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The Trends on Wednesday – On with the show and off with the show-offs

LFW trends


Continuing in the theme of casually chic abandon,seen elsewhere London Fashion Week went on to prove that fashionistas both on and off the catwalk weren’t taking the peacock any more. No longer was the intent strut of the fierce fashionista in six-inch heels doing the rounds, rather designers were putting their best feet forward in flats. If New York Fashion Week had been all about the flat pumps and winklepickers, the London Fashion designers took the next step in statement trainers, coupled with the statement-du-jour of normcore suburbia, the denim jacket – even at Burberry. The ultimate stake of casual chic’s claim at the height of fashion’s relevance, however, was surely, Christopher Kane’s incarnation of slouchy tracksuit bottoms in luxurious leather.

Long skirts also made more than a fleeting appearance with the rules of hemline dipping as relaxed as the fit – some welcome news for the thigh-gapless, bottom-heavy likes of me. It would, of course prove cumbersome for cycling, my involuntary self-centred instincts tell me, but, realistically, being photographed on bikes is just so try-hard street style blogger – so very 2012! Relaxed fits manifested themselves in the slouchy backpacks set apart by Preen, lightly flared two-piece ensembles at JW Anderson and even the drama of Roksanda (without the) Ilincic’s silhouettes pared down, leaving just the bold colour scheme to make the statements. The relaxed fit held more resonance than mere comfort and practicality; it denoted a freedom from the confines imposed by fashion, in its efforts to mould the body towards false ideals. From the monolithic boxiness of tailoring, to the grandeur of drapes and the sexual and athletic empowerment of bodycon cling, the London Fashion Week silhouette was a hitherto unseen departure from those dynamics, altogether, posing a new question to the glibly accepted relevance of its frenetically competitive poseur ethos. This conceptual resonance echoed at many levels with  “I had this dream, I had this feeling” written on Richard Nicoll’s show seating. The vision, like many among the designers, was one of calm, fitness, escapism and work-life balance – in a word, wholesomeness. Among the designers echoing words of ‘ease’ and ‘effortlessness’ were Alice Temperley and Christopher Bailey of Burberry.

The tottering-heeled pose of looking expensive is now a dime a dozen. Flamboyant posturing can happen at any level – true style, according to fashion’s illuminati is to be stylishly invisible and not to outdo all you survey. Unpretentious elegance is key now, along with quirky nautical rope detailing, Bermuda shorts, Matisse-style colour blocking, pleats, giant circle motifs and, erm, school uniform. The last on the list was incarnated through quirky pencil case clutch bags, as well as standard pleats and burgundy, but if it’s rigid conformity we’re sticking to, I suppose it’s in for a penny, in for a pound (or doubtless several thousand!)

The Trends on Wednesday: What’s New #NYFW?

NYFW trends
Is it the up-and-coming influence of street style or the shift of paradigm to stylish wearable technology that saw the tottering authority of high heels cut down to size, once again, in favour of flat shoes? The paradigm of comfortable chic was interpreted, this time, in the form of winklepickers, most notably the floral panelled offerings from Victoria Beckham’s team of designers. The dizzying heights of ravishing bondage had a reinterpretation elsewhere with Anthony Vaccarello using hipline-skimming splits to cement his vision at his debut show for Versus. It was this statement of extremes with which he interpreted the Versus trademarks of raw sex appeal with copious black leather, after dressing friend and muse, Anja Rubik, in a daring white frock for the Met Ball.
Thankfully, plenty of designers had primly pretty interpretations of the hemline covered with below-the-knee skirts, which were teamed with boxy t-shirts, wrapover jackets and sleeveless coats – a styling statement that drew erogenous attention away from the thinness-worshipping thigh gap and waist and towards the calves.
Fashion took its key trends to, or rather from, the streets, with statement sportswear having a moment (and Alexander Wang ‘fetishising trainers’ in frock form), boxy jean-jackets, plait artistry and scrunchy bucket bags becoming the go-to 90s trend to reincarnate in contemporary sculptural form. If the outré heights of splits at Versus feel unworkable or unnerving, New York Fashion Week at least gave us plenty of stylish reasons to get real! Also meshing nicely into the mix was gingham – perhaps the only DIY idea that really leapt out at me from the bunch. Why not? We’ve been there and done that with the bucket bag and even old tablecloths need a new, loving home!

Lol-ing about






Fancy some chic laughs this autumn? Fashion’s already on it with the Lol-core trend. What? You didn’t actually think the esoteric take on everyday wear, or normcore, would actually retain interest among fashionistas, did you? With the winter gloom approaching and looming up especially ominously for August, the last thing we need is 50 shades of humdrum melancholia, even if Gap has tried to channel it in its latest ‘Dress Normal’ campaign.

