Oh so many "Come to our HQ and dress up in our clothes and take lots of pics!" events have beenand gone over the years. Ever since Topshop broke ground with their realisation that fashion bloggers apparently like to rabidly dress up, take pictures and consume sugar-y treats, the onslaught of similar events at other brands and retailers has been relentless. And I've purposely given a lot of them a miss. Part of it has much to do with the enforced fun factor - couldn't I just buy/borrow pieces and play around with them on my own terms without having to systematically get 10-15 good quality shots out of them. Then there's the group girlie mentality that makes me cringe a little as we reduce ourselves to champagne quaffing and cupcake-cooing harpies, whose default response to everything is "That is so awesome!". Finally another reason is that there are a great deal of personal style bloggers out there, who are far more profesh and adept at these events than I am. Some bring their videographer boyfriends to artfully document proceedings. Others have swish-y lenses and Instagram things with skills that render pictures looking like pre-conceived still life masterpieces. After a while I kind of feel a bit sheepish and redundant at these events.
My Wardrobe's get together for bloggers to celebrate their London Lab launch had an interesting angle though. In one of the most prominent moves in the fashion publishing to retailing migration that is going on in the UK, Carmen Borgonovo, former senior fashion editor of Harper's Bazaar, was snapped up as My Wardrobe's fashion director, in charge of the site's buying direction. Subsequently, it was also announced that the founder of My Wardrobe Sarah Curran, would be stepping down. This was the shake-up that made me perk up.
Borgonovo has come in, cleared out some existing brands, with the aim to streamline My Wardrobe and give it a better edit. For the new season, she has introduced a raft of London designers, dubbed "London Lab", which represents a shift in My Wardrobe's aesthetic and brand positioning. My Wardrobe in my mind was always the more affordable out of the e-commerce biggies and when it came to price vs. selection, sometimes the latter lost out in favour of the former. However by introducing labels such as Palmer // Harding, Meadham Kirchhoff and Lucas Nascimento, Borgonovo addresses that with a leftfield flourish. The likes of J.W. Anderson, Preen and Richard Nicoll are also part of the mix as the widely-stocked and established offerings but it's the support for the likes of fledgling labels like Palmer // Harding and Lucas Nascimento that really caught my eye. In addition, the "contemporary" level gets a timely update with the addition of Antidpodium, Ostwald Helgason and Mother of Pearl, reflecting fashion's enduring love-in with brands that dish up tasty design without the sky high prices.
So it is then that last month, we, the bloggers (Elenore Carisi, Wendy Nguyen, Jessie Bush and Marie Hindkaer Wolthers) were fuelled with dinner and drinks at St Martins Lane Hotel before heading over to My Wardrobe HQ in Camden the next day to do our blogger thang, armed with DSLR's and beady eyes. I zoomed straight towards a beautiful Meadham Kirchhoff slip dress from their triumphant A/W 13-4 collection, which just happened to be a piece that I had already placed a personal order for. Mother of Pearl's embellished Vans-esque slip ons were a natural pairing considering my penchant for the brand and I also got to grips with Preen's leotan/tarpard print. We then took off to nearby Primrose Hill to go ogle at millionaire pastel houses and take some pics along the way. Back at the office, I had a pattern cutting epiphany where I discovered the clever construction of Lucas Nascimento's off the shoulder fleece jersey dress, which slipped on without zippers and felt like a sleek column of a piece. I also had a play with Palmer // Harding's French knot adorned shirt for the new season. Naturally, the day ended with cupcakes. Personalised and fashionised cupcakes at that. Cue five indentical Instagram photos going up and an unwillingness to actually eat them.
Borgonova's editorial eye can clearly be felt in the new season's buy at My Wardrobe. It's that eye, which means I can now get my mitts on pieces such as J.W. Anderson ruffled bonded wool shorts, the very same ones which caused some hilarious Daily Mail ire his A/W 13-4 menswear show debuted. With everyone upping their game in an increasingly crowded space, London Lab is definitely a step up for the etailer.
J.W. Anderson comic print tee
Mother of Pearl knit top
Ostwald Helgason shirt