Wednesday, 20 January 2016

NATALIEBCOLEMAN SS16

It'll be no news to anyone who reads this blog regularly, or who has been here since the beginning, that I love the work of Irish designer, Natalie Coleman. Her work is consistently dreamy, girly and pretty yet cool, innovative and with a serious sense of humour. She is one of the few designers that never lets me down and is also one of the few designers that produces collections that I feel don't have a single dud piece among them.

Her SS16 collection is no different. There are lots of things that one would expect from a NATALIEBCOLEMAN collection - colour, floatiness, playful prints, sequins - but this time the silhouettes are a little looser and, while "Support Your Local Girl Gang" is emblazoned across one of the tops and almost all of the pieces are dresses, there is something a little tomboyish in spirit about SS16. Perhaps it is Aisling Farinella's styling for the lookbook with little to no make-up, simple, middle-parted locks, lack of accessories and sneakered feet. Either which way, Coleman's girl is still pretty and a little whimsical but she seems just a little tougher and, for lack of a better word, maybe a little more "urban"?

Expect boxy silhouettes, variations on shirts, sequins, sheer overlays, frills, pastel, navy and grey tones, and an array of textures - except all of these things are given new life and made cooler than you could ever imagine.

Cool girls with a love for Irish design, get on it.

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Aisling Farinella — Stylist
Sean Jackson — Photographer
Model—Jane from Distinct Agency
Shot on location, Dublin, Ireland


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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Rory Parnell-Mooney AW16

More and more, it is menswear that captures my attention. My greatest style icons have often been men and the preference for functionality and comfort suits my personal dress sense. Furthermore, the limitations upon menswear are both undeniably frustrating and interesting and lead to interesting results. It can seem like there is nothing that hasn't already been done in some shape or form with womenswear and it is increasingly difficult to truly surprise, titillate, shock or innovate. But the response of menswear to tradition, expectation, roles and the interplay of body and clothes, conceal and reveal, remains exciting and fresh. Even when referencing the past or notions that have long been around.

Take Rory-Parnell Mooney's AW16 collection: Dazed beautifully covered the show and how it was influenced by androgyny and Brian Molko of Placebo - utter poster boy for  pure, naturalistic, unlaboured and uncontrived androgynous dressing. They even quizzed him backstage on why Molko became his muse for this collection with the designer stating, “There’s just something about the confidence with which he wears clothes. I mean he was walking round with bright red lipstick and a cropped mohair jumper, and it was just so easy. He wasn’t contrived or pretentious, it was just how he wanted to dress. There’s something so nice about that.”

And there is something nice about that. About people wearing what they want without being made feel bad about it, about being authentic, about ignoring silly ideas of what is appropriate on one body versus another. This authenticity reads. It's apparent. It made Molko a sex symbol that baffled some and delighted others.

Playing on ideas of androgyny is nothing new in fashion. Musicians dressing androgynously is nothing new. Musicians inspiring designers is nothing new.

What is new here is the essence of Molko's attitude towards dressing. It inspires the look of the clothes, yes, and his re-appropriation of a gay slur in the song, "Nancy Boy" is directly quoted and emblazoned proudly across some of Parnell-Mooney's garments, worn almost as a badge of pride. However, it's that naturalistic way about how he dressed that stands out, that innovates here.

Questioning gender roles and expectations in dress is often loud, experimental. But, while you probably won't be seeing the average Joe popping out to the shops in Parnell-Mooney's clothes, the way they address gender is quieter, more organic. "Masculine" and "feminine" come together seamlessly. It's not overtly contrived.

And then there's the clothes themselves. Can I have everything for me, please? The palette remains in monochrome and navy tones, the silhouettes are elongated but skim over the body in baggy trousers like those my generation knew all too well and boxy, smart jackets and shirts. Practical, weighty knits and key separates are show alongside silky tops and spangles: the practical, the frivolous: the male, the female. And it all comes together as naturally as a woman's wardrobe, as a modern human's personality - it's a melting pot of ideas and influences, needs and desires, moods and moments. This man is sometimes having a bad day, tired and unwilling to dress up, heading to an airport in a luxe hoody and baggy pants or feeling on fire and confident the next, hitting the town in sequins to meet friends for after work drinks. Sometimes he's somewhere between the two. He's a complex human being.

This paves the path for the future of dressing and makes me anxiously await what Parnell-Mooney has for us next.

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What do you guys make of the collection?

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Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Penneys/Primark Launch Spring 2016

I already wrote a detailed review of the Penneys SS16 collections after I attended their press preview before Christmas but I just wanted to pop up some of the images from the lookbooks as the Spring pieces have now begun trickling into the stores...If you hadn't figured it out from the post on the press preview, I'm pretty excited for SS16 at Penneys this year and have already eyed up quite a few pieces that I want to get my hands on.

Here's some shots of the pieces so you can start making your own wishlists.

Anything, in particular, catching your eye?

P.S. How gorgeous are these images?

