Designer Profile: Neoss London

Photo: Neoss

Georgie Charalambous and Natalie Bouloux are not just a ‘design duo’ — they are so much more. They are best friends, they are aperol spritz buddies, they are leaders in sustainable design, and they are the brilliant minds behind Neoss, their London-based fashion brand.

School friends from a young age, the idea to start a fashion brand together came after they realized a shared obsession with neoprene. From there came their first collection of bags and swimwear inspired by many things, though at the centre of it was 80’s ski outfits. While neoprene ignited their shared vision, it was only the beginning.

Photo: Neoss

“After the bags, well…we had always really wanted to do womenswear. That was the idea right from the beginning. It was just really organic from that point. Nothing has been majorly discussed, like how we go to the next point of our journey. It just happens! We spend a lot of time together so it is very easy for us to stay in tune with one another,” explains Georgie.

Their first collection of womenswear featured neoprene pieces but also expanded into other made-to-order pieces as well, such as a thick corduroy suit, loved by men and women alike.

“At our booth in Paris, we had a couple buy the corduroy jacket to share. That was the best,” shares Natalie.

For their second womenswear collection, which comes out later this year, their mutual love of fabric was once again the starting point, but this time it came while roaming around Paris.

“We happened to find a place where extra fabric had been donated from big fashion houses. So what we are actually using are off-cuts, what would have been wasted is now new,” says Georgie.

Photo: Neoss

Natalie expands, “It is a very limited, very small collection. Some pieces we might only make one of. But that’s what makes them special.”

They’ve based their upcoming collection on the constraints the female form has been put under over the centuries. The structured silhouettes seen in their first collection will still be present but they will be integrated into something that is not restricted, as they have also drawn inspiration from body movements and Italian sculptures.

This intention to build on each collection, rather than dismiss their past designs, sets them apart from the fashion design norm. Each collection, after its time, is integrated into the next.

“It’s less disposable this way. We are encouraging people to cherish and look after their clothes,” says Georgie.

In fact, a new section of their website titled Love Me Tender sweetly encourages ways to care for your garments. Sections titled If It’s Broke, Just Fix It and Be Gentle & Be Cool, offer guidance on ‘how to love and care for your clothes so that you can live happily every after and help the planet do the same.’

Photo: Neoss

For Natalie and Georgie, approaching their brand from a sustainable point of view is not about just having a unique selling point.

“Everyone should be doing this. We have one planet. What we hope people understand is that there is a lot of craftsmanship behind the clothes. Sourcing the fabrics takes time, the process is longer. And that’s why it costs a bit more. So instead, save up for something beautiful and buy less,” says Georgie.

At such a young age, the thinking and creative process behind Neoss is as impressive as their skill or their designs. And above all, the connection between the Natalie and Georgie is likewise inspiring.

“Could I have done this with anyone else? I probably couldn’t have. We’re very close. So close that we can be angry at one another, we can be snappy, and the next moment it can be forgotten. And we are lucky in that respect.”

See here for more about Neoss and follow them on Instagram here.

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Shop At Shoppers Like It’s A Parisian Pharmacie

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Photo: The Coveteur

Oh the Parisian pharmacie. The one secret that Parisiennes willingly admit about their infamously effortless beauty routines. The devotion that Parisians have to the pharmacie is generations deep, faithfully maintaining beauty secrets from parents and grandparents. Because really, an effortless beauty routine means investing in your skin and haircare regimes; simply, invest in the fundamentals. Recent Shoppers renovations (fancy ones!) have made ample shelf space for a wide range of French products. Look closely, and for these right products, and you could stock your cabinet like Jeanne Damas, Garance Doré, and Caroline de Maigret.

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Photo: Bioderma

Bioderma Sensibio H20 Micelle Solution

This make up remover is just wonderful. It does not sting the eyes, it has zero scent, and is not irritating on sensitive skin. And it does the job very well. It removes make up without excessive elbow grease, while also removing dirt and pollution from walking around the streets of Paris, erm…Toronto. I meant Toronto.

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Photo: La Roche-Posay

La Roche-Posay Toleraine Riche Moisturizer

A good, daily moisturizer is the key to your skin routine, especially during the dry winter months. This is good for at night use because of the shea butter, something to repair the skin after a long day.

