Ooh La La, The Richmond Bag in Paris

Photography: Brian Minkoff

Bag: The Richmond

Is there a more photogenic capital city than Paris? arguably not in my humble opinion.

We sent our iconic Richmond Bag travelling just before Christmas ( and Omicron), so here’s a bag’s eye view of this beautiful city.:

From the newly renovated La Samaritaine Paris Department store

to the Place Vendome

The Louvre

The Eiffel Tower

Le Marais and it’s delicacies

Art Deco meets the new iphone at the Place St Michel

Even the bears over do it sometimes, but how can you not?

 

Despite Covid ,Paris is as beautiful and as tasty. In fact, maybe Covid restrictions and complications have made short, successful getaways even more special.

Happy New Year to all, may 2022 be healthy, happy, tasty and a whole lot easier.

How changing times changed our design sensibilities

“I don’t think we could have stood the test of time had we not paid such close attention to what our customers want, what they buy or the direct feedback they provide us with. Covid meant we had to look and listen to your feedback even more to make sure we could keep our business alive.  Our new AW21 bag collection has taken all we’ve seen; all we’ve learnt and all you’ve asked for and suggested to us into account.”

During lockdown we learnt how to be creative, resourceful and how to make the most of what we have at our doorstep and in our homes:

Walks to the park, discovering a new local beauty spot, queuing up for a take away coffee & pastry, learning something new, time spent watching and discussing Netflix

When lockdown ended but travel was restricted, we learnt how to Staycation and how to support and embrace local businesses.

Now that the skies, restaurants, workplaces and entertainment venues have re-opened did life resume to pre-covid normal or have we changed? adapted? developed new habits?

It’s hard to imagine that we can learn so much at Nadia Minkoff London through our online bag and jewellery sales, but we can.

Roll on Winter 2021 and we’ve adapting:

Our bag sizes have changed- we now ‘live in’ our phones and want smaller, lighter, more practical bags.

We’ve re-designed the interiors of our bags too- different compartments to make life easier: sewn in card holders, key fob holders, face mask pockets, more external pockets.

Our straps are wider, softer and kinder on the shoulders. And our colour palette? goodbye ‘seasonal’ and hello ‘all year round’. Seems we as people enjoy greater freedoms these days, switching things up, doing things our way, adding vibrant colours to our winter wardrobe and basic neutrals to summer one.

In 2017 I designed The Rena Bag in memory of my mother, it’s been a great, staple classic but needed to adapt to 2021.  The all new Rena Go for Winter 21/22 is a great example of how we’ve adapted:

  • The Rena Go a fair bit smaller: at just under 2/3rds of the original Rena that’s a big drop in size!
  • The layout of the compartments and pockets in The Rena Go is designed to make everything visible at a glance- no need to rummage in the bag looking for that pen, lipstick, phone. But of course the all vital sewn-in key fob remains, you have no idea just how happy that key fob makes me, so useful!
  • Internally and externally we have maximised the space with a full size outside pouch and clever detailing inside
  • The new strap is a wide, soft cotton webbing. Not only is it comfortable so you can wear your bag crossbody or on the shoulder it is detachable so you can pack the bag away easily into a small suitcase if your flying light
  • The all new gunmetal plated hardware give compliments the modern, minimalist shape of the bag,but best of all will work with any jewellery plating be it gold, silver or gunemtal.
  • And the colours? classic Grey, Warm Honey, Fresh Aqua Blue

Of course, we test and re-test all our bags at the office, at home and outside.

We sent our Rena Go on a short Brighton staycation, which involved walking, cycling, beach strolling, eating out, drinking out and … more eating out.

It was perfect and I think my mum Rena would have approved….Normally she would have gone for Grey but I think this time round she would have gone for the Aqua Blue , Blue was her favourite colour.

Blue summer- creating mood and harmony with a limited palette

Outdoor Photography : Brian Minkoff

Since the first UK lockdown in March 2020 I have been developing our jewellery, handbag and small leather ranges based on limited colour palettes. I choose a palette that I feel fits the current season and the current mood.

Prior to lockdown my colour schemes would have been ‘fashion led’, I would have covered a broad spectrum with a mixture of both cool and warm colours with varying hues and intensities.

