The imitation game: A fashionista’s dilemma


The trickling down of trends from catwalk to High Street is a key part of the fashion industry – and of course trends are often influenced in the other direction too. Either way, the expectation is that when we shop, we will choose one or the other: the high end piece or its high street version. So far, so sensible.  So then, is it ever justifiable to buy both? For months I’d been drooling over the utterly kick-ass punk inspired Isabel Marant “Rolling” zebra print ankle boots (A/W 16), hoping to get hold of a pair at a less painful price later in the season.  (A strategy that was not without risk and which meant that I had to keep a keen eye on stock availability!)


Isabel Marant A/W 16

Then a few weeks ago, I spotted the Carvela “Snorkle” – an obvious “tribute” to the Marant Rolling – in black.  Now, the Rolling also had a black version, but the hyper embellishment which elevated the zebra just didn’t do the same for the black. And more importantly, over embellished black boots are in fact not that versatile to wear.  (If you’ve followed this blog for a while you will know how keen I am on practical styling and buying wisely  – for a refresher see my 5 commandments!).  But the Carvela, being far less embellished didn’t have this problem. So, in short I bought them. And a few days later I bought the Marant as well.

Why? Well the Marant boots are simply gorgeous, a keeper that I will treasure and wear for years.  The Carvela version look great on, are very well made and, because they didn’t cost as much, can be worn on rainy days and for generally stomping around when I might have worried about ruining the Marant.  So my friends, it turns out that there are indeed times when it is ALMOST essential to buy BOTH. Go on. You know it makes sense. 🙂


Isabel Marant “Rolling” zebra print calf hair, suede and leather ankle boots


Carvela “Snorkle” black suede ankle boots


Isabel Marant A/W 16

London Fashion Week Mens AW17 – My Highlights


London Fashion Week Mens (previously London Collections: Mens) recently ended, leaving us with a taste of trends for AW17. Here are my top memorable moments!

#1. The Return of the Queen 

In her debut show on the London men’s schedule (her first in London for years), and in a barely concealed dig at the establishment, Vivienne Westwood had her models in 80’s style pinstripe suits distorted in various ways – my favourite being a pairing with bloomers instead of trousers. All accessorized with tattered crowns and multi-coloured foil sweet wrappers tacked on finger nails. Showing both men’s and women’s, tailoring featured strongly for the men’s whilst fabulous frocks and separates defined the women’s. She’s still got it. In spades.


Vivienne Westwood AW17 Mens

#2. Craig Green smashes it. Again! 

Craig Green rips up the rule book again as he continues to rework the male silhouette. Somehow he manages to make clothes that are tactile yet utilitarian, cosy yet avante-garde. I want to look at them. I want to wear them (wish I could). And I want to stroke them.


Craig Green AW17 Mens

#3. Wool for Leather 

I’m not a fan of crochet. However, the crocheting on JW Anderson‘s “Pierce” rucksack (a reworking of his popular women’s Pierce Bag) surprisingly works. Instantly recognizable, it’s likely to fly off the shelves once it hits shops. Mostly because I doubt only the boys will be sporting this. But let me say this people: I am not that crazy about the crocheting elsewhere. And it is everywhere in this collection.


JW Anderson AW17 Mens

#4. Amazing Grace 

Perhaps lacking the opulence that we’ve come to expect from Grace Wales Bonner, this collection still packs a punch as she continues to challenge ideas of sexuality, gender and black identity. See my post from last Summer “Gender Bending in Menswear – is this the future?” for more on this talented young designer. Destined for great things for sure.


Wales Bonner AW17 Mens

#5. Hey Boys. Hey Girls

It might have been London Fashion Week “Mens” but several labels (notably Casely-Hayford, Wales Bonner, Matthew Miller, Vivienne Westwood and Sibling) chose to show both their men’s and and women’s collections in combined shows. Whether by necessity (it makes sense financially) or by design (gender-fluid/unisex fashion has continued to grow) this seems to be a developing trend. I quite like the idea but buyers having to rejig their usual buying schedule might not so much!

AW17 - Matthew Miller womens

Matthew Miller AW17 Womens

AW17 - Casely Hayford - womens2

Casely-Hayford AW17 Womens

AW17 - Sibling womens

Sibling AW17 Womens

So another strong men’s event for London which remains the home of menswear in my opinion.  Next LFWM: June 2017!

Victoria Beckham OBE. Why Not?


Victoria Beckham at her SS 17 show in New York

A wave of indignation continues to sweep across the land at the news that Victoria Beckham is to receive an OBE for “services to fashion” and for her charity work. I personally don’t attach too much significance to the honours system nor do I particularly consider myself a fan of Mrs Beckham’s (who, before the Kardashians, constantly topped my list of the most irritating and pointless celebrities).  I certainly was among those who scoffed when she launched her fashion label back in 2008.  But over the  years I have come to have a grudging respect for her.  For starters, her product is really good.  Her pieces are excellently crafted, I particularly love her handbags (see below) which are chic, super luxe but practical – essential when you’ve a 5 year old in tow!  Then there is her work ethic. Love her or loathe her, it’s impossible to deny that this woman works hard.

