There’s no denying the influence of fairytale icons in our sartorial choices. But while we appreciate the more obvious Disney t-shirts, we generally prefer a more subtle approach.
Which is why the latest jewellery craze to take over Instagram is right up our street. You could say it’s more or less inspired by the Little Mermaid, as it involves shell-shaped jewellery. The likes of Pandora Sykes, Monikh and Dutch blogger Lizzy Vdligt have been draping themselves in shells, adorned with gold for that extra luxe factor.
Niche jewellery brands like Dutch shop Anna + Nina, French designer Elise Tsikis and German brand Wald have hit that sweet spot between vintage and contemporary, providing us with the perfect holiday-worthy pieces to elevate even the most basic of outfits, like a white t-shirt and cropped jeans. They’re also the perfect finishing touch to a pastel trouser suit or floral dress for a wedding.
Shop my edit of the best Ariel-worthy shell jewellery pieces below.
Following on from a damning PETA exposé on the abusive practices in mohair production, which led the likes of Topshop and Zara to boycott it, ASOS has gone one step further.
Not only is the e-tailer dropping all mohair products from its site, but it has vowed to also stop selling cashmere, silk, down or feathers by January 2019.
The move was applauded by PETA, with director of corporate projects Yvonne Taylor stating, ‘People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) applauds Asos for leading the charge for compassion in fashion. In response to PETA’s campaigns, consumers are changing the face of the industry by demanding that designers and retailers ditch animal-derived materials in favour of cruelty-free alternatives that look great without causing suffering.’
While many are now aware of the cruel practices used to obtain mohair (shearers leaving goats cut up and bleeding in their rush to get their wool), and brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein and Gucci have now banned fur, there still isn’t much awareness of practices used to obtain silk, cashmere and other luxe materials.
For example, according to PETA, 6,600 silkworms are killed (some boiled or gassed alive) to obtain one kilogram of silk, and cashmere goats, who are kept in China and Mongolia, where winters are bitterly cold, are often shorn in midwinter to keep up with demand, leading to deaths by exposure.
PETA also explains that most downs are obtained as a by-product to the meat and foie gras industries, which don’t always treat animals well.
Hint: you don’t design it yourself. (Because who needs that kind of pressure?) Step inside the stylish nuptials of hot London fashion designer Alice Archer and steal a few tips for yourself…
When it comes to wedding style and you’re a young designer building a reputation for designing pieces that make perfect wedding dresses you’d have thought wearing your own design would be a no-brainer for your trip up the aisle.
London-based Alice Archer is an embroidery specialist, who worked for designer Dries van Noten in Antwerp. She also – fabulously – worked for artist Tracy Emin, producing the embroidery for Emin’s artworks. Archer graduated from RCA in 2013, having studied fine art at Goldsmiths and Central St Martin’s. She began designing her collection in 2014, and now has fans including Pippa Middleton, Camilla Rutherford, P Diddy, Ellie Goulding, Susie Bubble and Pandora Sykes. Her labour-intensive designs are exquisitely made in Como, Italy, and are a combination of print and specialist embroidery techniques.
Alice Archer AW18 photo by James Mason/WWD/REX/Shutterstock
Her wedding style perfect pieces are often chosen by other brides: “Some of my clients have bought my pieces to get married in but they weren’t conventional ‘wedding dresses’, she tells us. “Even before starting my own label, I embroidered dresses for two of my best friends’ weddings.”
Alice Archer AW18, photo by James Mason/WWD/REX/Shutterstock
Now Archer is building on her rep, with the launch of a dedicated bridal collection (hitting Browns Bride in October): “It will be a small collection of embroidered pieces, including dresses and a trouser suit. Each piece is embroidered with flowers that symbolise love, loyalty and hope,” she says.
But for her wedding to Henry, a UX (user experience) designer, she went for something completely different. Here are all the stunning steal-them-now details from her bridal look…
The location: St-Martin-in-the-Fields, London – with a reception in the Crypt afterwards.
The proposal: “One evening last August, Henry texted me to ask me to come home early from the studio. When I arrived back at our flat there were candles everywhere and he had cooked a delicious three course meal, including an incredible chocolate cake. I am a chocoholic so this was perfect!”
The dress: “Our wedding was quite soon after finishing a collection, so I didn’t have much time. I went to Browns Bride to look at potential dresses and completely fell in love with a Viktor & Rolf dress, and then I couldn’t get it out of my head and couldn’t imagine anything else…”
The look: Duchesse satin on top, with a tulle skirt featuring 3D organza flowers on the skirt, from the Viktor & Rolf bridal collection. “The top was almost like a sporty polo shirt – very structured, while the skirt was romantic and ethereal. I chose it because it made me feel strong and it was unusual – romantic, innocent and modern,” says Alice.
