My Tuesday afternoon was reserved for the NEXT ‘Hi Summer 2014’ Press Day held at the magnificent (and rather mysterious) St Martin’s Lane Hotel in London. As I walked up St Martin’s Lane with my iPhone in hand, I wasn’t sure I was at the right building, at first I thought maybe they were offices – it was a super tall building, very modern, no flowers or decorations outside and even though there was a revolving door in green tinted glass, I couldn’t quite make out any really hotel-y characteristics. Already intrigued by my little adventure, I passed through the entrance door (which is so innocuously small and barely visible compared to the huge concrete building) and entered a grand space, very white, with gigantic columns in the room and natural light shining through the large glass windows. In front of me there was a long, empty space leading to a screen with some obscure videos of people walking around (it kind of felt like a catwalk actually!)
As I looked around a little more, I saw a beautiful, baroque-style armchair with a luxurious, pale green throw draped on it. Right behind there was an enormous bouquet of fuchsia hydrangeas (my favourite flower) and to the right of those, a rounded seating area with wooden stools that looked like pawns (or perhaps mushrooms) and, mixed in between were some super-sized chess pieces. The whole setting, the colours and the magical decor instantly reminded me of Alice in Wonderland. After looking around for a while and snapping pictures, I finally made it to the NEXT room for some fashion and a day of summer!
I was immediately greeted and offered some refreshing apple juice – which I happily accepted and sipped on as I browsed the racks of NEXT’s Spring/Summer 2014 collection. I was already feeling festive and in a summery mood as it was sunny and warm outside and I was wearing a crop top (yes, me!) and just a light coat. That, and the beautiful, lightweight fabrics and clothes just made me dream of lying on a beautiful, tranquil beach in Greece, sunbathing and drinking iced lemonade.
I chatted with the lovely Ellie and Vicki from next before grabbing my phone and camera and going around to find my favourite pieces. The Spring/Summer collection has a wide variety of pretty, brightly-printed bathing suits, beaded and Roman-style sandals and silky kaftans. Vivid neons on shoes, bags and tops are also a favourite, especially for teens partying in Ibiza! I am totally obsessed with that retro-style, one-piece swimsuit – so feminine and very Dolce & Gabbana. Yet, even with all these summer inspirations hanging on the racks, I couldn’t resist a snack or two as delicious canapés circled around me!
NEXT’s collection is very colourful and young for this upcoming season – lace dresses in beige, brown and ivory look great dressed down with pale pink espadrilles or dressed up with crystal-embellished ballerina flats.
I am loving the monochrome aesthetic seen on cool, chunky sandals and a slouchy, soft leather envelope clutch in black and white (see above). Lots of denim, of course – spring and summer are the best seasons to layer denim over denim, wear distressed hot shorts and cropped skinnies. Interesting prints in bright coral hues are printed on dresses, blazers and tops; and a bomber-style jacket in a mesh fabric is one of my favourite pieces – love the mix of feminine flirty and sporty chic. Also, those mini-umbrella-printed dresses are so cute – the ideal summer dresses to wear on a holiday in the sun!
The tribal trend is super hot for summer, too. All over the runways at Roberto Cavalli, Etro and Anna Sui, it has been reimagined at NEXT with aztec prints on shorts and tops and fringe details on cross-body bags which look great styled with denim and bright shoes. Open-knit, cotton jumpers in black, coral red and white look fresh and cool with statement jewellery to spice up the look.
Really loved all the silky dresses and tank tops in soft pastels and white, elegantly embellished with crystals and beautiful beading. These crystal-heeled shoes look like Miu Miu (from the Resort 2013 collection) and are the perfect, day-to-night, springtime accessory (see Ellie from NEXT wearing similar ones in black, below). I really cannot wait until the collections hit the shelves!
Of course, I quickly looked through the Men’s collections too (very dapper with structured blazers in every colour from burgundy to blue and even yellow) and, as always, stopped in front of the gorgeous displays of the dreamy Home collections! I really love the cushions, throws and decorations in sea foam hues and blues, and summery details like mini shells or white fish prints on drinking glasses.
And this is what I wore – total-black again, I know, but I can’t help it! A cropped turtleneck from Zara, leather trousers from Acne, cutout boots from Office and my Mulberry ‘Alexa’ bag. Of course, wearing my fabulous, crystal-effect statement necklace from NEXT which I’ve been wearing almost every day – it’s the ideal accessory for any look! Get it here – and shop NEXT here.