Tuesday, 24 December 2013

All I Want for Christmas.....

It's not too much to ask is it?!

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here's hoping for a fabulous 2014!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Save 67% on stunning Weston scarves

Just a quick post to let you know about a great offer that Weston Scarves have on their (brand new and rather lovely) website. For four days only, you can purchase one of their silk scarves for £58, meaning that you save two thirds of the RRP. I absolutely love Weston scarves - beautiful designs and stunning colours. I was recently lucky enough to meet the man behind the scarves in person, and it was fascinating to hear him talking about the mineral images. They also have other products at 50% off including their beautiful wool-silk scarves.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

The CC Effect: How you can support a fashion startup for £1

just wanted to give my readers a heads up on a fabulous Kickstarter project from Charli Cohen, the sportswear design who I interviewed back in August. Charli has launched a Kickstarter project, The CC Effect, to raise 30k to launch a pop-up shop to take her debut collection to market. Charli is so close to reaching her funding target, but still needs to raise £3,160 in the next 5 days to reach her goal. So if you love fabulous sportswear or know someone who does; or maybe you just want to support a fashion startup, get yourself over to Charli's Kickstarter page: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/charlicohen/the-cc-effect-technical-sportswear-gets-luxe 

If you haven't already clicked through and are still reading my blog, then here is some more information on the project which might persuade you that supporting Charli would be a great idea:

A new, luxe, fashion-forward sportswear label from young British designer Charli Cohen.

Premium, UK-made, technical sportswear that bridges the gap between high-performance function and high-end fashion.
To launch a pop-up shop in Central London to take the Charli Cohen debut collection to market. Charli wants to offer customers a fun and personal shopping experience and to have the valuable physical platform to showcase her collection to press, buyers and investors. Charli has been educating on health and wellness since 2005 - the pop-up shop would give her a fantastic new platform to make a difference!
The CC Effect Kickstarter has been running for 25 days, with only 5 days left to go. By selecting a pledge level to suit you, you can shop the full limited edition Charli Cohen range, special Kickstarter exclusives, VIP event tickets and creative Christmas gifts. Every single purchase goes towards raising the 30k target for The CC Effect Pop-up to go ahead (what you pledge is what you get - FREE international shipping and no sneaky extra charges).
Charli trained as both a fashion designer and a personal trainer. She launched her fashion business at the age of 15 and a personal training consultancy five years ago at the age of 18.
If Charli doesn't raise the full 30k then all pledges will be obsolete and the project will be unable to go ahead. However, if the project DOES reach 30K, all backers will receive their fabulous chosen rewards and The CC Effect project will go ahead, helping Charli to achieve her dream!

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Robyn Coles Millinery Autumn/Winter 2013

A few months ago I interviewed Robyn Coles, a very talented milliner who is based in Cardiff. In her interview she mentioned her plans for her upcoming 'Starry Night' collection, based on "dark gothic gardens and starry night skies." The images I saw looked fabulous, so I was thrilled to be invited to the instore launch of the collection a while later.

The store which is in Cardiff's beautiful Castle Arcade is also Robyn's studio, so it was fascinating to see where she conjures up her beautiful creations made of cashmere felt, and decorated with leather lilies or starbursts created from pearls.

I loved how the collection was displayed really simply, which allowed you to appreciate the sophistication and simplicity of the designs.

It would be hard to choose a favourite hat from the collection, but if pushed I think I would have to opt for this one. I love the combination of textures, and the contrast of the cashmere felt with the leather.

I would love to know which one is your favourite. Are you more of a cloche or a fedora girl? Or maybe you would choose the sculptural lily topped creation?

Saturday, 5 October 2013

My perfect Winter coat: Gap colourblock coat

Pink coats are everywhere this season but I know quite a few people who feel that candyfloss coloured coats might be a bit too bright for them. In that case I think that this limited edition colourblock number from Gap (£99.95) would be just perfect for them. Neutral navy and camel with a flash of fuschia - classic but with a nod to this season's penchant for all things at the rosy end of the spectrum.

