The Trends on Thursday – Art of the furniture

Art of the furniture 1
Art of the furniture 2

Art of the furniture 3

London and Milan fashion week have been a tour de force of decade references but with one thing in common, while the trapezium silhouette and quirky paradigms (hello, Afghan gilets) of the ’70s rule the roost – they’re manifested in pattern form. Having barely made it beyond infancy for most of the decade, I don’t remember the ’80s particularly well; the image most authentically etched in my memory was one of primary coloured patterns straddling every last inch of upholstery in sight, comprised either of obnoxious dots and squiggles or geometric, slightly Bauhaus-esque shapes (and no, to avoid confusion, I don’t mean the band). The decade’s more iconic features of shoulder pads, frizzy hair and cruelty to poor people came to me later in life through historian’s curiosity, rather than first-hand experience. So, imagine my nostalgic delight at JW Anderson’s dresses, coats and belts sporting the very colour scheme and patterns that were burned so warmly into the deepest corners of my memory. The vision with which the designer embraced the decade, keeping shoulders and sleeves controlled and incorporating leather skirts and slouched boots into the references instead of the clichés, was made distinctive by the motifs. The collection was visibly inspired by the ’80s but still looked like it was from 2015.

The same could be said of Jonathan Saunders’ prints of wavy ombre lines that brilliantly echoed the psychedelic geometry of ’70s fabrics; of the minimal and contrasting colour schemes of Peter Pilotto’s collection; of the  warm, two-colour patterns on Gucci’s coats; of the ’60s-style geometric prints at Fendi; of the scattered patchwork florals on Burberry Prorsum’s coats and a bow to Ossie Clark at Topshop Unique. These references capture the aesthetics of their respective decades in a way that isn’t costume-like pastiche. Much like the furniture, upholstery and wallpaper that the designs that inspired them adorned, they convey a mood like the warmth of a room. It’s a subtle, evocative and almost ambient take – a unique art of the furniture.

The Trends on Wednesday – Symphony of deconstruction

#NYFW #trend Symphony of deconstruction

 

 

As the rush and frisson of fashion weeks across the various style capitals begins, New York fashion week had the media heralding big coats, (American) football fever and an official return to polo-necks as the go-to feature. I couldn’t help but to notice another trend in one of the more traditionally commercial and conservative fashion capitals: deconstruction and juxtaposition. And let’s not dispute who’s coming up with the wacky ideas about fashion around here! Take Rag and Bone’s 90s hip hop homage, for example, with authentically-referenced slip dresses over chunky trousers, as well as sharply tailored sportswear that mixed matte, sturdy fabrics with shocks of satin in geometric panelling. Also throwing contrast into the mix was Jeremy Scott with a psychedelic head trip of patterned pastel colours, swirling round in brilliantly contrasting hues. Not that this was merely about collage but a rethink of garment construction, experimenting with colour, cut and choice of fabric. Among them, Opening Ceremony took the eyes on a journey with diagonally offset seams among larger-than-life proportions and a boldly angular cut. Marc by Marc Jacobs and Phillip Lim  offered relentless assaults on the senses with mash-ups of contrasting fabric and seam lines along every possible angle, while Narciso Rodriguez worked grid-like horizontal and vertical lines and a stark monochrome colour scheme into fluid drapes.

The distinctive angularly flared and tailored silhouette of the 70s remains a key talking point this season, yet many of the diagonally offset cuts and fits seen here added a contemporary, shape-shifting dimension to the trend. It was unlike the decade’s handicrafts-inspired paradigms that were also recently referenced. It has its own DIY-inspiring potential in the use of fabrics and panelling, as well as – well – taking things apart and putting them back together differently. This is more than just pastiche; it is taking distinctive features, like the 70s silhouette, and reinventing them in a way that’s still recognisable in its references. When referencing the past, the only way to stop history from repeating itself is to mix it up a little.

DIY my Valentine – a 20 minute DIY tutorial inspired by Marc By Marc Jacobs Open Heart Stud Earrings

A quick DIY you can learn by heart.Marc By Marc Jacobs Open Heart Stud Earrings - Knockout Pink


Owing to apathetic moping, this DIY tutorial will fit neatly under the category of Valentine’s Day leftovers – time zones permitting – a category which, I appreciate is best associated with discounted chocolate but, given the relative neutrality of the versatile heart motif and the comfort that there’s always next year I thought I’d share this 20-minute tutorial with you.

