Deborah Bowness
New Ribbon
Slide 3

'FUR: AN ISSUE OF LIFE AND DEATH' EXHIBIT OPENS

Fur. The mere mention of the word makes many cringe. In western urban culture, it's a contentious topic that divides us into two groups: those who deem fur fashion READ MORE...
Slide 1

RED HOT: EXHIBIT OF GINGER MEN IS NOW A BOOK

Earlier this week, I was in the comments section of a blog I frequent, and someone had posted a photo of a shirtless, young guy with red hair sticking his tongue out cheekily READ MORE...
Slide 3

A MODERN CHRISTMAS AT THE SLEEPER HOUSE

The Sculptured House, also known as the Sleeper House since 1973 when it featured in Woody Allen's sci-fi comedy, Sleeper, is so cool it's painful. An elliptical curiosity in concrete and glass perched on Colorado's READ MORE...
Slide 1

FASHION FILMS TO FEATURE AT ASFF

The BAFTA qualifying Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) has teamed up with London College of Fashion to establish a new fashion film strand at this year’s event, showcasing READ MORE...
Slide 3

'KNITTING FOR JULIET' COMPETITION LAUNCHES IN ITALY

Knitwear designers studying in Italy are invited to enter the Knitting for Juliet competition launched by Fashion Ground Academy of Italian Design READ MORE...
Slide 3

NICHOLAS ROSE'S FULL COLOUR LIVING

It was not possible to walk past Nicholas Rose's luminous, contoured lamp shades at 100% Design the other week, I felt like a moth drawn to a flame. READ MORE...
Slide 3

#UNLOCK ART FILM SERIES ENDS ON A HUMOROUS NOTE

The film series, #UnlockArt, produced by Tate and supported by Le Meridien, concluded with the release of the last of eight films, What's So Funny?, decided by an online poll READ MORE...
Example Frame

July 04, 2014

Wimbledon Fashion A Slam On and Off the Court

Lacoste-ss14-tennis-skirtLacoste SS14 brings court style to the street; however, 0nly the trim on the sleeves would be allowed at Wimbledon. 

Wimbledon is all about tradition, from strawberries and cream with a Pimm's chaser to plain-as-possible tennis whites. While the All-England Club isn't forcing anyone to consume red fruits and heritage liqueurs, the esteemed grass court slam remains the only event on the tour to enforce a strict dress code. And until just before this year's Wimbledon, it even extended to spectators in the spectacularly priced debenture section, who were only allowed to enter if wearing a smart jacket and tie and dresses, but can now wear open-neck shirts, trainers (as long as they're not dirty),  jeans (not torn) and shorts (can't be the sporty kind and must be tailored). If you thought this subtle reform signals a more relaxed attitude toward the players' kit, you'd be wrong. In fact, even coloured trim is limited to a meagre 1cm in width, and ladies can forget about finding a loophole up their skirts in coloured knickers - Sharapova's bright orange shorts of last year are now banned - and yes, they are checking. But there's a reason for this heavy-handedness beyond the traditional notions; it keeps Wimbledon free of bold and unsightly sponsor logos - notice there aren't any brands screaming at us from around the court? There are sponsors but they're discreetly placed, and they want that reflected in the players' clothing. 

Caroline-Wozniackis-dress-for-Wimbledon-2013-Adidas-by-Stella-McCartneyLimitations brings challenges, and this can actually be a good thing for fashion as it makes the designers think more creatively. So how do you make all-white tennis outfits exciting, stylish and above all else - covetable? Well, on the women's side, you can use layering, cut-outs, and transparency as seen in the new dresses from Adidas by Stella McCartney (one of my favourites for activewear), worn by Caroline Wozniacki (right). Or you can keep it simple with flattering cuts and textured techno fabrics. There's still something for everyone. As for the men, some of the clothes typically seen are such eyesores with their clashing colours and patterns that a clean slate can come as something of a relief. Roger Federer, the men's most stylish player - Anna Wintour wouldn't be sitting with his camp at his semi-final and final matches if he wasn't - thinks the all-white rules are too strict and hopes they'll relax, but says for now that he 'respects' them. 

Tennis fashion has become so good that there's a demand for the look on the street. Activewear reflects active lives and therefore is becoming more and more a part of our every day wardrobes, with both high-end designers and the high street consistently churning out new interpretations. 

Not into wearing cute ruffle skirts and second-skin, breathable tops? You can still get the Wimbledon look at home, quite literally, with an official Wimbledon bath or beach towel from Christy Towels. And there's always the strawberries and Pimm's. 

