En vogue environment

With nature and sustainability hot topics right now, I was excited to see the V&A’s new exhibition, ‘Fashioned from Nature’. The exhibition is set over two floors and take visitors on a journey through fashion’s relationship with nature.

On entry, visitors are greeted with a room filled with antique treasures. Some garments are undeniably beautiful. Others, like furs, a controversial talking point. There are some beautiful printed dresses, made from fibres such as silk and cotton. The prints are often inspired by flowers and plants. The ground floor also documents the industrial revolution, and how the mass production of clothes was both helpful in bringing reasonably priced garments to the lower classes, and also a hindrance to the environment.

Moving up a floor, the tone of the exhibition changes. This floor explores sustainably and the steps that designers and manufacturers are taking to be kind to our planet. The pieces include both vintage and current pieces. Designers such as Stella McCartney, a pioneer in sustainable fashion, and Vivienne Westwood, climate revolutionary, are prominent. I found an interesting ensemble designed by one of my favourite actors, John Malkovich. I was unaware that Mr Malkovich launched his first menswear collection in 2017 and that he favours traditional fabrics such as linen. Another favourite piece from this floor was a pair of trainers by Veja, who work directly with co-operatives to produce sustainably grown organic cotton. Finally, I enjoyed learning about new and innovative techniques such as that by company Colorifix, who are aiming to create a low-water, pollution free method of clothes dyeing.

It was so inspiring to see so many brands and designers making great progress in the way of sustainability, climate change and animal rights. The exhibition also had a little gift shop where I was very naughty and splashed out on the accompanying book, and a couple of badges. Here’s some photo from my fun and informative visit 🙂

Colorifix’s innovative dyeing processes

John Malkovich’s linen and cotton suit

Stella McCartney

Revolutionary Vivienne Westwood

‘Fashioned from Nature’ is on at the V&A museum, London, until the 27th of January 2019. Head over…you’ll love it!

Just my cup of tee

I recently had the exciting opportunity to visit the Fashion and Textile Museum‘s exhibition, ‘T-shirt: cult – culture – subversion‘. As an avid wearer of this versatile garment, I was looking forward to exploring the history behind the tee.

The Fashion and Textile Museum, founded by iconic fashion designer Zandra Rhodes, has been on my must-see list for a good while now, and I was not disappointed by my visit. The cosy and inviting building, with its bright orange exterior, is down a funky fashionable street in Bermondsey Village. The staff are friendly and helpful, and the inside of the museum has a really industrial and spacious feel.

The t-shirt exhibition was set over two floors and was categorised into area such as ‘t-shirt typologies’ and ‘ethics and ecology’. My t-shirt journey began at the very beginning, and I learned that examples of decorated T-shaped tunics excist from as early as the fifth century AD. Who knew! Also highlighted was the fact that the first promotional t-shirt was produced to advertise the Wizard of Oz film in 1939. Aside from the flurry of facts, here are my highlights from the exhibition:

Beautiful BIBA t-shirts with the iconic black and gold colour scheme

Vivienne Westwood collection, 2013

Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood’s infamous naked cowboys t-shirt, as worn by the Sex Pistols

My dream come true – a wall of band t-shirts!

Guerrilla Girls/ Barbara Kruger t-shirts – swoon!

Maria Grazia Chiuri’s Dior t-shirt, stating that “we should all be feminists”. I agree, Maria!

Now don’t mind me, I’m off to buy some vintage t-shirts 😉

No One Is Innocent

It’s officially “bedtime for democracy” (excuse the pun,) mind control is no more and the nostalgia of youth culture domination has overwhelmed the world! The Stellar Boutique loves punk and in merriment of the Met Museums up and coming punk exhibition, Punk: Chaos to Couture, we have seen the art of punk celebrated through an array of exhibitions such as Southbank’s Someday All The Adults Will Die: Punk Graphics 1971-1984 and most prominent, the University of the Arts London’s LCC campus’ accolade to the iconic punk graphics style in The Art of Punk in order to celebrate the unveiling of their significantly influential graphic design lecturer, Russell Bestley’s new book of the same title. Offering an assortment of punk designs and illustrated art from album art covers to ephemera, the reserve represents an interesting indication of, in the words of the author, “an ugly and brutal side that can’t be appropriated,” from artists like Jamie Reid and Peter Saville  expressive of bands of The Sex Pistols and The Damned. Combining this with the rebellion of anarchy we saw on the Autumn Winter catwalks from Versace’s “vunk” collection of safety pinned understatement (no sarcasm…,) it’s no wonder we have seen the likes of luxury fashion retailer Moda Operandi prospectively launch a collection deliberated by renowned designers from Balmain to Vivienne Westwood and Givenchy to Moschino paying homage to punk with exclusive pieces as a means of providing women with the opportunity to encapsulate the spirit of punk through a combination of high fashion and rebellion.