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Photo: Lancôme

Lancôme Hypnose Mascara

In How To Be Parisian Wherever You AreCaroline de Maigret recommends Lancôme’s Grandiose mascara, which is great but I am going to recommend Hypnose instead. It’s brilliant because it manages to stay on all day without gather a shadow beneath the lower lash region, while easily coming off with cleanser and water (no need to tug your eyelashes off). I also find that it gives the lashes a nice lift if you apply a layer, wait 10 second for it to dry, and then apply another layer.

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Photo: Avène

Avène Cleanance Gel

The smell is great, it doesn’t dry out your skin, and it is a lovely shade of blue. I’ve used this consistently since high school and have found it has kept my skin clear since then. The best bit about it is that you only need to use a tiny amount each time, so it lasts a long time.

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Photo: Nuxe

Nuxe Rêve de Miel Ultra-Nourishing Lip Balm

I was hesitant to buy lip balm for $17 when my go-to Vaseline Rosy Lips was in the next aisle for $3.99, but this lip balm from Nuxe is on another level. It goes on thick, so I recommend putting it on once in the morning and once at night. The first few applications will make your lips peel a bit, but then your lips are like butter. Soft, French butter.

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Photo: Klorane

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Now this here is your key to that hair. You know, the messy, chic hair. The hair with je ne c’est quois. Unbrush, unfussed, yet clean. This is your tool to that second day, messy hair of the Parisienne. It is especially great if you have bangs, which seem to be on a grease cycle of their own.

Remember, each Shoppers location is a touch different (renovations may change that) and may have different selections. In my opinion, the location at Bloor-Yonge has the best stocked beauty section and the best selection of these French beauty products in particular. Bonne chance!

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Dressing Like Your Granny Is Actually Quite Cool Now

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Well perhaps your grandma might be very cool in her own way and is still rocking normcore, but in general, grandmothers are associated with styles from the 1950s: ruffled blouses, pie crust collars, brooches and full skirts. For some reason it looks as though designers this year looked to the restrained style of Boomer generation ladies for their collections, drawing perhaps on the structure of the ’50s to find some sort of sense during this bewildering year, or perhaps to add to it. Whatever their reasons, designers have deemed these four trends as very cool and you can borrow them all from your grandmother.

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Brooches

Brooches are no longer just for the kitsch-inclined! Gucci loved the brooch for their FW16 collection, likewise Prada and Balenciaga. The lovely thing about brooches is that you can buy them in any vintage shop and stick them just about anywhere you please. Need to tie a scarf? Brooch. Need to excite an all-black ensemble? Brooch. See? Easy.

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Trademark Ruffle Dress | Photo: Net-a-Porter

Ruffles

Ruffles can also be incorporated in a number of ways. They can be at the centre of a dress, like this gorgeous number from Trademark, or they can be a small detail on the sleeve of your blouse. I say go full fun with a ruffled skirt or a ruffled shirt (yes, like Jerry’s pirate shirt).

Etro Pre-Fall 2016
Etro Pre-Fall 2016 | Photo: WWD

Neck Ties

This is a trend that Alexa Chung could always pull off, but the rest of us were tentative about. Of course, Chung had it right, It-girl that she is. A neck tie, like a brooch, simply elevates an outfit. Think about jeans and a t-shirt. Now add a pink neck tie. Voilà!

Alexander McQueen Silk Blouse €489 | Photo: Shopbop
Alexander McQueen Silk Blouse €489 | Photo: Shopbop

Pie Crust Collars

We’ve already mentioned the pie crust collar trend in its own exclusive article, but this trend is so great it is worth mentioning twice. First of all, pie crust blouses are available in every high street shop, from Zara to H&M. Second, it’s a frilly alternative to a turtleneck. What’s not to love?

Feauture Image: Gucci

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Designer Profile: Atelier Mimii

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Photo: Atelier Mimii

Paris-based fashion brand Atelier Mimii prides itself on its luxuriously handmade garments. Each unique piece “represents a presence” of its own with “an explosion of colour and movement.” The brand’s designer is of little words, choosing instead that the clothes speak for themselves through the embroidery, manipulation of fabric and bold designs. It is our pleasure to introduce you to Mimii as she introduces her latest collection, Pluralism. 

