Balmain Barmy

Having been promoted by worldwide fashion elites from as early as May this year, it came as no surprise that the H&M x Balmain collaboration was going to be the most popular one to date. The collection not only put fashion lovers in a spin for months on end hoping to bag a Balmain bargain, but also those that wanted the chance to feel part of the exclusive ‘Balmain Army’ living life as “#squadgoals.” There is no doubt that many shoppers took inspiration from Kim Kardashian West, who is an avid wearer of the brand, and good friend of designer, Olivier Rousteing. Along with advertisement from the rest of the Kardashian/Jenner clan, as well as a music video and various catwalk shows, the build-up contributed to it being the fastest selling HM designer collaboration, selling out online and in-store (to many people’s dismay) within a couple of hours.

The intricate women’s collection featured 69 unique pieces, consisting of an array of heavily embellished dresses, faux fur leather jackets, beaded blouses and blazers, velvet trousers, and gold costume jewellery. Using the distinguishable Balmain black and gold colour scheme, Rousteing also sleeked up the collection with monochrome, hints of red, navy and dark green. A few products also slightly mirrored colours that were used in the 2013 Versace x H&M collaboration, including the pink beaded dress and silk blouse, as well as the neon green sequin dress. Despite minor criticism over stock volumes and technical difficulties online, Olivier deserved every success with this extraordinary, incredibly detailed women’s collection, and in the opinion of many fashion writers, has exceeded former designer partnerships by miles.


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In previous years, I haven’t been totally invested in the H&M collaborations. I can appreciate the designs, and hard work that must have gone into creating such a thing, but nothing got my bones rattling unlike this batch of Balmain. So in preparation the night before the big release, I set my alarm in anticipation for 8am, giving myself plenty of time to be up, ready and raring to log on to the H&M website. My subconscious must have been working overtime as I woke up immediately at 5 in the morning, anxiously eager to get a head start, and sign on to the website early. I was able to access the page and became almost certain I’d be able to bag the black blazer and devoré scarf that I had been dreaming about for so long. But at 15 minutes to 9, the worst happened, and I was redirected to the ‘try again’ page for no reason at all, which according to various Twitter posts was happening to many customers. From there on, it started my long and extremely agonising wait to try and get back in (much to my neighbours annoyance, there was a lot of screaming). I ended up with four tabs open on my laptop, one on my home computer, and the H&M app on my phone. It is safe to say that if I had earned a penny for every click I made on ‘try again’, I could’ve purchased the whole collection. After an hour solid of refreshing, I accepted that there would be none left for me, so I decided to move on with my life, and went to watch the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, dreaming of the day where I could afford official Balmain.

At around 11am, I thought I would try my luck one last time, this time around checking the H&M website on my phone. Through nothing other than sheer luck, I was directed straight through to the Balmain page. I had excitement in the pit of my stomach like a child searching the Argos catalogue at Christmas, especially when I saw the products I wanted were still available! Unfortunately, by the time I got through to the checkout my blazer and scarf had sold out, which is no surprise considering their great value, but at this point I had accepted it was unlikely on getting the blazer. Nevertheless, I was lucky enough to purchase my other favourites, consisting of the black and white ribbed skirt, black velvet T-shirt, and bottle green suede clutch.



Fast-forward to this week and my products arrived, and I couldn’t have opened the box quick enough! The skirt is insanely gorgeous; any dream of getting a Kimmy K hourglass shape and booty has become a reality. It fits me like a glove, pulling in at the waist and ending at a flattering length just on the knee. The fabric is high quality, and in all, is of great value at £39.99. The clutch, priced at £24.99, is exceptionally reasonable for real leather/suede. It is a lot smaller than I anticipated, but I guess it would be the perfect size for Christmas parties, with more than enough space to fit money and makeup in. The top is also a great purchase, and again, very reasonable at £24.99. From what I could tell by the website, this product and the white T-shirt were extremely popular and sold like wildfire, especially to those that didn’t want to spend too much on the colab, but wanted a piece of the collection. It’s simple with just the brand embossed across the front in velvet, but it can easily be dressed up or down, depending on how you feel. I love love love them!


