On Saturday 4th October Essex Fashion Week 2014 went off with a bang at the beautiful Lakeview Marquee in Fairlop Waters Country Park, Essex. I was invited along as a VIP to experience some of Essex’s finest designers, boutiques and fashion, beauty and fitness businesses, and I had the most amazing time.
Held in the stunning grounds of Fairlop Waters Country Park, Essex Fashion Week is by far the most talked about event in Essex, celebrating it’s fifth birthday in style; with champagne, sparkles, twinkling chandeliers, killer heels, dapper suits, Hollywood smiles, magnificent jewellery, flawless makeup and a glamourous after party to follow the catwalk. EFW14 is the seventh show in five years, proudly in association with Breast Cancer Care.
I was fortunate to be seated in the front row, directly in front of the catwalk with a fabulous view of the models, designers and clothes, with headline sponsors including Fake Bake, Tresor Paris, Kennet Watches, Gyms Kitchen, Freeport Braintree and Essex Smiles. Keep an eye out for my posts featuring goodies from the show! As the marquee filled with fashionable spectators we were able to browse the stalls in the lead up. Despite only living an hour away in Buckinghamshire, it seems that Essex is poles apart for fashion and style. The attention is certainly on maintenance, for men and women to be well manicured, red carpet ready and dressed like celebrities making an effortless stylish statement with every outfit, yet out in the sticks where I live the focus is more on nature and comfort. The stalls showcased local and national businesses covering every fashion and beauty need, from designer swimwear to cosmetically tattoo’d makeup, and ball gowns to nutritionally prepared Edamame beans. The atmosphere was electric and I needed no excuse to partake in a spot of retail therapy.
Ri Ri’s Premium Dress & Beauty Boutique
Ri Ri’s Dress & Beauty Boutique is a premium formal wear boutique stocking beautiful designer dresses to suit every occasion. Specialising in formal wear, prom, party, plus sizes and cocktail dresses, these beautiful pieces will make you the Belle of the ball. Ri Ri’s also conveniently provide lash extensions, spray tans, hair and makeup to cover all of your needs; with the stunning owner Ms Ria Carroll shortly set to jet off to China to take part in Miss Model Of The World. Wow.
Tahlulah Ray is the brand of fashion graduate Sinead Mitchard, a designer with overwhelming passion and larger than life dreams, focusing on exciting prints, bold colours and creative shapes in swimwear all made lovingly in the UK. The Tahlulah Ray Ibiza Collection is sizzling!
Gym’s Kitchen is “making London healthy” with an online fitness inspired clothing store, the UK’s first protein based restaurant, outdoor catering and online diet plans. Using only the freshest ingredients everything is prepared from scratch daily, with an open plan kitchen creating healthy and affordable food without temptation. As a vegetarian fitness fanatic this is a company that really caught my attention, their clothing brand is inspirational and their protein pancakes, garlic spinach, avocado wholemeal toast and grilled halloumi have me drooling.
Inka Belle Semi Permanent Cosmetics are helping us all to “wake up with makeup” with their range of eyebrow, eyeliner and lip tattooing. From natural brows to correctly frame the face, lift the eyes and maintain a convenient and flawless shape, to eyeliner that won’t smudge or wash off, and lips that look plump and perfect without a derma filler or lip pencil in sight.
Facebook: /Inka Belle – Semi Permanent Makeup
As the number one fake tan choice for celebrities, Fake Bake are experts in creating the perfect glow. From the red carpet to the boardroom there is no reason to not have a fabulous tan all year round, as Fake Bake are offering a tantastic 20% off online until 31/10/14 by quoting “EFW3110” at the checkout.
Dirty Angels are a fresh and vibrant clothing brand taking over Essex, with Elliott and Mark Wright of ITV’s hit show TOWIE being big fans. Launching their AW14 collection of long sleeve polos and sweats, their iconic t-shirts and caps are a vibrant and glamourous style statement, starting a new style instead of imitating others; taking inspiration from holidays, parties, music, film, tattoos, photography and capturing the moment. And thanks to EFW they are providing a 20% discount online which you can access by using the promo code “DIRTY20” at the checkout.
Essex Smiles Cosmetic Teeth Whitening has a pristine reputation hailed as the best celebrity teeth whitening studio in Essex for over three years. As I’m currently undergoing cosmetic dentistry to straighten my teeth I am literally counting down the days until I can whiten my teeth, as it makes the biggest difference to your appearance. I find when I have white teeth my eyes appear to be brighter and my skin healthier looking.
The catwalk began at 19:30 amongst rows of white linen seats, sparkling chandeliers and a pristine white runway, lit beautifully with soft pink uplighters diffusing into the sea of white rolled fabric ceiling dressing and sleek flat screen televisions. I took my seat on the front row as a musician filled the room with soulful music and a live guitar, and was greeted with a goodie bag containing chocolates, jewellery, makeup samples and lookbooks, as well as an EFW14 official programme. There were nine designers showing in total, for which the event was split into two halves with an interval for refreshments between.
The catwalk was absolutely spectacular, a grand performance to delight the senses, the lights the sounds and the electric atmosphere. The runway has an unrivalled artistic ability of bringing fashion to life, to get a sense of the cut, style, weight and movement of a piece that no advert, hanger or packaging can ever give such justice to. The models were stunning and the clothing absolutely breathtaking. I was ooh’ing and ahh’ing throughout and became totally consumed by the atmosphere, the bright lights, enchanting music, and fascinating ghost-like movements of the models on the runway as camera bulbs flashed, spectators gasped and smiles filled the entire manicured room. I couldn’t help but take thousands of pictures whilst spending my imaginary millions, making mental notes of my favourite pieces and daydreaming about the lavish locations where I might wear them one day. It filled me with such inspiration for the eclectic and contemporarily creative pieces shown by such skilled and unique designers, who all varied in age and background.
