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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

So Long, Sweet Luella, and the rest…

In 2009 several fashion businesses fell victim to the biting recession. Nina Joyce discusses why iconic brands such as Luella will be missed and discusses what this could mean for ethical fashion in the new decade...

Written by Nina Joyce

Me & Zena Geek glasses (1)Images throughout courtesy of Me and Zena

Re-engage with your 15 year old self and fall in love with massive ‘Broken Heart’ gold necklaces, buy information pills give in to your inner nerd in the chic ‘Geek Glasses’ necklace, and take the ‘Love-o-meter’ pendant for a spin. If you want to channel Prada then there’s an ‘Atomic Robot’ key charm, or for those greedier customers, why not take the whole shop home in one of the great shopper bags, with ‘You Have The Right To Remain Romantic’ emblazoned on the side. No need to worry those of you who like a bit of matchy-matchy when it comes to accessorising, many of the pendants come in cute charm bracelet form too.

CharmBraceletThis new line of kitsch accessories comes courtesy of the eponymous, up and coming London based designer Zena McKeown. With a BA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art, Zena moved to London in 2005 to live the dream, and has seen her homemade designs go from their humble beginnings at the Brick Lane Backyard Market to gracing the pages of Vogue. Of her collection she says: “Me and Zena is about satisfying your inner stroppy teenager.”

TV SILVER 300Not only is Me & Zena jewellery easy on the eye, but it won’t break the bank either with key rings starting from £8, bracelets from £10 and necklaces from £14, a welcome relief at this time of year!

DeerBoyGold300You don’t have to go far to get your mitts on a piece of these fabulous designs, with stockists ranging from Ad Hoc, Jules and Gems and Lazy Oaf- and that’s just London. So for a bit of fun, eye-catching bling to make a bland outfit pop, hit up Me and Zena and indulge your adolescent self.
Me & Zena Geek glasses (1)Images throughout courtesy of Me and Zena

Re-engage with your 15 year old self and fall in love with massive ‘Broken Heart’ gold necklaces, cheapest give in to your inner nerd in the chic ‘Geek Glasses’ necklace, website like this and take the ‘Love-o-meter’ pendant for a spin. If you want to channel Prada then there’s an ‘Atomic Robot’ key charm, or for those greedier customers, why not take the whole shop home in one of the great shopper bags, with ‘You Have The Right To Remain Romantic’ emblazoned on the side. No need to worry those of you who like a bit of matchy-matchy when it comes to accessorising, many of the pendants come in cute charm bracelet form too.

CharmBraceletThis new line of kitsch accessories comes courtesy of the eponymous, up and coming London based designer Zena McKeown. With a BA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art, Zena moved to London in 2005 to live the dream, and has seen her homemade designs go from their humble beginnings at the Brick Lane Backyard Market to gracing the pages of Vogue. Of her collection she says: “Me and Zena is about satisfying your inner stroppy teenager.”

TV SILVER 300Not only is Me & Zena jewellery easy on the eye, but it won’t break the bank either with key rings starting from £8, bracelets from £10 and necklaces from £14, a welcome relief at this time of year!

DeerBoyGold300You don’t have to go far to get your mitts on a piece of these fabulous designs, with stockists ranging from Ad Hoc, Jules and Gems and Lazy Oaf- and that’s just London. So for a bit of fun, eye-catching bling to make a bland outfit pop, hit up Me and Zena and indulge your adolescent self.
Me & Zena Geek glasses (1)Images throughout courtesy of Me and Zena

Re-engage with your 15 year old self and fall in love with massive ‘Broken Heart’ gold necklaces, sales give in to your inner nerd in the chic ‘Geek Glasses’ necklace, capsule and take the ‘Love-o-meter’ pendant for a spin. If you want to channel Prada then there’s an ‘Atomic Robot’ key charm, or for those greedier customers, why not take the whole shop home in one of the great shopper bags, with ‘You Have The Right To Remain Romantic’ emblazoned on the side. No need to worry those of you who like a bit of matchy-matchy when it comes to accessorising, many of the pendants come in cute charm bracelet form too.

CharmBraceletThis new line of kitsch accessories comes courtesy of the eponymous, up and coming London based designer Zena McKeown. With a BA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art, Zena moved to London in 2005 to live the dream, and has seen her homemade designs go from their humble beginnings at the Brick Lane Backyard Market to gracing the pages of Vogue. Of her collection she says: “Me and Zena is about satisfying your inner stroppy teenager.”

TV SILVER 300Not only is Me & Zena jewellery easy on the eye, but it won’t break the bank either with key rings starting from £8, bracelets from £10 and necklaces from £14, a welcome relief at this time of year!

