August bank holiday weekend; for me the time to start thinking about the Christmas rush!! Despite it being an early holiday this year, there was frost on the Monday in Scotland and a chill in London on my return on Tuesday. This made me think of all the new and exciting stock that will start arriving. The bright Summer tones will be put to the back of the drawers and shelves, replaced by berry, loden, burnt orange, heather and rust - rich colour, lush suedes, fur trims. Warm and glamorous party scarves will adorn the rails and fixtures in store. It's strange to think that these have been in the design process and in production for the last 8 months, since the trips to the Florence and Paris shows, and will be drawn together as one cohesive range for the first time this month. I hope you will enjoy the stock as much as we have enjoyed putting it together.
I have found a variety of subjects to write about this month, all of which I am excited about, but I suppose the one that sticks out the most is the mad notion the Ice Bucket Challenge!! I guess it’s better than me rowing the Atlantic for Ormiston (the Burlington Bazaar is the 5th November, more info next month) so end of Summer, start of Autumn & the second half of 2014 has started and we are beginning to steam ahead.
British Designer's Collective Bicester Village
We are very pleased to be included in the fashion phenomenon that is the British Designer's Collective pop up boutique at Bicester Village, which runs until 21st October. The space has one thing on its mind... Men and is showing an incredible selection of menswear - all hand-picked by GQ’s Associate Editor and all-seeing-fashion-eye, Robert Johnston. We have been chosen as one of the brands in the GQ store, which showcases the smaller, more exclusive brands - if you find yourself on the M40, it's well worth dropping by to pick up an ensemble.
Dylan Lewis Private View, John Martin Gallery, London
My favourite living animal sculptor, his first exhibition in London was 2000 at Art London. I got a taste for his work when I was on a buying trip, visiting an ostrich farm and tannery in South Africa. I was fortunate enough to visit his studio outside Stellenbosh and it was an inspiring experience. This exhibition at The John Martin is a great collaboration as the exhibitions at John's gallery rarely disappoint.
This elegant handbag is available in a range of colours and features a secure metal zip closure with a simple strap and loop for added security. The short 'shoulder handles' make it perfect for use over the shoulder or hand held.
I was recently introduced to Charles Saumarez Smith's blog by Maya Binkin, who was so enthusiastic about it, I had to give it a go. Before then I had never followed a blog, and as a great fan of Charles, this had great promise. I wasn't disappointed, the quirky and random nature of the blog is really inspiring and with such great visuals, it triggers something in the imagination. I was captivated by the variety of well researched content, which is informative and holds your interest (for me it’s like listening to Radio 4). This certainly adds another facet to his character. As a man who has and does bring so much for the arts in this country, I would liken him to a modern day Kenneth Clarke.
If you saw Country Life on 6th August you will know a little about this gem on the edge of Loch Leven and with Autumn approaching, a country house weekend in Scotland might appeal. Kinross House is the ultimate in country house luxury, extremely cosy and comfortable – think Downton, but 5 *****. It’s perfect for those looking for country pursuits, brisk walks on a newly laid track around one of the larger Scottish lochs, or chill with a book by the fire! Whilst the house is a magnificent stately home, a new addition to the estate is the conversion of the Coach House. With 11 rooms and a spa attached, and with Donald Fothergill and Lucinda Sutcliffe’s amazing eyes for detail, it is a wonderful, no expense spared location... the ultimate luxury experience.
In Aid of the Motor Neurone Disease Association Ice Bucket Challenge
When I was sent a video via Facebook by Andrea Buitoni over the August Bank Holiday Weekend nominating me for the Ice Bucket challenge, I thought it was a spoof - this was followed by over a 100 messages from friends on Facebook, I was far from amused!
My team at the office explained the charity giving element, I researched the challenge online to discover it was for MND. This tugged at my heart strings as a year ago a close friend was a perfectly healthy guy - diagnosed in December, in the last 8 months he has gone from lightly using a stick to being permanently in a wheel chair. I really had said I would do no more sponsored challenges, being fatigued by Just Giving, but because the ask is £5 it seemed a small amount to help those, like my friend, experiencing this frightening disease, please feel free to give more if you are inclined! If everyone on our database just did the minimum we would raise a lot for MND.
On my birthday, 12th September, I will do the challenge and a video will be uploaded to our Facebook page for your viewing pleasure!
Last year a group of fellow artisan retailers and makers in the Mayfair & St James’s area started having informal meetings, looking at ways we can help each other to promote the craft we purvey in our stores, so I thought I would add an entry each month of those in this group.
I have known Emma since 198… (better not show our age!) Emma worked at James Drew in the Arcade, who were a purveyor of the most exquisite ladies shirts, blouses and other separates, she learnt the traditional trade. With the wealth of experience she gained, it put her in good stead to start her own business. Emma is now almost the last in her sector who truly understands quality, she has an excellent offering of men’s shirts, neck, night and knit-wear & a selection of hosiery. This Autumn, apart from new seasonal shirting fabrics, she has the ultimate cashmere polo shirts. The store is a joy to visit and an oasis of irresistible mens accoutrements.
Ollie is a fun loving boy who loves everyone. He has lovely basic training in place including house training, and he is a polite boy with nice manners. He is playful with other dogs and reads them well so could live with a dog of a similar nature who will enjoy playing with him.
At the Chelsea Harbour Dog Day, Denise Elphick, founder of Pets Pyjamas, told me about the petition, which they are spear heading. Apart from the petition, they are having a pet event at St Pancras this weekend with a number of celebrities supporting the cause, so please if you are motivated by this rally, join in!