ANNA MASON: ONE OF MY FAVOURITE COLLECTIONS FOR SPRING 2015

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 17.51.51

I first blogged about Anna Mason back in January as I wanted to introduce you to her incredible talent as a fashion designer and also her great personal style. Having spent most of her career working for other designers, including Valentino, Karl Lagerfeld, Max Mara and Amanda Wakely, Anna has been working on her own collection for the last couple of years, gradually adding more pieces each season.

The last couple of weeks has seen Anna preview her spring/summer 2015 collection which I absolutely adore. I love the Broderie Anglaise, and then of course there is my old favourite, The Bardot dress. What I love about Anna’s designs is that, being in her early forties, she understands the fashion needs of women like myself, yet adds such a unique sense of style into each and every piece.

Anna will be updating her website soon, amongst catching up on the copious amounts of orders that she has received since her preview, but in the meantime, here is a sneak preview. I have several favourites and just can’t decide, but as I’m no 46 on the list, I have some time yet to make my decision!

To keep up-to-date with Anna and her latest collection, you can find her on Instagram.

dresses

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 17.53.23

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 17.53.43

Screen Shot 2015-05-03 at 17.55.16

 

 

MY STYLE: ANNA MASON, FASHION DESIGN

Screen Shot 2014-11-01 at 16.51.00

The first time I met Anna Mason, I was still at school. It was the opening night of the infamous Bath Festival, and anyone who was anyone, was picnicking in the evening sun on the lawn in front of the Royal Crescent. I was more than likely wearing a Barbour and pearls (my confession of that fashion mistake is here), doused in YSL Paris, and hand in hand with my Barbour and trilby-wearing boyfriend. You get the picture. Anna, however, was dressed as a flapper girl, and I knew straight away that this girl had style. Bags of it.

Our paths didn’t cross again until a few years later, through one of my close friends, Emma. Anna was working in Italy for Max Mara, having graduated from the Royal College of Art, where she was sponsord by Karl Lagerfeld, and when she was back in England, she and Emma would throw glamorous parties in their tiny top floor studio apartment in Kensington, where Anna would always be dressed in vintage Givenchy or some other incredible outfit.

After working with Valentino in Rome, Anna came back to London and worked for Amanda Wakely. It was during this time, in 2000, that she designed my wedding dress and going away outfit, both of which were heavenly. It was only a matter of time that Anna would start designing her own collection. Of course, I want it all, each piece is made to order and I’m hoping have my first piece in the spring.

I spent a day with Anna recently, at her home in south London, drooling over her collection as well as the contents of her own wardrobe. So Anna Mason is the second of The Yellow Dress’s ‘My Style’. All I can say is, enjoy!

Anna can be found at Anna Mason and on Instagram.

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 21.02.48

TYD: “How would you define your style?”

AM: “I love the ’70s, along with things that are a bit different, while also being classic. I love beautiful fabrics and like clothes to remind me of the past, such as ’30s dresses, ’40s jackets and ’70s blouses. I love a classic pea coat or a touch of men’s tailoring, but I also love feminine clothes.”

TYD: “Who are your style icons?”

AM: “I love the way Brigitte Bardot looked in the ’70s, as well as Jane Birkin and Catherine Deneuve in the late ’60s, early ’70s. The ’80s is another favourite era.”

TYD: “What have been your favourite and most treasured pieces in your wardrobe?”

AM: “My favourite piece is a vintage Givenchy cream coat. I don’t like wearing it in London, as the weather never seems right, but somehow it always looks amazing in Paris, even after 25 years!. I also have an Isabel Marant jacket that is totally genius.”

TYD: “Is there anything you ever reget NOT buying?”

AM: “Yes, a few years ago. It was a pair of Chloe boots. They were straight in the leg and dark grey. I would have worn them to death. Most recently, it was a couple of vintage pieces in France, especially a long white shirt, but I was being rushed by my husband so I left it. There was also a beautiful Edwardian blouse that I found at a brocante, but we didn’t have enough euros on us.”

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

TYD: “Is there anything that you regret buying?”