You will need…

Picture hanging wire.

Two earring studs.

Soldering iron and solder.

Long-nosed pliers that can cut wire (or, failing that, long-nosed pliers and all-purpose scissors)

Pink nail polish.

Difficulty

difficulty03

Quite easy

While the project, itself, is pretty straightforward and self-explanatory, it has its fiddly moments and helps to have a touch of manual dexterity.

Time

10-15 minutes per earring, excluding the time it takes for your soldering iron to heat up.

You will heart it

Method1

Cut about 10cm of wire and loop it around the stud in the middle. Method2

Bend the wire into a heart shape and twist the two ends together at the bottom with your pliers.Method3

Cut away the excess wire at the bottom.Method4

Attach the wire to the stud at the top and fix the wires together at the bottom by soldering them.
Method5

Cover the wire with pink nail polish.

DIY Marc By Marc Jacobs Open Heart Stud Earrings

Quick, simple and perfect for throwing together at the last minute, much like my Valentine’s Day plans.

Time is stripe – How to DIY metallic stripes on a top

Now that fashion’s on its ‘metal’…

A photo posted by Charley H (@chiccheatcharley) on

Two reasons to keep the fleeting party season dream alive with glitter and related matters: first of all, metallics are to remain totally a thing for the (technically) upcoming season (spring, in other words, depending on whether you follow fashion in the traditional predictive sense or the  real-time online sense) and secondly, as overrated as new year’s eve is (in practice, at least) its one use is to serve as a retrospectively-inclined distraction from the egregiousness of Valentine’s day. Still, enough about the involuntary pity I feel for those who are ‘taken’ and socially obliged to splash out in order to validate it! Also, while I appreciate that it’s not very fashion to display cynicism towards the idea of romance or disapproval for paying £50 for a taxi because of the calendar date, Chic Cheat and I are all about enjoying the escapism of fashion without the cost; what we lack in money and expenditure we make up in creative problem-solving.

Inspiration

Street-Style Shopping


PA.R.O.S.H. t-shirt (clipped to polyvore.com)

You will need…

craft and fabric NB: I used metallic green lycra, which you can find in shops that sell fabric or dance costumes.

While you can use a slim-fitting top, make sure it  does not have to stretch when you wear it or put it on, otherwise the  metallic stripes will come off (yes I did just learn that the hard way in this instance).

Difficulty

difficulty01

Very easy

Can you draw straight lines? Can you cut straight lines? Can you iron things before the spectre of unprecedented boredom sneaks up on you, with the revelation that two minutes goes strangely slowly when you’re trying to time it exactly, with no distractions and repeat the process ten or so times? Then this one should be a doddle for you.

Time

About half an hour (mine took longer because I ran out of spray glue (which was caused by poor planning and multiple projects beforehand, rather than insufficient supplies, I can happily assure you).

 

Stripes for the picking

metallic striped top tutorial

 

DIY striped green metallic top

How I wore it: Make clothes not war

 

Boho selector…DIY hippie chic 70s trend personal style

Top – DIY/ / Necklace – DIY/ Jeans – Topshop/ Boots – DIY/ Jacket – DIY

personal style 70s hippie chic DIY fashion

 So it’s become more than apparent that the 70s are the decade-du-jour for 2015, and if that sounds like some kind of warped chronological contradiction, well, that’s trend-led fashion pastiche for you! Fashion’s capricious flitting from decade to decade in the trends department has seemed particularly apparent during the tens; it has unnerving parallels with that depressing thing every fashion student was told in lectures about postmodernism being a time for digging up the past and juxtaposing it creatively, rather than inventing something new because, haha you can’t! Indeed this 70s trend has given us an eclectic melting pot of paradigms to choose from, including paisley and floral layering, tie dye, chunky knee-highs, kaftans, fringing with everything and shaggy gilets. So far, the stand-out look for the trend has been and continues to be trapezium tunics and trousers – the signature cut and balance of the decade that sets it apart.
personal style 70s hippie chic DIY fashion