Balmain T Shirt

One thing that should be mentioned is how truly disgusting it is that many were able to purchase products, only to get them straight onto eBay within minutes, and selling for triple the price. Those kinds of people are awful, greedy human beings, and it is so unfair for those than genuinely wanted something from the collection. I really do not understand how some sellers managed to get an array of products, and in each and every size going – it should be against the law of fashion! For those that didn’t get their hands on any, my heart goes out to you, #firstworldproblems right? I will thoroughly enjoy my items, and can confirm I will not be wasting them by putting them up for sale on eBay. They are classic pieces that I can keep and enjoy for a long time.

It’ll be extremely interesting to see what designer will be in the line up for next year’s partnership with H&M. So far rumours are flying around that it could potentially be Moschino, Saint Laurent, Chloé or Marc Jacobs. My money would be on a Jeremy Scott takeover, but it would be amazing to see a Saint Laurent stint in stores, we will just have to wait and see once the hype of this has died down. But for now a round of applause, and huge congratulations to Olivier Rousteing for such an amazing, and beautifully designed collection. Here’s looking forward to next year’s collaboration!

Start of Fall clothes haul

Due to my lack of money and monthly-only pay cheques, I found myself extremely strapped for cash in August. I was feeling slightly down because I’m a self-confessed shopaholic and find it extremely difficult to not spend money. I get a real thrill to enter those 4 digits of my pin, even if it is for a pack of chewing gum – yes I probably do need professional help.  So when August’s pay cheque came through, and my hard work slaving away throughout summer paid off; I thought I’d treat myself to a few little purchases to cheer myself up and get my Autumn wardrobe ready. Some of them were splurges (cough, Topshop, cough), but the others were sale bargains, so I don’t feel as bad about what is left of my wages.

To begin with – my Topshop purchases. I am absolutely in love with everything in Topshop at the moment. I wasn’t keen on anything in store during Spring and Summer; but since they’ve bought in their Autumn collection, I just can’t help but be obsessed with every single thing, especially products in the ‘Margot’s World’ trend.

The first item purchased was this beautiful, yellow and white polka-dot shirt. My eyes were drawn immediately to this item due to the amazing colour. Usually, I don’t tend to wear yellow because of the fact I’m quite pale and blonde, so it doesn’t suit my skin tone, but I just couldn’t not buy this. I think it is something that can be worn by anyone, and with anything! So far, I’ve worn it on a night out with a black mini dress, a gold necklace and gold shoes; but I really do want to buy myself some pale boyfriend jeans to pair it with a little white top.

Topshop blouse

Secondly, I bought myself the black and white ‘Mesh T-Shirt all-in-one’ jumpsuit. Again, jumpsuits aren’t something I normally wear but I find that this item is really flattering for my hourglass shape as it is ruched in at the waist and then has a bit more extra fabric around the thigh area. The fabric is 95% viscose and 5% elastane, so it is so comfortable, and barely creases at all. Also, I am an absolute lover of anything monochrome, so this item – to me – is perfect. Another thing that I love about this jumpsuit is that it can either be dressed up for a night out, for example, with a pair of white heels, or in the daytime with a pair of Converse. It’s so forgiving and draws attention to all the right places. Definitely 5 stars for this item!

topshop jumpsuit

The next item I bought was this Accessorize necklace. I may be a tad bias because I do work for Accessorize, and it’s probably the reason I have no money because of my amazing 70% discount(!), but as soon as I saw this on the shop floor I had to buy it – I have worn it so much since and there are no regrets! Originally it was £25 but because of my discount I paid £7.50. It goes perfectly with pretty much anything and just adds a bit more glamour to an outfit. Accessorize really does have some fabulous jewellery and bags in at the moment, and I can’t wait to see our shop filled with more as Christmas arrives.

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My final purchase was this gorgeous Chanel inspired zip jacket. I have been searching high and low for something like this for ages, so that I could wear it for Autumn/Winter with a pair of jeans and boots as it looks so expensive and chic. I managed to grab this in Miss Selfridge for only £18. It was the only one there and in my size, so it was literally meant to be. I think it could also look cute over a little dress either for daytime or night time. It’s a real classic and essential piece for anyone’s wardrobe. Maybe one day if I manage to actually save some money I could buy myself a real Chanel jacket. …..Dream on!

chanel inspired jacket

I definitely won’t be splurging any more money on clothes anytime soon, but it was good to finally get my autumn wardrobe going considering how cold its got! I’ve added links onto the pictures where possible.

