Alexa Chung – Stylish Reads

Alexa Chung – Stylish Reads

The cover of 'IT'

Indeed Alexa Chung, the girl that has been championing flat shoes way before Charlotte Olympia made the smoking slipper a statement shoe, has penned her own book, titled simply ‘IT’ and released on the 5th September 2013. The book will contain writing, no doubt of the stylish nature, accompanied by photos that Alexa has been taking since October 2012, when she first announced that she would be writing a book, and her very own illustrations – yes she draws too. Alexa has said that the book is by no means autobiographical, but, as the description reads on Amazon

A truly one-off collection of Alexa’s personal writings, drawings and photographs, It covers everything from her thoughts on life, love and music to her favourite looks and how to decide what to wear in the morning. With wit, charm and a refreshingly down-to-earth attitude, this gorgeously-designed full-colour book is a must-have for anyone who loves fashion, music and just about everything Alexa Chung.’

Although Alexa may not be a style icon on my radar, I am most definitely intrigued to read ‘IT’, after all, isn’t she the girl whose CV any girl would want to emulate? Model, TV Presenter, FANTASTIC WARDROBE, a relationship with Karl Lagerfeld, guest editor at Vogue and now illustrator and author!

Better get to writing that book then, eh?

In the meantime, here’s some stylish reads on my Fashion reading list…

Elves Shoemaker

 Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty - fashion fairytale memoir
The Fashion Fairtytale Memoirs – Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty


The Fashion Fairtytale Memoirs - -The Empress's New-Clothes
The Fashion Fairtytale Memoirs – -The Empress’s New-Clothes

Grace by Grace Coddington - A MemoireGrace by Grace Coddington – A Memoir

The Fashion Fairtytale Memoirs
The Fashion Fairtytale Memoirs – Christian Lacroix and the Tale of Sleeping Beauty, Manolo Blahnik’s the Elves and the Shoemaker, Diane Von Furstenberg and the Tale of the Empress’s New Clothes


Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations: On Fashion
Schiaparelli and Prada: Impossible Conversations: On Fashion. Miuccia Prada and Elsa Schiaparelli talk fashion

Happy reading,

Be charmed, stay inspired!x


Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014 Presentation

How ironic, the fashion houses are unveiling their Spring Summer 2014 collections to the world, whilst here in London we’re still waiting for Summer 2013 and consequently our Spring Summer 2013 wardrobes! Clearly I’m not bitter. Stella McCartney invited the gliteratti to view her SS 2014 collection at West 10th Street New York City in the setting of a garden party. On the guest list was Cameron Diaz glowing in white, massive fashion salute to her for wearing white in the rain, Madonna who seemed to have taken inspiration from Karl Lagerfeld, Kate Bosworth, Julian Moore, Liv Tyler and many more.STELLA

Stella McCartney, Cameron Diaz, Julian Moore, Liv Tyler at Stella McCartney's spring summer 2014 presentation

Madonna, Steve Tyler, Stella McCartney

STELLA McCartney accessories

The models wearing Stella McCartney SS2014

The models wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Stella McCartney, Kate Bosworth and Helena Christensen at Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014 presentation

The poison

The models wearing Stella McCartney spring summer 2014

Model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

The illustrator

Model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Stella McCartney with Julian Moore Spring Summer 2014 presentation

The models wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

model wearing Stella McCartney Spring Summer 2014

Anna Wintour and Stell McCartney

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

Redefining A Love Affair with Dresses and Statement Separates


So, first of all I should probably start by saying Happy New Year to you all! So, ‘ Happy New Year’. I hope you all celebrated in style, adorned in your very best. I personally had a small panic attack selecting the perfect dress to make a first impression on 2013. Because I have spent much of my Christmas holidays writing my novel, I’ve had very little time to shop, so thought New Year’s Eve would be the perfect opportunity to don one of the many loved and forgotten dresses that hang patiently in my wardrobe awaiting their outing. After my said panic attack I opted for a Holly Fulton for ASOS black and yellow shift dress I bought a year and a half ago – which, in hindsight, is probably one of the most unique and expensive dresses in my wardrobe and pretty fitting for the occasion. But this dress was selected under the strict instructions of my ever changing body.

