Saturday, September 29, 2012

How about that Harvey Nichols show, eh?

Wednesday night saw me walking through Dundrum in heels - and no, I wasn't on my way home from a night in Winters. In fact, Harvey Nichols had tempted me away from my usual plans (pyjama bottoms and repeats of Nothing to Declare) with the promise of sparkly drinks and even sparklier dresses!

The Harvey Nichols catwalk shows are infamous all on their own. Before you're even interested in the clothes - you're wondering where the show is going to be! Laura O'Brien, Press and Marketing Manager for Harvey Nichols was telling me they try to put it on somewhere different every year, keeping it interesting, last year they held it in the car park! And here's the fun part - they don't tell you where it's going to be.

And the suspense builds!

We showed up, drank coconut water (look out Rihanna) and champaign and sampled healthy chocolate (there is such a thing, apparently) and listened to a crooner do his thing while keeping a eye out for a secret entrance to appear.

We were lead out a service entrance, into the underground car park and guided into The Mill Theatre where we were transported into a dark, shadowy autumnal scene. Alfred Hitchcock was the theme of the night, and it was just perfect. Crows hung from the lights and in cages casting ominous shadows and letting us now that this was not going to be some bright, extravagant affair.

First look
Fur coat by Pinko
Dark, sultry and classically sexy the show opened with it's first scene - "The Birds", featuring stunning headpieces by Edel Ramberg; dark, dramatic and deadly the show pulled you in from the first beat.

Reincarnated femme fatals strutted the run way in chic, dramatic pieces - that were, at the same time, completely wearable by us normal folk. Each scene was named for Hitchcock's films "Marnie", "Vertigo", "Dial for Murder", "Psycho", "Rear Window" and "To Catch a Thief".

Alexander McQueen's iconic scull print scarf could be found numerous times, in every scene. Also Jeffery Campbells renowned Lita platform ankle boots and death-defying Nightwalkers took centre stage during "Vertigo."
Jeffery Campbell Nightwalkers

Vivienne Westwood featured heavily throughout the show - the signature draping perfect for the effortless, classic beauty each of the looks captured. Splashes and pops of bright, bold red in bags, scarves and gloves reminded me of the blood and sinister undertone of Hitchcock's films.

The final scene, To Catch A Thief, was the show-stopping gown collection. And WHAT a finale. English designer Amanda Wakeley stole the show with scarlet red silk and chiffon effortlessly gliding down the catwalk. And of course THAT Jovani gown reappeared, as seen in the Dundrum Fall for Fashion show, to close the show.

Amanda Wakeley
Image: Ian Maxwell Hall for DTC

I could go on for days! But rather than bombard you with film-student-meets-fashionista jargon so I'll simplify and recap my trend highlights and leave you to browse more of the show on my Pinterest or on the Dundrum Facebook.

Trend highlights, my must haves:

Lavish layers - mix textures, fabrics, coats, cardigans, scarves, draping and layering are your friends this season.
Fur - coats, trims, scarves, gillets - great for layering and warm too!
Heritage - not so much English country, but mix tweed with wool, cotton and, of course, fur and it's chic and classic all at once.
Oversize - draped dresses, oversized overcoats, bowling bags. It's go big or go home this winter.
Leather - anything and everything. Knee-high boots, driving gloves, coats, satchels. Bring edge to any outfit.

Vivienne Westwood
(also my favourite model from the night)

A special thanks has to go to my good friend Niamh for coming along as my Plus One and getting just as excited as I did when a Vivienne Westwood piece emerged from the wings. Alway good to know you have someone to call for a date to something like a fashion event - or anything with champagne for that matter!

Harvey Nichols put on an impressive 3 SHOWS in just under 4 hours. Quite a feat, but what an achievement. They even tempted us with 15% and teasingly placed the show pieces near the door for us to dote on.

I was on such a high I bought myself YSL Touche Eclat foundation - which I can review if anyone is interested, it's a really special product.

But for now, I'll leave all your lovely faces with some eye/arm candy. Enjoy!