House of Halos

This Tuesday brought the Bloggers Love event for the upcoming, innovative accessory brand, House of Halos. Located eight floors up at the Penthouse London in the centre of Leicester Square, it was the perfect opportunity to display various – and very stunning – jewellery and accessory designs, created by couture hair accessory art designer, and owner of House of Halos, Arlene Barclay.

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View from The Penthouse London

Having 24 years expertise within this market, it was clearly an overwhelming situation for Arlene seeing so many beauty and fashion bloggers and people from the fashion industry supporting the event and the products. “I was unbelievably nervous and at the end when everyone was taking all the photos I was shaking like mad with fear and trying to hold back the tears, very, very grateful to everyone. What an emotional and special moment”.

At the young age of fourteen, Arlene’s love of accessories emerged and she started crafting her own jewellery, however; her passion was heightened at 23, when she initiated her first company, “Angel’s Halos”, after being disappointed by the lack of formal hairpieces on the market whilst trying to find her own bridal accessories. With great success and numerous bridal designs being featured in all major Scottish Wedding Publications and various Northern England exhibitions & catwalks, Arlene decided in 2012 to end Angel’s Halos on a high, and start a new chapter in her life – House of Halo’s, which brings us to the current day.

The latest designs from House of Halo’s sees a variation between couture; such as the eccentric feather head piece seen in picture four, and classic; including the chic pearl necklace worn in picture two. Despite the quirky designs, there are definitely some vintage inspired pieces that could be worn on a day to day basis, or on special occasions, including the pearl and crystal encrusted headband and bracelet seen in the Ocean collection (see below).

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Photos taken by me @ Bloggers Love event

Past the intricate designs, however; Arlene wants to use these designs as a platform to help make a difference in the world – you could say she wears a halo of her own. “Why should the younger youth inherit such a mess? It’s time for a change“, which is an extremely refreshing mindset from a designer.

What is incredible and highly unique is that the majority of the lines in the brand have their own name in regards to what the proceeds will go towards; for example, the ‘Peace’ design, which is going to help support charities like War Child, the ‘Ice’ designs – which will help with the results of global warming in the Arctic and Antarctica, and also the ‘Ocean’ line which will support marine life issues.

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Peace Designs – Picture from Twitter @HouseofHalos

These three jewellery pieces have a definite goth/Victorian inspired twist on an otherwise, fashionable look; especially the choker necklace, which has been seen exclusively on number one selling artist – Emili Sandé.

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The Ice Designs – photo’s taken by me @ Bloggers Love event.

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Ocean Design – Picture from Twitter @HouseofHalos

Arlene maintain’s the slogan “a genuine desire to exceed client expectations“, which she has always been determined to exceed. This could definitely be achieved, as the first design she wants to release is the Peace collection. These pieces could definitely be added to any outfit to add an edge.“I think this will be a good initial design because it is on trend and a timeless fashion design, but also the fact of personal satisfaction in knowing by making their purchase they could be helping children less fortunate in this world. Things have to change and I’d be honoured if I could start a change just by a little necklace or bracelet.”

After 15 years at a professional level, Arlene has set herself high ambitions of making House of Halos a global success and the current aspiration is to see her products stocked in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols. However; in order for this to happen, Arlene needs an investor who will help, along with her passion and fortitude, to create a brand that is world-wide established. Therefore, it is highly important that everyone passes the word around about this company!

So with certain motives of not only creating stunning pieces that would fill a huge gap in the market, but wanting to help make positive changes within the world, it’s only fair that this kind, and incredibly creative lady gets an investor on board so we could see these products in our stores as soon as possible.

Please do take a look at her website to check out the portfolios and photo galleries, and make sure you show your support by following her on twitter!

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@HouseofHalos

Facebook: House of Halos

Models in these photographs are seen wearing dresses designed by Kevin Freeman of Renaissance Couture, and Isabelle Randall.

Kardashian Kollection part 3

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Photo taken from Dorothy Perkins

I’ve got to admit I am a huge kardash-aholic – from the show to the clothes, I am always keen to keep up with them (excuse the pun). So when the first Kardashian Kollection line came out last August, I was down my local Dot Perkins as k-wick as possible. And here were are now, three trends down, and I’m still doing the same.

I have to say that yes, I was initially drawn to the clothes at first because of the name, but after trying on the clothes and feeling the fit, I feel that this is more than just a line of clothing made by some celebrities. This is because I find it extremely difficult to shop for my size. I’m 5ft 10ins tall, with a prominent hourglass shape. I have a large bust and booty (proud of it!) but a very tiny waist, which makes it really difficult to find clothes that fit me properly. Both dresses and skirts are too short, and tops will be too tight around the bust but then way too baggy around my waist.

