Out catching colours

I’m sure that for many other small business owners like myself , life since the first Covid lockdown in March has been a daily challenge with the unknown. I realise I’ve been so ‘consumed’ with my effort to keep going and to find a strategy to see the business through Lockdown and beyond,that I’ve taken no ‘time out’ to do some of the most fundamental things that have been my core inspiration. Little did I know when I took off the last 2 weekends in October that my luck was in, lockdown is back as of November. I was fortunate to re-charge my batteries on time.

For my first inspirational weekend off , I ventured out of London to the Chiltern Hills for some autumnal inspiration. ‘Catching’ colours as I call it.

I always choose my new season colour palette from nature, match the images to my desired Pantones and start forming my range

Here I am, lost in my thoughts

with my Silver Abstraction Pouch, I mean why not do muddy walks with a shiny silver bag?

50% off at the Nadia Minkoff London Black Friday event

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Enjoy 50% off all Nadia Minkoff London handbags and jewellery ( whilst stocks last) from midnight ( GMT) 29/11/2019 ending midnight Sunday 01/12/2019

An opportunity to buy and gift a unique and beautifully crafted accessory from an independent brand

 

The BaH Collection launches for Winter 2019

“The dictates of work are as compelling for a woman as for a man”

(Barbara Hepworth)

Sculptor, Barbara Hepworth, has been an inspiration throughout my life. An all-time favourite of my mother, I was introduced to her work at a young age and grew up with it. Initially fascinated by her smooth tactile textures and by her abstract yet natural forms, I later discovered her remarkable strengths as a woman and artist.

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A trip to St Ives in 2019 to visit both Tate St Ives and The Hepworth’s Trewyn studio & garden was so captivating, it became the backbone of my Nadia Minkoff London ‘BaH Collection’.

“Ideas come with a rush in a place like that & I feel that forms will become concrete at great speed.”

(Barbara Hepworth, The Sculptor in the Studio/Sophie Bowness)

St Ives was battered by gale force winds on the day of my visit, so strong as to make it impossible to walk along the waterfront, it was eerily quiet and deserted bar the noise of the wind battering the rooftops and whistling down the narrow cobbled alleyways of St Ives.  I had the fortune of experiencing Trewyn studios and garden entirely on my own, apart from a large tabby cat, happily asleep next to the door.

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The BaH Collection is a deeply personal homage to Barabara Hepworth’s work, studio and her many attributes which I have found so inspiring:

Ambition, determination, clarity of shape and form, balance and the ability to translate female physical experiences into her art.

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“The BaH collections aesthetics and colours are drawn from this journey, minimal and clean I hope they encapsulate my interpretation of Barbara Hepworth whose enduring legacy continues to be as remarkable both as a female trailblazer and as an artist.”

 

The St Ives Tote bag exploring curved edges and smooth metallic leathers

The st Ives tote silver

The Full Circle belt bag, designed to be both feminine and functional

Full circle belt-shoulder bag silver black

The Barbara Half Moon bag, sculptural and stand-alone

The Barbara half moon bag , bronze

The ‘kelp green’ leather Rena bag, a nod to the garden and sea in an oily, textural leather

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The Abstraction pouch, minimalist, clean and timeless

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The Undergrowth Collection/Spring Summer 2019

undergrowth

noun

BRITISH

  1. a dense growth of shrubs and other plants, especially under trees in woodland.

“they cleared a path through the undergrowth”

Eliot Hodgkin, Undergrowth 1941 and Two plants by Lucien Freud 1977 (Tate collection) are the inspiration behind the new Nadia Minkoff London summer 2019 collection.

“I was immediately drawn to both these painting because of their meticulous detail and soft, subtle, earthy colour pallet. Having researched them the story of how and why they came to be, really resonated with me”

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Eliot Hodgkin painted ‘Undergrowth’ in London during his days off while serving as an air-raid warden

‘What I want to paint are the things that have been seen so often that people no longer notice them.’

‘Two Plants’ by Lucien Freud took 3 years to complete. He describes it as ‘lots of little portraits of leaves’, adding ‘I wanted it to have a really biological feeling of things growing and fading and leaves coming up and others dying’.

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Blush,Beige, Yellow, Green and Tan are the key colours for the Undergrowth collection with pops of blue and orange.

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There is movement in the soft fringing of The Angel bags

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Architectural structure in the form of the Borough bags

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And layers to explore in the Richmond midi horizon.

