Thursday, 4 October 2012

Vintage styling this Autumn

Let's be honest - we've all got a soft spot for the vintage. You know, those gorgeous designs that manage to boast a been-with-you-for-years look combined with the latest styles and designs. It can be hard to pull off the right look without appearing as though you've missed fashion trends from the last decade, but thankfully there are various designer brands out there now to offer high-quality vintage goods that match the latest style trends!

I've always thought that the best way to wear a vintage-inspired design is to keep it pretty simple - so no complicated patterns or outlandish colours. Sometimes less is more, and when you're rocking these kind of bags a good cut plain shirt or (dare I say it at this time of year?) dress can really help you to show off without going OTT. Even a sweater can work well, especially now the weather's turning towards winter and we're all dolefully packing away our summer gear (where did the summer go, anyway?).

With regards to these brands I mentioned, I have to admit I'm currently in love with Drift's bags. These gorgeous designs combine that desirable vintage look with a sleek and uncomplicated design that spans various outfits for a brilliant accessory. Whether it's heading into the office or out for the night, I've managed to accumulate a Drift bag for every occasion - and their new range is even better as they look towards the winter too!

Their 'Silvia' is my current favourite for those quick trips - the compact size and design makes it ideal! I really like the strap too, which adds a bit of contrast to the bag to offset the brown leather. On the other hand, the delightfully named 'Mummy Brick' satchel is my ideal work bag - large enough for all the bits 'n' bobs I seem to need, and the quirky burnished buckles are the finishing touch for me!

The brilliantly named 'Mummy Brick' satchel!

The 'Silvia' cross-body bag
Becky x

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Bellissima! Why we're all crazy about Italian craftsmanship for our leather

We've all got our favourite types and brands of bag, but one thing we all agree on in the office here is our love of genuine Italian leather. There's something about the feel, the quality, even the smell of a good Italian leather bag that just stands head and shoulders above the rest! So, as an (almost) mid-week break for you, we've decided to delve into what makes these accessories so desirable...

Historically Italy has been central to the leather industry for centuries, especially around Florence and Milan, which is often dubbed the fashion capital of Italy. This reputation has been earned by the superb high quality standards of Italian artisans and craftsmen, where only full grain leathers are used. Aside from being of a naturally higher quality than the more common cuts of leather, the full grain nature minimises the effects the leather is treated to while retaining a more resilient nature and the natural patina and imperfections that characterise it as a natural product. With such a supple feel and beautiful look, Italian leather tends to keep its gorgeous nature much longer than other inferior leathers.

Italian leather is also usually hand-crafted in contrast to many other leathers around the world. This not only helps to keep the high quality and supple feel of the leather from start to finish, but is in keeping with the Italian tradition of craftsmanship which famously runs through the artisan families - who pass down these time-honoured secrets that ensure the leather is amongst the finest produced. Using vegetable tanning in many cases for a low environmental impact, Italian leather is made to a wonderful quality with a very conscientious approach.

We've also collected some of our favourite brands here in the office that really show off the superb quality of Italian leather and the superior craftsmanship that goes into every design. So, without further ado...

Nicoli 'Caffè' Italian leather shoulder bag, £160 at Pure Luxuries

The 'Caffè' shoulder bag from Nicoli's Infinity collection has just got to come close to the top of our list! Not only do Nicoli make all their bags from the finest Italian leather, but everything is done in-house in Italy a mere hour away from Venice! The supple high-quality hides are carefully treated to bring out the natural character of each piece of leather and hand-made to ensure that each bag is a unique accessory.

Tumble & Hide 'Sorrento' Italian leather bag, £135 at Pure Luxuries

Tumble & Hide are another one we simply couldn't resist mentioning! The brand offers a unique fusion between Italian craftsmanship and British design to create today's must-have accessories. All of their bags are made using old-school Italian methods including 'tumbling' to bring out the natural patina of the leather. Hand-finished in Italy and made from the finest leather naturally sourced from Santa Croce near Florence, their stylish designs are (as their motto goes): Born in Britain, Inspired by Italy.

Mywalit chocolate leather bag, £170 at Pure Luxuries

We think we've just got time to fit one more in, and since it's such a favourite of the customer support team we just had to mention it! Mywalit started out in Lucca in Tuscany, with a small shop near the Roman Amphitheatre. They've now grown to a worldwide name without compromising on their roots - all of their bags are made from Italian nappa leather with a chic and colourful approach to brighten any day! Quality and style in one effortless design - could we ask for more?