It was about the time when everyone was watching The Hills, and I was not only obsessed with my weight, but very much in control of it and a very happy size eight, when Heidi asked Lauren Conrad, ‘Have you been working out a lot?’ and Conrad responded with something along the lines of, ‘No, I just wear dresses’. Immediately I scribbled into the notes section of  my That Extra Half an Inch by Victoria Beckham, ‘wear dresses to look skinnier’, this new fashion tip was added to the bottom of my never ending list of how to dress myself skinny. It doesn’t take Karl Lagerfeld to know that black is slimming, so with this in mind and in the light of my newly acquired Lauren Conrad fashion tip I bought myself six black dresses from ASOS all in one pop – it was 2007, my partner was living in Sicily and I was partying frequently. These six little black dresses was merely just the beginning of a frenzied episode in my life where I purchased nothing but black dresses. They were draped or backless, prom or puffball, bat winged or off the shoulder, short or even shorter. I partied attired in black dresses for four years – never wearing the same twice out to a big night out and if so, rarely was it documented on Facebook.

The black dress was my thing, at least I thought so at the time. Occasionally I’d worry whether I had gotten too predictable – friends used to comment that I always wore black dresses, but I was convinced that this was my style and that I was very lucky to have found one – a style that is. I suppose the colour black in itself, although slimming, refined, classic and elegant, can also be associated with being boring, safe, Gothic and worst of all – death. So, one summer I made a conscious effort to invest in a whole array of poptastic brightly coloured dresses in canary yellows, warm corals, floral, striking oranges, emerald greens and a rainbow of prints – even though I love a black dress on a summer evening. So, albeit my effort to rid myself of the black dress, I had moved away from black, but was still very much wearing dresses. I wore dresses to mark occasions, I wore dresses to look glamorous and mostly I wore dresses to feel dressed up – because surely only a dress can do all of these things in good and proper form without each and every time.

After a 2011/12 winter spent dressed in a variety of black midi dresses, by summer 2012 my affair with dresses died officially died. It was around the time that I had split up with my partner – a Sicilian man ten years older than me, a workaholic, very rarely seen without donning Cartier shirts and Hugo Boss suits, who has the utmost appreciation for formal dress. My black dress fitted into all occasions suitably and complimented his formal attire. However, when we split up I began hanging around in Peckham, a setting more art chic than and far more quirky than what my wardrobe was used to. The affair ended also about the time that I started using Pinterest ardently, pinning street fashion photographs by Tommy Ton, admiring the manipulation of garments and  the styling of an ensemble and falling completely head over heels in love with Olivia Palermo’s ability to dress. Magazines were featuring articles that celebrated statement separates as opposed to the statement dress and suddenly the black dress felt so irrelevant. It felt boring.

I wanted to be more interactive and involved with the way I was dressing – I wanted a challenge. I started with skirts and lots and lots of tops in different materials, cuts and colours. I had emerged from the Victoria Beckham-esque dress and was completely inspired by Olivia Palermo and the thought she put into creating one ensemble. It involved the pairing together and experimenting with colours, fabrics, silhouettes, mis-matching, prints, layering, accessorising and most importantly, being brave enough to be totally unpredictable. I had opened up a whole new approach to fashion, which very quickly managed to empty my bank account and burst my wardrobes. I was enjoying a more youthful approach and it wasn’t about being classic or timeless – it was about being fun. My skirts rose from midi-length to short and I purchased a selection of shorts, short shorts, in wool and twill, leather and silk. It was a very special moment when I purchased myself a pair of denim Topshop shorts! I’ve worn them three times now and each and every time I do I have to mentally coax myself into doing so.  Denim shorts have always been my biggest fashion no-no for anyone above the age of twenty four and four years senior, I am prancing around Garage raves adorned  in denim shorts. Oh the irony!