Christy-towels-wimbledon

June 20, 2014

LC:M: Backstage at Matthew Miller with Toni & Guy

Theswellelife-matthew-miller_8 (1 of 1)-3

Yes, this is a men's fashion post. And it feels right. This season's London Collections: Men was my first ever thanks to an invitation from long-term London Fashion Week sponsor Toni & Guy to go backstage with their session team to cover the looks. My aesthetic preferences in both fashion and home decor have been shifting from the slightly fussy to pared-down and minimalist (the design of the blog is going to be overhauled to reflect this and it can't happen too soon). More gender neutral. Sometimes you need a palate cleanser and men's fashion seems to be the melon sorbet. 

I was able to attend three shows with Toni & Guy, the first being Matthew Miller, a British designer known for his structured tailoring, performance fabrics and engineered digital prints. The mainly navy pinstriped collection was inspired by WWII demobilisation suits which had a look of being taped up, sometimes with printed messages, and up close I caught some frayed edges on the lapel of an all-navy blazer which took the structured tailoring into a more casual territory suited for guys of the models' ages. Flower garlands - like memorial wreaths? - worn around the neck and wrists gave the outfits colour and organic texture. And then there was the hair which finished the look. Some of the models were cropped super short and therefore needed no styling, while others got the full seriously slick military treatment from the Toni & Guy team - headed by Chie Sato - who used their own army of tools and products to create "40's/50's military young boy with a twist".  

Want to create the look? Here how's Toni & Guy did it, using their session kit which included the label.m Diffuser, label.m Pin Tail Comb and label.m Pro-Advanced Straighteners:

1.This look works best for straight hair. Use a mix of label.m Extra Strong Gel and label.m Gel and apply product on comb and move through hair from roots to end.

2.From either the left or right side take a section of hair from the corner of the head to create a side parting. 

3. On the opposite side, depending on hair density, take a horizontal section to create an undercut look. On both sides of head comb hair until completely slicked back and then start drying the sections with a diffuser (and if possible a setting net - you can see one being used below.)

4. When dry, move to top part either combing to the side or forward and dry with a diffuser (again using net if possible). To make hair nice and flat use straighteners from corner to end of the hair to create texture and so that ends are completely straight. To finish, use label.m Hold and Gloss and blast with cold air for maximum shine.

I love the options this technique gives to a style that is short underneath and long on top; you can slick the top down on the side or wear it longer in the front depending how you're feeling that day. 

Theswellelife-matthew-miller_13 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife-Matthew-Miller Theswellelife-matthew-miller_12 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-13 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller_15 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-11 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-40 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-12 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller_5 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-15 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-41 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-16 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-36.2 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-20 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-42 (1 of 1) Theswellelife-matthew-miller-35 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-34 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-23 (1 of 1) Theswellelife-matthew-miller-38 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-14 (1 of 1)-2 Theswellelife-matthew-miller-37 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-27 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller-24 (1 of 1) Theswellelife-matthew-miller-33 (1 of 1)

Theswellelife-matthew-miller_11 (1 of 1)

TheSwelleLife_matthew-miller-flowers

March 17, 2014

Lula Magazine Goes to Japan

Lula_1

Lula is about to pretty up Japan even further this October with its unique mix of memoir, philosophy and fantasy, as interpreted by editor Kazuo Sazuki. Sazuki has launched several highly acclaimed culture and fashion magazines in Japan, including RUSSH JAPAN. His company, Selek Limited, will be publishing Lula Japan.

Brit girls love Lula - still an independently published fashion title here - and now its youthful, dreamy and bold style will be a perfect fit for the Japanese market. I can't wait to see that first issue - will Sazuki use Japanse models?

And this is a good excuse to show some covers. I noticed that the more recent looks show an adventurous hand when it comes to makeup: 

Lula_3

Lula_2 

Lula_4

 Kelly-Mittendorf-for-Lula-14-Spring-Summer-2012

March 08, 2014

Orla Kiely's First Shoe Range is for...Clarks!

Orla

Ok, so this is now last month's news because that's when it launched, but I am a fan of Orla Kiely so I wanted to talk about her shoe range with Clarks. I'm surprised this collaboration with the British heritage retailer - they've been around since 1825! - is the Irish print designer's first venture into shoes, mainly because I thought she'd have launched under her own label long ago if only to supply the shoes for her presentations at London Fashion Week. One season in the Portico Rooms at Somerset House - until three collections ago this was her LFW home which she transformed into a 1970s-tinged Orla Kiely world - I was admiring the wooden platforms on the models and then realised they were from Topshop, and thought how tough it must be to find the perfect pair to finish off her retro-inspired looks each season and complement her bags just so. 

