We're taking a road trip into the sun-drenched midwest with Levi's Made & Crafted this season. The boys and the girls are both on board, and we long to look like them, effortlessly cool in their beatifully crafted threads.
Colour, texture and pattern is the order of their free-wheeling days. As long as it's a touch sun bleached, saturated, washed and worn. Striped maxis, tie dye vests, candy pink denim, floaty silk shirts and washed cotton chinos for the girls. And the guys are sporting heavy patterned tees and colourful button downs with their faded denim. Standing side by side, hitching a ride, we have to say they look the picture of a perfect summer's day.
Beck Sondergaard has this season's accessories all taken care of once again. Scarves, soft and hazy in fine woven wool and silk. Flashes of neon stars and such craziness wafting their way over floaty cotton. Leather bags and purses, soft as can be in lemony pastel. Heavy canvas totes for heading straight to the beach.
When a collection says it's inspired by the impeccable summer dressing seen in Anthony Minghella's 'The Talented Mr Ripley' you know you're going to be easily won over. And that we are with Bellerose SS13. There's that hint of French riviera. A neat black cotton blazer, a full red skirt, a stripe t-shirt, a great cotton sundress. But then throw in a good measure of Bellrose quirk and charm; a sequin trim here, a fluro spot there and plenty of sparkly thread and you have something quite different; something we totally love. Piece together the Bellerose way to pull off their cool eclectic style or dip in here and there for classic everyday wearability.
You might have noticed we've gone a bit crazy for neon and lurex this season. So when we came accross Parisian label Marie Sixtine's range of jersey and knit basics, we were putty in their hands. Not so basic and with all the kind of details we like; fluro stitching, gold lurex elbow patches, neon pink ties, buttons and pockets used to great effect on a pallet of oatmeal and charoal. They had us there but then played to our affections some more with 100% organic cotton, linen and merino and a price tag we can't quite believe. Fair to say, we love.
When it comes to Universal Works we've come to expect nothing less, nothing too much. And that's why we love it. SS13 is, as ever, beautifully straightforward. More form and fit than fashion. And "more Torquay than St Tropez" according to the brand's founder David Keyte. His father the inspiration; a working guy finally making enough money for a summer holiday and feeling like a tycoon being able to buy a new outfit.
There's a short and skegness polo for deckchair days; a zip up biker jacket for breezy strolls along the promenade; the bright blue Brighton shirt's cheery anchor print for some seaside fun. And at the end of the holiday, the Drayton jacket and Aston pant are perfect understated dapper for a slap-up fish supper on the English Riviera.
Throw Swiss rationalism, Akzidenz-Grotesesk medium and vintage punk rock together and this is what you get. The work of celebrated New York designer Mike Joyce who has taken rock concert posters from the 70s, 80s and 90s, and reimagend them through a Swiss modernist lens. He's called it Swissted. We call it 200 super cool ready-to-frame posters. Font nerdery at its very finest.
We can always rely on Folk for a playful detail or blast of colour. It's still there this season, just a little more subtle and restrained than we might expect. The pinky red t-shirt is washed out, not fluro. The classic shirt has stitch detailing on the pocket - in a colour that matches rather than clashes. The sweater is classic navy stripes for summer, while the tapered chinos feature simple folds of fabric in just the right places. Even the trim on the grown-up Howard jacket is ultra subdued. Yes, safe to say we approve of the new down low Folk.
If Lucy and Victoria both place sizeable personal orders at the same buying appointment, then the label in question must be doing something rather special. And rather special is exactly what Just in Case SS13 is. No question, it's the collection of the season. Where all the super pretty bright colours and glittery threads come together.
Slighty more refined and sleeker than in previous seasons, there's still a good spoonful of the romance and fluff we always fall in love with. A floral story, all sepia chocolate box roses on silk, a gorgeous ice-cream stripe theme, as well as a whole spectrum of plain bright coloured textures to slot through and work the whole fabulous shebang.
Drifter started out as a parachute rigging business in Ohio in 1977. Their skydiving customers demanded the highest quality materials and workmanship (as you would, jumping out of a plane) which evolved into the great luggage range we see them making today. We're a little less high octane here, but we love a good quality bag. Contructed from 100% nylon, webbing, binding tape and coil zipers, the range is produced in the US and comes with a lifetime guarantee attached - for the bag, not for you, if you choose to go jumping out of planes.
Paul & Joe Sister goes on a jetsetting extravaganza for SS13. Returning with prints of all permutations in every colour under the sun - from blowsy English florals to a full blown Tahitan jungle scene. A strong shirting offer sees flocks of birds and teeny honey bears make an appearence for maximum girliness. Metallic neon tweed outerwear covers spring city chic. While fun and flirty dresses range from rainbow embroidered daytime cotton through to balmy evening floaty numbers. There's an option here to see you from early spring through to late summer, wherever in the world you might be.