Fashion is always one to push boundaries and question the paradigms behind them – in this case, children’s cartoon-print clothing, manga motifs, fluffy monster-style furs and face prints – or just, you know, have a laugh and an excuse to become a peacock once in a while. Great news, if you ask me. Fur is easy to pick up from markets and reasonably user-friendly in DIY projects.  Manga? Get those sew-on BMX-style patches out! And my personal favourite, the toddler fashion for adults? Don’t be put off by the unsettling verbal juxtaposition. It certainly lends itself to someone 5′ and petite with no qualms about the odd shop in VAT-free childrenswear sections. And just think, if the trend holds out until Christmas, novelty socks and ties might even be cool, according to the convoluted vagaries of irony. Might.

Trick for tats – A quick gold temporary tattoo tutorial

No alliterative overkill intended, I just thought I’d share my latest glittering tutorial with you. All you need is a stencil:



… a paintbrush, water and some gold powder from Fimo.



Simply, wet the paintbrush, coat it thickly with gold powder and paint the design through the stencil. The more thickly you apply the powder, the more vibrant the design will be. It’s a quick, five minute glamour fix that’s perfect for party wear.







NB: I wouldn’t recommend it for people with sensitive skin or itchy allergies – I haven’t experienced anything, so there’s every chance it could be fine, but I don’t want to promise that you wouldn’t get any nasty reactions if you’re susceptible.







Northern bites – an Instagram special

On a recent trip up North, to the Lake District and then Glasgow, it came to me – I am at a ripe age to appreciate the wonder of technology because I remember how much life sucked without it. I don’t just mean the convenience of Google Maps, YouTube et al either, I mean the joy of seeing something so stunning you wish you had an easel and forever at your disposal to capture the fantastical beauty, not merely of the object – although that rather helped – but of the moment: a scene that can only really be described as hardcore sightseeing porn! Granted, a pocket-sized camera and colour filter apps aren’t an easel, as such, but getting the angle just right before adding the drama of a colour filter like a snapshot of your own dream-like interpretation of the subject is damn close! I’m now moved to reach for my phone every time I’m met with the frisson of beautiful sights – okay, I admit it, I have an Instagram problem!


AF treeAFF3EFXAF2AF1AF1Aira Force tea roomsAF4Keswick LC LC2 LD1 LD2 MH1 MH2 MH3 Scotmisc

As my final thought, let me leave you with a spot of DIY and upcycling inspiration: a whitewashed chandelier with knotted rope and tassels (which can also be made of rope) and a black chest of drawers covered with prints that could easily be copied using varnish and vintage-style wrapping paper.

DIY inspo

The Trends on Thursday – Bucket A-List

The bucket hat’s no flop this time!
Bucket A-list
Fashion is a fickle mistress, in too many and too obvious a set of ways to mention. So many of my nearest and dearest cite at least one article they just can’t wear, either because their body shapes are too elusive for the formulaic proportions of high street clothing or they just don’t suit them. Whether they’re trousers, short skirts or wrap dresses, these garments very soon reach the point of sartorial anathema – a nemesis the wearer can’t even imagine themselves in. The subject isn’t even up for discussion. My mum, for instance, ‘isn’t a hat person.’ Just think, what chance would such an unabashedly functional, ugly accessory as the bucket hat have of capturing the imagination of the fashion industry?
Timing is at the heart of this. The bucket hat, as a trend, is nothing new in menswear circles, nor has it been for the past two years. Pharrell’s head gear has made fashion waves among both sexes but the bucket hat’s relevance was cemented by Rihanna in her Instagrams from the World Cup final. Of late, she’s been seen cannily teaming bucket hats with elegant feminine paradigms, including scarlet lipstick, leggy hotpants and satin twinsets. Given the current women-led zeitgeist of tomboyish comfort and a 90s revival under way, when better to take a bucket hat and make it your own?
Bucket hats originated in Ireland and are part of the nation’s traditional folk costume. They were also famously worn by  Beppe Wolgers, a Swedish author and artist, in the 1970s; in Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas; by Alan “Reni” Wren from the Stone Roses; by  rappers in the 90s and among urban black youth in South Africa, as a sign of streetwise edge. Within a fashion context, a bucket hat over your hair – a quintessentially girlie paradigm – represents a subversive, hard-partying look, that’s cool in a devil-may-care kind of a way. It’s the next logical juncture from beanies, not to mention infinitely more comfortable in the sultry summer heat! It’s such a good look, in fact, that I was moved to dig one out and capture the moment myself – in my selfies.That point I made about uncool being the new cool? …I’ll get my coat!



That’s the way I spike it – How to DIY an Eddie Borgo cone gemstone bracelet

Owing to the epic challenge of moving, things have been quiet at Chic Cheat HQ, but since I’m back, I thought I’d make my returning presence known with a bit of colour.