It is definitely top of my Autumn/Winter wishlist. I am just hoping for a Gap 30% discount email to land in my inbox very soon!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

I'm back!

I have been very quiet (well actually totally silent!) on the blogging front recently. I am afraid that life has rather got in the way! Here are some of the highlights of my last month:

* I ran the Cardiff 10k - my first 10k race. In fact the first time I had ever run 10k! My timer stopped halfway through so had no idea of my pace etc as I went around the course. My finishing time wasn't great but I was really pleased that I finished the race as it was something totally out of my comfort zone. I also helped to raise funds for a great charity, Mothers of Africa which aims to reduce the number of women in sub-Saharan Africa who die in childbirth.

* I worked on a lecture being given by Sir David Attenborough. This sold-out lecture has been months in the planning so I have been looking forward to it for a long time. I was honoured to be given the opportunity to interview him for the University website. He is a broadcasting legend, who has presented countless documentaries which I remember throughout the course of my life. Therefore it was quite a surreal experience interviewing him and hearing THAT voice answering my questions. Sir David gave a fascinating lecture on naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace and Birds of Paradise to over a 1,000 people later that evening. It was definitely a day to remember!

* I am currently in the process of moving house. There is a lot of work to be done on the new place so most of my spare time is being spent paint-brush in hand! The move has finallly given me reason to make use of my interiors board on Pinterest. I look forward to sharing some photos once it is all finished, but in the mean time here are some photos from my interiors Pinterest board which are currently inspiring me.

Now I love a bit of leopard print, but think this might just be a bit too much?!

Friday, 30 August 2013

£20 for a £40 Shoeaholics by Kurt Geiger voucher

Just a quick post to let you know about a great deal currently available on Living Social. For £20 you can purchase a voucher worth £40 to spend on the Shoeaholics site. For those of you who don't know, Shoeaholics is Kurt Geiger's clearance outlet site and offers a wide range of shoes and accessories at much discounted prices. In addition to stocking all of the Kurt Geiger related brands (Kurt Geiger London, Carvela etc), the site also offers brands such as Acne, Sam Edelman and Vivienne Westwood for Melissa. I have picked up some great bargains from the site in the past, from statement jewellery pieces to fabulous heels. All at much reduced prices! I think that this a fantastic deal, so get in quick before it ends on the 6th September.

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Lou Lou Chats with Charli Cohen, sportswear designer

 Since I started training for the Cardiff 10k I have not surprisingly become a lot more interested in fitness wear. I have previously posted about some of my fitness fashion buys, so was really pleased to discover a new brand on the sportswear style scene: Charli Cohen. Charli kindly agreed to answer questions about her eponymous label and her top fitness tips.


Describe the brand in three words.

Contemporary. Sophisticated. Functional.

Please tell us more about yourself.

Fitness and fashion are my two biggest passions and I realised early on I didn’t want to choose between them. I qualified as a personal trainer during the first year of my fashion degree, and had my epiphany that sportswear was the perfect consolidation of the two and the rest is history!

Does your brand have a signature style?

I aim to balance statement with sophistication - classic, flattering shapes are given a twist with bold colour blocking, anatomical panelling and tough hardware. The idea behind each design is that it should function as a high performance garment in the gym but also as sport-luxe fashion wear. Fabric is really important to me too - not only are all the fabrics I use high tech but also super-soft and tactile. I want to step away from the traditional shiny or scratchy sportswear fabrics and provide a luxurious alternative.

What is your favourite piece from the collection?

The Voltage Sweatshirt – it’s such an easy throw-on piece to transition from gym to street.

Where can we find your collection?

The collection is currently available for pre-order at charli-cohen.com and will be available both online and in selected retailers from next January. Updates are coming soon on stockists and two special trunk shows next month!

What has been the highlight for you since starting up your brand?

