I Survived My First London Fashion Week

Now playing: “New Song” by Warpaint

 

Just over a week ago, I was in Central London, frantically dashing about from one building to another, head not lifting to meet anyone’s gaze as I ogled the screen of my phone to get me to my next assignment.

I was super lucky to be selected as a contributing writer for The Upcoming and cover shows at London Fashion Week. I had never done (that’s right, one “does” Fashion Week) Fashion Week before this. I was all over the place. I was flustered, overwhelmed and clammy (TMI?). But in the end, I somehow survived. And I have the marks to prove it (in the form of my very own contributor’s page on The Upcoming’s website).

Out of the three days I was down in London, I was assigned to an average of 5-7 shows to attend each day. Doesn’t sound too bad, right? Not when you immediately have to write up and send a 30-50 word sentiment to The Upcoming team summing up your initial feelings about the show. Okay, that was fine, it was finding the time to write up the full review of the shows and submit them as soon as possible, when you literally have to run to the next show elsewhere (top tip: unless you’re a big deal who gets to be driven from location to location in a Mercedes Benz, the official sponsor of LFW, avoid wearing heels if you’re reporting for more than one show in more than one place. Thank me later). And then the workload just builds up and you somehow have to find the time to properly sit down and write a few hundred words x 7.

Thankfully, after my trainwreck of a first day, I managed to implement a system on myself. Sentiment immediately after show, full write-up IF and only if I have a spare hour with Wifi to gather my thoughts. If not, as soon as I’d finish for the day, I’d sit down and whack all of them out in the quickest succession possible and have them all sent off in the evening.

It took a while to get used to the fast, intense pace of it all, but I eventually got the hang of it. For one, the shows were gloriously fleeting and were over before you knew it, and, as soon as they were over, the audience would swarm out immediately in their masses, onto their next show. If I learned one thing, Fashion Week doesn’t wait for nobody.

London Fashion Week hardly gave you enough time to catch your breath or gather your thoughts before it was a mad dash to the next show, and it was exhilarating. Probably one of the best things I’ve been lucky enough to experience. It was jam-packed with endless showcases of fresh design talent, as well as the more established designers doing the rounds with their Autumn / Winter 2017 collections.

Out of all of the shows, Eudon Choi’s show at 180 The Strand was one of the defining moments of the Autumn / Winter 2017 season and hands-down one of my favourites. A cut above the rest, his knack for tailoring was effortlessly translated into a fresh, crisp and sartorially flawless selection of sharply tailored, oversized womenswear.

Photo: Krish Nagari // The Upcoming
Photo: Krish Nagari // The Upcoming

London Fashion Week also gave me a greater appreciation for menswear. One of the finest menswear offerings was by Harry Xu. A elegant masterpiece, Xu’s collection represented an introspective social concept that was food for thought: it was about young prisoners leaving boyhood behind them as they stepped out of prison for the first time. Loose, relaxed tailoring was met with dainty, feminine touches of floral embellishment, signalling rebirth.

Photo: Amy Smith // The Upcoming
Photo: Amy Smith // The Upcoming

One of the most unforgettable shows was the spectacular David Ferreira‘s . Inspired by freak shows, Ferreira’s designs pushed the capabilities of fashion to its extremes, combining vivid colours with enormous structures of fur, feathers and ruffles, worn by towering models on precariously high wedges.

Photo: Amy Smith // The Upcoming
Photo: Amy Smith // The Upcoming

Meanwhile, Alex S. Yu’s womenswear presentation was a riotous bricolage of orange, cobalt blue, foiled silver and pink (to name a few – it was difficult to think of a colour that wasn’t used) in a brilliant assortment of textures and fabrics. Designs were flamboyant and bold but also incredibly wearable and practical.

Photo: Amy Smith // The Upcoming
Photo: Amy Smith // The Upcoming

Irynvigre’s combined womenswear and menswear show was another conceptual collection that was forward-thinking and thought-provoking. Inspired by the futuristic concept of artificial intelligence beings walking among us, models were exposed by raw, unfinished hems and visible seamlines. A mostly monochromatic colour palette, with the occasion splash of orange and red, further outlined the refreshingly gender neutral tone of the collection.

Photo: Erol Birsen // The Upcoming
Photo: Erol Birsen // The Upcoming

The non-stop, hectic and buzzing atmosphere of London Fashion Week is exhausting for any first-timer to say the least, but the prospect of witnessing local and international designers showcase their work is enough to want to be thrown in the deep end all over again. If I survived Fashion Week, anyone can.

P.S. I didn’t even think to get any pictures of myself at LFW. And I call myself a blogger. My bad.

