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It has been a while since I have written a blog post. The last time, to be precise, was just before Christmas. A few fundamental changes in my life had caused me to slow down to recharge my batteries; hence, the occasional posts. I had separated from my boyfriend (at the time) after eight years, which forced us to move out of our spacious flat of eight years. We owned an adorable tuxedo-cat, a short-hair called Zazou who I had to eventually re-home after living with us for eight years.

It was heartbreaking to see my cat struggling to settle into a smaller living space without a garden (to which I had moved); thus, off he went to Battersea Cats and Dogs home in pursuit of a better life. The same can be said for me as I walked away from a past of painful, but beautiful memories; from a cosy environment with a man and cat into a new world all alone.

I kept going and re-energised my soul, intermittently, perhaps through universal intervention. I caught-up with Instagram content on the weekend. The latter enabled me to stay in the creative loop, which is paramount for longevity in the fickle world of fashion. However, I was just floating in an insecure bubble, which suddenly burst open to a fresh, new awakening—that time is now. The School of Hard Knocks, otherwise known as life, has a way of throwing many obstacles at you—insurmountable setbacks, or so it may seem. Facing fear with fearlessness and applying gratitude to my attitude was the only way forward.

Be Fearless Face Fear Head On The Beauty Angel

A visit to Cucumba—a quaint beauty salon (known as ‘the urban pitstop’) – was the perfect solution to recharge my batteries. I met a lovely beauty therapist by the name of Lisa Parris who introduced me to the ‘Good Vibrations Ultrasonic Sunshine Facial’.

I needed good vibrations, sunshine, and a facial to feel better, so I thought, ‘This could not have come at a better time’. As I walked down the stairs of the art deco-inspired urban pitstop, I felt rejuvenated by the calming atmosphere. Suddenly, I was greeted by the Beauty Angel, who took me under her bright wings. Before this soothing encounter, I experienced the ultrasonic facial, which combines two facial beauty treatments to cleanse the skin in addition to improving the absorption of serums and moisturisers into the skin. The cleansing treatment delicately exfoliates the skin with tiny ultrasonic vibrations removing dead skin cells and dirt from the surface. As a result, my skin felt re-energised, soft and gentle.

THE SOHO BEAUTY ANGEL -LIFESTYLE COLLECTIVE - VLOG 15 - YouTube
Cucumba – The Urban Pitstop The Good Vibrations Ultrasonic Sunshine Facial

Additionally, the ultrasound waves boost collagen production. Other benefits include the reduction of under-eye bags, age spots, wrinkles and fine lines. The Beauty Angel treatment was the grand finale of my rejuvenation therapy, emanating a warm light which penetrates deep into the skin while the vibrations of Ultrasonic further increase the body’s production of collagen. I had felt re-energised and ready to seize the day.

At the end of the treatments, gone were feelings of gloom. My world was not doomed. Good vibrations lead to positive results. Overall, the first step in achieving such results is self-belief. Please quote #satisfactionguaranteed to take advantage of the 20% discount offer at Cucumba when you book the Ultrasonic facial and/or Beauty Angel in-store or online.

Written by @StyleIonNat | #StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube | Thank you Cucumba | S.I.N.Rating Below.

S.I.N.RATING

The post Recharge To Take Charge of Your Life appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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In a blink of an eye, the festive season is upon us yet again. Why be in the thick of the bustling festivities of the capital when you can enjoy Christmas in a relaxing environment? Last-minute preparations for Christmas seem inevitable; nowadays, a hectic lifestyle is often associated with city life. When in need of a change from a monotonous routine, however, spontaneity is necessary. That said, it’s never too late to break free from the norm. Hilton London Heathrow Airport has launched the ‘All I Want for Christmas Travel Guide’, designed to help guests make the most of the festive period when staying in London this Christmas. As a UK resident, you may desire a quick getaway. Hilton Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 offers a convenient stay in a luxurious environment.

Hilton London Heathrow T4 CHRISTMAS AT HILTON HEATHROW TERMINAL 4

I stayed at Hilton Heathrow Airport on Sunday 2nd December. For nearly 100 years, Hilton Hotels & Resorts has set the benchmark for hospitality around the world, hence the warm welcome upon arrival. The team had arranged dinner for me in Amori, a cosy Italian restaurant at Hilton Heathrow Airport, which boasts a diverse menu. Hilton recently revealed a new core menu in the UK which includes more sustainable options. I had thoroughly enjoyed my starter of calamari which is more than enough for one person; thus, I had struggled to finish my main course of prawn linguine. I was a little disappointed to see the toilets in a not-so-pleasant state when I had washed my hands. Besides that, I was satisfied with the cleanliness everywhere else.

Amori Restaurant THE ‘ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS TRAVEL GUIDE’.

