New York has long been recognised as the place offering wearable, practical designs and Elizabeth & James continue to prove that that's not necessarily a bad thing. One of the greatest thing about the line is that if you're a fan, you're pretty much guaranteed to be in love with each and everyone one of the collections featuring those all-important updated wardrobe-ready pieces that none of us can live without.
So with that in mind, it was business as usual at their fall 2012 presentation. Mary-Kate and Ashley offered up just what their customers want. The trusted parka came in a new dark shade rather than the usual khaki colour we've become accustomed to. Following on from the current penchant for comfort, they also offered a great pyjama suit alongside their signature tuxedo with cropped ankle grazing trousers and the perfect khaki jacket with a quilted overlay.
The trouser suit has long been a stalwart piece in women's wardrobes. Since Yves Saint Laurent created his 'Le Smoking' women's tuxedo back in 1966, the piece has no doubt morphed into one of the single most transformative pieces of women's wear and for A/W12, it made a serious comeback. Just like Saint Laurent, this season designers seem to be more attune to the fact that women need clothes that make sense as much as they appeal aesthetically and as a result, we're spoilt for choice.
You can generally guage what the big trends will be by watching the Prada show and this season Miuccia Prada made a big statement. At both Prada and Miu Miu the trouser suit dominated sending a clear message that if there's anything you need to buy this coming season, it's that.
Throughout the shows in February there was a lot of talk about the clothes being like an armour, preparing women for the tough world out there right now and it's true. At the rate things are going, we can all do with as much help as we can get and there's no denying it's transformative powers. Even Caroline Issa spoke about it recently in the latest issue of ELLE UK. Talking about her recent Tom Ford suit purchase she said: 'When I wear it I feel like the chicest person alive - it is wearable art.' Whistles CEO Jane Shepherdson shared the sentiment. 'It's about authority,' she said in an interview with Karen Dacre about the suit's power in the workplace. 'If I feel I need 'armour' any day, then I will pull on a trouser suit. It let's people know you're serious and not to e messed with.' My-Wardrobe's founder Sarah Curran said the same thing. 'There's definitely an attitude that goes with wearing one,' she told Dacre. 'There is something about a trouser suit that gives an air of confidence that a dress could never do.'
From top left: Acne, Dries van Noten, Miu Miu, Todd Lynn, Todd Lynn, Alexander Wang, Celine, Elizabeth & James, Miu Miu and Prada
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen may still be on a high after winning big at the CFDA Awards recently but this week they were back to work, presenting the resort 2013 collection of their other line, Elizabeth & James.
As I write this raindrops are gathering along my office windowsill and the tree outside is threatening to come thundering through the window, so yes, basically the weather isn't very good but if it was, this is exactly what I want to be wearing. As has become the norm, the collection played with masculine tailoring but in a feminine way, especially on the lightweight and blouses teamed with tailored trousers and Oxford and on the perfect deconstructed white tuxedo.
Anyone who paid attention at the S/S12 shows will know that printed trousers were everywhere. Designers like Peter Som and Alexander Wang went all out with bold styles but more than anything, florals were the print of choice. While florals for spring aren't the most groundbreaking trend you can think of (Miranda Priestly's comments in 'The Devil Wears Prada spring to mind), there is no disputing that the latest styles are good.
The red and purple Taylor Tomasi Hill-designedLane Crawford trousers were sported by everyone at the shows last season and Stella McCartney's Hawai-style 'Christine' trousers have been seen on everyone from Rihanna to Beyonce. My favourite styles, though, are the MaxMara 'Lodola' trousers because they are the perfect baby step into the trend with the subtle print and the Elizabeth & James option works because it comes in the slouchy pyjama style that I can't get enough of at the moment.
What do you think of floral trousers? Are you convinced?
As I write this post the weather outside is less than pleasant (I blame the good weather from the past few weeks for getting me excited for summer prematurely), which makes now the perfect time to start planning your sunnies before summer really begins. When it comes to shades, nobody does it quite as well as Nicole Richie and the Olsens and with that in mind it comes at no surprise that their respective lines, Elizabeth & James and House of Harlow 1960, are delivering some of the best styles this season.
Over the past year I've been sporting my tortoiseshell wayfarers but Richie's House of Harlow 'Chelsea' shades in black will definitely be my go to pair of sunglasses this year. If you're looking to make an investment the round-framed styles from Linda Farrow for The Row are equally as good, especially if you like the black version that Mary-Kate Olsen has been sported over the last few years. For more wallet friendly styles, head to Topshop who have very similar styles but for less than £30 or if the cat-eye is your shape of choice, Whistles do the perfect reinterpretation of Tom Ford's much loved frames.
Last night a source close to Mary-Kateand Ashley Olsen announced that they will not show the latest collection for The Row - the higher priced sister brand to Elizabeth & James - in New York as planned. “They’re changing directions,” a source close to the duo told Fashionista, leading many to speculate that financial issues are the real cause behind the change.
The sisters have since confirmed that they will show their collection to press and buyers in Paris instead. As Fashionista points out, whether this will be result in a full blown show or simply a small presentation to key press and buyers is yet to be announced. Stay tuned for updates.
JCPenney, it's not that we didn't think you had it in you. After all, you've secured designer collaborations with Charlotte Ronson and Kimora Lee Simmons, so clearly you have negotiating power. But nabbing Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen to design for you? Now that one we didn't see coming.
The twins appear to be launching a juniors' line called Olsenboye. Previews of the Olsens' range are starting now, which suggests the line will launch for spring. Do we see a cheaper version of The Row or Elizabeth & James on the horizon? If so, we know what budget-conscious style addicts can wear with their H&M Jimmy Choos.