The launch in July: it was the first time showing my collection to press, buyers and the public and the feedback was incredible. I also worked with an amazing team to put it together - it was rewarding to see the collection showcased in exactly the way I wanted to portray it.

Looking back is there anything that you would have done differently?

Not yet! All the mistakes I’ve made have provided valuable experience to move forward with.

What advice would you give to people who are looking to start their own fashion business?

It’s important to be super-organised. When you’re running a business (especially in fashion) if something can go wrong, it probably will. You need to stay on top of everything all the time and leave nothing to chance.Know your numbers too – being talented and creative is one thing but funding yourself beyond the first season takes careful planning!

And don’t give up: if you’re passionate and 100% committed to making it work, you can move mountains!

What next for the company?

Right now, it’s all about breaking into the UK market, doing the very best I can with my debut SS14 collection and working on my AW14/15 collectionMoving forward,I aim to be stocked internationally – a global reach would be amazing. In a few seasons’ time, I’d like to branch out into accessories, menswear and perhaps a collaboration or two!

What motivates you?

I’m pursuing my passion and doing what I’ve always wanted to do: if I’m going to make anything work, this is it! It’s completely worth all the hours, blood, sweat and tears.

Who are your inspirations, and why?

My personal training clients and those I work out withMovement and physiology influence much of what I do. From a creative perspective, they inform the silhouettes and style lines of my designs. In terms of function, my work as a PT enables me to understand the practical needs of performance wear, how to make the garments ergonomic, supportive and flattering.

Top Fitness Tip?

Make it fun! Experiment with recipes, vary your workouts – there are so many different ways to get fit and healthy, so find the methods that YOU enjoy. It’s much easier to turn these into permanent lifestyle changes.

What is your motto?

I’m a problem solver. If I can’t figure out a way to do it, it can’t be done!

Friday, 16 August 2013

Save 25% on Gap Leopard Print Sneakers

These fabulous Gap leopard print slip-on sneakers (£39.99) have been making a lot of appearances on fashion blogs so I thought that I would share a Gap discount code which will save you 25% until Sunday. To claim the discount enter GAP25 at checkout.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Essie polishes for £1.99 - save 80%

I have loved all of the Essie nail polishes that I have tried so far, so couldn't resist clicking on an email from Half Price Perfumes with the subject line, '£1.99 Essie nail polishes' (saving 80%) I was expecting the shades to be from a collection from last year, but was really pleased when I discovered the polishes in question are from the Spring 2013 collection. 

Regular readers of my blog won't be surprised to hear that I opted for the luscious red shade, 'Hip-Anema'. Given that I nearly purchased this on the Boots website two weeks ago at full price, this was even more of a steal.

The other shades available at Half Price Perfumes are Cascade Cool, Go Ginza and Madison Ave Hue.

Sunday, 28 July 2013

Collect by St David's collection service

As we approach payday I know a lot of you will be planning some payday purchases. So I thought that I would let Cardiff-based fashionistas know of a new service which St David's Cardiff are offering.

Collect by St David's allows you to get your online purchases delivered to the shopping centre, at no additional cost! Once your purchases have arrived, the centre contact you and you can collect the parcels at your convenience.

I tried the service earlier this month and was really impressed. Getting my parcels delivered to St David's as opposed to my office meant that I could take the items home at a time which was convenient to me, e.g. If I have a meeting last thing on the day a parcel is delivered I don't want to take my purchases with me, so would have to leave it in work. Thanks to this new service underneath my desk doesn't have to start to resemble The Outnet dispatch area! As I can walk through the centre on my way to catch my train home, this service is so convenient and quick. I will definitely be using this service again.

 Have you tried this service? How did you find it?