Moda Operandi, May 22 2013
Versace Autumn Winter 2013/14
Peter And The Test Tube Babies Artwork

Where did it come from? The most revolutionary event of the 1970’s was the notable youth movement that happened presently late in the decade. A state of mind, punk was built in on Kings Road by The Sex Pistols manager, Malcolm McLaren (1946-2010) and one of the most influential designers to date, Vivienne Westwood with their ability to transform youths into extremists and anarchists, just by the way in which they wore and styled their clothes. Much to the public’s dismay, the profligate identity of the Punk movement referred to that of political and sexual bad taste and down-right filth with the deployment of anything set to irritate those worth rebelling against – t-shirts were sold audaciously at Vivienne Westwood and Malcolm McLaren’s shop displaying distasteful phrases, like “Paedophilia” and “Cambridge Rapist” as well as indecent displays of exhibitionists, of which they were arrested for. We can only imagine such manifesto led to a larger number of congresses, in a time where rebellion against politics and the undertaking of “anarchy in the UK” was the way forward!

Vivienne Westwood Swastika Tee
Vivienne Westwood in the shop that she and Malcolm McLaren owned in the 1970's

Punk style created imagery of lost adolescence and the anguish and pain of losing their childhood, through destructive, asexual clothing centring on self-mutilation.  Au natural was demolished, making way shocking deployment of decorative elements and attire.  Political bad taste was addressed and teenagers ran free wearing Swastikas’ teamed with cheap taste bin bags and safety pins and filthy lavatory chains seen this season by the likes of Givenchy and Moschino. The metamorphic “Queen of Punk” became revolutionised by her creation of aggressive, pornographic looking accessories and everyday attire for hers and Malcolm McLaren’s band The Sex Pistols.  Her unconventional readiness to take risks and fascination for different cultures still assists in her ability to push the boundaries, displaying liveliness and eroticism teamed with elegance and potency in her works, encouraging wearers to be individual and non-conformist, an attitude that has been adopted by designers such as the late Alexander McQueen and Jean Paul Gaultier in more recent years. Phenomenally and most monumental, the “Pirates” collection, inspired by 17th century theatrical and historical dress of Pirates, buccaneers, dandies and highwaymen of which she explained style as “just putting things together that aren’t anything to do with fashion.”

Vivienne Westwood photo shoot
Punk fashion circa late 1970's

With fashion comes art and with art comes music. Idols of the time saw bands like The Clash and The Sex Pistols rise to fame with bassist Sid Vicious originating the most offensive and inventive punk fashions of that time – he was only in the band for the way he looked and his anarchist insurgence after all. Their 1977 hit record “God Save the Queen” was released at the same time as the Queen’s silver jubilee, with Artist Jamie Reid causing major offence after defacing the original Cecil Beaton royal portrait, and in his ransom notes styled lettering, writing “You too can be a punk.” Loves young dream, Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen became the talk, with teenagers idolising Sid’s dirty and somewhat unkempt look compared with Nancy’s “heroin-chic.”  Sadly, living fast and dying young was taken literally, with both dying under tragic circumstances – Sid’s suicide note reading “We made a death pact, and I have to accomplish my part of the deal. Please bury me next to my baby. Please bury me with my leather jacket, jeans and motorcycle boots. Goodbye. With love, Sid.”

Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen
Joey Ramone and Debbie Harry, 1977
The Damned
Siouxsie Sioux

Bringing punk back to the future, it’s all about the fabric! Think heavy duty with leather and studded embellishment spikes, dominatrix patent and bondage slashes to reveal flashes of flesh, leaving it all to the imagination. Unassuming is no longer standard with traditional tartans, oversized furs and dishevelled leopard prints. An inconspicuous fall? Chances are “pretty vacant!”

Agyness Deyn in punk editorial feature
Street style
Agyness Deyn Chinese Vogue editorial feature 2011
Street style

View The Stellar Boutique fashion collection here.

The Thrills & Frills of London Fashion Week A/W 13/14

Another inspirational season of catwalk shows has come to a close, and what a dazzling showcase of British design talent it has been!

