Thursday, 30 June 2011

High Street Hooray!

As highlighted in my Stop Publish! special edition post on Monday, major High Street fashion player Topshop is hitting Australian shores (and not just via online deliveries). Scrolling through their High Summer Lookbook online, I can't help but get excited.

Urban Traveller, High Summer Lookbook from

'But aren't you an advocate for independent designs and high quality garments produced with superior craftsmanship?' I hear you all shout. Well, yes of course I am. But I am also a strong believer in healthy competition in business, and providing consumers with fair product choice. Plus, the best (and indeed cost-concious!) fashionistas know that the greatest outfits are those that mix High Street with Luxe to produce a kick-ass look. 

Internationally, High Street is a massive sub-category within fashion retail. It does exist in Australia, but not quite to the same extent, nor is it usually referred to as High Street ('Chain Store Chic' is probably the term used the most to describe fashion pieces derived from a High Street-style store). 

With Zara already making an impact, the introduction of Topshop will hopefully be the tipping point to bring Australian retailers up to speed with international standards. Currently, if you venture into an Aussie chain store (Decjuba, Bardot, Portmans are but a few examples on the High Street spectrum) you can expect to pay between $90 - $140 for a cute dress. Topshop however, whose quality I would put on par with these Aussie brands, offers dresses such as this Splash Print Wrap dress for £36. That's approximately $AU55 thank you very much. 

Splash Print Wrap by Love,

So while we are witnessing some exciting changes to Australian retail, I have started thinking - how long will it be before we see some of our good ol' chain store favourites making a few revamps? So many of them have been focusing on catching up to online retail, will any miss the boat on re-hauling their core brand offering? I do hope they start taking action soon, because otherwise it will be far too late.

Whatever is in store for these Aussie brands, here's hoping Aussie shopaholics finally get the broad range of High Street we have been waiting so long for, and so decidedly deserve.

Multi-Stripe Zip Back Vest, £30

Rust Cutout Collarless Crop Blazer, £50

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Un-ban those Rays

Where would I rather be today? Making like a Katrina and/or a Wave and walking on sunshine. I'm frickin' freezing.

Thanks Ray-Ban

So until we can all engage in photosynthasis again, I will be getting my psuedo UV and Vitamin D fix from sun-inspired accessories. Like these appropriately outlandish Opaline Yellow/Avana Temple Ray-Bans, and these stunning House of Harlow 1960 Sunburst Earrings.


But particularly from this so happily sweet Felix Rey Let The Sun Shine Umbrella. Which is rather an irony in itself, because if I had an umbrella this cute, I would want it to rain all the time so I could show off my darling umbrella, and then I really wouldn't want the sun to shine because I wouldn't be able to show my umbrella off anymore.

Oh well, what's a girl to do?*


*Answer: Revel in the rain with a delightful Felix Rey umbrella whilst also wistfully wishing for the sun to show itself.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

The Mad Hatter or The Madder Hat?

I think hats have finally hit the big time. Over the past few seasons they have slowly been creeping into the category of 'essential accessory' alongside handbags and sunglasses, but now I feel as if they have gotten to collection status (ie. fashionistas will be keeping a hat collection within their wardrobes).

This is none more demonstrated than in the lovely Blogger Crush feature from Drop Dead Gorgeous Daily. I receive their super fashion-informative and eye-candyish emails with glee on a regular basis,  and have noticed that many of the blogger on which they crush seem to wear hats as an essential component of their outfit.

This advancement is great on so many levels. Firstly, hats have an uncanny way to transform an outfit from blah to 'oh yes!' in a cost-efficient way. Just check out Dotti's current range and see how the outfits they style them with would be so vanilla without the addition of the featured hat. (Not that vanilla is bad, personally vanilla is my favourite flavour for ice-cream. It's just often that vanilla with an additional topping is awesome and makes the vanilla flavour all the more sensational.) My personal favourite is the 70's Floppy Hat in Rust. Love it.

70's Floppy Hat from Dotti

Secondly, it means that when I wear my massive broad brimmed 70's style white straw hat at the beach, no-one will give me odd looks anymore (which should never have happened in the first place, but rather I should have been applauded on the spot for being so sun smart, providing shade to cover my head and shoulders).

And finally, it means that we can all push the boundaries of hats and no longer stick to the plain old beanie that keeps our head warm during winter. Like this extremely covetable Bear Face Beanie from Asos, which I think is the cutest thing I have seen in a long, long time. I actually saw two people on the street wearing it the other day. The first was a fashionista and when spotted her I instantly thought "I must have the hat!". The second was a girl I presumed to be about 10 and either had the hat bought for her by her Mum who thought it was cute and appropriate for a 10-year girl, or who had borrowed it from her super stylish Mum who liked to wear unconventional hats. 

