The Selfridges guide to unbelievably good accessories
Think you know your accessory onions? Well, think again. Using our current Radical Luxury campaign as a jumping-off point (where we’re re-evaluating what luxury means to us), we gathered the Selfridges troops to compile the ultimate rundown of mould-breaking, conversation-starting, plinth-worthy outfit add-ons that need to be in your life (and wardrobe) right now. Are you ready?
As much as we love to look all sleek and Scandi-esque, we do enjoy flipping a 180 and going loud and proud with our accessories every now and again. And what could be bolder (and less minimal) than the classic Burberry check (with a dose of the Gucci interlocking G print for good measure)? “Christopher Bailey’s final collection for Burberry saw him bring back the archive check across ready-to-wear and accessories,” says designer accessories buyer Sarah Cartwright. “The sporty vibe of the original check (with its updated PVC wipe-clean twist) brings a lot of fun and vibrancy to a classic heritage brand.” This season’s sartorial motto, folks: go big or go home.
In fashion speak, those painfully cool, ‘I was wearing this long before everyone else’ types you see from time to time are called ‘early adopters’. When you meet one (a rare occurrence, not dissimilar to stumbling across a unicorn in the woods), ask them what accessories they’re wearing, because chances are they’ll all be made by some under-the-radar brand you’ve yet to get acquainted with. Staud is one such brand. “When you know, you know,” says accessories buyer Raffaella Fulgoni on Staud’s logo-free, yet instantly recognisable offering of structured bucket bags. “Staud really exudes that clean-yet-playful aesthetic that everyone’s aspiring to today.” Charlotte Chesnais is another brand we’re fawning over for perfect minimal-yet-abstract pieces of jewelry. Chesnais cut her teeth at Balenciaga, where she piloted the storied brand’s first line of jewelry, before going out on her own. Wear it all with a knowing (yet smug-free) smile, and wait for the “wow – where is that from?” questions to roll in.
Always be prepared
Picture the scene: you’ve got exactly two-and-a-half minutes to leave the house, you’re digging around in a giant tote bag for your car keys while holding a jacket, coffee and phone, and trying not to lose your marbles at the same time. What’s a girl to do? Well, going hands-free is a good place to start, with Chloé’s seriously savvy Pixie bum bag. Just fit it around the waist and savour the glorious freedom that comes with having both arms free to manoeuvre in every which way you please. Dial up the practicality with a pair of surprisingly soft heels – Jimmy Choo’s Mickey courts are made from bouncy cork (easier on the feet), with an ankle strap for extra support – and some hardy denim, and say goodbye to stressful mornings.
Colour me in
Feeling that wardrobe slump? Yep, us too. With the glimpse of summer on the horizon (well, a girl can hope!), we need something that’s going to lift us out of this wintry reverie and make us smile in the process. Enter this season’s truckload of colour-blocked bags and shoes that are, quite frankly, the best antidote to a dreary English day (even better than a G&T, we’d wager). For those of you who are a little unsure how to work them, here are our favourite options: a) wear them with an all-neutral outfit to give your accessories the moment they deserve, or b) clash them with a striped-up, colour-blocked and embellished-to-the-nines outfit for a brilliant feast for the eyes. Whatever makes you happy.
At Selfridges, buying better is a no-brainer because as much as we love to shop, we know that our purchases come at a cost. That’s why we’re particularly enamoured with Vivienne Westwood’s ‘Handmade with Love’ collection. Working with the International Trade Centre’s Ethical Fashion Initiative, Westwood has empowered 7,000 women living in poverty across the world, giving them the skills and resources to better their lives, as well as providing financial independence. This beaded shoulder bag – one of our favourites from the collection – was created with recycled coffee sacks and hand-embroidered ceramic beads. And the best accompaniment to a bag with a conscience? Ethical sneakers, of course. Veja is leading the way in ecological and fair-trade footwear. Combining understated, cool designs with entirely ethical practices, the French brand uses organic cotton, wild rubber and veg-tanned leather to avoid harmful chemicals entering the environment.
Sure, Valentine’s Day may have been and gone but we’re still holding onto those feel-good vibes as far as our bags and shoes are concerned. And this bevy of romantic, super-feminine accessories makes us want to skip around the room in a frou-frou skirt, singing love songs. J.W. Anderson’s punk-inspired Pierce bag has been given a girlish makeover with the help of some trailing gingham ties, and we can always rely on the champion of femininity Erdem to bring the prettiness – these floral-embroidered kitten heels are basically a gift from Cupid himself, because we just can’t tear our eyes away. Way better than a fuzzy teddy bear and a box of chocolates, right?
We all need that reliable companion in our lives: there for us come rain or shine, helping us through difficult terrain, and working with absolutely everything we wear... OK, so we might not be referring to a human friend as such, but a wear-me-anywhere flat shoe will do the job nicely, thank you. We’ve been singing the backless mule’s praises for a couple of seasons now, so if you haven’t already got a pair, you need to get on board. (We won’t tell you again – well, actually we might.) For SS18, we love these Alberta Ferretti flats in fringed denim – so comfy it’s almost like you’re not wearing any shoes at all, but hardy enough to wear when hot-footing it from A to B. And the cherry on the top? They’re completely exclusive to Selfridges. Perfect.
When a bag or shoe can tick two of the five senses boxes? That’s when you know you’re onto a winner. A feast for both the eyes and the fingertips, Christian Louboutin’s velvety Vanite clutch and Donaflor heels are hand-embellished with dazzling crystal flowers and sequins, resulting in a truly stand-out (and strokeable) accessories duo. “I like to be playful,” Christian Louboutin told us, “I think that’s something I reflect in my shoes, too. They are made to cheer you up.” Consider us well and truly cheered, Mr Louboutin.
The art installation
It goes without saying that the things we buy should look good, but when our accessories look like they could sit quite happily on a marble plinth – well, that’s when we get the warm’n’fuzzies. Taking inspiration from ‘earth, fire and volcanic spaces’, these sculptural drop earrings by Annelise Michelson were crafted to look like flowing volcanic lava (very Art Nouveau, non?). And call us art mad, but when we came across Sophie Hulme and illustrator Rose Blake’s tote bag collaboration depicting a 360-degree gallery scene (complete with miniature gallery visitors) – it was love at first sight. “We were so excited to hear about this collaboration,” says accessories buyer Raffaella Fulgoni. “And something to note: each little character that appears in Rose Blake’s illustration is, in fact, carrying a Sophie Hulme bag of their own!”