32 hours of London

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How many different faces of the city can be revealed in 32 hours? Llamas’ Valley had a possibility to appreciate the rushing reality of modern London, explore its past and glimpse at the future – all at the same time. English brand Marks & Spencer presented its collection of upcoming season, available for the customers from January. It also gave a chance to get familiar not only with London as a well known metropolis, but also as a calm, silent city, full of history. All of this – during 32 hours of fashion, culture, art, food, aesthetics, music and exceptional moments.

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Spring trends

One of the most attractive ways to get to know the city – be in historical places where modern dialogues take place. The preview of upcoming Marks & Spencer collection was taking place exactly in one of them. Impressive building, situated in One Marylebone Road surrounds with a particular aura and enchants with its majesty. A former church, the ideal of English neoclassicism, was built in the first part of the XIX century to celebrate the victories against Napoleon. Now mainly cultural events take place here.

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What do the customers need to know about spring trends? New Marks & Spencer creative director Queralt Ferrer has created collection gravitating around the notions of modernity and classics. The organic synthesis of these two style directions is reflected in five main parts of the collection. The goal is to shift our look towards the things that will be desired not only in the upcoming season, but longer after that.

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“Soft focus” is a compliment for eternal femininity, expressed by subtle pastel shades and classical silhouettes. “Modern utility” reflects everything that has become inseparable from modern style. These are loose constructions, militaristic color palette, untraditional lengths and most importantly – casual attitude, adapted to official surroundings. All these details will remain significant while creating the daily uniform. “In the fold” explores the functionality of clothes topic whereas “Retro mix” ensembles are special for the sense of stylish eclectics. Dramatic prints elevate the clothes to new heights in “Luxe Traveller”. The magic atmosphere of traveling is created here by big flower motifs, deep colors and undulating silhouettes.

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For men’s collection, a special attention has been given to loose silhouettes – the brand is subtly erasing the boundaries of formal style. There are experiments with colors and textures as well as the elements borrowed from sports. Like in a women’s collection, neutral, earth hues are dominating.

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Marks & Spencer is a also trendsetter of underwear – new collection is inspired by upcoming Olympic games in Rio de Janeiro. Natural and light fabrics which let the body breathe are pleasant to touch and wear. In addition, attractive sportswear suggested by M&S will encourage to make up time for sport activities in the daily routine.

Hollywood kind of tale

The brand of Marks & Spencer was established in the year of 1884 and has contributed to making traditional English style  available and interesting for everyone. What are the other things that should pop in mind when there is a talk about English identity? The first one would probably be the legendary Savoy hotel. Being in its surroundings already constitutes a cinematographic experience, carrying to another epoch. Every corner seems to be telling its own and special story. Great number of last century celebrities, such as Vivian Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Winston Churchill or Bob Dylan had stayed there.

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Nevertheless, the historical spirit of Savoy, impregned with the shine of celebrity fame, is not the only thing which makes the skin shiver. Impeccable aesthetics of the hotel is worth to be called as the epitome of ultimate luxury. Subtle forms of art (photography, paintings, sculptures, live music – music pieces from the repertoires of such musicals as “Les Miserables” or “Jesus Christ Superstar” are included) as well as the service contribute to this impression. Unique gourmand experience, absolutely essential for everyone (at least once in a lifetime) is the traditional English afternoon tea, during which one can taste different one bite sandwhiches, scones and desserts. The taste palette is broadened by a wide range of English teas.

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Pleasure or pain?

 Several hours, spent in the Victoria & Albert museum, provided a special final touch to the journey. This museum never ceases to surprise those who are greatly interested in fashion. “Shoes: Pleasure and Pain” is the first detailed exposition dedicated to shoes – a thing which we cannot imagine our daily life without. The vast historical panorama offers to take a look at some of examples that represent the heritage of exotic civilizations as well as admire the modern day fashion icons, which have revolutionized the world of style and made us believe that things we wear on our feet can be also art (think worldwide known Louboutins, legendary Alexander McQuee’s “Plato’s Atlantis” or Prada shoes with racing motifs). The visitors have also a possibility to get to know the subtleties of the shoe making process and learn how bespoke shoes were fabricated for celebrities. For those whom it is not enough can also see some impressive exhibits of conceptual fashion and read the confessions of shoe collectioners. The exhibition continues up to the 31st of January.

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These are only some details of London’s cultural puzzle, which have permitted to get closer to the heart of one of the most influential cities in the world. The very essence of London is combined from its fashion traditions (and I talk about not only the fashion we see on the runways, but fast fashion industry as well, which has incredibly high standards), respect for the old gourmand rituals and a profound desire for critical evaluation of historical processes, tightly related to the English culture. If you’re planning a trip to London, don’t forget to see a musical, get lost in an exhibition listening to the stories told by the exhibits and treat yourself to a real English dessert. Isn’t New Year an excellent chance to get familiar with new places or experience the old ones in a new way, after all?

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