I have always admired and very much liked the designs of cool, Brit designer Luella Bartley; but it wasn't until I read an interview with her, in the May edition of British Vogue, did she gain the top post in my designer hierarchy.
The story of how she got where she is to day, is an inspirational one. Lone child of separated parents strives to be successful. Moves from small unexciting English town to the buzzing velocity of the capital. Studied fashion journalism at the internationally renowned Central St Martins. Snapped up by a London newspaper, followed by a career, at the cream of the fashion magazine's crop - British Vogue. A career switch, decided on a whim, and she's taking over the fashion industry. Surely, this must be every fashionista's fairytale?
Her first collection appeared on the fashion scene in September 1999. The title -'Daddy I want a Pony', was the first of many wonderfully quirky collection names. Gradually, Luella, as a brand grew in success and by her third collection - 'Dial F for Fluoro', Kate Moss was already modelling her collection.
Her clothes are quintessentially London. Ever since the 60's, when London became a fashion capital, thanks to fashion pioneers, like Mary Quant and Barbara Hulanicki, the style of the city has been to combine fashion culture with music culture. Luella continues to carry on this marriage, as her collections are, as Vogue put it "Rock in roll clothes with a skinny silhouette and Sloane Ranger references." Indeed this is what Luella's style is all about - feminine yet eyebrow - raisingly cool. Think Diana, Princess of Wales meets The Clash.
London cool meets County Club -the essence of Luella
Her autumn/winter 2007 collection, titled with yet another original and playful name; 'Foxy', carries on her style philosophy - classic ladylike chic meets the upstart rock chick edge. It is a striking concoction of old British aristocracy and and London street style. Horses, a great love of Luella, always feature heavily in her work and are present once again, in the form of blazers and funky, customised riding boots by Noki.
Luella's shows are always a must for fashion editors, as she prefers to set the catwalk trends rather then follow them, which of course is the true sign of a fashion extraordinaire. As Vogue says " Lady Diana pie crust shirts worn with faded drainpipe jeans, strappy bags adorned with charms, cocktail dresses made informal with pockets and heavily embellished t-shirts are all Luella-isms."
And just to prove this point, Topshop are already selling Luella inspired dresses. The fabulous Luella dresses, with the crisp folds and voluminous skirts, that these ones emulate are sure to be the dress shape of choice for the approaching seasons.
Original yet beautiful Luella dress a/w '07
Luella-ism dresses at Topshop