Saturday, 4 October 2014

Weekend Style Is...

...wearing my favourite bikini with the first rays of sunshine; savouring the scent of sunscreen on bronzing, warm skin; reminiscing of holidays past and dreaming of those yet to come; peaceful meanderings before a setting sun. Summer, we are ready for you.

Friday, 3 October 2014

Fresh Face for a New Season

It’s been a while, hasn’t it? The Hautie Couturist has been off the fashion radar for a good few months now. But while my blog pages have been blank, what’s been going on behind the scenes has been far from boring. 

New adventures have been rumbling through my life like a series of mini earthquakes. Though much less devastating I hasten to add, than any real cataclysm, my metaphorical seismic tremors have included their own characteristic aftershocks. As the wave of motion subsides beneath my feet, I can feel myself emerging with a new perspective and even a new grasp on womanhood.

So, reinvigorated and re-energised, the Hautie Couturist is also re-born. While fashion, with its beauty, its fun and its frivolity will continue to be my source of inspiration, life has many more facets to explore.

The change of season seems like a timely moment to initiate this new ethos, and whilst it’s a journey that I may be starting alone, it is one I hope will have you joining in along the way. 

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Hot Looks from Paris Fashion Week

Of all the fashion weeks, Paris has to be my favourite. There is an aura at Paris Fashion Week that encapsulates the great fashion fantasy. Not only does it showcase the most influential styles of the season, it promises a beauty and creativity evocative of haute couture. 

This season's shows have been no exception. Here are three of my favourite looks from the Paris catwalks:


This collection has everything! Clean cut tailored lines and sixties-style mini dresses were enlivened with graphic pops of colour: raspberry, strawberry and Peter Pan green contrasted against black, latte brown and winter white.

Patterns flicked between bold circles and checkerboard squares to mystical woodland scenes of flowers, butterflies and unicorns.

Sheer gowns took over for evening. Chiffon sheaths with long sleeves fitted like second skins around the torso before cascading into full, floor-length skirts. Brought to life with exquisite beading and embroidery, vines of coloured bouquets ascended to bodices dancing with soaring birds.


The Celine look centred around that autumn/winter essential, the coat. Formal, double breasted frock coats, slouching, oversized mannish jackets and overcoats flecked with fine ostrich feathers, every look came with an outerwear companion.

As ever, it's the little nuances that set Celine pieces apart. From the way funnel necks and jacket lapels fold over to reveal a contrasting, statement neckline to the precision slicing of skirts to create a dramatic kick out when the wearer walks, every item, every line is crafted to sculpt perfection.


A fresh take on the idea of the investment piece, boucle tweeds and houndstooth checks were frilled and feathered, wrapped and layered to create asymmetric skirts, coats and dresses.

Wool suiting was trimmed with fringing and furs, and contrasted against loose fitting sack dresses of silk satin and buttery leathers cinched or pleated into A-line skirts.

Yes, there were elements of the fantastical but with contemporary cool in abundance, this Lanvin look is sure to transcend from the fashion elite to the high street. Never mind autumn/winter, get me that skirt I want to wear it now!

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Monday, 24 February 2014

The Milanese Fantasy

The catwalks at New York and Milan Fashion Weeks shared many of the same trends but where as New York was dressing women for autumn/winter in the city, in Milan it was all about fantasy and the glitterati. 

 Fur Dress at Prada

Fur is a huge look, appearing on the majority if not all of the runways. Always a popular inclusion in autumn/winter collections, what makes it different for 2014 is the rainbow of colours that it is being presented in.

Prada featured a cartoon-like colour palette with shearling coats trimmed in contrasting pillar box red, banana yellow and chocolate brown fur, as well as sheer slip dresses with shaggy whisps of Mongolian hair edging seams and panelling. Crowning the trend was a long sleeved, knee length dress in glossy, long red fur.

Marni too, went all-out with the fur look with models swamped under mammoth coats of contrasting coloured stripes or splodges. Adding a touch of glamour to a sportswear inspired collection, fur too trimmed tracksuit jackets of leather and neoprene.

It was all leather and fur for the glamourous Gucci girl with luxurious long haired jackets in delicate pastels fluffing up buttery-soft leather shirts, skirts, pants and dresses.

