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

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.

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.

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.

garden-statue-web

 

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.

atudio-garden-web

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.

wooden-statue-web

“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

The Rena bag , Kelp

 

 

The Abstraction pouch, minimalist, clean and timeless

abstraction pouch interior claret

Vive Paris

Location: Paris

Bag: The Richmond midi in Blue

Photography:Brian Minkoff photography

grand-palais

What a difference a day makes….

When shooting our blog post in Paris a couple of weeks back, the fire at Notre Dame could not be imagined.  It would be impossible for us to post this blog without reflecting on this.

Notre Dame is said to be Paris’s most visited and beloved monument, surpassing both the Eifel Tower and the Louvre. Having weathered many a storm since construction on it started in 1163, no one would have thought that 850 years later Notre Dame’s main spire and roof would be ravaged by a massive fire.

The world now watches as France and Parisians start the difficult task of establishing the full extent of the damage and work towards rebuilding its finest monument.

We will take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy and relaxed Easter- recharge, spend time with family and friends, eat chocolate 😊  We leave you with photos of an overcast but beautiful Paris.

eiffel

louvre

pyramide

place

model

with-croissant

restaurant

with-pooch

 

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”

new-forest

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’.

richmond-blush-angle-1.jpg

 

 

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

angel beige inside

There is movement in the soft fringing of The Angel bags

borough beige and blush

Architectural structure in the form of the Borough bags

Richmond group shot

 

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”

borough ball

“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”

colour-palette

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”

The Angel fringe beige 2

Photography: Oliver Papp

Model: Eloise Hymas

Styling and Make-up: Jonas Oliver