So, after the best part of a year piecing together separates and implementing my new unpredictability styling technique, I was especially looking forward to being plain old and predictably glamorous -stunning dress, skyscraper heels and a clutch bag. The art deco style Holly Fulton dress I ended up wearing on New Years Eve went up against a red peplum dress inspired by Lanvin’s peplum, frilled sleeve dress from the Lanvin Spring Summer 2010 collection and a black midi dress with a sheer decolletage embellished with polka dots inspired by the remarkable  dresses from Stella McCartney’s autumn winter 2011 collection – you know the ones that took the world by storm. Ultimately, I was most excited about wearing the red dress – I hadn’t worn it in at least two years –  it’s hot, it’s sultry, it’s powerful and when I previously wore it to Kensington Roof Gardens the compliments were endless. Let’s just say this dress makes me feel special. Or, more aptly, made me feel special. When I modelled my very special red dress in the mirror yesterday afternoon, during what I like to call my ‘dress rehearsal’ or what my partner calls ‘Ayesha’s catwalk’ I was getting ready to look and feel the most dressed up and glamorous I had felt all year – all for my first meeting with 2013.

However, I quickly realised that the ‘wear dresses to look skinnier’ style tip that I had been swearing by for the past four or five years no longer applied. The very garment that I have always gone to to make me feel protected and safe, glamorous and womanly, refined and special no longer made me feel either of the above. To put the realisation into context, imagine really looking forward to wearing your favourite pair of jeans that you haven’t worn for a while, you know the pair that suck you in, lengthen your legs and go perfect with your favourite pair of boots or stilettos, only to realise they no longer fit or are no longer flattering. Neither my Lanvin or my Stella McCartney inspired dresses, or any of the dresses in my wardrobe for that matter, could hide the fact that in my new found youthful approach to dress, I had also been eating like I had  metabolism to match. The dresses clearly displayed the pounds that I have piled on over the months and have been covering up beneath my statement separates without even knowing it.

 As much as I have enjoyed piecing together separates, and as much as this has become my new go to look, the irony of fashion would have it that I am now eager to look and feel just as confident   being refined and glamorous in my dresses as I feel confident being fashionable and stylish in separates. Fashion isn’t all about dressing ourselves skinny, it’s mainly about feeling good in our clothes. On the other hand, life is about balance and you can get too much of one thing; whether it’s junk food, partying, work or even black dresses. The black dress and the denim shorts are indeed metaphors for the two extremes of my personality and my approach to life. My desire to now find balance in my life between the two extremes and redefine my affair with dresses may be enthused by the rekindling of my relationship with my partner. Of course I am not about to let go of all that I discovered in the four months I was single and I am not going to take away from the great moments that I had playing around in my denim shorts, but I cannot deny my affection  for the black dress, the respect it commands with its elegance and refinement and how powerful, yet safe and protected it makes me feel. With some balance implemented into my life, less junk food consumed, less nights spent partying and a lot more time exercising I’ll get excited about wearing the black dress as a means to show off as opposed to covering up, because let’s face it, there’s no fun in dressing up if it’s just to hide lumps and bumps anyway!

So, to all of us planning to shed those extra Christmas pounds, working to fit into a favourite pair of jeans, trying to tone up to look stunning in the perfect party dress and whatever less fashion concerned ambitions we might have for the coming year – here’s to embracing a challenge and never losing sight of our goals for 2013!

Of course, till the pounds are shed – I’ll still be opting for the stylishly fashionable in street chic separates.

OliviaPalermoLondon FashionWeek
Olivia Palermo


London Fashion Week #StreetStyle #Fashion #LFW #LondonFashionWeek #OliviaPalermo



Olivia Palermo - Monochrome

Be charmed, stay inspired. x

The Victoria’s Secret Angels…

Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2012
Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012

For many a reason the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show is a very special and unique kind of fashion show. The typical runway show is ultimately all about showcasing the design and craftmanship and style of a new collection, admittedly designers might put on a show with an elaborate set, think Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel with his motif of icebergs and crystals mise en scene,  or use the garments to tell a particular story, think Marc Jacobs for Louis Vuitton autumn winter 2012 runway show inspired by the golden age of rail travel.