DeerBoyGold300You don’t have to go far to get your mitts on a piece of these fabulous designs, with stockists ranging from Ad Hoc, Jules and Gems and Lazy Oaf- and that’s just London. So for a bit of fun, eye-catching bling to make a bland outfit pop, hit up Me and Zena and indulge your adolescent self.
Me & Zena Geek glasses (1)Images throughout courtesy of Me and Zena

Re-engage with your 15 year old self and fall in love with massive ‘Broken Heart’ gold necklaces, viagra 40mg give in to your inner nerd in the chic ‘Geek Glasses’ necklace, pharmacy and take the ‘Love-o-meter’ pendant for a spin. If you want to channel Prada then there’s an ‘Atomic Robot’ key charm, or for those greedier customers, why not take the whole shop home in one of the great shopper bags, with ‘You Have The Right To Remain Romantic’ emblazoned on the side. No need to worry those of you who like a bit of matchy-matchy when it comes to accessorising, many of the pendants come in cute charm bracelet form too.

CharmBraceletThis new line of kitsch accessories comes courtesy of the eponymous, up and coming London based designer Zena McKeown. With a BA in Visual Communication from Edinburgh College of Art, Zena moved to London in 2005 to live the dream, and has seen her homemade designs go from their humble beginnings at the Brick Lane Backyard Market to gracing the pages of Vogue. Of her collection she says: “Me and Zena is about satisfying your inner stroppy teenager.”

TV SILVER 300Not only is Me & Zena jewellery easy on the eye, but it won’t break the bank either with key rings starting from £8, bracelets from £10 and necklaces from £14, a welcome relief at this time of year!

DeerBoyGold300You don’t have to go far to get your mitts on a piece of these fabulous designs, with stockists ranging from Ad Hoc, Jules and Gems and Lazy Oaf- and that’s just London. So for a bit of fun, eye-catching bling to make a bland outfit pop, hit up Me and Zena and indulge your adolescent self.
Some questions define a generation: where were you when JFK was shot? Or when the Berlin Wall fell? Or when Luella Bartley announced the end of her label in 2009? Whilst I may be overestimating the cultural impact of the latter, troche for lovers of the British label’s comic-book-worm meets aristocratic-party-girl designs, erectile it was a sad day indeed.

tumblr_kt3kehtXY01qa2mrvLuella SS10, malady image courtesy of Tumblr

In a year that already claimed king of Couture Christian Lacroix, the economy took another bite out of fashion when Luella announced her eponymous brand was to become the latest fashion victims of the recession. The wearable appeal of her clothes combined with a celebrity fan club spearheaded by Alexa Chung was not enough to stop Luella undeservingly and unexpectedly falling by the wayside. Anna Wintour’s inaugural stamp of approval by way of attending Luella’s premature final show suggested the label was heading for even bigger things. The cementing of Bartley’s reputation as a new national institution came earlier in 2009 when she collected the coveted Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards.

christian-lacroix-couture-spring09-gipsyChristian Lacroix Couture SS09, image courtesy of Stylefrizz.

Luella might have charmed the international stage, showing in Milan and New York, but our British capital remained her city of choice. No label out there quite captured the spirit of young London in the same irreverent but indulgent way, and whilst the clothes might be adorned with enough frills and bows to safely cater an equestrian show, there was always a unique edge to the garments that proved they were made for girls who liked to stay up all night.

tumblr_kt3kcd0cHQ1qa2mrvLuella SS10, image courtesy of Tumblr

Collections in the past have seen a nod to Ghost World, Batman, Princess Margaret and a menagerie of mismatched acid brights, but Luella’s s/s10 collection suggests that the rebellious, awkward adolescence has been left behind and from its shadow emerges a lighter feminine appeal. Trademark bows and tulle are out in force but softer 60’s inspired curves, bold polka dots and pastels are the cornerstone of Bartley’s final outing. Luella never fails to capture the imagination and her last London Fashion Week was the perfect time to showcase her romantic vision of the thrown-together-decorum of prom dresses topped with birds nest buns, proving that whilst the Luella girl has grown up she hasn’t forgotten where she’s come from, which now has a certain irony for the label too.

christian-lacroix1_1362766iChristian Lacroix AW08/09, image courtesy of Getty

So what relevance does this have for the fashion industry as a whole, you may ask. Well whilst it’s not a good thing for the industry to have lost one of the godfather’s of Couture in Lacroix, the British fashion industry and fans alike will also be reeling from the loss of one of our best loved labels in Luella. If anything good can come from this it will be that consumers – like me and you – will hopefully be much more aware of the how much money we are spending on luxury fashion, and be mindful of how fragile fashion is at present, much like every other industry.

Whilst we should support fashion in its time of need, there are many things we can do other than buy expensive items. For starters we can always do more to support independent British designers – especially those who produce and manufacture in the UK. We can also steer clear of supporting the other extreme, by not opting for disposable fashion championed at stores such as Primark. So whilst ‘we’ hate to say it, perhaps with the cyclical nature of fashion, this is nature’s way of keeping the industry accessible to designers of all abilities and financial backing. This will hopefully lead to the emergence of several new designers on the scene in the new decade, not replacing those who sadly got left in the 00’s, but honouring them by moving the industry forward as a whole.

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