One dress – two ladies – two very different looks.

Take one stunning Giambattista Valli dress, add two beautiful, but very different ladies into the mix. Change the shade of the dress from the palest of blues to the hottest of reds. And what you end up with is two absolutely amazing looks that couldn’t be more contrasting if you tried.

The dress is question is the glorious chiffon strapless dress by Giambattista Valli that comes complete with its own veil. I first saw the dress when it was worn by Charlotte Casiraghi for the gala ball on the evening of Prince Albert of Monaco‘s wedding to Charlene Wittstock. I was struck by the dress for many reasons. It was such a beautiful feminine design that made Charlotte seem like a fairytale princess – very ethereal and delicate. The cape added to the whimsical feel of the dress – it seemed that only one of princessy blood should be wearing that dress with that cape.

But I was also faced  with the ghosts of Princesses past. The dress had dreamy echoes of one once  worn by another Monaco Princess, Charlotte’s grandmother Grace Kelly in the film ‘TO Catch a Thief‘. This chiffon blue gown had been designed by Edith Head and this film is the one Grace Kelly had been filming when she was first introduced to Prince Rainier.

I was also reminded of another tragic Princess who had also worn a similar dress, possibly in tribute to Grace Kelly. Diana, Princess of Wales had worn another floaty blue chiffon dress in the late 1980s, and had evoked the image of Princess Grace, whose fate she was tragically to share.

I thought I knew every inch of this dress – this was a fairytale princess dress – worn by the those with a tinge of royal blood.

So imagine my surprise when I saw Sarah Jessica Parker wearing the Princess dress – in the deepest shade of red. The cool beauty of the dress had turned into a hot-blooded flesh and blood gown. No longer ethereal – the dress now looked sensual and daring. Maybe Sarah Jessica Parker is the only modern icon who could pull of this dress – two parts Gilda to one part Red Riding Hood. She looked sensational, and the dress was the perfect tribute to her location – Red Square of course.

One dress, two very different ladies, two very different colours. But the outcome is still the same – SENSATIONAL!

 

 

 

The legendary Zandra Rhodes designs a capsule collection for Simply Be!

The word legend is sometimes applied a little to easily. But in fashion terms, Zandra Rhodes is most definitely a  total legend. The flamboyant designer dressed the beautiful and famous of the 1970s and 1980s, from supermodels like Pat Cleveland, to Princess Diana, who looked beautiful in a white Zandra Rhodes gown that was later sold in the famous 1997 auction. Today, in the time of our fashion obsession with all things 1970s, she is as relevant as ever, with fashionistas falling over themselves in order to acquire pieces of vintage Zandra Rhodes. Nicole Richie is a huge fan, who is often photographed in vintage pieces, looking amazing in boho style designs that are just perfect for her. And now Zandra has added another chapter to  her amazing career by designing a special collection for Simply Be.

The Zandra Rhodes for Simply Be collection is an absolute corker. It references the beautiful prints, patterns and designs that have been the key to Zandra’s collections during her 40 year career,  but has then used these carefully in order to enhance a more curvaceous figure. The result is a capsule collection of 8 stunning pieces that have a glamorous, boho feel to them.

This Autumn/Winter collection is specifically aimed at the plus-sized girl, coming in sizes 14-32. It is ultra flattering and has something for every occasion. I love the jacket shown in the first picture which would great with jeans for a casual look,  or with smart trousers for workwear. All of these pieces would enhance your current wardrobe, and are reasonably priced, with all  pieces costing between £15-£99.

Simply Be say “…Zandra strategically employs the prints in her Simply Be designs to flatter and enhance the curvaceous figure…”

The collection is available now at wwwsimplybe.co.uk

Kate wears more of the family jewels!

Is it just me who wishes that Prince William would buy his Duchess some new jewellery? Since the engagement was announced, the Duchess of Cambridge has paraded a seeemingly endless stream of royal heirloom jewellery on her various royal engagements. From Diana’s engagement ring that adorns her finger, to the Queen’s Halo tiara borrowed for the wedding, the Maple  Leaf brooch that was a permanent fixture during the recent Royal Tour of Canada to the Chandelier earrings from the Queen’s collection that popped up in Hollywood, Kate’s jewellery has all had a ring of second-hand Rose about it.

Now it seems that William has presented Kate with the matching Sapphire earrings that compliment her engagement ring. These were originally stud in design and were much worn by Princess Diana. Now Kate has had them adapted into a delicate pair of  drop earrings and wore them on the last date of her American tour.

Now I understand that Kate has access to  one of the world’s most fabulous jewellery collections, and wants to make the most of it. Quite frankly – Who wouldn’t? I also understand that William wants to present the women he loves with some of the jewellery that once belonged to his beloved mother. I always wear my grandmother’s engagement ring, and also have much treasured pieces that belonged to my mother and late mother-in-law in my own jewellery collection. But it would be lovely to see Kate in more of her own jewellery – modern and vibrant pieces that could support the jewellery industry in the same way Kate supports British Fashion.

Kate has worn some pieces from Links of London, and also wore earrings from Robinson Pelham for her wedding, but it would be great to see Kate wearing some fun pieces from Butler and Wilson, or some pieces from the fabulous Solange Azagury Partridge. Mikey have some amazing costume pieces that could boost the High Street in the same way Kate has supported Reiss and LK Bennett.

In addition, it would be great if Kate wore some fair trade pieces that supported ethical jewellery designers like Vivien Johnston from Fifi Bijoux, or Sara Preisler, who create beautiful  pieces of jewellery using ethically sourced metals and precious stones.

The Royal jewellery collection is beautiful, but some of the pieces are a little bit dated, and that is how I feel about Diana’s sapphire earrings which she wore at the height of her Dynasty Diana period. Maybe William needs to leave a few of the family jewels for Prince Harry and then pay a trip to Tiffany’s – I’m sure Kate would appreciate  it.