But let’s be brutally honest – the Victoria’s Secret show, although a beautiful show, is not about beautiful garments, imaginative sets or enthralling tales. The Victoria’s Secret Show is about the enjoyment of being a woman and feeling beautiful and who embodies this? Well, we all know that at the heart of a Victoria’s Secret show is an angel – the Angels, the celebrated Victoria’s Secret Angels –  and as one might expect, they are celestial.

Unlike the models we are accustomed to seeing on fashion houses runways, that are almost blank canvasses, ready to embody and showcase whatever garment or ensemble they are draped and fitted into – there’s nothing blank about the likes of Miranda Kerr, Chanel ImanAlessandra Ambrosio, Candace Swanepol and Lily Aldridge. Or even Brit’s very own Jourdan Dunn and Cara Delevigne, who made their debut walking for the lingerie brand in this show. I watched the show absolutely captivated by these extraordinary looking women and their perfectly trim bodies, but what I loved most about the show was simple – it was watching these women delighting in their womanhood!

 So here’s to feeling beautiful!

Victoria's Secret Angels
Victoria’s Secret Angels
Miranda Kerr at Victoria's Secrets Fashion Show 2012
Miranda Kerr at Victoria’s Secrets Fashion Show 2012
Miranda Kerr
Miranda Kerr
Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2012
Miranda Kerr and Alessandra Ambrosio at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012
Barbara Palvin at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show 2012
Barbara Palvin at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show 2012
Cara Delevingne at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2012
Cara Delevingne at Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012
Izabel Goulart at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Izabel Goulart at Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show
Lily Aldridge at the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show 2012
Lily Aldridge at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2012
Candace Swanepoel at Victoria's Secret Fashion show 2012
Candace Swanepoel at Victoria’s Secret Fashion show 2012

Be Charmed, Stay Inspired! x

Kim Kardashian – Kueen of the Kourt Shoe

Kim Kardashian jacket, jeans and court shoe ensembles

Denim skinny jeans

My heyday, my early twenties, was a time of complete and utter frivolity – I suppose as it is for most. I had no concern for my health, no concern for my future and absolutely zero responsibilities. My main concern in life was how many new dresses I would need to purchase every month to go out dancing in, how long the fake hair I would apply to my own hair would be before I bordered on looking like black barbie and how few calories I could consume in a day to remain a size eight, to allow me to fit into the hundreds of Lanvin inspired party dresses I had accumulated but would never wear anywhere more than once.

During this period, which I always look back at with such delight, I had a number of completely impractical and ridiculous fashion rules. The kind of rules that nobody required to function in daily life could live by. My rules were, never wear black and white, to be fair I know a lot of people that implement this rule,  never wear flat shoes – possibly this one too, never wear jeans and never wear court shoes.

To be honest, I have been unable to shake the black and white rule. When I do wear black and white, it is indeed a conscious effort. I feel comfortable, even stylish, in a Breton striped t-shirt with black jeans and red lipstick ‘a la Chanel’ or a digitally printed monochrome pair of leggings with a black tunic and gold sandals. But pairing plain white bottoms with a plain black top, or vice-versa, I simply cannot allow myself to do. I associate the colour coordination too uniform, too predictable.

In regards to the flat shoes, barring intricate or shiny gold sandals and expensive riding or biker boots, I would refuse to wear anything flat on my feet…not even a ballet pump. In fact, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t still find ballet pumps pretty generic, but since commuting for work I am now the proud owner of a pair of brogues, a pair of driving shoes and a pair of moccasins.

You see there’s a pattern here with the rules that I had stipulated for myself; I clearly had a desire to display a more put together, thought out and contrived appearance as opposed to an effortless and simple look. More Olivia Palermo and Kourtney Kardashian as opposed to Kate Moss or the Olsen twins. I would avoid wearing jeans because anyone could wear jeans, now I struggle to avoid wearing my jeans and blouse ensemble, because it is so easy, never fails to look sexy and because I don’t have the time every evening to prepare a fashion forward ensemble for the next day. It sounds terrible, but it’s true!

