Sister Act: The Little Sisters Slaying the Fashion Game

Fashion is increasingly becoming a family affair. From Ruth and May Bell to the Delevingnes and the Jaggers, to all three of the sisters of male model of the moment Lucky Blue Smith, there’s no denying that the industry is saturated with siblings.

Four of the hottest names in fashion right now are actually the younger sisters of even bigger names. After all, good genes are good genes, and who doesn’t look up to their older siblings? From the relatively unknown Lottie Moss to established superstar Kylie Jenner, these are the four celebrity little sisters who are smashing 2016.

1. Bella Hadid
Age: 19
Insta Followers: 3.2m


Younger sister of super-star model Gigi Hadid and daughter of reality TV star/ model Yolanda Foster, Bella Hadid is one of the hottest faces in fashion right now. Bella signed with IMG Models in 2014 and has since risen through the ranks to emerge as ‘Model of the Year’ at Daily Front Row Awards a merefew days ago. She walked in numerous shows over fashion month, from Chanel to MiuMiu to Givenchy and Versace, is currently the face of the Joe Jeans campain and has been featured in editorial spreads for almost every magazine under the sun. As if all of this wasn’t enough, Bella is also one half of one of the world’s most enviable couples…She’s been dating the Weekend for a year, even following her older sister’s example by starring and one of his music videos. Her body is legit out of this world, check the Love Advent Calender and you’ll see what I mean. Bella is my number one girl crush of the moment, and definetly one to watch, as she’s only going to get bigger.

2. Lottie Moss
Age:18
Insta Followers: 51k

The younger half-sister of legendary model Kate Moss has just finished school and is now pursuing modelling full time. Whilst Lottie has stated on several occasions that she absolutely will not answer any ‘Kate questions’, the similarities between the sisters are inescapable. Like Kate, Lottie has been signed to Storm Models and, like Kate, at only 5’5” she is unconventionally short for a model. The blonde sisters both have elfin features and a heart shaped face, and last year Lottie followed in Kate’s footsteps by starring in a Calvin Klein campaign. In January little Mossy landed her first major deal and was signed as the face of handbag brand Botkier New York, asserting her status as a rising star. She has starred in shoots for Teen Vogue and Dazed (Kate’s baby daddy’s mag), but has only very recently bagged her first cover, for the March issue of L’Officiel Netherlands. Seemingly determined to step out from her sister’s shadow, Lottie told the magazine that it’s now ‘my turn to tell my own story’.

3. Kylie Jenner
Age: 18
Insta Followers: 55m (FYI that’s 3mil MORE than Kendall, #justsayin)


Ok, so whilst you’d have to literally have been living under a rock not to have heard of the littlest ‘Kardashian’ sister, Kylie is only very recently emerging as a fashion force to be reckoned with. Prior to 2016, big sister Kendall’s stratospheric rise to model-of-the-moment eclipsed anything Kylie could have achieved, despite the fact that she did model for both Yeezy Season 1 & 2. Her first high fashion moment was shared with her pro big sister, as the Jenners both starred in the Balmain campaign for Fall 2015 (as did the Hadids and Joan Smalls and her little sister). However, despite sharing a number of fashion lines with big sis Kendall, Kylie’s focusing on going solo this year, and has so far graced covers from Elle (February issue) to Wonderland (Spring issue). Beyond magazines, and the fact that she made Time’s Most Influential Teens of 2015 list, Kylie’s big fashion coup has to be her deal with Puma, who have taken her on as both a model and a ‘brand advocate’. Oh, and in case all of this still doesn’t have you convinced, I’ll just leave you with the fact that Kylie’s app is the most popular of all the Kardashians. And yes, that includes Kim’s.

4. Imogen Waterhouse
Age: 20
Insta followers: 73k

Imogen (or Immy to her social media following) Waterhouse is the younger sister of Brit supermodel Suki Waterhouse (most famous for her Burberry campaigns and for an ill-fated romance with Bradley Cooper). Whilst Suki’s look is very much ‘old school glamour’, Imogen has more of a golden Californian girl vibe, as her recent Hilfiger Denim campaign with Hayley Baldwin showcases so wonderfully. Imogen is hot on the heels of her older sister, having recently posed for Urban Outfitters and Coast, and is even starring in a video campaign for Emporio Armani shot by Rankin. This new-found status as one of fashion’s darlings du jour was further cemented last month during London Fashion Week, as Imogen sat on the frow nestled between her sister and industry favourite Olivia Palermo. Immy might be fairly new to the scene, but she’s been welcomed with open arms. L’Officiel Netherlands calls her the ‘Br(it) girl’, and she is also the cover star of the March issue of Tatler, with the headline “fashion falls in love with Imogen Waterhouse”. Place your bets ASAP, as the Waterhouse sisters are sure to bag a huge ‘double trouble’ style ad campaign imminently.

*Incidentally, three of the four sisters (Kylie, Bella, Lottie) featured here recently appeared together in a Vogue video, which only confirms my assertion that this year will 100% prove to be the year of the mini-me! (See featured image at the top!)

 

Battle of the Bottomless Brunches

Saturday and Sunday are days of rest, or days to brunch, or days to drink away the night before’s hangover. London restaurants appear to have answered our prayers and now more and more establishments across the city  are offering bottomless – as in, drink as MUCH as you possibly want – brunch deals to entice us out of our beds and into their banquettes.

