Sunday, May 20, 2007

Are Pajars The New Uggs?

Photograph copyright Louisa McKenzie.
For several years now the Ugg boot, in its many forms, has held our collective imagination, so much so that it has become a new noun, a shorthand expression. Imitators and opponents have come and gone but the Uggs have always survived. As soon as the days start to grow colder (and for some, even when the days are warmer, though that is another story!), out come the Uggs. Rightly so, I can't really remember what I did before the warm, comfortable cocoons came into my life. My feet were cold, I suppose. Uggs are a true winter staple, all I have just said and stylish too (well, if you stick to traditional colours and don't go overboard on the accessories). There are two problems with the traditional style: the boots are not waterproof and there is no style with heels. Water-resistant they may be, but I have yet to find them stand up entirely to an English downpour. Of course, you might mention the leather version of the Ugg here. True, this is probably more waterproof, but it is not as comfortable nor as easy to pull on.
This may be where Pajars come in. An established Canadian brand, these boots are designed for even tougher weather than Uggs (well, perhaps not the heavy duty Uggs you can buy from the Ugg website) and some models are waterproof, some have heels or wedges. There are multiple styles and colours. Admittedly, some are not as stylish as others and none can probably achieve the popularity of the traditional, ubiquitous Ugg. However, Pajars would make a very useful addition to anyone's winter wardrobe. The "Bravo" could be a breakout hit.
Like Ugg, Pajar also produce a range of slippers. It is here that they really excel. There are several different styles. My favourite is the moccasin. Lined with fluffy white sheepskin and decorated with discreet beading on the top, these slippers are both practical and stylish. Nothing will keep you feet warmer.
The only problem with Pajars is that they are not that widely available outside of Canada. It remains to be seen if Harrods stock any of the boots nearer the winter: the slippers are currently available there.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Trend - watch - fall/winter at a glance

Whilst it might seem a little precocious to consider what we will be wearing in winter when it isn't even summer yet, it is never too early to plan ahead. Indeed, a capsule of the Balenciaga collection was already available as a trunk-show in Barneys in New York in March. Here are a few predictions for what to expect. As always, its a good idea to mix and match and pick your favourites from amongst these "trends".

Dior by John Galliano

1. color - there was a tussle between kaleidoscopic color and neutrals for the soul of the catwalk this season. Pink was a particularly popular color, with hues ranging from pastel to acid bright (as spearheaded by John Galliano at Dior, in a nod to the haute couture collection). Also, there were splashes of blue and red (notably at Chanel and Marc Jacobs, but elsewhere too) and the odd green. Neutrals remain popular, particularly tan to brown and grey to black, sometimes brightened with color, otherwise a statement in their own right.

Balenciaga (left) and Alexander McQueen.

2. body-aware detailing - this is the season for details on clothes which reflect the shape of the body beneath them, from the bold: Dolce and Gabbana's sequined collar bone and breasts shirt (not recommended for the faint of heart), Maison Martin Margiela's super wide shoulders and Alexander McQueen's moulded breastplates to the more subtle: waists cinched tight with belts on many catwalks, beaded and tailored details emphasising busts and waists at Roberto Cavalli.


3. luxe dressing - luxe details and fabrics abounded on this season's catwalks: fur, embroidery, sequins, chiffon overlays, shimmering evening wear, leopard print. The key is not to overload your day look with luxe items. Take a hint from Gucci and wear fur trimmed items with simpler basics such as tweed. Mix leopard print with basic black. Evening wear allows you to be more adventurous.

Louis Vuitton

4. headgear - many different styles were evident on the catwalks, from fringed creations at Dior to oversized soft berets at Louis Vuitton and flamenco style hats at Kenzo and many more. Capes which extend to head scarfs were also very popular.