The Style Banks x

 

OOTD: Shades of Grey

Now playing: “Adorn” by Miguel

 

My goal this year is to post an OOTD to my blog once a month (although I may have already done one this month, I just wanted to post this one too). I’m also aiming to actually schedule my posts and publish something every Sunday, rather than hovering between weekends and the occasional Monday.

With that update out of the way, I thought I’d show you one of my outfits from this week. I stepped out in my new Public Desire over-the-knee boots and carefully pulled my new precarious ASOS fishnet tights over my legs (top tip: actually allocate time to put these on – if you’re the slightest bit rough with them or they get caught in a zipper, you’re screwed).

I went for a (unsurprisingly) monochromatic combination of black and grey. It was absolutely freezing, so I wore an H&M turtleneck jumper with my Zara jacket on top. Matching my jumper was my River Island faux suede A-line skirt, which is one of those ride-up skirts you have to yank down every three minutes in public. Not the most practical outfit I’ve worn all week.

The finishing touches were my usual Topshop holdall tote for uni, some silver hoops from ASOS, and a devil-may-care ponytail. To keep my outfit from draining the life out of me, I counteracted those shades with a warm daytime smokey eye using my new NYX palette and MAC’s satin lipstick in Paramount.

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What have you been wearing this month? Send me your links in the comments!

The Style Banks x

My Dream Wardrobe Design

Now playing: “Signal” by SOHN

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There are some lucky (and often very wealthy) people whose dreamy (not to mention, huge) wardrobe spaces are the envy of us mere mortals. ‘Wardrobe’ would in fact be an understatement – they’re more like actual rooms dedicated to showing off someone’s endless sartorial belongings. They are shrines, a place to essentially show off what many can only dream of.

I’ve dreamt many times of what my ideal wardrobe space would be. A standard walk-in, but spacious enough to have room for a sofa and give it lounge vibes. The decorative theme would reflect my minimalist style: white or soft, pale grey walls; white installations with chrome features.

Each corner would be customised to suit my dress behaviour (for instance: trying to find a specific piece of black clothing in a pile of black clothing), and I’d try and sort each section by type of clothing – knowing myself, things can sometimes get a little hectic if I’m in a rush or in the classic “I have a wardrobe full of clothes but nothing to wear” mindset.

I’d arrange the contents of each section of my wardrobe, as I have currently, in order of colour – black, navy / darks, nudes and white are my go-to shades. Being quite minimal, I’d love to have stand-alone racks to show off and access some of my key pieces.

There’ll be one tall section for my dresses and coats, because I hate when my longer pieces drag and bunch up on the floor.

I’ve always wanted my wardrobe space to have shelves installed to include my shoe collection, so I can have them all lined up in rows according to style and then colour.

If you’re looking to refresh your wardrobe space and are based in the US, check out personalised storage comapany MakeSpace and their locations.

OOTD: Winter Blues

Now playing: “Weaker Girl” by BANKS

 

Happy New Year! May 2017 bring you the best of luck and may you successfully achieve your goals. I admit that it’s been a while since I last posted, but as any fellow students may know, the December / January period is crammed full of assignment deadlines  😦 But here’s my very first blog post of the year!

One of the few things I like about winter is the endless opportunities to layer, layer, and layer more. I threw my navy ASOS jumper (find similar here) over my striped Weekday shirt and tied a knot in the middle to show off both layers (and also to hide the fact that my shirt is creased, because I don’t have an iron). Sticking with the navy theme, I wrapped up warm with my matching ASOS coat and tapered trousers (this looks like a really unsubtle promotion for ASOS, but I promise you, it’s not).

I finished the look with some classic Gucci loafers (just kidding, they’re *eye roll* ASOS as well, but they’re a dead ringer for the real deal!), my holdall Topshop tote bag (similar ones here and here), and a messy half-up half-down bun.


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What have you been wearing this winter?
The Style Banks x

 

 

OOTD: Cotton Candy

Now playing: “All Over You” by LEISURE

 

It’s recently struck me that I’ve never introduced my trusty cotton candy faux fur jacket to my blog. It was magic hour and the lighting was just about right to get a couple of outfit shots, even if that does result in severe squinting face. Seriously, it was so hard to relax my face and look relatively normal.

But, I digress. What I’m getting at is: every girl needs a faux fur jacket. It spruces up even the dullest of outfits, and it’s an instant mood-lifter. I mean, who wouldn’t want to feel like a glamorous yeti?