Over the last couple of weeks I have tried not one but two of these wondrous inventions, each for a different friend’s twenty-fifth birthday (yes, turning half a century means that we are now sophisticated ladies who lunch – rather than club – for birthdays). Both restaurants are classic British/ European, and both offer up unlimited prosecco alongside their Saturday lunch menus. I compared the two in an effort do decide who, out of Almeida in Islington and One Canada Square in Canary Wharf, ultimately does bottomless brunch best.

The Almeida 

The Almeida was recently listed in the top 150 restaurants in The Daily Telegraph’s Good Food Guide and having eaten there, it’s not difficult  to see why. The space itself is fantastic. The room is light, airy and sophisticated, with contemporary wooden furniture and a semi open kitchen. Plus they have white table cloths, which I’m a total sucker for. It’s chic but welcoming; the ambience is improved even further by the tinkling of jazz that wafts across the room from the grand piano. At the Almeida the vibe is bottomless ‘lunch’ (rather than brunch); you pay £20 for two courses or £25 for three and then unlimited prosecco is £15 on top of that. Given the quality of the food, I’d say this is very reasonable. The kitchen is run by Tommy Boland- before the Almeida he was head chef at Tom Aitken- and his experience is reflected in the food. Starters included roasted pumpkin soup with venison sausage roll, salt cod bavarois and scallops, whilst mains range from crispy piglet belly to steamed pollock. I ordered the pan fried sea bream fillet with onions, which was excellent. Although I could not even contemplate a desert those who could said they were delicious, in particular the baked cheesecake and the chocolate and hazelnut pave. Aside from their wonderful food, Almeida boasts an amazing wine list and they do a fabulous espresso martini to boot. The service was excellent, and in all honesty there wasn’t anything really to fault.

        One Canada Square

Now on to One Canada Square, situated literally in the lobby of the sky scraper that is One Canada Square, a stones throw away from Canary Wharf. Despite the rather unorthodox setting, the interior decor is very nice (it’s done by the prominent architects David Collins Studio), with a heavy focus on dark wood and green marble. It felt both art deco and yet contemporary at the same time, and this together with the loud buzz of voices typical to a French brasserie made for a very atmospheric experience. There’s supposed to be live piano here too, but sadly the grand piano remained untouched for the duration of our lunch. The Saturday menu here is actually billed as a ‘bottomless brunch’ and the dishes had a distinctly more breakfast-y feel to them than at the Almeida. As with the Almeida, you pay £20 for two courses or £25 for three, only here the ‘bottomless’ aspect is extended to include bloody Mary’s, wine and mimosas, as well as prosecco, for £20. The menu was more brunch-like and also more informal than at the Almeida; starters included soft shell crab ‘Benedict’ with jalapeño hollandaise, leek and sweet potato rosti with avocado and poached egg (which was amazing) and cured trout. The mains were lovely; most of our party ordered the squid ink linguini with crab, although the cep tortellini looked spectacular and my fishcake- whilst entirely predictable- was very tasty. The deserts also erred on the side of ‘classic’, the  sticky toffee pudding with corn flake ice cream was definitely the best of the three choices on offer. My only complaint would have to be in regards to the service, which was OK. The staff were perfectly nice, but our waitress looked at my vegan friend as though she had three heads when ordering her food (despite having phoned up a week before to let them know of her requirements) and asked what vegan ‘exactly means’. All in all I would say that the vibe definitely was not as welcoming as at the Almeida.

Verdict

Whilst I had a fabulous time at both establishments I would say that, all criteria considered -food, ambiance, decor, price- the Almeida did the best bottomless brunch. Not only was the Almeida ever so slightly cheaper, it actually had a far classier and more authentic feel to it than One Canada Square. That being said, whilst the food at Almeida was certainly more exciting, I have to say that it was not necessarily better tasting than the brunch menu at OCS. Ultimately, I would recommend both to any avid bottomless brunch hunter, but I’d certainly head back to the Almeida first, if only for those beautiful white table clothes!

Trend Watch: The Bomber Jacket

The bomber jacket is everywhere this season. Magazines have been reporting on this for the last few months and now, armed with my new ‘Light After Dark’ olive green bomber, I think it’s only appropriate to write an ode to one of my favourite jacket styles here on the blog.

Go into any high street store and you’ll see that they are literally inescapable; Topshop alone is doing 29 (yes, TWENTY NINE) different versions.

The reason I love a bomber is because they are so god damn versatile. I’ve got a thin, jaquard print navy blue beauty that is my go to summer jacket. It really is ideal for when you need a light even jacket, or better yet, when your jetting off on a summer holiday and you need something for whilst your in dreary Britain, but you also want to shove it in your bag the minute you step off the plane. The beauty of the bomber is that whilst a classic shape, it has been updated in every which way imaginable, from pink sequined to fur-lined and from thick to thin, every shop and designer worth their salt have sold both men’s and women’s versions of this versatile classic.

Secondly, they always seem  to be in style and never look dated. The navy blue one I just mentioned is like, 6 years old, and still looks just as chic as when I bought it. However, fast forward to this season and EVERYONE seems to have remembered how amazing they are.

A quick look at the Daily Mail (research purposes only I swear!) will tell you that everyone from Cara Delevigne to Naomi Cambell have recently been spotted rocking a bomber.