What's not to love about a man in a Saville Row suit
Image: Ian Maxwell Hall for DTC

Friday, September 28, 2012

Watch this space...

This is Archie.
He's 12 weeks old.

As you can see he is ADORABLE, and this is very distracting.
But I will have my Harvey Nichols post up soon! Never fear - here's a sneak peek to keep you going:

Back soon!

Monday, September 24, 2012

What to wear? - to a tea party

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

It's a balmy, autumnal afternoon. In the middle of the forest, on a carpet of gold and mahogany leaves, a dining table stands - complete with table cloth, tea cups, plates of sugary cakes and so many lace napkins. 

It's Teddy Bear's picnic meets Alice in Wonderland - a fairy tale. The invitation arrived in a baby blue envelope, scented, embossed paper with silver ink - but here's the question, what do you wear?

Enter the world's most adorable dress, as spotted in House of Fraser in Dundrum Town Centre this weekend. This beautiful TELAGO lace-embroidered dress by
 Ted Baker stopped me dead in my tracks as I was browsing DundrumTC - as is my usual weekend tradition.

Taken with Instagram

I'm currently racking my brain for an excuse to shell out for this beauty, but at least for today I have some daydreaming material.

I just thought I'd share the love on this wintery morning :)


Stay tuned for my report on the Harvey Nichols Autumn/Winter Fashion Show this Wednesday! 
I'll be live tweeting as much as humanly possible!
Find me on Twitter


Thursday, September 20, 2012

What's happening in Siopaella?

For those who are not aware, Siopaella has two branches in Temple Bar on Crow street and Temple Lane, stocking recycled, reclaimed and consigned designer and high end clothes and accessories as well as a few killer vintage pieces.

Not satisfied with just being super fashionable, Siopaella are also regular philanthropists and are holding their second fundraising event  in aid of A Dog's Life.

The concept couldn't be more simple: a sale rail of over 250 pieces all for Eur3 with all the money going to A Dog's Life - the rail is restocked and updated every few hours allowing for us office-workers to get a look in and grab a bargain.

This time round there will also be nail art to be had, again all donations going to the worthy cause, and a rumoured appearance by a certain glamorous curly-haired model (pictured above)

So with all this in mind there's no reason not to get yourself to Siopaella at 8a Crow Street on September 25th between 10.30 and 7.30 (maybe even dropping in a few times...) I know I'll be there at least.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

National Suicide Awareness Week

Patricia Andres
I flip-flopped back and forth between feeling I absolutely had to write something and not wanting to say anything at all for fear of tackling such a huge subject. And that's exactly what the problem is, I was an embodiment of the National Fear of Suicide.

We're afraid of what might happen, of admitting such a thing exists, of what we might be capable of. All too often this issue is swept under the rug, out of sight out of mind mentality.

It infuriates me, upsets me and astounds me. 
That phrase is wrong, it doesn't apply here, it can't. It may be out of sight, but it is very much in the mind. 

And therein lies the problem:
how can you approach something when you can't see it? 

How do you face something that's in your head? 
Answer, you face it head on. 

I can't tell you what that means exactly because it means something different to everyone but I do know this:
Suicide is a long term answer to a short term problem. 

You can fall off the wagon, it's not easy staying on, but you won't alone getting back up.
Someone out there loves you and they're closer than you think - love them back and love for yourself will return of its own accord.

Lila Abanto

Ryleigh Ike

Taylor Weiss
Karalynn Grace

Kay Gale

Maggie Paperoni

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Dundrum Town Centre Blogger in Residence

I have no words. 
I'm a roller-coaster of emotions right now from being unbelievably happy, to suffocatingly humble and disbelieving in between. I feel incredibly honoured and beyond grateful for the opportunity and I am so, so, so, so thankful for everyone who voted, shared, tweeted and encouraged me; believing in me when I had my own doubts and being there to bounce ideas off and telling me when I'm thinking crazy.
This means the world to me, I never thought something like this was possible for lil' ole' me seeing as me putting myself out there happens about as often as I agree to bungee jump with a chord made out of paper mache. This short experience has taught me so much about myself and my abilities and what I can be capable of when I put my mind to it and I can only hope that it's all uphill from here.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Blogger in Residence Challenge 4 - Outfit for under €100

Before I do anything else I have to say a million Thank Yous to everyone who voted, supported and encouraged me this far. It's been amazing, you've all been amazing - honestly I was quite taken aback by all the kind words and encouragement from everyone and I'm so thrilled to have got this far and I owe it to all you wonderful, lovely people :)

Alright then, on with the show!

