July 28, 2014

I Chat | Henry Holland

Fresh out of LCC, Henry Holland designed some slogan t-shirts that rapidly blew up into so his own fashion line. Fast forward almost a decade later and House of Holland is now one of the most sought after tickets at London Fashion Week each season. Hollands's front rows are lined by close friends, who are, of course, some of London's hottest young celebrities, including Alexa Chung, Daisy Lowe and Nick Grimshaw. 

Following in the footsteps of Karl Lagerfeld and Zac Posen, Holland announced his collaboration back in March with ice cream brand Magnum - they threw a fabulous party, which we attended to watch the unveiling of the dress, drink a lot of champagne and obviously eat a lot of ice cream. 

I'd been sitting waiting at my desk for an hour waiting for the phone to ring with Holland. An email landed in my inbox with a number to call Holland on because he'd been trying and failing to get through to me for an hour. A slip of one digit had left Holland ringing the wrong number - something that turned out to be totally my error! I rang Holland back straight away and expected to be received with a little annoyance, and rightly so for having wasted the designer's valuable time on a Friday afternoon, but if the glitch had irritated him, there was no sign of it whatsoever in the tone of his voice. 

Millie: Firstly, can you describe House of Holland for any readers who aren't aware of the brand and what it is you do?

Henry Holland: House of Holland is a fun and playful, youth focused fashion brand. It’s very bright and bold.

M: How did you end up designing after studying journalism for you undergraduate degree?

HH: I was working in magazines. I was working at Smash Hits, remember Smash Hits. I was working there as a fashion editor and I had just moved from Bliss magazine and I started making some tshirts as something to do and as something for me and my friends to wear. It was never intended to become anything more. And then they took off really quickly and I saw an opportunity to grow it from there. So, I did and I quit my job and did my first show eight weeks later.

M: I was being a little nosy and having a look through your twitter earlier (Henry laughs) and saw a tweet about only just having paid off your university fees at 30 and that no one has ever even asked you what course you did. Is university something you regret?

HH: No, not at all. I was just being sarcastic. I think going to university was the best thing I ever did. It got me to London when I was 18, rather than in my mid 20s. I hit the ground running; I did a lot of internships – to the point where I was offered a job after I’d done my final exams and I went straight through from university to work. I finished my exams on the Friday and started working on the Monday. I’ve been working ever since! I don’t regret it at all. I think its about personal development as much as an education. I was being precocious. 

M: Yeah, that's so right - I'm glad you said that! You've managed to collaborate with quite a few brands to date. What's been your favourite so far?

HH: Well, magnum obviously. I do do quite a few collaborations. Part of it is me wanting to build the brand and get the brand out there. It’s a weird hunger of mine to expand the brand and work with a tights company or a chocolate company. It’s all about communicating our brand message and showcasing what it is we do. The magnum collab was a really intereting brief and an interesting slant. It was about incorporating our DNA and translating that with another brands DNA.

M: So, what’s the dress like?

HH: It is inspired by the magnum classic. It’s fully embellished. We paid a lot of attention to the surface design. It’s a simple 60s shift shape with a peaked collar. It is fully sequined with two different layers. There’s a layer of cream sequins and over the top there’s this ombre effect of brown sequins that represent the chocolate. 

M: Do you think you managed to keep the dress in line with your brand?

HH: I think that was more about the shape and the silhouette. It was about creating something that our customer would be excited in and would want to wear.

M: What can we expect from next season?

HH: I can’t tell you! It’s the one thing we guard very closly, our future seasons as it’s one thing we try and create anticipation of. I’m such an over sharer but I think that’s the one thing that I manage to keep secret.

M: Fair enough, that's understandable. What's the best thing about being a young designer in London?

HH: Having a job that is creative. I think it’s the best job in the world. It’s making things in your head and making them reality. It’s such an amazing thing to be able to do. For me, I need to be creative and it’s something I get to do every day so I’m very lucky.

M: And what's the worst?

HH: Cash flow! It’s really boring but it’s a fact of life unfortunately. 

M: Agreed. Where would you recommend readers hang out in London?

H: Climpson's Arches in Hackney. I’d recommend a Little Bit Of What You Fancy, which is a restaurant on Kingsland Road. Where in town? Probably The Edition; Berners Tavern at the Edition.

M: Okay, so I have a few quick fire questions for you - London or New York? 


M: Night in or night out? 

HH: Both. Drink at home and then go out.

M: Harvy Nicks or Harrods?

HH: Both.

M: Tea or coffee?

HH: Coffee.

M: Cara Delevingne or Jourdan Dunn?

HH: Both! They go so well together!

M: Harry or Grimmy?

