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Monday, 21 July 2014

The Dolce life

Dinner in Scicli - photo by Julie Adams
I've been in Sicily for two week now and I've really come to realise where Dolce e Gabbana get all their inspiration from. Everywhere I look it looks like a Dolce add campiagn: the little winding roads, the old ladies in the small towns sitting on the streets chatting in their black dresses all look like they could be cast for a photo shoot!

Whilst you will have to wait until August for my collaboration with www.anaffairwithitaly.com for a detailed Sicily travel post, this week I was inspired by Dolce e Gabbana for a bit of a Sicily-inpsired shopping post.

I loved the Dolce e Gabbana  S/S collection with low leg cut swimsuits, short tunics and a lot of lace, much of what I packed resembeles bits and pieces from their catwalk show even some of my beach finds.

A beach find and my ASOS white lace espadrilles (£12.00)
Here is my take on how to get la Dolce life look with some fabulous investment buys and some cheap and cheerful finds too.

11) New Look black lace pointed slingback £15.99 (my sister bought these and they look amazing on!) 

Monday, 14 July 2014

Second to last: my August shopping section in RED magazine

Wearing a J.Crew sweatshirt, Carven skirt and Paul Andrew shoes
The August issue of Red is out on the newstands with the second to last edit of my Shopping section. When I was producing it I already knew it was going to be one of my last issues so I remember feeling a little bit emotional on the day of our sweatshirts shoot (above) with the rest of the team! Here's a little peek inside the issue, some video footage I recorded and some behind the scenes treats too...

For the Shops Opener I selected some fabulous printed accessories from Oasis where I often find some terrific little gems. I love a printed court and I particularly loved this 60's style print that you can wear with jeans or even clash with a stripe or another floral.

The Trend Report I compile for the section is always one of my favourite parts of the magazine. Here I report on what you should be buying in August that will see you through winter too. July is such a funny month in stores with all the sales that I thought you would need some help on what to buy from the early drops of new season stock, that you can then adapt for winter too.

For Style Essay I asked my friend Deborah Brett (who always has a tip/heads up/answer for everything) to explain how she puts together a stylish summer suitcase for her and for her three children - read her fabulous article because it's totally worth it and as fabulous as she is.

For my Weekend Style section we interviewed three fabulous women on what to pack for their chosen holiday destinations: Heidi Gosman from my beach go-to shop Heidi Klein, Chloe Londsdale from one of my fav denim brands MiH Jeans and Deborah Lloyd from Kate Spade  - they are all such inspirational women I absolutely loved nosing into their lives and holiday buys.

I loved these shoes from Gianvito Rossi
For the August issue I also did an accessories story for the main fashion section. I shot it with one of my favourite photographers, Colette de Barros who flew directly from the US especially for it. I've worked with Colette many times before and we always have a fantastic time together. To shoot this story we had to hire a big van where our model could get changed and where we could get her nails done - if you were around Piccadilly Circus you couldn't miss us!

Inside the van it's just like a mini home: I had a changing room with all the clothes carefully layed out and my tear sheets and mood boards displayed to brief the team. Here are some behind the scenes shots we took on the day...

Here we are on the street shooting the opener...

There's a lot of work going into each shot and sometimes what you see as the final result is fruit of hours of careful styling... 
The concept behind the theme of the shoot was "The Supermarket" (inspired by the A/W14 Chanel show which was all set in a fake supermarket - brilliant!). For my six page story I shot three still lives propped on fake supermarket shelves and the other three on the streets of London - every product that I selected has an ironic nod to the supermarket theme. 

The final result...

The red Aquazzura are on my A/W shopping list...
My sweatshirts shoot - again shot by Colette but this time in a studio in North London. The sweatshirt has become an absolute must have in every woman's wardrobe so with this shoot I wanted to celebrate how different women wear it in lots of winter ways - I asked the fashion team to choose a style and wear it their own way. 

Here I am with Emily, Executive Fashion and Beauty Director and Polly, Shopping Assistant chatting away on set...

I loved my hair on the shoot done by Heath Massi one of my favourite London hair stylists

 The final result. But you will have to by Red to see the whole feature!  

