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Friday, 25 February 2011

Tutti Fruitti

This season, fresh, fruity features are everywhere, not just the supermarket and the local greengrocers. As well as bold colour-blocking in shades such as candy apple-red and vibrant banana-yellow on the Milan runways, there are lots of cute fruit-themed accessories available now to start putting you in the mood for Spring/ Summer (even if it is still freezing outside).

I first noticed the recent rise of fruit motifs when I seen Miu Miu's cute apple embellished plexiglass bangle (£180) a little while ago, closely followed by Prada's fun banana earrings:

Earrings, (£140) by Prada

Other high-end designers such as Stella McCartney have shown their fruity side this Spring, with the look also being adopted on the high street. Bright fruit shapes and coloured clothes and accessories can be found at Debenhams, New Look and Topshop to name a few. Topshop in particular have a pretty varied collection, raging from hosiery, jewellery (like this apple locket pendant, £8.50)and clothes . Even Primark have got in on the act with this sparkly apple brooch, a snip at just £2.00 - an affordable way to update your wardrobe with this juicy trend:

Brooch, (£2.00) Primark

Tatty Devine have dedicated their new season collection to plastic fantastic fruits featuring mouth-watering pineapples & peeled bananas with prices starting at £45. Also, super-talented Punky Pins have a great and affordable selection - my favourites are this watermelon brooch (£7.50) and these excellent pop-art style banana earrings at £6.00 (a bit like the Prada earrings but much more purse-friendly) which also come in a range of colours.

With so many fruity motifs around to brighten up our outfits this Spring, from high end to high street, how will you be getting your fashion five-a-day?

Saturday, 12 February 2011

The Look of Love

It's Valentine's weekend and love is in the air! Time for people to make bold declarations of their undying passion to each other while the folk at Clintons et al rake in the dough. Actually I'm not quite as cynical as that. Yes, many stores jump at the chance to hawk tacky and overpriced goods at this time of year in a bid to convince shoppers that said goods will validate their devotion to their significant other but I have found there are still lots of affordable, worthwhile and style savvy ways to get the message across. And besides, even if it's not considered 'cool' I like the cheesiness of Valentine's Day, I suppose in the same sort of way I like Christmas and Halloween (but on a smaller scale). Valentine's Day can be silly and fun if you don't take it too seriously.

I considered writing a Valentine's Day gift guide as I really feel sorry for all the nervous and perspiring gentlemen hanging around outside La Senza and Ann Summers, plucking up the courage to eventually go inside (you know the ones I mean, and if any of them are reading this, you know who you are). But, I am not best placed to give advice on gifts for people I haven't met so the only thing I will say on the matter is: buy them something they will like, and if it is to wear make sure it is the right size!

Instead, as I tend to enjoy a good theme, I wanted to share my top picks for Valentine's Day themed clothes and accessories. And if they happen to inspire anyone that still hasn't bought a present along the way, that's fine by me too. First up, I noticed a trio of cute and purse-friendly goodies at H&M. This peppermint coloured cardigan with a sweet kissing love birds design is perfect for Spring:

Cardigan, £14.99 at H&M

Also spotted was this bold 'Be My Valentine' slogan tank top, which at £6.99 is an affordable and confident way to get the message across if you aren't the secret admirer type:

Tank Top, £6.99 at H&M

And I couldn't resist this Lulu Guinness inspired lips shaped coin purse:

Lips purse, £3.99 at H&M

ASOS also have their share of loved-up accessories, my favourite being their Heart Shaped Ring with Cat Portrait (£8.00) very cute! A close second was these amazing Gipsy Back Seam Hearts tights (£7.00) and a special mention goes to this Wall Street-esque Two Tone Metal Bracelet watch, as wearing it will no doubt ensure it' always love o' clock (sorry, couldn't resist). ASOS (who at the moment are offering free delivery on all offers) have an extensive collection of heart-print clothing ranging from their own brand to garments by designers such as Sonia by Sonia Rykiel, all of which are worth a browse if you're in the mood for love.

