Fashion-mommy was lucky enough to be invited to the preview of the new spring/summer 2011 seasons at a special fashion show held by Selfridges/Vogue on Thursday night. The show took place in the Birmingham branch of Selfridges for a specially invited VIP audience, who were first treated to an acoustic set from up and coming singer Tom Wardle, along with champagne and canapes, and then to an amazing array of fashion looks that would suit all occasions.
The presenter of the show was Vogue’s executive fashion editor, the beautiful Calgary Avansino, who look amazing in a sequined gold dress from Phillip Lim, She was the perfect presenter for the event, offering advice on styling, accessorising and colour combinations.
Calgary got the evening off to a fine start by introducing one of the main trends of the new season – BRIGHTS! This season Dayglo colours, colour clashing mixtures of blues and oranges are all on the style agenda, but with an elegant ladylike feel, rather than being an extension of the urban/new rave trends we have seen in the past. A beautiful Victoria Beckham purple dress was used to highlight this trend. A stunningly simple dress, this has the look of knotting silk fabric to make a dress – it shouldn’t work – but actually looks amazing. I love that this was worn with hot pink accessories, showing that brights can be clashed and look fabulous.
Calgary also showed that head to toe brights in the same shade is no longer a fashion no-no when she introduced a stunning Roland Mouret orange dress, that was worn with Michael Kors shoes and a Mulberry bag (YES PLEASE!), of the same shade. This showed that matching your shoes to your bag is now perfectly OK. The look was very reminiscent of early 1960s Jackie Kennedy, and also bought to mind Victoria Beckham herself, who once wore a pink Roland Mouret dress, with a pink Birkin and pink shoes. Then the look was frowned upon, you get the feeling that now it would be applauded.
The next big trend that Calgary introduced was florals. There were mixed florals on display, from Stella McCartney, Milly and Jonathan Saunders. The Milly dress had the feel of a real desperate housewife, very 1950s, like something Julianne Moore might’ve worn in ‘Far from Heaven’, it was teamed with another statement bag, this time from Chloe. The Jonathan Saunders dress was totally different, almost like a subversion of the feminine, romantic look that floral evokes. This was a bodycon style dress, very sexy, with florals that seemed to be seen through a stained glass window. This was a strong, sexy look.
Gathering was the third trend on display. But Calgary explained that you need to move away from the flowing/boho styles that this trend has meant in the past. This look is now far more streamlined and formal. The Alexander Wang dress showed this, it was a very modern design, with a 1970s Studio 54 look, whilst the beautiful blue Paul Smith dress was correctly accessorised with flat sandals. It was the perfect look for a beautiful warm summer evening, maybe attending a barbecue or taking a moonlit walk along the sea front.
Probably the most show stopping dress on display was a beautiful one sleeved, blue lace dress from Stella McCartney. This was a real statement piece, and seem to elicit the most gasps from a clearly impressed audience. This is a dress that has already seen some red carpet action, with hot actress Emma Stone, and Dior supermodel Karlie Kloss but wearing the look.
Other looks on display included an update on sportswear from Philip Lim, which showed the Glee look adapted by the use of silks and luxurious fabrics. More my cup of tea was the amazing Anglomania dress from Vivienne Westwood. This seemed like a progression from the pirate look which used cotton, canvas and knotted fabrics in the early 1980s. Now the emphasis was on the body, with knots and draping all on display, along with acres of perfect back!. These looks seemed to be perfect for curvy figures, which is probably why they are adored by Leona Lewis, Helena Bonham Carter and Beyonce.
Calgary turned the talk back to the nude trend. This has been a big style story for a few seasons now and shows no signs of going away. A stunning Malene Birger animal print dress was soft and floaty, evoking images of the heyday of Ossie Clark and Celia Birtwell. This was worn with bare, pale legs, showing that nude shades can look ethereal on pale skin, and are not just for the heavily tanned amongst us. The Alexander McQueen dress showed that the label is in safe hands with Sarah Burton, with draping and elegance the name of the game. Teamed with a MIU MIU clutch and Kurt Geiger shoes, this was a perfectly functional, but oh so elegant, daytime look.
The show ended the way it had begun, with Victoria Beckham. The perfect, pretty little dresses that ended the show were in her favourite, trademark, tulip shape. They also feature those long back zips that are becoming an instantly recognisable feature of a Beckham dress. The first dress was a blush coloured terracotta shade, whilst the second was white, and looked crisp and structured.
The show was a wonderful showcase for the new season at Selfridges. Calgary was knowledgable as only a Vogue Fashion Editor could be, and was around after the show to answer questions on body shape, make up trends and the best spring hairstyles. The store remained open for those who wished to browse further around the new collections, whilst those leaving had a goodie bag of champers and chocs to take with them.
All the clothes/shoes are available at branches of Selfridges Nationwide and online at www.selfridges.com (follow the link in my blogroll.)
Special thanks to Helen and Caitlin of SKV Communications for the before show chat.