Orla Kiely's collaboration with Clarks would have been slightly more eyebrow-raising if the modest high street retailer hadn't already done a collection with another homegrown label known for prints, hipster fave Eley Kishimoto, two brands you would never think of simultaneously, which made it kind of cool. And Clarks didn't order a watered down approach for the masses, or at least that wasn't what was delivered in the end; the electric zig-zag and cubic prints in bold colours were true to the duo's 'pay attention to me!' aesthetic of the time. 

Eley-Kishimoto-x-Clarks-belmodo.tv-10Past shocker collaboration, Clarks x Eley Kishimoto

Clarks is known as a shoe retailer of modest styling and modest pricing which has positioned itself as the trustworthy place to buy quality shoes for your kids (and have them fitted properly), and for adults to buy a nice, sensible pair, leaving a wide gap in the middle. These designer collaborations get the teens and fashion-savvies excited and in the door, or clicking. And maybe it's not so surprising to see Clarks stretching so far outside of their comfort zone with these crazy graphics and sky-high platforms; United Nude's Rem D Koolhaus co-founded the forward-thinking, edgy shoe brand with British shoemaker Galahad Clark - yes, of that Clark family. Nice to see they're not afraid to play around and have some fun. 

Here's the Orla Kiely collection for Clarks, in all its chunky-heeled, platformed, Mary-Jane and T-barred glory:

Orla-kiely-clarks

And look how she's incorporated her famous double stem print into the sole of the shoe:

Orla_stemprint

If you happen to be a Canadian fan of Orla Kiely, you're in luck - the collection launched today at Gravitypope and it appears to include everything seen here. 

February 18, 2014

TSL Features in Paper Magazine

PaperMag

To tie in with London Fashion Week, New York's Paper Magazine has run a feature called 8 British Bloggers Disrupting the Fashion World and they've included The Swelle Life in their roundup. I was thrilled to be interviewed for the piece; one of the answers published mentions a redesign - yes, the blog's six-year anniversary is approaching and I'm going to be giving TSL a new look and even a new name as soon as I can get started.  The content will remain the same but there will be more design-focused categories, and without giving too much away before launch, it will be a bit of an 'education' - yes that's a hint!

Have a look at the feature and discover some great new British-based fashion blogs! 

February 15, 2014

All Rhodes to London

Zandra-and-safia-Z-chair-900x667Zandra Rhodes with People Tree founder Safia Minney

British designer Zandra Rhodes is a favourite amongst fashionistas for her unbashed love of colour and print, prolific and enduring fashion career, and her revolutionary contribution to textile design - and you can't not love her bright pink hair! Here is a conversation journalist Millie Davies had with the fashion icon at her London home:

We meet Zandra Rhodes in her fabulous London penthouse, an oasis of colour nestled a stone’s throw from The Shard and atop of her self-founded London Fashion and Textile Museum.

More than 50 years into her illustrious career, the fuchsia-haired veteran designer Zandra Rhodes is as busy as ever. “I only flew in from California this morning”, the 73-year-old fashionista lets slip as we discuss her latest collaboration.

The acclaimed textile designer has recently partnered with ethical fashion house People Tree to launch a bespoke range, ‘Happy Woman’. With her fabulous fingers in many pies, what sparked Zandra’s interest in this particular label?

“At first I simply thought it was a great cause and that People Tree did a very good product. And then of course having gone to India with the founder of People Tree, Safia Minney, it led me along to realise what a good cause it is. And one to keep plugging away for.”

Famous in the international world of fashion, Rhodes has shown an interest in sustainable clothing before, lending her name to the Pick Your Cotton campaign. She’s also collaborated with some of the biggest names in British retail heaven, in partnerships with Marks and Spencer, Topshop and MAC.

Talk turns to Zandra’s instrumental fashion museum; it hosts workshops, archives and its very own fashion school. Its latest Artists Textiles Exhibition was opened by the acclaimed museum director Sir Nicholas Serota and the Bermondsey building offers inspiration to a new generation of fashionable types in the capital.

What’s Zandra’s view of the success of the museum? “Well I definitely think it’s had an impact on making the textiles more visible,” she candidly offers.

Zandra_Rhodes

Zandra shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Currently dividing her time between her two bases, London and San Diego, she cites travel as a way to channel her creative energy. And whilst most of the fashion elite will be flocking to London for front row seats at next week’s London Fashion Week, the iconic figure is jetting back to the States to raise awareness for a women’s cause.