The ‘All I Want for Christmas Travel Guide’ at Hilton Heathrow Airport includes London’s top 10 Christmas attractions such as Hyde Park’s Winter Wonderland and Ice Skating at Somerset House. The Heathrow Express transports guests to London Paddington in just 15 minutes. On this trip, I stayed at the hotel for one night only, but I knew concierge would have assisted with such trips, swiftly, had I extended my stay. Based on my initial impression of the staff, Hilton London Heathrow’s modus operandi prides itself on a professional code of conduct. Furthermore, the ambience is pleasant. Additionally, I slept extremely well – a bonus. The overall experience makes the perfect festive trip to the capital or a harmonious weekend away if you reside in London.

Christmas stays at Hilton London Heathrow include the travel guide and a festive breakfast [which is sustainable], and guests can save up to 25% when booking at Hilton.com. Guests can upgrade as a way of spoiling themselves. Champagne with chocolates and strawberries [for £65] are part of the upgrade. Additionally,  you can book a private mixologist [for £15]. Guests who enrol in Hilton Honors can take advantage of great deals when booking direct.

According to Roxanne Mongie, Commercial Director “We want to create..

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Gold opulence may well be the theme of summer. London has transformed into a festival of colourful styles due to the heatwave. What better way to complement our summer looks than with a vibrant wardrobe staple. That said, a metallic gold accessory shimmers luxuriously in the sunshine and further enriches our sun-kissed glow. Understandably, gold accessories are “not everybody’s cup of tea”. We all have our signature colour.

Some might argue that gold accessories look tacky. I beg to differ if the style of the prop is aesthetically tasteful. Additionally, the opulence factor of an item stems from creative flair and artistic styling. That is why trips to Italy are my primary source of inspiration. Undoubtedly, I discover unique brands that pride themselves on craftsmanship and skill influenced by tradition. For example, Anca Stetco, who founded her namesake brand in 2016, is based in Italy. Handcrafted from high-quality materials including Nappa leather [made in Italy], Anca Stetco’s shoe collection offers luxury, contemporary style, and comfort. I own a pair of Anya boots in a floral print from the autumn-winter 2017 collection. They are comfortable with the bonus of being trans-seasonal.

Metallic Gold – Signature Colour

One of the signature styles of Anca Stetco’s spring-summer 2018 collection is Zoe in Nappa leather—a pair of open-toe, chunky-heel mules. They are stylish, durable and come in metallic gold (which I own), black, white, and khaki suede. The khaki suede and the metallic gold have a plain high heel, while the other colours feature a plexiglass heel. I often struggle to find a pair of high heels I can comfortably walk in for hours.

Metallic Zoe – Anca Stetco

Metallic Zoe – Anca Stetco

Zoe – Anca Stetco

Evening Attire

Anca Stetco’s Zoe mules are sturdy as well as opulent in style. I feel like a million dollars in them. What is more, they complement casual-day and smart-evening attire. I wore my Zoe mules with a floral suit. Metallic gold is an incredibly versatile colour. I suggest wearing Zoe with a floral dress or a t-shirt-and-jeans combo for the day. For the evening, a classic look oozes opulence; thus, a little black dress is the perfect match. I have worn my mules only a few times; they have worn in a little due to the softness of the leather. Nappa leather is delicate and not for everyday use. Zoe mules are more suitable for a special occasion, be it to lunch with friends, a date night, or an evening gathering.

Metallic Zoe – Anca Stetco

Metallic Zoe – Anca Stetco

Written by @StyleIonNat | #StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube | Thank you Anca Stetco | Photography by Jamie Walker | S.I.N.Rating of Anca Stetco, below.

 

The post Gold Opulence – The Theme of Summer appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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Have you ever wondered what the secret is to managing a busy lifestyle? Some may say it is patience or perseverance. The critical factor we sometimes underestimate, however, is our ability to adapt accordingly to cope with our immediate environments; thus, versatility is the dominating factor of a balanced lifestyle. Additionally, our lifestyle needs determine our wardrobe choices, so for the avid shopper, versatile clothing and accessories are must-haves for “keeping up with appearances”. That said, Vionic is about to unveil its stylish Uptime/Downtime AW18 collection. The latter meets the style and comfort needs of the modern woman.

Vionic Unveils Its AW18 Collection

The design concept of Vionic derives from the notion of combining style versatility and comfort hence the brand’s ethos, “Style, it doesn’t have to hurt”.  The Uptime/Downtime collection theme “offers styles for women’s needs at work or a night out during Uptime”, while the Downtime collection addresses her casual needs, be it for a holiday or time spent with friends over a coffee or shopping trip, perhaps.

Vionic’s Style Versatility

I own a few pairs of Vionic shoes such as Josie, the pointed-toe kitten heel, in red and snakeskin, and Kennedy, all of which have cushioned insoles. The Josie kitten heel feels pleasantly soft (like trainers but smarter in appearance) and is, thus, suitable for transitioning an outfit from day to evening. I teamed my Josie heels with a colourful day-top and skirt for a stroll in the park and then changed into a body-con dress for the evening. Furthermore, I wore my Josie heels for hours with great ease. The shoe-shopping process is no easy feat when in need of an equal combination of comfort and style. Vionic’s unique selling point is the biomechanical support concealed in each shoe that alleviates discomfort. Subsequently, Josie is the signature style of the Uptime collection and versatile enough to complement the casual attire for Downtime.