This popularity is evident in the shops, with every brand, from Miss Selfridge to Chloé offering their own take on the bomber, so I’ve compiled an ultimate wish list- for men as well as women- of the very best on offer.

1.
This is the bomber I have recently bought, made by Urban Outfitter‘s own Scandinavian label, Light Before Dark.  It also comes in black, navy and pink.
£59
bomber1
2.
Quilted leather Chloé bomber
£2,535chloe
3.
Tommy Hilfiger Tencel Bomber Jacket (also comes in white with striped arms).
Available from House of Fraser.
£120
tommy
4.
Jaded London Festival Sequin Bomber Jacket
available on ASOS
£100
sequin
5.
ALICE + OLIVIA Felisa Embellished Silk Jacket
available from Selfridges
£660ao
6.
Love Moschino Archive Print Satin Bomber
available via ASOS
£310moschino
7.
Two-In-One Reversible Sateen Bomber Jacket (Inside is blue and silver)
£85topshop
8.
Floral-intarsia stretch-knit bomber jacket
Alexander McQueen
Available via Net-a-porter
£1,585mcqueenjacket
9.
Padded Black Bomber
was £35.00, now £17.00misguided
10.
Dark Blue Flamingo Print Bomber Jacket
H! by Henry Holland
available from Debenhams
£40henry
Now onto menswear, where the bomber seems even more ubiquitous! (To put it into perspective, ASOS currently have 555 styles of bomber for men, compared to ‘only’ 103 for women). Here’s my top 5:
1. Hawaii Print Souvenir Jacket
£,1325valentino
It may be for men, but I want this for myself, desperately! In fact I want all of the Valentino Souvenir jackets, especially the pink one in the featured image of this blog. They are everything anyone could ever hope for in a bomber.

2.
Bryant Jacket (comes in navy/black/green)
Carhartt
was £140 now £70

carhart

Sidenote: I got my bf this for xmas and he loves it! I- and he- would definitely recommend!

3.
Fred Perry Tramline Bomber Jacket
available via House of Fraser
£135fred

4.
Lacoste Live Bomber Jacket in Navy
available via ASOS
£170lacoste

5.
Ecru casual contrast neck bomber jacket
River Island
also comes in green/navy/black/dark green
£30-£48 depending on colourri

My Top 10 Brighton Restaurants

 

Brighton undoubtedly has one of the best foodie scenes in the UK. In fact there are so many amazing independently owned restaurants that I have made a pact with myself never to dine in Brighton’s Carluccios,Côte Brasserie or Café Rouge again. The sheer number of wonderful places to eat is staggering, but I have done my best to condense five years worth of dining experience into a list of my top ten favourite places.

FYI, there are quite a few places that usually appear right at the top of these kind of lists, but I have chosen to pick firmly based on personal experience, and so have had to leave out a couple of Brighton institutions. Most notably perhaps, I haven’t included La Choza, the Mexican joint that is practically local legend, just because the few times I’ve eaten there, I didn’t think it was all that. I have also decided not to rank or rate the restaurants in any specific order, as they are all so different  and all lovely depending exactly what it is that you’re looking for.  The list below is simply an honest reflection of those places that, tried and tested, I would recommend to anyone wanting to munch on some fabulous food when in this lovely seaside town.

The Ginger Pig

Part of the local Ginger Man group, The Ginger Pig is a lovely modern gastro pub,  that serves some of the most consistently delicious food in the city. In fact The Ginger Pig, situated just off the seafront in Hove, has been awarded Best Food Pub in the Brighton & Hove Food Awards for the past 3 years running and is the restaurant one everyone’s lips the ginger pigwhen asking around about local crowd pleasers. The modern European menu- all sourced locally- is seasonable, but always features a fantastic rib-eye steak (the butter it is served with changes on a regular basis, from blue cheese to habanero to wild garlic, to name just a few) which comes with beef-dripping chips.  The kitchen always seem to go that extra mile, when I dined there with my grandparents for example, the chef painstakingly filleted the whole lemon sole special especially for my Granny, who wouldn’t have been able to see well enough to do it herself. They also do great cocktails and nice draft beer, if you happen to be luckily enough to visit on a line cleaning day, then expect a complimentary lager or two with your meal. It’s more upmarket sibling- The Gingerman– is definitely worth a mention, as the food is sublime, but the menu is a little more inaccessible than The Ginger Pig, which makes it a place one would only visit on the most special of occasions.

The Salt Room

Situated in the bottom of the Hilton Hotel right on the seafront, British restaurant The Salt Room specialises in seafood and steak and has become one of the city’s IMG_3506hottest food destinations since opening last year. As with The Salt Room’s sister restaurant The Coal Shed,  you wouldn’t come here if you wanted a cheap eat, but the food really is excellent quality and priced within reason given the standard of the menu and the wonderful ambiance. In the summer, I would always (always!) opt to sit outside on the terrace so that you can listen to the sea whilst enjoying your meal. But, the airy restaurant space, complete with exposed brick walls and minimalist lighting, is also lovely as the glass fronted windows mean you can still get a great view of the West Pier from indoors. The Salt Room is all about the charcoal grill, but the cocktails are pretty special too; there are twelve gins alone to choose from! The lunch menu is extraordinarily good value for money at only £15 for two courses. The fish soup with rouille and croutons is sublime, as is the mackerel with peas and pancetta. If you’re dining in the evening, I’d recommend a steak or  the lobster and regardless of time, be sure not to miss out on the salt cod fritters. If you can fit it in after all of that, save room for the fabulously kitsch Taste of The Pier, a nostalgic desert complete with candy floss, chocolate pebbles and ice cream cone.