“I’m doing a show called Go Red for Women and it raises awareness that, actually, women have strokes and heart attacks more than they get breast cancer.”

As an advocate of women’s issues, how does Zandra think women fare in her industry?

“I think women have a harder road all round in whatever they go into.” She reflects. “The only thing I would say is – pointing it out can cause you more trouble.”

Having exhibited hairdos in a myriad of colours, most recently a brilliant pink, Zandra insists that artistically she would never be led by a favourite colour; rather, “one designs in whatever one needs.”

With the People Tree collection sporting fun, bright, and 100% organic cotton frocks and blouses, it’s a safe bet that sombre tones never featured on the drawing board.

Popular in the UK, America and beyond, Zandra continues to make an impact on global fashion. In her impressive career, she has produced multiple clothing lines, designed exclusive jewellery ranges and somewhat uniquely designed the set and costumes for the opera.

Having risen to success in the 1960s, does Zandra have any advice for present day aspiring designers?

“Only that no hard work gets wasted. And unfortunately you have to work harder and harder to get there right at the beginning.”

Zandra – who can add an OBE to her accolades - remains as big a name in British fashion as ever. As we leave the designer’s radiant home and emerge into the darkness of London’s streets, we can’t help but carry some of her sparkle with us.

‘Happy Woman’ is the new collaboration between Zandra Rhodes and People Tree.

February 05, 2014

Fashion Film: Erdem SS14

Erdem has always been a favourite of mine for his ethereal aesthetic and seasonal (or rather season-less) reinterpretations of florals. Trevor Undi has made a film that presents an enchanted look at the designer's Spring/Summer 2014 collection, and like Erdem's clothes, it's really beautiful. 

Undi_Erdem 6

Undi_Erdem 5

Undi_Erdem 8

Undi_Erdem 1

Undi_Erdem 2

Undi_Erdem 7

Undi_Erdem 9

December 09, 2013

North East Photographer Launches The Sill Photography Competition

The Sill photography competition 2Photo © Cain Scrimgeour

As the “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” draws to a close to be replaced by the stunning sights of an English winter, North East photographer and film maker Cain Scrimgeour asks members of the public to enter a competition celebrating all things bright and beautiful about Northumberland National Park.

Cain, 23, from Whitley Bay, is supporting a photography competition in partnership with Northumberland National Park Authority and YHA (England and Wales), the organisations behind The Sill, a proposed £11.2m national landscape discovery centre in the heart of the Hadrian’s Wall World Heritage Site.

The Sill will replace the current visitor centre and YHA youth hostel at the Once Brewed site with a state-of-the-art building that is both “inspired by the landscape and of the landscape” and which, as its centrepiece, will feature a fully accessible green roof made from unique Northumbrian Whin vegetation that visitors can actually walk onto.

The Sill will inspire and transform how people understand, access and enjoy the natural and cultural landscapes of Northumberland National Park including the Hadrian’s Wall area as well as other outstanding areas in the region like the Cheviots, North Pennines and Northumberland Coast. These beautiful and dramatic areas, rugged landscapes and fantastic wildlife provide perfect scenery for budding photographers.

Cain ScrimgeourCain, who recently provided time lapse footage and wildlife imagery for Robson Green’s new ITV1 series Tales from Northumberland, hopes to inspire local people and visitors of all ages to capture the quintessential beauty of the entire Northumberland National Park area and beyond on camera. He said: “I’ve spent a lot of time photographing and filming various parts of Northumberland National Park and the wider North East region and the opportunities to capture breath-taking images are truly staggering. The Sill will introduce so many people to this rare beauty and I’m very excited to be involved with the project from the outset.

“I hope people of all ages and walks of life will get out and about with their cameras, whether they are highly technical pieces of kit or just their smart phones, and capture for themselves what the area has to offer. The colours and tones available at the end of autumn are absolutely gorgeous but it’s a really diverse landscape and genuinely looks amazing in every season; particularly the winter.

“In return for entering photos into the competition, you’ll have the chance to be part of something really special from its very beginning – the images will be used to promote The Sill far and wide and may even be incorporated into the new building somehow."

The photography competition is open to all ages and experience levels, with a category for under 18s and a category for over 18s and a winner will be chosen at the end of each season. Photographs are welcomed that capture the essence of Northumberland National Park and other special Northumbrian landscapes in relation to one of three themes; environments (including lakes and rivers, crags, hills, iron age hillforts and traditional buildings etc), flora and fauna (all forms of wildlife from cattle to forests) and activities (including everything from people working on the land, children’s bike rides to rock climbing and astrology).

