Colour Feature: Orange*

Orange is the first colour I ever remember someone disliking. I was seven or eight, not yet into black, and I was surprised to hear my mother say she found orange-coloured things repulsive. I hadn’t imagined people could dislike colours. I mean, sure, it made a kind of sense: I certainly knew which foods I disliked, for example; it just hadn’t occurred to me that colours were up for discussion. I knew I liked tigers, and that they were mostly orange. It was an earthquake of a moment.

Balenciaga S/S ’12

My mother, like all mothers, was half-right. Orange mixes its messages. It’s both warning and invitation. It has connotations of illness, of plague, of those glistening little rainforest dart frogs that exude poisonous syrups – and yet think of apricots, the nudity of peaches, the juice of tangerines and of, well, oranges. It’s sweet, is what I’m getting at, with all the sin and danger that word implies.

NORDSTROM Herschel Supply Co. ‘Walton’ Duffel

But we’re talking blaze orange here. Saturated safety orange. The colour of road cones and the Plymouth Barracuda. The colour of easyJet aeroplanes and the mobile phone company. That bright, toxic, new-basketball orange. The shade of deer-can’t-see-it orange you’d find in a hunting store. It’s the colour of autumn, of change – halfway between the self-sure reds and yellows of this world, it’s the colour of construction, of caution on building sites. Primordial, volcanic. Of something not yet fully made-up. A Halloween melding of this world and the other.

ASOS Denim & Supply Ralph Waxed Jacket

It’s a colour that’s been creeping up slowly. Oriental. Creeping onto shoes and bags, Sartorialist posts, the floor of Prada’s Men’s Fall/Winter 2012. It demands attention and works well with black, white, or dark brown. With leather. With wool. It’s one of the few colours – purple’s another – that asks something of the wearer. It confers a kind of power, a double-edged radiance you would do well to respect, and, like Alice Walker says of purple, I think it pisses God off if you walk by it and don’t notice.

From The Sartorialist

Prada F/W ’12

Do not wear more than one orange item. That one thing should be protective or functional rather than decorative, i.e., a coat, a hat, a tie, or shoes/boots. Don’t wear it with green. Don’t wear bow-ties. Don’t live alone.

Brioni F/W ’12

*This article was written by my friend and colleague Sam Eckett, press release editor and writer with a unique sense of style and a passion for all things beautiful.

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Cold Summer Outfit

Believe it or not, being Italian, one of the reasons why I decided to move to the UK was the climate. I never really liked excessively hot weather and where I’m from, that’s what you get from mid-June to early August. I always loved the British summer, with a gentle breeze, a shy sun and the occasional need of a light cardigan.

All this was true until last year. This year, things have changed. We saw one week of scorching heat at the end of May and then back to 10°C, rain and gusts of ice-cold wind. Which means that the sunglasses in my handbag looking at me with hopeful little eyes are completely redundant, just like all my sandals, floaty dresses and summery hats in my room.

To try to raise the morale in my wardrobe, I decided to keep warm while wearing summery colours. So here’s what I put together.

Dust pink silk shirt and cashmere and lace cropped jumper from Italy, pink gold necklace and pendants from Braï Jewellery, leather-look leggings from ebay, pastel-green Superga plimsolls, beige trench coat from Banana Republic and Classic Q Hillier Hobo bag Marc by Marc Jacobs in black with golden hardware.

Two Manuelas Are Better than One

I recently discovered the designer Manuela Dack. I thought “with such a name, she can only be a winner”. Well, I was right (I don’t know if it’s down to the name, though).

Manuela Dack S/S '12

Manuela graduated from Middlesex University in 2010 and since then she has been a very prolific designer. Her first collection, Autumn/Winter ’11, was discovered at the London Concept store Machine-A and stocked at The Shop at Bluebird on King’s Road. Since then, Manuela received plenty of attention from the press and media, including Elle Japan, Grazia Magazine, Style.it, SHOWStudio, Vogue Italia, Style Bubble, W Magazine and recently The Independent and Fashion Editor at Large (Grazia’s fashion editor Melanie Rickey’s blog). And it’s easy to see why. This hot new talent’s signature elements are silk and leather layering, embellishment and texture. Her elegant style is clean despite including several intricate craft detailing, such as dreamlike hand-dyeing, embroidery and beaded fringing.