My take on the trend, with a few DIY pieces and wardrobe treasures, was inspired by the zeitgeist of the ‘me decade’ – an era that embraced handicrafts as a vehicle for self-expression. I chose a hand-smocked top, a fringed necklace, embroidered boots a vintage sheepskin jacket I painted over Christmas (thanks, mum!) and distressed patchwork jeans dating all the way back to 2011. Whether or not the handicrafts trend will become plastered all over the high street, it is thankfully one of the most accessible fashion looks for the general public. I mean, anyone can make or paint something – you don’t have to be an expert. More importantly, self expression is something we need to exercise at a reasonable level; to follow trends blindly and – if you will – parrot fashion is to deny ourselves our appreciation of fashion as an art form. By becoming a slave to it, with uncritical adherence, we become passengers instead of being actively involved. Part of engaging with fashion is to let our flaws, creativity and personal interpretation do the talking in amongst the discourse that plays out within the bigger picture. Maybe the ‘me’ decade is more current than you’d think.

personal style 70s hippie chic DIY fashion

 

 

Convert-a-skirt – how to transform a maxi skirt into trousers

Those who know me and all that I like to indulge in when left alone in a walk-in wardrobe that’s home to a treasure trove of bric-a-brac from yester-millenium, could probably hazard an educated guess at what I might do when I stumbled across a genuine ’60s batik-patterned skirt – and no, it wouldn’t be to let it go to waste. Maybe it’s the up-and-coming trend for all things hippie, and the slew of crafty new-age pastiche we’re seeing, that prompted me to rethink its place as a long-forsaken denizen of the dressing-up box. We’re often told that this post-modern era is one of reinventing looks and concepts through novel combinations of paradigms, rather than creating totally new ideas. I like to think that I did my bit in this evolutionary process with this quick, easy skirt upcycle that also references the current slouchy trouser trend.

I chose to detail the process in infographic form; just to avoid confusion, you need to try the skirt on and start by pinning the front fabric to the back at the crotch. I used a safety pin to avoid nasty. painful accidents (ouch!) and recommend you do the same. It is also easier to hold in place when you take the skirt off; you would need to do this and pin the skirt flat – you might need to iron it to ensure both sides are completely flush – when cutting along the centre-back seam.

Turn the skirt inside-out to sew the trouser seams together. You will probably need to adjust the width, even if you’re making palazzo pants. If so, make extra sure both legs are the same width.

how to convert a skirt to trousers fashion infographic

 

Glad I could be of help. Though I say it myself, I was pleased with the result (and yes that might be a half-baked attempt to justify my facial expression in the picture) and hope that you’re pleased with yours too!
#me military chic with upcycled trousers and a DIY khaki  jacket

 

The Trends on Thursday – Under the illusion

Can fashion add another dimension to florals?Under illusion 1

 

I decided that, rather than churning out what every corner of the fashion press has already heralded with respect to the pre-fall profferings, I’d observe the trends, in the broader sense of the word from the Parisian couture shows. An indulgent tradition that consolidates fashion’s aspirational qualities into a heritage-rich legacy, I’m aware that couture isn’t what you’d automatically associate with on-trend features for distilling to high-street level. However, I did notice a recurring theme: a recurring floral theme. Sure, florals, in themselves, are nothing new as a fashion trend; the past handful of years have seen them interpreted in acid brights and oversized motifs. Charles Edward Jerningham wrote, in The Maxims of Marmaduke: “The flowers of fashion have but fickle friends; they are the freak of the moment, much prized today, the more despised tomorrow.” Permutations on types of flower and colour schemes have been explored extensively, to the point now that trends and seasons, if anything, are distinguished by the way florals are incarnated. The demure hues of the Spring 2014 florals, for example, could have plausibly heralded the wave of feminism that would take centre stage that year; rather than occupying negative spaces, the graphic nature of the palette could be interpreted as a call to recognise the fragile beauty of femininity.

And so, the scene is set for the Paris couture shows’ take on flowers. Appropriately, for an area where much media fanfare is given to the overwhelming volume of craftsmanship involved, flowers took on a three-dimensional form – not in any way resembling the Paco Rabanne-esque metallised interpretation by Miu Miu, back in 2010 but with tireless layering, opulent embellishment and texture-rich appliqué, causing flowers to burst out of the fabric or fade fluidly into swathes of chiffon. Alexis Mabille layered peonies and pansies, in embroidery and three-dimensional  appliqué, onto lace and sheer fabric; Chanel’s flowers, made from opulent clusters of embellishment, emerged from geometric three-dimensional patterns and were veiled by diaphanous material; at Dior, printed PVC rain jackets and chiffon were draped over chunky floral lace and tattoo prints and at Giambattista Valli, flowers were formed from mixed appliqué on chiffon and clusters on lace.