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Faux fur jacket: Topshop

Crop top (making one fleeting appearance): ASOS

Jeans: ASOS

Boots: Zara

Bag: Topshop

With winter well on its way, what have you been wearing to keep warm? Show me your outfits in the comments!

The Style Banks x

Wedding OOTD

Now playing: “We’re Not The Same” by Wolf Alice

On Saturday, I went to a wedding in Lincolnshire. It was IN the shire i.e. a remote land consisting mainly of fields, narrow roads and small villages. No signal or data, just lush green fields and soft Northern accents. We stayed in a secluded, converted-barn B&B with really pretty scenery, so I saw a good opportunity for outfit pics. It was super overcast (but bright at the same time?) and I forgot my sunglasses, so I looked squinty and grumpy in almost every photo. Not a great look.

 

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Note: I’m not 100% happy with the lighting and overall look of the resulting photos – the background is quite colourful and lacking my usual go-to minimalism – but blogging is a process and all about finding and maintaining your signature image. Sometimes you just want to show off your outfit, despite begrudging surroundings.

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All in the detail: my Topshop envelope pouch was included with a matching tote bag (find similar here); on my nails: Colour Chrome Nail Polish in Chrome Rose, Model’s Own

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Here’s an awkward shot of my feet, wearing these incredibly comfortable Topshop sandals.

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Pairing it with my Topshop trousers, I’m chose my ASOS off-the-shoulder top with ruffle sleeves for the wedding; I think the one I own is currently sold out but they do a lot of the same style in different colours! The black one’s next on my list (naturally).

Show me what you’ve been wearing this wedding season!

The Style Banks x






 

A Magical Haute Couture 2016

Now playing: “What’s It Gonna Be?” by Shura (EP Nothing’s Real freshly released today and on repeat)

 

It’s the time of the year where haute couture comes out to play, and this year shows that it was out to top the last round of collections – bolder, bigger and better.

The magic of haute couture lies in the no-expense-spared, indulgent frivolity of it all. Hundreds of hours of work (to put it in perspective, the average time it takes to make a mass-produced garment is a couple of minutes) are put into bringing an idea to life, constructing every element by hand from start to finish. Watching the extreme attention to detail being tended to by skilled, experienced craftsmen in “Making-of” videos is frankly fascinating and enthralling. I remember watching a video showing the making of a Chanel couture dress – about 20 people were gathered around the train of the dress, each meticulously sewing on individual beads. Good God, is anyone even going to buy this at the end of the day?

When it comes to haute couture, more is more is more. With budget out of the question, this is the chance for designers to create fantasy pieces, items of mere spectacle – with couture being so exclusive and expensive, some pieces don’t even see the light of day after being showcased on the catwalk. But that’s the fun of it all! Yay fashion!

For Fall 2016, a number of the haute couture collections were all about rippling, decadent textures accompanied by a smattering of jewelled embellishments. Here are some of the highlights I’ve picked out.

 

Christian Dior

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Even post-Raf, Dior still doesn’t fail to capture my heart and confirm that this fashion house is my all-time favourite. One of the reasons I think I’m won over by Simons’ successors, understudies Lucie Meier and Serge Ruffieux, is because they injected a whole lot of black into this collection. Black, the colour of my soul.

Dear God, it was difficult to pick out just six looks from the show. Every single piece is absolutely beautiful and infatuating. No joke, THEY ARE WORKS OF ART. Call it melodramatic, call it hyperbolic; I have no shame for expressing my doting love for Dior.

There was potential for Meier and Ruffieux to make this go wrong, but they didn’t revert to a stunned dullness or clone-like repetition in facing the pressure of matching Simons (a.k.a God).  Splashes of gold and silver embroidery bejewelled black silhouettes (and meandering white ones) loosely shadowing Christian Dior’s 1947 New Look bar jacket and skirt combo, but without the traditional froth.

Dior’s Fall 2017 is dark, cunning, almost frosty: the hardened Sansa Stark of Season 6. While this collection perhaps didn’t showcase the pair’s abilities to their best – whilst I do love it, I feel like they could’ve gone above and beyond in taking the extremities of haute couture to staggering heights – I think they managed this difficult moment of turbulence (it was only just announced that Valentino’s Maria Grazia Chiuri was to officially replace Simons as Creative Director of the brand) well.

 

Giambattista Valli

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Valli once said “Haute couture is about pushing the techniques of the atelier furthest.” And this collection, just like its predecessors, echoed just that.

The collection started off with regal ice princesses decked in sweet floral prints on cream canvases, teardrop earrings and pendant necklaces and, last but by certainly no means, metres and metres of chiffon ruffles (this is a Giambattista Valli show, after all – he is the master of multi-tiered ruffles). Puff sleeves, pale tights and neck ruffs gave off the air of an 18th century French empress. Think Empress Joséphine or Marie Antoinette – with the endearment of Kirsten Dunst. 