Wednesday, 17 July 2013

Fusing fitness and fashion: Stella McCartney, Lucas Hugh and Hussein Chalayan

Once upon a time you would have struggled to find activewear that managed to be both fashionable and functional. However thankfully, it is now possible to find fitness clothing that means you don't have to leave your fashion sense at home when you go for a run (or whatever your fitness activity of choice is)

Before I started training for the Cardiff 10k, it had been quite a while since I had done any serious exercise. My attempts at setting foot into the world of fitness had been brief and intermittent, and that was when they hadn't reduced to absolutely non-existent! Therefore I hadn't really seen the need to buy any new fitness clothing. However once I had committed to running the 10k (I am still not sure what possessed me!) I decided to invest in some new fitness clothing. This wasn't purely for fashion reasons. Given the recent erratic weather conditions, I didn't want to let the weather become an excuse for not going for a run.

Lucas Hugh 'Krypton' top, reduced from £120

We probably all know that a number of designers have collaborated with fitness brands over recent years, e.g. Adidas & Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen & Puma. However, although the designers might have created fitness-friendly collections, they are not always the most purse-friendly of options. However if you take some time to look carefully, it is possible to pick up pieces which manage to be fashionable, functional and friendly to your wallet at the same time.

Adidas by Stella McCartney sports bra, reduced from £55

Lucas Hugh is a brand which caught my attention as soon as it launched. The label was set up by Anjhe Mules in 2010 and aims to fuse high fashion ready-to-wear with technological activewear. The label has proved to be extremely popular with celebrities and fashionistas alike. Although I loved the collections, there is no way that I could justify purchasing anything given my zero activity level. However, just after I signed up for the 10k, the fashion gods thankfully slipped a Lucas Hugh top into one of The Outnet's Weekend Shop-Ins. That meant that a top with a RRP of £120 was now mine for the price of £35! I love the bold print and the shape of the top. The details ensure that the top looks good without compromising on functionality. The top has now sold out, but it is definitely worth keeping an eye on The Outnet for more fitness fashion bargains. I also picked up this Stella McCartney sports bra for £25 including delivery instead of £55 + delivery in a more recent Shop-In.

Another designer sporting collaboration which caught my eye was the Puma by Hussein Chalayan collection. However, again the collection didn't feel like it would be good value for me given how infrequently I would wear it (pre 10k sign up that it is!) We all know how changeable the British weather can be. Therefore a waterproof that I can run in is most definitely a practical purchase. I loved this jacket which I saw first on My Wardrobe, but it sold out in their sale before I could nab it. A quick Google search led me to Puma's own website which still had it in stock. And thanks to a £10 email sign up code and free delivery, I picked up this jacket for 60% off the original price!

Thanks to Bangs and a Bun's inspiring blog, Spikes and Heels, I have become a firm believer in her mantra,"Be Pretty on Rest Days", i.e. don't let the thought of getting sweaty and red-faced stop you from making a positive change by training to get fit. However I definitely feel better running in more stylish and colourful pieces. My running times might be ever so slightly lacklustre, but that doesn't me that my fitness clothing has to be! Maybe on a subconscious level I am hoping that the pieces might distract from my tomato coloured face!

I would love to know how you feel about what you wear to train. Do you give it any thought at all or are you a firm believer in the sweat pants and baggy t-shirt school of thought?

Thursday, 11 July 2013

My Month in Instagram: June

Here are some of my Instagram photos from June. The photos in the top frame are all from my recent trip to London. I had a fabulous day up there between meeting up with my Twitter friend Sophie for the first time and going to Charlotte Tilbury's House of Rock 'n' Kohl in Selfridges.

Clockwise from top left:
  • The brilliant Chris Levine holographic image of Kate Moss produced especially for the House of Rock 'n' Kohl
  • My Twitter friend Sophie and I posing in the photo booth at the House of Rock 'n' Kohl
  • The poster for the Erwin Blumenfeld exhibition at Somerset House. I would highly recommend this to anyone interested in fashion photography.
  • No trip to London for me is complete without a visit to Liberty. I loved that this gentleman is standing to attention to greet shoppers as they enter the store.

