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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From inspiration to presentation

After months of preparation the first showing of our Spring/Summer 2017 collection kicked off during Scoop & the City, held at The Old Billingsgate Market mid-July.

Having drawn our inspiration from London, from nature and from living a life of handbags & jewellery, with a clear vision and complete conviction we finalised our range, instructed and waited for the samples to arrive.

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It was a painful wait, because the bulk of the samples just didn’t turn up and as the deadline drew closer… a week closer, 5 days closer, 3 days closer we were beginning to doubt our chances.

With 2 days to go, the samples arrived, last minute is far from ideal but it’s a whole lot better than a ‘no show’.

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I often wonder, once the stand is all set and the show opens its doors to buyers and press if anyone really knows the true trials from inspiration to presentation.

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It was a great show, the new collection was much admired, new orders, new contacts, old contacts renewed. Circle closed, now we go from presentation to new inspiration.

One down and three to follow… life in the Fashion circuit

Months of preparation lead to 3 pinnacle days that more or less make or break a season. We may be well versed at the art of prepping for the Fashion shows but each time they seem to come around quicker than expected, each with their own set of problems, always equally nerve racking as they are exciting.

Scoop International at the Saatchi Gallery, our chosen London show, opened its doors to a select group of UK and International buyers on Sunday 31st Jan, offering buyers 3 days of previewing, shortlisting and buying AW2016 collections.

From stand ‘dress rehearsals’ at our studio to public showing, these images capture the essence of what we did, how we did it and what we anticipate to be our stand out ‘leaders’ for winter 2016.

Studio ‘dress rehearsal’ as we pre plan our stand display:

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The grand entrance at The Saatchi, red carpet and all, don’t see many like this one:

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Beautiful floral display at the registration desk:

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Our stand, after a day of pre-show dressing, ready for the opening day:

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Our brand new The Brixton back pack was a big favourite:

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Smart and right for the Monochrome set, our new The Putney , top handle bag

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Decisions, decisions- our new Kate Cocktail ring and cut crystal rings look so good together

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Smart and classy in black silk, Flamenco heals and our Cognac The richmond Midi tote

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Next up for Nadia Minkoff London? another show at London Fashion Week, an overseas show and INDX (Independent Dept store show). Fashion Circuit or treadmill? We’ll tell you the rest of the details as our season progresses and let you decide.

 

Running up that hill

Just a day left before the year is over and as I sit at my desk, reviewing 2015, the enormity of what we have done over the past 12 months is quite staggering. So much so that I am really not sure where to begin.

I guess I may as well start with the highlight of the year, which was winning the runner up Award for ‘Most Enterprising business’ from the Federation of Small Businesses.

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Being nominated was exciting enough, celebrating on the night with my motley crew was great, winning felt like having my cake and eating it.  Before the night ended, changes were heading our way that are now forming the backbone for an interesting and new journey that we at Nadia Minkoff London have already begun.  Recognition for fashion from the financial sector is never easy to get, nor one to be taken lightly and I am very proud and excited that we have been given the opportunity to work and be mentored by none other than Grant Thornton. Who said number crunching, spreadsheets and forecasts aren’t creative? They are, very much so!

We’re also up for the Dot London Award, in the ‘best lifestyle’ category. The awards will be held at the new Savoy Place, hosted by Katie Derham.  River views all round, entrepreneurs, dragons and investors, at the ready.

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Thank you to all those who voted for us, votes close on Jan 8th and if you still want to vote for us pls do so by following this link , find us in the ‘Independent lifestyle retailer’ category.

 Some of our other highlights for 2015 have been:

  • With the help of stylist Charlene Campbell we made the Christmas issue of OK magazine

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  • The lovely Aizak Buyondo styled our jewellery as only Aizak could and made our day

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  • Beautiful Opera star Aylin Perez wore our Shard necklace for her Grand Finale at the Dallas Opera house and Nancy Dell’olio stepped out for her West-End stage debut wearing one of our ‘one-off’ necklaces

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  • We have partied, yes- a lot of parties, too many to attend all but we did quite well!

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  • We’ve exhibited at Scoop London and INDX and opened new doors across the UK

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  • We have had so much support from the Blogging community across the globe, all of which can be found on our website. Thank you Bloggers, we love you!

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We’ve held events at Liberty London and have seen our designs become best sellers at some of the leading UK multiples who we supply

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But most of all, we have loved it all, even if we are forever running up that hill!

Wishing you all a successful, healthy, happy and especially peaceful 2016, from us all at Nadia Minkoff London.

 

 

 

Challenging works of art, catwalk living and Blogger madness…how we do the things we do…

There is always a lot of interest about what goes on when it comes to the creative industries: how we party, where we party, what we wear, who we met, where we went, what’s new? What’s in? What’s out?
And with show season upon us- Oscars, Brits and London Fashion Week all back to back, there is a lot going on and a lot to follow.

So how did we at Nadia Minkoff London do the things we do??

Our season kicked off on Feb 1st with the first preview of our AW2015 collection @Scoop International in the Saatchi Galleries at the heart of London’s Kings Rd. The chosen 100+ brands who get to exhibit, get to have sole access to the gallery which is closed to the public for the duration of the show and open only to designers and registered buyers. It really is a case of art meets fashion as the gallery exhibit stays put and we, the designers, have our collections ‘slotted’ around the art.
Expect the unexpected- last season there was a whole exhibit on the theme of death, yup I’m not kidding here, it was pretty heavy going.And this season? Well, all in all it was a fairly tame affair but there were some, how shall I say, rather alternative works of art to be managed…

Making a grand entrance at the Saatchi Gallery

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Inside to a beautiful floral welcome

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Hello cow…

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Next London Fashion Week was here before we even managed to pause for a breather, the volume of fashionistas this show attracts these days is quite phenomenal, mental in fact as Central London turns into a catwalk on the official runways and also on the sidewalks. Friday Feb 20th was kick-off day with endless parties to attend. Us lucky girls from NM HQ celebrated with the lovely, quirky lot at Wolf & Badger, in London’s uber trendy Dover Street Mayfair. Beautiful clothes, beautiful people, great music, and a special choice of drinks

Party, party, Wolf & badger celebrating 5 years in business and London Fashion Week

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and what will you drink?  an Arbikie vodka cocktail

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Or raw pressed juice? how about coconut water with charcoal???

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Finally, on Tuesday 24th it was time to wrap up, not before a Bloggers Love session in trendy Shoreditch. To say that we were mobbed is no exaggeration, turn out was definitely larger than anticipated, in fact there was a serious bottle neck which lasted the best part of an hour if not longer just to get from the front door to the main room. Hats off to all the lovely bloggers who braved the swarm and kept smiling and to the celebs who didn’t let it put them off.

The beautiful Jess Impiazzi of Towie and MTV fame seals the show for us with our new season Kensington clutch bag! happy, happy 🙂

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