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Plus, the winners for the 5th Anniversary giveaway!

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White coat – Charlie May AW13. Leather trousers – Topshop (similar Topshop). Shoes – Kurt Geiger. Sweater – H&M.

I’m a simple person, not minimalist simple, just tea in a mug, juice in a glass type of simple, in fact, I may be one of society’s flock of sheep that buy things with louder packaging. I’ll even add a beeehhh while I’m at it. Is it just me, or minimalist simple seems a somewhat superior form of lifestyle – I mean, how do you deal with so much white with all the food flying around in life? I have orange bedsheets for when I feel like taking my Spaghetti Bolognese dinner to bed, for example – which is every day except curry day. Curry day is green sheets day. I pinched this coat (Charlie May AW13) off Charlie’s studio the other morning when I’d arrived completely underdressed for a coffee date, and given my history with food/drinks and how famously it orbits the massive body that is, well, me, naturally I was hesitant to take it out. Alas, it was freezing and eventually I convinced myself that since I’m craving a flat white anyway it could as well be fine. I don’t know about the chocolate brownie though.

Thank you so much to those who entered the 5th Anniversary giveaway. Here are the five winners by random selection, congratulations!* Additionally, I’ve decided to pick 8 extra winners because I figured that’s the least I can do for the beyond amazing response I’ve had in the past week. I’m sorry if you weren’t one of the 13 to be picked, but if my love is worth anything you can download some here.

*Winners will be notified by email, please make sure you add shini@parkandcube.com to your contacts so that none of them end up next to ‘you win £3 million’ emails by Nigerian princesses, I can’t compete with that.

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Power of simple, minimal: Charlie May AW13

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Studio shots courtesy of Charlie May, shot by Nicole Maria Winkler

If we all had super powers, mine would surely be chasing my own cape until I puke out breakfast all over the carpet. My dear friend Charlie May, blogger for Girl a la Mode and designer for her own names-sake brand Charlie May, her super power would be her minimal, modern, streamlined design aesthetics. Even when she’s not wearing a cape (white, and made of Napa leather, I’d imagine), her gusto for sleek minimal rubs off on her everyday style too. I’ve had the pleasure to design her new e-commerce site, launched just over a week ago, and since I’ve also been painfully holding back on sharing her AW13 collection until the pieces are released for purchase, you’ll agree this is perfect timing. And as a little bonus, I’ve asked Charlie to demonstrate how to make a simple wrap skirt (a la Charlie May SS13), should you wish to own a bit of her in your own wardrobe. Only if that didn’t sound as creepy as it came out…

Photo by Park & Cube at Charlie May AW13 show in February

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Photo by Park & Cube at Charlie May AW13 show in February

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All you’ll need:
A bit of fabric – leather, pleather, or even tough cotton. (half a metre [20in] is enough!) We used a creamy velvet fabric that she used in one of the pieces in her AW13 collection. Scissors, sewing machine (or needle & thread to hand-sew), pins, an iron & ironing board.

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Cut two long strips, 50cm long (20in) x 5cm (2in) wide. Fold into fourths and iron down.

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Pin along the length.

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Sew along the length, pulling pins out as you go. Snip the 50cm-long straps in half, making four 25cm-long straps. (This can be as long as you like) Tuck the
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ends in and sew to finish.

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Measure your waist, this will be the width of the skirt. Measure a desired length, and let that be the height. Add 5-8cm (2-3inches) to the height, and cut a rectangle with these dimensions from the fabric of choice.

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Cut the bottom of the skirt in a slant, with about 5-8cm (2-3inches) difference in length. The above diagram describes how the straps are tied – attach two straps at top corners to start.

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Wear the skirt to find out where the opening meets the skirt. Pin to mark where the straps should go, then sew them on. All four straps should be attached to the skirt.

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Tie the straps in a double-knot to secure the skirt.

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  • This wrap-skirt can be done with practically any type of fabric, but for a true Charlie May style, try silk, cotton mesh, or leather.
  • If you don’t have enough fabric to make straps, or if you don’t feel up for sewing, then try using ribbons! (Grosgrain, silk…etc)
  • For advanced sewers, try adding buckles or double D-rings to the straps instead of the tying method. The inner flap can also be secured with a button.
  • For a slightly thicker wrap-skirt, or if using fabric that might fray at the edges – cut two mirrored templates, sew the edges (like a pillow!), pull inside out, and iron. The edges will be neater and the skirt thicker.

Charlie is giving away an Ostrich leather tee from her AW13 collection, some lovely Bumble & Bumble products and two tickets to her SS14 show during London Fashion week, so make sure to enter!