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
When River Island announced that they are partnering up with Rihanna on a special collection last month, I had a suspicion that there was something bigger behind it. Despite having 300 stores at home and abroad, River Island still isn't as well known internationally as other British high street stores like Topshop. Their partnership with Rihanna, then, sounded like part of a bigger plan to raise their profile international and considering today's reports, it looks like I was on to something.
Today the Independent confirmed that the retailer plans to follow in the footsteps of Topshop by opening their first US store in New York's Manhattan next year. At the moment there's still no word about the exact date but considering that Rihanna's collection for them drops early next year, it's pretty safe to assume that the big opening will coincide with the launch. The only big question now is whether Rih Rih will pose in their shop window, Kate Moss style.
A year or so go there was much speculation about Rihanna possibly collaborating with Topshop on a special line after she was spotted having dinner with Arcadia boss Sir Phillip Green but it looks like that isn't going to happen after all. Today River Island confirmed that they are the ones that have managed to snap the singer up for a design partnership.
'We are thrilled to be collaborating with Rihanna and be the first fashion brand to work with her in this way,' Ben Lewis, River Island Chief Executive, said in a statement. 'Rihanna is a style icon, from street to chic she enjoys her fashion. As soon as we tarted to work together we knew this was a perfect fit. Rihanna will be designing the collection and we will be sharing our fashion experience with her to develop a range her fans will love.'
Baring all for a shoot with iconic photographer Mario Testino, it is fair to say that Kylie Minogue's participation in this year's Fashion Targets Breast Cancer is something she holds close to her heart, with the issue being so close to home. Posing alongside fellow beauties Sienna Miller and Claudia Schiffer, the trio aim to raise over £1million for Breakthrough Breast Cancer. "It means so much to me to be part of this years' Fashion Targets Breast Cancer," the Australian singer told Vogue, "I wholeheartedly support their efforts to raise funds for vital work undertaken by Breakthrough Breast Cancer".
Only five years after being diagnosed with the disease, Miss Minogue is looking healthy, happy and as beautiful as ever for the cause, which whilst began as a small t-shirt campaign launched by Ralph Lauren back in 1994, now has the likes of M&S, River Island, Topshop, Warehouse, Laura Ashley, Coast, My-Wardrobe.com, Whistles, Superdry and Melissa Odabash on board creating special pieces to raise money for groundbreaking research, campaigning and education work. It's a hard call to pick favourites, but we'll be picking up the Olivia Rubin LBD from My-Wardrobe.com, and the Love to Love vest from Topshop. With money from the pieces going to such a good cause, we can look fabulous and feel good about it, too.
Graduate Fashion Week is officially in full swing. Each day, students show their collections and compete for a number of prizes that could catapult them into the industry.
After leaving the Kingston show on the first day of events, I managed to grab last year's winners. Jessica Lau wowed judges last year and managed to bag not one, but two awards. She left the competition as the winner for the River Island Gold Award, as well as Zandra Rhodes' Catwalk Textiles Award. Domingo Rodrieguez upped the standard with his menswear collection, securing the award for River Island's Gala Menswear Award, and Tim Rhys Evans walked away with the British Fashion Council Creative Cutting Award.