Clockwise from top left:
  • I have signed up to run the Cardiff 10k for the Mothers of Africa charity. The longest that I had ever run prior to starting training for this was 5.5k, so I need to put some serious work in! I am not too worried about my time though, as long as I finish and raise funds for this fabulous charity, which helps mothers to survive childbirth through educating healthcare workers in the poorest countries in Africa.
  • This display in Paperchase really caught my eye. I love flashes of neon pink, whether it be in an outfit or in interiors.
  • I took this shot when I visited Cardiff Castle with friends one Saturday afternoon.
  • This is a close up of the print on my new Lucas Hugh top which I bought in one of The Outnet's brilliant weekend shop-ins. I love Lucas Hugh fashion-led stylish sportswear but it is slightly out of my budget. I love that I can still manage to train for the 10k in style!

Friday, 28 June 2013

7 Nails Inc polishes for £18

Just a quick post to let you know that today Nails Inc are again offering their 'lucky dip' selection of 7 polishes. For the bargain price of £18 you will be sent a random selection of Nails Inc polishes. You can potentially save up to £75! 

I have purchased one of these collections previously, and was very pleasantly surprised. I was sent a good selection of polishes and it made me try shades that I might not otherwise I have tried. You can't go wrong for this price. Even if you aren't completely happy with all of your polishes, then you can always share the beauty loveliness with friends. A great manicure and great karma!

If you want to try this offer, then you will have to be quick, as it ends at midnight tonight, and is only whilst stock lasts.

Have you purchased one of these selections before? What did you think?

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Lou Lou Chats with Robyn Coles, Milliner

Describe Robyn Coles (the brand) in three words.

Easy, comfortable, cool.

Princess Eugenie wearing one of Robyn's creations

Please tell us more about yourself.

I am a former luxury international fashion buyer turned milliner. I am based in Cardiff and passionate about producing all of my pieces here in Wales. Most of our work is bespoke, made to measure/order/match etc but we are increasing the brand awareness of our seasonal collections across the globe by showing internationally.

Does your brand have a signature style?

I think that my pieces are cool, contemporary and easy to wear. I personally like to be comfortable all of the time, this is represented in how I dress and in how I design. I think that if you feel uncomfortable then you usually look it.

Starry Night cloche from the AW13 collection

Would you say that your hats are more classic, or trend-led?

A mixture - classics never go out of fashion but it's nice to be able to mix them with new fabrics, techniques and styling.

There are lots of beautiful hats in the collection, but have you got a particular favourite?

From SS13 I like the leaf, it's so comfortable and easy to wear, and a little bit bonkers. Also the lily is becoming a staple of our collections and something that we start to replicate and develop season after season, there is a lot of mileage in that style and no one else does anything like it.

Princess Eugenie wearing the lily hat at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party

What has been the highlight for you since starting up your company?

Well two years ago I had never made a hat so the journey has been a very quick one. My first show at London Fashion Week (on the nude models) was a great point for me and really put the brand on the map. Most recently gaining the Royal family as clients was a wonderful moment too.

Looking back, is there anything that you would have done differently?

Hindsight is a wonderful thing and I think that there are a few minor things I would change but they were lessons that needed to be learned. In the grand scheme of things I would take the same path as I am proud of where we stand today as a company and however rocky the path was to get here it was necessary and memorable.

What next for the company?

Showing at fashion week again, increasing our global stockists and seasonal ranges. I still love to do the bespoke work though and I didn’t think I would cherish that part of the business as much as I do. It's so wonderful working with individual clients for events and I am honoured to be involved in their special days from weddings to picking up OBEs. We have met some lovely clients in our store and you really get to know them, it's very rewarding making something for someone that they associate with happy memories. Working with brides is great as we get to see dresses and pics and experience the tears of their special day.

What motivates you?

It’s a fairly frivolous industry which I have worked hard in but I love. I am motivated by creating something beautiful and unique and although it's not world changing, to make something that a client loves and which make her smile and makes her happy is inspiring.

The responsibility of having a company and all that entails like staff, suppliers, clients etc – it’s a pretty big weight on your shoulders and you are the boss so the buck stops with you.

