A Christmas Makeover for Barbie Courtesy of Stephen Jones

Christmas Tree Barbie

For Christmas five fabulous outfits have been created by master milliner Stephen Jones, exclusively for Barbie. He created cocktail dresses, floor length gowns and velvet mini dresses. The designs include; Christmas Tree Barbie, Holly Surprise Barbie, Santa Baby Barbie, Snow Globe Barbie and Toffee Ice Barbie.

You can buy these limited edition Barbie dolls from Selfridges London’s Toy Shop on November 15, ready for Christmas. Earlier this year, the store opened a special space in its toy department exclusively for Barbie. Stephen Jones isn’t the first person to create outfits for the iconic doll, other including; Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Prada plus Azzedine Alaïa, Burberry, Comme des Garçons.

Holly Surprise Barbie

Speaking about his creations, Stephen Jones said: “Barbie is the most fabulous private client. She came into the salon for her Christmas morning hat and left with five glamorous outfits! Barbie and I have the same design vision; we love tradition, but have an eye for the future.”

Head of accessories, childrenswear and toys at Selfridges, Erin Moscow said: “We’re enamoured with the idea of truly one-of-a-kind gifts this Christmas. More than ever before we’re aware of the demand for pieces which offer something really special. These pieces don’t necessarily come with a million-pound price tag – they’re not about ostentatiousness – their beauty lies in their rarity. All of the storytelling and fantasy of Stephen’s work, realised with fun and witticism that’s synonymous with Barbie, has gone into these beautiful dolls.”

Santa Baby Barbie

Snow Globe Barbie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toffee Ice Barbie

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In Search of the Powder – Top 5 Cool European Ski Resorts

Searching for the perfect covering of snow, amazing slopes and fun nightlife and resort activities for your ski holiday is quite a task, luckily for you there are a number of cool European ski destinations which fit the bill. Spread across France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany and Finland, there is plenty of the white stuff to enjoy this season.

Val D’Isere, France

The crown for Europe’s premier ski resort goes to Val D’Isere, it was home to the 1992 Winter Olympics in France and it is famed for hosting more than 150 World Cups. The resort has a fantastic selection of shops including designer boutiques, wonderful restaurants and fun and lively bars and clubs which attract world class DJ’s.

The slopes here are awesome and there are plenty of other activities available in and around the resort. For enthusiasts you should check out the Olympic Men’s Downhill from Bellevarde and Tour de Charvet basin runs. Other fun and exhilarating activities include driving on the ice circuit, testing your skidding skills.

Ischgl, Austria

One of Austria’s premier ski resorts, Ischgl is a little village south of St Anton in the Paznaun Valley. The area of Ischgl, shared is slopes with Samnaun in Switzerland as it is situated right on the border.

There is plenty of après-ski to enjoy with plenty of lively bars and wonderful restaurants, serving traditional Austrian food. It is known as the Ibiza of ski resorts and the glitzy resorts attracts many a-listers and professional skiers.

There is a broad choice of slopes, suited more for experienced skiers and snowboarders with a few very steep runs. There are some options for novice skiers and it is family friendly.

Ruka, Finland

A newer contender to the ski scene, Ruka is an affordable option, compared to France and Switzerland prices, but is still just as good as them. The resort is the “Gateway to Lapland” and held World Freestyle Ski Championships.

It’s quite a lively resort with plenty of great places to eat, in a wonderful Alpine setting. The bars are also home, to live music and the clubs host a number of world class DJ’s. It has a fantastic après-ski culture which really is taking off.

There are 28 runs in total at this resort, with some wonderful freestyle challenges, including the Freestyle Centre which has; two snowboard ‘streets’, a boarder cross course and three pipes. There are a number of organised activities available in the resort including snowmobile trips to the Russian border.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany

If you’re interested in a ski trip for the day, then Garmisch-Partenkirchen is the resort for you. This charming German town, is easily accessible and has some wonderful runs. Food and drink here is top notch, with some wonderful restaurants focusing on German cuisine and international tastes. It also has a lively night life, enjoy traditional German taverns with live music and some fun clubs.

The slopes around this resort stretch 15 miles and there are runs for any ability plus plenty of clubs if you’re a novice. As well as the slopes, make the most out of the Olympic Ski jump and historic bobsleigh run whilst you thereplus AlpsiX is worth a visit for the views from Mount Osterfeldkopf.