Do you have a favourite Italian bag you'd like to show off? Get in touch through the comments and let us know, we'd love to hear about it!

Monday, 20 August 2012

Colourful chic this summer!

Let's be honest - it's summer, it's actually sunny, and we all want to be out. Italian designer brand Mywalit have released a whole range of gorgeous designs that are just perfect for those hot days. By combining timeless designs with their own chic approach and a kaleidoscope of bold colours, their bags and purses cut a stylish dash that's ideal for summer. And let's not forget the esteemed high quality materials used in every Mywalit design, from nappa and suede leather to the artisan designs with extraordinary detail!

Their 'purple haze' purse just showcases what Mywalit are all about. Combining a range of features to keep everything together with a brilliant collection of colours, the purse is made from genuine nappa leather for an unbeatable supple feel and long life. It's large enough to carry if you like while still fitting in a bag, so whether you're showing it off while you walk or when you pull it out at the cashier, it's a fitting accessory for anyone this summer!

Mywalit 'purple haze' nappa leather purse, £65

If you're looking for something that little bit bigger to hold all the essentials, we're particularly impressed by their nappa leather clutch. This innovative design transforms from a clutch to a shoulder bag with amazing ease, so whether you just need a few things or have to take those extra bits and bobs with you this elegant leather clutch is the ideal accessory!

Mywalit nappa leather clutch, £140

Finally, we just couldn't sign off today without mentioning this beauty! Made from suede leather in a gorgeous collection of colours, Mywalit's shoulder bag sports a striking stripe detail to the soft purple leather body. Complete with grab handles and a fully adjustable strap, this beauty is made to be taken out in the sunshine!

Mywalit suede leather shoulder bag, £200

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Cool Britannia

We don't know about you, but here the Olympics have fired us up! Not just for a whole new exercise regime  after the New Year's resolution sort of ended months ago (ahem), but with British pride. And so what better time than to take a look at some of the designer brands we have right here in Britain that we can be proud of?

Tumble & Hide combine the best of British design with Italian artisan craftsmanship to create some truly inspiring designs. All of their bags and purses are made from naturally-sourced leather from Florence, Italy, boasting a natural patina and supple nature. Cut and sewn by hand, these are accessories for a lifetime.

Tumble & Hide 'Sorrento' leather bag, £135

Sure, Mywalit are technically an Italian brand, but we think you'll all agree that their British-themed designs have more than a little going for them! We're particularly in love with this credit card wallet of theirs right now, especially with the summer-y colours...

Mywalit Nappa leather card holder, now £20

Conkca are a brand we can really be proud of. Based in their design studio in the fashion capital of London, their designs combine a hard-wearing build with classically stylish looks that never go out of fashion! We're already looking forward to their new range, and will keep you informed as soon as we hear more!

Conkca modern leather cross-body bag, £44

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Get Yer Geek On!

Alas, winter will be soon upon us and, as the Great British weather proves annually, wrapping up warm is the only way to survive when the cold weather sets in. That means scarves, gloves, hats and woollen accessory of every other manner.

Thankfully looking warm has never looked so cool thanks to the barrage of celebs wearing winter warmers and the droves of high-end designers proudly dressing their models in every manner of fluffy and padded garment. Le ski, c’est chic- or so it seems. Take Dolce & Gabbanna for example. Their ads this time of year are so fantastically wintery, it is hard not to get excited about the premise of earmuffs and snow boots. 

D&G Advertisment

One of my favourite looks at the moment merges geek-chic with winter wonderland- or geek wonderland if you will?! Anyway, it sure is good news for all the girls out there who like to keep toasty when it is cold outside. The best news is- anything goes. That cat shaped hat with ears? Go for it! Those faux-fur leopard print arm-warmers? Wear ‘em with pride! So basically, the geekier the better.
Chanel Skiwear
Celebrities championing the look include Katy Perry with here fantastic range of odd animal woolly hats and Zooey Deschanel with her quirky earmuffs.
Katy Perry

Zooey Deschanel

If you too are dying to jump onto the geek chic bandwagon, here are my must-have items:  


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Trend Focus: Sixties Mod

One of my favourite trends for Autumn/Winter 2011 is, without doubt, the sixties mod trend seen in abundance right now. It all started when Burberry, Balenciaga, Louis Vuitton and Prada sent models down the catwalk at their AW/11 shows in buttoned swing coats, tight-fitting flares and caps. 