Manuela Dack S/S '12

Her Spring/Summer ’12 collection is astounding: cascading silk layers ripple ethereally like in her second film collaboration, a short video which was directed by artist Max Langlands and that focuses on the sculptural and shape aspects of clothing. British-made, delicate lace and digitally printed leather (cowhide is printed to look like stingray to keep things ethical) are juxtaposed in a natural and breezy colour palette to create a minimalistic and sophisticated collection.

The inspiration for this collection came from the designer’s childhood on the Caribbean Island of Grand Cayman. The sea, colours and textures of the Caribbean, along with the island’s traditional craft techniques, play a very strong role in influencing this collection. And the perfectionist obsession of the attention to detail, which sees beading and hand-dyeing all done in-house, the label’s production kept within the UK and the inclusion of British craft work, can only guarantee wonderfully high-quality product standards, which puts this young newcomer to the same level of high-end designers.

Manuela Dack S/S '12

Her Autumn/Winter ’12 sees the return of her inspiring outerwear, which features a powerful feminine silhouette with a focus on detail. This latest collection was inspired by a collection of carved and inlaid wooden boxes owned by the designer, which transpired in the design through cut-away leather and with an angular uniform silhouette in contrast to spring/summer’s relaxed vibe.

Manuela Dack A/W '12

Manuela won London and Paris Fashion Week Sponsorship for Autumn/ Winter 2012 from Vauxhall Fashion Scout and the Center of Fashion Enterprise and her new pieces from the S/S ’12 collection are being stocked by The Shop at Bluebird, where they seemed only too happy to take her design on board for a second time.

Manuela Dack A/W '12

Manuela Dack A/W '12

A Quick Look into the Italian Fashion Scene

I’ve recently got back from Genoa, Italy, where I went to visit my family. That little trip inspired me in putting together a super brief list of my very favourite designers who are either up-and-coming or established but still fairly obscure to the British audience.

PENNYBLACK is produced and distributed by Manifatture del Nord, one of the companies which belong to the Max Mara Fashion Group. Born in 1978, PENNYBLACK is characterised by a sophisticated yet easy-to-wear style. They utilise high-quality materials and pay great attention to detail, and their international team of innovative designers constantly create fresh looks which quickly become modern classics.

PENNYBLACK

PENNYBLACK

Claudia Tacchella is a young designer who lives and works in Milan and currently collaborates with Flashstone, another name to make note of. Her latest standalone collection was called Chromophobia, and it featured monochrome contrasts, elegant cuts in faux leather, black sheer micronet and crisp white silk. Different textures and contrasting fabrics are juxtaposed to highlight curves and blazers feature strong, structured shoulders to balance hyper-feminine hips wrapped in tight skirts and leggings. Claudia explains that inspiration for this collection was drawn from the apartheid and the contrasting roles of the white and black races. The designer said the aim of this collection was to recall through the garments the feeling of the rigidity of the segregation and, at the same time, the freedom that ensued.

One of Claudia Tacchella's designs.

Giuro Che Domani Smetto (GCDS), literally ‘I swear I’ll give it up tomorrow’, was developed from an idea by Veronica Massa, Walter D’Aprile e Vincenzo Paccone. GCDS is a journey through one-night parties which are accompanied by a clothing line. Every party tells the story of each one of us, who after excess drinking and ‘good times out’ reflect on the possibility of quitting the party lifestyle. These parties take place in Naples one Saturday per month. Tailored videos are created for each party, which encourage the people attending to take part in the next event. The clothing line that accompanies the events is GCDS’s second means of communication. Through the T-shirts, which are becoming increasingly fashionable, they communicate the main message of each event. They are ironic and mock many of the classic situations that take place during nightlife and partying. Next to the simple black or white Tees features also a more complex, edgy line: Giuro Che Domani Smetto Wardrobe, which is like a little trunk filled with unisex clothing through which men and women alike can swap clothes.

GCDS

Max & Co. is by far and away my favourite, favourite Italian brand, and every time I go to Italy I spend a small fortune in their shop in central Genoa.  Max & Co. also belongs to the Max Mara Fashion Group and was born in 1986. The lines are clean and fuss-free but at the same time edgy and stylish. The designs are classic and modern at the same time and extremely easy to wear. These guys know how to do justice to the Italian sartorial tradition with a very high attention to detail and only the best materials. The quality is outstanding and the designs are always on trend.

Max & Co.

Max & Co.

These are my top four favourite Italian designers/labels. Which are yours? Do you have any new names to suggest?