Stepping into Spring! – London to Paris

Olivia Palermo inspired look for Matthew Williamsom -

-By Olivia Palermo-   

It’s been a crazy month – I know some of you might have been surprised to see me absent for most of New York Fashion Week but this summer and fall has been a little hectic. I’ve been spending a lot of time in London lately – don’t worry, I’m still a New Yorker! – working on a few projects that you’ll be seeing and reading about soon. It also gave me the opportunity to visit friends and help them prepare for their spring 2012 shows.

When I first met Matthew Williamson a few years ago, he was the new ‘It’ designer taking Kate Moss and Sienna Miller’s boho chic look to a new level. He created the kaftan day wear post-Halston and imbued it with his modern, colorful flair. For his Spring 2012 collection, he showed me his mood board along with sketches of the collection and photos of his models. It was amazing to see the process come together and it was such an honor to have one of the looks designed after me! Matthew captured my love for glamour with practicality.

Erdem shoe, Spring 2012 -

However, as flattered as I was to see Matthew, other designers seemed to be in the midst of their blue periods. Erdem, whose designs are typically bright and colorful blossoming through a floral print, chose to focus on white with sky blue peppering outfits in his now signature florals. The shoes were also given the garden variety treatment in ankle-strap pointy-toe kitten heels. Also playing with sapphire was Emilio de la Morena whose body-skimming dresses are perfect for casual cocktails or an evening out. His blue knit dress with nude organza underneath was elegant and feminine, but not overly so. Full of movement this is one outfit I could definitely see myself wearing right off the runway. Add a pair of Charlotte Olympia heels, Valentino studded crocodile clutch and a leather jacket and you’re ready to go!

One of the UK’s new It-Brits, Jonathan Saunders presented a smattering of washed out pastels in classic silhouettes, but I loved Saunders’s ability to take a simple bell-sleeve day dress and turn it into something fabulous with a tone on tone print detail. Although Mulberry didn’t present any blue pieces, creative director Emma Hill focused on a mod, retro-feeling collection with jumpsuits, jumpers and dresses. Standouts include a printed tie-die esque, long-sleeve dress with lace trim that looks just as fitting on Twiggy or Yasmin Le Bon. Just before I was to depart, I had to stop by St. Martins Lane – one of London’s most elegant hotels – and where my friend, the designer Markus Lupfer was staying. I’ve known him for some time and what I love about him and his designs, is that he can take the simplest item like a striped top for example and use artful embellishments to make it special. For spring, he tried his hand with denim and I can not wait to sport it myself.

Giambattista Valli Spring 2012 -

Jumping onto the Eurostar an hour later from London to Paris was incredibly relaxing as it allowed me to catch up on some overdue reading. Several chapters into ‘Chanel – Her Life‘ by Justine Picardie, I was so excited to don my boucle and take my seat at the shows. From the feminine prints at Rochas to the unexpected sexiness of bra tops and pleated skirts at Nina Ricci, Paris did not disappoint, once more. The shoes, much like those in London took a whimsical approach playing with florals. Instead of putting them on a pointy-toe, kitten-heel, Giambattista Valli favored the dichotomy between light and heavy using the print on a ankle-chain link strap sandal. Also manipulating florals was Christian Dior who looked back to the house’s New Look from 1947, playing with classic silhouettes in modern materials and colors.

However, Fashion Week isn’t just about the fashion shows for me – every free second I had, I spent scouting for hidden gems in each city. Highlights were the vintage markets and thrift stores in London, and tiny pharmacies selling the best shampoo in Paris. In the next few weeks, I hope you’ll check out my guides to each of these cities should you find yourself in need of the perfect brush at 2 a.m.

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