Spring in Bloom

Created in collaboration with Viktor & Rolf, photographed in Batignolles & Parc Monceau, Paris

Spring has finally sprung! Hooray for all the SAD sufferers out there! Me included. I’m definitely affected by seasonal affective disorder and am perennially cold. Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll probably tell you that my most used phrase is: “I’m cold.” I’m basically cold when the temp dips below 25 degrees (so most of the year) and sleep with a hot water bottle for 6 months of it. Yes even with a boyfriend in bed with me. You may laugh, but it means I get 360 degree warmth ;). I also have a small hot water bottle that I travel with, so I’m always prepared to banish any cold chills!

Spring is therefore unsurprisingly my favourite time of the year, not just for its transformative nature, as trees sprout leaves and flowers begin to bloom, but because it's the first sign that the temperature will begin to rise and I’ll actually start to feel my fingers and feet again when I leave the house. Spring also has a distinct scent - my favoured of all the seasons. As one with sensitive smell - my super power if you will (not so great when riding the Paris metro), I associate people and places with smell and would happily bottle this season's scent so I can sniff it all year round. Viktor and Rolf’s new fragrance, Flowerbomb Bloom, launched just in time for the arrival for spring has done just that! It’s a fresher, more aerial and sparkling take on their iconic scent, Flowerbomb, which was created over 10 years ago. They’ve kept the same memorable musky base, and notes of vanilla and patchouli, but injected a breath of fresh air. This added whiff of invigorating air (an innovative molecule captured at the top of the mountain ranges of the Pacific Northwest, and recreated synthetically rather cleverly) has been blended with a burst of fresh flowers, and notes of pomegranate, bergamot and mandarin oils. It’s sweet, but not too sweet, and leaves a lingering floral trail, as it surely did when I wandered around Batignolles last week, hunting down pretty blooms and blossoms, and chasing warmer rays, when shooting this editorial. Is Spring is your favourite season? 

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Photos of me by Roxanne Matizbit.ly/FlowerbombBloom

Dressing like a French Girl

Photographed outside Hotel Providence, Paris. 

I've held off writing a post like this as I've always thought it a little clichéd. Yet the fascination with the way French women dress (and what they eat, how they rear their children and look after their skin…) continues to endure. So I put on my new favourite top, donned a trench and bought a baguette! (Because no French cliché is complete without one.) And what with Paris Fashion Week a few days behind us, I thought there was no better time than now to address a style that I’ve become more accustomed to wearing. This particular outfit is what I want to be wearing when Spring finally shows up. I’ve already worn a variation of it which you might have seen already, if you follow me on Instagram.

Having now lived in Paris for just over four years, I feel a little more in tune with what French women wear. I can confirm that compared to Dalston, East London anyway, where I used to live and where it wouldn’t be unusual for someone to walk down the high street clad in a technicolour dream coat, with hair to match - they do tend to wear less colour. But it’s not the lack of colour that has struck a cord with me over the years, but the simplicity and ease with which they dress. You’ve probably heard of the French laissez-faire attitude – meaning to let people do as they choose or as they want. It's a nonchalant attitude - the same that shows up in French style. It’s this sense of effortlessness that people often elude to when describing the way women dress. It's as much about the attitude as the items they wear. There is not a mishmash of colour, fabrics and textures etc.. but rather a curated or pared back outfit that because it’s simple, looks effortless.

Look at classic French women such as Caroline de Maigret, Jeanne Damas, Ines de la Fressange and Anne-Laure of Adenorah – their style isn't fussy, with mainly neutral colours, jeans, white shirts, a blue blazer, beige trench, stripes, a pop of colour and leopard print here and there, and all together seemingly effortless – their clothes don’t over-power but rather complement their natural beauty. It's timeless. French style is talked about over and over again because it looks by far the easiest way to dress stylishly, but ironically it's the hardest to emulate as you also need the right attitude, you can't look too try-hard. 

Admittedly when I first moved to Paris, my personal style went from less colour to almost predominantly navy, grey and black because I wanted to blend in. I already felt different being a Brit in Paris - something that more recently I've embraced. Only in the last year or two, as I feel more comfortable living here (I now have my career, my circle of friends and I can speak French - it's home!), have I begun re-introducing more colour into my wardrobe and started having a lot more fun with what I wear. I probably look more British, with what I like to think a French twist. Note pink coat I wore during Paris Fashion Week - a first for me - yet I styled it simply over a striped top and jeans. 

What do you think about French style? Do you try to emulate it? 

Below I’ve listed high and low end versions of what I’m wearing in the hope that you might also find some style inspiration not only from French women, but also for spring!

I'm wearing: MIH Jeans striped top / Levis Wedgie Icon Fit Jeans / Next Trench Coat, similar here & here / Joseph shoes, similar here & here / APC Bag, similar here & here. 

The Striped Top: 

The Trench Coat: 

The White Shoe: 

The Shoulder Bag: 

Photos of me by Dimitra Sereti, edited by me. 