AM: “I’m a very focused shopper, so I don’t make many mistakes. I have a whole list in my head with questions such as ‘will I wear it?’, ‘how will I wear it?’, ‘is the fabric right?’, ‘can I justify it?’. I try to be practical, but in fact, I’m quite a horrible shopper! Whether it’s designer, vintage or H&M, I go through the same rigorous process. If I were to regret anything, it’s a Burberry coat as it was very expensive, but then I love it and it did replace an old Joseph coat that I had had for twelve years.”

bags

 TYD: “What are your essential items?”

AM: “It sounds very boring, but a good pair of jeans. And a really good jacket. I love things for different reasons. A good coat will take you through a whole season, and I always have to have mid-heel boots and shoes that I don’t have to take off because they’re uncomfortable.”

annashoes

TYD: “Where do you like to shop?”

AM: “My absolute favourite is Isabel Marant, I could buy everything. I also adore Chloe, so those are my two favourites. If money were no object, I would shop at Valentino and Lanvin, but in reality it’s Zara and H&M, and Matches for the odd special piece, but all online. I loved Lanvin for H&M and have a couple of evening dresses. I like APC and Uniqlo for practical pieces.

“I love vintage that doesn’t look vintage, and that it’s clean and fresh. I like to dress it in a non-vintage way, such as a ’70s blouse with skinny jeans. I try to make things relevant to now. Vintage fairs such as Frock Me at Chelsea Town Hall, London, are brilliant. I also love The Button Queen in Marylebone Lane and Jessie’s Button Box in the Antique’s Centre in Bath.

“However, I only wear my own collection when I go out. There’s nothing more satisfying that somebody asking my where my dress is from, and I am able to say that I designed it.”

anna things

anna dresses

broiderie

THE LACE BLOUSE

6c2e5ebe034db2808e68f287b70aaf2b

I love nothing more than a lace blouse. Whimsical and feminine, it looks as great with a black tuxedo as it does a pair of cropped jeans. Delicate lace, crocheted lace, broderie anglaise, it really doesn’t matter, but this summer, the lace blouse is an essential item in your wardrobe.

The good news is that there are plenty to choose from, both high-end and on the high street. I adore the ruffle broderie anglaise Victorian-style blouse by Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini, being a sucker for a puffed sleeve and it goes up to a generous size 16 which is always a bonus (although the price is positively breathtaking).

However, after what feels like an eternity, Warehouse are back on form, and have several lace blouses to choose from, from Victoriana frills and ruffles to pretty cut-out lace tops. Zara are also on a roll with these pretty blouses below.

6428021712_2_1_1

Zara Handmade Embroidered Top, £29.99

5598021251_2_2_1

Zara Cutout Top, £25.99

As well as the high street, there are smaller brands and stores that have some of the best lace blouses that are somehow ‘just right’. London-based Iris (also online), have a beautiful classic broderie anglais blouse that really will go with just about everything. Another brand that I have just discovered via Instagram is French concept store, Pretty Wire. They have at least five lace styles to choose from at pretty reasonable prices. I absolutely adore the Lilou cotton broderie anglais blouse, but as it only comes in two sizes, sadly I think it will be too risky. If you’re between a size 8 and 12, I’d say go for it.

Another favourite who I have blogged about before is Self Portrait. Each piece is made of some form of lace and their blouses are just divine. I am also in the process of sending my measurements (waiting for those extra pounds to miraculously disappear before I commit) to Anna Mason, one of my favourite designers who makes to order. The Birdie Blouse with it’s puffed sleeves and long cuffs is my idea of heaven!

lace blouse

  1. Warehouse Panelled Lace Top, £69

2. Philosophy Di Lorenzo Serafini Ruffled Broderie Anglaise Georgette Blouse, £370

3. Masscob Calma Lace Panel Top, £194

4. Monsoon Marilyn Top, £59

5.  Iris Broderie Anglaise Top, £98

6. Kirei Alice Cutwork Blouse, £140

lace2

  1. Anna Mason Birdie Broderie Anglaise Blouse, from £300

2. Self Portrait Balloon Sleeve Lace Panel Top, £200

3. Self Portrait Contrast Lace Panelled Top, £170

4. Pretty Wire Lily Cotton Broderie Anglaise Blouse, €75

5. Pretty Wire Lilou Cotton Broderie Anglaise Blouse, €75

NEW TERM, NEW ME

Screen Shot 2015-09-06 at 19.44.08

New term, new me, that’s my motto for the next few months (in fact, the next year). A New Year’s resolution four months early if you like! Last week, while we were in the South of France on holiday, I made a pledge to my husband that I would wear a bikini next summer. For those of you who don’t know me, you may well think I’m planning rather far ahead, which I am, but for those who do know me, it will probably make a lot more sense.

