Above par - fashion bloggers and Parfois
It's easy to knock fashion bloggers and street-style stars. All that self-conscious preening and pouting for the camera, the endless selfies, the videos of shopping hauls - which is where one records oneself pulling recently purchased clothes (the 'haul') out of bags to show viewers.
But actually, what they've given us is fashion democracy. Anyone with a smartphone and an Instagram account can be a style inspiration. Separate the wheat from the chaff, or, in this case, ignore the product plugs, and what you get is endless fashion inspiration from real women.
Parfois has long associated itself with bloggers, featuring them in shoots, and hosting events in its native Portugal. The ethos of the brand - which, until this year, was all accessories, but has now added a clothing line - is perfectly matched to fashion bloggers' ethos. It's an approach that is less about nailing a particular trend and more about establishing a personal style, one which keeps the followers coming back for more #OOTD daily inspiration.
Now 22 years in existence, Parfois is known for making accessories that range from classic to quirky, at a particularly good price point. Their collections lend themselves to those little accessories-styling tricks that make an outfit: the kind of thing bloggers are so good at - the oversized watch; thin bangles, perfect for layering in a mix-and-match effect; the cross-body bag worn with a T-shirt and jeans; a vintage-style hairband.
Parfois acknowledges trends - when the high street went mad emulating Aquazzura's laced-up ballet flats (the ones that looked like Irish-dancing shoes) a few seasons ago, Parfois had one of the first, and best versions, and for only €20.
The style of real women is crucial for fuelling their inspiration, says Susanna Coerver, global marketing and communications manager. "Our team travel all over to find the trends that are not only on the catwalk but also in street-style, because the inspiration of the brand and the product is a mix of the two."
This season's collection takes its mark from the 1970s, with a colour palette of olive green, burgundy, yellow, and teal, and materials that include velvets, brocades, pearls and lace. The clothes line, which is now in its second season, is expanding, and the accessories collection now includes sterling silver and gold-plated costume jewellery.
"It has changed a lot, mainly because of social networks," says Coerver of where people find fashion 'inspo'. "You have always had that friend who you would say was stylish, who you would ask for recommendations. It's not the existence of people who inspire you that is new, it's the way you can have access to all that information. In Parfois, we're always trying to talk about this woman who dresses for herself. We're trying to express the individuality of the Parfois woman."
Photography by Alex Hutchinson
Styling by Courtney Smith
Words by Liadan Hynes
Fashion edited by Constance Harris
Sunday Indo Life Magazine