Villars, Switzerland

It may be home to posh Swiss finishing schools, buy Villars is still one of the coolest and luxe ski resorts in Europe. It has an exceptional après-ski culture, home to the infamous Snowbombing festival, bringing huge party crowds, plenty of bars and exciting clubs which see top DJ’s performing. You’re not short of fantastic restaurants here either, the Swiss are known for their finer foods and there is plenty on here.

There are a whole host of trails and runs at this resort, suiting people of all levels which cover over 80 miles, so you can spend a whole day out. It also links up to its neighbour, Les Diablerets. As well as outdoor activities you can also fins indoor, tennis, squash and badminton if you want a break from the slops or indoor climbing wall.

 

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Autumn/Winter Skirts

The world is your oyster this season when it comes to skirts, many designer collections, embraced femininity, something that many of us, love to enjoy. Rule of thumb for this season is longer the better, although the mini skirt is still acceptable, the longer lines are the big players and are perfect to capture feminine shapes seen on the catwalks.

Knee Length & Side Splits

Victoria Beckham, is guaranteed to showcase feminine style, her knee length skirts are great for day to night wear and include some sexy splits. They look wonderful paired with ankle boots and fitted tops. Opt for a cinched in waist for a demure retro look. Michael van der Ham and Balenciaga both showcased wonderful longer line skirts, all very retro and very wearable.

Pleats

The might seem a bit schoolish, but pleats have made a welcomed arrival for autumn/winter. Longer lengths make for a stylish and bookish look. The pleats add bounce and substance to longer skirts and the styles flatter a number of different figures. Check out designs from Daks and Calvin Klein for a sophisticated look. If you want something edgier, Mulberry have some wonderful pleated leather skirts.

Prom Style Skirts and Full Skirts

Both prom style skirts and full skirts, hark back to an age where fashion seemed to have more innocence. These 50’s inspired designs from Rochas, Aquilano Rimondi and Roksanda Ilince certainly look like they hark back to a bygone era. But they also look lovely and feminine which is popular this season.

Leather

Not just restricted to bikers, leather has gone glam. Think sharp tailoring, feminine lines and edgy styles. The leather skirt is a must have for autumn/winter and they colour choice Is up to you. Black is still ever popular, but so are bright colours from electric blue to deep reds. Hermes went for the demur leather look on the catwalk with lovely fitted pencil skirts and as mentioned before Mulberry wen with pleated leather skirts and leather top. So this winter make sure you add some leather to your look.

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Fashion News Update

A quick round up of fashion news stories.

Prince Georges Christening

The impending Christening has got fashion reporters talking, over what Christening Gown he will be wearing. It has now been revealed the designer is the daughter of a Scottish coal miner from Falkirk, Janet Sutherland. The gown which was created for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841 has been worn by 60 royal babies.

The gown however that Prince George will be wearing is a replica of that gown made by the Queen’s couturier, Angela Kelly as the original is now too fragile. The last time the original gown was worn, was by the daughter of the Earl and Countess of Wessex Lady Louise Windsor, in 2004.

Janet Sutherland’s great-great-great niece said: “I am very proud to think an ordinary woman from a working-class background could have designed such a beautiful robe. I look forward to seeing the replica on Prince George.”

It’s also been confirmed that the photographer for the even tomorrow will be Jason Bell. He is a famed photographer who has captured Florence Welch and Tom Ford for Vogue as well as the Downton Abbey stars. The London born photographer has never been enlisted to capture the royals, however he does have a large body of work.

Topshop Exclusive Henry Holland Tights

Designer Henry Holland has been working with Pretty Polly for a number of years creating quirky and funky tights. They have now produced an exclusive collection for fashion retailer Topshop. The capsule collection is available in three different designs. One featuring dollar signs, one featuring palm trees and one featuring optician lettering.

Henry Holland Pretty Polly tights are popular with a number of celebrities, Ellie Goulding, Pixi Lott and Jessie J have all been seen performing wearing these individual tights, standing out from the crowd. No doubt this latest collection exclusive for Topshop will be equally as popular.

 

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Top Five European Christmas Markets

Now we are in the rub up to Christmas, why not get all your Christmas wares from a traditional Christmas Market. There are many scattered across Europe, why not make a holiday out of it. Travel easily from the UK or stay here in the UK. Germany is home to the Christmas Markets, however there are a number of other countries pulling out all the stops, including Austria, Czech Republic and Estonia.