Since I gave up smoking (ahem) in my late twenties, I have always struggled with my weight. I am what is known as an emotional eater. I eat when I’m stressed, I eat when I’m unhappy, and on the whole, I eat when I’m happy too. I love food and also have a tendency to be greedy.

Last year, with the help of a personal trainer and sheer determination, I lost two stone. I was fit and healthy, losing weight, and for the first time in years I didn’t wake up with a huge foreboding sense of guilt that I had ‘failed’ again. And it felt good.

I thought I had faced my eating ‘demons’ and dealt with them. I even wrote about it for Red magazine, under a pseudonym because I didn’t want my mother to read it. However, late last year, my mother was diagnosed with dementia and over the following eight months, we went to hell and back. I wrote about it for Grazia magazine back in March, but that was only the beginning.

As a result, I stopped exercising (I was visiting my mother in hospital everyday and simply didn’t have the time or energy), and started eating. It was a gradual process, but as time went on, all the weight I had lost piled back on. So here I am, back to square one.

However, my mother is now finally settled and as Daisy goes back to school this week, I can start focusing on other things, such as getting to the weight I really want to be. Summer 2016 feels like a realistic goal for losing four to five stone in a slow and steady fashion. No fad diets for me, been there done that.

So it all kicks off tomorrow. No more wine, no more bacon sandwiches for breakfast, no more snacking on crisps and tortilla chips, it’s now high protein, good fats and low carbs. Healthy and realistic. I’ve booked a personal trainer for twice a week (I loathe exercise, but perhaps one day I will start to enjoy it), and I’ve signed up to a beginner’s Ashtanga yoga course.

To keep up the incentive – apart from a wardrobe of things I can no longer wear – I am going to give myself mini goals to achieve, so that I have something to look forward to. I have lusted after the dress pictured above and below, from my friend Anna Mason, for over a year now, and finally I am going to treat myself to one. But there’s a catch. Anna took my measurements back in October 2014, when I was over a stone lighter, so that’s my first goal.

I have ordered the dress in fuschia pink and I am going to wear it on my birthday at the beginning of December. So there you are, I have made it official. It’s not a matter of if it happens, but when it happens. Watch this space…

FullSizeRender

Screen Shot 2015-07-21 at 14.19.48

Anna wearing the beautiful Bardot dress

 

 

 

 

 

COLOUR BLOCKING MY BOOKSHELVES

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

I have been wanting to try colour blocking my bookshelves for months. I was first inspired when I visited my friend, fashion designer, Anna Mason, and delved into her wardrobe. Her office wall was covered in colour blocked books and I loved it. The problem is, you need the time to do it, and who has that?

However, last week my husband was away, and left to my own devices (while the cat’s away!!), I got cracking. Our shelves were getting out of control (see below) and needed attention. It was a mamouth task and took several evenings and a couple of afternoons, but in my view, it was well worth it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

Colour blocking bookshelves is not everybody’s cup of tea, but for me I loved the idea of making a real feature out of our books. I toyed with the idea of whether to create an ombre effect or make it more like a rainbow, but in the end I just had to go with what felt right.

I have a lot of Vogue magazines (starting from the 1980s), so I started with those along the bottom and then moved into black. I tried to keep it tonal, but couldn’t be too precious about it as I had to work with what I had. The rest of the books go from pink to yellow, orange to neutral, brown to red, green to red again, and then onto varying shades of blue, rather like the sky. I don’t mind that the sizes of the books are different, in fact I quite like the irregularity of it.

When my husband came back from his trip, he was rather dubious, but as soon as he saw the shelves he loved them. Phew!

Untitled-1

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

 

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES