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The Life Aquatic

The Little Mermaid was always my favourite Disney film. Partly cos Eric was so fit, but also because making bras and hairbrushes and musical instruments out of shells always looked like such a damn good time. I doubt Karl Lagerfeld also once sat around feeling a deep spiritual affinity with Ariel, but I like to think that he had a little (poss. emotional?) singalong to ‘Part Of Your World’ whilst sketching his elegantly aquatic Spring/ Summer collection for Chanel. I’d like to fantasise the same of Sarah Burton, whose otherworldly, she-Poseidon offerings at Alexander McQueen were nothing short of magical. The kind of magic that can only be inspired by Disney, I’m sure.

 

When two such power players decree a mood for the upcoming season, it pays to sit up and take note. But the memo wasn’t just limited to their coral-encrusted gowns and phosphorescent tweed frocks, however. Holly Fulton and Mary Kantrantzou got in on the act too, but with a vibe that was more wet ‘n’ wild than majestic ocean goddess. Digital prints in Crayola colours and thigh-skimming hemlines made for cheeky cocktail numbers that were stamped with energy and wit. Think our old crustacean mate Sebastian’s noisy ‘Under The Sea’ carnival and you’re there.

 


Originally published for Lyst.com

Lady And The Vamp

First the Bloods and the Crips, then Jen vs. Ange, now it’s Ladies or Vamps. In fashion, as in life, there are usually two disparate groups of thought on all things Really Important. This season is no exception, with us expected to sit either on the prim or provocative side of the fashion fence. There are very few who can seamlessly swing from one incarnation to the other (think Belle du Jour and her erstwhile alter ego). No, most of us are born with just the one inherent in our veins. A quick litmus test; (and it doesn’t have to be quite so blatant as babydoll vs. suspenders): leather or cashmere? Gloves or boots? Even a dog vs. cat preference can be a sneaky giveaway of your Autumn/ Winter predilection.

 

Both styles have their allure; a spray-on pair of leather skinnies winning the practicality trophy but failing miserably on the flattering front. A sharply-tailored pencil skirt, on the other hand, makes every woman feel like Sophia Loren – although slightly less so when having to run for the bus in one. As trends go, ‘ladylike’ is always going to sound infinitely more viable than ‘fetish’, but lacks the glint-in-eye, let-people-stare element that makes fashion so much fun. Marc Jacobs at Vuitton had the right idea, creating a collection so full of body-con leather it practically squeaked down the runway – a noise only muffled by the sound of men everywhere rejoicing.

 

The flip side was the catwalk’s answer to Middleton mania, with designers like Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi and Bottega Veneta sending out perfectly proper attire fit for a princess. Or at the very least a duchess. Below-knee skirts, pleats, twinsets, even tweed was on the agenda, all imbued with a 40s-slash-60s-slash-70s flavour.

 

So there you have it, ladies – this season it’s the duchess vs. the dominatrix. I know which one I’d back in a fight. Just saying.

Originally published for Lyst.com