Find The Perfect Party Dress (30% off!)

The festive season is fast approaching and Christmas trees are beginning to surround us. That can only mean one thing, the hunt for a Christmas party dress is on! Festive shopping is easier said than done with numerous shops and websites to contend with. Sometimes all you need is a helping hand and that’s where Frock Trade comes in.

Frock Trade can help you find the perfect party outfit with minimum fuss and maximum fun! With the help of local professional fashion stylist, Ann Russell (that’s me!), who was recently featured on Vogue.co.uk, you’ll experience a whole new way of shopping that leaves you feeling confident in your purchases and ready to let your hair down.

Have you recently lost weight? Want to show off your figure? Or find an outfit that brightens up your wardrobe? Come shopping with me in Edinburgh or Glasgow for a half day or a full day session and I’ll help you choose clothes that suit your shape, colours that compliment your skin tone and accessories that can be interchanged with several outfits.

Why not wake up your wardrobe with some honest, trustworthy advice from an industry professional. You can even treat a friend to their own personal styling session this Christmas – gift vouchers are available. Email Ann now frocktrade@hotmail.co.uk to chat about your requirements or say hello on Facebook or Twitter.

Personal Styling Edinburgh

Joanne McGillivray SS14 Collection Launch

One of my favourite Scottish designers and all round lovely girl Joanne McGillivray launched her Spring Summer 2014 collection last week at Glasgow’s SWG3 (a former show space for Christopher Kane).

The Scottish Fashion Graduate of the Year 2012 showed her ‘Under the sea’ collection featuring dresses, shorts, a-line skirts and jumpsuits in aquatic shades of blue and green, complimented by jewellery from Euan McWhirter. Stand out pieces included a clear plastic rain mac edged in orange trim and an elegant sea blue printed jumpsuit.

Joanne McGillivray

The sold out launch party, attended by 200 fans of the brand, was a success with Clyde 1 DJ Diane ‘Knoxy’ Knox on the decks, bright blue cocktails and delicious Snuggle Muffin cupcakes.

Snuggle Muffin Cupcakes

Joanne has enjoyed considerable success since launching her debut collection in June 2013. She designed a sell-out dress for high-street giant Marks and Spencer and completed an internship under their Head of Design. This Christmas Joanne  will celebrate a bumper year with two pop-up shops. One at House of Fraser Glasgow from 14th-26th December and the other in collaboration with fellow Scottish designers from 21st – 24th November at Princes Square.

Joanne McGillivray

Here’s a snapshot of me with the designer (right). Read more about Joanne McGillivray in my ’10 questions with…’ interview here.

Ann Russell and Joanne McGillivray

My Post-Engagement Checklist

If you follow @FrockTrade on Twitter you’ll have spotted my recent blog posts for luxury jewellery retailer Laings of Glasgow. As some of you may know my other half proposed recently and I’m really enjoying sharing my post-engagement tips with Laings customers and fellow brides-to-be. Find a sneak peek at my most recent post below – read the full article here

Laings Glasgow

(Image above: photography-Hand&Rae, styling-Ann Russell, make-up-Ana Cruzalegui, model-Kristina@Colours)

YOU’RE ENGAGED! NOW WHAT?
November 1, 2013
He proposed! You’re engaged! You’re overwhelmed with excitement and can’t wait to tell the world. So what happens after you’ve said yes? Here’s our list of 10 things to do after he’s popped the question.

1/Share your happy news
Once you’ve recovered from the excitement of the proposal it’s time to share the news with your loved ones. Your parents should be the first to know (if they don’t already) so pick up the phone and plan a visit to show off the ring. It probably seems easier to send a quick tweet or post a status update but your relatives won’t thank you if they’re the last to know. Feel free to go online once you’ve had a proper chat with close family and friends.

2/ Get your ring sized
Try to get your ring sized as soon as possible. It wouldn’t be the best start to your engagement if the ring fell off your finger an hour after the proposal. Pop into Laings to have your ring size carefully measured so that your new sparkler fits you comfortably. The resizing process can take time so be patient and remember the most important thing is to have a ring that fits you perfectly.

3/ Get your ring insured
By now your ring should be sized and sitting proudly on your finger. Your next task is to get it insured in case bad luck strikes. If you have home owner’s insurance the best idea is to call your provider and add the ring to your policy. Ask your new fiancé to keep all associated paperwork in a safe place to ensure insurance valuations are accurate.

4/ Set an approximate date
If you’re newly engaged setting an exact date might seem premature so have a discussion about the time of year you’d like to get married so you can field date related questions. Something as vague as ‘We’d like a Summer wedding’ or ‘We’re hoping for the end of next year’ is enough to give people an idea of your timescales.

