One To Watch: Julia Korol

Ukraine-born and London based designer Julia Korol is one to add to your fashion radar for Spring Summer 2014. The Central Saint Martins graduate is wowing fashion insiders with her debut collection of fresh kaleidoscope prints. 

Julia's first collection debuted at Paris Fashion Week and mixed both fine art and eye-catching prints across a range of feminine day-to-evening dresses and skirts. Her philosophy is based on clean lines, perfect tailoring and structured designs made to flatter the female form. Cut out detailing is high on the agenda for SS14 with bare midriff panels hitting on-trend notes for the customers already obsessed with the crop top. Meanwhile there are plenty of fit-and-flare and body-con options available for fashion purists. 

The designer collaborated on her first collection with fashion exec Q Ladraa who will now head the brand's marketing and promotional activities. Price points currently range from £240 - £450 and the SS14 collection is available at with Harvey Nichols confirmed as a stockist for the AW14 line. 

Read my Q&A with Julia below: 

Q. The prints in the collection are really vivid and eye-catching - can you tell us a bit about where your inspiration comes from and how the process you go through from drawing board to getting them on to the garments?
A. My inspiration differs greatly from season to season. I look at every print as an art piece and I put a lot of thought into it. It’s a very personal process. I use a number of techniques and different materials including acrylic, ink, oil paints and so on. After I’ve completed a print, I transfer it digitally. The final step of the process is placing the print, ensuring that it connects and flows perfectly with the garment.

Q. Do you design with a particular woman or style icon in mind or is there anything you take into consideration when planning the fit and structure of each garment?
There are various muses old and new that constantly inspire me. Our shapes change seasonally, taking inspiration from the images. We have a few classic shapes that are our JK staples, that you’ll want to wear daily.

Q. Can you define the brand aesthetic in just a few words?
The SS14 dresses are edgy and feel great on the body. They can be worn day with Chelsea boots or night with a pair of chic high heals. The pieces are designed to make you feel confident and elegant.

Q. What's your favourite piece from the SS14 collection?
I’d have to say the V Neck Full Dress. Both that and the Leaves Scuba Dress, they really show the contours of your body and hold you in well.

Q. Lastly, what can customers expect from the AW14 collection?
 Autumn/Winter 2014 will have a great selection of new prints, however, we will introduce some plain styles as well. We have started to experiment with different elements, fabrics and components,  which is something we will continue to do for future seasons.

Reiss Personal Approach: My Personal Experience

Before I start I want to be say straight away Reiss did not ask me to write this, it isn't a sponsored post, I'm simply a big fan of the brand who wanted to experience their incredibly popular 'Personal Approach' styling service first hand. Secondly, apologies fort the length of this post, I really wanted to make sure you had all the information you needed but if you just want to skip to the pretty clothes they are at the bottom! 

A bit of background to start with: Reiss first introduced their personal approach shopping service in 2013 to strengthen customer loyalty to the brand and drive sales from the web back to stores. It's definitely worked for them, having been rolled out to all UK stores and introduced again from March 27th - April 6th this year.

Reiss is always a big draw for me - I go past their Kensington store on my way to work and my bus stops right outside so I get a close up look at the window everyday. When I was looking for an outfit for a big work event this month it seemed like the perfect excuse to book an appointment. 

Even though I signed up online from their newsletter, my online enquiry was followed up with a phone call from the store to book in my time slot and another call the day before to check I was coming. So far, so personal! 

When I arrived I met my personal shopper and went straight into the changing area. We had a very brief chat about what I was looking for - something that could be worn to an after work event and a few smart pieces, but nothing too formal like a suit as my office is quite relaxed. This is the only place where I'm going to get slightly critical as I feel this initial conversation could have been a bit longer and we spent the first ten minutes with me rejecting pieces due to colours, cuts, and skirts being too long for my 5ft1 height which could have been avoided. 

Gradually, however we got there. The transformation happened when I tried on the beautiful Joanna trousers in navy which I was surprised to find fit really, really well despite my height. I tried on a few blouses to match before deciding on a t-shirt and tank top in two different tones of green which looked great thanks to my newly dyed red hair. I tried on a fair few dresses as well for my party, including the Jade dress in red, the Valentina in white and the Hedy and Crawford in blue - all of which I loved but tragically I couldn't afford to buy them all. One dress came out victorious and that was the Skala print bowie silk dress which I'd seen in the window a week before and asked specifically to try on. I chose this style for my big event due to its floaty shape with nipped in waist which suited my figure and the gorgeous 'scratch' print which reminded me a bit of an Alexander McQueen design. I paired it with nude shoes and received plenty of compliments on the night so thank you Reiss! 

Other perks to the Personal Approach service is the 10% discount received and the goodie bags, which this season were courtesy of Space NK.

Overall I'd definitely recommend the Personal Approach service to others, whether you are a die hard Reiss customer already or have never worn the brand before as I think its always great to step out of your comfort zone every once in awhile. I was much bolder in my choices, and bar the initial warm-up period, the experience was fun with no pressure to buy which you can get from some personal shoppers. 

Below I've done a quick edit of the pieces I bought during my Personal Approach appointment, as well as the pieces I'll be going back to buy as soon as budget allows.  

First Look: Baukjen High Summer Collection

This April, Baukjen (sister brand to stylish maternity label Isabella Oliver) launches the much anticipated high summer 2014 collection and I was lucky enough to get a sneak peek of the look book. 

The vision for Baukjen has always been about creating perfect day-to-night investment pieces and this season is no exception, combining key trends with classics that stand the test of time such as shirt dresses, pencil skirts, city shorts, maxi dresses, tank tops...the list continues. 

These summer staples have been reworked into cleaner shapes, removing all signs of fuss - with contrasting textures and prints playing a key role - in a refined colour palette of duck egg blue, French navy, shell pink, khaki, and a beautiful soft mint the brand is calling lemongrass. I'm already addicted to this colour after a shopping spree last week - watch out for more this shade flooding the high street soon and more posts to follow. 

This little colour in particular loves the Sardinia shirt dress in lemongrass (see above) and I'd be wearing this soft shirting piece with sandals for a smart yet comfortable work-wear look this summer. Just nip in at the waist with a belt if you need more definition! Another look I'm craving is the Mia Jersey Playsuit thanks to its easy to throw on silhouette - the perfect length of short for both work and play - and chic detailing like the gathered waist and deep front pockets. As you may know sometimes in summer I can get a bit carried away with the whole 'global traveller' trend but the khaki version of the play suit is a nice way to work this safari look, bringing in my much loved tribal accessories, whilst still looking work-appropriate. 

The Ravenna leather skirt in nude pink is another covetable piece for SS14, and will no doubt look fabulous on anyone taller than me! Its other half - the Ravenna leather jacket looks divine when paired with the Malta snake print skirt, a slinky tube skirt ending just after the knee. A final note of praise to the Maya graphic print blazer - a style staple that will work equally well with tailored trousers, distressed jeans or as a holiday cover-up thanks to its azure hues. 

Other key pieces include the Isola Broderie Dress, a soft white cotton v-neck dress with relaxed three-quarter length sleeves, the Bianca waterfall drape cardigan and the Marseille city shorts in a striking Bali Blue or subdued Shell Pink.

The high summer 2014 collection will be available at from the beginning of April.