Following that were willowy figures draped in sheer, flowing gowns fit for a Grecian goddess. Ice white, pink, lilac and grey-blue were the colours of choice, the curveball Valli threw were the dashes of scarlet red in-between.

In traditional Valli style, the show ended with a trio of tiered tulle confections so grand and delicious I almost died a little on the inside.

 

Givenchy

Natalia Vodianova on the catwalk

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Bella Hadid on the catwalk

Kendall Jenner on the catwalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tisci proved he was a game-changer last week by once again embedding his women’s 2016 couture collection in his menswear 2017 show.

Like finely crafted statues, the great moving pillars – Vodianova, Smalls, Boscono et al., showcased elaborate pleats and draping, with Tisci keeping a monochromatic simplicity of black, white and khaki, to keep the focus on the rippling structure and delicate beadwork.

Chic, androgynous tailoring was met with futuristic mirrored embroidery, which juxtaposed yet complimented the accompanied 1920’s-style slicked and high-shine hair. Think The Great Gatsby, as stylised by Baz Luhrmann.

 

(Images (except Givenchy): voguerunway.com. Other: wwd.com)

There’s my quick round-up of Haute Couture season. Which collections are your favourite?

The Style Banks x

Style It My Way: J Chung

Now playing: “Say It” by Flume (featuring Tove Lo)

 

How has everyone been? It’s been a while since I entered the blogosphere, things have been so hectic but since I last posted I’ve bagged two jobs, one at Joules and the other at Models Own! I’ve just managed to find my feet with sorting my life out for this summer, so I’m hoping to get back on my blog game and bring you all some posts I’ve been planning for ages!

Another goal of mine this summer, in regards to my blog, is to interact a lot more with fellow bloggers as well as discover new ones. If you’re new to The Style Banks, say hi in the comments so we can have a chat!

Anyone who follows my blog will know I’m all about minimalist style, with muted, neutral tones. One of my favourite brands on The Clothing Lounge, J Chung, is all about simplistic, even utilitarian designs, and I’ve been lucky enough to show you all how I style some of their key pieces.

 

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An easy piece for summer, I paired this shift dress with frayed edges, £140, with my new Zara bag (sadly nowhere to be seen on the website – might’ve grabbed the last one!), Topshop sandals and ASOS sunnies.

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Flower girl


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I love this rust-coloured maxi dress, £155, and I’m all about layering, so I slipped my ASOS turtleneck top on underneath and put my Missguided heeled sandals on my tootsies.

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Sitting pretty

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Pesky shadows. J Chung’s Dienna coat, £330, is easily one of my favourite pieces by the Korean brand. It’s oh-so wearable and not too heavy and wintry – a great transitional piece! I love the rose-gold (all the rage these days) zipper and pockets with frayed edges.

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Contemplating life

Show me what you’ve been wearing this June!

The Style Banks x

OOTD: One Fine Sunday in May

Now playing: “Romeo” by Chairlift

 

Last Sunday, the lush weather had everyone out and about in Southampton. It’s amazing how good weather can make such a difference to people’s moods – you could just tell that it had everyone feeling good vibes.

I spent the day meandering through town, shopping with friends (shopping of the ‘window’ variety, of course – you know it’s nearly time to go home when you’re running out of le student loan), ciders on a rooftop terrace and soaking up the sun in the park.

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It was so hot that I had to bare my pasty arms for the first time this year, in my sleeveless turtleneck top from Missguided. I paired it a recent purchase of mine, my favourite pleated Topshop trousers. I’ve gotten so many compliments off of these – they’re versatile, loose-fitting and airy for hot summer days, and they’re super comfortable – seriously, it’s like wearing pyjamas. I predict that these are going to be a huge hit this summer, having already seen uncannily identical versions in Zara and New Look that day. I couldn’t find them on the Topshop website, but keep an eye out in the shops as they’re bound to be there.

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Accessories, accessories, accessories. Finally, now I’ve finally finished my second year at uni and all of my assignments are done, I don’t have to lug my laptop/snack-filled tote bag about. I chose my Zara cross-body bag (find it in updated spring colours here) and my go-to Lacoste tennis trainers (sandals would’ve been a better choice that day, but I didn’t think to bring any to uni…my bad).

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Don’t forget your sunnies on a day like this! Mine are from ASOS (find some like mine here).

Show me what you’ve been wearing this fine May!

The Style Banks x