The last rule to finally be broken is my rule of the court shoe- a rule that was only recently broken. Amidst my shoe collection, that my partner refers to as a disgrace to poverty, are every kind of shoe you can imagine; multi-coloured,  wedged, laced, zipped, red, nude, Mary Jane, Miu Miu, Gucci, Cesare Paciotti, spike heeled, stack heeled, banana heeled, mirror heeled, too big, too small, too painful to wear – you name it – I have it somewhere. What I did not own, up until recently, was a pair of court shoes.

In my early twenties the only shoes I needed were the shoes that I wore when I hit the club. Most had heels bordering on the height of a stripper shoe and were as intricate and as elaborate as possible. Studded, strappy and extremely seductive. Victoria Beckham has always championed the court shoe, most predominately those wonderful almond toe YSL court shoes, and anyone who knows me will know that Victoria Beckham has been one of my most inspirational fashion figures, but I could just never get down with the whole court shoe thing. I knew my shoe collection was missing a very important shoe and I knew it was the court, but I couldn’t bring myself to purchase such a simple shoe when there were so many more exciting heels out there.

Kim Kardashian has helped me discover my love for the court shoe. Recently, I was idly clicking through pictures of Kim online, as you do, when I noticed that the reality star often opts to adorn her feet in court shoes, even when she’s attending an event. Court shoes would be the last shoe I would ever wear to a special occasion or event.  I associate such a shoe with work or business meetings, but naturally Kim looks fabulous each and every time she dons her court shoes, no matter the occasion or the outfit. And that’s when it dawned on me, court shoes don’t have to be boring or serious and they’re not a fashion cop out.

Indeed they are simple, but how they elongate the leg, enhance the foot’s natural arch and leave the ankle exposed, the ankle being an appealing and understated sexy part of a woman’s body, makes them the perfect balance between sexy and classic – which is just what you need as you approach the maturer end of the 25 -29 age box. So, all the reasons that I had  refused to wear or purchase a pair of court shoes beforehand are now all the reasons I now can’t get enough of them. I love their simplicity and, more than anything, I love their versatility.

As I don’t go out as much as I did in my heyday, I no longer need that elaborate shoe that I once wore clubbing, but I still need an edgy shoe for the evenings. I love that the right court shoe can totally transform a jeans and shirt ensemble for the day, but with a high enough platform, will still look amazing with a little body-con dress for a night out. I love that they’re classic and that they’ll still look super chic twenty years from now – even after fashion has changed, reformed and reacted. But what I would love more than anything, would be to have a court shoe collection populated with as many Christian Louboutin pumps (as the Americans call them) as Kim Kardashian’s. After all, surely it was Mr Louboutin that made the masses realise the fashion credibility of a court shoe!

As they say in life, never say never. And isn’t fashion totally emblematic of that sentiment? Gotta love it!

Be charmed, stay inspired! x

This Week’s Inspirations

As I write this post I am listening to Jill Scott‘s first album Who is Jill Scott? The album and artist that introduced me to my love for neo-soul and even inspired me to try my hand at writing poetry. I attended six poetry classes in 2004, it was then that both myself and my teacher discovered that I cannot write poetry.

The past week I have unfortunately been suffering from insomnia. There is something sensuous and artistic about insomnia – being awake late at night, alone in the dark with your thoughts, replaying memories and basking in silence. However, we all know that the inability to sleep, particularly when you have to be in a place of work early the next morning, is nowhere near as comforting as this. When I told my father about my insomnia he asked me, ‘What’s on your mind?’ What a great question! I can think of so many people, dead and alive, that I would love to pose this question to. Karl Lagerfeld, F Scott Fitzgerald, Roal Dahl, Eric Roberson, Common and my new interest, James Franco.