If you can’t decide where to go have a look at our top five European Christmas Markets for inspiration:

Germany

When wanting to visit a Christmas Market, Germany is the place to go. Home to some of the most popular Christmas markets in Europe, you can get your Christmassy fix here. Berlin plays host to around sixty every year. Including the market at Kaiser Wilhelm Gedächtniskirche currently one of the most popular also rivalled by the Christmas market in front of Charlottenburg Castle.

The markets in Berlin open early and will run until the end of December. You can also visit Dresden, where you will find one of the country’s oldest fairs, Striezelmarkt, which takes place on Altmarkt square. And is open November 26-December 24.

Estonia

For the perfect backdrop to a Christmas market, is Tallinn, Estonia at Christmas. The temperatures might be low but it’s worth braving the cold for the sight of its Christmas market. You will 50 festive stalls to browse around stocking traditional Estonian fares as well as yummy food and drink. The market is traditionally held in Raekoja plats, until January 9.

Czech Republic

In December, Prague is a virtual winter wonderland and its largest markets taking place in Old Town Square and Wencelas Square. For a real traditional feel, enjoy the beautiful music as choirs come from all over the country to sing carols. They also showcase a wide range of traditional Czech food. The market starts on November 27 and runs till the end of December.

Austria

A city which is transformed into a winter wonderland, pictured in movies, Vienna’s Christmas market or Christkindlmärkte starts in November. One of the biggest fairs happens outside Vienna City Hall and attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. For an authentic Christmas market feel in smaller surroundings the Spittelberg district’s market is the place to head to. The markets run until Christmas.

UK

Outside of London, Leeds is home to one of the UK’s biggest Christmas markets and is one of the most popular. The Christkindlmärkte, is an established German Christmas and can be found in the Millennium Square. There are over 40 wooden chalet stalls from authentic German traders providing selling seasonal. Enjoy speciality foods and traditional German delicacies and the popular Frank-furter Scheune, Kuh Stall and Alp Chalet Bavarian eatery where you can keep a warm and cosy and sample the very best in authentic German food & drink.

Image courtesy of patricia poon

 

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The British Fashion Council

Formed in 1983, the British Fashion Council came from the Fashion Industry Action Group, an ad hoc group which was formed in 1981. The point of the British Fashion Council (BFC) is to mainly promote British fashion, showcase British designers and push London as a major player in the international fashion scene.

The BFC supports people from grass roots, helping nurture British talent, not just designing, but writing, photography and marketing to ensure its success. The success of BFC has seen London Fashion Week (LFW) rank alongside the big fashion players in New York, Paris and Milan. This allows BFC to showcase the best of British Talent around the world bringing in interest and international buyers to help push British fashion.

Helping push from grass roots, the BFC works alongside the younger generation of designers through the BFC Colleges Council helping bring talent forward as well as offering support and advice, not just in designing but all aspects of the fashion world.

If you’re interested in a career in fashion, its best to decide what aspect you want to be in. There are many different options, from designing to marketing, from photography to writing. Study relevant A Levels for your chosen field and move onto higher education. Work is hard and demanding so not only with essays which can be found on Marked By Teachers but also with practical work. You also need a good portfolio and experience, whilst you’re still learning to get a foot in the door when you leave.

Every year the BFC also help to organise the British Fashion Awards to help recognise the talent of British designers. Like the film industry BFTA awards it offers the opportunity to celebrate and reward those in the industry and gains a lot of PR.

 

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Luxury layers

The question everyone is asking this season: why wear one beautiful layer of clothing when you can wear five?

This season it is all about pairing up luxurious and lavish layers of fabric to create the ultimate on-trend look.  The key to this trend is successfully pairing slim cropped trousers with an array of skirts, as seen at Prada, Chanel and Marc Jacobs.  If this pairing doesn’t work for you then an easy alternative option would be to team up a tunic style dress with trousers instead.

It really is all about length and height when it comes to this trend, so try to stick to long lines to avoid looking bulky and feeling overwhelmed.  One of the best ways to tie this look together is by adding a pair of killer stiletto heels or trendy chunky heel shoes.

If all this layering feels a little too much, then choose a cropped jacket rather than a full length one, or try clinching your waist.