However, the Kardashian brand is famous because of the Kim Kardashian kurves (yes I am going to use a ‘K’ wherever necessary!!), so they are designed to accentuate an hourglass figure. And since, I haven’t yet found clothes that fit me so well, whilst looking so fashionable like theirs do. They are also made really well and the fabrics used are extremely comfortable.

This Spring/Summer 2013 collection includes some fabulous pieces which you can see have all been designed specifically by the girls to match their tastes, such as the cream metallic high-waisted shorts and matching jacket that are advertised by Kourtney.

The seasons colour palette sees summery whites, marble-printed effect greys, essential black pieces and subtle pinks; including the gorgeous pink and grey ombre blazer.

So far (I say this lightly as I’m pretty sure in an hours’ time I’d have persuaded myself to buy the white bodycon dress) I have ordered the metallic high-waisted shorts mentioned above, the black PU panel leggings, and the pink blush sleeveless blouse. I think these pieces are essential for summer, and better yet I can match the blouse with both the shorts and leggings. What’s great as well is that I received a few Arcadia gift vouchers for my birthday so I used one to help pay for my order, but also you receive 15% for student discount on the Dorothy Perkins website.

I am able to pick up these lovely pieces tomorrow from my local store, and I can’t wait to try them on and see how they look – I’m hoping good! I will add another blog tomorrow to show you what I think.

In the meantime, if you’re interested at looking at some of the other beautiful pieces from their collection, and some amazing accessories, then head over to the Dorothy Perkins website now.

Enjoy!

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Spring Tag!

Seeing as Spring is really in the air, I’ve decided to do another beauty and fashion tag – dedicated to this season! Feel free to use this tag, and reply with a link to yours, would like to hear your answers!

Favourite spring nail polish?

As you may know from my previous tag that I 90% of the time wear shellac nail polish, just because it keeps my nails stronger, and lasts longer. I’m absolutely loving pale colours on the nails at the moment (makes my hands look more tanned!) and the one I’m currently using is a mix. I’m using the Bluesky 40526, which is the white from the French Manicure set, mixed with the Bluesky Pastel Blossom. You’re probably wondering why I mixed these colours but I accidentally ordered 2 French Manicure sets of Amazon, so instead of wasting one, I decided to make a pink/white to use during the Spring/Summer months. Ta-da!

Bluesky

What is your must-have lip color this spring?

I’ve got two favourites that I purchased quite recently but cant stop wearing.

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First of all is the gorgeous burnt orange colour from Topshop and it’s called Hedonist and it was £7. Unfortunately, it is not on the Topshop website but they may have it in store. If not they have plenty of other beautiful orange colours in lip paints, tints, bullets and crayons, such as the Lip Bullet in Heartbeat.

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The second is an Accessorize lipstick in Love Struck. This is a very bright colour, I don’t think the pictures do it justice! But it’s a bluey pink, therefore teeth appear whiter! I think this will be absolutely amazing in summer for both the day and nights out. This was only £4.50. This has been around for quite some time now, so it’s not online. I have seen it in Superdrug and Accessorize stores, so it is a case of searching. If not there is a similar lipstick which is the Sleek True Colour Lipstick in Loved Up.

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What’s your favorite flower?

At this time of year my favourite flowers are daffodils. It just reminds me that its Spring and the heat is on its way! Also I love the fact they come out of nowhere, and they’re just so colourful and pretty!

Favorite spring scarf/accessory?

I don’t actually own any spring scarfs at the moment, mainly because I haven’t found one that I like enough. But I am absolutely obsessed with 2 accessories at the moment. The first is my black and white bow from Topshop. I have worn it pretty much every day I’ve had it, and cone be worn in so many different ways. It’s so cute and girly.

Secondly, is my new Prada sunglasses. I’ve been wanting a pair of cat eye sunglasses for ages. And I really wanted to treat myself to a nice pair for summer, seeing as in the house fire that happened last year (you may know this if you’ve seen my other blog), all my nice sunglasses were binned – and I had a lot! Hopefully these ones will last a lot longer.

They both make an appearance in this fashion feature:

 https://fernbalch.wordpress.com/2013/04/24/4-looks-one-pair-of-treggings/

What spring trend(s) are you most excited about this year? (Makeup, fashion or both!)