5/ Buy a wedding planner
Stay organised with a notebook, calendar or folder that you can fill with ideas, cuttings from magazines and wedding fair flyers that have caught your eye. When it comes to making bookings with suppliers you’ll have all the correct contact details in one place. Plus your planner will jog your memory if you’ve forgotten anything and help you visualise the overall theme of your big day.

Congratulations! Jane Davidson nominated for a Drapers Award

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On today’s blog I’m giving a big shout out to my favourite local independent designer boutique, Jane Davidson who have been nominated for a Drapers Award.

Edinburgh Independent Retailer Jane Davidson have been shortlisted in the Premium Fashion category at the Drapers Awards 2013. The brand new Drapers Independents Awards have 15 categories covering a wide range of achievements in fashion retailing.

Scotland’s most exclusive independent retailer is owned by Sarah Murray, Jane’s daughter, and is based in a Georgian townhouse in Thistle Street. The store has expanded from one floor to four in the last 10 years and has introduced many high profile brands to Scotland including Jimmy Choo, Roland Mouret  and Victoria Beckham.

For Autumn/Winter 2013 Jane Davidson stocks Temperley London, Matthew Williamson, Roksanda Ilincic, Dries van Noten, Preen and Zoe Jordan exclusively in Scotland. Other key brands include Diane von Furstenberg, Theory, Escada, J Brand and La Perla lingerie.

The original shop was founded in 1969 in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh by Jane Davidson, now Jane Hall. The original boutique sold only British brands including Jean Muir, Ozzie Clark and Jean Varon and was attached to a church in the Old Town.

Good luck to the whole Jane Davidson team at the awards ceremony on November 7th at The Waldorf Hilton, London. Fingers crossed! In the meantime check out my coverage of Jane Davidson’s Pringle of Scotland event for Vogue.co.uk

http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2013/10/14/pringle-of-scotland-grace-kelly-collection-edinburgh-show

Womenswear Makeover at House of Fraser Glasgow

When I think about shopping in Glasgow I never forget House of Fraser. The flagship department store on Buchanan Street has been a favourite of mine since I was a teenager splashing my pocket money on sparkly tops and spritzing the perfumes in the beauty hall. Since moving to Edinburgh my visits to the store have been less frequent so I was really excited to be invited to a private preview of the new womenswear collections this week.

House of Fraser has had a makeover and with its new look comes the introduction of 18 exciting womenswear and accessories brands to the 2nd and 3rd floors. An invitation to join an intimate gathering of the most influential Scottish bloggers led me to Hugh’s Champagne Bar within the store. I enjoyed a few glasses of Mumm Champagne and some tasty treats amidst the company of the House of Fraser’s team and fellow fashionistas Thank Fifi, Bee Waits, Betty Swollocks, Glasgow Mummy and Lisa Ringrose.

Hugh's Champagne Bar House of Fraser Glasgow

Following an introduction to the brands from each concession manager my fellow bloggers and I were guided around the store to admire key pieces from each collection. We were pretty excited about being in the shop after hours and were even lucky enough to take home a special gift of our choosing. I picked out this gorgeous cobalt skirt from German label Hallhuber that will be perfect for Winter with a pair of thick tights, some chunky boots and a cosy knit.

Hallhuber Skirt House of Fraser

Hallhuber is one of Germany’s best-known womenswear labels and is a welcome trend-led addition to House of Fraser. The modern outlines and feminine shapes are perfect for both everyday and occasion wear. It’s particularly popular with street style bloggers in Germany, Munich and Budapest. Another highlight was young womenswear brand St Martins that launched in 1997. None of us could resist the quirky lining within this colourful trench coat.

St Martins Coat House of Fraser

House of Fraser has successfully added a refreshing sartorial edge to its womenswear offering and I can’t wait for further fashionable developments from my luxury department store of choice.

(The 18 new womenswear and accessories brands to join House of Fraser this Autumn Winter are Alexander McQueen, Gestuz, Hallhuber, Hugo Boss, Kilian Kerner, Lavenham, Love, Marella, Napa Pijiri, Neon Rose, Noisy May, Norr, Paperdolls, Paul Smith Black, Replay, Sandwich, Worn By and Yumi) For more information visit http://www.houseoffraser.co.uk

Travel – Natural History Museum – Wildlife Photographer of the Year

One of my favourite things to do in London is visit the Natural History Museum and marvel at all the wonders of our planet’s floral and fauna. Every year this wonderful natural archive hosts an exhibition dedicated to the winners of the Wildlife Photographer of the Year. Queue a happy morning spent admiring an unforgettable collection of images taken by photographers from 27 different countries, all with their own styles and stories to tell.

