When I think Radley, I think cute dog dangling from leather bag. I’m wrong. The SS15 collection from Radley breaks all premise of previous designs; it is cool, colourful, and totally on trend. With colour blocking, texture playing and different styles, it has taken a small risk, but my, has it paid off. Each style has been carefully designed and beautifully created, and by moving away from the little scottie motif (sniff) it will appeal to a broader market who previously may have seen the brand as a little mummyish. Is the new collection mummyish? Not a chance. Sure, it features some classic shapes, but they are timeless, and with the Delevingne being the face of one of Britain’s most popular heritage brands, Mulberry, classic has never been more on trend. Now is the time to buy Radley.
But it goes further. It plays with hues, mixing orange, red and pink in the same piece. There are adorable back packs. There are nautical pieces, laser punched handbags, and a colour called aluminium which may just be the prettiest shade of grey I have ever seen on a bag.
I’m a little in love with it all. Particularly this combination of colours;
| am also totally besotted with my new personalised luggage tag. I now feel obliged to take a mini break just to use it!
Full of graphic florals, colour blocks and turquoise, Burberry’s SS15 show should have been pretty good. And most of the pieces were; I’m absolutely loving the netting, layers and bold brushstrokes. But we need to talk about the Birkenstock inspired footwear. Seriously. Was one summer not enough? What happened to delicate heeled sandals, leg lengthening yet comfortable wedges or at least gladiator sandals? Why is Burberry doing this to us? Not even Suki Waterhouse looks good in flat, practical sandals. The suede works as a perfect contrast to the delicate fabric of the dresses, yet the style of the shoes just clashes. That said, I’m sure every model who walked was eternally grateful to Mr Bailey for fall-resistant sandals!
My timelines are currently full of images of this top, along with comments criticizing and questioning Spanish fashion retailer, Zara’s sense and sensitivity. Word on the street is that this top for children is too close in design to the pyjamas issued by the Nazis to concentration camp prisoners. Sure, we have stripes. And yup, there’s a star too. With the word ‘sheriff’ written on it.
Those of you with an eagle eye will spot that the stripes in question here are in fact horizontal, and anyone with a basic historical knowledge of WWII knows that the stripes forced upon thousands of innocents were vertical. In fact, this top evokes the holocaust in the same way Christian Louboutin is an ardent communist supporter. But then, I suppose bandwagons are fun to jump on, especially when something so controversial is at the centre, and this isn’t the first time Zara has caused outrage in an on behalf of the Jewish community; let’s not forget the swastika bag debacle of 2007. That aside, this particular tee shirt bares more resemblance to the traditional depiction of an inmate’s uniform in a legal prison than to 20th century torture chambers, raising an entirely different question; why on earth has a sheriff retained his badge after being sent to prison? One can only assume that Zara is catering to penny pinching parents by allowing their children to play wild west and cops and robbers seamlessly without so much as a costume change.
Zara isn’t the only fashion retailer to have found itself on the wrong side of the internet’s opinion in the past week for perceived offensive connotations. Mere days after the murder of journalist James Foley, Ann Summers launched a lingerie range named ‘Isis’. Obviously this wasn’t named after a certain Islamic militant group but instead after the Ancient Egyptian goddess of mothers and nature. Unlike Zara, who pulled the top from shelves, Ann Summers simply issued an apology for any offence caused but stated quite clearly that they would not be pulling it, nor changing the name. This is a decision that should be applauded; yes, ISIS is the abbreviated name given to the Syrian Government and Islamic State, but first and foremost it was the name of a goddess and of course a river in Oxford. Why on earth should the name be appropriated by evil with no refund option available? When I read the Harry Potter books for the first time, I found it strange that Voldemort was constantly referred to as ‘he who must not be named’, as if not mentioning the name of one who encompasses the fear of a society suppresses the force. It doesn’t, as was proven in most of Rowling’s later books. Isis is a very appropriate name for a lingerie range. It evokes beauty, femininity and gentleness, indeed everything that the recently prolific ISIS is not.
Of course fashion can be, and has been used many times to make political statements, but this isn’t always the case. If Zara had thought for a second an innocently designed top for a child would cause outrage, it would never had produced it for fear of damaging its reputation and losing profits. Ann Summers chose the name for its bras months ago, before the majority of people had any idea who or what ISIS stood for. Fashion should be enjoyed and played with, not examined and analysed as if it were a long-lost play of the Bard. Sometimes, there is no deeper meaning or political statements.
Today saw the press-day for Radley London’s AW14 collection. Against a backdrop of autumnal London with crunchy leaves underfoot, we left the sunny spring day outside to be transported past a summer we haven’t yet had into Octoberish. Bags in all hues of blue, green, brown, pink and red, hung from a bicycle, a bench, a phonebox and not one, but two front doors.
The new collection is fairly typical of Radley designs; classic in design with a British edge. I personally feel Radley does classic simplicity best and there is plenty of that for AW14. I’m struggling to choose between the Border large clutch and the Aldgate.
But best of all? Monty the real life Radley scottie, happily skipping and frolicking, clearly loving the crunchy leaves and attention.