Seeing Rainbows: Multicolor Summer Fashion From Rosie Assoulin, Edie...
DIY Eddie Borgo Cone Stud bracelet DIY Eddie Borgo Cone Stud bracelet DIY Eddie Borgo Cone Stud bracelet
I’ll fill you in on the method soon, but just to give you the edited highlights, in amongst a seemingly neverending onslaught of packing boxes, lugging them and unpacking everything once again, I managed to fit in an hour or so of creating an homage to Eddie Borgo’s gemstone cone bracelet by deliberately mixing colours in polymer clay and gouache, rolling them into cones, adding the odd lick of pearlescent nail polish and topcoat and gluing them to a chain. It was generally easy but fiddly, and now I’m exhausted. So now you know.

Unleash your marbles – How to DIY a Jean striped rainbow clutch by Edie Parker

Cook up a stylish storm with a deceptively simple upcycle!

Edie Parker Jean Striped In Rainbow
Of late, I’ve fallen in love with Edie Parker’s marble-effect clutch bags. This designer’s clutch motifs range from stripe patterns to quirky fruits and flowers and even bespoke name designs in a handwritten signature typeface. But above all, my eye was caught and my imagination captured by the rainbow clutch design, worn recently by country singer, Kacey Musgraves at the 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards.
Kacey Musgraves 25th Annual GLAAD Media Awards

You will need…

DIY tools


* Amendment (added 21/07/2014): Use metallic paper, not tissue paper.*

I would also recommend using a paintbrush for the nail polish, in the interest of speed (just go with this one). You can also use it to create marble-like swirls in the nail polish, but it’s technically optional.


An hour, tops.



Pretty easy

It’s reasonably straightforward, if messy. It’s a quick project, yet easier if you take your time – I mean that in the ‘more haste less speed’ sense, rather than the ‘add a painstaking extra hour’ you’ll be pleased to know!

Add some stripes



As you can see in the picture, I’ve already done one side so, turning our attention to the clear side, you start by cutting the paper into strips of a similar width. The width you cut should depend on how wide the plastic box is. Mine were 2cm wide. You might need to make the first and last stripes slightly wider if the width isn’t easily divisible by the number of stripes. Also, remember to measure with the curve of the surface if it isn’t flat.  Pour a generous blob of nail polish over a small area.



 Spread the nail polish in a messy ‘marbly’ way using a paintbrush or the brush inside the bottle. Be careful not to waste the whole bottle in one gush – nail polish dries quickly and, when it comes to coverage, a little goes a long way.


Place each strip across the inside of the box. I recommend using metallic paper, so you should place them with the coloured side facing downwards.

Cut away the excess paper, close the box and you should be left with something like this:


Amended DIY

DIY Edie Parker marbled rainbow clutch


The Trends on Wednesday: That’s a wrap – a bow to Diane Von Furstenberg

That's a wrap - and ode to Diane Von Furstenberg

This week has seen the 40th anniversary of Diane Von Furstenberg’s iconic wrap dress. It was in 1974 that the famously flattering design was evolved from a wrap top into a legend-making frock. Among the things she is best known for was an interview with Oprah Winfrey, in which she confessed that she  “didn’t know what (she) wanted to do, but (she) knew the kind of woman (she) wanted to be – an independent woman, who drives her own cars and pays her own bills.” This quote, noted in Winfrey’s memoirs, was perfectly reflective of the feminine empowerment and elegant confidence that the wrap silhouette pioneered. When Diane Von Furstenberg designed it, her vision was to liberate women from the unfeminine constraints of hippie garb, bell-bottoms and pantsuits. And so, just as Madeleine Vionnet’s bias-cut gowns divested fashion of it’s binding corsetry and skimmed the curves of the body like fluid sculpture, the wrap dress took the slinky comfort of a jersey dress to form a perfect hourglass shape with a zigzagging line that guided the eye along the contours of the torso. Incidentally, fashion scholars have drawn comparisons between the wrap dress and the sportswear of Claire McCardell – the first designer to design a garment intentionally cut on the bias. No wonder the wrap dress remains timeless and so aptly immortalised in the Costume Institute collection of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Can Google Glass do the same?

The Trends on Wednesday Earring you out

This hot accessory trend is a little ‘studdy’ in making a summer statement.

Since the sultry weather has made itself at home, what better way to welcome it than by packing a tropical punch with a palette of acid tones and quirky fruit motifs? Just make sure you keep it less Club Tropicana and more contemporary and bypass garish hoops for small statement stud earrings. There’s an exotic array to choose from and work so effortlessly with your hair elegantly tied back, from parrots to abstract geometric designs and from luxe gold to vibrant neons. A word in your ear: statement studs!