Love Me Some Leather

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Style Bubble

>> I love me some leather.  I love me some leather in unexpected shades and shapes.  Alas I have to settle for pleather with this Aqua cropped t-shirt that I've been overwearing as demonstrated by this photo taken by Facehunter at the Arcadia dinner last week.  Were money no object though, I know exactly where I'd be heading come 1st July when this stuff drops in Harrods.  I'm forever hunting for all things Loewe on eBay.  Sometimes I luck out and find things like the caramel leather trews that I'm also overwearing at the moment.  Most of the time, I just get weird licensed ties and fake bags.  I have had a bit of a love affair with Loewe in the current Stuart Vevers-era so I pretty much sallivated at this entire collection of what Loewe have called their 'Leather Icons', the non-seasonal collection of key leather pieces that get to the core of what the brand is all about – soft supple napa leather and plenty of it.  It's the kind where I can actually imagine the touch of in between my fingers – all buttery and oozy – without physically having it present.  As Stuart Vevers says… Loewe IS leather…

"Loewe is leather.  It‚Äôs what makes the
house special and something that we have a real authority in.  Clothing
in
leather has been part of Loewe's repertoire for decades and this is the
next
evolution of that.  It‚Äôs a about focusing on what we do best.
 It‚Äôs Loewe's soul.‚Äù

It's still the stuff of dreams because Loewe has a pretty penny price but seeing as this is non-seasonal and will be a permanent part of the Loewe collection, perhaps I can try and do some of that sensible saving-up and try to procure at least one piece.  Especially when the pleather tee falls apart…

The campaign features a plethora of people either loosely connected to Loewe somehow, to Spain or just err… people that are deemed 'fit' for modelling zee leather….

Gala Gonzalez in a tightly pleated leather bustier and some form-fitting trews…

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Model and singer Eleanora Salvatore Gonzalez in the perfect Perfecto biker and a pencil skirt… I've yet to find the perfect leather pencil skirt and I think the key is the amount of stretch in it…

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Jeneil Williams and Kesewa Aboah model the leather and shearling styles belted coat and hoodie styles which 'mattes' down all the sheeny shiny leather as well as adding warmth…

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Pixie Geldof in the leather shift and buttoned cropped jacket…

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Finally my favourite style, the leather trench modelled here by Tricia Ronane (an ex-model and manager of The Clash and the band's legacy).  That isn't because I'm a stickler for supposed wardrobe classics (i.e. the trench…) but because there's something about the sheer amount of napa leather that has gone into the trench that makes it quite decadent…  

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Gonna Get Yourself Connected

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I had an evil moment during Graduate Fashion Week.  I had a moment where I thought "Aha!  I will make a cash cow of you yet!".  This is me…Susie Bubble… preying on young innocent graduates and their bright ideas!  Woe upon Cari Marsden who left her card at my GFW booth.  Little did she know that I would be checking out her collection/project and think "Wooooah….ker-ching!"

Cari is a graduate of the University of Leeds and for her final collection 'Utopia Connects', she was inspired by a combination of the architecture of R. Buckminster Fuller, Barbara Hepworth, artist Maurizio Anzeri and spirographs to explore the idea of creating lines in garments with traditional macrame techniques.  All very well…

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Cari used strips of jersey that curled in on itself to macrame through netted mesh to create her designs.  You can tell that once Cari started knotting and stretching, the lines on her designs got more and more complex, so much so that sketches almost become irrelevant as you start draping strips of jersey across the form…

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I especially love how the jersey is worked into the mesh here so that the holes in the mesh are used to their full advantage…

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It's from this slightly simpler design where grommets and strips of cut-up jersey threaded through that the ker-ching/a-ha moment occurs…

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From her graduate collection, Cari has taken the idea of 'connections', cut-up strips of jersey to conceive the idea of 'Connects' – a DIY dress kit idea where anyone with next to zero skill.  The whole thing is inspired by that old chestnut, the friendship bracelet.  I have a love-hate relationship with these deceptive acoutrements.  One the one hand, I LOVED making them.  I loved trying to better myself in making ever-more complicated designs and coming up with different colour combos for my bracelets.  Sadly I loathed the significance imbued in themm.  "Oh you made her a bracelet… why didn't you make ME one?"  Cue huffing and puffing and eventually crying from then-8 year old best friend.  Crying in the playground.  Bane of my life. 

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Still… the sentiment is clear.  Girls plaiting each other's hair, doing each other's nails, exchanging bracelets, forming clubs and societies together, throwing BFF around and making secret oaths to stand by one another forever and ever and ever… gives a pretty strong basis for Cari to come up with her DIY idea…

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So what is this DIY dress kit idea?  From her more complex jersey macrame and mesh designs in her own collection, she has synthesised it down to the core elements of a mesh basic dress, an overlay dress that can be punctured with grommets and jersey threads of all different colours (see above for some symbolic relevance…) to provide peeps with the basic bits and bobs to create her own jersey thread dress… or a friendship bracelet dress if you will were you to start getting knot/macrame happy…

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The idea is that the grommets come in a kit as well so you can punch the grommets where you want in the overlay dress so you can control where your jersey threads knot through and how they fall…

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This is the basic mesh underlay and white overlay dress that comes in the kit…

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Cari also thought about adding beads and other bits of embellishment to the kits so that you can have even more customisation options…

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If you're scratching your head thinking what sort of thing can be created with some jersey strips, some grommets and zero sewing… here are a few sketches to start you off…

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I'm already thinking how much fun it would be looping and threading through the bunches of strips, especially when you combine colours and maybe even do it whilst the dress is on someone else.  Unlike dropping a stitch when knitting and making ghastly holes which incur a load of swearing, I can't forsee any real big mistakes being made with these dress projects…

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Call me an old fashioned child who enjoys a get-stuck-in type of craft project, but if properly packaged and properly assembled, I can see these kits flying off the shelves of say Topshop/Urban Outfitters.  Maybe a QVC-style live demonstration could be done in-store?  Maybe there could be stores supplying different coloured jersey threads on giant spools?  Maybe there could be an accompanying YouTube channel?  Maybe the jersey threads can go on more than just dresses – could be tops, trousers, skirts too…?  Gah… there's an endless possibility of thread-to-thread money-spinning thought here and it's torturing me because alas, the idea is not my own.  Apologies Cari.  I may have thought 'Ker-ching!" when I saw you but I'm not about to go and nick your idea and be sued to smithereens.  Get a patent.  Go on Dragon's Den.  Let's see this on the shelves, yarsh?