I am currently devouring a season of 40ths. They are coming thick and fast and seem to be manifesting themselves on the scale of weddings but with a more hedonistic, ‘you only live once’ undercurrent - huge marquees, banquets, enough bubbly to sink the Titanic, flamboyant fashion (more often than not fancy dress- my absolute favourite) and all-round outrageous behaviour. Apart from needing a week to recover from each one (the main drawback of aging I’ve encountered so far) it has so far been a party year to remember. If 50ths are approached with even more abandon I will need to take a sabbatical.
My incredibly glamorous and dear friend who worked for Chanel for many years, my fashion bestie and Godmother to my youngest, contacted me a year before her seminal birthday to let me know she was going to mark the occasion and could we block out dates. Not just one night, but a full-on TRIP. This girl knows how to party- she has the stamina of an ox and look like a cross between Gisele and one of the Dellal girls. Her legs are up to my armpits and she has this rather annoying habit of being able to get ready in a matter of minutes. We knew this 40th was going to be off the charts and sensationally chic. A few months later she revealed the destination was none other than the ultimate party island, Ibiza. 8 couples, one big villa, 4 days of reckless abandon – Chanel does Love Island.
I think I can safely say every girl going had a mild fashion freak out. The beach club itinery was extensive and we knew from past experience long lunches would turn into night time partying, with a bit of swimming thrown in for good measure. Not to mention a boat trip to Formentera. What do you wear to cater for the day/night scenario in sweltering sticky heat and how on earth do you deal with unruly hair?
For me, comfort is everything, so I shelved the idea of packing high heels. My suitcase was therefore laden with various flats, from raffia sliders to crystal encrusted sandals. Bag-wise I took none other than one large circular straw bag that I’d been kindly gifted by the gorgeous Lisa Mehydene of Edit58 that was neutral, substantial and would fit in everything I need for each day to night escapade.
Though the entire world has jumped on the knotted-headband bandwagon, I can honestly say Born In The Sun has saved my hair this summer. I have really fine hair, but lots of it, and without some prep it can far too easily go into lank, hippy mode. I never take a hair dryer with me on holiday and rarely wear it down as a result. My go to at the moment is a middle parting bun, worn with a turban style band giving me polished, exotic, lady of the villa appeal. Worn with cat-eye sunglasses and a pair of shell earrings- it feels very Dolce, very 1950s island style. I took three raffia (to match other accessories), black polka dot and peach towelling.
In Ibiza, dresses ruled - there was no separates in sight. Throughout the girl gang, Innika Choo, Ulla Johnson and LoveShackFancy all featured for dramatic day dresses that are cool enough for the beach and flamboyant enough for evenings. I found a short, full skirted white dress by Juliet Dunn that had a delicate gold print and embroidered gold leaf pailettes on it. It had a matching tie belt and huge blouson sleeves with an elasticated neckline that could be worn off the shoulder. Accessorised with chunky gold jewellery and gold ankle bracelet Jimmy Choo flats, it was the perfect day to night transitional number and was made for dancing. Another purchase was a long pink linen dress by a new find, Johanna Sands. I discovered this brand at Isabel Spearman’s Daily Dress Edit Pop Up and ordered a couple of dresses in a similar style. Long maxi’s with large shoulder bows- effortless, dramatic, cool to wear- everything I adore about summer dressing. There is nothing like wafting around in a dramatic maxi. Some old boho favourites also came along from & Other Stories too - namely a rich mustard flowing maxi with ruffle hem that was perfect for the pool and a black kaftan with multi-coloured embroidery that I wore with Isabel Marant chunky flats and had a distinctly more ethnic vibe for a less dressy villa moment. And I wouldn’t feel like I had a complete holiday wardrobe without an ostentatious party dress – so a pretty outrageous Melissa Odabash one- shouldered gold lame kaftan presented itself as the dream disco diva outfit.
I’m slightly out of the skimpy bikini game at the moment and have fallen for swimsuits all over again. I’m loving striped and leopard print versions from my friend Sian Swimwear and I adore the belted one pieces in a major way. My favourite at the moment is black with simple spaghetti straps and comes from Solid and Striped.
For once, I wore almost every piece of clothing I took with me, which is quite out of character for the woman who generally ambushes decisive packing with some last-minute jamming. It was a 40th to remember, a cool, glam insatiable crowd, and though it won’t be the outfits we remember in years to come, it was a pretty fabulous fashion moment to break in a new decade, celebrating friendships old and new.