Thursday, 26 July 2012

Kirsty Doyle Bridal Shoot

Her ready to wear collections continue to be huge successes year after year, but now, due to popular demand, Kirsty Doyle is branching out into bespoke Bridalwear too.

This week then, I paid a visit to the first of two bridal shoots that Kirsty, her team of interns and photographer sister, Jessica, are doing to promote the new service...

With the need for a grand backdrop, the first of two locations used was the Liverpool's Walker Art Gallery, complete with its sweeping staircases, marble columns and, of course, tourists with cameras.

In the afternoon, activity moved to the beautiful former Martin's Bank building on Water Street. I might have lived here all my life, but I honestly had no idea it existed! Inside it was practically untouched; I imagine on the day it shut for business, the cashiers packed up their things and left, and that's how it is now. Despite its practical-ness, it has the obligatory pillars and some very intricate floors and ceilings, but still, you may wonder why you'd find a bride in a bank.

This wasn't any conventional wedding shoot though, as this is no conventional wedding collection. Having made her name with origami folds, striking silhouettes and innovative draping, Kirsty wasn't about to start churning out multiple meringues with bejewelled corsets... We'll leave that to Thelma. (Who I do love too by the way... just not in the same way!)

Instead, the pieces I saw were refreshingly different, and in some of them, the only real hint of 'wedding' was their white-ness. There were dramatic frills, but these were pared down with simple silk vests; sleek column skirts were teamed with sculptural tops; and structured short skirts were toughened up with black accents. 

To find out the inspiration behind the collection, I spoke to Kerry and Georgina, two of Kirsty's newly recruited interns,who have been working on the design and manufacture of the pieces. They said that initally they researched both iconic dresses and iconic women, think Grace Kelly or Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffanys, then looked at the silhouettes and tried to turn these into wearable wedding pieces.   

Breaking the tradition of hats being only reserved for guests, Kirsty teamed her designs with headgear from milliner Laura Apsit Livens, who had created some pieces specially for the shoot. Included in the selection were creations with flowers, feathers and shapes that echoed those of the dresses, as well as others made of plastic. Check back on Parade for more on Laura soon...

Zoe and Charlotte too have been interning, but they've been working in PR and Marketing. They told me the interest surrounding this shoot and Kirsty's new service in general has been huge; local press and websites are calling for interviews and Bay TV came to the shoot to film a sneak preview video which you can see here.

And its no surprise really, this is a capsule collection of pieces for an avant-garde bride who dares to be different, and Kirsty promises that they can change colours, details etc. on these to meet their exact specifications or alternatively work with her to create a completely unique design if that's what they fancy. What more could a modern day bride want?

For more information on her Bespoke Bridal Service contact Kirsty Doyle.  
Also see Kirsty's blog for pics and more on the shoot .

P.s. I shall let you know when the final images are released!

Monday, 16 July 2012

New on Shourouk

I'm supposed to be looking for 'sensible', 'practical' and 'flat' shoes at the minute, to wear for popping around London in September. I'm not enjoying this process, as I don't enjoy shoes that fit into any of those categories - you know how it is! As my search is going on, I'm beginning to see that the only way round this shoe dilemma is to go leopard, or gold, or better still, sparkly.

But I seem to be getting distracted by other, far more exciting sparkly things... Things that go by the name of Shourouk, and are the latest arrivals to

Since starting up her own label, Shourouk Rhaiem's designs have become must haves for the likes of Anna Dello Russo and Lady Gaga for their slightly OTT fabulousness and having worked for Galliano and Cavalli, their influences are clear to see. The jewels are dramatic, ornate and very sparkly, but that said, combined with the rope of casual friendship bracelets and chunky metal chains, they seem effortlessly cool and easy to wear.

Shourouk Baraka Atila Green Bracelet £140

Though striking alone, the bracelets have that much more impact when worn stacked up like ADR herself, go wild and mix and match colours and styles.

However as a dedicated big necklace lover, its inevitable I'm going to love Shourouk's other offerings too in the form of amazing statement necklaces. I imagine if you wore one of these in a palace, you'd fight with the chandeliers for attention, and probably win.

Shourouk Apolinia Necklace £525
Shourouk Venus Necklace £365

Surely nothing can be beat these in the sparkle stakes, not even my sparkly-practical-shoes-to-be.

All items available from

Friday, 6 July 2012

Christian Louboutin Exhibition @ Design Museum

With a 5am get-up for the cause, and despite a fire on the Jubilee line (plus the resulting hour long Southbank trek), finally, this week, I made it to the Design Museum in London. 

It was a red soled pilgrimage in the name of #LoubiLove (I have killed that hashtag in the last couple of days), and Christian Louboutin's 20 year retrospective certainly didn't disappoint.

The excitement began with the installation outside, which naturally I had to be snapped standing in front of.