Louis Vuitton AW11
Christopher Bailey christened his Burberry designs as the 'Shrimpton Collection' after the sixties model and we all bulk-bought thickening mascara and falsies in preparation.

Burberry AW11
Since then the look has filtered into the hight street and has really taken off. Is there any girl who actually hasn't tried a peter pan collar yet? I love the mod look because it is effortlessly cool and chic at the same time. The fact that is also from my favourite decade of fashion is also a huge bonus. It has also had a major presence in the fashion glossies lately.

Harper's Bazaar October 2011
My favourites include the beautifully shot sixties spread in Autumn's i-D with Abbey Lee Kershaw and an amazing shoot with Alexa Chung in October's Harper's Bazaar.
i-D Fall
Model of the moment Edie Campbell has been pioneering the look for a while now and, fascinatingly, always looks like she has stepped off the set of Quadrophenia. 

Edie Campbell
The best news is there are plenty of ways you can get the look on the High Street. One of the best investments you can make for Winter is the sixties swing coat.

This stunning burgundy zipped-back design from Urban Outfitters is perfect:

Won Hundred Graze Zip Back Coat, £290, available at Urban Outfitters. 

They also do a fabulous tweed pinafore dress which is fabulous for the look:

Renewal Tweed Pinafore Dress, £48, available at Urban Outfitters.

Of course, adding sixties style accessories will give you an instant update. Leather gloves are a mod classic and these ones from Pure Luxuries are perfect:
Ashwood Ladies Wine Button Gloves, £30, available at Pure Luxuries. 

Of course no true mod would be seen without lashings of obligatory mascara.This one from Illamasqua is my favourite at the moment:

New Masquara in Raven, £15, available at Pure Luxuries. 

Maria x

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Going Loco In Milano

Dolce and Gabbana has always been synonymous with glitz, glamour and luxury. When I think of the label, I think of floor length sequinned numbers, glittery mini skirts and skyscraping heels. That is why I was more than a little surprised to see their grocery themed SS12 collection at Milan Fashion Week last week. The carnival-style show was soundtracked by Mambo Italiano and raised more than a few eyebrows in the crowd.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012
Corgette print, Dolce and Gabbana SS12

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012
Chilli print, Dolce and Gabbana SS12

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012
Aubergine print, Dolce and Gabbana SS12

Big, bold vegetable prints ran through the collection- think onions, tomatoes, chilli peppers and onions. Ingeniously, there was also the odd courgette popping up all over the place. In full Latino mood, designs included full skirted dresses, pencil skirts and off-the-shoulder peasant tops. It might all sound a bit bonkers for our British sensibilities but, as a collection, it looked modern, fresh and vibrant.

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012
Onion print, Dolce and Gabanna SS12

Dolce & Gabbana Spring 2012
Tomato print, Dolce and Gabbana SS12

I know what you are thinking. I might be fine for the jet-setting Milano señoritas to dress top-to-toe in a bright red tomato skirt suit but walk down the street like that in Rochdale and a trail of laughter will follow you round all day.

The key is to be inspired by Mr Dolce and Mr Gabbana's carnival creations but not follow the look head-to-toe. The perfect way to do this is with accessories. If you find the whole vegetable look a bit scary, fruit print is the way to go.  

These melon-print gladiator sandals from Suno are spot on:

Suno Melon Print Gladiator Sandals, £425 £210, available at Browns. 

Dolce and Gabbanas models might have had chillies and tomatoes dangling from their ears but these banana earrings from Asos do the trick just as well:

Banana earrings, £6 £4.50, available at Asos. 

Of course, if all this fruit and veg seems a bit wrong for the colder months, a quick injection of colour is nice nod to the trend without going overboard.

This zesty and cool watch from Italian brand O Clock is great:

Orange O Clock Watch, £34.95, available at Pure Luxuries.

As a big fan of American Apparels nail polishes, I also recommend this neon yellow shade for an unexpected and quirky addition to your look:
Neon Yellow Nail Polish, £9, available at American Apparel.