Vionic Josie

Vionic Shoes

Value For Money

“We’re thrilled to present our Autumn/Winter collection, designed with a year-round mindset, to meet the style and comfort needs of the modern woman,” says Vionic President Connie Rishwain. “We are excited to match her lifestyle occasions with the support and elevated design that customers have come to expect from Vionic”.

Vionic Josie

Vionic boosts a selection of current styles, boots, heels, sandals, and slippers. Its price range is affordable, so you can have a splurge without feeling guilty. Overall, Vionic is an excellent value for the money. Furthermore, Vionic offers a 30-day wear test which Josie breezed through like a duck to water.

Vionic Josie

Written by @StyleIonNat | #StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube | Paid Partnership with Vionic | Photography by Jamie Walker | S.I.N.Rating of Vionic, below.

 

The post Versatility – The Secret To Managing A Busy Lifestyle appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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The beauty industry has expanded rapidly over the years. That said, are there enough makeup brands for darker skin? The latter sounds clichéd, but besides MAC, Bobbi Brown, Sleek, Iman Cosmetics and newly established Fenty Beauty, which other brands offer a diverse range of products for darker skin tones? I am an avid fan of MAC but, after a while, it’s only natural to want to experiment with a new brand of makeup. Thus, the more choices, the better, especially when a foundation is concerned.

Zahida Makeup For Darker Skin.

When I first heard about Zahida Dark Skin Makeup from Italy, I questioned the brand name as to whether or not it has a universal appeal. Their unique selling point is ‘makeup for darker skin,’ which targets a niche as opposed to the mass market. However, there is a huge demand for makeup that caters to women of colour, hence why Fenty Beauty launched 40 shades of foundation. I concluded that Zahida Dark Skin Makeup would resonate on a global scale with women who desire makeup that enhances their complexion in the same way specific hair products are suitable for either Afro or European hair. The message of the brand is transparent  “whether you are an Asian, Arabian or Nubian Queen, a sun-kissed, olive-skin beauty or something in between, find your match at Zahida make up for darker skin tones.”

I initially wore Zahida Dark Skin Makeup for the private preview of Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier on the 24th of May 2018. Maria Dessi, my makeup artist, and I created a makeup look based on my outfit of the night—a classic jacket dress in purple (aka the ‘Bardot’) by Nico Didonna. Is purple the new black? It’s an elegant colour; it has a presence but is not as versatile as black perhaps. Nonetheless, the ‘Bardot’ dress is made from 100% silk, with the inclusion of a quirky-print lining, classic and contemporary in style. It cinches in beautifully at the waist, while the asymmetrical hemline helps to elongate one’s silhouette.

Nico Didonna ‘Bardot’ Dress

Nico Didonna ‘Bardot’ Dress

How To Create A Statement Look For Darker Skin?

Our makeup concept was inspired by the late Prince’s Purple Rain.  Maria combined ‘Blue Cobalt’, which looks like purple once applied, and ‘Chrome Yellow’ eyeshadow shades from Zahida Dark Skin Makeup to create a statement look. Beforehand, Maria applied the Compact Foundation (code one) to my skin. The latter provided a natural coverage in addition to a matte finish. Surprisingly, my skin maintained a sun-kissed glow considering I often develop an oily T-zone, which depends on the makeup brand I use and how quickly it oxidises. Maria used the compact powder for contouring and the Chrome Yellow eyeshadow as a highlighter and blusher. You can view the full tutorial on Youtube.

Pre-Event Look

Zahida Dark Skin Makeup

Final Look

Zahida Dark Skin Makeup

What Is My Final Verdict?

Zahida Dark Skin Makeup is multi-functional. The eyeshadows are highly pigmented, so only a small amount is required to make a visual statement. The quality of the makeup is exceptional. Lastly, Maria used two lipsticks on me. She applied ‘Rock N Nude‘ followed by a hint of ‘Mat Coral‘. The lipsticks are moist and long-lasting, as is the lip gloss. I have used other products from the range since. In natural light, Zahida Dark Skin Makeup looks flawless. It also feels less ‘cakey’, unlike other makeup products I have used. The ‘Bordeaux‘ and ‘Red Diamond‘ lipsticks have a glossy finish, as opposed to the nude shades, which are matte.

Overall, Zahida Dark Skin Makeup feels like second skin and compliments dark skin especially. The eyeshadows, lipsticks, and highlighter are universal, but I would recommend the foundation to women of colour. I often receive a compliment whenever I wear the eyeshadows. The last compliment I received wearing a full face of Zahida Dark Skin Makeup was “You are glowing”, hence my faith in the brand as one of high quality and “does what it says on the tin”.

Written by @StyleIonNat | #StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube | Paid Partnership with Zahida Dark Skin Makeup  | Makeup Artistry by Maria Grazia | Dress by Nicodidonna | S.I.N.Rating of Zahida Dark Skin Makeup, below.

