fashion

Introducing SS18

Drum roll, please – the wait is over! The SS18 collection has landed on the website and we couldn’t be more excited. What we hadn’t anticipated was that the launch would coincide with a Siberian weather front but not to worry – spring is just around the corner and there are plenty of layers and scarves to choose from to keep the chill at bay.

People often ask me when a new collection launches which styles and colours I will be adding to my new-season wardrobe. As a Spring I always love a yellow and this season we have so many shades on offer, from freshest ice lemon and zingy neon to a lovely warm shade of corn yellow.

Above LTR: Cashmere Gauze Stole in Canary Yellow, Pocket V Neck in Ice Lemon, Breton Stripe Top in Neon Yellow, Everyday Cotton V in Corn Yellow

 

I also love the new Bretons. I used to think stripes were a bit classic or tomboy for me but I’ve since discovered that you can create a prettier, softer look by choosing colours like this juicy shade of watermelon and wearing with skirts or adding a necklace or scarf.

Above: Breton Stripe Top in Watermelon, Weekend Skirt in Capri Blue,  Starburst Necklace in Gold, Starlight Necklace 

 

For some reason I seem to feel the cold more than most, so the Milan Knit Crew was the most-worn item in my wardrobe last spring (I can’t have been the only one as it became one of our bestsellers!). I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of this new Milan Knit Crew in Apple green – it’s such a fresh, crisp colour and the perfect way to usher in spring.

If, like me, you can’t get through the season without buying a new scarf, you’ll love these new metallic ones, which are a quick and contemporary way to update your wardrobe. It’s impossible to see from the photo how good they look and feel but they’re soft, lightly textured and easy to throw on, and the metallic threads really lift the colours.

Above: Milan Knit Crew in Apple, Metallic Print Scarf in Copper Camo, Friendship Bracelet in Spring Gold

 

One of my favourite pieces – which I can see becoming a weekend classic – is the new Eveline Blouse in 100% cotton slub, a new fabric for us, which will appeal to all you cotton lovers. It has a bit of texture and is not at all clingy. I like to wear the front tucked in to show a bit of waist and then to leave the back long.

At this time of year when you don’t know what you’re going to get in terms of weather, everyone needs an extra layer or two. I’m wearing a Lace Cami + Silky Scoop under my Eveline Blouse, and finishing it off with a Cashmere Gauze Stole (which never leaves the back of my chair in the office!). Last but not least I can’t resist these neon pompom necklaces – such a great, fun colour pop.

Above: Eveline Blouse in Light Aqua, Pom Pom Tassel Necklace in Coral, Lace Camisole in Flamingo Pink

And just one more thing – the orange and gold wedge-sole floral trainers. Not only are they colourful, substantial and beautifully made, they also make me smile. All the ingredients, in fact, for a happy wardrobe!

Patterned Sneakers in Coral

 

Colour Conversation with illustrator and author, Marion Deuchars

A celebration of colour

 We’re going out with a bang this New Year with a colour conversation from the author of one of our favourite books from 2017, Colour, by the internationally acclaimed, award-winning illustrator Marion Deuchars.

 In Colour, you take a personal journey through colour, sharing what you know about the subject to inspire and encourage us to make our own colour journey. How did it come about?

I was interested in making a book about colour but it took me while to find a way to make it personal. The more I read about colour the more daunting that task became. I have always been interested in colour but remembered how hard I found studying Colour Theory at art school, and initially when I first started using colour pigments it was difficult. I thought I could make a book that made some of the stories and theories of colour more accessible and to hopefully inspire readers to play more with colour too in their lives.

A book that really helped me was reading Derek Jarman’s Chroma. It is such a beautiful book to read and so very personal. It gave me a way in to realise I could do my own personal journey of colour. In fact, it made me realise that all one can do is a personal approach to the subject as it is so huge to comprehend.

 

Tell us about your illustrative career and the kind of work you do…

I’ve been working as an illustrator for 25 years, so it’s quite varied. I tend to work across all areas of the industry, from magazines, books, newspapers advertising to design. Some highlights have been working for Jamie Oliver books and the Royal Mail (RSC anniversary stamps) to the Guardian newspaper. I like the variety of commercial work – it’s never the same and subjects help push your work in unexpected directions, as a result.