 

 

Food For Friends

Brighton is known for being home to some of the country’s best vegetarian restaurants, and picking between the extremely well known Terra Terre and the lovely Food For Friends for the purposes of this list was a tough. In the end I decided to go souflewith Food For Friends, firstly because I think it is slightly better value for money, and secondly because I prefer the ambience at FF as a whole. Food For Friends was runner-up as Best Ethical Restaurant in the UK in the Observer Food Monthly Awards 2015 and ,situated in the South Lanes, serves modern vegetarian food that is anything but boring. I love meat but here you genuinely do not feel as though you’re missing out; the feta stuffed mushrooms with sweet-potato boulangère are a dream, as is the open ravioli and the double- baked soufflé. The atmosphere is relaxed and the menu is affordable (between £12.50- £13.50 for a main) but the decor and the attentiveness of the staff is such that dining here still feels like a treat. The restaurant has even shared some in-house recipes on it’s website, which is really handy for those of us who like to eat in style from the comfort of our living rooms.

 

 

The Curry Leaf

As with Food For Friends, when considering the best Indian in Brighton for this list, I have decided to go with a lesser known but in my opinion more delicious establishment, which may or may not surprise some people. The Chilli Pickle is almost always featured in

IMG_4051
Chicken Makhani Curry

any piece on the Brighton food scene, but it is my contention that the Curry Leaf Cafe– which was set up by one of the chef’s from Chilli Pickle- is far more deserving of attention, and it’s consistently buzzing atmosphere is testament to this. Curry Leaf Cafe specialises in South Indian Street food and craft beer, and for when you don’t fancy beer, their house made Indian lemon and lime drink tasted as good as any I drank in Mumbai. They have a great lunch menu (on Sunday’s they even do Indian brunch) and are known for their wonderful thalis, but the starters and mains on the al a carte menu are outstanding. The menu is varied and changes often, but the street food style starters, with dishes such as pakodi, the samosa and the unbelievably good lamb chops, would put your local Indian take away to shame. The mains are largely made up of curries;  each main comes with a few different sides – pilau rice, naan, mixed tomato daal yogurt raita and pickle – and all the food is served on beautiful traditional trays in ornate tin bowls. And as if it couldn’t get any better, you can enjoy Curry Leaf Cafe in Temple bar (Western Road) and now even in the station, for those times you want a chicken tikka naan wrap on the go!

 

Al Fresco

Al Fresco serves really good, authentic  yet modern Italian food in a spectacular

IMG_5117
Cannelloni & Pizza

contemporary glass setting. It’s situated directly on the beach front just opposite the West Pier, so you get gorgeous views of the coastline whilst dining. I especially like al Fresco during the day when you can sit outside and enjoy the sea view, but it does have a romantic evening vibe which is nice. I usually sit on the rotunda, but you can sit directly by the shore line only a couple of metres away from Brighton beach’s iconic pebbles should you wish too. Highlights include giant puffed up calzones, sumptuous pastas (I love their bolognese) and traditional ‘primi’ meat and fish dishes. It’s on the ever so slightly pricier end of the spectrum, but the food is great so you do feel as though you are getting good value for money. During my most recent lunch visit we dined on truffled cannelloni and smoked chicken pizza, both of which were excellent. The Italian maitre de is light hearted and friendly and the staff are great at accommodating a large party for special occasions.

 

64 Degrees

64 Degrees was the winner of the 2015 Brighton & Hove Food and Drink Awards and has been receiving rave reviews since it opened a couple of years back. This modern British restaurant has an open kitchen, so you can watch the chefs hard at work whilst 64 degreesenjoying an aperitif or two. The venue is very intimate, a little cramped even- the restaurant is premised around a concept of ‘social dining’, so don’t be shocked if you end up eating your dinner at a kind of sharing bench- but the food is outstanding. The menu is made up of small plates which are separated into meat, fish and veg (four of each), and which are all designed for sharing. The food is beautifully, painstakingly presented and despite the relaxed vibe makes you feel as though you are eating at a michelin star type of place. Head chef Michael Bremner offers up dishes such as pork shoulder with pineapple and chilli, risotto with fennel and lemon and scallops with kale and lemon grass. All in all, despite the cramped setting, the atmosphere is lovely and the staff are really wonderful. They’ve recently opened a second restaurant in London, which I am yet to try.

Silo

Silo is a zero-waste restaurant which, based around what they call a ‘pre-industrial food system’, advocates a ‘primitive diet with techniques modern and ancient’. They’re all about respecting the environment, saving energy and engaging in minimal food siloprocessing; a mantra I’m totally on board with. Everything is made on site, their freshly baked bread (made from flour milled in their bakery) and smoked butter  literally equals carb heaven. They even have an on-site brewery, where they make all of their own drinks, most notably a delicious fermented cider. The space itself is testament to this stripped back attitude, the furniture is made from materials that would have been otherwise wasted and the plates are formed from re-cycled plastic bags. The Silo breakfast is fabulous; I’d recommend the espresso mushrooms with slow-cooked egg and Silo baked beans.The dinner menu is split into ‘omnivore’ and ‘herbivore’ (four dishes in each), you can order the whole set or order a pic n mix or individual dishes. Silo is another venue with an open kitchen, which adds to the utilitarian- but nevertheless welcoming- aura.  A must try for anyone interested in ethical approaches to eating.