 

The post Is Purple The New Black? appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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When two super luxury brands join forces to showcase the quintessential elements of their shared values, expect prestige, rare taste, opulence and a glimpse of “how the other half lives.” On the 4th June, the Supercar Owners Circle (SOC), founded by Florian Lemberger in 2014, hosted a charity event for its exclusive network of discerning car collectors at Goodwood racetrack in association with Bulgari. SOC events are renowned for their exclusivity.“Only the most uncompromising supercars of past and present are eligible. High attention to detail and selectivity are at the core of the SOC.”

The SOC Charity Track Day.

“Over the past few years, the SOC has developed into a unique platform for automotive enthusiasts. We set our standards incredibly high from the very beginning and strive to surpass expectation,” continues Florian Lemberger Founder and Chairman.

The supercar-studded motor circuit of Goodwood included [out of twelve remarkable collectables] a Mercedes CLK GTR, a Porsche GT1, a Jaguar C-Type, and the Zenvo TSR-S, the Danish supercar that made its debut appearance at the latest Geneva International Motor show.

The SOC Charity Track Day.

The SOC Charity Track Day.

The SOC Charity Track Day. Zenvo TSR-S

The SOC Charity Track Day.

The SOC Charity Track Day.

SOC members came together to share their passion for rare supercars and to raise money for the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, along with luxury brand Bulgari, who equally adhere to a high standard of performance and excellence. Both brands raised over £10,000 on that day for children around the world who are deprived of education and employment opportunities or resort to violent crime due to societal setbacks, hence the initiation of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation. The partnership between the SOC and Bulgari commenced in Milan with the unveiling of the Octo Tourbillon Sapphire SOC at the Bulgari hotel.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Octo Tourbillon Sapphire SOC.

Laureus Ambassador and former F1 champion, David Coulthard, attended the event. After admiring one of the supercars, it was not long before David fearlessly drove around the track in the epic style for which he is known. The general mood of the day was ‘fast and furious’ amongst a circle of unassuming and incredibly affluent guests. Their exquisite tastes speak for themselves.

The SOC Charity Track Day – David Coulthard.

The SOC Charity Track Day.

Throughout the day, SOC members enjoyed free driving of 15-minute sessions for a maximum of seven cars at a time. Track marshalls provided instructions. Several professional race drivers joined the driving sessions, including Ross Kaiser, who drove me around the circuit in a McLaren 720s.

The SOC Charity Track Day.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Race Driver Ross Kaiser.

There were no alcoholic beverages during the day due to the regulation of Goodwood Motor Circuit. After the initial briefing and driving, lunch commenced at 12.30 p.m., followed by continued driving, a presentation by Zenvo Automotive, Fly Zuum and Pirelli. The gala dinner took place at the regal Goodwood House, amidst a display of stunning art portraits. The surrounding natural beauty was just as breathtaking.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Track Day Briefing.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Lunch in Jackie Stewart Pavilion.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Gala Dinner at Goodwood House.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Gala Dinner at Goodwood House.

Bulgari presented a one-of-a-kind timepiece issued exclusively for SOC members during the gala dinner. Hour-markers made from 18k yellow gold display the time. Additionally, the design of the watch incorporates the SOC logo. Dom Perignon, Remy Martin Louis XIII cognac, and ‘My Style Bags’, who gifted each guest, were principal sponsors of the event. Visit Youtube to see footage of the SOC weekend at Goodwood.

The SOC Charity Track Day – Gala Dinner at Goodwood House.

The next SOC weekend will take place in Switzerland on 1st September 2018 and in Dubai on 2nd December 2018 to celebrate the 47th UAE National Day.

Written by @StyleIonNat | #StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube | Thank you Guitar PR  | Below, S.I.N.Rating of Overall Experience | For Membership Enquiries, please visit The SOC .

 

The post The Supercar Owners Circle Charity Track Day At Goodwood appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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I have vivid childhood memories of school trips to the rocky beach of Southend filled with slimy seaweed as opposed to picturesque white sands. I never quite understood the purpose of seaweed or sea vegetables, but as a child, they looked ‘ugly’. Ironically, seaweed contains properties that enable you to look younger which I fully appreciate as an adult. The moral of the story is “never judge a book by its cover.” The Ishga natural skincare range, which I discovered recently, is made from seaweed harvested by hand in the pure waters of the Hebridean Islands of Scotland. The name Ishga stems from the Gaelic word for water.

“Hebridean seaweed contains natural antioxidants that have anti-ageing properties to help protect the skin,” says founders Malcolm and Joanna Macrae.

I chose six different products from the Ishga skincare range including their Regenerating Face Serum, Anti-oxidant Marine Cream, Exfoliating Mask, Hebridean Sea Salt Scrub, Invigorating Body Lotion and Body Wash. Here is my verdict.

Ishga Organic Seaweed Body Wash.

Ishga Organic Seaweed Body Wash

The Ishga body wash consists of 82% organic ingredients including natural oils. I applied a small amount to the wet skin which transforms into a lather within seconds. I then rinsed off the foam with a sponge.  The body wash has a high oil content hence why I suggest using a small amount. My skin, which is prone to dehydration, reacts well to products enriched with essential oils. On the whole, natural ingredients are kind to all skin types, particularly sensitive skin.