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Fashion Week Hotspots

Twice a year, the fashion world, packs up and travels all around the world for fashion week. Visiting hot fashion cities, with designers showing their latest designs for the next season. September is the time where everyone tries to grab a front row seat to see the best shows, showcasing spring/summer designs.

It may seem a bit early for many, but fashion is months ahead, when you factor in design and production. So whilst many of us are just packing away our summer clothes and seeing what’s hot for autumn/winter, designers and avid fashion followers are already onto thinking about next summer.

Starting in New York, before heading to London, onto Milan then the finale in Paris, we look at what was the must see things in these cities from the shows to the street fashion and hotspots in between.

New York

Marc Jacobs; just as much goes into the show, as the collection. Gothic undertones were seen, with dark and vibrant prints. Simple lines and soft fabric, marked with an edge of embellishment. Long ball gown esque dresses probably signify that maxi dresses are here to stay.

Ralph Lauren; preppy style is their normal go to, but for SS they take a nod from the swinging sixties. Bold colours, contrasting panes and short shift dresses were a plenty. Bright colours and colour blocking seems to be the trend with long and short hemlines.

Marchesa: adding a touch of 1920’s swing to the designs, lots of beading and embellishment. Long and short hemlines and lots of light wispy material. Plenty of detail with flower patterns and embellishments.

Street style took a different turn. Many people seen mixing designer with high street (well there is a recession on). Key pieces, shirts, midi skirts, knitwear and leather jackets. Add in a ditsy print, bold colours and mannish shoes finishing off with a bit of stud work. Keep tailoring simple, sharp trousers mixed with relaxed tee and worn with stiletto shoes, chic. Then you can keep up with the NYFW street style through autumn.

NYC virgin? Hit Empire State Building, Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park and of course 5th Avenue.

London

Tom Ford; Luxe styles, lots of leather, embellishments and lace, all with an edgy finish. Lots of deep and rich natural colours, such as black and bronze and gun metal grey. Lots of sheer grey, very sexy and ethereal.

Peter Pilotto; keeping up with graphic style prints, in light and bright summery colours. Cuts were very angular of dresses and jackets. Lots of great optical illusions were made, especially with the different cuts and contrasting colours.

Burberry Prorsum; lots of lady like lice, in lovely soft pastel colours. Lace was seen risqué on the catwalk with the skirts and tops, with more lace underwear underneath. The British label, really amped up the prettiness of some of their designs by adding so striking embellishment.

In London the street style had an edgier look, lots of iconic British punk influences. Leather, tartan and metal work. Our quirky side also came out with plenty of mixing of different prints. We also managed a ladylike edge with midi skirts and pretty tops. And many were sporting this season must have oversized coats.

LDN virgin? Hit London Eye, Tate Modern, Museum of London, Madame Tussauds and of course Knightsbridge.

Milan

Salvatore Ferragamo; Great tailoring, some edging on the masculine. Lots of light natural tones in the fabric mixed in with some sheer looks. A fantastic mix of fabric from cotton to silk and some leather thrown in.

Missoni; their patterns know no bounds. A wonderful mix of contrasting patterns and graphic prints. Knits worked into the collection, mixing chunky skirts with soft silk blouses. Plenty of great colours use, such a wide pallet.

Dolce & Gabbana; their designs tend to hang on epic, their prints for SS are no different. Beautiful prints, depicting coliseums with Mediterranean tones. The fabric look silky soft to the touch and glided effortlessly down the catwalk. Plenty of traditional cuts too.

The slightly warmer Milan temperatures allowed for even different street style again. Loose fit tees’ mixed with smart skirts, plenty of denim and sprinkling of leather. Midi dresses out in force here too, mixed with crop tops and light knits. Simple tailoring was also popular, along with bold colours and simple monochrome pairings.

Milan virgin? Hit Cathedral of Milan, Park Parco Sempione and Giardini Pubblici, Santa Maria della Grazie, Pinacoteca di Brera and hit Quadrilatero d’Oro (Rectangle of Gold).

Paris

Lanvin; Metallic featured heavily, lots of lamé in very space age colours. There was a seventies nod here, lots of flowing gowns, puffed up shoulders and ruffled tops. The tones were fairly dark with this collection, with the odd bright jewel tone sneaked in there.

