All posts by monkson

When a colour tells a story

‘Wow, Wow, Wow’ were the first thoughts that entered my head as the colour bomb of outfits hit the podium during the inauguration of President Joseph  Biden. The vibrancy and intensity of the colour hues were poignant in their message that these powerful  women were wanting to convey to the world; a message of positivity, hope and the excitement of new beginnings.

But these colour choices are also signifiers to deeper meanings and an insight to the characteristics of who these women are and what defines them. Kamala Harris and Hilary Clinton both wore purple which have historic connections as the official colour of  the American suffragette movement. In addition it was a recognition of the role played by Shirley Chisolm as she tried to enter the male dominated world of American politics. She was a democratic politician, and the first  black woman to be elected into congress where she served 1969-1983. In 1972 she announced herself as a candidate for the democratic presidential election, at which she wore a purple dress, again in recognition of the suffragette movement. She lost the nomination but 50 years later her legacy significantly  continues on. Jennifer Lopez also  looked stunning  in her beautiful all white Channel outfit, which was the other official colour associated with the suffragette movement.

Lady Gaga was given the prestigious responsibility of singing the national anthem and wore a striking dress from the Texas designer Daniel Roseberry. Clad in a form fitting navy blue cashmere jacket with gilded dove of peace broach, and vibrant washed red silk skirt, the stunning ensemble screamed patriotism as loudly as her beautiful rendition of the The Star-Spangled Banner. Her choice of colours was to identify the American values and optimism for her country as she explained on Instagram on the day before the Inauguration: ”I pray tomorrow will be a day of peace for all Americans. A day for love, not hatred. A day for acceptance not fear. A day for dreaming of our future joy as a country. A dream that is non-violent, a dream that provides safety for our souls. Love, from the Capitol.” 

Finally, and arguably one of the main stars on stage during the afternoon,  was the Youth Poet Laureat Amanda Gormon, who radiated energy, confidence  and optimism in her vibrant bright yellow coat. She chose  Miuccia Prada to design it as she respected her as a  long term defender of feminism. Yellow has represented wisdom and intellect throughout the ages, as well as exhibiting happiness and clarity, so it was a perfect choice for this very energetic and articulate young Poet to wear. In addition it was  a respectful nod to Dr Jill Biden who had been instrumental to her presence on stage that afternoon. She had been so taken with Amanda’s  performance in a video she had seen  that she  suggested that she should write a poem for her husband’s Inauguration. For the performance  in  which she  had made  such an impression on  Dr Biden, Amanda had  worn yellow. 

So, an explosion of colourful signifiers  lit up the stage as America saw its 46th President sworn in. Fashion has always been a window to how we think and feel. The colour  choices made  by all of  these strong pioneering women signalled significant  historical references alongside a greater  hope for a better world to come. We can only speculate to what  Melania Trump was thinking and feeling  as she boarded the steps of the private jet dressed  in her sombre black Chanel suit.

 

 

 

Bags Of Love

Influencers, fashion students and all who love some arm candy will be queuing along Cromwell Road and into Knightsbridge and beyond when the V&A opens its doors on the highly anticipated exhibition Bags : Inside Out on Nov 21st

Iconic bags such as the Fendi Baguette and the Birkin will feature alongside other notable pieces all with their own backstory to tell. The bag, whatever its size, is the ultimate accessory and can make , or break , the outfit sillouette.

But the history of the humble bag can be traced back to the sixteenth century when women wore a ‘chatelaine’ which was basically a clasp with chains to which household items such as keys were attached.

Moving onto the eighteenth century, ‘chatelaine’ morphed into ‘indispensables” and became more practical with a drawstring enclosure able to enclose more personal items such as a fan or perfume.

The ‘Indispensible’

However it was in the mid nineteenth century when the first ‘designer’ bag emerged. An up and coming entrepreneur, Samuel Parkinson noticed his wife’s ‘indispensable’ was far too small for the practicalities of travel. He asked for the help of a London based manufacturer of leather goods, H.J. Cave & Sons, to design a larger leather handbag which would distinguish his wife from the less affluent travellers. His designs are said to have inspired Louis Vuitton and Guccio Gucci ……the rest is handbag history !!

Fast forward to the twenty first century and designer handbags have become an object of desire. For many they are out of their price range and as such a huge industry in fake bags emerged. The grades of manufacturing are often so high it can be almost impossible to tell the difference between that and the real thing. For those where the latest IT bag is affordable, yet unattainable, there are other companies who can do the hard work for you. One such London based company Aquarius Luxury Concierge (aquariusconcierge.com) offer a bespoke personnal shopping experience, sourcing luxury products, including handbags, for their clients.

For the rest of us who can only dream of owning such a collection of desirables, we can pop along to the V&A at the end of the month where the endless display of clutches, crossbodies and totes will continue to fuel our handbag fantasies.

Bags: Inside Out opens at the V&A from Nov 21st.

Tickets available https://www.vam.ac.uk/exhibitions/bags

The birth of a brand…..

I often get asked how Monks On Vacation got its name as it seems to grab attention before our garments have managed to get a look in! it was actually on a family holiday to Mykonos and we were out in Mykonos Town enjoying the fabulous simplicity of the Greek cuisine.We followed this with a few cocktails in a local bar watching the summer crowd wander past dressed in their beautiful Mykonos white uniform.They looked relaxed, glamorous and could equally have been at home on the beach as at one of the many upmarket restaurants or bars on this fabulous island.I don’t think I have ever seen such a synergy between the vacation wardrobe and where its being worn.The beauty and simplicity of design, abundance of white in every texture with a touch of a muted colour in a neutral grey or beige beautifully blended in amongst the natural environment surrounding us. myk3 myk 4 It was here that we looked at the drinks menu and a cocktail jumped out at us because of its name ‘Monks On Vacation’. My husband, always one to see a marketing tool commented on what a great name for a business. Looking out at the catwalk taking place infront of us it all made perfect sense. At that moment Monks On Vaction as a fashion brand was born. The ethos of the brand was also defined then too. Small collections comprising of a limited number of designs with small runs.The beauty would be in how these pieces would work together, to form not just a single outfit but multiple ones. A collection that could be packed in a carry on for a city break away, or to a longer more leisurely vacation on the beach. Garments which would work equally dressed up or down, glamorous or relaxed. Pieces that would take you though a 24/7 busy lifestyle, from the gym to a qwick shopping trip to a glass of wine with friends. Our collections would be versatile yet stylish with every occasion covered. martinique stripe low rushy pants low popper jacket alt low Our first collections comprised of staple wardrobe garments on which future collections will build on. Our signature designs focused on detail such as our Maxi Sweat with its oversized arm length and cuff width. maxi dress loungewear We are continually looking to develop our concept and have exciting details to release over the coming weeks. MOV has come a long way in the last 18 months and especially since that cocktail in Mykonos. We would love you all to stay tuned in and join the next stage of our fabulous journey with us.