Who are your inspirations, and why?

They vary, design wise I see a lot of other milliners who I respect and admire, there aren’t that many of us around so we tend to know each other which is quite nice. I am inspired by other leading women in fashion such as Natalie Massenet, Tamara Mellon, Angela Ahrendts and Michelle Mone for sticking to their guns and building huge brands.

What advice would you give to people who are looking to start their own fashion business?

To have a good business head. I see so many inspiring designers with the greatest aesthetic and creative talent but they have no idea how to calculate mark ups, margins etc. They don’t know how to market a product or run a small business. In these cases no amount of creative ability can help. It's boring and dull but to create a big, lasting brand you need maths skills, tenacity, drive and the right attitude. Failing that get a good business partner, that often proves successful!!

Where can we find your hats?

In 28 Castle Arcade, Cardiff where all pieces are totally hand made by our small team. We stock everything there from bespoke, samples and seasonal collections. Our website stocks seasonal collections as does Boticca.com , www.thecools.com , www.njal.com and we have more store locations buying our new season collections.

If you could see anyone wearing a Robyn Coles creation, who would it be?

Anyone who feels happy and confident in it!

Top Tip?

With hats and/or fashion in general ignore the rules. If you feel happy and comfortable and confident then that is the most important thing – and that shows.

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Enduring Influence of British Beauty & Style at Charlotte Tilbury's House of Rock 'n' Kohl

On Thursday, I travelled up to London for the 'British Style' talk which was part of Charlotte Tilbury's House of Rock 'n' Kohl concept store at Selfridges . As you will know from my previous post, I was really looking forward to this event. I had a full day in London, so I also managed to go and see the Erwin Blumenfeld exhibition at Somerset House. I will save that for another blog post though.

Sophie at the entrance to the concept store

As well as looking forward to listening to the super-stylish quartet of Laura Bailey; Alice Temperley; Charlotte Tilbury and Caroline Issa give their thoughts on British style, I was also looking forward to meeting my Twitter friend Sophie in person for the first time.

As I approached Selfridges I was immediately struck by this holographic portrait of Kate Moss by Chris Levine in the window which had been commissioned for the event. I took the Vine to try and give you an idea of the effect.

After meeting Sophie inside, we took our seats in the front row. The layout and design of the store and staging area (see the image below from Temperley) meant that there was a really intimate feel to the event, and it almost felt like we had been invited into Charlotte's own house to listen to a group of (super stylish) friends having a conversation. I am sure that you won't be surprised to hear that all of the panel looked supremely stylish. After seeing them close-up I am coveting Caroline's 'Parrot' shoes from her collaboration with L.K. Bennett even more than I was before! Laura Bailey's 'Girl' jumper by 'Bella Freud' has also gone on my wishlist.

Caroline Issa started proceedings by asking the panel what British style meant to them. One thing that all of the panel agreed on was the irreverence, originality and individuality which lies at the heart of British style, combined with a respect for our heritage. Alice Temperley noted how British designers live and breathe history and art, and are able to fuse heritage and patterns, and are not afraid of being original. She cited Vivienne Westwood as the classic exemplar of British style, mixing a love of heritage with a sense of subversion and humour. Alice believes that the current crop of new British designers are the most exciting that we have had for a decade.

When asked about the biggest influence on British style today, everyone agreed that it had to be social media. It was interesting to hear the panel's perception of social media as a double-edged sword, which can be both empowering and frightening e.g. they cited social media as being responsible for the rise of Cara Delevingne,whilst also discussing how social media shots straight from the side of the catwalk have made it so much easier and quicker for brands to copy a designer's collection.

Fashion is a global business, so it was no surprise to hear the panel discuss the enormous influence of Britain on international fashion markets. Apparently 70% of Paul Smith's business comes from Japan, where they can't get enough of British style, especially diffusion lines. Charlotte Tilbury also noted how designers such as Tom Ford are constantly influenced by British heritage. However, judging by Charlotte Tilbury's impressions of Carine Roitfeld's reactions to Britsh floral designs, it would appear that not everyone is as enamoured of all aspects of British style!