Balmain; a very minimalist collection, plenty of monochrome. Simple styles, knitwear and denim and hints of leather a real mix of materials. Colours were muted, toned down with a country edge. A few nice white and pink pieces with a girly edge, with a mix of cuts.

Balenciaga; striking cuts, from trousers and skirts to tops. An edgy look with mixed prints. Light bright colours, plenty of white. A great mixture of materials, from soft sweaters, chunky knits to sheer and soft cotton.

Paris street style really feels like adult dress up. Sophisticated sense of style, with great tailoring. Ladylike clothing, plenty of midi skirts again, dainty court shoes and tailored jackets. Accessories range from dainty clutches to large totes. Heels are always on the agenda, and many outfits were tied in with a pretty belt.

 

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European Winter Breaks

Cities in Europe come alive over winter, from wonderful Christmas markets to amazing winter religious celebrations. Exploring European cities over winter, will open up a whole new perspective of the city. If you peel back the stereotypical layers of many cities you will find hidden treasure. If you’re looking for sunshine in November and December, you’re better off going further afield to Egypt, the Caribbean and USA. However for culture no matter what the weather then Europe it is.

Amsterdam

It has a seedy reputation and its where hen and stag parties make a bee-line to, however there is so much more to be found in this intriguing city. It has a rich history, immerse yourself in wonderful museums and galleries or explore its old streets.

Many of the dirt cheap hotels will be filled with the aforementioned parties, however there are a number of wonderful boutique hotels to be found with affordable rates over winter. Amsterdam also has a great food scene with great street food offerings and fantastic restaurants serving local delicacies.

Image Courtesy of Ivan Herman

Zurich

Switzerland, offers more than just skiing in winter, its famous cities are full of history and offer unique festive charm for visitors. Great museums, galleries and monuments, benefit from quieter queues and a relaxed atmosphere.

Sweet treats are top for many visitors to Switzerland and Zurich has many, little cafes serving wonderful cakes and pastries as well as the steaming heisse schoggi (hot chocolate) to warm your cockles.

Image courtesy of  Juan Rubiano

Munich

We may get German markets now here in the UK, but nothing beats visiting the real thing. The Chriskindlmarkt has everything you need for a wonderful Christmas. It’s a great place to buy gifts, décor and try some wonderful Christmas themed food such as spicy-sweet Lebkuchen (gingerbread).

Munich has a number of museums charting its tumultuous history, as well as a number of great galleries including modern art. You are also able to enjoy a number of fabulous day trips from Munich such as one to the castles, Neuschwanstein and Linderhof.

Image courtesy of  Iain Farrell

Barcelona

Spain is normally a summer destination, but its cities come alive in winter and make a great time for exploring without searing temperatures. The queues are smaller so you can explore its impressive architecture such as Gaudi buildings and cathedrals.

Bars, and restaurants are open and in full Spanish swing, mingle with the locals in the best nightspots. Get a seat at the top restaurants by the Marina without battling lots of tourists.

Image courtesy of Trent Strohm

Paris

There’s something magical about Paris in winter, maybe because the Eiffel Tower is lit up like a Christmas tree (it is all year round, but it benefits best during the festive season). Make the most of the quieter times of year for tourists at the major sites.

Explore their wonderful winter markets and pick up some fabulous gift for family and friends. If you have children don’t forget to fit in a trip to Disneyland Paris, full of Christmas spirit and a lot less queues, plus it’s cheaper.

Image courtesy of  Yann Caradec

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Not the Happiest Place in the World

It seems like the Happiest Place in the World (well Europe) is no longer so. Disney Land Paris has seen complaints rise as people describe, broken rides, no stage shows and poor food as the resort apparently is falling apart. Thousands of people have signed a petition to save the resort which seems to be decaying.

Many people are looking for higher standards, what is expected from the Disney brand and no doubt what is expected at their USA parks. Many visitors believe they are visiting an inferior resort and lifelong fans who have been visiting for numerous years have seen it decline. The petition was started by Guillaume Gallant from Belgium who is a theme park enthusiast. He was disappointed when he visited the park again which made him get the ball rolling.

Although the park is not in the best condition, it still sees record numbers of visitors, last year 16 million people visited the park, however money saving initiatives have seen less spent on up keep and shows. The park is known as a poorer imitation of its sister resort in Florida and the lack of upkeep won’t be helping matters.

Image courtesy of Tom Bricker

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