Stuart Evans, The Sill Project Director, said: “The Sill will be a hub to inspire people to visit and learn about Northumberland National Park and beyond. Those who live in and work this land are well aware of the fantastic views the Northumbrian landscapes offer and we’d love more people to experience and discover this for themselves and help us share the sights with many others. 

“We’re thrilled that Cain is supporting the campaign, he has produced some awe-inspiring work in the park and will be a very welcome addition to our judging team when we make some very difficult decisions regarding our winners! We’ll be awarding some fantastic money can’t buy prizes, including a photography workshop with Cain.

The Sill photography competition 1Photo © Cain Scrimgeour

“The bank of images we generate will be used to promote The Sill and we hope that contributors will feel immense pride in helping us bring our striking landscapes to life. We’re currently trying to raise £3.7m of funding to match what we’re set to receive from the Heritage Lottery Fund to bring our ambitious plans to fruition and these photographs will certainly help to demonstrate the wealth of opportunities on offer to potential funders.”

Northumberland National Park provides an abundance of extremely photogenic subjects, from the Cheviot Hills to Steel Rigg and red grouse to salmon, but anyone hoping to capture more adventurous activities should keep checking the events page of The Sill’s website for details of other photographic opportunities.

The best entries will be uploaded to The Sill’s social media profiles so anyone interested in seeing contributions from budding photographers of the North East should search ‘The Sill’ on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter @thesillproject.

Entries can be uploaded to Facebook, Twitter or submitted by email to thesillproject@gmail.com. Images need to be at least 300 dpi and a maximum file size of 10MB.

In entering the competition, entrants agree that copyright of the images belongs to The Sill and can therefore be used by them in any way they see fit, although attempts will always be made to credit the photographer.

The competition is ongoing and a judging panel including Cain Scrimgeour will determine winners on a quarterly basis.

For more information about The Sill and the upcoming events, visit www.thesill.org.uk , find The Sill on Facebook or follow The Sill on Twitter @thesillproject

November 20, 2013

Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!

Issy_2

Starting today, Somerset House, in partnership with the Isabella Blow Foundation and Central Saint Martins, presents Isabella Blow: Fashion Galore!, a major fashion exhibition celebrating the extraordinary life and wardrobe of the late British patron of fashion and art. Tickets can be purchased from the Somerset House website.

For more about the exhibiton and Isabella Blow's fascinating life in fashion, visit Not Just a Label and Daphne Guiness' Guide to the exhibition on Vogue.co.uk. (Daphne owns her late friend Isabella Blow's entire fashion collection, purchased after her death to stop it from being sold at auction and dispersed.)

Isabella_Blow_2

Isabella_Blow

November 13, 2013

Best of British Design: Tom Vousden

Tom_Vousden_james desk and chair joint detail

The James Desk (£1500) and James Desk chair (£675) in Walnut, with tweed upholstery. Also available in oak.

The 100% Design exhibition showcased some great British design talent, and my favourite part of attending was discovering new names. Welsh designer/maker Tom Vousden caught my eye with his uniquely elegant desk and chair frames in walnut and oak, and I loved how he combined the woods with other materials. Powder coated steel made up the legs of the side table and the shutter-like panels on the sideboard, and an armchair featured hand-knitted cushions in warm tones. I really wanted to sit in it. I should have. 

A bit about Tom Vousden: After finishing a Three Dimensional Design course at Manchester Metropolitan University in 2011, he returned to North Wales to make high-end, bespoke furniture for a variety of clients. Tom uses modern technology and techniques along with hand making to create authentic furniture of quality and longevity. 

For more information about these pieces or to enquire about bespoke designs you can contact Tom through his website

Tom_Vousden_100%DesignTom Vousden at the 100% Design show

Tom_Vousden

Tang Side Table (£355) with oak top and powder coated steel legs in blue; the James Desk Chair in walnut

James desk 2
The James Desk in walnut

Tom_Vousden_KnitChair

 Lounge Chair with hand knitted cushions and hand turned oak buttons (£1550)  

Tom_Vousden_WalnutDeskWalnut Office Desk, Chair and Cabinet

TomVousden_lounge chair and table

Lounge Chair in leather (£1350) with Oak Side Table (£325)

FacebookTwitterPinterestinstagram

PORTER Magazine issue 5 now available at NET-A-PORTER.COM

Cupcake Monday!

Interiors & Exteriors

Floral Friday

London Fashion Week

Fashion Illustrator Series

Artist Series

Paris & Cities

Painted Houses Project

Colour Colour 

Colour

Pretty


  • Creative Commons License