 Have you loved colour from an early age? Earliest colourful memory?

I have two strong colour memories. One is choosing my first pair of shoes. I was completely smitten with the red patent leather ones in the shop and not too happy with the sensible matt black selection my mother had in mind. I was appreciating without realising it… the ‘power of red’.

My second colour memory is my bright orange Chopper bike. I had wished and wished for that bike and finally got one for Christmas. My parents managed to buy a second-hand one so did not buy the one I had in mind (a red one). I remember being momentarily taken aback by the colour orange but grew to love it. Orange relates to adventure and risk-taking, inspiring physical confidence, competition and independence, so perhaps it was the right choice after all.

Do you have a favourite quote from the book?

The artist Josef Albers observed: “If one says ‘red’ and there are 50 people listening, it can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.”

I’ve always liked this quote. It reminds me that no two people see colour – or the world around them – in the same way. Your ‘blue’ could be someone else’s ‘grey’. Colours have had and continue to have a number of meanings across cultures and time.

 Most intriguing fact or word of wisdom?

There was no word for blue in ancient Greek literature. In Homer’s The Iliad (and later, in The Odyssey) the Aegean Sea is described as ‘wine-dark’, which raises the question of whether, when we look at the sea today, we’re seeing it entirely differently to how the ancient Greeks saw it. By far the most common colour words in his reticent vocabulary were black (170 times) and white (100), followed distantly by red (13).

 What does colour mean to you on a personal level? How does it make you feel?

I think like smell, colour often has a subliminal influence on how we feel and what we remember. It’s easier to think of colours we don’t like sometimes and that makes you realise, even if we think we don’t that we have a strong emotional attachment to colour. I like being in neutral rooms, for example and don’t like one colour to dominate, no matter how nice.

I like looking at colour in nature. My favourite colours are from the British coastline. Dramatic, ever-changing and subtle. Coming from Scotland, where the landscape transforms from the ubiquitous grey to dazzling sun-lit mountains, I can appreciate the whole spectrum and especially so when we don’t have a Mediterranean sun lighting up our lives every day!

 How much has colour made its way into your wardrobe? Do you have a favourite piece?

I am not very adventurous in wearing colour. I think it may be part of the London ‘fitting in’ thing where in a big city, one does not necessarily want to attract unwanted attention. I used to travel every day on the Northern Line and hide behind a newspaper as there were so many unnerving incidents happening there. When I’ve gone to countries like Mexico and Cuba were colour is ubiquitous and run rampant, I feel like we are so deprived and sadly lacking in colour in our every day life!

 And your everyday life? Do you surround yourself in colour in your home and studio, for example?

My favourite place to see colour is on the page. I do, however, have some bright pieces of furniture around the house – quite a lot of orange chairs and lamp shades, so it does creep in. My studio is probably more colourful, but probably just more messy.

 Who or what inspires you?

Living in London inspires me every day, keeps you on your toes, culturally, politically, creatively and mentally.

Last great colourful buy?

I bought an odd-coloured dress (not the famous blue and white stripe internet craze one) but a colour in between green and yellow. I would say it was chartreuse, but it was a good conversation piece as so many people saw it differently.

And finally, we have to ask, do you have a favourite colour?

I always say my favourite colour is cobalt blue. Blue is universally the world’s most popular colour so I’m not being too original here. I don’t like ‘all’ blues, though, and cobalt is not only my favourite colour to paint with but I love it’s history. Blue is one of the oldest colours we know of. The earliest known lump of glass dates back to 2000BC in ancient Mesopotamia. The Egyptians also used ‘blue glass’ known as ‘smalt’ in their pottery. It was then ‘lost’ as a colour until the modern era.

You can buy Colour by Marion Deuchars here. To visit her website, click here.

Photograph of Marion Deuchars by Tom Dunkley.

New season top picks

 

Above: Sofia Dress in Teal & French Navy

Yippee, it’s that time again! I love new season time at Kettlewell. So many new colours, new styles, and new opportunities for incredibly easy shopping.

Every season, my problem is what to leave out for my five top picks, rather than what to choose, and this season was even harder than usual, with the ever increasing range of products and fabrics that Kettlewell offer, from necklaces to shoes and jersey to boucle and faux suede.