The penultimate challenge asks finalists to style an outfit from Dundrum Town Centre for under €100. Now when I buy an outfit, I'm looking for a few things - style and comfort are a given, but also I want versatility, value for my money. I like pieces that I can wear again on different occasions, and these are definitely the days for making investment buys.

How I approach putting an outfit together is to focus on a key piece, or pieces, and style around them accordingly - be it a daytime look, or a night out. So with that in mind I took to the final challenge like I take to my daily challenge of getting dressed (and yes, sometimes it is a challenge!)

I chose three key pieces that capture some of my favourite trends from Autumn/Winter 2012 and created two outfit options to cater for a different occasions (and weather...) - showcasing the flexibility that can be had when working from staple pieces and interchanging different elements to create a whole new look each time. Each look comes in under €100, and everything is available at the moment in Dundrum Town Centre.

I run through all the pieces and my two looks in this video - who doesn't love a good video, eh?

You can see pictures from my weekend shopping on my Pinterest as well as the inspiration for the final looks.

My key pieces were

The black and gold print jumper is from Voulez Vous in A|wear, €24. It immediately caught my eye, the skull print is reminiscent of Alexander McQueen's iconic print. It's a slouchy, loose-fit, with a dipped hem making it slightly longer in the back. It's slightly sheer so I'd wear a string-top or a thick bandeaux underneath. 

I spotted these burgundy boots at the Dundrum Town Centre Fall for Fashion catwalk show. They're €22 in Penneys and they're a great buy. Everyone from River Island to Miu Miu are doing some form of studded shoe so it's worth getting in on the trend even if it's something subtle like this, and the colour is perfect for this season.

 Every outfit needs a bag, so I kept it simple with this black leather-look bag from H+M for €14.95. It has a detachable gold chain strap. Black leather is everywhere, so a simple bag is a nice edgy touch that can be added to any outfit. This particular bag reminds me of the faux-leather shoulder bags from Stella McCarthy who also has the chain detailing and the foldover clutch stlye.

Option 1 - Keeping it Casual

I teamed the black jumper with a tanktop from Penneys (€5) and these incredible jade-green distressed jeans from H+M (€29.95). The jeans fade from dark to a jade/turquoise colour on the front with some distressed detailing. Coloured denim is very popular this season, and it's a nice change from your average blue jean. Unfortunately the colour doesn't really come through in the photo - but trust me the colour is amazing, bright enough to stand out but just the right tone to blend in with the more subdued colour palet this season. The green contrasts beautifully against the burgundy boots and with a nice stretch in the material they're very comfortable too.

I got a super cute ring-bracelet-combo from Penney for €3 to accessorise the outfit just a little, but the embellishment on the boots and the gold print on the top don't need too much added to them. Taking the strap off the bag to carry it as a clutch keeps the whole look chic and casual.

This outfit can work for a day shopping (around Dundrum for example) or going out for dinner. The coloured denim brings the look from jeans-and-a-top to something really eye catching and unique, and it has so many of this season's trends wrapped up in one.

Total outfit cost - €99

Keeping the same key pieces, alternatively you could style the outfit to be more dressy -

Option 2 - Date Night

Switching the trousers for a skirt transforms the outfit entirely. This burgundy leather-look skirt is also from H+M (€19.95) and with this piece you've got Autumn sorted. It's a slight body-con fit, coming up almost waist height. The jumper could be loosely tucked in or worn over the skirt; the dipped hem sits lovely over the skirt for a very relaxed, effortless look. Personally I would wear black opaque tights with this outfit, but it's all down to choice.