All of the panel were in agreement that in response to the fashion world 's current obsession with all things fast-paced and digital, there was likely to be a a backlash to the effect of technological innovation. In the future there would come a yearning for craft, etiquette and individualism; hand-written thank you letters and special party dresses.

British style is ever evolving, so it was interesting to hear what items the panel felt would define British style in 2013 if they were to be placed in a time capsule e.g. a fit and flare digital print dress (Alice Temperley);  a Christopher Kane 'Pretty in Pink' dress (Laura Bailey) and anything by Alice Temperley or Tom Ford (Charlotte Tilbury).

At the end of the session, Caroline Issa invited questions from the audience. Sophie grasped the opportunity to ask them what the last item they had purchased, and also what was top of their wish lists:

Charlotte Tilbury: 'Dolce & Gabbana' dress (this was very topical as 'Dolce & Gabbana' had just been found guilty of tax evasion, which Charlotte hadn't yet heard). Wishlist: More kaftans by 'Alice Temperley'.

Laura Bailey: The aforementioned 'Bella Freud' jumper. Wishlist: Always 'Charlotte Olympia' shoes and definitely Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream. Laura described herself as more of a "random walk past a window and fall in love with something" person as opposed to a wishlist creator.

Alice Temperley: Cherry mirrored glasses. Wishlist: Alaia crisp white shirts.

I was really interested to hear the panel's response to a question on the difference between Northern and Southern girls, as I spent four years living in Liverpool. Charlotte Tilbury summed it up with "bare legs in Winter, and lots of makeup." Alice Temperley was quick to acknowledge that her Northern customers and stockists are incredibly savvy about fashion, eg. she mentioned 'Cricket' boutique in Liverpool, and noted that Manchester is very often the second city in the UK that a designer will open a store in after London.

When it came to choice of staple products, I probably would have come down somewhere in the middle of all of the responses:

Charlotte Tilbury: Mascara; eye-liner; great shoes and accessories

Alice Temperley: Lipstick

Laura Bailey: Blusher; Chanel compact, and a classic YSL white shirt.

Sophie managed to ask a second question, which focused on whether any of the panel had plans for further collaboration with other brands. Alice Temperley was very quick to say that she had no plans for further collaboration, which was very interesting in light of her recent collaboration with John Lewis (The black silk top I purchased from the 'Somerset by Alice Temperley' range which I love is one of my go-to pieces, so I will be disappointed not to see another collection). Charlotte told us all that her own makeup range would be launching in September, and that she loved working in an industry where she was surrounded by so many creative people.

I did use my Selfridges gift card to purchase some items from Charlotte's edit of products, but I will blog about those in another post. I had a fabulous time at this event. It was fascinating to hear from four ladies who have been responsible for influencing British fashion, whether it be as a designer, a makeup artist or a street-style icon.

You can watch some of the highlights of the talk on Charlotte's  YouTube channel. And while you are there, take the opportunity to  watch some  of her fabulous makeup tutorials.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Charlotte Tilbury's Make-Up House of Rock 'n' Kohl at Selfridges

I am very excited to be going up to London for the day tomorrow. The reason for my visit? To attend the 'The Enduring Influence of British Style & Beauty' talk at Charlotte Tilbury's Make-Up House of Rock 'n' Kohl. Charlotte will be in conversation with three of the UK's most stylish ladies: Alice Temperley; Laura Bailey and Caroline Issa. I can't wait to hear what these stylish ladies have to say.

The Concept Store in Selfridges, which is open until Sunday is part of Charlotte's first ever beauty Festival. There are a host of events going on, including the talk which I am attending, and also a number of free activities:

#QuickFlick Eye Makeovers
Lipstick Slicks
Manicures & Nail Art
Make-up Bag Surgeries
Lipstick Readings

There will also be the opportunity to win a starring role in one of Charlotte's make-up videoes in the Beauty Flash photobooth.