However, I have forced myself to pick only my very favourites, the ones that I predict will be hanging around for approximately 23.8 seconds after they are launched in early September.

Alexa jacket

Now this is right up my street. Buttery soft with a hint of edgy styling, this jacket will take you everywhere this autumn/winter and beyond. Add a biker edge to a pretty dress, or smarten up a basic tee and jeans.

Look 1: Alexa Jacket in PralineKeira Dress in Poppy & Biscuit
Look 2: Alexa Jacket in TaupeLove Colour Tee in Wisteria

 

Grace blazer, trousers and pencil skirt

OK, so this is technically three things, but it’s the fabric I’m excited about here as much as the style. I don’t know a single person who has touched this fabric who hasn’t gone ‘oooooooh’ at its magical properties. All the style and smartness of a herringbone tweed, but with the comfort, hold-you-in effect and ease of wearing of stretch jersey. Needs to be tried to be believed.

 


Look 3: Grace Jacquard Blazer in Marine TealGrace Pencil Skirt in Marine TealSleeveless Mock Turtle in Shaded SpruceStar & Bead Necklace in Gold Bronze
Look 4: Merino Crossover in Marine BlueGrace Jacquard Trousers in Praline

 

Cosy merino sweater

If, like me, one of your summer heroes was the effortlessly stylish cotton/cashmere mix crew neck sweater, than breathe a huge sigh of relief, because the winter weight version is here. Created from sumptuous pure merino in a slightly chunkier knit than the summer weight sweater, this neat crew neck will resolve a multitude of outfit conundrums.

Look 5: Cosy Merino Sweater in GlacierTiny Star Necklace in Silver

 

Maddie tunic

Is it an animal print? Is it a heart print? Whatever you decide it is, this easy to wear tunic will up your casual outfit game no end. Layer up with the Alexa biker above for cool chic, or add a jersey wrap and pretty necklace for a prettier look.

Look 6: Maddie Tunic in Hyacinth & Sultry NavyMerino Sleeveless Wrap in Bright NavyTassel Necklace in Pink Mulberry SparkleSuede Satr Shoulder Bag in Tin & Soft Berry

 

Sofia dress

This is the dress you’ll turn to this winter when you need an instant confidence hit. The swirling print, long sleeves, faux wrap front and clever ruching on this dress all work together to highlight your best features and conceal any bits you’re not so keen on. Add some edge with an Alexa biker or make it work-ready with a Grace blazer. It’s another one of those things that Kettlewell does so well – a dress-up-dress-down wardrobe essential.

Look 7: Sofia Dress in Periwinkle Blue & Bright NavyAlexa Jacket in Royal BlueTiny Star Necklace in Gold

As well as my favourite styles, here’s a look behind the scenes, of Melissa’s recent trip to the factory to check on the progress of the new season styles as they go into production. Lots of obsessive trying on, measuring and fine tuning takes place until each and every new piece is absolutely perfect and ready to go into a full production run for the coming season.

Three autumn trends you’ll actually want to wear

peta_and_roll_neckFinding wearable looks in among new season trends can be a total nightmare – runway pictures seem to feature such extreme looks that finding something that you might actually be able to put on in the morning and not be laughed at can seem an impossible task.

However, there are a few themes in those extraordinary runway shows which translate into clothes in shops that you might be able to contemplate buying, and I’ve rounded up my favourite four from the coming season.

Velvet

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Velvet is EVERYWHERE this autumn/winter. The trick to making it work is keeping the whole look luxurious but laid back. Rich tones, subtle jewellery and gorgeous textures contribute to an outfit that is elegant and up to the minute.

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Polo necks under dresses

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This is such an easy trend to access – simply layer up your favourite shift/pinafore/tea dress with a bold coloured polo neck underneath for a retro chic look that will keep you right up to date. Plus – added bonus – it keeps you warm in winter!

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Trouser suits

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Allegedly inspired by the queen of the trouser suit, Hilary Clinton, the runways were full of statement trouser suits in velvet, satin and bold colours, but the high street is making this trend available to those of us who don’t live in fashion land with relaxed trouser suits in neutral colours, perhaps with a hint of print or piping to add interest. Pair yours with a minimalist top in an accent colour to flatter your features and keep the look casual. Swap the top for a silky camisole and the androgynous loafers for fabulous heels to make a modern evening outfit.

hilary_trouser_suitstrouser_suitFor info on all products featured, visit our Polyvore page.