I have been using the body wash on a daily basis for approximately a week. In the first instance, I appreciated the fresh scent of the body wash which has undertones of lemon with a hint of lavender. One of the key ingredients is Lavandula angustifolia oil. I find lavender somewhat soothing thus my skin felt soft and showed no signs of irritation after using the body wash. On a scale of 1-5, with one being poor and five excellent, I would give this product a score of five.

Ishga Invigorating Body Lotion & Hebridean Sea Salt Scrub

Made with 92% organic ingredients, Ishga’s body lotion has a light consistency. It is recommended to use the cream following the Hebridean sea salt scrub. Initially, I used the lotion without scrubbing my skin with the sea salt, prior. My skin rapidly absorbed the lotion considering I applied a small amount several times.

Ishga Invigorating Body Lotion

The following morning, I used the sea salt scrub, which is quite oily, before using the cream. The scrub left my skin feeling quite moist without the need to apply a lot of lotion.

Ishga Hebridean Sea Salt Scrub

As a result of using one product after the next, my skin felt less dry in comparison to when I used just the cream. The light consistency of the latter caused my skin to flake after a while; therefore, I would use a thicker moisturiser on a daily basis and the scrub a few times a week as an exfoliator. For those with normal to combination skin, I suggest using the Ishga body lotion regularly. The sea salt contains 69% mineral ingredients including Linalol and 31% organic ingredients such as seed oil. Out of five, I would give the sea salt scrub a four, and a three out of five for the lotion. Overall, I appreciate the gentle scent of lemon and ginger.

Ishga Regenerating Face Serum & Anti-Oxidant Marine Cream

The Ishga Regenerating Face Serum consists of 92% organic ingredients. The texture of the latter is of a light gel. For best results, apply morning and evening followed by Ishga Marine cream, made with 71% organic ingredients.

Ishga Regenerating Face Serum

Anti-Oxidant Marine Cream

When I first used both products together, my face looked bright and healthy the following morning. I am fussy about which face cream I use but like to have a few options between which to alternate, regularly. The Marine Cream is an anti-oxidant that has anti-ageing properties to help protect the skin. Further to this, it has a somewhat raw or ‘salty’ scent, which I like, as opposed to a ‘sweet’ aroma like the other products. The cream has a thick texture so I found that a tiny amount was sufficient to keep my face moist. Out of five, I would give both products a score of five.

Ishga Exfoliating Face Mask

Ishga Exfoliating Face Mask

The face mask is my favourite product. My face feels extremely clean whenever I use the mask which I apply after cleansing. As recommended, leave for 5 to 10 minutes then dampen the skin and massage in gentle circular motions. Rinse thoroughly with clean, warm water. For best results, follow with Ishga toner which I do not have so I applied the Marine cream. Once again, I love the fresh smell which conjures up images of the seaside. The mud-like look and texture of the granules make it quite authentic. Apply only a tiny amount. As a tip, I suggest using the face mask 3-4 times a week especially after makeup. It leaves my skin looking bright such that I feel confident about the appearance of my skin, especially the day after. Out of five, I would give the face mask a score of five.

Written by @StyleIonNat | #StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube | Thank you Ishga Skincare | Overall S.I.N.Rating Below.

 

The post Does Seaweed Really Have Anti-Ageing Properties? appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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The expression of art comes in many guises other than in a metaphoric painting or sculpture. What does it take, however, to create wearable art mainly in the world of fashion? Some may say authentic craftsmanship or passion. Personally, it takes these qualities as well as the mind of a genius to create real emotions through creativity, and such a man was the late Azzedine Alaïa. On Wednesday, 9th May, the Design Museum hosted a private preview of “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” before the exhibition’s official opening to the public on Thursday, 10th May. Azzedine Alaïa himself co-curated the exhibition along with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the Groninger Museum. Over 60 powerful garments are on display at the Design Museum until 7th October 2018, “powerful” being the operative word as each piece conjures-up a feeling of self-empowerment.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

Close friends of the designer, including Naomi Campbell (Alaïa’s muse), and life partner Christoph Von Weyhe attended the preview to celebrate Alaïa’s life and extraordinary work. Artists Ronan & Erwan Bouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, Marc Newson, and Kris Ruhs created a series of commissioned architectural screens that serve as a backdrop for the elongated mannequins. The exhibition explores Azzedine Alaïa’s work from the early ‘80s to his very last masterpieces just before his untimely death in November 2017.

“For part of the exhibitions we do, he remakes all the outfits. They’re elongated and custom-fit to the mannequins. He’d been working on so much so the selection is pretty much 90 percent of what he and I discussed.” Says Mark Wilson.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

From a two-year stint in Browns [circa 2003] as a fashion stylist, I discovered the earlier collection of Alaïa which is still trending. His bandage dress, cinched-in white shirt and corset belt remain a signature style of the ready-to-wear collection together with the intricate laser-cut leather bag. All are made to perfection and vehemently demonstrate Azzedine Alaïa’s mission. “My obsession is to make women beautiful. When you create with that in mind, things can’t go out of fashion.”