Coloured patchworks have been making up everything from jackets to dresses. At Bottega Veneta, Tomas Maier spliced together jaunty shards of leather and wool to excite simple long-sleeved shift dresses while Missoni patched shearling to accentuate the mosaic patterns running through the collection.
Patchwork Appliques on Bottle Green Cape at Dolce and Gabbana

Dolce and Gabbana interpreted the patch as applique, decorating Little Red Riding Hood capes, short shifts and boxy sweaters with woodland scenes featuring foxes, owls and swans.

Whether it's the green eyed monster or green with envy, we're going to have to find some more positive associations for the colour green because it's dominating colour palettes for autumn/winter 2014.

Gucci showed soft sage greens whilst the sassy Pucci girl slinked down the runway in olive and khaki. Rich shades of bottle green featured at Dolce and Gabbana and Versace while, inspired by the forest, Alberta Ferretti showed a collection rich in all shades from moss green to leaf green.

There's still more to come from the catwalks with Paris Fashion Week launching today. Look out for the full trend round-up next week.

See these photos and more at

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Thursday, 20 February 2014

On This Day In Fashion History...

...Icon-maker, Hubert de Givenchy Was Born

On 21st February 1927, Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy was born in Beauvais, France. With a name like that, he was obliged to do great things and he did not disappoint, going on to become one of the most influential and pioneering couturiers of the mid twentieth century.

Inheriting his title from his father, the Marquis of Givenchy, the young count's creative talents were the legacy of his mother's bloodline, who were influential in raising him following the death of his father in 1930.

It was a trip to the 1937 World's Fair in Paris that first inspired dreams of a career in fashion and in 1944, aged seventeen, Givenchy took himself to Paris where he enrolled at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts to learn his craft.

He followed this with stints designing for some of the most significant fashion houses of the era beginning with Jacques Fath in 1945, then Robert Piguet and Lucien Lelong in 1946 before designing separates for the boutique of Elsa Schiapparelli from 1947 to 1951.

By 1952 he was ready to launch his own design house. His debut collection focused on separates: light, floor-length skirts and beautiful blouses. They were pieces that could be mixed and matched to suit the wearers personal style - a novel idea in a time it was the couturiers that issued head-to-toe style dicta.

He was the youngest couturier in Paris coming up with a new way of dressing for a new generation of women. Post World War II, boutiques were becoming increasingly popular: more accessible than haute couture salons, they offered more affordable goods and were the forerunner of ready-to-wear. Givenchy incorporated the spirit of the boutique with the quality of couture, and in 1954 became the first couturier to launch a pret-a-porter line.

He was greatly influenced by Cristobal Balenciaga. ("Balenciaga was my religion," Givenchy told WWD in 2007.) Under Balenciaga's mentoring, Givenchy's focus increasingly grew towards purity of line. In 1957, the pair independently launched the 'sack' silhouette.

Contrary to the fitted shapes of the time, the sack ignored the waistline. By-passing the curves of the female form, it's beauty came from the shroud of mystery it created about the body that lay beneath.

His youthful spirit encouraged raising hemlines too, as he urged women to show off their legs - it was the precursor to a trend that would rise to extreme heights in the ensuing decade.

The 1950s and 60s were Givenchy's golden era and the essence of his style has been immortalised by the great women that he dressed. The most significant of which was Audrey Hepburn who became both his friend and his muse. Dressing the actress both on and off-screen, he must be credited with securing her place as a fashion icon. "His clothes are the only clothes in which I am myself," said Hepburn of Givenchy. "He is far more than a couturier, he is a creator of personality."

Dressing her first for the Sabrina (1954), he went on to perfect the little black dress, which created a cinematic legend of its own in Breakfast At Tiffany's (1961). "The little black dress is the hardest thing to realise," he told an interviewer in 2010. "Because you must keep it simple."

Simplicity however, was what Givenchy did best - "Clutter is not Givenchy's thing," remarked Vogue in 1969. "Purifying and refining are."