I will be using my trip as an opportunity to finally use the Selfridges gift card which I won in a competition in December. Timing couldn't be better, as there are some fabulous items in the Selfridges sale.

As if this wasn't reason enough to be excited about my day trip, I have just heard that one of my favourite beauty bloggers, Caroline Hirons is appearing in-store earlier that afternoon, and I will also be meeting my Twitter friend, Sophie, for the first time in real life! She has just been selected as the Editor of the Elle UK 'Edited by the Interns' issue, so it is a really exciting time to meet up with her. Congratulations again Sophie! You can check out Sophie's fabulous winning entry here.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Lou Lou Chats with the Marks & Spencer design team

 Last month I posted about the fabulous new Marks & Spencer collections for Autumn/Winter 2013. I can't wait for the collections to arrive instore from July, but in the mean time, I took the opportunity to quiz some of the Marks & Spencer design team about their favourite pieces and to ask them for their top tips.


What are your favourite pieces from the new collections?  How would you style them?

“The full structured skirt is one of next winter’s most fashion-forward looks, with a half or full circle silhouette and below the knee length creating an elegant, retro inspired mood.  The per una rose brocade dress is my favourite interpretation of this with its deep red tones and sweeping skirt.  Wear it on its own as a show-stopping evening gown or style with a cashmere polo neck to emulate a demure 1950s look.”
 - Karen Peacock, Head of Design, per una, Indigo & Accessories

“Rounded, unstructured and gently cocooning, the M&S Collection pink duster coat is my favourite outerwear statement for the new season.  Soft silhouettes were a key catwalk direction making this M&S Collection coat the perfect update for winter.  My favourite thing about this coat is that you can style it up in any way you choose from a smart tailored trouser or pencil skirt worn to the office or draped over the shoulders of a beautiful party dress.”
 - Neil Hendy, Head of Design, M&S Collection

Sum up the new collections in 3 words

"Stylish, affordable, luxury." - Karen Peacock

"Great quality, feminine design." - Neil Hendy

What makes these collections different from previous seasons?

Karen Peacock: We’ve injected some love back in to our brands and focused on their brand signatures to ensure that every product in each of our collections has been designed specifically with our customers in mind.

Neil Hendy: In the autumn we introduce M&S Collection which will offer customers the very best choice in confident, stylish clothing.  The new collection will offer a considered edit of stylish wardrobe essentials with a renewed focus on great quality, everyday clothing making it easier for our customer to shop and navigate our stores.

What pieces do you think every woman needs in her wardrobe?

Karen Peacock: No woman should be without a beautiful leather handbag to complete her look. Our Autograph leather bags are beautifully designed with luxurious detailing and buttery soft leather to last from season to season.

Neil Hendy: Every woman should own a perfect black trouser and our premium range of Italian wool trousers cover the 5 Key Shapes of the season - superslim, slim crop, modern bootcut, wide leg and straight leg.  Designed to flatter the figure and made of luxurious Italian virgin wool these are the ultimate wardrobe staple whatever the season’s trends have in store.

What is your AW13 wardrobe essential piece?

Karen Peacock: "Statement earrings will update any outfit for the season ahead, moving the oversized jewellery trend away from the neckline and bringing a new focus to framing the face.”

Neil Hendy: “The coat is going to be the biggest wardrobe statement for the new season and there are so many great new styles on offer.  From the softly cocooning silhouette of the M&S Collection duster coat to the more fashion-forward biker there is something to suit every woman’s style this season.”

What is your number one piece of fashion advice?

Karen Peacock: “Always buy the best possible quality that you can afford.  Whatever the catwalks dictate for the season ahead, nothing beats a luxurious, beautifully designed item of clothing or stand out accessory to make you feel special.”

Neil Hendy:  “Be aware of your body and the styles that flatter your figure.  No matter what the trends are for the season you can always find a way to work them into your wardrobe if you’ve got your style foundations right.”


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