I now choose to explore a limited palette, I have discovered that exploring a limited palette creates harmony, clarity, evokes strong feelings and gets the absolute best from a colour.

Those  who know me know Blue is probably my favourite colour, choosing to limit my palette not only to Blue but also to a ‘cool colour’ might seem an odd choice given that it is officially summer now ( I say officially as it doesn’t quite feel like summer in the UK as yet).

However, my association with Blue is one of warmth: blue skies, blue seas, blue horizons.  Full of depth, never disappointing, dynamic and optimistic.

My design sensitivities have gone from ‘fashion led’ to ‘mood led’ over this past year, my colour palette tells both my story at this moment as well as my outlook.

Simply, this means that my first story for Summer 2021 is dynamic and my outlook is optimistic. Blue Summer, not Summer Blues.

The Limited Edition Blue Summer collection is now available from Nadia Minkoff London and leading stockists online and worldwide

After the Frost

Those of you who follow this blog will know I have documented my views of London in Lockdown since March 2020.  London has been my source of inspiration since setting up my label way back when, but of course I never expected to see London during a pandemic: eerily quiet, empty, shut down, dystopian.

For us Londoners, local walks have been an opportunity to see London bare, an architectural backdrop without the crowds.

And just when I presumed this London landscape which was now becoming my familiar ‘new normal’ February 2021 arrived with heavy snow swiftly followed by a frost so deep I can’t recall ever seeing London like this.

Regents Park was frozen, with seagulls perched on the icy lake and ducks wondering along the frozen canal.

The reflection of the sun on the ice made for some beautiful metallic hues, so much so that it inspired my ‘After the Frost’ collection.

But…there was also warmth and happiness it came with music and Salsa right in the middle of the park, who would have thought? A nod to colour and life after the frost

Shard Edition Earrings

Hope or No Entry?

Two weeks into 2021 and London has started the New Year with a lockdown. It’s hard to imagine London empty and shut down.  I hope these photos from Bank , down to the Thames and onwards to Mayfair, Knightsbridge and Kensington capture the emptiness and beauty of this silent capital city.

For all the trials and difficult times I’m sticking with with ‘Hope’. Stay safe, well and creative, the days are getting longer, we’re on track for better times.

No handbag???Keeping things to a minimum, going out with my Zrow Lifestyle Phone holder and that’s it.

Norfolk: from Seago to Constable with a sprinkling of Repton

From the Norfolk Broads to the Norfolk Coast and up to Sheringham Forest, escaping London the weekend prior to the 2nd lockdown was the perfect getaway.

Landscape near Hickling by Edward Seago

On what turned out to be a wild , blustery, winter weekend, complete with Covid restrictions, the solitude of Hickling Broad and Marshes felt like stepping into an Edward Seago landscape. The unique thatched boathouses on the canals, reminiscent of a children’s fantasy novel.

The picturesque village of Horning on the River Bure was empty, but the busy canal was still the place to watch the boats float by.

The ancient coastal fishing town of Cromer, famous for it’s fresh crab and fish & chips, picture postcard beautiful and full of charm. strolling along the beach and long wooden pier made me feel like i’d stepped straight into a Constable painting.

Yarmouth Jetty after 1823 John Constable 1776-1837 Bequeathed by George Salting 1910 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/N02650

The winds were so strong that gate keeper at Sheringham Park advised the forest observation point was closed, not that it would deter me from a long walk, especially as this park was landscaped by Humphry Repton . Repton was known for creating new, free flowing landscapes with no barriers between the gardens and natural surroundings. he also said Sheringham was the favourite of the gardens he created and I have to say it is breathtaking.

Not to be missed, rain, wind or shine! The coastal views are amazing as is the clearing and views leading to Sheringham Hall .

Some other details….

Stayed at: Sprowsten Manor Hotel

Ate fish and chips at No1 Cromer, where else?? 5* all the way

Bag: Zrow Lifestyle Mobile phone holder in Natural

Thank you as always to my resident photographer Dennis Madden

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?

