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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Paris with my ‘The Brewer’ Holdall

Hit by the tough economic downturn as well as recent unrest there seems to be quite a big divide in opinion when it comes to Paris:     It’s beautiful- it’s dirty, it’s exciting- it’s dangerous, it’s cool- it’s run down, it’s delicious- it’s full of fast food

I Paris hop regularly and am never 100% sure how I feel about going these days, when the sun is shining I think ‘OK, it will be fine’ but when it rains I wonder ‘what on earth am I doing going there in the first place?’

For my most recent mid-April trip I left Kings Cross International ‘armed’ with my lovely ‘The Brewer’ travel holdall, now that on its own (I confess) is enough to put me in a good mood.

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A couple of hours later I arrive ,Paris is kind and greets me with sunny skies. I set off on my mad schedule, I certainly know how to pack in a full day’s work made easier by the fact that I’ve been so many times that making a B line from the station to my favourite haunts is second nature.

Say what you will, there is always something new and exciting to discover here and that is what really makes Paris so unique.

So a quick run-down of what excited me this time:

An amazing cheese shop caught my eye, the large milk urns leading to the door and the outdoor cooled fridge packed with cheeses .Even though I didn’t buy or try any it was just spectacular.

It’s asparagus and strawberry season and all the green grocers have them out on display, they just look so good and they display them so beautifully

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Lunch break for me and my bag ….

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In a little corner café I take the ‘dish of the day’  which turns out to be the most delicious home-made ravioli and green salad.  I just love it that in France it is completely cool to wipe clean the sauce on your plate with your bread, how good is that!

 

The flats in Central Paris, especially the buildings that taper into a corner are beautiful.

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The independent clothing boutiques are the best I have seen anywhere, absolutely and without a doubt.  But even the larger Dept stores embrace fashion in the grandest of manner. So Spring has hit Printemps and you just can’t miss the buzz, large floral rabbits included.

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As I step out of Printemps the heavens open, hailstones the size of golf balls followed by a heavy downpour. I head on back into Printemps and the quiet oasis which is the Cojean café in the lower ground floor. White and silver minimalism, healthy alternative snacks and salads, vegan cakes and lots of lovely teas. My tray looks great on the table top and my The Brewer holdall looks even better hanging from its under table bag hanger- how thoughtful of them to do this.   Any bag designer and bag lover reading this blog will totally get this,surely this is what life is all about.

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Back at the Gare du Nord I regroup my thoughts, the intention was to go to Paris armed solely with my Brewer travel holdall which is very spacious and to fill it up with a few bits and pieces bought on the way and that’s it.

Did I stick to my plan? Why of course not, too many things to buy in Paris!!

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Elections, elections or things to do before, during and after…

After months of political wrangling, campaigning and endless pledges, Election Day finally arrived. A serious affair by all accounts, some shall we say took it more seriously than others whilst many of us in the fashion industry saw it as the perfect excuse to party. So this is how we dealt with the elections at Nadia Minkoff London HQ:

1) Tuesday May 6th, pre-election party at Wolf & Badger Notting-Hill. So who will get the vote will it be Wolf or will it be Badger? luca-5

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2) Wed May 7th, Election day. OK OK, so I did vote, nice and early despite the fact there was no party that I really wanted to vote for but there were a couple I didn’t want to see voted in.Voting was swiftly followed by a coffee in Le Sable D’or and yet another vote- will it be Croissant or will it be Pain au Chocolat?

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3) May 7th, post election and our designer Luca heads off for yet another fashion party in Trendy Dalston and the re-opening of LN-CC shop, minimalist and oh so trendy.

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So what did we vote? we voted Black and Orange together with our Kensington clutch. Best result of the day we think!

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Graffiti inspired

This is not my first blog about Graffiti, nor my last I suspect… I really do love it. Wherever I visit round the globe I am intrigued by the art of it and by the social statements that it often conveys. During my visit to London’s Bow area, as written about in my previous post, I was blown away by the graffiti, on walls, on boat houses, on steps, in bars.

Here are some of my favourite, to see them all visit my Graffiti board on Pinterest.

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Better things to do than shop in London’s West End… visit the Dale Chihuly exhibition at the Halcyon

I’m not adverse to shopping in London’s West End, in fact, on a good day I can even enjoy the odd spot of retail therapy. But last Saturday was , as it happens, not an ‘enjoy shopping’ day for me and as I wondered round Bond St I stumbled upon the Dale Chihuly  exhibition ‘Beyond the Object’,at the Halcyon Gallery. A big fan of Dale Chihuly’s colourful, beautiful, original, flamboyant and eye-opening pieces I needed no prompting to forget shopping and go ogling.

The Halcyon seemed to be the perfect space for Dale Chihuly’s Chandeliers, floor installations, vivid colours and amazing patterns. So beautiful and so individual that I urge anyone , familiar or as yet unfamiliar with his work to explore it, it really is quite simply- wow!

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And what’s more, the fun continues outside with his ‘The Sun’ installation in Berkeley Square… and this one is lit at night

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Garden jewels

ImageI moaned bitterly about the damp spring we had in London. Summer solstice on June 21st was a wet, cold, dark miserable day and I had just about given up on the notion that we might get a sneak preview of the sun on this island. But the sun did turn up, eventually, in all it’s glory, warm and glowing. With it a wave of optimism, a buzz in the heart of London and to my delight, transformed my garden into a  mass of colour. My back garden has exploded with fruit and veg and thanks to the long nights I am able to make it in time to enjoy a few stolen hours tending my plants and picking my fruit…  which I find almost too beautiful to eat.

A Lilac love affair

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ImageThose who know me know I love my garden.. such a ‘British’ things, but I really do. For me it’s an oasis in the middle of a sprawling megalopolis, which is 24/7 London. When I bought my little house, some years back, my budget was very small but I was happy to settle for a small house as long as it had a half decent garden, and that is exactly what I did. My house is small, and trust me when I say small but my garden is not at all bad for a city garden, it surrounds the house and is adjacent to a  green ( which for those of you not familiar is in fact an open green space for public use) which, makes it feel alot bigger, as if it extends beyond it’s walls. But what really sold it for me was the fact that my garden had a 90 year old Weeping willow and two fabulous lilac trees, a lilac one and a white one. Can’t tell you just how much I love lilac trees. My white lilac tree was unfortunately destroyed during some building work I had done and I was forced to take down my beloved Willow tree at my neighbours insistence. But my purple lilac is as lovely and sweet smelling as it ever was. It’s been so cold her for so long that blossom has come late. This week however, it’s beautifully  hot and sunny and as lilac blossom is short lived it will be all but gone by the weekend so I’ve managed to get a few quick snaps to share with you and to make the blossom ‘last’ longer. Such a shame I can’t post the delicate fragrance of these flowers too.