Shoes in header image: www.mandarinashoes.co.uk

Style it for summer: the breton stripe

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The striped top truly is a perennial classic. Timeless, elegant, and possible to style in an almost infinite number of ways, the breton comes back year after year for good reason.

I’m a big fan of both the new season stripe tops from Kettlewell. They tick all the boxes for a truly wearable summer classic – not too short, not too clingy, available in two flattering necklines and a colour to suit everyone.

Just in case you need more reasons to install one (or two. Or three) in your wardrobe, here’s my favourite styling solutions:

CLASSIC CASUAL

Add a pop of red to your version of the classic blue and white for instant Parisian chic, with a Florence Infinity Scarf. Neat white sneakers make this look stylish but totally wearable.

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ELEGANT EXPLORER

Pair your 3/4 sleeve breton with a flippy Audrey skirt for classy but comfortable sightseeing attire.

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TRAVEL IN COMFORT

Add a splash of colour to a comfy travel outfit with a cotton cashmere cardigan layered on top of a short sleeved stripe t-shirt and a pair of jersey trousers. And if you’re going for capsule wardrobe packing, you can use the same sneakers as your classic Parisian look!

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BEACH BABE

Relaxed short sleeve t-shirt turns simple denim shorts and a sunhat into a summer holiday outfit fit for every destination, from Cornwall to Corsica. Simple metallic flip flops in your best shade will complete the laid back look. Styled here with a tassel necklace and a willow scarf.

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How to wear white

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Knowing your best white – whether it’s a soft white, cream, oyster or optic bright white – is a powerful weapon to have in your style arsenal. Whether you want to rock a sleek monochrome look or simply add a little light and bright to an outfit, knowing which white to go for will keep your look chic, current and, most importantly, right for you.

A personal colour analysis from a qualified stylist will give you all the information you need to choose your white (and red, and blue, and grey, and yellow, and and and….), which will make you look and feel your best even in this minimalist shade.

If you haven’t yet had a colour analysis, the best option to go for is usually a slightly soft off white rather than a true bright white – the softer version looks better than true white for Summers, Autumns and Springs, and even on Winters isn’t too terrible, so it’s a good safe hedge-your-bets option if you don’t know what to go for.

However, if you’ve had a personal colour analysis and know your season, then getting your white right is simple:

Spring – go for a warm buttery cream. Think of the shades of warm golden white you get in single, double and clotted cream. Pair with a splash of colour during the day or go for chic gold accessories in the evening.spring

Summer – a soft off white, your white can be tricky to find as it has no warmth or creaminess to it, but is very definitely not bright true white. Often called ‘soft white’ or, confusingly, ‘winter white’ in stores.summer

Autumn – again, you need a warm yellow based creamy shade, but it doesn’t need the brightness of the spring palette – you may be able to pull of a soft white as well as the ideal more golden creamy options.autumn

Winter – optic white is the way forward for you. Bright, stark and as high contrast as it gets when paired with brights or black. For a sophisticated look try combining it with silver grey or a pop of fuchsia pink.winter

Visit our Kettlewell Colours Polyvore page for details of all items.

 

13 into 31: Your spring wardrobe, sorted

We do love a good capsule wardrobe at Kettlewell, and since the season is a-changing, I thought it was about time for another one. I challenged myself to come up with a full month’s worth of outfits from a mere 13 items (and none of this February nonsense, a full 31 days. And not just because it’s a pleasing reversal of the 13 items).

13-pieces

Whatever colour palette you favour and whatever your personal style, there might come a time when you need to put together a capsule wardrobe, whether you are travelling for business, needing to live out of a bag for a couple of weeks during a house move or have rapidly lost or gained weight and need a handful of clothes to see you through until your weight ‘settles’. Knowing how to put together a wardrobe in colours and styles that suit you will make the entire process easier – you can see that even with the very bright Spring palette, I’ve still stuck to just a handful of colours, and included two fairly neutral colours – cream and navy – to keep outfit combinations straightforward.

Capsule wardrobes; not just for boring people.31-outfits

Visit our Kettlewell Colours Polyvore page for details of all clothes and accessories