 The jury received over 43,000 entries and chose just 100 pictures depicting dramatic landscapes, thought provoking reportage and snapshots of animal behaviour. Here I pick my three favourite images from the animal portrait, wildscapes and endangered species categories….

Animal Portrait:

One of my  favourite images titled ‘Travelling Companions’ by Douglas Seifert shows a graceful dugong swimming through the Red Sea with two golden fish. His little companions are dwarfed by his huge head and as they ride the ocean’s pressure waves together they form a close bond.

Wildlife Photographer of the Year Animals

Wildscapes:

Sergey Gorshov captured the eruption of a Russian volcano (Plosky Tolbachik) as he travelled across the volcano’s crater in a helicopter. A fleeting moment of wind swept aside the cloud of ash giving Sergey the perfect window to take his winning photograph titled ‘The Cauldron’.

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Endangered Species:

The Gerald Durrell Award for Endangered Species is named after a legendary conservationist and highlights the plight of wildlife that’s under threat. This image instantly grabbed my attention. The female gorilla and her six-month old twin babies had been caught in a rain shower and were wrapped up together to stay warm. In ‘Twin Hope’ by Diana Rebman the young gorillas (who are only the fifth set of twins ever to be reported in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park) are cuddled in their mother’s arms as if she knows their future may be uncertain.image

All images shown are taken from the official ‘Wildlife Photographer of the Year’ Book (Portfolio 23). No photography is allowed within the gallery itself. For more information visit www.wildlifephotographeroftheyear.com

10 Questions With….Mairi McDonald

1/ Tell us about your label

Mairi McDonald is luxury womenswear with a free-spirited feel and a rebellious edge. It’s an exploration of the unconventional dark beauty within key textiles, dishevelled for a rock ‘n’ roll edge with a high standard of craftsmanship. The effortless glamour of the Mairi McDonald label allows the wearer the freedom not to conform.

2/ Why did you become an independent fashion designer?

I wanted to step away from designing for other companies and channel all my energy and thoughts into developing my own aesthetic and signature. The ultimate achievement for me as a designer was to develop and launch my own label. Even with the huge risks involved I’ve trusted my instinct that I’m following the right path with this venture. I want to create luxury ‘forever’ pieces for my customers wardrobe combining beautiful fabrics, edgy textiles and intricate detail.

Mairi McDonald
Image: Designer Mairi McDonald

3/ How have your Scottish roots influenced your designs and where do you find inspiration?

Having such a strong focus on textiles and working with homegrown lace manufacturer MYB Textiles is a perfect fit and it’s great to refer to a piece as a ‘Scottish lace dress’. I’m continually inspired by iconic women in and around the music scene. The debut collection entitled ‘Electric Eclectic’ was inspired by the girlfriends of the Rolling Stones in the Sixties, Marianne Faithful and Anita Pallenberg. Kate Moss, Sky Ferreira, Alison Mosshart and Daisy Lowe are also perfect present day muses for this collection. I’m passionate about vintage fashion and creating an eclectic look by mixing influences from Victorian silhouettes and detailing with 60’s and 70’s bohemian styling. I’ve spent time trawling vintage markets in Paris and London for inspiration and this is still a starting point for my research today.

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Image: Scottish ecru cotton lace and silk mix dress with crochet lace trim

4/ How would you define the Scottish fashion scene and who do you admire within the industry?

There is a growing Scottish fashion scene with an eclectic mix of established and emerging new labels. Events such as the Scottish Fashion Awards and platforms like Scotland Redesigned are hugely beneficial in terms of exposure as a new designer. This is an extremely tough industry and I have admiration for all the designers that evolve their labels seasonally and have earned their success through hard work and determination.

5/ You recently entered Stylist Magazine’s competition to become ‘Britain’s Next Maker’ which boasts a prize fund of £10,000 for your creative business. How would you spend this money if you won?

The prize fund would be completely invaluable at this stage of my business. I’ve achieved so much in a short space of time but the harsh reality is money is essential to enable me to keep pursuing my ambition and developing my label.

6/ The competition involves a public vote. Why should people feel compelled to vote for you?

I’m truly committed to fulfilling my creative vision with my luxury label, continuing to invest 110% to grow and evolve my brand into a sustainable business whilst establishing my own distinctive signature. I want to expand the brand nationally and internationally and continue to build and develop my skills in business by taking a beautiful product and creating a desirable, successful Scottish brand.

mairi-mcdonald

Image: Black lamb nappa, suede and silk jacket with lamb nappa tailored shorts

7/ You’ve both studied and worked in London. What career opportunities are fashion designers given in London that you’d like to see being offered in Scotland?

