Scottish Designer Christmas Gift Guide

Gift GuideQuick! Christmas is on the horizon but there’s still time to pick up an exciting present from a local designer. As a fan of homegrown talent I’ve chosen seven unique gifts that are designed right here in Scotland. Why not share the love by supporting our talented independent designers this Christmas.

1. Bebaroque ‘Rebekka’ tights – £96

Where would we be without a little Christmas sparkle? Get your bedazzled fix with these beautiful embellished 120 denier tights by Bebaroque. Scatterings of crystals in tones of gold and black are used to create this seriously bold legwear that will see you through the new year festivities in style.

2. Joanne McGillivray ‘Elga’ skirt -£130

This eye-catching high-waisted skirt gets bonus points for being printed and manufactured in Scotland. The shape of the skirt will give you a defined waist and can be worn with a jumper and dressed up with heels and statement jewellery for the party season. Snap up one of Joanne’s designs at her pop-up shop within House of Fraser Glasgow until 30th December.

3. Chouchou ‘Julia’ hood – £150

Chouchou (aka Silvia Pellegrino) has an infectious passion for all things fashion. I know you’ll fall in love with every single one of her clever ‘hollyhoods’ but this particular design is my favourite. It’s made with 100% Italian wool fabric and fully lined in sumptuous black faux fur. Plus the black and gold fabric adds just the right amount of glitz to your Winter wardrobe. Wrap your hood around your neck, wear it as a collar or just keep your ears sheltered from the wet and windy Scottish weather.

4. Jane Gowans ‘JG Minis’ bracelets – £29-£39

Jewellery genius Jane Gowans has introduced two simple bracelets to her collection of contemporary designs. With a focus on affordable luxury the ‘JG Minis’ range comes in a choice of silver or gold vermeil and 6 colour options. Jane’s bracelets make the perfect stocking filler and can be bought in multiples and worn together for maximum impact.

5. Gilda and Pearl printed bra – £89 

Slip into something slinky and drop a little hint about this beautiful silk padded bra. It’s available in a great range of sizes and can be bought as a matching set with the patterned silk knickers (£49). Featuring Gilda & Pearl’s signature printed silk on the front and plain black silk satin on the back, this lingerie is guaranteed to make any girl feel spoiled this Christmas.

6. Karen Mabon ‘Midnight Feast’ silk scarf – £110

Edinburgh based accessories designer Karen Mabon is quickly becoming a firm favourite with fashionable Scots. This 90cm x 90cm silk twill scarf features a carefully illustrated fox and his funny bin-raiding friends. Karen’s reinvention of the traditional silk scarf impressed iconic department store, Liberty of London so much that they’re selling her latest collection in their famous scarf hall. This is a present that’s guaranteed to please!

7. Gillian Kyle Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer Cushion – £36.50

As a big caramel wafer fan I’m convinced no home is complete without one of Gillian’s famous Tunnock’s cushions. These patriotic presents are made from 100% organic, unbleached premium cotton, fluffy duck feathers and are screen printed edge to edge in bright ‘Tunnocks’ red. Nearly as delightful as the real thing!

Finalist for UK Fashion Blogger of the Year? Yes that’s me!

 

Clothes Show LiveOn Tuesday afternoon a giant grin took over my face. As most of you know I’m normally a laid back, rather modest character but on this day (in between random chuckles) I texted, tweeted and generally shouted about my wonderful news.

In a suitably perfect ending to 2013 I’d been shortlisted as a finalist for UK Fashion Blogger of the Year. What’s more my all time favourite fashion writer, journalist and blogger extraordinaire Liberty London Girl aka Sasha Wilkins had handpicked Frock Trade as one of the final five finalists – JOY!

So I trotted off to Birmingham on Friday to attend The Clothes Show Live for a suitably stylish blogger awards ceremony. The weather in Scotland was misbehaving (shock!) and storm-gate threatened to derail my trip so I was relieved to get an early morning train from Edinburgh and watched the sun rise gently over the East Coast as I raced down to join my fellow bloggers.

Having arrived safely at Birmingham’s NEC Arena I took some time to explore the exhibition itself. It’s safe to say The Clothes Show is mammoth. Celebrating its 25th year as the UK’s largest fashion and beauty event, from clothes stalls and beauty counters to industry experts giving master classes and exclusive fashion shows featuring the finalists from Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model.