 

Moonstone

The fabulous Sri Lankan, family-owned restaurant Moonstone really is a hidden gem (excuse the pun). Situated in Hove, this lovely little establishment serves food to rival anymoonstone I tasted whilst in Sri Lanka, and is a firm favorite for locals in the know. Moonstone is extremely reasonably priced and the food quality is excellent, the staff go above and beyond to make you feel welcome and the service is exemplary. If you’ve never had Sri Lankan food, think Indian with a South East Asian twist. The curries are much lighter than your traditional Indian and the food tastes healthy and fresh, and there is also a strong emphasis on vegetarian food. Must try dishes include the South Coast Special Lamb, which although hot, is so goddamn tasty and really unusual and the traditional meat curries, flavored with curry leaves and coconut milk. The sides are also excellent, we love the stir fried noodles and the yummy little roti .All of the food is homemade, although the curry powder is made in Sri Lanka and has been handed down through the family for generations. You literally could not get any more authentic than this, and Moonstone is the only Sri Lankan restaurant in Brighton & Hove. They also have Lion Beer, which if you’ve ever visited Sri Lanka, you’ll know is a seriously local good lager. And as if I couldn’t already sing Moonstone’s praises enough, they now offer delivery, meaning you can enjoy a curry in front of the TV whilst slobbing out with a Sunday hangover. 

Coggings & Co.

Coggings & Co. may have been awarded best burger in Brighton, but I’d say it’s pretty much the best burger I’ve had full stop. Coggings serve British-rather than American- style burgers, all of the ingredients are locally sourced and the Sussex beef

IMG_5064
Cheddar & Bacon Burger

used in the patties is so delicious that one can expect meat juices to literally run down your arm after the first bite. The cheese and bacon is my personal favourite but they do a really great selection of slightly more unusual toppings, such as the scotch bonnet chilli sauce burger which comes with mango salsa and provolone cheese. The triple cooked chips are fried in beef dripping (although the faint-hearted can opt for vegetable oil) and the whole thing is served with a lovely little salad garnish and an exceptional home made mayonnaise. The sides are delicious too, from red cabbage slaw to buttery corn on the cobs, the mouth wateringly crisp onion rings, so do squeeze one in if you dare. I have it on very good authority that the milkshakes are also fantastic (in fact this authority is my own greedy self as there has been one or two occasions when the bf and I have ashamedly, but admittedly, taken one home for ‘dessert’). Coggings may be at the end of my road, but I would travel bloody far for what the Sunday Times have cited as one of the best meals under £20 per head in the UK.

 

Giggling Squid

Ok so I’ll admit it, despite my earlier dismissal of chains, the Giggling Squid is in fact a chain and yet I still believe it’s worthy of a place on this list. With only 16 restaurant branches in four southern counties, it’s hardly a conglomerate, and it really does serve the best thai food in Brighton. Giggling Squid is known for it’s ‘thai tapas’, and the variety of giggglingdifferent dishes really do make for an excellent sharing meal. Despite this ethos, the food is still authentic, one can expect all the thai favorite mains to appear on the menu. The panang curry is particularly good, and I love the duck spring rolls more than words can even describe. The salt and pepper squid has become somewhat of a cult classic, everyone who eats here raves about it, and they also serve a huge array of fresh seafood dishes. There is one in central Brighton and one in Hove, but the little cottage in the Old Laines is really lovely; if you can do book one of the private booths that make for a super romantic setting. You can expect to pay about £25 per head including drinks (they have a great wine list) and you will likely leave feeling as though you need to be rolled home.It’s usually pretty busy, so I would definitely recommend booking, despite the fact that it is laid out over two floors, and has outdoor seating.

 

*All photos without captions have been taken from the relevant restaurants website; the others are delicious dishes all enjoyed by me personally, on an occasion where I actually remembered to get a good picture.

 

Fashion Month Round Up #AW16

Fashion month has finally come to an end, heels will be hung up and editors will be back at their desks.  Now it’s time to look back on all of the collections shown in New York, London, Paris and Milan so as to pick out the very best of what the designers had to offer. I’m going to take you on a whirlwind tour through the very best of what fashion month had to offer, from the ubiquitous trouser suit to a plethora of velvet, to cut through all that fashion noise and present my ultimate personal highlights.

New York

One of the most talked about shows of the season was undoubtedly Marc Jacobs, not only because he had Lady Gaga walk the runway, but because the clothes themselves really were spectacular. The show had a haunting, gothic feel to it with models made up to look almost like extras from the Addam’s family. That’s not to say they didn’t look fabulous, marcj jacobs nyfwthe dark lips and 20’s style finger-waved hair (with loose ends that gave the look a modern edge) offset the collection beautifully. There were laser cut skirts, oversize jumper dresses and lots of fur. The collection had a distinctly Victorian feel to it, with an abundance of lace doiley style necklines and pussybow blouses, but this nostalgia was paired with something all together more modern, such as the dark denim jacket covered in appliqué and adorned with chains. The resulting look was one that appeared part Miss Havisham, part steam punk princess and part flea-market finds. There were monochrome polka dots, long coats embellished with sequins and coats covered in feathers (as modelled by Kendall Jenner), but the pinnacle of the collection was undoubtedly the fabulous, fear inducing, sky high platform boots worn with everything.

