Question: When does the high street start sending out promotional emails advertising their new season coats and boots?
Answer: The very same week London temperatures are reportedly beating those in Ibiza.
One such email has attempted to grab my attention by screaming “20% off!” Well, whose idea was that I wonder because 20% off these days is no great shakes any day of the week but when you’re trying to flog coats in this heat it’s akin to offering 3 for 2 Big Macs to a bunch of vegans.
In short, most Londoners are not thinking about layering at this point although there’s always a risk involved with that sort of brazen behaviour here in the UK. I very quickly got into the habit of going to work without so much as a cardigan only to sit at my desk shivering because someone left the air conditioning on overnight. It must be nearly August. ‘Silly Season’ my dad, a newspaper man, used to call it. Silly because there doesn’t tend to be much news around, cities empty as families go off on holiday and consequently far fewer newspapers and magazines are bought. And then there’s the fashion world where the sale stock runs out and shops have to refill their rails with the autumn ranges meaning we’re faced with an abundance of knitwear and overcoats when what we really covet is the perfect bikini, an ice cold mojito and an electric fan. It doesn’t get much more silly than that.
Given that our seasons here in the UK are so blurred nowadays, designers are offering what they call a ‘resort’ or ‘cruise’ collection which is basically a stopgap between the flimsy styles of high summer and the heavy dark fabrics of mid winter. It may be second nature for those in the fashion know to purchase their new season capsule wardrobe before they’ve even taken their summer holiday but for me August is a month to lay off the shops. That way I inadvertently save money for October when I’ll be more than ready to embrace Autumn 2014 and all it has to offer.
All that said, I can’t help but think about shopping even if I’m not doing it (OK I may have splurged on the Reiss sale last week but it is only July after all). And then I started to notice previews of the Roland Mouret collection for Banana Republic and it got the juices flowing dammit. This collection of over twenty pieces is out on the 7th August but is versatile enough to be relevant in the current warm weather. Mouret’s own explanation of his first high street collaboration made me snigger; “An incredible fit through an assortment of hourglass silhouettes using Banana Republic’s Sloan fabric extending my love of structure into accessible prices”. In other words, the fabulously flattering dresses which first propelled Mouret to fame are recreated here but using a totally different fabric (the quality of which typically differentiates designer from high street) produced by Banana Republic so if you don’t like it, blame them not him.
Next up is the somewhat surprising partnership between Marks and Spencer and model David Gandy. Gandy features heavily in the social sections of glossy magazines so you could be forgiven for thinking he was a male version of Alexa Chung. But where Chung has fronted a television show, written a book and errm, dated a couple of musicians, Gandy is merely a male model – admittedly a famous one – and while a delicious specimen, he’s not usually held up as a fashion icon. Will the safe and middle-aged Autograph customer be impressed by Gandy’s involvement or will it entice younger, cooler customers away from somewhere like Reiss? We will see when the collection drops on 18th September but I’m not convinced and think it’s safe to say the link between David Gandy, male model and M&S is tenuous. To put it in the words of M&S director of menswear Scott Fyfe, “This collaboration brings together our market leading expertise with David’s unique viewpoint and eye for design and finishing.” Here is a picture of Mr David Gandy indeed demonstrating, I think you’ll agree, a unique viewpoint.
Olivia Palermo is the newest kid on the collaboration block with her association with Italian accessories house Aquazzura announced just this week. Palermo is known mainly, if not solely for being a very attractive clothes horse and it is a label she wears well (heehee). Recently married to her equally divine looking boyfriend, Palermo is a regular at the fashion weeks and never is she photographed without her outfit undergoing intense scrutiny. Rarely does she put a foot wrong so it’s intriguing to hear she is dipping a toe (oh I’m on pun fire) into the world of designing shoes. A brand such as Aquazzura is unlikely to invest on a whim and with the collection remaining relatively exclusive (only available on Net a Porter in the UK) I imagine this will be an instant sell-out despite Palermo’s lack of experience.
Last but not least, Alexander Wang for H&M. Who isn’t waiting with baited breath for this latest collaboration between the Swedish giant and the cutting edge Wang? A teaser photo released last week showed little more than a logo and yet still it served to excite. By the time the November 6th launch date arrives, the momentum will be out of control – we all know by now that any H&M collaboration will sell out in minutes and given the mark-up potential on eBay, I’m not convinced it matters if you even like what you buy.
“He understands exactly what people want to wear and does it with an energy and passion that’s infectious” says H&M Creative Advisor Margareta van der Bosch. They’re not giving much away over there in Stockholm but we have been told Wang’s collection will be “muted and sporty”. This brief description is perhaps what prompted the internet buzz that the ambiguous image released was in fact a Wang designed yoga mat. You don’t get much more muted than a yoga mat. I’ll mark the date in my diary and have a squizz online if the website doesn’t crash, but I sure as hell ain’t camping overnight outside H&M on Oxford Street for a black yoga mat.