The enormity of the Design Museum and futuristic interior pay homage to Alaïa’s archive of timeless classics that are inspired by the future.“He was always thinking about the future…” says Carla Sozzani. The Design Museum valued Alaïa’s work so much that one wall is filled with photographs by Richard Wentworth of the designer at work in his Paris Atelier.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

Alice Black, Co-Director of the Design Museum, gave an inspiring welcome speech after which guests made their way into the exhibition hall. “This was his passion, which consumed him and which he spent all his life doing. He is certainly one of the greatest masters. And that is also what we do, in terms of the Museum. To be able to bring his skills to the UK, in a way that has never been seen before, is very important and shows a different side of fashion to other exhibitions.” Says Alice Black.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

One guest stunned in a “tree dress” by Charles James. Since the 1950s, Azzedine Alaïa studied the work of other master couturiers, including Charles James, who was a source of inspiration for the designer.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

When shopping privately for clients in Harvey Nichols, a firm favourite is the Alaïa concession. In the vintage store One of A Kind, I found a matching Alaïa fitted top and pencil skirt, for a celebrity client, which felt like I had struck gold. The new Alaïa flagship store on Bond Street, which launched on Thursday 26th April, consists of three floors in a somewhat serene shopping environment. I attended the official opening. The store is worth a visit due to the luxury experience. The focal point is the winding staircase on the ground floor. Both occasions symbolise the unyielding creative vision of “Azzedine Alaïa: The [Legendary] Couturier” such that he has shaped the course of fashion history.

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier”

“Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier” is at The Design Museum until the 7th of October 2018.

Written by @StyleIonNat |#StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube

 

The post “Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier” – Past, Present and Future appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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The current sunshine is soaring through London hence why I have seen many people almost bare all in public and why not, especially after the treacherous weather caused by ‘The Beast From the East’ not so long ago. Finally, our winter staples are away from the spotlight while our favourite summer staples have their say. What are your plans for the upcoming summer season? A hot ticket to the Caribbean would be ideal. However, you may not have to travel that far to show-off the summer body for which you have exercised vigorously in time for summer solstice. St Lucia Bay resides in London – a luxury beachwear brand that offers a fusion of contemporary and exotic styles of clothing such as bikinis, dresses, accessories, and suitable for those who live a jet-set-lifestyle of trips to the French Riviera and other sizzling-hot destinations.

St Lucia Bay – Ruche Bikini Set

St Lucia Bay is a brand to watch as I discovered upon receipt of a well-presented gift box including their ‘Anya’ and ‘Bethany’ headband and ‘Ruche’ bikini in merlot-red made from 82% nylon and 18% lycra. The latter should provide more comfort. I appreciate the concept of St Lucia Bay, a newly established brand, which is classic yet fashionable in style. Such appeal will resonate with a younger clientele, but the versatility of the brand may attract a broader consumer base.

St Lucia Bay – Anya and Bethany Headbands

St Lucia Bay – Ruche Bikini Set, Anya and Bethany Headbands (Gift Box)

Written by @StyleIonNat |#StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube |  Thank you St.Lucia Bay | St.Lucia Bay S.I.N.Rating Below – 4/5.

 

The post Is The Sunshine of The Caribbean Here To Stay? appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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My recent trip to Southern Italy was a journey of discovery from both a fashion and a cultural standpoint. When style meets traditional heritage, the two become immersed in a fairground of synergistic creativity which I experienced during an event dedicated to the promotion of “Fashion In Sicily”, held in Catania from the 10th-11th April. Before visiting Catania, the second largest city in Sicily, I envisaged a fashion journey enriched with heritage and culture which was a foregone conclusion.  The fashion industry in Italy is renowned for its cultivation of skilled artisans whose craftsmanship is rooted in Italian soil, hence the patriotism shown towards all things “Made in Italy”. I joined eighty international buyers and journalists as part of the trip, which was organised by The Italian Trade Agency (ITA) who help to promote emerging fashion companies in Southern Italy. Sixty fashion and accessory brands showcased their collections at the “Fashion In Sicily” event in association with the Office of the Mayor of Catania and Southern Export Plan 2 (PES2). The latter was initiated by Italy’s Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) which, along with the ITA, acts as a launchpad for companies in less developed regions such as Basilicata, Calabria, Apulia, and Sicily, to promote themselves.

All delegates met one another on the first night. The following two days involved meeting the exhibitors at “Monastero dei Benedettini” combined with a guided tour to a menswear and jewellery company, cultural tours which included a roof-top view of Mount Etna and a visit to the historic Teatro Massimo Bellini Opera House. As part of the programme, we had dinner with the Italian companies in the stunning palace of Palazzo Biscari for a “Sicily Fashion Night Out” followed by a fashion show organised by Catania’s Academia Delle Belle Arti. The latter took place at Piazza del Duomo, which was an innovative showcase of young talent in Sicily. I have included footage of the tours, the networking dinner and the fashion show in a vlog on my YouTube channel.