Now onto Calvin Klein, where the collection was expectedly chic, smart and urban. True to form, Calvin Klein produced plenty of masculine silhouettes but also plenty of ultra feminine, seriously sexy looks such as the silky shift dresses, some of which featured fur. A personal favourite of mine is undoubtedly the brand’s latest take on the LBD, this time with a plunging neckline and decorative fluffy shoulder pieces (below left). The camisole featured rather heavily- unsurprising for a brand so synonymous with lingerie- and there was lots and lots of black. The overall feel of the collection was smart and slick but with an ‘undone’ edge, stitching was left purposefully unfinished and threads were left trailing. Another key look worth mentioning is of course, the two piece suit. As you will see, the trouser suit will be everywhere come Autumn, and Calvin Klein’s offering- with slouchy trousers and a tailored oversize jacket- looks set to be one of the most popular.

Whilst going through New York’s highlights, I’d also like to give a quick mention to Edun, the ethical brand that seeks to promote trade in Africa. Creative director Danielle Sherman’s collection included long coats with white blanket stitching, printed silks, a gorgeous pinstriped floor length skirt, pops of yellow knit amongst darker colours and most impressively, the fringed multi coloured dress and coat.

Lastly, let us turn to Ralph Lauren were- unsurprisingly- quintessentially American looks were the order of the day. The start of the show heavily featured neutral colours; there was ralph lauren goldlots of oatmeal, different shades of brown and that generally preppy vibe so synonymous with Lauren that one almost expects the models to pop off to the stables straight from the runway. The conservatism of polo necks and smart trousers and of shirts and ties worn with waistcoats was off set by the abundance of fringing reminiscent of the wild wild west. There was lots and lots of texture, from the light brown suede two piece suit to tweed, tartan, cashmere and velvet blazers. Velvet featured heavily, and one particular favourite was the black dress with lacy capped shoulders and decorative neckline as seen on Taylor Hill. The juxtaposition of the conventional and the more ‘rock and roll’ so clearly present in the show reached its pinnacle with the final look, a jaw-droppingly wonderful combo of billowing gold skit and black polo neck.

London

There were so many wonderful shows in my home town that I’ve been hard pressed to condense my commentary to just a mere few labels. However, some collections were so truly outstanding that they deserve attention, most notably Alexander McQueen. Creative director Sarah Burton really did pull out all of the stops; the numerous floor length sheer gowns were so staggeringly beautiful that they appeared as other-worldly as garments can get. The embroidery, the bead work, the ruffles and the feathers gave the collection an overtly feminine, ethereal tone; even the tailored pieces had a sexy edge. There were butterfly, lipstick and floral motifs adorning pieces that were neutral in tone, which gave the collection an air of late night sophistication, rather than comical excess. The pieces- especially the dresses- were undoubtedly glamorous, completely Gatsby-esque and totally gorgeous. I want them all.

mcqueen 4

 

As the pioneer of the digital print revolution, Mary Katranzou had big expectations to live up to for aw16 and her collection most certainly did not marydisappoint. There was a lot of embellishment and a lot of embroidery, much of which featured star, horse and heart motifs, in which the show’s inspiration- ‘love’s young dream’- was evident. There was a joyful abundance of colour, from multi coloured furs to heavily patterned coats and skirts. As with many of the other collections shown in fashion month, there was more than just a int of Americana and there were also A LOT of pleats.The resulting aura was one that was romance meets rodeo, encapsulated in the final look- a full length embroidered dress. Butterflies featured heavily, indeed my personal favourite has to be the sheer dress with full skirt and large butterfly motif. Here, and elsewhere there was a lot of sheer fabric, lots of lace inserts and let us not forget the fabulous ballet flats- some plain, some striped, some star patterned- all covetable.

Another of my favourite London shows was Topshop Unique (obvs) which had editors and ordinary folk alike salivating at the mouth. There was lots of clever layering, quite a bit of peter pillotoleapord print and once again, a surplus of black velvet. One of the particular highlights was the gorgeous black velvet dress worn by Taylor Hill, as were the coats and jackets.  The Peter Pillotto collection was similarly impressive as- in embracing a kind of nordic romanticism- it appeared at once ethereal and  practical. One of the designers- and namesake of the brand- Peter spoke of this Viking influence, saying that “we translated these poetic motifs into chenille embroidery”. The detail present in this collection is just mind blowing, from fabulous delicate embroidery around the toggles on a fur coat to swirling patterns intricately woven into tops and skirts (see left).It looked almost hand drawn, and complemented the pale, wintery colour palette perfectly.

Milan

The Gucci show has been one of the most talked about of the season, and given that colour gucci starsand eccentricity were order of the day, it certainly isn’t hard to see why. As with the Dolce & Gabanna collection, the ‘princess’ ideal took centre stage. The ultra feminine collection was largely made up of ice-cream colours; a pink fur coat was paired with pink tights and a pink bag, the lady-like button down dress in a pastel shade of turquoise was worn with a hat, tights, bag and strappy heels to match, the crazy yellow ‘big bird’ style coat paired with yellow headscarf, bag, shoes and tights . Creative director Alessandro Michele- who has been at the helm for a year- revels in juxtaposition and this was obvious in many of the pieces. The pink and green of the brocade coat with furry lower arms was paired with a shocking turquoise double breasted collar and fabulous red accessories. The funky unexpectedness of it all stopped it from appearing sacharine, as did the geek glasses paired with looks such as the tweed jacket and checked trousers. There was, of course, the obligatory trouser suit, but this time in a bold red with black detailing. There was of course some more sombre looks featuring lots of tailoring that appear more wearable, such as the grey two piece with slouchy bottoms  (baggier trousers are de rigueur this season). However it was the wacky, girlish elements of the show that won me over, with my absolutely favourite dress (right)- featuring billowing skirt, pastel colours and star applique over the boobs- summing up the feel of the collection nicely.