So, here we have a woman who, annoying as she can be, has consistently shown guts, determination, ambition and sheer doggedness, often in the face of ridicule.  And let’s not forget that she has successfully conquered the worlds of pop AND fashion –  no mean feat for someone with “limited” talents. Is this enough to deserve an OBE?  I don’t know but she sure as hell has worked hard enough for it. Sure, I could name several other British designers that deserve to be similarly recognised. However, the fact that they haven’t points to problems with the honours system not Victoria Beckham. Good for her I say.


“Small City Victoria Bag” (Buffalo/Calf). (As practical as it is gorgeous, this bag is sturdy and compact, with seven(!) various-sized compartments.)




These sunnies are VB too!


“Large Zip Pouch” (Buffalo/Calf). (Slim but ridiculously roomy thanks to the beautifully soft leather. With two decent sized compartments, its a perfect day time clutch!)




“Large Zip Pouch” (Buffalo/Suede/Patent/Calf) (I loved the blue one so much a few months later I went and got this as well!)


And her frocks are not bad either! I adore the simplicity and timelessness of this dress which I couldn’t resist showing you….





My name is Addie and I am a brand collaboration addict.


Detail – Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Tuxedo Jacket – 2012

I love a brand collaboration.  A habit I picked up in Tokyo where it’s a well established phenomenon, I especially love a high street and designer hook-up. Puma, Uniqlo, Nike and Adidas have all been at it over the years but no-one does it quite like H&M.  And I, my friends, am an H&M designer collaboration junkie. The rumours and anticipation leading up to launch, plus the manageable price points and one-off factor of the actual sale, have had me hooked since the first one with Karl Lagerfeld back in 2004. Admittedly, not all of the collaborations are born equal and my lust levels vary accordingly (last year’s Balmain collection just wasn’t for me despite all the hype. I’m not a fan of the “celebrity” collections either).

This post started out as a review of the latest collaboration with Kenzo. However, for “services to Addie’s wardrobe and to fashion in general“, I’ve decided to dedicate it to my top H&M designer collaborations so far*. (*Next one is with Erdem and from the lookbook it looks set to be one of my favourites yet.)

My tips for shopping an H&M designer collaboration are at the end of this post if you would like to join the fray when the next one comes around. In the meantime, well done H&M for spreading the (high-end) love!

#1. MAISON MARTIN MARGIELA (November 2012)

maison-martin-margiela-hm-1One of my best buys to date is from this 2012 collection. An utterly fabulous narrow-shouldered double breasted tuxedo jacket. With all the hallmarks of the label (which has since become just Maison Margiela without the “Martin”), it never fails to get compliments whenever I wear it!


Maison Martin Margiela x H&M Tuxedo Jacket – 2012

#2. COMME des GARҪONS (November 2008)


I probably have the most pieces from this collection. This black trench coat – I love the Peter Pan collar, rounded shoulders and A-line cut – and gorgeous ruffled-sleeve blouse plus an assortment of  polka-dotted knitwear and shirts. All still very much in use!

COMME des GARҪONS x H&M Trench Coat – 2008


COMME des GARҪONS x H&M Blouse – 2008


#3. STELLA McCARTNEY (November 2005)


I have literally worn this tailed “boyfriend” shirt to death. Well, it has been 11 years.


Stella McCartney x H&M Shirt – 2005


Stella McCartney x H&M Shirt – 2005

#4. KENZO (November 2016)

kenzoforhmI got to this one late but still managed to nab this shopper and gorgeous silk blouse.


Kenzo x H&M Shopper – 2016


Kenzo x H&M Silk Blouse – 2016


Detail from Kenzo x H&M Silk Blouse – 2016

#5. KARL LAGERFELD (November 2004)


The first of the H&M designer collaborations, Lagerfeld’s entire collection sold out in hours. I got this stiff-collared, long-cuffed slim silhouetted cocktail shirt.  As you can see from the state of that collar it has seen a lot of action over the 12 years!


Karl Lagerfeld x H&M Shirt – 2004


And the ones that got away…..

#6. Isabel Marant (November 2013) and #7 Lanvin (November 2010) – So gutted to have missed both of these due to other work commitments. Sigh.



So, ready for the next one? Here are my tips on how to shop an H&M Designer Collaboration:

One: Plan. It happens in November, so make a note in your diary and tune in to yours truly (who will be tracking events closely) and the fashion press for the exact date that the collection will drop.

Two: Camping outside the shops is not required. Don’t feel you have to queue up all night to nab the best pieces.  I never have and still managed some decent finds over the years.

Three: Avoid the after-sale online madness. By all means shop the collection on line on the official H&M website – sometimes this will be your only option if you are not keen on facing the queues. But don’t be tempted to buy at over-inflated prices on eBay after the sale. It defeats the purpose of the whole exercise and frankly, you  might as well just invest in a high-end piece.

Four: Don’t get carried away. Shop wisely and buy what you will actually wear. Think long term and don’t feel you have to buy lots of pieces. If you don’t love it, drop it.


And here are the other collaborators to complete the picture so far:

Viktor + Rolf (2006); Roberto Cavalli (2007) ; Matthew Williamson and Jimmy Choo (2009); Versace (2011 and 2012); Marni (2012) and Alexander Wang in 2014.