Blooming great? We put Fearne Cotton's new line to the test
As the new Cath Kidston range hits stores today, we try out the TV star's floral designs. Report by Claire Spreadbury
Cath Kidston's cutesy florals have long been a hit. But though many of us have owned a bag or purse, fewer have stumped up the cash for one of their dresses or shirts.
Today, however, the brand's second collaboration with presenter Fearne Cotton lands in stores, and we suspect it's going to be a success.
Designed to "brighten up any day of the week", the range features painterly petals and bold blooms across jackets, playsuits and dresses, as well as accessories like water bottles, headphones and handbags. Here, we test out some of the key pieces...
Dream Forest mac, £85
Sam says: "Who would have thought floral-embellished raincoats were a thing? Having spotted a Moncler Genius Simone Rocha PVC mac on Matchesfashion.com, retailing at £1,860, Fearne's Seventies-inspired ditsy print suddenly struck a chord with the weekend's rainy spring weather.
"And while Fearne looks cute working the bare legs, pink knee socks and wellies look, as a newcomer to the mac trend, what I love about her Dream Forest whimsy print is it can be dressed up or down. With a hemline just above the knee, it can be glammed up with a short dress, knee-length boots and Chanel crossover, but it would look just as stylish with black jeans, silver sneakers and a white T-shirt.
"The plastic is comfortably thin and hangs well, and the poppers snap nicely, with two roomy flap pockets for car keys, mobile phone and a pair of sunnies. The size 12 was true to size and the drawstring hood felt comfortable. In fact, you could say I'm totally sold on it and looking forward to styling it with an ankle-grazing skirt."
Welham Flowers shirt dress, £75
Lauren says: "I'm a fan of Fearne Cotton's style - casual and comfortable with a touch of hippie - and as I too love a floral, colourful print, I was looking forward to her Cath Kidston collaboration.
The Welham Flowers shirt dress looked like the kind of throw it on, easy-to-wear dress I'd normally pick up. The bright, detailed print is classic Kidston and, as you'd expect from the brand - and for £75 - the quality of the fabric, cotton in this case, is good.
"The fit is loose, but drawn in at the waist with a tie. Because I'm tall though (5ft 9in), the waist feels too high, meaning the bottom half of the dress billows out from my empire line. I reckon it would be a lot more flattering with the waistband four or five inches south. Nonetheless, I received some nice compliments on the dress at work - and I love the pockets.
"Cotton styled hers up with a jumper around her neck - a bit preppy for me but, of course, she looks great. I took a leaf out of her book, braved bare legs and paired the dress with Converse too, but later British weather forced me into black tights and a winter coat (clearly not how this pretty spring/summer dress was intended). Give it a few months and it'll be cute with a denim jacket and chunky wedges."
Dream Forest blouse, £55, and Dream Forest culottes, £65
Ella says: "Neither of these items are things I'd normally pick up - I don't really do loose peasant tops, and high-waisted jeans are my go-to, rather than floaty cropped trousers - but I've been pleasantly surprised.
"The light cotton blouse (luckily it comes with a blue cami underneath, otherwise it'd be a little see-through) actually works brilliantly tucked into my usual jeans for work, and it has a lovely, detailed tie-neck front. The ruched sleeves aren't too frou-frou and fussy either, unlike I'd predicted.
"Meanwhile, the trousers have a silky heft to them, so they hang really nicely. I paired them with white trainers, big earrings and a cream T for dinner at the pub, and they were ridiculously comfy - and amazingly, didn't crease. My only problem was the fact there's an excess of material around the crotch and waist, which is fine when standing but bags when you sit down.
"The main attraction to both pieces is the print - I keep finding myself looking down and catching ponies, swans and big cats seemingly wandering across my limbs, against a backdrop of stars and Alice In Wonderland-like trees.
"What I draw the line at, though, is wearing them both together a la Fearne. She looks amazing, while I just look as if I'm about to head out in my pyjamas, and not in a chic way; in a rumpled, forgotten-to-get-dressed way. Treat 'em like separates - that's my advice."
Hearts and Stars jumper, £75
Katie says: "This is a great little jumper - and little it's supposed to be. I'm wearing size S here and it's definitely on the snug side - so you might want to size up if you prefer a looser cut.
"The wool is super-soft and it's not too thick, making this ideal for spring, when it's still chilly but you want to brighten up your wardrobe. The colourful star, heart and flower shapes make this more interesting than your average grey jumper, without being too in-your-face.
"I styled it with River Island Harper high-waisted blue jeans and black H&M western boots, but I think it would also look great with a red tweed A-line mini skirt or a floaty midi.
"At £75, it's a bit more than I would usually spend on a jumper, but the quality feels very good and I will definitely get lots of wear out of it."
Dream Forest playsuit, £65
Claire says: "I love the print of Fearne's Dream Forest playsuit, and although £65 seems a little bit pricey for a short, cotton all-in-one, it's really good quality, super-comfy and perfect for summer holidays.
"Size-wise, it's really roomy. I'm generally a size 10 to 12, and this is a 10 but there's plenty of room in it. The pockets are a lovely addition and there's a button and zip at the back, so it doesn't billow out too much if you're shorter in the body (like me).
"I teamed it simply with M&S silver sandals for a day of exploring on a sunny city break, but it has the potential to be 'wintered up' with tights and a long-sleeved T-shirt underneath. I think this whole range by Fearne is really strong and has livened up Cath Kidston's offering. I'm looking forward to the next one already."