The Emporio Armani show- called ‘New Pop’- was notable largely because of the way it
totally embraced modernity. The collection was rife with allusions to technology; digital designs featured pixelated prints and geometric appliques, and futuristic looking fabrics such as PVC were everywhere. Also present were tailored jackets, metallic pumps, black velvet and pink and black stripes. There was a laid back athletic feel to some of the pieces, especially to the hoodies as seen as part of the menswear. the line felt incredibly youthful and served to remind audiences of the integral part the digital revolution has played in shaping our current fashion industry (need I even mention the word Instagram?!).

At Versace Donatella once again embraced female strength and sexuality with an ultra wearable, versatile collection that celebrated the super model. Versace were at the centre versace blue suitof the ‘supermodel’ trend in the 1990’s, and Dontella has brought this legacy up to date by having top models from Kendall to Jourdan to Gigi all walk in the show. The collection was suitably sexy and featured abstract baroque prints, silk shirts, leather and mini dresses. Dresses with uneven hemlines featuring yellow and blues were paired with fabulous grey boots, and the gorgeous wet look grey coat lined with pink fur paired with a mint green slip dress. One stand out look was the leather jacket and skirt in cornflower blue modelled by Jourdan Dunn, as was the fabulous two piece suit in the same colour worn over a cropped polo neck. Another highlight was the sexy nineties style spaghetti strap pink slip with a cowl neck, which literally screamed Carrie Bradshaw. Beyond pastels there were several navy coats with leather detailing that really would look as chic in the streets as they did on the catwalk.

bottega venetaThe Bottega Veneta collection was similarly impressive, but it embraced a totally different ethos than most of the other designers. Creative director Tomas Maier said his collection was about “personal luxury” and the clothes are indeed all very wearable and would fit seamlessly into the stylish working woman’s wardrobe. The collection was very simple- a far cry from the excesses of the other shows- and featured slim fit trousers, cashmere, pleated skirts and leopard print outerwear. Wool featured heavily, and the clothes came to take centre stage as the handbags so synonymous with the brand were shrunk down considerably. The stand out pieces were the dresses with sheer long sleeves, built in bralets and beautiful pleated skirts. These came in navy, pale lilac, caramel and nude and at once evoke both sensuality and practicality.

Paris

There was so many wonderful collections shown in Paris that I’ve had an incredibly difficult time picking out my highlights. The Valentino show was undoubtedly special.valentino Inspired by today’s industry and by the figure of the dancer, the collection featured magnificent ballet dresses, sequins, ballet shoes and a heavily adorned sheer dress that can only be described as a masterpiece (right). The Louis Vuitton show also harnessed the fast pace of the fashion world by encouraging retrospection. Creative director Nicolas Ghesquière modernised old pieces and made them seem relevant to today’s changing tastes; vintage scarf prints became little dresses and leather and mohair featured heavily. Whilst this collection was deemed relatively wearable, coming from experimental Ghesquière, there were still a few stand out pieces that would most certainly not be for the faint hearted. I especially love the shiny trousers in bright red, but admittedly, I’m not sure if it’s a look I’d be able to pull off.

The Stella McCartney collection was, like Valentino, typically feminine. The shapes, stella mccartneywhilst wide, were womanly and the printed silk trousers, pleated gold skirt, and jumper with a ‘woman power’ slogan on it were every bit the kind of pieces we have come to expect from Stella. Faux fur and faux leather were featured heavily, as were beautiful lacey slip dresses which, like so many of the other designer’s offerings, featured sheer fabric and pleats. The quilted over-sized puffer jackets- in rust, black and navy-  proved very popular as they are at once stylish and utilitarian, perfect for the busy urban woman. Stella managed to combine two of the hottest trends to emerge from fashion month by showcasing a black velvet trouser suit, which is sure to be on the ‘most desired’ list of every woman in fashion. The cropped bomber jacket was also a stand out piece, given that every fashionista worth his or her salt knows how big they are set to be over the coming year.

As much as I loved the emoji’s that featured heavily throughout the Chanel collection,  my favourite show had to be Balmain, and not only because of the all-star line up, but because gigi balmainone again Olivier Rousteing has produced the most fabulously opulent, intricate collection this world has ever seen. In a particularly clever marketing coup, the models wore wigs- Kendall Jenner was blonde, Gigi Hadid and Rosie Huntington-Whitely were transformed into raven haired goddesses- which ensured that the collection was plastered across magazines and newspapers globally the following day. Unusually for Balmain, pastel shades figured strongly, and both Kendall and Gigi were clothed in a soft powder blue. As always, it was all in the detail at Balmain. Shoulders were pointy, frills and other decorative features ubiquitous and peplums rigid. Many of the pieces were clearly influenced by lingerie, Karlie Kloss modelled a gorgeous baby pink bodice with sheer lace frilly trousers. The dressing gown style long striped coats as seen on many of the models were worn over the shoulder a la Kardashian, and the more conventionally ‘Balmain’ pieces featured the signature black and gold colours, as well as heavy pearl embellishments. The whole collection was so feminine, so regal and downright baroque in its aesthetic, this time Rousteing managed to out-Balmain himself.

