Luella’s Guide to English Style by Luella Bartley

11 Jan

Step into the life of a former Vogue fashion editor, ex-Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design student and bonafide fashion designer Luella Bartley MBE. Her journey has been one of absolute awe, from sharing a room with M.I.A to dressing Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie.

In her first ever book, Luella explores both her own innovative take on English style and also dissects classic English fashion stereotypes that have come to reign over the past few years. Categories of discussion include The Pony Club, Mods and Ska to name but a few.

What makes this book unique is its strong inclusion of reference to the influence of music on fashion. As Luella investigates the ‘Tribes of Britannia’ such as the New Romantics, she speaks of David Bowie’s impact on their style and even includes a quote of his on the back “they’ll never clone ya”. When capturing the essence of Goths she comments on the significance of “introspective lyrics and synthesisers” of Siouxsie Sioux.

Another enjoyable section is the ‘Birds of Britain’ chapter that tells you all that there is to know about some of Britain’s finest ladies.  Here are a few of her suggestions:

Lily Allen: “emerged like an exotic bird with jet black hair”.
Helena Bonham Carter: “she wears fairy tale dresses with utter defiance”.
Dame Vivienne Westwood: “There are two queens of England… there’s Queen Viv, our other beloved sovereign, who takes care of the country’s left side of the brain, its image as creative and vibrant force in the world”.

Visuals are especially inviting in this book. Bright and sketchy drawings are included of lots of the people that Luella speaks about (including one of herself) and she also uses photographs to demonstrate more aesthetically the points that she strives to make.

All in all, this book is a fantastic celebration of English style and will undoubtedly be warmly received by fashion or music lovers from many a generation. Whether you’re a twenty something male setting out to cherish your favourite rock stars or a seventy something spinster wanting to reflect upon garments from times gone by, this quirkily written creation is for you.

(I know you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but for the cherry on the cake… the cover has a little golden cat on it!)

A la Mode Appraisal: 10/10

Luella’s Guide to English Style is published by Press Books, a division of HarperCollins, and will happily take pride of place on your bookshelf for £20.

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