Monday, 31 October 2011

Back to The Forties

If you are have the slightest hint of a fashionable streak in you, then the month of September must have been highlighted on your calendar. With the most influential fashion week gracing London from 16th – 21st of the month, the style hungry were out in full-force to catch a glimpse of next season’s hottest looks. As well as London Fashion Week, another must-attend event was the Vogue Fashion’s Night Out. Globally, fashion stores opened their doors after hours to allow elated shoppers to bag a bargain with a canapé in hand, sipping a glass of bubbly, all in the name of the fashion bible.


While the catwalks showcased the key trends for SS12, the weather took a dive and saw us reaching for our chunky knits in despair to brace the chill. But we are not ready to admit the sorry summer has fizzled out just yet and while some brave punters stay defiant in their shorts and flip flops, as autumn closes in, there is a new trend on the horizon. The high street has been transformed by fashion for the forties.

World War II had just as much an effect on fashion as it did on the staple buildings of gutsy London. Britain may have been at war, suffering blitz, blackouts and shortages, but that certainly didn't mean that women neglected their appearances. With men away fighting for their country, magazines and advertising campaigns still emphasised that women should always look their best. While bricks and mortar may not have stayed strong, the women of the 40s power-dressed their way to survival and fought to retain their femininity. Although it was an era of rationing and making do, fashion presented a challenge which women rose too and made it paramount to exude glamour and style with their wardrobe picks.

The Hollywood glamour of the 40s demonstrated by film scarlet’s such as powerful Marlene Dietrich and alluring Katherine Hepburn, led the way for others to follow. Despite shortages and extreme circumstances, a woman's duty to be beautiful was considered as all part of the war effort. The 1940s saw two distinctive styles in women’s clothing; from the beginning of World War II in 1939 till the dawn of Christian Dior's revolutionary 'New Look' in 1947.


1940’s fashion was elegant, refined and authoritative, reflecting the strong sense of purpose as women rolled up their sleeves and did their part on the home front. Now in 2011, trends from this iconic era have been recreated for the high street.

The forties trend was practically reinvented by Gucci for AW11 and was a big focus on the runway, as models embraced the wearable styles. Kate Moss set the precedence when she opted to adorn Miu Miu’s orange sequin and embroidered tea dress on the front of Vogue earlier this year in August. The look is incredibly feminine and oozes style, but also fronts a bit of an edge. The mix of old Hollywood glamour coupled with wartime thriftiness, creates the perfect autumnal look.
A tailored silhouette is key; cinched in waists and pencil skirts that fall just below the knee. The midi-length skirt that made waves for the summer continues to gain momentum throughout the winter months too. Skirt suits are making a comeback also, as the tailored dress tends to take a back seat. Shoulders should be strong and structured, but more subtle and feminine than the 80s – leave the Dallas look behind for this one. Next have a great selection of skirt suits that are carefully nipped in at the waist to give that curvy silhouette.
An over-the-knee pleated skirt in soft colours of dusty pink, salmon pink, cobalt blue and warm brown is a seasonal must. They should be worn at the waist, with a skinny belt and finish just over the knee. H&M have nailed this trend and hold a variety of colours and textures. Team with a cap-sleeved blouse and a pair of heeled brogues to finish the look. 

Patterned tea dresses just over the knee in length are super sexy and incredibly wearable on a daily basis. Head down to Warehouse for some pretty dress staples. Look for square and high, straight necklines and experiment with colours such as red, blue and beige. Bold floral or sparrow patterns are bang on trend as well.
Loose blouses is another key trend for this era. New Look has got every colour and style of skirt covered with their autumn range. Collars should be traditional or rounded like Peter Pan shirts and sleeves should be puffed and cuffed. Keep your colour choices soft and muted with tones of peak, brown, burgundy and cream.
Accessorise with a faux fur stole. It adds that touch of glamour and oozes that romantic nostalgia. High street store Oasis stocks all kinds of faux fur items. Stoles work particularly well with dresses and over blouses, and with a brooch to fix each side together around your shoulders; your 1940s look is complete.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

My first press trip...

So instead of posting a boring blog about my weekend which consisted of going out getting trollied with a bunch of journos; shopping with mother who always insists on calling me 'Zozee' across the floor of Topshop and holding up a hideous blouse for inspection, and lastly getting new glasses that give me an air of intelligence; I have decided to post my review of the best hotel I have ever stayed at. It was my first ever press trip with work back in May, so that meant all expenses paid and being tiptoed around by the hotel staff on the premonition of a bad review. The hotel was the Feversham Arms in Yorkshire and has won many awards, including Hotel of the Year, a coveted 3rd Rosette putting them in the top 10% of restaurants in the UK, and four red stars.

“Rolling countryside, beautiful picture-perfect views, and crayon coloured greenery is exactly what you would expect when visiting the Yorkshire Dales for the first time and it certainly didn't disappoint. Nestled on the edge of the North Yorkshire Moors in Ryedale, lies the unspoilt market town of Helmsley. A quaint hub with a timeless appeal, home to picturesque country inns, charming restaurants and restored Victorian cafés, it ticks all the boxes for the perfect country getaway. 