Twelve companies out of sixty caught my attention, forming a collective of wearable art, patriotic values and heritage embedded in their design aesthetic; all of which prominently mark their “territory,” otherwise known as the culture of Sicily.

CARLOTTA SCARABEO

Based in Benevento, Naples, Carlotta Di Cerbo is a jewellery designer whose design concept is minimalistic in style yet multi-functional. Every piece is a statement in itself and transforms into several shapes or forms of jewellery, i.e. a necklace can be worn as a belt thus a versatile travel accessory. All items are hand-made in Benevento. Additionally, the designer has incorporated industrial elements into her designs by combining “nautical ropes” with metal cylinders; a concept inspired by the style of a modern-day woman which is adaptable to change depending on her lifestyle needs. Carlotta’s bespoke craftsmanship conveys boisterous energy that would embrace the personality of a confident individual. “The accessories change in their shape to reflect the personality of the wearer. Flexibility allows a daily choice and re-combination of shape, length, colours and functions through simple movements”, says Carlotta.

Carlotta Scarabeo

Carlotta Scarabeo

FILLY BIZ

Filly Cusenza has established a name for herself after dedicating 25 years of creative innovation to the industry as an artist and architect. Biennale of London, Northampton Museum and Art Gallery, and Teatro Massimo have showcased the artist’s work, to name but a few. Subsequently, Filly Cusenza consolidated her skills to produce fashion brand Filly Biz, which combines eclectic art and contemporary fashion. Whether intentional or not, Filly Cusenza’s design aesthetic plays on the paradoxical nature of life by connecting attractive opposites. The collection is classic in style yet childlike in design; it portrays an ageless sense of style, with a mature understanding of what a woman looks for in a garment, such as comfortable fabric. Everything from the collection is 100% linen, which suits the climate in Sicily. The statement hallmarks are made from natural materials and remind me of animated characters from a children’s book. It’s refreshing to discover a fashion collection that identifies with the child in all of us that needs nurturing from time to time. Filly Cusenza’s artistry brings her collection to life.

Filly Biz

Filly Biz

LE4UADRE

The beauty of the Le4uadre collection is portrayed through the manipulation of vivid colours and geometric shapes. Every piece is hand-crafted by skilled artisans in Southern Sicily and inspired by the natural environment, architecture and the dynamism of city life. The combination of such inspirational elements gives the brand a somewhat raw identity which reflects the emotional connection we have with our natural surroundings. The FW18/19 “Gea collection” of Le4uadre features the soft printed “thermoformed velvet 3D effect and Exagon line in 100% Italian leather”.

Le4uadre

Le4uadre

GIOELLI DI KIARA

Gioelli Di Karma’s collection speaks to those who appreciate Sicilian tradition. All pieces from the collection are hand-made in Catania, exclusively. Their signature styles feature ceramic and lava stone jewels. I was blown away by the attention to detail and pom bags which are a prominent feature of Sicilian traditional attire. “All products are exclusive and original that every woman can wear for any occasion”, says Gioielli Di Kiara. Their small ceramic accessories are hand-painted then placed into a special oven for 24 hours at 1000 degrees Celsius – a process that embeds the hand-painted design into the clay, permanently. The work of Gioelli Di Kiara vividly showcases the application of skilful techniques and traditional practices to create one of a kind pieces.

Gioielli Di Kiara

Gioielli Di Kiara

ANTURA ACCESSORIES

Inspired by the Latin phrase “Just A Moment Ago”, Antura (founded nine years ago) is a jewellery brand hand-crafted in Sicily – on which they pride themselves. The influence Arabic traditions have on Sicilian culture, dating back to a time when Sicily was under Arab rule, is evident in Antura’s logo design. Overall, the collection is colourful, bold and adventurous as it pays attention to intricate detail. What stands out particularly is the brand’s use of earthy colours such as blue and green, inspired by the Mediterranean Sea. Antura, in essence, is an artistic expression of colour and shape; thus, the wearer is merely a blank canvas on which the story of Antura comes to life. The brand prefers to tone down statement styles with subdued colours to enhance the style and shape of a particular piece. Key items of jewellery feature laser-cut detail and geometric shapes and volumes. The best-selling style is the resin ring featuring a pearl. According to Antura, “We love the short necklace which makes the design stand out. You can see more detail. Our long necklaces are simple in design”.

Antura

Antura

GIULIANA DI FRANCO

Giuliana Di Franco is a jewellery brand based in the middle of Sicily, Leonforte. The brand produces unique pieces, stunning in design as well as picturesque of Sicilian culture and tradition. The design concept of Giuliana Di Franco emerged in 2004, inspired by the brand’s origins from 1989. The Mediterranean style is the primary influence on the creative vision of Giuliana Di Franco. “My jewels speak about life, beauty, art, Sicily and for open-minded women immersed in a diverse experience”, says Giuliana. We visited the showroom on 11th April, which is surrounded by breathtaking views of Leonforte. The showroom itself is open-plan, and production takes place in an eco-friendly environment. I have included footage of this tour in a vlog on my Youtube channel. Giuliana Di Franco showcases small sculptures and intricate creative design that echoes the magical energy of her homeland, combined with quality craftsmanship.