With 56 runway shows squeezed into just 5 days, fashion royalty Tom Ford showing for the first time in London, Julien Macdonald making a return to LFW and the London debut of L’Wren Scott (complete with dinner at the Café Royale co-hosted by her boyfriend, Mick Jagger) it certainly didn’t disappoint the eager global fashion crowd with a whirlwind of excitement, celebrity and creativity.

Unable to go this year I had to make do with drooling over the weird and wonderful creations from the confines of my desk. No way near as exhilarating but certainly a lot warmer!

Of course the usual suspects were there in the prestigious front row, strategically placed to gain maximum exposure for themselves and the fashion brand on show!

Michelle Dockery, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Freida Pinto, Rita Ora and Kate Beckinsale at Burberry
Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and Sarah Ann Macklin at J. W. Anderson.
Olivia Palermo at Antonio Berardi
Juno Temple, Lana Del Rey and Alexa Chung at Mulberry
Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake at Tom Ford
Kate Bosworth at Topshop Unique

The emergence of young British ‘Model of the year’, Cara Delevingne, as “the next Kate Moss”  has created quite a buzz, consequently she could be seen on all the major runways….

Cara Delevingne backstage

But the celebrity limelight it seems was stolen by none other than Rihanna as the pop singer unveiled her first collection for British retailer River Island. The British press has reported she is being paid around $1.2 million to front the collection, not bad considering she probably didn’t design a single piece of it!!

Rihanna for River Island

But that’s enough about the glory hunting celebrities, it’s London’s designers that are the real stars of the show!

So what were the emerging trends for this winter? Monochrome had a huge presence at numerous shows, black & white was everywhere. But as an antidote to the black & white theme, colour makes an unexpected appearance with bold and bright yellow, pink, green, orange and blue popping up all over the place. Yep, no more dull winters in grey and somber shades, winter 2013 is set to be a surprisingly rainbow bright affair! But if neon winters are not your thing, never fear, a deep palette of burgundy, wine, navy and bottle green was also very popular. Other key trends include metallics, colour blocking, animal print (leopard and zebra in particular), polished tailoring, boxy jackets, cut-out detailing, shiny PVC, tribal patterns, florals and stripes.

Here are some favourite outfits from my pick of the most beautiful, creative and contemporary collections on show this year.

David Koma

Like works of sculpted art, David Koma’s stunningly constructed collection was inspired by sound, rhythm and movement.


Fun-loving chic with a touch of humour, Ashish’s collection is a visually ironic take on urban/rural work wear.

Burberry Prorsum

An absolutely gorgeous collection by Christopher Bailey at Burberry. Cute sweet-heart prints, stylish leopard print and trench coats with metallic silver, bronze and gold panelling detail, this collection is among the most wearable, chic, feminine and flirty. Love it!

Matthew Williamson

As always, a beautiful collection from Matthew Williamson, full of vibrant colour and glamour.

Sass & Bide

Stunning, elegant and contemporary, Sass & Bide worked the monochrome, metallic and cut-out trends with a vibrant splash of bright yellow throughout. Born out of an exploration into internal structures and mechanics, the collection references industrial frameworks and mechanical notions which are sensualised by contrasting elements of nature.

Mary Katrantzou

Beautiful bold graphics and creative pattern cutting, the collection focuses on architectural structure of both nature and man, mapped around the female form.


More monochrome at KTZ with some acid brights and a nod to the occult.

House of Holland

Prints don’t come more retro than these! HOH must have looked to 70s style lounge walls for these bad boy graphics!

Vivienne Westwood Red Label

All time favourite Vivienne Westwood never disappoints, cleverly constructed, edgy glamour is what she does best.


Acid brights and sharp, feminine tailoring add a new aura to powerful dressing at PPQ.

Julien Macdonald

You can always rely on Julien Macdonald for unashamed sparkle and glamour. This collection sees the use of metallics in a big way creating sexy, high octane clothes for powerful, liberated women.

Moschino Cheap and Chic

A fun and sassy collection from Moschino with monochrome, bold animal prints and bright girly pink.

And of course it just wouldn’t be fashion week without some outlandishly conceptual creations. Here’s a look at one of the more eccentric British designers, Pam Hogg, and her take on fashion for winter 2013. Clearly warmth and practicality are not high on her list of priorities! I don’t think I’ll be adding any of her range to my winter wardrobe in a hurry!

Pam Hogg

And so, 1000 air kisses and a tonne of hairspray later, life gets back to normal as the fashion pack jet off to Milan for the next round of catwalk creations and autumnal trends, Italian style.