As far as I can see, low-cut tops aren't as popular as they used to be, it's less about cleavage and more about legs, even in Autumn and Winter, and a stylish leather skirt is the perfect excuse to show off - even if, like me, you'll be wrapped up in thick tights.

I kept the bracelet-ring and added a pair of golf studded bracelets (€3 for the pair in Penneys) and a solid statement necklace (Penneys €5) to pick up on the gold detail in the jumper and the shoes. The necklace is short and chunky so it doesn't take away from the print on the top, but dresses up the look. I also added the gold strap to the bag; this outfit, while simple, is definitely one to be noticed in. 

Total outfit cost €97

So, like I said, details of the outfits and the inspiration from my shopping trip around Dundrum this weekend can be found on Pinterest including very artsy pictures my sister and I were taking like this:

Once again I just want to thank everyone for all their support and encouragement - it's been unbelievable and I really, really appreciate it. And special thanks has to go to my sister for coming shopping with me and keeping me focused. I really couldn't have done it without all of you. As cliché as it sounds this was a really great experience, I've learned so much and had a lot of fun taking part.

Peace and love


Monday, September 3, 2012

Dundrum Town Centre Fall for Fashion - Round 3 Entry

Let's face it, being in Dundrum Town Centre on a Saturday afternoon is like being at a fashion show in itself, but it was taken to a whole new level this weekend as the centre saluted Autumn with their cleverly named "Fall for Fashion" event. Along with extensive television and print campaigns, we were all invited to welcome Autumn into our wardrobes with a weekend of inspiration in the form of six captivating catwalk shows.

For Round Three of the Dundrum Town Centre Blogger in Residence competition (and thank you all so much for the support so far!) we were asked to attend one of the shows and report back - well I didn't have to be told twice, so I grabbed my copy of Tatler (free issues up for grabs in Dundrum Town Centre), notebook and my much-neglected camera and prepared myself for a weekend fashion frenzy.

Before I go into detail, let me say that the shows overall were amazing (I should know, I went to three of them in the end!). Having only ever been to school fashion shows I wasn't sure what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised with the variety, diversity and attention to detail in the show.
Styled by Roxanne Parker, the male and female models of a variety of ages and sizes rocked ready-to-wear looks from designer and high-street labels alike, showcasing investment pieces and wardrobe staples alike. A special mention has to go to the beautiful hair and make-up done by Peter Mark and Mark Rogers of Benefit - the models looked beautifully natural and glamorous all at the same time.

Models carried placards with the brand or store name they were wearing, with many of them providing a pleasant surprise when you realised that the beautiful piece is within your own megre budget! The show was designed to showcase high street and high end side-by-side to illustrate that fashion isn't defined by price - that no matter what you're budget you could achieve the look you're after and it succeeded!. It was great to see Marks and Spencers, H+M, Penneys and Bershka holding their own up against McQueen, Marc Jacobs, Biba and DVF, being a bit of a label-demon, it was so refreshing to be reassured of the quality that can be found. But enough of me talking, we all know it's about the clothes!

The show was broken into 5 stories, the first of which being the weather-conscious Coat Story covering all aspects of a must-have investment piece from pops of colour, fur, classic cuts and embellishments.

Canary yellow dress coat from Sport Max at Harvey Nichols, tweet and fur coat from Fran and Jane, grey belted coat from Helen McAlinden in House of Fraser and blue, blue, BLUE from H+M!

Coats are a must in Irish weather, but they are also key style pieces - a good coat can capture any trend and keep you warm; that's money well spent if you ask me! With so many styles from trench to oversized, short leather coats and puffy parkas - there was a coat for everyone.

My favourite trend this season - Military Parade

One for the guys for GAP, Camo gilet from River Island, chic military from Bershka and urban military from Urban Outfitters.

I was in love with this section from start to finish - so only picking four pictures to feature was a challenge! What was great about these looks was it showed how versatile this trend is - it can be grungy or chic, out-there or casual. Plenty of army-green, studs and black - I'm in heaven!