And finally, here's a short video I filmed for the website to help you pick your perfect sweatshirt.

I hope you enjoyed this little peek inside the issue see you next Monday and lots of love from Italy!

Monday, 7 July 2014

What I wore at the week end...

Stella McCartney dress, Boden flats, M&S sunglasses
What to wear at weddings is a source of endless debate – I recently wrote my Get The Gloss Fashion High Five article all about this subject and came to the conclusion that dressing for the brides occasion is the way forward, yet for me a dress (long or short), is the easiest options. Now I know there are chic, modern alternatives to a dress but ultimately I don’t get to wear them that much so it’s always a great excuse to go a little glam.

Picnicking Italian wedding style
My cousin was getting married in Tuscany this weekend and I saved a Stella McCartney sample sale buy for the occasion – it’s a strapless cream dress with red floral embroidery and a little sheer crop top over it, I remember seeing it on the catwalk and was chuffed when I found it at a sale price. Here are some similar, macrame or embroidered styles that will make you the perfect stylish guest. 

Monday, 30 June 2014

How to wear crochet the un-girlie way

J.Crew dress, Aquazzura shoes, Chanel bag
Crochet can some times look a little bit too girlie on me, so I always make a point of wearing it with something that "cools-it-up" a tad: I like to wear dresses a bit on the short side and pair them with a black shoe and leather accessories; I pair separates with ripped or frayed denim, a leather or denim jacket whilst piling on some jewellery to give the whole look a bit of an edge. 

Crochet tops and dresses can also easily look cheap (especially if they are), so it's really important to choose well: opt for bright whites where you can (when it's hand made it's often made of pure white cotton), choose thicker threads and natural fabrics as they look more expensive. A bit like with broderie dress your crochet items down rather than up to get that Isabel Marant (above) effortless look.

  1. ASOS Premium Crochet Sundress £75.00 I am a little bit in LOVE with this dress 
  2. Étoile Isabel Marant Caty embroidered crochet-cotton mini dress Was £350 Now £210 40% OFF
  3. Tessa Crochet Dress by Goldie £38.00
  4. Accessorize Scallop Lace Shorts £35.00
  5. Lisa Maree The Shining Light crocheted cotton-blend bikini Was £140 Now £98 30% OFF
  6.  Warehouse smock top £15.00
  7. Crochet Detail Suntop £38.00
  8. Top Shop Floral Crochet Top £28.00
Finally one last heads up: crochet is really beautiful (and precious) when it's hand made, so take advantage of the sales to invest in something that you will treasure forever. Both Net-a-porter and Matches have some a great selection in store now - just click on the links.

Friday, 27 June 2014

WIT mama Friday: Work/Life balance

On duty/Off duty look
So much has been said about trying to achieve work/life balance that I want to start by saying that I know I can't bring much more to the table but my own experience. It may be because after having children this concept becomes much more relevant in a women’s life, but with the news of me leaving Red now official, I wanted to dedicate this last WIT mama Friday to my attempt to find a balance between being a satisfied working mum and a committed mother. 

At the shows in London
Going back to work in September after one years maternity leave was, to my surprise, not a big deal for me: of course I was going to miss Greta but I kind of longed being back at my desk, I missed my fabulous job at a glossy magazine, I loved getting dressed up in the morning with a purpose and most of all, I missed grownups company!

Back at my desk and one of my first pages in Red this year
Unexpectedly, as months went by and Greta got older, this slowly but steadily changed to the point where one day I realised that seeing her one hour in the morning and little more than this in the evenings was quite simply, not enough. 

On the set of a Red shoot this year
I started WIT as a side project to my day job and for a long time this worked just fine; I could be a shopping editor during the day and a blogger at nights and weekends, guilt-free. But since going back to work full time and with a small child this has become increasingly difficult (forget trying to be a decent wife, friend and family member!). My evenings, weekends and holidays often at a laptop were not acceptable any longer and I gradually started longing for a clearer on-duty/off-duty routine.

