solid days of gorging because of one indulgent episode - just train a bit harder the next day and consider it extra fuel for your efforts! Maintaining a mindset that makes room for long term healthy eating will make it much easier to get back on track.
AVOID FIXATIONS ON ‘WEIGHT LOSS’ For many people, weight loss seems to take centre stage; in fact it becomes the stage. Whilst fitting into that pair of jeans may be the goal, avoid making that the priority. Instead, focus on realistic, specific targets that involve healthy eating and regular exercise - the 'excess fat' reduction will come as an extra bonus! By focusing less on aesthetics and more on the life goal of feeling genuinely healthy and energised, both your confidence and body will change as a result.
IT’S NOT 'ALL OR NOTHING' A balanced middle ground is so important! If you love sweet things and have a social life, the likelihood that you’ll wake up one morning and successfully cut out chocolate and wine is unlikely. Instead, be realistic and absolutely enjoy the things that make you tick as a human being, whilst sticking to a mostly healthy eating plan. Avoid having an entire bottle of claret each night, but rather opt for a glass of red on the weekend - quantity control which allows for a perfectly acceptable target of enjoyment. Similarly, why not switch to 80% organic dark chocolate as a healthier alternative to a bar of artificial milk chocolate – plenty of antioxidants and full of flavour so one or two small squares should suffice! My Avocado Chocolate Mousse dessert draws upon this healthier dynamic, plays to portion control, and represents a 'balanced middle ground' that still tastes exquisite.
On her recent visit to Bicester Village, we sat down with talented designer Annoushka Ducas to discuss the inspiration behind her collections…
What first attracted you to jewellery design- have you always been creatively minded?
I almost came in to jewellery design by accident. Although I always had an eye for aesthetics, it wasn’t until my mother who supplied fish to restaurants in London asked me to come up with an idea for a gift for 60 of the top chefs. I designed my first piece of jewellery - a pair of humorous fish cufflinks! Many might be surprised to hear you’re not trained as a traditional jeweller - how did you learn your craft and what advice do you have for others starting out in the industry?
I spent long summers in the studio of our great sculptor friend in Tuscany where I must have absorbed the subliminal understanding of the making process of casting and of the way that pieces are formed and how they feel to the hand. Other than this, I had had no formal jewellery design training. I built on what was an instinctive sensibility to a more conscious, decision-making design process, often driven, for me, by the practicalities of wearing jewellery. Over the years, I have learnt to rely on my ability to describe the visions in my head in detail to my craftsman. So my advice - everything is possible. The organic materials featured in your pieces give a unique, energised feel to luxury - can you describe the kind of woman you design for?
I think I really design pieces that I would really like to wear, so that is my starting point – but my clients are self-assured; the vast majority are independent and well travelled, with a confident sophistication. There is no doubt that jewellery that is designed for women, by women feels and looks very different to jewellery designed by men and I think this is why so many of our clients are women buying for themselves. I think most of our clients are women that are more interested in style than fashion. You began creating in Hong Kong - what was it about the city that inspired you?
To celebrate the arrival of Le Pain Quotidien, we’re kickstarting the new season with one of their mood-boosting juices...
From organic tartines to homemade soups, the seasonal dishes are guaranteed to leave you feeling refreshed, revitalised and uplifted. To celebrate the restaurants arrival, we’re kickstarting the new year with one of their energising green juices...
One a Day Green Juice (serves 2)
Ingredients800 grams seasonal apple150 grams celery75 grams Swiss chard25 grams ginger150 ml orange juice20 ml lime juice
MethodMeasure all ingredients (keep the stalks on Swiss chard)
Ray Kelvin of Ted Baker talks exclusively to Bicester Village about the brand’s humble beginnings and the style secrets he swears by…
Renowned for stylish and sophisticated menswear, womenswear and accessories, Ted Baker London is a household name, loved for quality design, high-end fabric and a distinct British attitude.
Launching in 1988 with a collection of classic yet edgy menswear, Ted Baker soon expanded to include womenswear collections – a seamless blend of old-fashioned glamour and contemporary femininity – and accessories including socks, scarves, hats and cufflinks.
Now a global success story, we spoke to founder Ray Kelvin about his style inspiration, entering the fashion world at the age of 11, and naming the business Ted, not Ray.
'When I started the company in 1988, its success was far from certain. I christened the business ‘Ted Baker’ as it was a good, friendly moniker that people seemed to like. And while Ted is now a global success, I still prefer to remain in the background. I’m a big believer in team effort, not glorifying the individual.
The newly opened Bicester Village Station means you can now travel straight to the boutiques from London Marylebone or Oxford Parkway. The service to Bicester North station will continue to run as usual. For trains coming into Bicester North a shuttle service is available to Bicester Village.
There will be two trains running every hour, with the journey from London Marylebone taking as little as 46 minutes. The new Bicester Village Information Hub, located adjacent to the station, will welcome you with a suite of luxury shopping services including Hands-free Shopping, Tourist Information, Luggage Drop service and more.
These services are available to book at the Bicester Visitor Centre in the Village or the Information Hub at Bicester Village Station.
Itsu founder Julian Metcalfe on healthy eating, creative cooking and his passion for Japanese cuisine…
We’re all really excited about the opening of itsu, why did you decide to open a restaurant within the Village?
Bicester Village fits perfectly with our brand, packed with high-end retailers! And with over 6 million visitors a year, itsu will provide customers with a healthy option and keep them fuelled while they shop. There has also been a huge customer demand from international customers which we’re excited about.
One of itsu’s core missions is to provide light and healthy food that tastes delicious - why was the health factor so important to you?
I’ve always believed busy lives shouldn’t stop people eating delicious, healthy food which is light and good for you. There are so many people saying different things about health, so I wanted to make it easy and simple for everyone but ensure it tastes great too!
Soho house founder Nick Jones talks exclusively to Bicester Village about the opening of his new restaurant, farmshop restaurant and cafe.
What makes Farmshop unique? Can you describe it in three words?
Farmshop in three words would be 'tasty, simple, quick’. We have created somewhere to get great quality food, fast.
How will its culinary mission differ from your other Soho House restaurants?
Farmshop is, quite simply, about serving a great all-day menu of British food to the table within around five minutes of ordering. We know visitors to Bicester Village are mostly there to shop, but we don’t think being short of time should mean compromising on what you eat. So we’ve created a menu using the best local ingredients, which can be served fast, so guests can get back to what they came for.