New collection. Old traditions
Posted on 10th May 2017 at 14:12
Whilst the winter winds were still blowing in England, I was sitting in the almost warm coffee shop, newly named 1911, at the magnificent Hotel Imperial in New Delhi waiting for inspiration to arrive. I have sat here, many times, over many years. My home away from home.
The waiters, in fact, most of the reception staff and I, are growing old together, even though, for most of the year we are continents apart we have a closeness and fondness of each other, which I treasure. As a hugely successful clothes designer for decades, creating collections for High Street stores, many a late night I would sit here unwinding after a long, typical designer’s day, having dealt with success or disaster putting collections together in the factories. The restaurant was then called the Garden Party, and the grass-green uniforms of the fabulously turbaned waiters always brought a calming mood to my mind. These waiters have seen me furiously sketch when an idea suddenly took hold, even fetching me Hotel letterheads from reception when I need more paper to draw on. They have seen my face tear stained, when that days collection looked as close to the end of the world as I could bear.
For eight years I have been running my own clothing company and I was in India earlier this year to design the NoLoGo-chic summer 2017 collection in pure linen and cotton. Apart from dyeing up sampling cloths, in the most divine shades of strawberry, bluebell and butter, I was in desperate need of an embroidery idea in which to use on the new shapes being cut in the gorgeous fabrics whilst I took a break and I drank my Darjeeling tea…. and suddenly there it was. On the wall of the coffee shop were beautiful, delicate paintings of flowers by the 18th century French artist, Redoute.
delicate paintings of flowers by the 18th century French artist Redoute.
Our new collection
it's all in the detail
Perfectly painted roses, which you could almost hold...
Although the idea for the inspiration was on the wall, it was now very much inside my head, as I dashed off to the factory to work with the hand and machine embroiderers to interpret the delicacy of Redouté’s art. Searching through knotted piles of embroidery thread skeins for the perfect colour to give an antique effect to the flowers. A mixture of appliqué and embroidery finally gave the perfect effect, and soon the collection began to take form.
I am so delighted with the range of easy-fit linen tunic dresses and linen stripy shirts, I have fallen in love with each one. The production arrives this week and we already have a number of our customers waiting for them arrive.
Earlier in the trip I was in South India working with block printers. Block printing never ceases to amaze me. I find I am humbled when I sit to watch the wood block carvers, working with such precision and skill. I am intrigued to watch the printer as he positions these blocks once dipped in dye onto fabric with his perfectionist eye. With each thud of the block against the cloth laid taut on the tables, the printed design takes form. It is thrilling to watch and be there, to be part of the team adjusting the final placement of the pattern design. Adding to this ethereal quality are the birds chirping noisily in the banana trees outside and in the next room a radio commentary live from a cricket game in Mumbai.
After much discussion and block positioning the printed design on the shawls appears. Happiness fizzes around the room as we all agree the shawl looks fabulous. I place an order there and then and we move on to develop a second colour way. These shawls, made in the softest and loftiest combination of 50% silk and 50% wool will be arriving very soon. Take a look at the photo and see for yourself how fabulous these summer shawls are.
At the end of fabulous week creating the range, I met with the wonderful photographer, Abhimanyu Singh Rathore, https://ishtailista.wordpress.com/about-me/ . Bright and early at 6 am Abhimanyu and assistant turned up with the beautiful model Laxmi. The sunlight was perfection and Abhimanyu set to work immediately. It was an honour just to be there to watch the artist at work. Calm yet creative. Swift and surprising. The morning whizzed by in a whirl of camera clicks and instructions for Laxmi to turn a little this way and move a little that way. A morning to remember, forever.
Designing a collection is the most exciting thing in the world to my mind and equally exciting is to take the range on the road and present it to our lovely customers at a series of shows this summer.
So far we exhibited at the Country Living Fair at Alexandra Palace. We had a fantastic show. From the opening hour to the closing hour we were busy selling the range and took the opportunity to chat to our customers and take on board their thoughts and needs for beautiful clothing. Many customers gave up on the High Street a long time ago, it appears, preferring to shop at these well presented Fairs to find something different to wear. Sizing, too, is a big issue. The High Street simply does not cater for the lady wanting to buy clothing from size 16 up. Why this is so, is a complete mystery to me. We are planning to increase the size offer in all our new collections. Beautiful clothes for everyone!
This week we will be at the Country Living Fair at Malvern and so looking forward to meeting customers old and new with our new collection. This week we are restocking our silk rose gypsy top. This item never made it to our website the first time it arrived, as we took the delivery straight up to Alexandra Palace the day it arrived. The customers absolutely loved it and by the end of the 4th day we only had 2 pieces left. The second delivery arrives shortly in time for Malvern… perhaps it will make the website this time?
To view our upcoming fairs please visit our events page
Tagged as: Jersey Dresses, Kaftans, Ladies Nightwear, Linen Tunic Dresses, Nologo New Colection, scarves, shawls, Summer Dresses
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