The Nadia Minkoff flower logo has been reinterpreted as a 3D Origami flower adding softness and optimism   “my interpretation of things growing  and fading”

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“what I would describe as ‘undergrowth’ is definitely shaping the world we live in, for better or for worse both politically and culturally. Fashion as we know always draws from art and is often a political statement. For all the unrest and uncertainty, I was determined to make My Nadia Minkoff London summer 2019 collection a positive one, all about the beauty in noticing things that we no longer notice”

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Artisan made from the finest leathers, in small batches and with Zero waste, much time and thought is invested into each and every bag  “at Nadia Minkoff London we think about the things you see and the things you don’t, anything to make sure that your journey with our bag is a better one”

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Photography: Oliver Papp

Model: Eloise Hymas

Styling and Make-up: Jonas Oliver

The HH Collection

 

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Howard Hodgkin ‘Absent Friends’ retrospective at The National Portrait gallery held in March 2017, is the backbone and inspiration to the latest Nadia Minkoff London collection

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“Howard Hodgkin’s powerful use of colour as well as his painted frames ,removing standard borders and boundaries, encouraged me to step out of my colour palette ‘comfort zone’ and produce a vibrant range of multi coloured, multi textured handbags.”

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Often described as a ‘slow artist’ in his early years, his paintings despite their apparent fluidity and spontaneity, took years if not months to complete.

“the whole idea of slow appeals to me greatly, at a time when society wants everything immediate, at the press of a button and increasingly faster I take comfort in the whole ‘slow’ movement. Our UK made Fitzrovia bags are exactly that: one at a time, slow, refined, tactile. I love them, not just visually or from a wearable point of view but because I know how much care has been invested in making each and every one”

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The Nadia Minkoff London ‘HH collection’ is now available to buy online and through leading stockists in the UK and worldwide

TRAVEL… Serenity ( and gelato) at Lago Maggiore, Italy

Photography & travel: Brian Minkoff Photography

Flights: British Airways to Milan approx. £130pp

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Bag: The Islington bucket bag ( for Island hoping) The Newington clutch bag ( for fine dining)

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Stayed at: Grand Hotel Des Iles Borromees, Stresa, Lake Maggiore, Italy.

Rooms £200+ a night per couple

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Fine dined at: Hotel Verbano on the island of Isola dei Pescatori

Ristorante Lo Stronello

For a great value meal on a nice terrace in the centre of town:  Ristorante Pizzeria Mamma Mia, Stresa (no website)

A must….Trips to all the islands (none more than 15 minutes away by ferry boat)

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Isola Bella

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Isola Madre

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Isola dei Pescatori

The Botanical gardens on the Isola Madre are world famous and an essential visit.

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Enjoy…taking the circular ferry ride about (1 hour) without getting off at the islands is a relaxing treat.

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Eat..pasta, fresh fish from the lake ( pike, zander, perch, trout and black bass) and of course gelato. L’Angolo del Gelato was an almost daily post dinner ritual

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PAMPER….FACIAL AT COWSHED

Venue: Cowshed Spa, Primrose Hill

Occasion:  special Birthday treat from a special friend

On the Menu: facial, relaxation, coffee, retail therapy

Bag: The Pimlico clutch in black and beige

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Cowshed facials start @£48.00 for a 30 min speedy and £80.00 for the full hour. Treatments rooms are So relaxing, therapists brilliant, products smell and feel so good.

Eat: There’s a great little menu, well prices with tasty snacks. Coffee £3 ,a naughty snack £2 and  then there is always a  Horny Cow Smoothie, if you’re in the mood. It’s most definitely worth taking the time out to enjoy their kitchen and people watch, they are oh so trendy in leafy Primrose Hill!

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Product: Your beautician will recommend what you need based on your skin. Cowshed toiletries smell and feel fantastic, highly recommend owning their Cleanser( I recommend Lavender Gentle Cleanser), Toner ( I recommend Chamomile Refreshing Toner) and Body lotion ( I recommend Grumpy Cow uplifting body lotion)  as part of your beauty essentials

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The Rena bag… with a touch of French

Location: Chelsea Harbour

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Model: Emilie R

Bag: The Rena bag in Taupe

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Coat: Sandro, Paris

Lipstick: ‘Bad blood’ by Urban Decay

Photograhy: Brian Minkoff

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All but given up on our British summer? well we certainly have at NM HQ. So, here’s a quick masterclass in how, if you are French and experiencing a London summer, you transforms our cool Rena bag into something very chic and pretty hot in just 3 easy steps:

1)Remove the detachable strap- you now have a soft, oversized clutch bag with contrast detailing around the Zips

2) Add red coat

3) Apply red lipstick

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When the British sun comes out, catch a snap of it!