Funnily enough, I hadn’t even considered that this particular bout of insomnia be caused by anything on my mind. I am not looking forward to anything in particular, nor am I worried by anything – which would usually explain why most people struggle to sleep. As I mentioned in my previous post, my mind at present is constantly buzzing, constantly inspired and with my time dedicated to the nine to five, I am constantly failing to  find the time to explore and execute these ideas and inspirations as thoroughly as I would like to. I write this just as Jill Scott so aptly sings, ‘You’re getting in the way of what I am feeling.’

I am hoping that a pocket of time will one day present itself, allowing me the time I need to read, experience and understand all the things that are occupying my brain and use these learnings to write something amazing. But until then, here’s all the inspirations that have been charming me this week.

PLAY WRITING: I found a website on LinkedIn called Euphoric Ink…the website regularly lists playwriting competitions and informs aspiring playwrights about events, workshops etc. The website is run by one of the associate directors of the Royal Court Theatre and a produced playwright.

BOOKS: I watched Planet of the Apes, which reminded me how much I love James Franco, of course he is undeniably good looking, but I really fell for him when I read a profile piece on him in Vogue and learned that he has a profound interest in literature, was about to have a book published by Scribner and was embarking on a PhD in English at Yale. Once I finish reading Anna Karenina – which I doubt will be anytime soon, next on my list is Palo Alto by James Franco.

FILM: The next film I watch in the cinema will be Almodovar’s The Skin I Live In.

QUOTE: This week I read that Anna Karenina, the novel written by Leo Toltsoy was labelled by William Faulkner ‘as the best ever written.’ In all honesty, before I read this quote I could feel that this book could be one of the best ever written. It’s instantly electrifying, it’s exciting and complete. For me personally this is monumental – for the past three years I’ve struggled to fall in love with a novel as thrilling as The Great Gatsby or Beautiful and Damned. It’s comforting to know that at this moment in time I am reading the world’s greatest piece of literature. I have also been sitting opposite a woman on the train the past two weeks who is also reading Anna Karenina. Admittedly, I have thought about talking to her about this commonality – maybe I should join a book club.

FASHION: I purchased two shirts this week… one black one one white, inspired by Karl Lagerfeld’s short film ‘The Tale of a Fairy’, that I ashamedly only just happened to stumble across recently.

Image for A Clockwork Orange

THEATRE: Till the 1st October A Clockwork Orange, a theatre adaptation of Anthony Burgess’ novel written by Ed Durante, is being staged at Stratford East Theatre. This is definitely on my must do list. I haven’t read the novel, nor have I seen Stanley Kubrick’s  film – so it will be an interesting way to experience an adaptation.

BLOG: Last night I was at a press event at the Soho Hotel and was delighted to meet with the owner of ‘London Via My iPhone’. The concept is simple, a girl about town literally documents all of London’s events via her iPhone.  This will be a blog that I watch closely…it’s the perfect index for any and everything happening in London.

Be charmed, stay inspired. x


Chanel – La Femme de Chanel, Elle Va Être

Fashion Illustration by Sahara Charles

She was addicted to newness, to novelty and change and succumbed monthly to excess material gain. She hadn’t quite made it to the wonderland of Chanel, so psychologically she imitated a lifestyle sewn so well. At the top of the ladder that equated her success, she would intend only to be or at least dress as the best. Fashion and its folly were her greatest tools that aided her in the trickery of fools. The world understood the tacit language of mode and style, but this never stopped her tools from catapulting her miles. For Chanel she was undoubtedly a devotee and hoped that someday the Chanel woman she would be. Not because she loved the clothes, the cut or the materials, but in Chanel she could no longer be considered an inferior. For this she’d give up trends and impulsive spends, for being perceived without Chanel, after doing so swell, she’d imagine – would be – like living in hell.

A Fashion Anecdote By Ayesha and Sahara Charles

Marella Ferrera – Sicilian Treasure

Marella Ferrera is possibly one of Sicily’s most influential and inspirational fashion designers still living and working in Sicily. Sicily always at the heart of her artistic endeavours, Marella Ferrera has provided the island not only with its very own claim to high fashion, but possibly one of the most imaginative and intelligent fashion designers to date.

