An Ode to Anna Sui and my other thoughts on #NYFW

Fashion week dictates the birth of new trends and therefore concept and authenticity is everything. The trends I spotted were bare midriffs (cropped is here to stay) lots of leather and generally a very androgynous presence was felt on the runways (BCBG Max Azria, Alexander Wang and Rag & Bone), lots of shirts, collars and trouser suits. It was all very 1990’s with DKNY’s Monogram tracksuits and various designers flannel shirts a la Zach Morris.

This reflected what is happening in fashion now but Anna Sui’s collection was a breath of fresh air to me. Although it is not my style, fashion week is about taking inspiration from the extremities that adorn the catwalk and I can certainly do that! Her collection was beautiful, feminine and hippie like, “Everything is flecked with antique gold, or shot with peacock shades of metallic thread … an entire enchanted forest filled with sparrows and songbirds, blooming with poppies, water lilies, sunflowers … embroideries and antique wallpaper patterns reproduced photographically in digital prints,” she said in her notes. I love how Sui’s collections are always timeless and youthful, the fact that she doesn’t feel pressurised to follow trends is what allows her to set them and gives her clothes that timeless quality. She infused a little bit of the 1960s, seemingly her favourite fashion era, to her new romantic vision. There were shifts and vests, tapestry bags, gladiator sandals and Balinese headdresses. She had a lot of shape and movement to her collection, lots of asymmetric cuts and tassels which added to that hippy sense of freedom.

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I anticipated a real show with Betsey Johnson and wasn’t disappointed, the models skipped and danced down the runway in their pink wigs and floral frills, I loved the wedge trainers and of course the Tulle dresses were beautiful however variety adds spice to life and sadly it was 5 garments in different fabrics so the spice was missing.

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Oscar De La Renta WOWED me, I absolutely loved his beautiful expression of springtime femininity, the crocheted tops, polka dots, frills and delicate tulle layers were all fresh, flirty and feminine.

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I felt Charlotte Ronsons was the most ready-to-wear collection with every piece having versatility. I loved the cropped trousers with side-slits and the jumpsuits were great with collars and clean cuts to attend to the androgynous demand.

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Signature Scents

We’ve all experienced that moment where somebody walks past us and leaves a trail of their perfume wafting behind them prompting us to look up because it reminds us of someone. Its human nature to tie scents to experiences, did you know we can store approximately 10,000 different smells in our memory? Smells have the strong power to vividly bring back memories. To a large extent, smell is more personal than other senses so it brings back memories of people, not just places, or things. Recently I was sitting at the park and a man came and sat next to me who was smoking a pipe. It immediately brought tears to my eyes because I tied that fragrance of musky tobacco to my uncle who died over a decade ago but that smell made me feel like it was just yesterday he was sitting with me smoking his pipe.
Dior perfume

Dior perfume (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

It’s quite amazing how distinctly we recognise smells and some of us more so than others. I am renowned for my over sensitive nose, the slightest odour can make me want to puke however it has its plus sides. I have the ability to recognise about 50 different perfumes just by smelling them. I have an obsession with things that smell nice, I’m forever buying candles, perfumes and all sorts of gadgets to make my house smell yummy. It isn’t a new obsession, I’ve always had a penchant for perfume. I remember people telling me at school that I always smelt nice and I loved it. I used to wear Tommy Girl or L’eau de Issey and I remember a guy in my class saying to another girl “you smell like Zohra” because she wore Tommy Girl and at that time it was my signature scent. I love the idea of owning a beautiful smell and to this day I have my signature scents that I hope remind people of me.

When I spray that perfume I feel “ready”. I’m not ready until I’ve carried out my morning ritual of the spray on the neck and wrists and then in the air as I walk through it to leave my room. At the moment I have 4 fragrances that I use, Very irresistible by Givenchy, Be Delicious by DKNY, Addict by Dior and Euphoria by CK. The last two are my evening fragrances and the first two are my daytime scents. I have had these on rotation for about 5 years and shopping for replacements is one of my favourite things to do!!
I absolutely love perfume shopping and trying out new fragrances. Nothing beats that oozing smell of perfume in a department store of a thousand perfumes combined. I wish they sold it! They should bottle it and call it “Selfridges” or Harvey Nichols”. The minute I inhale it my heart starts beating a little faster. Armed with my coffee beans I get through about 20 perfumes before even the coffee beans can’t help me distinguish between them. I go from tester to tester collecting the papers in my bag and even when I don’t like the smell I sniff it several times because I explore it like a fine wine. Perfumes have top, middle and base notes of fragrances. The top notes are the initial scent, the middle notes prevail as the scent settles and the base note is what lingers so that’s why even if you don’t like it at first you might find that it grows on you. There are five fragrance families: floral, fruity, woody (or chypre), oriental and green. I’m always drawn to fruity and chypre (pronounced sheep-ra) and I have quite a collection however my staple perfumes get replenished every 6 months while my extra or “mood fragrances” as I like to call them last me up to 5 years. I remember when I was a little girl I would go into the garden collecting Rose petals and Jasmine and soak them in water to make my own perfume but after a couple of days the water would reek and my mum would have to throw it out while she ordered me to never create such a stench again. I reckon that’s probably why I’m not a floral kinda girl – they don’t evoke good memories for me.

I know I’m not alone in having a signature scent, I know because there are so many perfumes that remind me of people and that’s because those are there scents. If you don’t have one then you need to take a trip to Selfridges!