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ESCAPE… Weekend in Sofia

My trusty travel companions were The Brewer holdall  which contained all I needed clothes wise for the weekend ( it was just an escape after all) and my Hoxton bag which was perfect for keeping my wallet and phone whilst strolling, people watching and eating of course.

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I travelled from Heathrow to Sofia with British Airways /club class £670 return /duration 3 hours ( correct at time of writing)

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Stayed at: Hotel Marinela , prices start at £100 per night for a King room with city views. Comes complete with loud peacocks in the morning ( not kidding) and loud music at night so..if you are looking for a quiet hideaway this hotel is not for you. But if you want to see some life, this hotel is quite an adventure and the rooms are nice and spacious.

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Stroll down pedestrian Boulevard Vitosha for a spot of people watching and a good coffee. If you are lucky you can catch a glimpse of snow on Mt Vitosha, which hangs over at the far end of the Boulevard and looks like something out of a film set.

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Then head on round the corner to Tsar Shishman Street and Angel Kanchev Street-here you will find a complete melting pot of  the very old and somewhat run down with the very trendy and excitingly new- designer boutiques, artisan cafes, artisan eateries, speciality shops and downright traditional ones too.

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Highly recommend:

Made in Home or Made in blue– home made food, good for veggie lunches, chill vibe

The Tea House serves teas, vegetarian food and has live jazz music nights

Bistro pesto Little Italian place serving salads ,two types of pasta and that’s it  !! but who needs more?

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If you want to try the best homemade Bulgarian ‘Banitsa’ ( pie) some great bakes and perfect coffee, do not miss a pit stop at Daro  I absolutely loved this place!!

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And if you scream for Ice Cream you can queue and get the best one at Gelateria Naturale

Other things to do, which do not involve food are…

Visit the famous Alexander Nevsky Church  the interior is truly stunning, then pick up a Sofia Free Tour , they also do a free hiking and a free biking tour.

Visit the Borisova Gardina Park, for some street entertainment or a little rest, then the park in front of the National Theatre for some live Jazz

If you’re tired and need a taxi download the Taxime app and only use that, if you pick one up from the street you could be charged as much as triple

And if you want a different eating adventure come night time try Umami  complete with landscaped gardens, ponds and exotic birds… it’s an experience!

 

Luxembourg with my Hoxton Bag

Low cost air travel has meant that weekends away with your ‘besties’ are doable, now and then.

Yes, the cheaper the flight the more ungodly the time of departure often involving long queues at the departure gate, very limited leg room and of course there is the dilemma of taking hold luggage at an extra cost or making do with the one, albeit small, piece of hand luggage.

Now, the hand luggage option does mean either a small suitcase or a handbag but not both.

No handbag?? Girly weekends without a handbag are just not the same. Yes, you can pack your handbag in your small suitcase but this leaves little space for shoes and other important necessities.  Make way for The Hoxton bag, a neat little 3 in 1 bag which can be used as a small hand held bag, worn on the shoulder or cross body as well as the perfect clutch.  Best of all it is so flat and so compact so as not to take up any space in your luggage.

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Our merchandiser Sawako jetted off to Luxembourg for a weekend with her best friends, The Hoxton bag to hand ready to test drive the bag whilst enjoying the city.

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Small and strategically placed in the heart of Western Europe, Luxembourg is one of the three richest countries in the world renowned for its natural beauty, historical monuments and high standard of living.

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Well, it stood up to its reputation: beautiful, interesting and relatively expensive.

So here goes:

  • Flew out of Heathrow with BA, flights during January average at £90
  • Stayed at the Hotel Central Molitor approx. £95 per night
  • Visited… too many to list but top 3 in no particular order would be:

Mudam Museum of Modern Art, a wander in the Grund area with its picturesque river and village feel, The Chocolate House for hot chocolate and giant cakes.

  • Drinks are expensive! just saying…. the virgin cocktail at one of the trendy bars cost 14 Euros and that was the cheap one!

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