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Sunday, April 27, 2008

The star spangled banner......

Whilst I was studying at University, my good friend Jennie and I spent a year on an internship in the good ol’ US of A. I’m sure if you’ve ever taken a ‘vacation’ in America, you’ll be in agreement when I say they are a different culture! During my time as an honorary resident in Newport, Rhode Island, I experienced quite a lot of differences between us Brits and the Yanks. To name but a few…they love coffee, we are a nation of tea drinkers; they eat blueberry pancakes with bacon for breakfast, we eat bacon on a butty; their fresh bread tastes as sweet as doughnuts, our bread is a taste sensation; but more noticeable than anything coming from a stylish city like Leeds is their lack of everyday style!

Now don’t get me wrong, for a country that churns out the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Dita Von Teese and Nicole Richie, I’m not applying my opinion to America as a whole, just a lot of those Americans who can’t afford the designer togs and the expertise of a stylist.

And it’s not like I’m saying it’s their fault, I’ve been there and experienced the shopping and some stores just ain’t pretty! Trying to find a decent outfit beyond the casual sportswear and basics produced by such as Abercrombie & Fitch and Banana Republic anywhere on a high street budget beyond New York was a struggle. At times, even The Big Apple was trying if there wasn’t anything decent in H & M….. Hey, it’s only my opinion after experiencing the shopping there for a year, but anyone who has ever stepped foot in Forever 21, which was once the US equivalent of Topshop, will tell you the same (well, I’m sure my friends would anyways!).

Anyway, opinion out of the way and back to the trend in question…. So, considering that America is quite often behind Europe in fashion trend terms, what a surprise it was to see an American influence smattered across any of this season’s catwalk collections. A funky twist on the nautical colour palette of red, blue and white, Chanel and Jean-Charles De Castelbajac cleverly dissected the star spangled banner and put it back together again to recreate like only they could with some stunning pieces.

Jubilant star patterns also shone prominent on the runway, with the likes of YSL and Pucci demonstrating the versatility with multi-coloured accessories, shoes and glitzy star prints. Not forgetting the fabulous star spangled Chanel piece Kate Moss wore for her birthday celebrations!

A cartoon and a cowboy theme could also be seen riding the runway, but more on those trends later.

So, feeling inspired by the catwalk (but with the lack of catwalk budget) I hit the high street in my endeavour to recreate an outfit with a nod to the American dream. Adorning myself in big and bold glittery stars just isn’t for me, but I am partial to the print in miniature. So, I’ve played safe with this one and stuck to the basic colour palette. Take a long navy blue and white striped shirt dress, add a splash of red with Mary-Jane's and a belt around the waist to create curves, and throw in a scattering of stars with a cute neck scarf to create a pussy bow and voila….. channelling the Chanel look on a Primark budget Stacey style (now who would have ever thought those two brands would have been featured in the same sentence!!)

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