If there's one collaboration that I'm excited about at the moment, it's Madewell's with Solange Knowles. Regular readers will know just how fond I am of her style and as far as affordable fashion goes, it doesn't get much better than Madewell.
To accompany the announcement the brand released a short behind-the-scenes glimpse from the Fall 2012 campaign shoot and now, all of the images are finally out.
The concept behind it was 'Mix Well. Madewell,' so involved Knowles rocking polka dots with stripes; leopard and sheep prints and stripes and florals to perfection in the way only she knows how.
Madwell deserve a big pat on the back for this one. Today the retailer revealed that they've tapped Solange Knowles to star in their new capaign and everything about it works. Madewell have always been known as J. Crew's quirkier sister so is definitely in line with Solange's style, resulting in one of the most exciting partnerships I've heard about in a while.
As exciting as it is, I can't say I'm surprised. Solange has always had a great relationship with J. Crew's Jenna Lyons and I mean, it makes perfect sense. 'I of course love what she does at J.Crew,' Knowles told Fashionista recently about Lyons. 'I just think it embodies my style in that it has so much color and texture and character but it’s classic with great tailoring and I think if you have one you have to have the other. And she’s just so freakin’ cool. What else can I say?'
I'm always slightly dubious when it comes to best dressed lists. Sorry to name check but as many of you will recall, British Glamour's 2012 round-up that they released back in Aril was an example of just how bad they can get. I mean, Tulisa being ranked higher than Nicole Richie and Kristen Stewart as number one. Need I say anymore?
Last week Net-A-Porter released theirs and in stark contrast, it's pretty spot on. Giovanna Battaglia stole the top spot and came in at number one. Whether you're fan of her bold Italian style or not, nobody can deny that she is always perfectly well put together and channels that aesthetic like a pro. In that respect, her position is well deserved.
Model of the moment Hanne Gabby Odiele came in at number two, which I'm really happy to see. She's one of the few models that actually take risks and breaks away from that increasingly boring and predictable models off duty look. I mean, the girl can pull off those high waisted thigh skimming Balenciaga shortsand in broad daylight. Now that's not an easy task.
What's not to love about Solange Knowles? The DJ and model is finally getting the recognition she deserves for her flawless and original sense of style but sadly her hair sadly hasn't gone down quite as well with some. Recently ESSENCE magazine received a barrage or critical comments on an article they recently published where the 26 year-old shared her hair secrets.
'Natural hair can VERY beautiful. Solange’s hair is not. Even if she wore an afro, pick it out even or something. It always looks unkempt…Boo for not even trying to represent with her natural fro’ness,' one commenter said. 'She really needs to put some work into STYLING her hair. This is why people think natural hair looks bad,' another added.
Solange decided to respond to the comments on Twitter on Thursday:
'I never painted myself as a team natural vice president. I don’t know the lingo and don’t sleep with a satin cap… However, I did [notice] when I picked out my hair, I kept seeing feedback about needing a “twist out”. Connnnfesssioonnn: I HATE twist outs. Correction, I hate the way they look on me SO I end up always picking them/ steaming them out. Look, all I’m saying is. My hair is not very important to me… so [i] don’t encourage it to be important to you.'
The saga got me thinking. Where's the backlash coming from? Knowles is one of the few African-American women in the public eye actually embracing her natural hair so shouldn't this be supported rather than criticised? 'It's disappointing that when the target of criticism is a successful woman, the attack usually focuses on some aspect of her appearance,' Michelle Bobb-Parris of blog Who Is Bobb Parris, told me in an email. 'I think that the comments speak more to the insecurities that some women have about their own hair than Solange's choice of hairstyle. I feel her frustration, as whether I choose to define or straighten curls, or to go with the 'fro can be quite polarising. Ultimately, Solange's hair is beautiful, and the natural hair police have no business with how she chooses to style it.'
Stella McCartney has never been one to follow the pack so yesterday it came as no surprise that she opted for a summer garden party rather than a showroom presentation to unveil her Resort 2013 collection in New York.
Guests, including Anne Hathaway, Solange Knowles, Lauren Hutton and 'Sh*t Fashion Girls Say' personality P'Trique, mingled with the models wearing the clothes while playing fairground games to the sound of the Rebels Brass Band.
Is it me or has Beyoncé completely upped the ante in the style stakes recently? While I've always been a fan of her music, her style hasn't ever particularly appealed to me but that's changed. Like her younger sister Solange, the 30 year-old has really come into her own over the past few years and this outfit is a case in point.
Yesterday the singer was out and about in Paris, where Jay-Z is performing in the French leg of his 'Watch The Throne' tour, wearing this bright yellow shorts suit from Surface to Air. The addition of the Alexander McQueen canvas tiger printed DeManta clutch and Prada flaming wings heels finished off the look perfectly.
I mean, we’re friends first. I of course love what she does at J.Crew. I just think it embodies my style in that it has so much color and texture and character but it’s classic with great tailoring and I think if you have one you have to have the other. And she’s just so freakin’ cool. What else can I say?
Just when we thought that pyjama dressing was the only unlikely trend of the season, you can add peplum to that list too. The silhouette isn't something new but for some reason or other, many women avoid it like the plague but this season things have changed. The style has made a serious comeback and everyone seems to being embracing it.
Everyone from Jason Wu and Giambattista Valli to Alexander McQueen and Givenchy paid homage to the style back in September and it's not hard to understand why. As someone that has suffered with finding clothes to fit around my typically South African pear shape, the waist skimming effect is perfect. As Beyoncé and Kim Kardashian show, it accentuates a tiny waist whilst skimming your hips and celebrating curves. Even for those that are more straightly shaped, peplums help create the illusion of curves like it did for Emma Watson and Emma Stone recently.
When Michelle Williams sported that beautiful statement red Louis Vuitton peplum gown it became clear that everyone was converted and unsurprisingly, the high street has picked up on it too. Not all are good but Zara has created some great styles that are sculptural and structured without the fuss that made many people avoid them in the first place.
Clockwise from top left: Ashley and Mary Kate Olsen in The Row; Solange Knowles in Marni; Kate Bosworth in Altuzarra; Dakota Fanning in Proenza Schouler; Pamela Love in Theyskens Theory; Tabitha Simmons and Karen Elson in Proenza Schouler
The DJ wore a yellow paillette patterned sleeveless dress with white panels and a deep V-neck from the Marni S/S12 collection and teamed it with a woven leather satin clutch and perspex heels from Missoni.