'Wear Nice Clothes' is the ultimate in procrastination for our writers who prefer to write satirical fashion commentary than actually do the work for their degrees. We love vintage shops, charity shops, clothes that last forever and customisation.

Monday, 21 December 2009

Catwalk Lessons.

A Beginner's Guide to Designer Fashion.

Today's fashion focus is on Luella Bartley, a personal favourite of mine.

What makes me love her even more than her penchant for pensioner chic is that her clothes aren’t quite as catastrophically unaffordable as the rest of my catwalk love affairs. 

Bartley first tested the fashion waters in 1999, showing her first collection, ‘Daddy, I want a Pony’ in a friend’s flat (a friend who happened to be the bassist from Pulp). By the next year she was showing at London Fashion Week and since then she has single handedly epitomized playful dressing. 

Autumn/Winter '08's chosen theme? Witches. Witches in cute felt hats, pea coats with gold button and coloured tights. Dramatic on the catwalk, but simply take away the pointed hat and you’re left with a lot of extremely desirable and very wearable pieces, no Pagan undertones in sight. 

Spring/Summer '07 was a fond moment for me, a collection responsible for my obsession with alphabet letters, a crush I still harbour to this day. Her history is full of pieces that just stick in your head and stay there, encouraging you to go that little bit further when you look in the wardrobe in the morning.

And her recent collections are no different. Spring/Summer '09, for example, full of deliciously sick neon and pastel colours, frothy hair and frills like whipped cream. Her juxtaposition of OAP and VIP with short hemlines, cashmere knits, costume jewellery and netting veils was a veritable feast for the eyes and made me want to play with shapes and colours. 

Autumn/Winter '09 was the season of her 'must have' coats, the kind of coats a dinner lady in the Eighties would have worn but made from tweed or a gorgeous metallic brocade. Lots of metallics and sheer panelling, nude silk, black organza and gold tights. 

 So far, so Luella. But it was the collection’s ‘Cute Utilitarianism’ (as put by Bartley) that really gave the collection an edge; zigzags of gold zips, pockets, blacks and greys.

 It’s refreshing to see a designer designing clothes that girls actually want to wear rather than just lusting after them for the label. 

“Cute but always a little sick.” 
Well put Luella.

Written by Viki Imrie.

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