Britain and Ireland's Next Top Model

After a few hours of skipping around a brilliant variety of stalls including both established brands and emerging designers, I just had time to sneak in a light lunch of my favourite baked Camembert with crusty bread at the VIP cafe before the show began. It was time for Sasha to grace the stage and share her career successes with an audience of keen bloggers and fashion enthusiasts.

Blogger of the Year Clothes Show Live

My fellow finalists and I smiled nervously as we awaited the imminent announcement of the competition winner. We’d had the opportunity to chat beforehand and I was so pleased to be sat alongside such genuine ladies (Miriam and Eshe I’m talking to you!). Before long Sasha had the trophy in hand and presented it to London-based blogger Miriam Bouteba (pictured below) of Remotely Fashion. Unfortunately Miriam’s partner in crime and co blogger Siobhan Sullivan couldn’t make the ceremony but Miriam beamed brightly enough for both of them and was a worthy winner.

Miriam Remotely Fashion

The founder of The Olympic Games, Pierre de Coubertin once said ‘taking part counts’ and I’m happy to confirm he was right. My fellow finalists would probably agree that in the saturated world of fashion blogging being chosen as a finalist is a victory in itself. In light of this I’m sending many thanks to Sasha and The Clothes Show Live team for choosing Frock Trade – their vote of confidence will help both the blog and I grow from strength to strength in the year ahead.

Meet Me in St Moritz – Schon Magazine

Hungry for a Winter adventure? Recently I wrote a travel article for Schön! (a London based creative magazine) about an exclusive ski resort in St Moritz, Switzerland that boasts moonlight skiing and Europe’s highest jacuzzi. Read my introductory paragraph below and find out more about Schon Magazine here.

Schon Magazine

 

 

“Amidst the rolling Engadin mountain range, near St Moritz in Switzerland, is a ski resort made for thrill seekers. Famed for its adrenaline pumping 10km slope (the longest glacier descent run in Switzerland), Diavolezza is the perfect mountain retreat for ski enthusiasts. Challenging red and black runs, a breathtaking view of the Eastern Alps and an extraordinarily long season (October-May) have made the area immensely popular in recent years.”

 

Meet me in St Moritz 1

Meet me in St Moritz 2

Quick! Designer Pop-up Shop This Weekend

What are you doing this weekend? If you’re not heading down to the Designer Pop-up Shop at Princes Square, Glasgow then you should be! Seven of the brightest and best Scottish designers will be selling one off editorial samples and seasonal stock at discounted prices for one weekend only.

Join womenswear designers Rebecca Torres and Joanne McGillivray, jewellers Georgia Wiseman and Rene Walrus and accessories designers Bebaroque, Rosie Sugden and Karen Mabon for an evening of fashionable bargains sponsored by Rekorderlig cider (my favourite!).

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You already know all about Joanne McGillivray from my feature on her recent Spring Summer 2014 collection launch. The Scottish Fashion Awards Graduate of the Year 2012 makes figure flattering womenswear that’s impossible to resist. Her equally esteemed peer Rebecca Torres makes super slinky dresses that are most definitely guaranteed to make you look good on the dancefloor. Both ladies are, incidentally, taking part in another pop-up opening at House of Fraser, Glasgow in the coming weeks.

For the sparkle hunters, get yourself in on the Georgia Wiseman and Rene Walrus action. Both ladies are lovely and more importantly absolute jewellery geniuses – check out their websites and see for yourself.

Last and by no means least a trio of amazing accessories designers that make me happy in very different ways. The girls from Bebaroque have officially made hosiery (and the super tight body) cool. With Lady Gaga and Katy Perry on their customer database the Accessory Designer of the Year winners are definitely doing everything right. Whilst you’re snapping up some tights why not prep for the snow ahead with a scarf and bobble hat from Rosie Sugden, her silky smooth Cashmere is irresistable, snuggly and keeps you toasty warm.

Miss Karen Mabon is another creative whizz that you won’t see on the high street. Her perfectly illustrated silk scarves are cute and sartorial in equal measure. Race you to the checkout to bag one of these beauties!

Pop up Princes Square

Go on – support local independent fashion designers this weekend by visiting their pop-up shop on the Ground Floor of Princes Square, Glasgow.

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

jane-davidson-wider-shot1

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