Kimono’s. Especially floral one’s! I have recently just bought a Zara one which looks amazing with jeans and a coloured camisole underneath. I’m going to keep it a secret though as I think I’m going to be using it for my next fashion feature!

Favorite spring candle?

I’ve recently purchased loads of Spring/Summer candle ‘tarts’ from Yankee Candle to replace my winter ones. I’m currently burning Waikiki Melon which smells amazing. I tend to alternate to keep my room smelling different so that I can actually smell it, otherwise I’d get used to it! The melted pink one at the bottom is Pink Dragon Fruit, and then I have Fluffy Towels, Strawberry Buttercream and Sandalwood Vanilla. 

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Favorite body spray/perfume for spring?

Always has and always will be Armani Diamonds for Spring. It smells very sweet and fresh, just like this beautiful season. I also use Ghost Anticipation which is now discontinued! In winter I love using Dolce & Gobanna Light Blue.

What is spring like where you live?

I live in Bournemouth in the UK which is a lovely seaside town. The first sneak of sunlight we see is my favourite time of year. Everyone is suddenly out of their winter clothes and into some shorts and sandals, all in a good mood and smiling – it’s great! Plus we have the beach which is perfect for BBQ’s and walks.

What’s your favorite thing about spring?

The fact that it’s a reminder that Summer is just around the corner. Also my birthday is in May, which I think technically counts as Spring – so what other reason do I need to have!

Any plans for spring break or an upcoming vacation?

No vacay’s on the card at the moment, just revision, revision, revision. I need to pass my first year at University! I’m going back to work soon so hopefully I can save some up and get away.

Hope you all enjoy your Spring, and let me know what your thoughts are!!

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Fantasy Shopper…

Fantasy Shopper does exactly what it says on the tin. It is an online shopping market where females (and males!) that are obsessed with fashion and shopping can create their fantasy outfits, whether it be designer or high-street, without spending the huge price label that comes along with it. It is perfect for many kinds of people including those who spend their days browsing different sites for clothes, or an outfit they would love to buy but never can afford (that would be me) – or for the people who can’t help but spend their money online, but don’t want the guilt!

With an excessive wardrobe that holds thousands of different pieces for boys and girls, Fantasy Shopper provides a platform for users to pretend that they are a top stylist where they are able to design any outfit they like, without the judgement of others. And it’s just fun to get away from the stresses and strains of life by doing so!

With regular competitions, users are also able to have the opportunity to win (real money) vouchers for a variety of stores, simply by designing an outfit specific to a theme. What can seem easier than that?!

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Click to enlarge a photo. This outfit is designed for the latest event – Country Chic. I thought I’d take a different approach to this look by adding a punk/rock edge to the outfit – however kept the fringing and studs which is always a key part of a Southern look. 

What I think is great about this website is that it is a big community filled with people from all over the world, each one having a unique and individual style.  Each time someone uploads an outfit, they can be sending inspiration from different countries to someone who is in need of trying out another style to add to their wardrobe, but wouldn’t necessarily know what to choose, or maybe someone that is completely clueless of what to go for.

There is also a part of the website called ‘Style Assist’, where a user can ask for the assistance off others, whether it be if they’re not sure what dress to buy and want some help deciding, or wanting to know what kind of top to pair with an A-line denim skirt. The list is endless but the way users are able to communicate is great.

People are able to follow, like or comment one another, which makes the social interactivity of this website perfect.

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Click to enlarge a photo. This was my styled outfit for the event Snow Style and came in at a whopping £479.00 (was mostly the Michael Kors bag!) It was my first look I made and I got 19 likes which I thought was impressive!

Another great thing is that if someone was tempted to buy something but not sure what to pair it with, they can find the piece, or something similar in the online wardrobe, and try out various outfits before going out and actually buying the piece of clothing. This way they can figure out whether they want to buy it or not.

I log on a couple of times a week, yes for competitions, but also because it’s just fun. You can spend half an hour just making up crazy designs for the fun of it, and it doesn’t make you depressed like you do when browsing online stores when you know you can’t afford to buy something.

So if you fancy pretending to spend some money, want a bit of fun, or to have the opportunity to win some great cash prizes then log on to Fantasy Shopper and don’t forget to follow them on Twitter, it’s so worth it!

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http://www.fantasyshopper.com/

Twitter:

@fantasyshopper

@fernbjournalism