The runway models all wore Kennett Timepieces showcasing a beautiful and contemporary range of ladies and gentlemen’s wristwatches. I fell in love with the rose gold pieces which are massively on trend at the moment, and am a huge fan of white ceramic and chronograph. I’ve had my eye on the Chanel J12 for quite some time now, and this Kennett piece immediately put me in mind of it with it’s classical roman numerals, pearlescent face and rose gold detailing.
Freeport Braintree Outlet Shopping
Freeport Braintree offers outlet shopping at its best with over 85 designer names and high street stores at up to 60% off, including Molton Brown London, Karen Millen, Levi’s, Ted Baker London, Hollister, Hobbs London, Lacoste, Barbour and Zatchels. Set in a relaxing village environment with free wifi, there are restaurants, cafes and coffee shops as well as a cinema and bowling alley adjacent to entertain the whole family. The pieces that really caught my eye were the monochrome print ladies coat as it has such a retro 1960’s edge to it, and the black sequinned gown is simply divine, catching the light and throwing out sparkles as it glistens from every angle.
Although this is a menswear range, I love mixing up my fashion, and there is nothing more comfy-casual than a pair of skinny jeans, high heels, flawless makeup and a nice boyfriend tee. I find the contrast being feminine and masculine, tight fit and loose fit, and smart and casual the perfect mix that you can wear in so many ways throughout the day. My favourites have to be the ripped jeans and understated subtle logo grey tee, the faded black roses and black block cap sleeves and red text on white.
Kryolan sponsored Essex Fashion Week and provided the makeup for all of the models. Their showcase was absolutely spectacular as the five models took to the runway beneath lowered lights and camera flashes, highlighting blunt angels, iconic stances and glistening flashes of colour with each strobe. It wasn’t until the lights came up at the end that I realised the models were only wearing a g-string and their entire outfits were make from makeup and bodypaint, aside from the head pieces of course. It is incredible to see and imagine the art that can be created from the science of makeup. My favourite design is the far right black and gold swirls as it merges organic femininity with an influence of tribal strength.
Tresor Paris have a beautiful collection of mens and womens jewellery and watches, and I love how a single statement piece can complete an outfit, taking a look from ordinary to the extraordinary in seconds. I firmly believe that less is more, and rather than drenching yourself in hundreds of cheap bangles and plastic multi-coloured earrings, a simple and elegant necklace or bracelet is far more classical and aesthetically pleasing. My favourite pieces are the ornate gold wide cuff bangle and the delicate matching silver pendant neck chain and bracelet on the model wearing the two piece. I love how the jewellery is styled on white and neutrals as it allows each piece to really stand out and make an impact.
Jane Norman always have such empowering feminine tailoring and I love the cut of this geometric monochrome jacket. The black peplum dress with a sharp v-front neckline is very 1980’s power dressing and black mesh skirting is a massive trend for AW14.
Matthew Hubble is a designer that I am effervescently excited about. From the second the first model stepped foot on the runway the entire room fell silent. Matthew’s background is in engineering and it’s undoubtedly present in his collection, bringing a steely industrial edge to such striking feminine pieces. The tailoring of each item accentuates the curves of the body, whilst the geometric cutouts and panels create a great weight and authority. There is an invigorating elegance encapsulated in a powerful and iconic fashion statement that certainly turns heads and each piece needs to be in my wardrobe because I’m head over heels for all of them.
Dentelle Bleue is the womenswear creation of an innovative young fashion graduate offering contemporary aesthetics inspired by structural forms and novel architecture, delivered through an extensive range of clothing and swimwear manufactured using only the highest quality textiles. I adore the white halter neck dress with a bold red stripe and black criss cross detail as it is beautifully figure hugging and both simple yet modern and conservative yet flirtatious with its a mid thigh split. The black cap sleeve dress with the single vertical stripe really shouts out to me with its understated authority, and the red asymmetrical midi dress is incredibly feminine yet innocent at the same time with the bold block of nude panelling and sweeping bell sleeve.
Confetti & Couture Bridal Boutique
Confetti & Couture Bridal Boutique have everything you could ever desire for a fashionable and beautiful special day; from bridal gowns to bridesmaids, accessories, proms, veils and tiaras. I could coo over wedding dresses for the rest of my life as there are so many variations that always seem to steal my attention away from the one that I’ve loved previously. My favourite from this collection is the open back ivory lace wedding gown with it’s ornate beading and modest train, as it’s very old school Hollywood glamour; and the blue floor length skirt and jewelled asymmetrical bodice would be perfect for a glitzy evening. They’re also offering a 10% Essex Fashion Week discount when you quote “ESW4” online.
Trying To Live is the first collection from an incredible young designer who has already developed an iconic sense of style. I have always been a fan of monochrome, and the contrast between the sharp white panels and uniformed white borders and cuff bands of these pieces are almost military yet instantly recognisable as TTL. It has a modern sports luxe accent that is both smart casual and comfortable fashion at the same time.
Essex Fashion Week was a feast for the senses, promoting some very inspiring and incredible designers, and bringing together a fantastic mix of fashion savvy spectators and local boutiques and beauticians all for the benefit of Breast Cancer Care. For my first experience of EFW14 I am now an avid follower and excited to see what EFW15 brings. Congratulations to all who organised and made the event possible, and I hope that you too will be inspired to come to the next show.