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(Images courtesy of Penneys)

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Tuesday, 12 January 2016

Beauty 2015 II: Best of My Beauty Discoveries

If you read my last Beauty 2015 post, you'll know that I was talking all about my favourite beauty launches throughout the year from my pick of Urban Decay's best palette to budget make-up brushes that seriously impressed. This post, however, is things that weren't new to 2015 but new to me - products I discovered and fell in love with and that I felt deserved a shout-out.

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The biggest make-up favourite has to be Missha's Magic Cushion SPF 50 (~ €27) in the shade 21. This BB cushion has become my go-to base and it makes my skin all kinds of glowy. My mother is obsessed and laments that I don't wear it all the time because it makes me look "much better" (cheers). In fact, she'd have me ordering it for her, too, if it had heavier coverage. For me, though, that's good. It doesn't look like you're wearing lots, leaves your skin feeling happy and moisturised, is SPF 50 and is pretty reasonably priced. For me, however, the best proof of how good something is/how much I like it, is if I find myself using it all. I rarely finish mascaras or foundations/BB creams before they dry up as I'm always testing things and wear make-up so little. This cushion BB has been replaced twice now and is the closest thing I've ever had to daily make-up so that says a lot. 

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The next make-up fave is a product from the Balm that I've seen hyped for so long by people I respect a lot; the Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter (€20.50). This gives you serious glow right away without looking like you've slathered it on or looking too glittery. It also comes in a super-cute vintage-inspired compact with a big mirror and there's quite a bit of product at 8.5g considering that a little goes such a long way. Best of all, it's the perfect shade for me to use on my cheekbones, the tip of my nose and cupid's bow and on my aegyo sal.

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While mentioning cheek products, I can't leave out Too Faced's Love Flush blush (€26.00) in Love Hangover. Not only is the packaging so freaking cute, the product is soft and finely milled and applies beautifully. It's a really pretty natural rosy-pink shade with little tiny flecks of glitter throughout but beware: a little really goes a long way. Apply with caution. 

Seriously, though. How cute is this? It's like a Polly Pocket.

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A firm skincare favourite this year has to be Sunday Riley's Luna Sleeping Night Oil treatment. I've been using this for months now, every second night and I have to say that it really lives up to the hype. In fact, my only complaint is that I can't use it every night (the ingredients are too active). My acne scars (which, admittedly, aren't that bad) are fading and I can barely see some at all any more, my overall skin texture is smoother and blemishes heal faster. It's seriously changed my skin and lasts for yonks which makes it, to me, worth the €105 price tag.

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Finally, a simple but effect product that I loved this year for my hair is the Naked Style Little Miracle Leave-In Conditioner. It's got argan oil and shea butter in it, smells coconutty and generally tames my hair, and flyaways, even on its most boisterous days. Plus, I've been told my hair is in remarkably good condition but several professionals and I definitely attribute it to regular use of this product.

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These are the things I'm taking into 2016 for sure. How about you guys? Any holy grail discoveries this past year?! I'd love to hear about it!

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Saturday, 9 January 2016

Cloon Keen Atelier

I know it's rather basic of me but I do love a good scented candle. And Cloon Keen Atelier make some damn good scented candles.

You can purchase the candles and the rest of their line of products in select stores and spas, Brown Thomas among them, but I highly recommend a visit to their stand-alone store in Galway if you get the opportunity. Both the shop and the products themselves are stunning with a seriously luxe vibe that makes you feel really special and fancy. 

Through a pointed arched doorway, with gold lettering above and a plaque to the left announcing the identity of the store, you step into a tiny Aladdin's cave full of scented candles and perfumes. This tiny and charming premises dates back to 1625 and is executed in monochrome tones and mirrored surfaces that compliment and respect historic features of the building like the stonework. The packaging is, likewise, pared back and chic with monochrome boxes and labels with clean typefaces on simple glass bottles and metallic jars. 

The products rest in single file, ready for sniffing, on recessed shelves with spotlights overhead. There's no fuss, no unnecessary frills and the shopping experience is breezy with no one looming over your shoulder. You're simply left to browse at ease with shop assistants awaiting at the counter behind, ready to help, should you need it. 

You can purchase candles, perfumes, body lotions and linen sprays which come in delicious, and somewhat unique, scents such as Rose Tea and Antique Library. I'm currently burning the Rose Tea and it legit smells exactly like my favourite rose tea. I've also been impressed by the burn time and the unbelievably even way these candles burn - you can't mistake the quality. 

All the products are all macerated, poured and bottled in a perfume lab in Spiddal run by the store's owner, Margaret Mangan, so an added bonus with these is that you're buying Irish and supporting a small, fantastic business. Mangan left the film industry over ten years ago to move back to Ireland and set up the business with her husband, Julian Checkley. Originally, they worked out of her parent's garage while Mangan learned and thoroughly researched the history of, and how to make and design, fragrances. With a focus on individuality and simplicity, the company prides itself on a quality and creativity that keeps customers returning to them. 

Do go in and get a whiff if you're in the vicinity, you shan't be disappointed. 

But don't blame me if your monthly candle budget gets out of hand...

...or am I the only one with one of those...?


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You can find the store at 21a High Street, Galway.

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