Studying at London College of Fashion allowed me to access the centre of Britain’s fashion industry, from having lecturers who were also designers or art directors for high profile magazines. I felt privileged to be there and treated college as on the job training. Luxury brands need to offer internships for students and jobs for graduates to allow us to feed into our own economy and capitalise on Scottish talent.

8/ You currently teach and mentor up-and-coming fashion students. If you were in charge what initiatives would you put in place to support Scottish graduates after the conclusion of their course?

There should be more funding available for fashion businesses as fashion doesn’t always fit neatly into arts or innovation funding categories which can be very frustrating. The Scottish Textiles industry is on a global high so now is the time to invest in emerging design talent with an emphasis on sustainability and exporting.

9/ What has been the biggest challenge of your career to date and how did you deal with it?

Making the transition from Senior Designer for a large label to creating my own label has been a huge test of confidence, skill and ability. To be proud of a collection that is completely designed to ‘my’ brief and not a ‘given’ brief has been so liberating.

10/ What plans do you have for your label moving into 2014?

I’m currently taking my debut collection ‘Electric Eclectic’ to market with lots of interest around this collection. My main priority over the next few months is establishing my signature in the public domain and having a look and style that is recognisably ‘Mairi McDonald’.

To vote for Mairi to win Stylist Magazine’s ‘Britain’s Next Top Maker’ competition click the link and look for the Mairi McDonald profile on the main page http://www.stylist.co.uk/home/microsite2/triumph/?page=competition

Find out more about Mairi McDonald on her website www.mairimcdonald.com

Scottish designers celebrate Wool Week

As the weather gets colder knitwear shopping is at the top of my agenda so when I heard The Campaign for Wool had partnered up with 15 student designers and 10 top British fashion brands to create a series of jumpers I was excited to see the results.

Now in its second year, the Wool School offers student designers the opportunity to design a jumper which will be sold nationwide by some of the UK’s top retailers during Wool Week (14th-20th October). Students were selected from 12 leading textile and fashion universities with creatives from each retailer deciding on a design that would be sold by their label.  The Campaign aims to encourage young designers to engage with natural fibres and create innovative knitwear pieces whilst learning more about the wool production process.

Wool is such a integral part of Scotland’s fashion heritage that it seems fitting to have a programme that educates up-and-coming designers about the ways it can be crafted for a modern audience. With that in mind I was particularly pleased to hear that three young Scottish Designers Francesca Stride (University of Glasgow), Lindsay McQuarrie (Jordanstone College of Art) and Emma Lawrie (University of Edinburgh) had created winning designs for Pringle, Brora and Folk respectively.

Folk Wool Week
Brora Wool Week
My particular favourite is this modern boat neck lambswool sweater (pictured below) by Francesca Stride for Pringle. Its reverse intarsia is a modern take on the brand’s signature Argyle print. Having interviewed Pringle’s COO Tracy Chapman recently for Vogue I know how passionate the brand is about working with innovative fashion students and I’m sure Francesca will be pleased to see her design added to Pringle’s prestigious archive at the brand’s Hawick mill.

Visit www.campaignforwool.org for a list of Wool School stockists.

Pringle of Scotland

Fashion – My words in VOGUE

If you were to tell me as a young journalism student that my writing would appear in VOGUE I’d probably smile wistfully at the prospect. Today it actually happened! My coverage of the Pringle of Scotland capsule collection launch in Edinburgh appeared online at Vogue.co.uk. To see my byline on those news pages is nothing short of a dream come true so thank you to everyone that made it happen. Particular thanks goes to Pringle of Scotland, Jane Davidson and Anna Freemantle who co-ordinated and hosted the event. Here’s my first article for VOGUE in all it’s glory. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2013/10/14/pringle-of-scotland-grace-kelly-collection-edinburgh-show

Vogue

Fashion – Hope Street Magazine

Last month I had the pleasure of contributing to an innovative new fashion magazine – Hope Street. The Scottish-based magazine will showcase look-books from new fashion designers, beautiful fashion films and fashion shoots from exciting new photographers and creatives.

The magazine is headlined by Scottish Art Director and Make-up artist Sara Hill who has collaborated with up-and-coming make-up artists, photographers, stylists and filmographers who are quickly gaining a global reputation.

My article looks at the top fashion trends this season including oversized coats, tartan, houndstooth patterns and pink. Read my Autumn Winter 2013 trend report below and visit http://blog.hopestreetmag.com to buy your digital or print copy of the magazine.

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