The shoes: Gucci blue satin round-toed mules with crystal bows for the ceremony, and flat white jewelled Manolo Blahniks for the reception. “I’ve always loved shoes, and your wedding is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to buy a fantasy pair! I’m always browsing online. When I saw these Gucci mules, I thought they were fun, bold and beautiful. But I couldn’t resist the chance to wear another pair, too – Manolo makes surprisingly comfortable, elegant pumps.”
The rings: “Henry went to Hatton Garden before cooking the engagement dinner and chose my engagement ring instinctively. It has a deep blue sapphire in the centre and diamonds on either side. He loves sapphires, his mum has one in her engagement ring and they represent September, his birth month.” The couple bought their wedding bands from a hand-crafted jewellery shop called Ruberg in Islington’s Camden Passage.
Hair and makeup: “My hair stylist Carolina Crona did a beautiful chignon, which we practiced about a month before the wedding. Ariel Yeh, who does the make up for my Fashion Week presentations, did my makeup. She’s amazing at glowing skin and ‘natural’ beauty looks.”
Wedding vibe summed up in a sentence: “An explosion of happiness and love!”
Congrats, Alice and Henry….now we’ve got some wedding style inspiration, can we borrow those Gucci mules please?
First off, the Duchess of Sussex broke the style rules a little bit with a chic pale pink Carolina Herrera dress, while everyone else wore blue. This is apparently slightly against Royal protocol as it’s a little revealing around the shoulders, though we like the fact that it echoes the neckline of her wedding dress.
Now, some eagle eyed observers have pointed out that the design was actually very similar to a dress worn by Diana in 1987 in Germany.
The late Princess wore a powder pink ballgown by Catherine Walker to visit the Berlin Opera House. Although Meghan’s dress was less extravagant, both dresses are the same shade and feature a very similar neckline, as well as buttons down the bodice.
Given that Meghan’s Herrera dress was custom made, we’d like to think she drew on this look for inspiration, which wouldn’t be the first time, as she wore Diana’s ring on her wedding day.
If you’ve been saving up for a dream designer handbag, you might want to scrap this one from your wishlist. The Hermes Birkin bag has long been a favourite of the rich fashion pack with a notoriously long wait list. It just made its case as the best designer investment piece ever as a rare version just broke a European record at auction, landing a very happy seller a cushy sum.
The bag in question is a ten year old Himalaya Niloticus Birkin bag crafted from Nile crocodile skin, which comes with 18-carat white gold hardware and more than 200 diamonds to boot. It was expected to go for a casual £100-150k at a London auction yesterday, but blew past expectations with a final closing price of £162,500.
This Birkin is now officially the most expensive handbag ever sold at a European auction and the second-most expensive handbag ever. The top honour goes to another Birkin bag in a similar style which went for £253,700 in Hong Kong last year.
Christie’s said the Himalaya Niloticus Birkin 30 was the ‘undisputed most valuable bag in the world’, due to the fact that they’re incredible difficult to craft. Named the Himalaya after the snowy white shade of the bag, albino crocodiles are very difficult to come by and the skill required to dye crocodile hide to such a degree is astronomical.
Unsurprisingly, Hermes only make a couple of them a year.
It won’t come as a shock that a number of A-listers love the bag, with the likes of Celine Dion and Kim Kardashian touting the wearable savings account around (you can see Kim with hers below).
David Beckham actually bought a similar Himalaya Birkin for a reported £80,000, a tidy gift for his wife Victoria Beckham.
At the same auction, a blue Birkin bag from 2006 also went for £100,000. Forget buying a house, it sounds like a Birkin’s a safer investment.
The chic summer dress with plunging neckline taps neatly into the polka dot trend seen on the catwalk, and can be worn on its own with some sandals, or over a black t-shirt and accessorised with trainers for a more street style vibe.
Even celebrities love it, with Kate Wright wearing it to her birthday party earlier this year.
If you feel like you’ve missed out, you can head to eBay to buy yours, though you might need to save up a bit first. While some listings start at the retail prices, others are listed for as much as £300, which let’s be honest, is not ok.
Here’s hoping for another re-stock from Topshop, eh? In the meantime, here’s a very similar one you can by now, which won’t break the bank.
She turned up to support Prince William at the charity game, accompanied by Prince George and Princess Charlotte.
Kate seemed to have a great time as she ran around with the kids, looking fab in the striped number, which she teamed with her trademark wedges (the Queen wasn’t there, so no style rules were broken, don’t you worry).
Unsurprisingly, the £39.99 dress has already sold out, however it looks like they are expecting more stock in certain sizes as you can create an alert for them.
You might just have better luck in store though, so do pop in if you don’t fancy your chances online.