Isabel Mundigo-Moore: You say that you have ‘something’ to say about the current state of the fashion industry. What is that ‘something’?

Atelier Mimii: We want to give value to the clothes we envision, as for us, it is a second skin that we wish will live an eternity.

IMM: Why is it important that to you that people understand the ‘handmade’ aspect of your clothing?

AM: Mimii’s philosophy is focused on handmade pieces of clothing, on its uniqueness and differentiation.

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Photo: Atelier Mimii

IMM: Where did the inspiration for your latest collection, Pluralism, come from and what is the significance of it being called so?

AM: As said by the dictionary Pluralism is defined as: ‘a condition or system in which two or more states, groups, principles, sources of authority, etc., coexist.’ The collection embodies a coexistence of references that have been worked on to convert thus ideas onto a second skin.  

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Photo: Atelier Mimii

 

IMM: How do you source your fabrics? 

AM: From all around the world.

IMM: Can you describe the design process for Pluralism?

AM: It all began with a square, a triangle and a circle.

IMM:You seem to play with every aspect of clothing– colour, fabric, shape, textures–yet, still find a unique aesthetic. How do you balance them all?

AM: At Mimii everything goes.

IMM: How does Paris as a city interact with your clothing?

AM: Living in an open-minded city, the interaction occurs naturally.

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Photo: Atelier Mimii

 

IMM:Where do you seek inspiration and how do you organize it?

AM: It comes from painters.

IMM: Who wears Mimii? Who is the Mimii “woman”?

AM: A woman who wants to wear her mind on her skin.

IMM: What is style to you?

AM: A mind on the skin.

IMM: What are your favourite places in Paris?

AM: Museums, galleries, coffee bars and in any park where my dogs can run.

IMM: What is your daily routine?

AM: To work, work, work, and work.

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Photo: Atelier Mimii

IMM: As a brand, what are your future goals for Mimii?

AM: For people to become aware of the brand and feel special when wearing Mimii.

IMM: As an artist, what are your future goals for Mimii?

AM: As an artist, I have never thought of a future goal. I simply work and express a colourful point of view through Mimii.

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We Want Everything From The COS SS17 Lookbook

COS, the elder sister company of H&M, ticks every box of modern fashion desires. Notorious for their elegant, modern silhouettes, thick and textured fabrics, and minimalist design, COS is the wallet friendly version of The Row (and that is the highest of compliments). At the Novella offices we all let out a dreamy sigh when someone mentions the store. There is an artistic mindfulness to COS in everything they do, from their well-lit changing rooms to the colour coordinated racks of clothes. Mindfulness is at the centre of the SS17 collection, finding balance in every piece. The collection balances function with form, masculine with feminine, natural with industrial, and simplicity with intention.

Photo: COS SS17
Photo: COS SS17

Light is the focal inspiration for both the women and men’s collections. For the women’s collection, the inspiration for the colour palette was James Turrell’s work Within, Without which evokes light and optical effects. For the men, the brand found inspiration for the earthy hues in chiaroscuro effect in Liddy Scheffknecht’s work.

Photo: COS SS17
Photo: COS SS17

The COS Spring/Summer 2017 collection finds a romantic beauty in utility. Each piece has a function, a purpose, yet transcends classic “workwear.” This balance of beauty and utility comes through in the fabrics. Using linen and leather as the primary fabrics for the pieces, both traditional and beautiful fabrics that are made to last, are examples of that. Mixing in lighter fabrics, such as semi-transparent nylon and silk, emphasize the lightness. The ultimate balance in the collection though is that of comfort and style. In the opposite attitude of “beauty is pain,” the pieces have subtly styled details that do not take away from the wearer’s comfort.

Photo: COS SS17
Photo: COS SS17

There is an ease about each piece; it’s as easy as slipping something on and feeling entirely put together. Each piece is entirely complete, from the trousers, to the ruffled-sleeve trench, to the slip on sandals. In the world of COS, next spring will be a sigh of relief, worry free, and filled with optimism.

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