I think I need to accept that this aesthetic assault on the senses might be a bit much to inspire any sort of viable DIY project. However, I feel I need to ‘park’ it as a thought within the wider context of inspiration. Between the graphic prints, three-dimensional embellishment and illusions through layering of fabrics, I’ve seen a few things I’d like to think I’ll see more of, even if it falls to me to make it happen.

illusions 2

 

DIY of the Dacade – how to make your own Laurence Dacade-inspired embroidered boots

I’ll publish the tutorial in full soon but just to keep you up to date on the things I’ve got up to – in a way that doesn’t involve vapid numeric brags about my recent gym performance – I thought I’d share some pictures of my Laurence Dacade-inspired suedette boots with floral embroidery; rather than subject myself to hours of painstaking labour, I attached some embroidered fabric, using fusible fabric glue and hand-stitching along the edges.

Embroidered fabric

DIY Merli floral-embroidered boots DIY Merli floral-embroidered  boots DIY Merli floral-embroidered boots

 

Diy embroidered boots modelled

 

Smocking Hot -How to do smocking by hand

Owing to this week’s schedule and external pressures, I’ve decided to take it easy and go off the beaten track as far as on-trend pastiche-come-plagiarism is concerned. In amongst the hustle and bustle of the weekend, and the rigours that came with it, I decided to turn my hand to smocking.

You will need…

sewing things

 

NB: The top or garment needs to made from synthetic fabric or it can’t be moulded; natural fabrics, such as cotton, have too high a melting point and don’t behave in a heat-malleable way.

Pins need to be as narrow as possible; ideally, you should avoid pins with round or wide heads.

Difficulty

difficulty02

Quite easy

I fear I might be jumping the gun in assuming that it’s a complete doddle, since there is a smattering of technique involved. It helps to be good with your hands and especially dexterous with your fingers. Confused? All will be revealed.

 

Time

This wasn’t as quick as I expected – I’m not entirely sure if that was down to perfectionism or being distracted by the television, which I like to have on in the background – but if you do the design I did it shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours.

 

Smock treatment

Method1

Concertina-fold the fabric , lengthways, along the middle of the top, or wherever else you want your smocking to be. Pin it in place and iron the  pleats  on as high a setting as possible – your aim is to get the plastic to change shape through heat without melting it. I would recommend working up to the highest temperature you can and practising on some scrap fabric, if possible. You can also heat-set some synthetic fabrics by boiling them in water for a short while – sorry I couldn’t be more helpful with timings but it’s been a while since I last attempted that particular method!

Method2After you have fixed the pleats, unpin them and pin the tips of the pleats together at alternating intervals to make diamond patterns. Hand-stitch or glue the tips together and unpin them. Since I was doing my design lengthways, I didn’t do diamond shapes completely along the pleats, ; I stopped about a third of the way down, and would recommend you do the same, so that it fits more easily.

DIY hand-smocked top

 

The Trends on Thursday – Make clothes not war

It’s been pretty well established that the ’70s are fashion’s decade-du-jour for references, with a distinctive colour palette, silhouette and bold, oversized prints – especially florals.   Geometric patterns and other paradigms, such as paisley, have been honoured in a straight-to-pastiche fashion, while others have a greater conceptual depth, for example, the bohemian peasant-chic trend. From tie-dyeing at Pucci to the embroidered shoes at Laurence Dacade and all the ravishing unravelling-look fringing in between, the homages to handicrafts capture the very essence of the era Tom Wolfe dubbed the ‘me decade’ – a zeitgeist centred around self-discovery and awareness; you certainly don’t get a much better example of self-expression than craft! So, I thought I’d inspire you with some on-trend ideas, for your crafting pleasure and of course individual interpretation.

A photo posted by Charley H (@chiccheatcharley) on

Never underestimate vintage and charity shops, or even other people’s unwanted clutter for some great finds. While I don’t, in the interests of your sanity, recommend that you sit and embroider a square metre of fabric for hours(/days/weeks/months), you never know what you might find that could add that crafty personal touch. I found this beauty whilst rummaging through my old wardrobe at my parents’ house – so it could well have been a genuine ’70s work. It was far less stressful than ploughing through the bedlam of January sales, more fruitful and, with a price tag of precisely £0, cheaper.

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