So with that I say go forth and try a new trend - go get yourself a Mad Hat.

Bear Face Beanie from Asos

Monday, 27 June 2011

Stop Publish!

Amazing - a second eye candy has shape-shifted and come through today in the form of words. Kick up your heels lads and lasses for our friends at Fashionising revealed this morning that TopShop is (officially) coming to Australia



I know.

(Wipe tears of joy). 

We still have a whole six months before they gain Australian permanent residency (and I am sure they will get sponsored by their friends Incu, who have kindly offered them a place to stay over the past couple of years), but if you need a bit of a fix before then check out their S/S'11 LookBook on or hit the virtual cash register at

Further musings about this development will be featured in this week's Thursday Thought Starter.

Yummy Yummy Youma

Don't tell anyone, but I experienced a birthday a couple of weeks ago (I usually like to keep them secret). It was lots of fun, I indulged, and I also managed to score a few free drinks off well-wishers (that is, people wishing me well for my birthday, not people throwing coins in a well making a wish, or people wishing that they had a well).

But perhaps the most exciting thing that happened on my birthday was this - I learnt that Saks Fifth Avenue have a kick-ass loyalty marketing program. So much so, that they can predict my fashion trends and tastes exactly (which is amazing as I can't even predict my own tastes) and tailor any communications to meet my preferences, particularly on important days of the calendar.

I mean why else would I have received this very email on my birthday, featuring the fundamentally divine Youma Suede Ankle Boots from Gucci. With overlapping suede panels (think Herve Leger bandage encapsulated in a shoe), feature fringe detail and the all-powerful hidden platform, this may well be my shoe of Winter '11.

This is the sort of shoe that I would rock with opaques, a silk print dress and blazer for all occasions (work, weekend, party). And I think all other fashion retailers that dabble in e-newsletters should have what Saks is having, because the program* that they have to determine all my loves and desires on special occasions so far has a 100% success rate. 

* I believe the name of the aforementioned program is 'Coincidence'. 

Friday, 24 June 2011

The Slow-Down on Slogans

Slogan T-shirts. I feel like every now and then they have a bit of a revival. As if some of the key fashion houses hire a new copywriter who comes up with these really innovative Burgo's catch-phrases. And then everyone is walking down the street with these amazing statements of intent, wearing their heart on their sleeves and their minds on the chest.

Now, I don't mind the occasional revival. I think a clever slogan t-shirt can be very fun indeed. Particularly when you really can't be bothered dressing to the nines, a cute slogan tee complemented by your fave skinny jeans, jersey blazer and flat canvas shoes maketh an effortless, 'can't be bothered' yet chic outfit.

But what I do have an issue with is the slogan tees that are just plain stupid. One's that people buy because they think they are making an out-there statement about their personalities (such as "Don't Cross Me, Bitch" or "Man-Eater" or "Talk to the hand"), when really, the only statement they are making is they have no sense of fashion nor of choosing a wardrobe that presents them in their best light.

And speaking of light, I for one have not seen much of it lately having been stuck in bed with a virus. Which has been great, because I have been able to watch all three seasons of True Blood, which I think is one of the best shows going around. And also bad, because I have spent too much time mulling over bad slogan t-shirts. And then I stumbled across these beauties from Creep Street, which ordinarily, wouldn't be my thing. But, having spent my whole week watching highly sexually charged vampires, these slogan tees are the perfect thing to wear when Season 4 of True Blood starts.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Been around the block, a few times actually

Not much to say on this fine Monday, except I love block colour. And I think the Silvana Colour Block Flap Leather Shoulder Bag from Fendi (courtesy of the lovely Saks Fifth Avenue) says it all.

And if the bag doesn't, then the style name/description certainly does (seriously, I think just 'Silvana' would have been fine. But if not, why stop at that? It should be called the "Silvana Colour Block Flap Leather Shoulder Bag with double the fun silver and gold hardware; earthy-referenced two-toned internal lining with internal slash zip pocket; and feature tan handle complemented by a black cross-shoulder strap which will all in all put a massive dint in your bank balance". That would have been more accurate).

Happy Coo-ing and checking the bank account.

Thursday, 16 June 2011

Good quality, low prices and hype! Oh my!

