Henry Holland and ROXY
Whilst I first had doubts as to the practicality of Henry’s collection of Ski wear for Roxy (which comprises of a leather mini skirt and mid-length jersey dress to name but a few), I was dually told by a regular to the slopes that this was an ‘après ski’ collection (what you wear for the enjoyable, social part after skiing all day and accumulating numerous bruises). Well that said, if ever I took to the slopes I would be the first one to get my hands on Henry’s leather quilted bomber jacket and heart print cardi available now from the pop-up Roxy Ski Chalet at Beyond the Valley, Newburgh Street, London.
Lanvin and H&M
Staying true to his trademark bold designs, embellished necklines and statement colours, Alber Elbaz has created a capsule collection for H&M that’s brimming with colourful Christmas gems. Entering stores on the 23rd of November, the Lanvin collection is set to be as successful as Stella McCartney and Matthew Williamson’s collaboration with the high-street super power, especially as the Parisian creative director Alber Elbaz wanted ‘H&M to go luxury, rather than Lanvin to go public’. Although the sugar plum, flouncy dresses are a bit too Cheryl Cole for my liking, I’d happily try and get my hands on the black blazer, puffy prom dress and rather lovely fur-coat-come-military-trench combo.
Amy Winehouse and Fred Perry
And now I come to the owner of that well known beehive and her attempt at a designer collaboration; who would have thought it, Winehouse...a designer? Whilst Amy obviously idolises the brand, she's possibly the last person I would have thought of to become the high-street's resident 'designer'. Kate Moss managed to produce a pretty coherent collection time after time for Topshop but Amy Winehouse, really?? Even Emma Watson’s been at it for People Tree as well as Pixie Lott for Lipsy. Soon the celebs will be controlling half our high-street; if they haven’t done so already. I say leave it to the professionals, you know, the ones that do this day in day out. I mean I’d rather say I’ve got a bit of Lanvin in my wardrobe that Amy Winehouse, wouldn’t you?
Whilst some parts of the city are more conservative than others, and the average Londoner’s attitude is by no means representative of the country as a whole, should you frequent Shoreditch by day or Soho by night it’s unlikely that an aesthetic not in keeping with that of the general population would earn you a second look, let alone a shriek of abuse. Of course, not every student on University of London grounds adheres to the strict code of fashion, and why should they? But is an undeniable fact that the people walking around our campus use what they wear, even on days crippled by hangovers and essay deadlines, to display their personality.
This is an entitlement that, according to Luke, we perhaps take for granted. “If I attempt to dress well, I am definitely looked on differently, usually negatively. What I wear has to be slightly conservative in my current social climate. If I do dress how I want people typically don’t verbally respond, but they definitely stare for a while. I really don’t, and can’t, dress very avant-garde, but my mere acknowledgement of the fashion world – exclusive of their daily choice of offensively bright blue athletic get-up or pajamas - seems to catch people off-guard. Recently I even overheard my roommates talking negatively about my clothes and I just don’t feel like that’s okay. Most days I just wear a pair of utility boots, and in spite of the fact that they are in every magazine published, they are not seen on a single soul here! I don’t understand how people without fashion authority can comment on someone who at least has awareness. But then I am happy that they are at least exposed to someone like me, whether they like it or not.”
Despite being generally considered a fairly conservative southern state, with icons like Lady Gaga and countless fashion bibles at their disposal, it’s still shocking to think that our college-student counterparts over the Atlantic are yet to master basic levels of acceptance and, understandably, it’s hard on those in the minority. “There are definitely days when I am insecure; I might appear to be angry or upset. I can become very antisocial at times. I love days where I can just drink and read and be alone.” This alienation isn’t purely emotional; whilst Luke’s peers strive for muscle and live for sports he embraces the unspoken thinspiration that seems de rigeur in fashion’s many circles, seen in tweets that state “Sometimes I just open up Photo Booth and watch myself eating cookies” and “All of this heavy lifting is making me so scared I might actually get an arm muscle.”
