It was the night before London Fashion Week and I was fortunate enough to attend two fantastic events - Charlotte Tilbury's 'Scent Of A Dream' Covent Garden launch with Kate Moss, followed by Galeria Melissa's celebration of Vivienne Westwood's Rocking Horse Ballerina shoe. Yes, Westwood's iconic shoe turned 30 and Galeria Melissa London celebrated the occasion with a special installation. Inspired in the burlesque ballet Petrushka, Rocking Horse Ballerina was created in 1986 for the Mini-Crini collection. The shoe was also part of Westwood's groundbreaking Autumn/Winter 1987'88 show, entitled Harris Tweed. I attended both of these events with our Red Carpet Green Dress founder Suzy Amis Cameron, and wore an independent brand I have been supporting for nearly a decade, Nico Didonna.
Born in Noicattaro, Bari, Italian designer Nico Didonna moved to London in the early 80's where he has lived ever since. The former LCF graduate has steadily built a name for himself, amassing a loyal and fashion-savvy band of followers - all keen to find something well made in a unique range of fabrics from silk devore to silk jersey. Local is the name of the game with this brand and Didonna's fabrics are sourced from London and around the United Kingdom, from trusted suppliers he has had relationships with for the best part of two decades. His garments are also crafted on a small scale, either in his Italian atelier or by a cluster of local tailors the designer works with, trusting in their ability to make his garments meticulously. By making his collections in this way, Nico is able to respond to bespoke requests and required alterations, and according to the designer in this way he is able to provide his customers with a more personalised garment. This isn't cookie-cutter fashion for the masses, this is fashion made to stand out and modified with the customer in mind. In his words, "I repeat my styles if necessary - if a garment is popular - and I'm able to respond to my customers needs. This maintains exclusivity and uniqueness, which is of primary importance to me."
I have been a fan of his multi-functional wrap dresses since day one - you can wear them in at least 3 different ways and it's a stroke of genius known to be his signature, the epitome of the transformational fashion Nico Didonna is well known for. On average you can wear his versatile pieces at least two different ways (one dress I successfully tied 5 different ways, executing a different style each time). Innovative brands who create this way help consumers' clothing cover more ground for them and ensure that you are never caught looking like you are stuck on one note with a single piece; it's clever and the direction conscious fashion is headed. When you visit Nico's atelier you will see that no two pieces are alike - something I personally treasure as looking as anti-high street as possible is often my goal. Didonna retails from £100 up to around £600 - which means that you will definitely find a nice statement piece within your budget, and one he will tailor to your body type if need be. Based in the heart of Soho, his boutique corners Brewer Street in Soho, so if you are in the area pop in and tell him I sent you! My shoes were faux suede from Public Desire and necklace from NotOnTheHighStreet - a hub for handcrafted bespoke girls, and my ring was Swarovski. In 2012 Swarvoski's patented an 'Advanced Crystal' virtually lead-free formula which became known in the fashion industry as the 'cleaner, greener stone'. Find out more about why they made my pick here.