Finally, one of my favourite jewellery brands Tatty Devine have top marks this year with their 'For your Valentine' selection at their online shop. Featuring earrings, necklaces, brooches and rings in heart-shaped and other sweet designs, Tatty Devine also sell a selection of cards by artists such as Lisa Jones and Rob Ryan (who also collaborates with Tatty Devine on a wonderful and whimsical jewellery collection inspired by romance and adventure) in their Valentine's section. Prices start at £2.50 for a card and can range up to £230 for a special edition necklace.

That concludes my top choices of love-themed items just in time for Valentine's Day. How are you spending this weekend of grand amour, and who are you going to spend it with? Also - what will you be wearning?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Please Give Fashionably

This weekend I looked at local and national campaigns that offer 'fashion for a good cause'. Earlier in the week I was delighted to hear about one of my favourite designers, Dame Vivienne Westwood, designing this years t-shirts for Comic Relief sold exclusively at TK Maxx stores across the UK. I couldn't wait to see the designs for myself and yesterday I trotted into town with the boy in tow to grab a piece of the action. I found a good selection of t-shirts featuring a range of designs for men, women and even teeny tiny children's' ones. If only I got to wear Westwood when I was that little!

Vivienne Westwood is no stranger to advocating the need to contribute to a good cause. It's rare that we see her do mainstream media interviews, but when she does she uses the platform to raise awareness for cultural and political issues - most recently acting against climate change - more than to promote her designs. Her manifesto, Active Resistance to Propaganda and her blog have more detail on her campaigns and her thoughts. As a pioneer of statement fashion, Westwood has displayed her views and campaigns through her collections for several years (see Spring/ Summer 2007's I Am Expensive collection as a noteworthy example), so it seems like a natural choice for TK Maxx to collaborate with her on their latest 'chari-tee' range for Red Nose Day (which takes place on March 18th).

The collection features striking prints of historical figures, art, classic Westwood images and even characters from Blackadder on soft, fairtrade organic cotton and given a Comic Relief twist. Never ones to shy away from a bit of Westwood, the boy and I both got t-shirts, coming in at a total of just under £25:

'The Laughing Audience' by Hogarth T-shirt, £9.99 by Vivienne Westwood for Comic Relief

'Louis XIV Lady' T-shirt, £14.99, by Vivienne Westwood for Comic Relief (featuring a pair of cheekily placed red noses)

With at least half of the proceeds going towards Comic Relief, which promises to help people across the UK and Africa, this is a win-win situation. Nice one, Viv. If accessories are more your thing, TK Maxx are also selling limited edition Liberty print scarves and tote bags for the same cause. All the Comic Relief pieces can be bought in-store or by visiting TK Maxx's website.

On a more local level , I headed off to Oran Mor today to Say No To Plastic's vintage, charity and craft sale to enjoy a rummage through the vintage rails and show my support to home-grown designers. This wasn't my first visit to Say No To Plastic, so I was already aware of their campaign, set up over three years ago to help encourage the eradication of plastic and polythene bags. As there was a similar vintage fair being held over at Hillhead Bookclub at the same time (the rather excellent Granny Would Be Proud event) I was unsure if it would still be busy today, but I was glad to see lots of keen shoppers and lively ladies excitedly browsing at both Oran Mor and Hillhead Bookclub. I guess us West End Girls were blessed with a double whammy of retail therapy too keep us occupied during today's football! Lucky us!

Taken at Say No To Plastic, earlier today at Oran Mor

Say No To Plastic gently encourage a charity donation on entry, which most people are only to happy to contribute to. It's a small price for a great selection of handmade and pre-loved pieces. I meandered round the stalls and saw old favourites We Are The Robots selling their ever popular Scrabble and Lego inspired jewellery, countless vintage treasure and had to stop and look at Bunny's Beads' cool cameo pendants (really wishing I'd bought the skull one now), sweetie jewellery and cute rings.

A selection of goodies from Bunny's Beads

More vintage trinkets at Say No To Plastic

I always enjoy these events, and setting them up to help a good cause is even better. So whether it's a national campaign or a local held event, 2011 could be the year that sees feel-good fashion with a heart go from strength to strength.