Luke’s attitude regarding his situation – aphoristic in his desire to be set apart in Lexington but well-placed in London - is refreshing despite the moments of depression, and the combination has given him a new level of melodramatic, comedic cliché that further distances his mentality from his classmates’, and will make him even more at home in our very own fashion capital. “Fashion is said to be an extension of who you are. This phrase is tired but it holds truth; if everyone at my university is content is wearing the same thing then they must be content with all having the same life. Luckily that’s not who I am. I am happy to be different from everyone else. My fortune cookie yesterday said, ‘The kite rises against the wind,’ and I smiled as I knew this was true.” He ends with a dry laugh in a cynical drawl, more London than Southern: “I had also had a bit to drink so my smile was amplified.”
Follow @lukeaporco on Twitter for more cultural insights:
“An 80 year old man wearing purple leggings. The boundary has officially been pushed in Kentucky.”
“Since when was it acceptable for such a significant amount of the US population to leave the house in pajamas?”
“C’est Vendredi! Best day of the week. Make a fucking friend.”
Traipsing through Soho on a bright morning, surprisingly sans hangover and thus in good spirits, I realise that today is the Boxing Day to my maintenance loan’s clearance. Rather than continuing to subconsciously avoid the side streets that I know may spring a honey trap of clothes-lust on me I decide that I could perhaps meander towards The Shops.
I am soon greeted by dangerously, unignorably alluring (read: skilfully visually merchandised) shop windows. Before long – it could have been minutes, maybe only even seconds; I was so caught in the generic rom-com moment I’m not entirely sure – I see Them. The perfect pair of shoes (“I mean it this time, I don’t know how but they’re different; they’re special”), resplendent in the UV light behind the slightly smeared glass in front of me. I rush in, maybe even pushing a precocious ten year old out of the way, and hurriedly grab the shop assistant, pointing and yelping “those - in a size eight please - quick!”
Before long my feet have glided willingly into their new homes and I totter towards the mirror, leaving my tattered brogues to mope by the ‘reduced’ section, to revel in my own glory. Who knew that a black suede court could look so effortlessly elegant? The effect just isn’t as breathtaking with the other six pairs in my wardrobe back home. I allow my foot to pop, reminiscent of the moment following a suffocatingly romantic first kiss, to check the price. I breathlessly squeal at the newly-formed rip in my heart as I calculate the percentage of my still-warm loan I’m considering doing away with in one swift transaction. But before my heart can sink much further my emotional accountant tosses it up into my mouth with a simple flick of the wrist. What was I thinking, denying myself this purchase? Why, this is love!
I see the sides blur and mentally transport myself forward into the world where I have bought the shoes and they have been lovingly integrated into the family within my wardrobe, accepted unbegrudgingly by my exes. I wear them each day and they alone give me the determination to attend every seminar and lecture, and in them I am miraculously on time. As thanks, they escort me to my graduation where I receive the highest First the university has ever seen, then right out into the real world and my dream job, complete with dream salary.
Then my mind lurches again, this time into the world where I left the shoes in the shop and managed to somehow make it home without jumping into the Thames. My feet can’t bring themselves to walk to campus without their solemates, and I stumble down the stairs barefoot a few weeks later to open the letter that tells me that I am no longer enrolled at UCL at all.
My mind’s wanderings have overwhelmed me to the extent that I’ve become light-headed and fear that I may faint. I hurtle back to reality and open my eyes, gasping with relief as I see the shoes that can and will change my life still luxuriously enveloping my feet. Any hesitation now seems absurdly laughable, even illogical; we have a real future together. In a moment of honeymoon bliss I throw my superfluous brogues into the box and glide over to the till to pay. I leave the shop walking on clouds made of pure joy, completely ignoring the dull ache already creeping into my little toe.
Campus is a little lonely at the moment, what with summer and all, so there has been very little to spot. With this and the fact that we are renting our fashion minds out for free over the summer (you know how it is) this blog may appear a little lonely, too. But don't be too disheartened and make sure you keep checking back for our typically English irregular rays of sartorial sunlight.
Spotted on Campus will be back in full swing in the new semester/season, starting off with a student-friendly guide to the SS11 catwalks.
In the meantime, check out some of the other fashion bodies that have taken up all of our time and attention whilst we've been off campus.
Arthur and Albert Magazine
Find My Style
Brighton Fashion Week
Pi Media Fashion
You can also follow @littlemisswilde on twitter for (almost too) regular fashion, style and random updates.