HH: (With no hesitation) Grimmy! 

To celebrate Magnum’s 25th birthday, Henry Holland has designed a Magnum Classics-inspired dress. Just 25 dresses were made – one to mark each year of Magnum pleasure.

July 25, 2014

Health & Fitness | Review | adidas Energy Boost

adidas Energy Boost (in 'Cool White')*

While I was out yesterday, the new adidas Energy Boost landed on my doorstep and even though I was at events until late, I had to get out to check them out as soon as I got in. I've tried and tested all of the Boost running shoes that they've launched so far and even though they did the job as a running shoe, I preferred my Nike Lunars and always found myself loyally returning to them. That is until now.

On first glance the adidas Energy Boost is aesthetically sleek, especially in the 'Cool White' colour way. The white midsole is made up of thousands of of small energy capsules, formed from blowing up solid granular material (TPU) but let's get back to talking appearance - its almost polystyrene looking material makes for an interestingly textured midsole - you all know how I feel about texture by now. The breathable mesh body is interrupted by the acclaimed adidas three stripes in patent black, breaking up that fresh white colour way.

So, how do they hold up once you hit the pavement? Well, the running shoe feels extremely lightweight thanks to the mesh body. Unlike many lightweight running shoes, the support of the adidas Energy Boost isn't at all compromised. My feet felt cushioned, supported and easy to pick up all at the same time plus there was a great return on each step; it's seriously no easy feat to find all of these properties simultaneously in a running shoe.

I've found running a little harder in the recent soaring London temperatures but the Energy Boost literally added a spring back into my step. I ran each kilometre around 10 seconds faster than I've run recently, and this run was at the end of a long day in which I had already worked out in the gym for an hour.

While, I probably wouldn't have recommended the previous two adidas Boost models that the brand previously released, as they were a little heavy on foot and the response from the sole didn't outweigh how much the running shoes weighed down your stride, I would definitely recommend the new adidas Energy Boost. I can't comment on whether or not they'd be suitable for pro runners, as I'm nowhere near that level of runner, but for runners like myself, who run as a hobby a few times a week, at a distance of between 5k - 15k at a time, they are a certainly a running shoe you should keep in mind when you go to purchase new running shoes

The new adidas Energy Boost are available at adidas online from July 28th priced £120.

July 24, 2014

Music | #WAREHOUSE264VIP | Chvrches @ Somerset House

Most days I never can be certain of what might land in my email inbox. The week before last, a particularly interesting email from Warehouse popped up, with the subject title #Warehouse264VIP.

Call me shallow but most emails encompassing VIP tend to get opened pretty quickly rather than shelving them until later, although most just turn out to be "blah blah has carried/worn blah blah" and get sent straight to the trash. However, this one was different. Warehouse wanted to invite me down to their flagship store to pick an outfit to wear on a sort of date night with their social media manager Lauren to see CHVRCHES at Somerset House, as part of their Summer Series.

So, the following Monday I headed down to the new flagship Warehouse store at 264 Oxford Street. I got taken to the back of the store, just behind the tills, where there's a gorgeous VIP dressing room. It had fruit, croissants and juice all laid out in the huge, sumptuous space. It can be booked free of charge in advance, which is something worth doing if you've a big event to get organised for or you simply want more space.

Lauren and I ran around the store picking up bits to try. Unsurprisingly, my picks all seemed to be of the monochrome variety. I had a bit of a dressing up show and tell and settled on a stunning white, faux leather pinafore dress, a black sweater with organza sleeves and black slip ons that reminded me of the Celine pony hair ones from a while back.

It wasn't until Thursday evening that we were to see CHVRCHES. I had never listened to much of their music before so I tried to swat up a little bit before the show. Lauren and I went for Wagamamas pre-show, eating so much that I wasn't even certain I'd be able to stand, let alone dance! We arrived just in time for CHVRCHES and we huddled into the pit to take some snaps for the first few songs.

Firstly, who knew that the trio were Glaswegian? I certainly didn't. Secondly, CHVRCHES absolutely blew me away live. Lauren Mayberry's vocals are a little sickly sweet recorded but live, they're powerful and if anything a little overwhelming. I was expecting the crowd to be full of fan girl teenagers but it was quite the opposite; thirty year old men, beers in hand, were swaying and singing along all around me.

We ended the evening with a little dance in a cordoned off tent area at the back of Somerset House, where we bumped into Lauren briefly - who is breathtakingly beautiful, just fyi - and watched some girls nearly bringing down the tent by gyrating on the poles holding it up. What a Thursday!

Thanks to Lauren from Warehouse for taking me and Somerset House for having us.
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