This look did not transcend well into the seventies and eighties. His less-is-more, classic style did not fit with a decade that listed flower power, punk and glam rock amongst it's key influences or with the power-dressing, label flaunting, cashed up fads of the 1980s.

Inspite of his critics, Givenchy persisted with his principles. In 1988 he sold his label to LVMH but held his position as head of one of the great couture houses of Paris until his retirement in 1995.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

The Golden Girls of New York Fashion Week

The buzz at this New York Fashion Week has centred around the significant anniversaries of two of the city’s most successful designers. With Diane von Furstenberg marking the 40th year of her signature wrap dress and Donna Karan celebrating 30 years since her debut collection, all eyes have been on the golden girls of New York fashion. Neither disappointed, with each of their collections showing just why their brands have stood the test of time.

Bohemian Wrapsody

Von Furstenberg paid homage to the now iconic style with which she first made her name. With her classic dress shape as inspiration she took the wrapover style and translated it into wrap blouses and cardigans, which she styled over wide legged trousers, maxi skirts and vintage-style tea dresses.

Languid silhouettes and art nouveau prints gave the collection a nostalgic seventies feel. Electric shades of lilac, cerise and cobalt popped against graphic patterns in black, white and gold. Bold textures created the feeling of opulence with velvets, furs and gold lames paired with the softest, flowing jersey - the decadent city wardrobe of a Manhattan jet setter. 

Criticised in the early days for the wrap dress’ lack of design, 40 years on DvF has proved that her dress is a design classic. Satisfying a woman’s desire to feel both stylish and comfortable, the style also flatters most body shapes. Through her dynamic use of colour and print, von Furstenberg has ensured her signature dress has remained current throughout the decades. Effortless elegance animated through contemporary textiles, the DvF look is perfect for the modern woman.

30 Years, A Woman In Motion

Donna Karan is proof too, of the power of simplicity. From a first collection of ‘seven easy pieces’ all created around the humble body suit, Karan transformed the wardrobe of the working woman and has gone on to build a fashion empire that includes menswear, lingerie and homewares as well as the hugely successful diffusion line, DKNY. 

Her predilection for black has been credited with the colour’s prominence in our wardrobes today, so it’s starring role in her autumn/winter collection came as little surprise. More of a revelation was its vampish edge, which saw models strutting out in tuxedo jackets worn mini-dress style with nothing more than suede thigh high boots and jaunty officer hats bedecked with plumes of glossy black feathers. 

Texture defined the collection with sheers being used to highlight the very sexual feeling of the show. Swathes of chiffon wrapped around the body and held together with seemingly nothing more than a belt at the waist, floated into diaphanous skirts that breezed revealing about Amazonian legs; burnt out velvet highlighted every erogenous zone whilst jackets with laser cut-out squares created a modern cobweb look that revealed a sensual glimpse of flesh beneath. 

There was though, still enough of her classic tailoring to ensure the wearability of the collection. The jacket has been a key style on the New York catwalks and so it was at Donna Karan too. Cinched with thin, glossy belts, this is the styling trick of the season to ensure the jacket is more than just outerwear this autumn/winter.

See the full collections at:

Stay tuned for more on NYFW trends

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Monday, 3 February 2014

On This Day in Fashion History...

...Fashion Illustrator, Rene Gruau Was Born.

Born Count Renato Zavagli-Ricciardelli delle Caminate in Rimini, Italy on 4th February 1909, Gruau took his mother's family name on moving to Paris in the 1930s.

He developed a love of sketching early and by the age of 18, he was already publishing his fashion drawings in Italy, England and Germany.

Combining classical restraint with free and expressive lines, Gruau created sensual illustrations that portray not just elegance but panache.

His style was the perfect complement to the 'New Look' of Christian Dior in the late 1940s, and the two shared an intimate working relationship.

Through his career in magazines, Gruau helped to characterise the graphic art of the 1950s. His resume featured positions at Harper's Bazaar, Vogue and Flair but his illustrations graced covers of fashion magazines the world over; his style shaped adverts and decorated all manner of pages. Through his own prolific work rate as well as the widespread reproductions that he inspired, his illustrative style defined an era.

Rene Gruau: 4 February 1909 - 31 March 2004
See more of Rene Gruau's work at

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