 
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“After a four hour train journey and a half an hour taxi ride, where the driver informed me in his broad Yorkshire accent that 'I was a long way from the city,' my eyes mulled over the delights of The Feversham Arms Hotel & Spa. Looks can be deceiving and that was certainly the case with this hidden treasure. Originally an old coaching inn dating back to 1855, it has since been tastefully expanded, knocking together the surrounding small stone cottages to make-up the hotel grounds, only revealed when you step foot through the doors and all ringed around a courtyard with a paved garden and gleaming heated swimming pool at its centre. If you are thinking of embarking on a two-night break which promises to offer complete rest and revitalisation as well as a host of foodie treats, then this five star establishment could be just the ticket.

“Close to the National Park and the perfect haven for walkers exploring the sheep-scattered moors, the 33-room hotel strives to uphold its unpretentious and cosy feel. Decked out in tweeds and checks, mossy greens and warm russets, the wholesome décor of the hotel blends in with its scenic backdrop. With the beaches of Whitby and Scarborough a mere half an hour away by road, the hotel boasts a prime spot for neighbouring excursions.

“The Feversham not only delivers peace, comfort and first-class service, the hotel also prides itself on captivating the very best of Yorkshire’s home-grown dishes to really tantalise your taste buds.

“After sampling the spa offerings, including the outdoor heated jacuzzi, I was certainly ready to indulge. With a menu filled with delicacies such as ravioli of wild rabbit, foie gras crème brulee and roast loin of Yorkshire venison, there was plenty there to tempt. After three exceptional courses, out rolled the real jewel in the crown - the carefully sourced cheese board, showcasing local gems such as Monks Folly, Swaledale Goats and Bells Bluemin White.

“After a good night sleep you'll be ready for round two, and a full-Yorkshire breakfast is an absolute must. Opting out of the continental teaser and the healthy fish dishes including locally smoked kippers grilled with butter, my plate was made up with eggs, locally cured back bacon, Helmsley pork sausage, mushrooms, grilled tomato and eggy bread (I wasn't brave enough to sample the black pudding), all piping hot and visually pleasing.

“The food is fancy without being fussy, with head chef Simon Kelly using the prime of the local produce to create his culinary delights. The hotel relies on a nearby farming group, Taste Tradition, for all of its rare breed meat offerings, and a visit was on the itinerary for the day.

“Farming on the cusp of the North York moors for over three generations, farmer Charles Ashbridge started Taste Tradition in 2004 with the primary view to produce high quality, great tasting rare-breed meat using traditional methods. “We've found people like the story of where their meat comes from; they love the fact that it is good quality meat, hand-reared on the Yorkshire moors,” says director James Wright.


“After a country jaunt, the hotel provides the perfect pit-stop for a spot of afternoon tea. The Garden Party themed afternoon tea is part of a series of seasonally-inspired fancies matched with the finest Jing teas which can be enjoyed at your leisure by the pool (English weather permitting!). Nobody takes tea more seriously than us Brits, and the offering at The Fev really does our favourite past -time justice. Starting with a selection of sandwiches filled with scrumptious delights such as crab with crème fraiche and coriander, Yorkshire ham with apple chutney, and smoked salmon with horseradish and cucumber, the flavours complement each other beautifully. It doesn't stop with the posh sarnies though - a full three-tier cake stand is adorned with a selection of patisseries including strawberry jelly with elderflower panna cotta, and cherry mousse sponge cake, followed by scones with clotted cream and jam; guaranteed to leave you feeling utterly stuffed and satisfied!

Petit Doubles at The Feversham Arms Hotel & Spa start at £110 pppn, including breakfast and dinner. T: 01439 770 766. For more information visit www.fevershamarmshotel.com

My review is featured in the December issue of Great British Food magazine.

Monday, 10 October 2011

ONE

Me as big bird!
So after much nagging, persuading and begging (mostly from avid blogger Suzi Knight) I've decided to start my own blog. I'm not completely a virgin to this process - I started one a while ago, but since my life took a nose dive into the boring when I was unemployed and living at home (there's only so much I could write about what my mum cooked for dinner) my thoughts dried up. But now, catapulted back into normality earlier in the year, I finally got a job as a features writer on two magazines (a craft mag and a hotel mag, not exactly Vogue), moved to Essex, and started on the last runge of the career ladder. It's only been 8 months, but a lot has happened. Living in a houseshare brings it's own challenges; a definite highlight was sharing the house with a dirty Italian pervert, which was always a treat to come home to after a stressful days work. Working 9-5 at my job, where I have developed a surprising attachment to knitting, my weekends are split between seeing my parents in Bedford; especially when I'm strapped for cash, visiting my best friends in Brighton or wondering round London and pretending I live there with my friend Katie. On top of that I'm one half of a long distance relationship, with my boyfriend currently residing in Southampton three hours away, so my Sunday's are also often spent stuffed next to a heavy breather on a rail-replacement bus. I'm living the dream. So in this blog I'm gonna bang on about my day-to-day life and hopefully it'll be alrite!