A weekend in Zurich

At the end of last year I visited Zurich. It was my first time traveling to Switzerland, the land of chocolate and crystal clear water. Admittedly the city - renowned for its cleanliness hadn't been on my travel wish-list, so I was surprised to discover just how much the Swiss capital and banking hub (for what I knew it for) has to offer. I didn't know for example that Zurich has such an important artistic heritage - it was the birth place of Dadaism. Besides the architecture, which is beautiful, and even more so during the festive season, I also loved Zurich West - the burgeoning neighbourhood built around an old viaduct, with quirky shops, cafes, restaurants and galleries. It was one of the best weekend trips I've had in a long time. Staying at the beautiful boutique Marktgasse Hotel might have had something to do with it and spending Sunday afternoon un-winding in the city's thermal baths, was by far my a favourite excursion. Here's a little round-up of what to do and where to eat in this up and coming destination:

Address Book: 

Stay:

- Marktgasse Hotel

Do:

- Take a ferry ride around the lake

- Visit Zurich West – an up & coming area with shops and restaurants

- Thermalbad – bathe in the amazing thermal baths

- Cabaret Voltaire – learn about the birth of the art movement Dadaism

- Admire Marc Chagall’s beautiful stained glass windows inside Zurich’s Fraumunster Church

Eat:

- Lunch at Sprüngli Café - Swiss chocolatier with iconic restaurant attached

- Frau Gerolds Garten – fondu restaurant

- Vorderer Sternen

- Sudhang Wine Bar

Shop:

- Walter Vintage Moebel & Accessories

- Freitag - bags made from recycled trunk tarp

- Soeder* - style/ concept store

- Bookbinders Design - techni-coloured luxury stationers

The Interior at Marktgasse Hotel. 

Exploring Zurich West

Thank you to Marktgasse Hotel for making this trip possible. 

Pretty in Pink

Pretty in Pink is one of my favourite John Hughes films that addresses social cliques, class, love and personal style in an 80s American high-school. It's about not fitting in and grappling with staying faithful to your individuality, versus following the crowd. All themes that I thought very apt for this post. If you haven't watched it, I urge you to! I recently read Lucy Williams' account of how she'd finally found her happy place at Fashion Week and it resonated with me. While I was never a fashion assistant for a prolonged time period (although I did a month's stint interning as a fashion assistant for a UK based magazine, followed by freelancing for the Style Editor during my second year of university), I have been attending fashion weeks (mainly in London) for close to 7 years. Before I moved to Paris, I edited an East London-based arts and culture website, which involved writing about and commissioning photographers to cover London Fashion Week, and I've written on and off about fashion for other publications. In spite of my experience, I'll be honest and say that I have never felt entirely confident attending shows, until this season. Despite fashion's democratisation through social media, it is still an elitist industry and can be hard to penetrate. Because I was never immersed in the world from the beginning of my career, like friends who studied it at university - but instead came at it from an angle of interest having been attracted by its art, creativity and theatre - I've always felt a little intimidated and like I didn't quite belong. Ironically many of my best friends work in fashion for incredible brands like Dior, Louis Vuitton and Net-a-Porter. It clearly comes down to confidence and feeling comfortable forging my own path.

Slowly, but surely I've been finding my feet - making friends in the circuit that means I don't attend shows alone - it can indeed be a lonely place and although my personal style feels ever-evolving, I'm getting to a place where I know what suits me and where I can and can't push my sartorial boundaries. Hopefully I can inspire you and others to be more outgoing in their style choices and feel more confident about what they wear, yet remaining uniquely you - as I truly believe that clothes can empower. It's about finding what works for you and your body shape and not necessarily about following the trends. As the inimitable Yves Saint Laurent once said: "Fashions fade, style is eternal." Although trends can be fun to follow - take this pink coat for example, pink is one of this season's must-have shades (if you've been following the shows and regularly read fashion magazines) and I'll freely admit that I jumped headfirst onto the bandwagon here. I perhaps wouldn't have worn it before seeing it crop up on the catwalks last season, but styled in the right way, i.e with accessories that are more me - I feel incredibly comfortable and stylish in it - much like Andy does in the pink prom dress she fashioned herself in Pretty in Pink

I'd love to hear your thoughts about fashion - do you religiously follow trends? Do you attend the shows? And how have you found your sartorial comfort zone? 

I'm wearing: Chalayan Coat, similar here and here / Garrett Leight Sunglasses / Levis Jeans / Martiniano Shoes, similar here and here / Clare V round leather bag, similar here / MIH Jeans Breton Striped Top

Photos by Dimitra Sereti, edited by me. 

Courchevel 1850

If you watch my Instagram Stories, you would have seen that I spent the last few days in Courchevel. This was a very special trip for me, not just because I went with my boyfriend and friends, and visited one of the world's leading ski destinations, but because I finally put on a pair of skis for the first time since I was a teenager. For years I've been wanting to return to the icing sugar slopes and ski with Evian mountains looming behind me, but the timing just hadn't been right. But finally I found myself on the slopes looking up at the most incredible mountain views and bright blue skies. After getting stuck on the slopes a few times and suffering a couple of panic attacks - I am a bit afraid of heights and just hadn't built up my confidence enough yet to ski down a steep slope - I remembered how much I enjoyed (and the immense freedom that goes with it) skiing down a side of a mountain. It's addictive, and coupled with après ski activities, such as hot chocolate, fondue cheese for dinner and dancing either at an outside bar, ski boots an' all or in a lavish club at night - I now want to go back every year! Are you a ski-er? 

Scroll down for my ski style picks. 

Spring Favourites

Photographed in Paris

As I write this there are bright blue skies and the sun is finally streaming in through the windows after what was a very dreary, grey and cold weekend, which brought snow! I photographed this on an almost equally, but cold sunny day last week that had me tricked into thinking it was starting to get a little warmer. Wishful thinking. Despite the cold, my head is already in spring and more specifically what I will be wearing when the temperatures get a little more manageable and I don't have to wear a heavy coat. I started sporting this floral jumper (similar here and below) a few weeks ago as I was in need of brighter clothing to combat the grey, but it's also the perfect top to celebrate the (eventual) coming of spring. I've paired it with black jeans and this denim khaki jacket from Sezane, which I'm sure is going to become a throw-over-anything spring essential.

I'm wearing: Zara Sweater, similar here & here // Sezane Khaki Jacket // Sezane Sneakers, similar here // A.P.C half moon bag, similar here // Sezane Jeans // YSL lipstick

Photographed by Dimitra Sereti, edited by me.