Sicilian fashion designer Marella FerreraMarella Ferrera is an acclaimed Haute Couturier and Prêt a Porter designer who began her career in 1974 after attending the Accademia di Costume e di Moda (Academy of Costume and Fashion, Rome). She has won numerous awards across Europe that have crowned her ‘Best Couturier’ and given her recognition globally. The precious works of Marella Ferrera are not only the proud possessions of Sicilian art and fashion, but are the treasures of Sicilian culture, history and geography.

It is in the creations of Marella Ferrera that one can truly begin to decipher the distinction of Sicilian fashion from Italian, ‘true Sicilian style is not related to the clichés of “mafia, coppola (1) and lupara (2)”, but it is the unique and elegant melange of tradition, heritage; all the conquerors that signed the identity of this land,’ she explains. Using materials that are rustic, raw materials that are geologically Sicilian and materials that may not necessarily be associated with fashion design at all gives Marella her distinctiveness. A Marella Ferrera creation not only acts as an emblem of Sicilian fashion and art, but gives her designs an unmatched exceptionality. The core of a Marella Ferrera design, beyond its sicilianita’ is her desire to create, ‘garments unlike anything you would normally see,’ she says.

A Marella Ferrera dress might be embroidered with terracotta or embellished with thin clay flowers. She incorporates lava rock, rock crystal, copper wire, papyrus, textile paper, cork and palm roots, to name just a few, into her designs. ‘For my professional fulfilment I have always trusted in the potential of my birth land. I have never cut the cord that ties me to Sicily, Sicily is my creative limb.’
Italian Sicilian Catanese Fashion designerThe bodice of a Marella Ferrera dress can take up to one month to be created, she describes the process of making a terracotta dress, ‘it must be painted, then it is broken, pierced with holes, and crocheted together like a piece of embroidery.’ The final result is a dress that one might assume to be heavy or stiff due to the materials used to create it. Surprisingly a terracotta dress weighs only a hundred grams. Using science and geography to create pieces without a mind that continuously seeks knowledge and takes on experimentation might seem impossible, but Marella persists to take on challenges to make new discoveries and push physical boundaries. The advances in technology are paramount to her designs, as this provides her with the tools that allow her to reinvent and present the innate materials of Sicily in original ways.

Her creations have a sensitivity about them that evokes her spirit and her sentiment. Her work is poetic and picturesque, whilst remaining romantic and sensual. Marella’s designs can transform any woman in to a goddess, so much so she designed the wedding gown of Princess Elvira Grimaldi di Nixima, the cousin of Princess Carolina of Monaco and frequently sells her creations to Arab princesses. Her designs are favoured as wedding dresses and ceremonial events. A Marella Ferrera dress is for the occasion that is to be memorable, worn by women who want their garments to have significance and discourse.

It is clear to see that she is a couturier at heart. Placing a Marella Ferrera design in the middle of a room transcends its purpose, from protection and functionality to a piece of art ornamenting a space – a memento of her dreams, her childhood, her travels and her origin. She creates designs with such intricacy and attention to detail that she is any fashion technicians dream. Her fashion design and creative process is just as intriguing and inventive as that of the wondrous Karl Lagerfeld or the talented and late Alexander McQueen. One might indeed find a likeness comparing the work of Marella Ferrera to an artist or a sculptor and this is what makes both her and her work so unique and enchanting. Marella’s designs are a castle in the air, a wonderland or a fairy tale that have been miraculously brought to reality. The utilisation of outstanding technique and an approach to fashion design that is out of this world creates designs that are literally like no other, thus far. Marella Ferrera truly is a Sicilian treasure.

Visit Marrella Ferrera’s multi-functional Museum come Artelier in Sicily Catania. Read more about Sicily in Platform Magazine.

Sicilian cap
1) Sicilian Coppola Cap2) Lupara, sawn down shot gun