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The Curvy Ups and Creepy Downs of Optical Illusion Fashion

At school, I was always the kid who sucked at spotting the hidden tigers and butterflies in the Magic Eye books that would be shared between us beneath the branches of the willow tree that stood in the corner of the playground. Though I’m not entirely sure that my friends were being honest when they’d swear that they could see the possibly non-existent exotic animals hidden between swirling lines of ‘grass’.

So when the trend for optical illusions reached fashion, I loved it. Why strain yourself searching for pointless pictures of exotic animals hidden in a pointless painted jungle, when we can put the age old tricks to good use? Now a simple bodycon dress can give the impression of curves in all the right places, balancing out those somewhat un-proportioned figures. A godsend if, like me, you have what I would call a ‘crazy pear’ shape going on. While I do love my ‘curvy’ bum and my clothes-sit-well-on-me boobs… dress shopping can be a nightmare. Bodycon’s are a no no, unless I’m deliberately going for the ‘two aspirins on an ironing board’ look teamed with the ‘will that bum fit through the doorway’ look. The basic bodycon is a cruel illusion in itself, exaggerating my proportionate differences. That’s fine, I can rule out bodycon’s from my wardrobe. I can be a pear-shaped quite happily. After all, to be a perfect hourglass, with my waist and hip measurements, I’d need 30F boobs (according to a quick online calculator) – no thank you!!

So I’d resigned myself to a lifelong bodycon ban, sticking to a rule of baggy tops with pencil skirts or fitted tops with flared skirts – both fine, cute, easy enough.

Then I saw Kate Winslet in that Stella McCartney dress circa Autumn 2011.

I’m not saying this was the first optical illusion within fashion. I mean, look at corsets! And my ‘baggy/pencil skirt, fitted/flared’ rules But for me – and most women worldwide, judging from the stir that this dress caused – it was a definite moment of ‘yes – finally!!’

Before this dress popped up on every celebrity with boobs, there was the interesting Viktor & Rolf dresses of their Spring 2010 collection.

And since, there are been so, so many adaptions of the Stella dress (who made several restyles of her own), that I could dedicate an entire blog to each design.

how to look skinny kim kardashian optical illusion dress Alexander McQueen dress hot kim K hourglass figure pretty please us

Alexander McQueen

stella mccartney panel polka dot dress jennifer lopez kate winslet skinny dress figure flattering dress pretty please us

Stella McCartney

However, yesterday, this trend took a strange turn for me. It was a first – never has a photograph of Keira Knightley ever sparked such creeped-out horror to my eyes. Nor has a photograph featuring Chanel couture – and especially never have I disliked a combination of the two, as much as I do in this moment.

I give you, the weirdest ready-to-wear optical illusion outfit I have seen to date:

It’s like… Chanel’s version of the Skittle family of Toy Town.

Optical illusions should be used to flatter our curves, and create them when we have none! It’s about making a woman more womanly, more beautiful. Not… separating our upper and lower half, burying our natural curves beneath swathes of shapeless fabric and wrapping a teeny tiny waist until it no longer looks slender, but sickly.

And for this outfit to be Chanel… while I get how this outfit fits perfectly with their theme of the ‘incredible lightness of being’, I’m disappointed.

Then again, I saw their Pre-AW14 collection. Cowboys and Indians? Really? That’s the look you’ve chosen for this season, Mr Lagerfeld? Ok… you’re the boss.

Please, please, please.. no more scary illusions, ok? I know that the hourglass enhancing bodycon dresses of Stella McCartney’s collections are three years old now, but you know… if it’s not broke.

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Co’s Fashion Week Lookbook

I’m a little fixated right now on Co’s amazing photo shoot for their new collection. I’ve always loved painterly photography; dim, almost crepuscular lighting, dark tones and deep colours contrasting against a model’s pale skin. Photography aside, I love the silhouettes of this collection.

 Co’s SS14 collection is available here (EU) and here (US).

Also, I’ve just discovered their Film page on their website. They’re a talented bunch, the Co-collection team.

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Catwalk to CW Crown

The bucket barrel deep, stinking pit of historical inaccuracies aside, I love The CW’s new show, Reign. It swings from giggly and girly to snarky and bitchy in the same way as shows like Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars. Most of all though, I love it for the fashion. Costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack is a genius at combining regal-chic with boho and modern touches. Ah, what I wouldn’t give for a chance to browse though Reign’s wardrobe department.

Why aren't you watching Reign?

Caitlin Stasey, Celina Sinden, Anna Popplewell and Adelaide Kane on the set of Reign!

Gorgeous hair accessories & styles: As inspired by CW's Reign

When "Reign's" costume designer Meredith Markworth-Pollack began working on the show, the idea was to create, "something slightly different to the costume dramas we had seen so far, especially because of the demographic of The CW, and bring in the element of contemporary fashion."

Really liked this dress...  #Reign

Morgana's Huntress costume for her first Masque where she meets Alasdair

All images above found via Pinterest.

Their use of accessories is also amazing, and I now have a bit of an obsession with chain and floral head wear.

Reign: Interview with Debra Moreland Reign. this shoooow and the gowns in this shoooow. obsessed.

Gorgeous hair accessories & styles: As inspired by CW's Reign

A lot of designer names such as Alexander McQueen have been popping up in the show, and having just watched the latest episode before catching up on the catwalk reports, I couldn’t help but wonder what pieces would likely be popping up in season two (which has been confirmed – yay!)

Looks most likely to appear in Reign S2:

Alexander McQueen

Marchesa

Melinda Looi

Naeem Khan

Jenny Packham

 Carolina Herrera

Erin Featherstone

Alongside items from Free People, custom items by the amazing fashion team and customised vintage couture, of course.

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Catching up on the Catwalks: AW14

I miss the good old days, when I could curl up in my armchair with a coffee, and watch the live catwalk feed each fashion week. Of course, it’s a good thing that those days are over – I’d hate to still have so much time on my hands that I can sit and watch the live feeds of fashion week (London, Paris, Milan and New York!). Being busy is always good.

So tonight I’ve been catching up on what so far I’ve only caught glimpses of. I especially love the creativity with tailoring, full midi skirts and feminine, flowing layers that are awash over the catwalk this year – these trends have been around for a while now, of course, but it just seems to get better each season. Thank you Vogue.com (the source of all photos below)!

Dior

Lanvin

MSMG

Versace

Fendi

Chloe

Erdem

Temperley London

Let’s just throw the entire Temperley collection in there – I’m in love it all!

Julien Macdonald

Holly Fulton

Mary Katrantzou

Jasper Conran

Marchesa

Naeem Khan

Jenny Packham

Zac Posen

Alice & Olivia

Victoria Beckham

And then after an evening of perusing Vogue’s catwalk reports, comes that horrible sink in my heart as I remember that I can’t just nip into town and buy any of these outfits. Even if a Chanel or a Marchesa store were to pop up overnight five minutes from my house (ha!), I dare not even guess as to how much every item on this page would cost me in total… and when I would have the opportunity to wear most of them. Sigh. I have to keep reminding myself that to most of us, these catwalks are to be looked at in the same way as the artwork in a gallery. Depressing as that is.

Ah well. I have a thousand ideas in mind for re-working my own wardrobe to get me started. I think it’s about time I ought to inject some more ‘regal’, brocade and berry-toned pieces. I’ve been searching for months now.

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