Thursday, July 19, 2007

Fashion's Arts and Crafts Movement

Fashion has gone all arts and craftsy for summer in London stores, with embellishment and patchwork in a handmade aesthetic referencing Chloe's very popular floral beaded smock dress.
The Chloe smock shape itself has made such an impact on the London High Street stores that everywhere you go it's ruched puff sleeves and floaty wide minidresses. This looks coquettish on tall girls with legs like colts. And makes me look like a waist-less bin liner; I have done extensive research in dressing rooms trying in vain to buy one and they all go from boob to knee in a tent-like fashion, so this really is a look that must be tried on to ensure it suits you, not a trend to be slavishly followed. On tall women in boots or stacked heels, it's fabulous. On me, it's simply frumpy.
So, which labels have done arts and crafts well for summer 07/08 on the London High Street? The Bargainista's fave, Primark, a cutprice equivalent to Kiwi Glassons and Aussie Supre, has a GBP14 full length patchwork slipdress that is on-trend, covering shoestring straps, hippy chic and floor-scraping trends all in one bang.
Miu Miu have a gorgeous patchwork shoe with a platform and slingback and a block high heel just right to inject some pattern into your wardrobe for summer.
Dorothy Perkins, the chain store that helpfully does permutations of everything in different heights and lengths for petite or tall women, has a copy of the Chloe floral puff sleeve smock dress for GBP25 in white with blue and purple giant floral print.
Principles do arts and crafts in a minimalist way, oxymoronic as that sounds, in pure white with a softly pleated scoop neeck sleeveless top with plastic squares in rows around the neckline, GBP49.
Max & Co have a sequinned and beaded neckpiece hanging over a taupe linen top which can be removed for washing, and worn with other tops.
All this hippy retro vibe needs some Woodstockesque denim with a wider cut leg and high waist, such as Asos available at at GBP35. Denim shades are mid cornflower blue, no distressing or 80s acid washes here.
Jigsaw have done a cute patchwork skirt in palm-sized squares of prints and olive and red plain fabrics GBP199. Team with a plain white pretty blouse.
Reiss, always a reliable mid-market label for well-priced pieces, has a burnt orange minidress with florets of appliqued beads (GBP175) that's not as wide as a smock and has waist detail with pleat details at the waist giving it shape. Sounds ideal for me.

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