Modern opulence

Modern opulence

From gorgeous beading to rich jacquard, party season is all about embellished statement pieces. Sasha Wilkins reveals her five favourite looks against the backdrop of ground-breaking London florist, Grace and Thorn


One of the things I share with Boden is my love of flowers and – I don’t think I’m letting the cat out of the bag when I say it – British blooms are at the heart of Boden’s upcoming spring/summer 2015 collection. Inspired, I headed to Grace and Thorn – a stylish new florist – to photograph some of Boden’s bold, beautiful party looks for the season.

Nik Southern (above right) of Grace and Thorn opened her contemporary shop in London’s Hackney in September this year and the freshness of her romantic designs have fast caught the imagination of magazines, designers and fashion houses alike. Grace and Thorn was born out of Nik’s love for naturalistic flower design and a desire to bring back influences of the wild English countryside (where she has lived for the past 10 years) to the capital.


No two of her ravishing whimsical bouquets are ever the same, with every bloom, thistle and berry chosen and positioned to create an abundance of flower, foliage, texture and colour combinations. When thinking about recreating Nik’s unique style at home remember her rule that leaves are as important as the flowers – sometimes she uses just three blooms in her bouquets, believing that foliage deserves equal attention.

And while it’s hard to argue that there is a lovelier present than flowers, Nik is just as likely to suggest a beautiful terrarium, filled with foliage, or a stunning cactus, maybe in a gold-sprayed pot or nestled in a Dachshund-shaped egg cup.

Thanks to Nik, cacti are one of the most stylish tabletop and gift ideas this Christmas – when choosing a pot to put one in, think carefully about colours that enhance the natural greens and greys of the cacti – copper looks wonderful, as does terracotta.

My five favourite looks for party season


1. Why cover up a pretty party frock with an everyday coat? Faux-fur coats are one of this winter’s biggest trends and this Boden one is lovely: lightweight but still warm with a flattering soft tone. It’s also uncrushable, making it perfect for Christmas-break packing.


2. A waisted jacquard party dress with a bell skirt just shrieks 50s glamour. This one is flattering on so many body types, with the neck cut just low enough to show off the collarbone and a skirt that works with both a sparkly heel and an embellished ballet flat. (I think this makes it the perfect party-season dress.)


3. The LBD is a classic for a reason – it goes with everything, smooths the silhouette and can go from sandwich at desk to cocktails at seven with ease. This one is particularly chic, with its flattering long sleeves and tailored silhouette, and the lace is extraordinarily pretty, which stops the dress from looking too severe.


4. A sweater and skirt can be the most everyday of outfits – but look closely: Boden has added an embellished golden Peter Pan collar and cuffs to this navy sweater . The dotted pretty sparkling beads over this skirt give just enough twinkle to raise this quotidian look’s game but not so much that you will be mistaken for the Christmas-tree fairy.


5. Dresses not your thing? Then a great pair of well-cut and flattering Boyfriend Jeans are your friend this party season. Worn with a glamorous sparkly shoe, a chiffon shirt and a wonderful faux-fur jacket, this is a great dress-up, dress-down festive look. Don’t forget a chic clutch to finish off the look.

See below for a gallery of Boden’s most beautiful Christmas looks

Photographer: Keith Bone Hair and make-up: blow Shot on location at Grace and Thorn, 338 Hackney Road, London, E2

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