The Japanese house at The Barbican

Call me a Japanophile and you wouldn’t be wrong. Fascinated by Japanese culture and style from a very young age (my dad visited frequently bringing back treasures and stories) I made sure I visited as soon as I completed my studies.  I have been many times since, never disappointed and forever fascinated.

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My design work has always been by influenced by architecture, so this was one exhibition I was not going to miss.  I found The Japanese House exhibition at the Barbican to be a beautifully executed exhibition for anyone interested in Japanese culture, design, living and architecture.

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An insight into the changes in Japanese domestic architecture following World War 2, a period which is known for producing arguably the most influential and ground-breaking examples of modern and contemporary design.   Following the war and the widespread devastation of Tokyo and other Japanese cities there was an urgent need for new housing, creating much architectural experimentation and debate whilst producing innovative solutions to changing lifestyles.

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Take time to stroll through the 10 rooms in the full-size recreation of the Moriyama House.  Compact and orderly, with a tiny bathroom and a kitchen tucked under the stairs each little detail has been placed to create a harmonious balance, the outside merging with the inside and in my view the best minimalist design to be found in a compact space.

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the exhibition also features a Japanese teahouse, gardens and an outdoor cinema- much to see, explore and aspire to.

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The Japanese house at The Barbican runs until June 25th 2017, don’t miss it

California Dreaming

As far as ‘Busman’s holidays’ go, my recent sojourn to LA served up a pretty balanced combination of work and pleasure.

For those who know me and in true ‘Nadia style’ I made sure that I maximised every minute of my 10 days, as well as every opportunity I had to enjoy the blue skies.

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Having spent the first part in Downtown LA showing our Nadia Minkoff London collection at the California Market Centre I spent the latter part visiting vineyards, driving along the coast, exploring desolate beaches, collecting moonstones ( for real) and finally back to LA for some much needed retail therapy.

My chosen ‘companion’ on this journey? The Richmond midi tote in yellow and I am happy to say it didn’t disappoint.

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Going to let the photos do the talking as they are SO good. A big thank you to Director of Photography Dennis Madden for these beautiful captures.

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My travel lowdown:

I flew out from London Gatwick  to LAX  with Norwegian Air on the brand new Dreamliner, can’t recommend enough! Return trip with luggage and x 2 meals from as little as £500

Stayed at the  Millenium Biltmore Hotel, in downtown LA. This hotel has seen more glamorous days the lobby is grand but alas the rooms are in need updating, still the location is great. Rooms start at  £150 per night.

Don’t leave downtown LA without trying Pitchoun Bakery, the raspberry croissants are as tasty as they are beautiful! You will be spoilt for choice

For some of the best handmade noodles you will ever try and an impressive selection of beers to boot visit Peking Tavern

Mexican with a twist at B.S.Taqueria, so bloody good, take me back today!

The Landsby boutique Hotel in Solvang, Scaandi interiors to die for, wanted to move in. Double rooms start at US$350 per night

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Fireside Inn on Moonstone Beach, if you are after spectacular ocean views, moonstone collecting and sea lion viewing, this is the perfect location… complete with your very own in room  fire place , Doubles start at US$ 200 per night

Rock n Fish restaurant, Manhattan Beach LA, for some regional food and super fresh fish dishes, beautifully served in this gorgeous seaside corner of LA

The Griffith Observatory, immerse yourself in La La Land, watch the stars, the Hollywood Hills, the view of LA, have a dance if you want!

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Out & about with The Brixton Backpack

8Just so you don’t think we brag about our bags without good cause we do genuinely ‘test drive’ them to see if they perform up to scratch. They do need to look the part but we also take great pride in ensuring they are as functional they are good looking.  Someone gets the lucky ‘chore’ of testing  any new bag we release over a period of a week and reporting back to us.

We try and ‘test’ them in the environment where we think they will be used: travel bags go travelling, evening bags get taken out to town, tote bags go to work and as for backpacks…

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Well, backpacks are the newest babies in our range, The Brixton is the first backpack we released, designed to be small, lightweight and extremely feminine, a midi bag but worn on the back ! With plenty of pockets, draw string fastening and adjustable straps the idea was it would work from day to night, from fast paced walks to bicycle rides to car, from work to leisure.

We’re happy to share photos of the bag in action, Test-driven in the big outdoors surrounding Lake Geneva on the outskirts of Lausanne, Switzerland. It took long walks, bike rides and tram rides. From University to the sleek town centre, from lectures to concerts, weekdays, weekends, rain and shine.

 

And the verdict?

We’ve been told it is great! comfortable, useful, lightweight, secure and most importantly very much admired.

The Brixton backpack is now available in black and grey from select boutiques nationwide, from our webshop and  from Wolf & Badger. If you plan on visiting our stand at The Ideal Home Show in London Olympia, 23-27 November 2016, you could even try one out yourself, we’re quite sure you won’t want to let it go!

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.

Move on Summer 2016, you’re so over…

Hate to harp about the British weather but this summer (can I call it summer? ), well ok, this summer 2016 has so far been cold, wet , grey and in general miserable.

I don’t mix my personal political views with my fashion and as such be it Remain or Leave, whatever you voted for it seems like the heavens have opened up in the UK and London in particular finds itself right in the eye of the storm.

Thankfully at NM HQ we’ve managed to ‘ease’ ourselves out of Summer 2016, secured Winter 2017 some months back and here we are, getting ready to ‘sign-off’ summer 2017. With less than a month to go before we show our new Summer 2017 collections to buyers and press at Scoop International, we are entering ‘final countdown’ stage.

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The four key trends we identified for Summer 2017 were based around the 4 key elements:

AIR– all calm and mindful inspired by a new global love of Yoga, Pilates and looking after our core

EARTH– A patchwork of what we are currently as a society, a vibrant mix of cultures- a mash-up of tribal with modern and upcycling with abstract

WATER– is all about clean and luxurious, it’s about reflections and  crisp vibrant colours

Last but not least, FIRE– which for summer 2017 evokes all that is glamorous, think Flamenco: the sound, the movement, the colour. All engaging and all consuming.

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My colleagues at work will be the first to tell you that for all my love of colour and my passion for brilliant, vibrant hues I am in fact the one who reigns it all and my ‘process of elimination’ during our final selection means we end up losing that Flamenco Va Va Voom and we end up with a pretty safe canvas of cream, tan ,grey, black, the occasional navy but not much more than that.  When times are tough- safe sells and as the captain of this ship I try and avoid uncharted waters.

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Well, all I can say is that for Summer 2017, given just how gloomy 2016 feels we will be creating our very own sunshine in the brightest of yellow, the most opalescent of whites and the earthiest of greens.

Not long to wait now before we can actually show you our new creations but for now, enjoy your summer wherever you are, sun or rain.

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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.