It then continued when you got in and scaled the staircase, shoes hanging in hoops all the way to the top... Eep!

Anyone who knows me well would know that I always had a bit of a thing for carousels when I was younger, and in all honesty, I still do now... Imagine my delight then, when, on entry, I found myself greeted by a revolving carousel complete with pairs of Loubis on cushioned swings!

Others were standing on gold sole-shaped plinths, in sparkly cabinet-y things and some were around a central island, at the end of which was a fabulous sparkly hologram of Dita Von Teese and some equally sparkly shoes, obviously.  

Anecdotes were dotted around the walls and dinky plaques named and dated the styles, some of which went right back, back to a time before I even knew what a red sole meant.

I wondered if you'd be able to touch the shoes, but a reliable fashion source informed me prior to departure that such a crime would mean being arrested by the 'Loubi Police'. In my mind that didn't sound all that bad, except she then said they weren't hot French men in spiked loubis...

And she was right, they were small English men in black polo shirts, their backs branded with 'design museum' and no, they weren't all flashing red soles as they walked - Shame!

Nevertheless, it made it all that much more exciting, those perfect beauties untouched by mucky paws, and yes, I did press my face up against the glass like an excitable kid. It was all the little details that made the viewing experience more pleasurable I think; a mirror behind each pair to see the sole or a golden shell with a lightbulb to make the strass crystals sparkle; the aforementioned central island/seating area combo in the ubiquitous sole shape; the fact everywhere was just red and/or sparkly.
The curtained-off 'Fetish Room' contained the shoes Louboutin created for a photoshoot with David Lynch, and the accompanying photos. Though they obviously weren't designed to be worn day to day, these scary, slightly perverse and almost disturbing Loubis were still jaw-droppingly beautiful. The man is a genius.  
Then there was Christian's atelier - a fantastical creative mess of a room, the walls covered in images depicting the space that he (and at some point, I) works in, and a central perspex box filled with shoes boxes, sketches, coffee cups, pens, leather, books and pictures. I could have stayed there for hours, examining coffee stains on paper and admiring some very shiny mens Loubis, if it weren't for the jolly music I could hear in the next room...
The jolly music was in fact a film or three, created by Louboutin, documenting his life story, and showing his general penchant for all things a bit crazy. It was amusing, glamorous and a bit cute, plus Mr Loubi shows us that "he's a good little mover".
Those were the words of accompanying friend who I'd dragged along for the London roadtrip, a friend who didn't understand the fuss I'd made and continue to make, over my shoes (Yes, we are still friends, promise!). But even she, by the end of this indulgent 2 hours, had conceded that it was better than she'd expected and could almost understand what the fuss was about. - See, it was that good!
I think I'd scared her by saying it was small, ie. there would be a few pairs of shoes and I'd just oo and ahh. It was quite small I suppose, but as they say, big things come in small packages, and I did coo over the shoes like they were newborn babies... But so did she, especially over anything lacy and crystal encrusted.
So Mr Louboutin, if your aim was to amaze, provide a little bit of indulgence and allow #LoubiLovers to reminisce, you've certainly succeeded. But if it was also to spread the #LoubiLove and convert non-believers into #LoubiLovers, I think that might have happened too...

P.S. Apologies for the length of this post, think back to the Birthday Loubi Post, that was an essay too - can't think why I just have SO much to say on the matter of Louboutins...

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Outfit Post: Great minds think alike

Just when you (and I) thought that coursework deadlines, exams and a fashion show had killed both me and Parade off, we're back!

Organising prom has also been a cause of distraction from here so it seems fitting to theme an outfit post around that.

Having bought my dress at the end of last year, that was the least of my worries in the run up to the event. Instead I found myself to be more concerned by ivy and fairylights and roses and candlesticks. This all led to a rather uncharacteristically disorganised dash around town the day before, yes the day before, to locate a belt and jewellery.

Somehow I finished up with a bit of a deco/grecian fusion going on...


Dress - Phase Eight
Necklace - EB Erickson Beamon
Belt - Zara
Bag - Vintage
Shoes - Christian Louboutin

It seems though that plunging black dresses and gold accessories are a bit of a trend this week.

Sharon Stone was spotted arriving at Christian Dior HQ in Paris on Monday for Paris Couture Week, wearing an outfit that, dare I say, was similar to mine. At first glance even more so, until I scrolled down and saw her dress wasn't full length, plus I didn't wear sunnies or red lippy, which I must admit look amazing on her. (I did have red nails, but no lippy as I didn't want to look like I was trying to match my soles, if you catch my drift?)

I'd love to say she copied off me, but in reality I can't claim to be friends with Ms. Stone, so it looks like it'll just have to be a stylish coincidence... Shame!

P.S. There should be pictures of the aforementioned fashion show floating about somewhere; when I track them down, I'll pop them on here.