Denim gets a make-over with Jean Genie

Denim studded collar shirt from Bershka, snake print jeans from Karen Millen, navy animal print jeans from Penneys and the world's most adorable denim shirt from Urban Outfitters.

Proof that denim is more than just blue jeans - prints, shirts, colour, this century's favourite fabric gets overhauled. Personally I love coloured denim, this and these printed pieces are a great way to dress up a casual outfit. Denim shirts make a welcome comeback, with embellished collars a must for bringing them right up to trend. This Urban Outfitters look was probably my favourite from the whole show - one of the many looks featuring a floppy wool hat. 

Classy events, autumn weddings and race nights - all covered in Lady-like Chic

Dusty pink floral from Coast, snakeskin print and more floppy hats from Biba in House of Fraser, print dress from Neola with Coast fascinator, splashes of red from Raul at BT2.

Can I just say the first model, Libby, was a star! She wore every outfit with such confidence and that winning smile and making eye contact all along the catwalk. She made looks like this one stand out, and really added a touch of sophistication to her looks. Hats and fascinators featured heavily in this story - but what I particularly liked was that the looks were adaptable, they weren't too focused on the headpieces; you could remove them and the look would still appear complete. Also - I love the inclusion of some trousered looks in this story, for those of us who aren't blessed with the legs for skirts.

Rich embellishments and sequins as far as the eye can see with  Glam Nights' Party Wear

Grey embellishment from Monsoon, diamanté waterfall from Jovani at Harvey Nichols, beaded flapper dress from Miss Selfridge, gold peplum from TNFC London at House of Fraser, sequinned baroque heaven from Lipsy, and black sequins from French Connection.

I couldn't narrow down my choices from this section any more, there were some truly beautiful pieces to be had from full length to cocktail dresses. The grey tulle of the Monsoon dress looked almost like the model was floating on air - and I think the dress could be worn to a variety of events from weddings to Christmas parties. The Jovani dress is, well, perfect! Easily my favourite piece from the whole show, it's absolutely stunning, a show-stopper and the model (Faith, who I would like to nominate for Best Walk!) looked breathtaking in it. Sure it's €915, but a girl can dream! The flapper dress is a great example of 1920's glamour, which is not easily done considering the dropped waists, but I think it works incredibly well as a short dress. Similarly with the gold peplum dress, admittedly I'm not a fan of the peplum style, but this short body-con dress actually makes it work for me, with everything all the one colour the cut of the dress does wonders for a girl's figure.
The Lipsy look is a prime example of the baraoque trend, which is generally confined to the more high-end labels, but this is a more affordable way to pick up a key piece that can carry you through the season. And the French Connection dress, I think the little girl's reaction in the background says it all. The dress is black, but comes across almost midnight-blue in the lights. Black sequins, I feel, are so classy and a great way to add loads of 'bling' to an outfit without it seeming too over the top.

Phew! Well that was just a sample of what could be seen on the Dundrum Town Centre Fall for Fashion catwalk. I have dozens more pictures on my Pinterest including a shot of the back of that amazing Jovani dress.

My feeling is this sort of an event should be a regular occurrence at Dundrum Town Centre - it's proof that the centre simultaneously attracts, produces and oozes style, and this show was a great source of inspiration for the season. It was great to see high street brands up there with the big boys, proving true style is achievable no matter what the budget. My tips for attending a catwalk show if, like me, you're a bit of a newbie to the whole thing are - 
Bring a pen, 
Take a program (or two, if you can),
Takes notes, notes and more notes and 
Bring a good camera with a flash or quick shutter speed - sure the models stop at the end of the runway but not for long, you have to be quick - this serves to help jog your memory afterwards as to what you really like from the show, otherwise it's just a glorious haze of fur trims, sequins and camo print. 
But oh, what a glorious haze it is.

So that's my round-up of the Dundrum Town Centre Fall for Fashion catwalk event - this was my Round Three entry to the Blogger in Residence Competition. This is the last round that's open to public vote! So I need all the help I can get!

And eh, I'll just leave this here ... (it's not bribery, I swear!)