Giuliana Di Franco

Giuliana Di Franco

ZIZA STYLE HABITS

Everything about this brand epitomises eco-friendly values embedded in ‘slow’ fashion. Hand-made in Italy, Ziza Style Habits is a handbag collection made from “Pinatex” – vegan leather mixed with pineapple leaf fibre. Such natural materials are used to create timeless pieces that represent an innovative design concept. The brand cleverly combines tradition with contemporary fashion offering an alternative to leather.  The signature colours of the collection are metallic gold and silver. Furthermore, the bags are extremely lightweight as I discovered while holding one. “The models are versatile. You can change their appearance through straps and interchangeable handles made of natural cords that allow you to customise each bag and create a unique style”, says Ziza Style Bags.

Ziza Style Habits

Ziza Style Habits

GATTACCI BAGS

The collection of Gattacci represents everything I love about a unique sense of style – individuality, personality and creativity. Style carries a broader meaning than the word fashion in that style comes from a place of creative innovation hence my appreciation of accessory designer, Gattacci. The brand was established in 2011 by Sebastiano Tramontana and Valentina Bua through combining their passion for art and design. The latter instigated their creative vision of a lightweight accessory hence why Gattacci produces jewellery and accessories made from “plexiglass”. Their statement pieces include a monochrome clutch and “ceramic” bag with matching earrings. Other key motifs are laser-cut and carved by hand which adorn imagery of anchovies and the human eye. In 2017, Gattacci opened its first franchise in Catania and then a second franchise in Palermo in December. The brand’s meticulous approach to authentic design includes the use of innovative material such as plexiglass which enables them to play with shapes and volumes. “Our production process combines craftsmanship and technology, ranging from the laser-cutting of the plexiglass to the folds of bags and jewels made entirely by hand”, says Gattaci.

Gattacci

Gattacci

GISELLA MANDALA

The Gisella Mandala collection consists of carefully hand-crafted jewellery and clothing. Every piece relates to the culture of Sicily through colourful imagery inspired by the Mediterranean sea, youth and culture. The brand pride themselves on authentic production in Sicily. Made from the tender leaves of palm trees which were used to transport food, such statement pieces define the brand’s identity. Other fashion items feature imagery of Sicilian knights, playing cards and stories inspired by the paintings of Giacomo Callari.EA Chiarello. The Gisella Mandala team kindly gave me a book by this extraordinary painter ‘Sicilia The Island of Treasures’ which features images of the natural, artistic and cultural heritage of Sicily.

Gisella Mandala

Gisella Mandala

BAKARA

Established five years ago, Bakara is a family-run business which specialises women’s handbags. The brand concept combines urban culture with contemporary fashion; a common theme that runs throughout the fashion culture of London. The design aesthetic has an industrial feel, a somewhat raw quality projected through the hydraulic straps of their limited edition “Kubie” bag. Bakara uses “three-dimensional polyester” to produce their bags as a result of which a younger market or those who appreciate high-quality casual wear may suit the brand. “These roots have allowed us to create a product that presents the competence of the production of workwear and a strong sense of fashion”, says Bakara.

Bakara

Bakara

NANI & CO

Made from eco-friendly materials such as clay, marble and resin, the design concept of Nani & Co pays homage to the designer’s background in architecture combined with a contemporary outlook on fashion. All items of jewellery are hand-crafted in Bari, Italy and inspired by modern art; the latest collection epitomises “Mirrors by Moza” an installation by an artist from the city of Mexico. The unique selling point of Nina & Co is that her jewellery is extremely lightweight. Furthermore, the marble within the jewellery is one of the designer’s signature looks along with gold, silver plated and “gold luxury” items. “You can wear a pair of my earrings for 24hours without feeling the weight of the earrings”, says Nani & Co.

Nani & Co

Nani & Co

ALTO LIVELLO 

Made in Italy, Alto Livello is a menswear and accessories brand. The collection is classic and caters for men with a discerning style. The brand oozes sophistication through a variety of well-tailored suits, brogues, to bespoke shoes one of which adorns Swarovski crystal. What caught my eye initially was Alto  Livello’s elegant display of walking umbrellas to compliment his men’s suits. “Our Made in Italy quality cannot be improvised: it is the result of the daily work of artisans and entrepreneurs, custodians of our centuries-old manufacturing tradition” It was refreshing to see a formal menswear collection amongst an array of eclectic fashion brands which created variety. Alto Livello stood out as an elegant brand for a distinguished gentleman.

Alto Livello

Alto Livello

Another successful trip once again. Overall, it was such an enriching experience and an excellent opportunity to meet new and undiscovered fashion brands in Southern Italy. I hope my fashion journey to Southern Italy continues.

Written by @StyleIonNat |#StyleIconNat on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linked In, Pinterest, YouTube |  Thank you ITA | “Fashion In Sicily” S.I.N.Rating Below – 5/5.

 

The post Why Is Fashion In Sicily The Testimony of Patriotism? appeared first on NATALIE ROBINSON BLOG.

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