Following yesterday's post lamenting my non-attendance at the Zara Melbourne launch, I have been closely following comments and news reports to get an idea of the general vibe. As expected, many customers have noted the high quality pieces for the amazing dollar value, which really is a limited option in Aus.

But perhaps what surprised me the most was the efforts of the other retailers - Bardot serving free coffee (should have ventured in the city for that alone, I do love my caffeine!); Just Jeans giving out discount vouchers and Forever New opening later. Now I can only speculate, as I do not work in their offices and don't have an idea of their strategy, but surely, surely 18 months ago when the Fashion Gods delivered their message to Aus that Zara was to become its newest expat, some of these businesses would have had a big sit down to strategise their own future.

Considering Zara is the world's largest retailer, this would signify that their strategy (good quality, fast fashion, mid-range price points) is perhaps a good one. Now if I was a retailer, I would have set in motion a number of initiatives to turn my core offering around a few years ago. So that on Wed 15 June, when Zara opened its doors, people would think "Hey, Lil Elky retailer is really good now. Loving their collection, you don't spend too much for what you are getting, and their stores are awesome. Let's go check out it after Zara". Rather than, "Hey Bardot are offering free coffee. Let's go get one before we go spend all our money at Zara."

And after the news that Colorado will be shutting its doors, I wonder if this just first of the dominoes to fall. Frankly, I am not surprised that Colorado had to close, its product and stores were outdated, and the brand had no clear market (I am serious, who were they trying to sell to?). For far too long they were relying on the old 'customer sentiment and therefore retail is down, that's why we perform badly'. Realistically, they had a bad product offering, and when you have better options (eg Zara) then of course consumers will choose this over an outdated, over-priced option.

With internationals like Top Shop and now Zara, as well as online maven Asos, giving Australian customers exactly what they want (the holy trinity of quality, price and hype) I am thinking that unless some of our local brands get their act together, there are going to a lot more times when we have to say bye-bye. Some people might say its unfair, I think it's just business. It has been happening for years in every other industry, it's just now that it's caught up to Aussie retail. So retailers, I say stop whinging and put your efforts into developing a kick-ass offering, a la Zara, and you will be fine. Well that's what I think.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Bourke Street No Brainer

Today's post is rather a sombre one. For I am at home feeling sorry for myself (and I am sure a lot of Melbourne ladies are sharing my sentiments), having not camped out for eight hours in the cold to be first to walk through the marvellous glass doors that are the gateway to fashion heaven. (Well, possibly fashion hell if you are an outdated Australian fashion retail business still charging exorbitant prices for pieces that are two seasons behind the rest of the world. But fashion heaven for us mere mortals that prefer good quality, fashion-forward pieces for reasonable prices.)

Yes, I did not go to the Zara Melbourne store opening as I had promised myself. As revealed by Fashion Exposed last week, Zara was highlighting a number of key trends in their initial Melbourne collection, and I was all too excited about block colour. Particularly as I feel the block colour trend is the easiest for Melbournites to pick up. Simply purchase a colour jacket/bag/scarf/skirt, add it to your traditional black/grey ensemble et voila - you've walked straight off the catwalk.

For this reason, my heart has been set on the pink blazer (who would have thought?). My only consolation in not being there today to snap up this delight - at least my outfits won't be the same as hundreds of other women who ventured in today (only a small consolation!).

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Is that 65% off, or is Marc just happy to see me?

Ah Wednesday the 8th June. I was expecting a rather non-eventful, usual sort of run-of-the-mill day. Instead, after a lengthy sleep in (it was way too cold to get out of bed this morning - and the week doesn't look to be getting much better), I obligingly opened my emails to trawl through the mess that is my inbox.

To my surprise, in amongst the loaded crap that is group buying deals and pointless brands' emails that I probably signed up for to enter some sort of competition, I found an absolute gem from Missy Confidential.  And that big fat flaming blue sapphire was THE OUTNET HAS MARC JACOBS AT UP TO 65% OFF!!

And I am not talking about the diffusion Marc by Marc Jacobs line (which I do also highly covet as does my credit card), but the real deal, genuine, hot stuff, usually beyond-my-budget Marc Jacobs. Yes, it's true. And automatically my eye was drawn to this Sequinned floral-print linen-blend jacket. Having purchased a super cute, structured bell skirt in a deep green brocade from Cue yesterday, this jacket would be the perfect complement to the classed-up clash outfit I am planning, a la Blair Waldorf.

So where would I rather be on this chilly Wednesday? Anywhere - as long as I had access to wireless and could continue to keep shopping up a Marc Jacobs up to 65% off storm. Which is exactly where I am right now - winner.