Happy new discoveries in an old neighbourhood

Living in the suburbs of London, I have always been aware of where my closest green spaces are. I invariably expect them to be a park, framed with metal railings and hopefully some big trees. Some kind of water feature like a small lake would be a huge bonus. Hampstead Heath was the only wild-ish green space to which I felt I had relatively easy access… until now.

Having had the time to walk around where I live in the recent months, I have discovered Dollis Brook and its walking route known as the Dollis Valley Greenwalk. Unbelievably, the walk is 16km long and stretches all the way from Hampstead Heath to Moat Mount in Mill Hill. Sections of it are like a regular park with trimmed grass and playgrounds, and sections of it are wide, wild and like escaping to the countryside.


Totteridge Fields – a nature reserve with wildflowers and ancient oak trees
A section of the brook in West Finchley.

A “secret” section somewhere between Finchley and Totteridge.

I love to be nosey and see how the allotments change in colour and density across the year.

The days may be getting shorter, and the weather a little greyer, but I’m looking forward to seeing how this little bit of the countryside on my doorstep will change with the seasons. My wellies are ready!

Out exploring?? meet The Essential Borough bag!

If you’re out exploring with camera and/or phone then you need to meet our Essential Borough Bag ,a bag that is so perfect for outdoor exploring, you won’t need anything else!

There are two compartments to keep your belongings separate, whether you’re carrying a compact camera or your everyday essentials, you’ll be surprised how much you can fit in this stylish little cross-body. One side also features our card holder pockets so you don’t even need a full wallet if you want to travel light.

The Abstraction pouch, staycations in Brighton

Video & photography: Brian Minkoff

UK Staycations are not ones for guaranteed good weather… anything but. With that in mind they are still time away, they have their own charm and during Covid times at least you are guaranteed to get out of the house and explore.

Our Abstraction Pouch in Silver certainly made the most of its Brighton Staycation. Relaxed at The Grand hotel, braved the stormy weather and enjoyed a cream tea ( or too) and some fish & chips

Here’s to time out, wherever it may be.

Stay safe, stay well, stay positive!

What we did during lockdown /by Sawako

The view from my desk has changed considerably, as it has for most people over the last few months. Whether you’ve finally got into the swing of working from home, are noticing and appreciating birdsong with new ears, or slowly going back to work at the office, we thought we’d let you know what the NM Team got up to up to whilst in lockdown.

As a close-knit team, it has been strange not to see each other every day. We have however, been enjoying keeping up to date on how we are filling our time at home. Here are just a few of the gems which I thought were worth sharing

Nadia’s Garden

Nadia, as most of you may know, is a keen gardener. Finally, she has a bit of extra time to tend to the previously “overgrown jungle” (her words, not mine). There is now space for some new plants plus there are big plans for the ever growing vegetable patch, just in case the lockdown returns. That’s forward planning for you!




Karla’s blanket

Karla, our jewellery designer, has been keeping busy with a crochet project… which was first started a mere six years ago. Between starting and finishing this project, she did have a baby who is now six and modelling the blanket for us, so understandable why it’s taken so long.

Andrea’s multi tasking

Andrea has definitely been a busy bee, making scrubs bags for her local GP as well as trying out new recipes.. such as raspberry cake . Among all this activity Andrea’s daily walks are of course accompanied by little Lulu, looking as cute as ever.

Sawako’s colouring in

As for myself, a lot of cleaning has been going on but I don’t think anyone wants to see the inside of my sock drawer, as pristine as it is. One thing I have found relaxing and completely absorbing is colouring in. Yes, the kind you used to do as a child, but some creative people thought to make some intricate colouring books for adults. This book had been given to me as a present and was sitting on my shelf for a few years. Now I am at last beginning to fill the pages with colour without feeling guilty for spending time on something that seems a bit frivolous. It is just as fun as when I was a child, and I am just as keen to buy the most expensive colouring pencils now, except this time it is not my mum who has to pay for them.

Our ‘I made it!’ jewellery kit range is growing quickly as we add a new kit every Wednesday! We also have our very own ‘Make jewellery with Nadia Minkoff’ YouTube channel showing complete tutorials for every kit and more. Why not have a go at making jewellery like a pro from the safety and comfort of your own home? It’s relaxing, creative and we’re here to help, you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve.