Monday, 28 November 2011

Bargain of the week: the £10 party dress

Going to be a bit low on cash this Christmas? Look good in bodycon? Then we have the answer! This gorgeous LBD is only a tenner (yup, just ten whole pounds) from Primark - bargain or what?!

And for those able to splash a bit more cash for the party season, this red long sleeve version sports a similar pleat panel style. 

Pleat panel bodycon dress, Topshop, £38

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Sew me a bone

A few months back I discovered the work of Inge Jacobsen, the artist who uses embroidery on found work such as magazine covers, and fell in love. So when Topshop posted on their blog about Philadelphian artist Matthew Cox, I knew they were on to something special.

Matthew uses MRIs and X-rays as the basis of his artistry, adding layers of flowers and images of nature to turn these clinical sheets into beautiful works of modern art.
"Redefinition motivates me to create my embroidered x-rays. The stark clash of two such divergent materials, cloth and plastic, is the simple catalyst. One tactile and labour intensive, the other technical, and quickly a finished product. There’s a wide historical context, one ancient, decorative, and artisanal, the other contemporary and devoid of aesthetic intention. By simply placing one of these materials on top of the other the understood purpose of each is redefined."  --  Matthew Cox.

All the works featured in this post belong to Matthew Cox and are used for commenting purposes only.

Monday, 21 November 2011

Bargain of the week: Versace-esque trousers at River Island

This is the last I'll gab on about Versace for H&M - promise! 

Grazia featured these beauties in their fashion chart last week and I had to pass on the tip. For all those who missed the Versace for H&M collection and still want a piece of the multicoloured action, check out this offering from River Island. 

Molto bene!

Work hyperactive Italian style for only £40 
in these red dolce vita skinnies.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bargain of the week: £20 gift voucher free with Elle UK!

Yup, you read it right, this month Elle readers receive a free £20 Kurt Geiger gift card (no minimum spend required) to use in store or online.

I chose a gorgeous Cassie bracelet in lilac and hematite (perfect for Christmas party season!) and only had to pay the £4 postage. Bargain!

Kurt Geiger's Cassie bracelet

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

Designer Q&A: Catrin Watkins, maggie + me

Welsh designer Catrin Watkins
At a young age, Catrin Watkins found her calling: she was going to be a fashion designer. The enchanting tale that follows is one of family inspiration, overcoming serious health issues and developing the skills that would one day mould the girl from Penyrheol into one of the most successful designers to come out of Wales in recent years.

Catrin’s label, maggie + me, is built on the love of design that she shares with - and was nurtured by - her grandmother Maggie, herself an accomplished seamstress. Maggie + me provides unique style mixed with catwalk trends and sprinkled with the accessibility that has led to the garments being stocked in high street department stores across the world.

Chic and Cheerful caught up with Catrin to talk Welsh influences and how to start a label just ahead of the launch of the maggie + me Autumn/Winter 2011 collection.

C&C: Had you always intended to set up a label?
Catrin: It was always a dream to set up the label but I wanted to gain experience in the industry first so I was prepared for what it entailed. From a very young age, being surrounded by patterns and learning to sew with my grandmother gave me a keen interest [in fashion design] and a foundation to be creative.

C&C: How did you come up with the maggie + me concept?
Catrin: I wanted to create a label that was more of a mind-set than about age. The main inspiration was my grandmother as she taught me a lot and it seemed the right name for the label. She was overjoyed and proud that I named it after her.

C&C: How long did it take to prepare the first collection?
Catrin: It took about three months to prepare the first collection, with a lot of time spent abroad sourcing fabrics and trims to create the desired look. It was hard work but I had faith that the outcome would be positive and now the collection is growing every season. I’m constantly designing to push the collection aesthetic and to ensure the brand evolves.

C&C: Tell us about the inspirations behind your latest collection.
Catrin: Focussing on attention to detail and up to the minute trend forecasting, all of the collections offer a unique style statement combined with catwalk trends. Autumn/Winter 2011 explores the brand’s sophisticated and versatile side, with a range encompassing chic dresses, sharp tailoring, cosy knits and outerwear.

C&C: How has growing up in Wales and Welsh fashion culture influenced your work?
Catrin: Growing up in Wales was great but back then there were not so many options for shopping as there are now and my grandmother would make a lot of my clothes. One thing it influenced me was to be comfortable in my own style: it showed me to be true to myself and that you do not always have to follow the crowds.

C&C: How does your style now compare with what you design?
Catrin: My style is very similar to maggie + me designs. I love understated designs, chic yet with an edge that is easily able to go from day to night.

C&C: What advice can you offer aspiring designers?
Catrin: You need to live and breathe fashion. Work hard, study and get experience. In terms of your design approach, keep true to yourself.

See more of the gorgeous AW11/12 'love me' collection and find out where you can buy maggie + me.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Oxfam Boutique second birthday fashion show

Cardiff’s fashion elite came out in force to celebrate Oxfam Boutique’s second birthday last month and Chic & Cheerful was there to see it all.

Morgan Arcade was turned into a catwalk for the night to showcase some of the donations Oxfam has received in a fabulous vintage fashion show. Models strutted their stuff to a quirky soundtrack,wearing outfits put together by Boutique staff. All of the garments featured were available in store (although judging by the enthusiasm of the attendees I'd be surprised if any are left now!).

After the show, guests were treated to wine, nibbles and the opportunity to have a chat with some of the ladies and gentlemen who had volunteered to model: one of whom confessed to Chic & Cheerful that she nearly walked down the catwalk the wrong way! Eek! But luckily not even nerves could stop this from being a well-choreographed and very successful birthday bash.

For vintage designer fashion, Oxfam Boutique is one of the best shops in Cardiff. The store sells donations from the very generous people of the city (thank goodness there are so many fashion followers in Cardiff!) so we get the best vintage right here in South Wales. If you haven’t popped in yet, visit for the very friendly staff and a great selection of clothes and accessories.

Oxfam boutique, Cardiff: a video review

Friday, 4 November 2011

Bargain of the week: feather bracelets

It's Friday! Yes! This calls for a Chic and Cheerful treat: the introduction of a new blog regular! Right, so before I overdose on the exclamation marks, let's get this show on the road.
The LeiVanKash version
of my high street bargain
I picked up a cute LeiVanKash replica bracelet at the end of the Miss Selfridge summer sale for only £2 - and haven't stopped wearing it. So when I spotted more lookalikes on their website (at a quarter of the LeiVanKash price!) I had to share.

I'm a huge fan of earthy, tribal styles and this lovely beaded feather bracelet is just the ticket for rocking a laid-back vibe. Try it layered with other friendship bracelets or worn by itself for a great statement piece.

Left: Miss Selfridge, £6.50
Right: LeiVanKash, £165

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

The Whiteboard fashion tweetwatch

Need to know the latest fashion news? Want more sassy Chic & Cheerful content? Well, as of this week you can read our quirky Tweet Watch posts every Tuesday and Thursday on Whiteboard fashion, bringing you the best of what's happening in the fashion world that day.

Click through for a little taster of what you're in store for...
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