Whilst Balmain in all its grandiose was my favourite show, one of the pieces I love best- for all it’s simplicity- is a jacket by Vetements. The  anti-authority, youthful collection produced by Vetements embraced the casual and the world has not been able to stop AW16CG-Vetements-047-xlarge_trans++-gaKsLgbA6-uokDv4MbJV2o9fJk1VK1SIba-RpWNnOUtalking about it since. The show embraced irreverence; swear-words and ironic outrageous slogans (“You Fuck’n Asshole”, “Justin4ever”, “UltraSkinny” ) featured heavily, as did uniforms, some ‘naughty school girl’ style, others made up of plaid suits with slouchy bottoms.There were plenty of references to goth culture and to heavy metal, and the oversized silhouettes and baggy hoodies synonymous with the brand made several appearances. THE jacket (right) ticks both of those boxes, and in red and orange- worn slouchily off the shoulder on one side-  is just so fucking.cool in that it is at once high fashion and also extremely practical. The designers played with proportion; a key look was a shrunken purple hoody worn over a maxi skirt. All in all the line is so different precisely because in a world of high fashion, the label has embraced sweats and street wear, and by showing men’s and women’s wear together, celebrates modern androgyny. Velvet made yet another appearance, this time in the form of a gold coat, but beyond this Vetements- as a tough, unorthodox cult brand- certainly did operate under the rules of subversion.

So there you have it, a quick fire round of all of my fashion month highlights, from my favourite shows to my most desired pieces. One thing’s for sure, everyone will have at least one piece of velvet in their Autumn wardrobe, and we can definitely expect heavy adornment, sequins, appliqué and embellishment to hit the high street later this year. Whether I’ll be embracing the feminine gothic aesthetic, the tough street style vibe, the super girly lingerie inspired look or the busy working woman’s wardrobe remains to be decided.

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy Brown Rice Risotto

This is  great way to squeeze a variety of vegetables into your dinner without feeling that you’ve made a ‘boring’ choice, I often cook this on a Monday if I’ve had a particularly meat heavy weekend as it somehow tastes both indulgent and good for you at the same time!

It really is a one pot wonder- which is great in terms of washing up- and what’s amazing about it is how easy it is to make yet how impressive risotto seems to be.Be warned, brown risotto rice takes a lot longer to cook than it’s white counterpart, but it really is SO much healthier and very filling so it’s definitely worth the wait. Also, brown rice requires less stirring, so if you’re feeling lazy then this recipe is ideal!
Ingredients (serves 2)
-500ml chicken/ vegetable stock
-1 small glass white wine
-150g brown risotto rice (I love biona)
-1 onion
-3 cloves crushed garlic
-1 large carrot
-1 courgette
-300g mushrooms
-150g green beans
-50 g parmesan (parmesan can be expensive, so if you want to substitute it for grana padano that works wonderfully too).
You’ll need a pot or deep pan. I use my Le Creuset casserole, which works perfectly.

Method

Start by finely dicing your onion and carrot – you can leave the courgette and green beans until later as you’ll have time whilst the rice is cooking- and roughly chop the mushrooms.
Sauté the onion and garlic in a knob of butter or in the oil of your choice (I use coconut oil or ghee). Once slightly softened, add the carrot and mushrooms and give it all a good stir before cooking for a couple of minutes over a medium heat. Now it’s time to add your rice, which should be mixed thoroughly with the veg so that all the grains are covered in the remaining oil/butter.
 Add the glass of wine and stir everything thoroughly, deglazing the pot, and allow the rice to absorb the wine, making sure to stir constantly. Once the mixture has dried up, add a ladle-full of stock and keep stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat this a couple of times before adding the remaining stock and allow to simmer on a med-low heat whilst you finely chop the rest of your vegetables. This is where we depart from the ‘usual’ risotto method, as the brown rice needs to cook for longer so you don’t need to add the stock in stages and stir it in each time.  Once all of your veg are ready, add them to the rice and stock mixture, making sure to stir everything well.
The risotto should still look very wet at this stage and the rice will still be hard. So, make sure there’s enough liquid in there and then pop a lid onto your pot, allowing everything to cook, and just making sure to stir every 4-5 minutes, so that nothing gets stuck. If at any point the risotto seems dry and starts to stick (when the rice is still under done), add a little more stock or some boiling water.
It should take about half an hour for the rice to cook through completely (although timings may vary slightly depending on the brand of rice- just make sure to keep an eye on it and keep test tasting throughout) so once the liquid has completely disappeared and the rice and vegetables are soft, you should be left with a beautiful creamy risotto. Brown risotto rice tends to have a little more bite to it then white, so don’t worry if even when cooked the rice is slightly al dente.
At this stage, turn off the heat, season and stir in the parmesan, saving a little to scatter on the top when serving if you wish to. I sometimes garnish the bowls with a little fresh parsley, which is always nice as it adds a little extra colour. The great thing about this meal is that there are often leftovers, which I usually pop into a tupperware and take to work for lunch the following day.
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