Working on WIT at the week end
What if I could find a way to have more flexible working hours, ones that would allow me to spend more time with Greta?  Was there something I could do that would allow me to pick her up from school in the future as well as having the odd afternoon off to take her to a play date? If so, would I be prepared to give up a prestigious job and the security of a salary for it? Could starting my own business and being my own boss be the way forward? A lot of thought went into answering these questions and, with a little compromise here and there, I decided to take a leap of faith and resign from Red with the plan to  fully commit to WIT and develop a personal project that has been in the back burner for almost four years.

The Fashion Monitor announcement of me leaving Red
At this point the decision was kind of made for me: in the last five years WIT and all of you that read it have become something I really care about and the job behind it is one that I want to do really well. So WIT and my new project (yes, obviously it’s fashion!) are going to be what I do 9-5 most days, and my balance comes with knowing that my working day finishes after that. 

Leaving Hearts yesterday evening..
So after six amazing years at Red, eight busy working months and a pretty emotional day, yesterday I said goodbye to my friend and colleagues at Red and next week Greta and I are flying back to Italy to be with our family and friends for a work-free month. I will be back to regular posting in August but until then, I will update once a week. It’s time for a new chapter in my life and I (and my new business partner) simply cannot wait to tell you all about it...

My new project started here..

Thursday, 26 June 2014

Expensive V Cheap

AA T-shirt, Zara skirt, Christian Louboutin sandals, Chanel bag
I always love doing these post - what's not so good is that I always end up buying something myself (ups I might have ordered those lace espadrilles for my upcoming beach holiday). Anyway, weather you go for a cheap thrill or investment buy these seven items are all super juicy and the sort of wardrobe-booster that your upcoming holiday needs: from a boho maxi dress (to be worn with flats on a hot summer night) to a wear-forever spotty swimsuit (I went for the investment here when I went back to Italy to the Dolce outlet). Enjoy!

ALICE by Temperley Lucy Flower Shirt Dress £276.00 Was £395.00 (30% off)
Saige Cotton Dress by Little White Lies £110.00

Christophe Sauvat Taruda Bag Pom Pom Clutch £124.00 Was £178.00 (30% off)
 ASOS Aztec Clutch Bag with Pom Poms £28.00

Tory Burch Milos polka-dot underwired swimsuit £225
ASOS Cupped Spot Bandeau Swimsuit £24.00

Red Valentino Polka Dot Rose Print Gown £575.00 Was £1,150.00 (50% off)
Mango Leopard gown £99.99

Christophe Sauvat Loreley Embroidered Tunic Dress £100.00 Was £143.00 (30% off) 
 Monsoon  Mala Embellished Kaftan £39.00

Tory Burch Portofino crocheted cotton shorts £130
Top Shop Crochet Shorts £24.00 

Valentino Leather-trimmed lace espadrilles £320
ASOS JESSIE Espadrilles £12.00

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Unfussy going-out dresses that you can wear with flats too

Peter Pilotto for Target dress, Dorothy Perkins clutch, Aquazzura flats
I often don't post pics from the week end but as I was getting dressed for dinner with friends on Saturday night I started thinking about "going out dresses", you know that special little something that in your teens was probably a top? Well for me now it's a little dress, something that I can wear with flats and dress down rather than up. I took my Peter Pilotto for Target out for the first time but it did leave me with a twitch for more buys. So I went on a virtual shopping trip and here are the results: unfussy going out dreses that you can (and should) wear with flats, a clutch and minimal make up.

  1. See by Chloé Crepe-ruffled cotton dress  £ 363.00  £ 254.00 | 30% off
  2. Top Shop Mix Tile Print Tea Dress £45.00
  3. Mango Heart print dress £39.99
  4. Saige Cotton Dress by Little White Lies £110.00
  5. ALICE by Temperley Madison laser-cut crepe de chine dress £395
  6. Isabel Marant, Étoile Renee floral-print linen and silk-blend dress  £ 270.00  £ 189.00 | 30% off
  7. See by Chloé Cotton Layer Dress £146.00 Was £292.00 (50% off)
  8. J.Crew Collection ruffled broderie anglaise cotton mini dress £200