To me, the March issue of British VOGUE is always like the Yellow Pages. Not surprisingly, this year, the ‘International Collections Special’ is £3.99 of mostly adverts. However, it made for ever-so-slightly cramped reading on a car journey to London last weekend. Normally, I hurtle through image after image of Cara & co until I reach text but a particular Saint Laurent ad captured my attention and now has me enthralled.
There’s something great, I think, when a single fashion image can instil feeling or desire within the viewer. The Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, for instance, always make me dream of summer holidays and sun kissed skin. The women are SO sexy and the landscapes and scenes in which they are shot make me want to dab on my red lipstick in an “I’ve had too much red wine” kind of way (Chanel Rouge Allure in 104 Passion or, failing that, some Benefit Benetint), throw on some heeled sandals and a flippy skirt and dance with my friends. Preferably, it would be somewhere in Scilly and not…erm…the North-West of England. Think Apollonia in The Godfather before she drove Michael’s car. I love the Chloé advertisements this season, also. Dream-like and hazy, printed on a thick, matt stock in the new PORTER magazine, the models in these images are beautiful and dishevelled and make me want to run through a field barefoot, too.
But I wasn’t in the Med or frolicking in long grass. I was in the front seat of a 4×4 with my boyfriend’s band and a drum-kit on the way to some bar in Camden for the evening and I was looking at the model in the Saint Laurent ad.
I loved her nonchalance. The tailoring was loose and masculine and I liked how it was balanced with side-swept hair and a single drop earring. The whole thing was achingly cool.
What appealed to me most is that the clothes seemed easy to wear. There’s nothing worse than not being able to move in what you’re wearing. That’s where I think some fashion magazines come un-stuck, I feel. They fail to translate these fashions into the every day lives of their audience. Whilst many of the readers will lead extraordinarily privileged lives; the rest of us are dancing at a gig, squished commuters on the Underground, running for a train at Manchester Piccadilly, wiping goo off our four year-olds or splashing M&S puttanesca all over our counter tops with the majority on our new Whistles purchase. You can’t do that in couture.
No, I want to be like that girl. I want to cut a fringe like Freja Beha Erichsen and dance like Haim. I want to wear skinnies from J Brand and steal my boyfriend’s shirts because they just fit better. I like the French insouciance. I want an Isabel Marant trophy jacket. Hell no! Not new! Have you seen how much they are?! Vestiaire Collective is your new best friend as of now.
The Kooples offers fabulous alternatives to Saint Laurent. Whilst the pricing is still steep (you’ll pay around £350.00 for a jacket), the clothes are great quality and would be investment pieces that you could wear season after season. A thrifty click around VC (above) could net you similar for less than £100.00. See Sandro and Maje next time you’re in Selfridges for similar.
Fantasies aside – the star of the High Street for this aesthetic has to be Zara. I was in the Manchester branch with my friend, Helen, some weeks back and I wanted EVERYTHING. I tried my damned hardest to argue that black waxed jeans and a mock-croc shoulder bag would make great in-direct Valentine’s Day presents for my other half, but she wasn’t having any of it. I staved off buying anything in lieu of my up-coming London trip but I will be back.
I went to London at the beginning of Fashion Week. Covent Garden was dotted with the overspill from Somerset House. There was too much millinery on the cobbles that afternoon. Anyway, I was on a mission…
Background – It is becoming Christmas tradition that my Dad will buy me an extravagant yet sadly misguided gift. My wardrobe is littered with unwanted presents that I don’t have the heart to stick on eBay and so they just languish, unloved, on the top shelf. This year, on Christmas morning, my Dad bounded up to me with a worrying: “you’re either going to love this or hate it”. He’d bought me what could only be described as an Adam Ant cast-off. It was a Bolongaro Trevor woollen military jacket with two rows of brass buttons and gold detailing and was a little snug.
It was beautifully made and being familiar with Bolongaro Trevor, I knew it would’ve been pricey and that, whilst some of their clothes are a little too alternative for me, I could find something I liked. So, I did the unspeakable and asked if he would mind if I exchanged it for something I would wear.
I returned from the capital feeling pretty smug. I unearthed what I believe to be a gem on my visit and swapped my jacket for a khaki biker that was on sale. It was reduced to £225.00 in the sale from £350.00. Yes, it’s expensive, but the quality is second to none. It’s made of lambskin and is gorgeously soft; the kind of garment that i’ll wear for years and should age really well. Bolongaro Trevor only manufactures in small quantities and so it feels nice to have a unique piece. Whilst All Saints and the like have some lovely jackets in store, you know that there’ll be ten other women walking down Manchester’s Deansgate in exactly the same.
I feel that I should mention the sales assistant in Bolongaro Trevor. I recognised her as a model from the website and she was a perfect ambassador for the brand. She was chatty and attentive without being overbearing and she had impressive product knowledge which I feel is an essential for good customer service. If you want an individual, high quality product then I definitely recommend.
Did I get the fringe? Yes, I did. It’s too long and it keeps getting in my eyes but it makes me feel f*cking cool though.