Thursday, 15 October 2009

The Eugogoly: Roxy this one's for you

I realise that most of you reading are doing so because you love fashion, but today is not about fashion. It is about Roxy so if you are not interested just log off. And if you are I am sorry it is going to be sad but it needs to be done as we can’t let her slip from our lives unmentioned, uncelebrated or unnoticed. Roxy has been Amiee’s faithful and adored companion for 5 short years but today Amiee has had to take the painful, heart wrenching decision to let her go.

For the last year Roxy has been losing the feeling in the base of her spine. She was brave and stoic and didn’t give in. Roxy had a huge love for life and her favourite thing was to run with Chester on Primrose hill. It is no small feat for a smaller than average French Bulldog to keep up with a larger than average chocolate Labrador but she did it with joy and enthusiasm until she truly wasn’t able any more. Slowly Amiee has watched her condition deteriorate until she can no longer go for her beloved walks, or control her bowels. This wonderful, beautiful dog lived her short life to the full but it was no longer fair to allow her to continue to suffer.

Roxy has spent every day in this office laying snuggled behind Amiee’s back. We will desperately miss the not so gentle snoring and less than subtle farting now that it will no longer be there. The most mellow, friendly, beautiful dog (looks a little bit like Diana Ross.-In a good way). She has been a loyal friend to Milly who will miss her and her left-overs greatly. She has been an adored sister to Chester who will be utterly bereft without her. Instead of being jealous at the arrival of Cydney, Roxy was warm, inclusive and protective with Cyd’s love for her furry sister evident as she chases her around on all fours. I truly believe that Cyd’s efforts to walk have been hindered by the fact that she believes she is a dog.

So Roxy, this one’s for you. We will miss you. So, so much.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Harris Tweed Love

This week has been exactly what I love about my job. Fashion week over and my mind is beginning to trip over the little nuggets of inspiration which will eventually grow into the new AW10 collection. This stage is the Thursday of design… The weekend is looming but not yet close enough to touch. Full of promise with the end nowhere in sight. We are starting to select all our yarns and fabrics and on that note I want to tell you about some rather wonderful news…

As I am sure you know we are more than a little obsessed with Harris Tweed… 11 pieces made from it in AW09 should give a fair clue. For those stylistas who have been living under a rock for the past 100 years this incredible cloth is hand dyed and spun in the Outer Hebrides - which I think is the coolest thing ever. And from the beginning of Sara Berman I have been utterly enthralled by the whole process and we have had a great time being as creative as we like developing our own tweeds. It has become the mainstay of our collection and gets us really excited every season… (apparently there is a name for people who get excited about things like this - but that’s not for now)… Well the news is that yesterday Harris Tweed Hebrides have recognized this passion and officially endorsed Sara Berman! We are ridiculously excited about this and in November we will be off to the Outer Hebrides (!!!) to work on our collaboration and see our yarns being spun.

However excitement aside, we have a problem...what does a girl wear in the Outer Hebrides? Will the islanders of Stornoway appreciate my Opening Ceremony ankle boots? Will my ivory Cecilia bag need to be scotch-guarded against the elements? And most importantly which Harris Tweed coat do I take?

Monday, 5 October 2009

New York, New York

It was my full and real intention to write this live from the Big Apple, but truth be told my eyes were bigger than my stomach, I took too big a bite and it has taken a full week of R and R back in good old Blighty to recover and put finger to laptop.

The Oracle and I travelled together and to understand what that means you really have to live it. No half measures considered, no short cuts taken, no stone unturned. She knows every baggage handler, every customs official and every special services officer working today in JFK. I kid you not. And her influence extends further... Mrs Berman is a living legend at the Four Seasons (where we showcase our collections in wonderful, sumptuous luxury) and is the only person I know of who actually has a long term storage facility at the hotel! However my respect for her status was truly sealed when she was the only person in the whole hotel who was not subjected to the searches of the US special security agents who populated the hotel all week due to the presence of the UN delegates. She strode through the hotel unhindered leaving utterances in her wake of "Oh that's Mrs Berman" as I cluttered along behind her carrying her (multitude) bags. She swears that it is an exercise in teaching me 'How It Is Done' in order that, when she dies, I will be fully equipped for life in the fast lane. I do find her logic a little bizarre at times but I feel her intentions are good...

So back to business... We spent 5 days in meetings selling clothes, bags, hats and boots. If you can wear, want to wear, or would even consider wearing it-we were selling it. We started with breakfast meetings at 8am and finished with supper meetings at 10pm. We worked hard, we played hard and of course we found time to shop hard. It is amazing what can be achieved in the frenzied panic of a 45 minute Shop-Slot. The adrenalin pumps, the blood rushes through the veins and sharp, savvy decisions are made. Like drugs to a junky we embraced the New York retail offering with lust and enthusiasm and I would like to believe that we single handily made a contribution to their economic recovery. Well a girl has to do what she can!

The shops were in a much better place than they had been. Lots of changes have taken place since last season whether it be new senior (numbers led) management at some of the larger department stores, more focussed and concise product selection (the wonderful Bendels has chosen to focus completely on accessories, which they do so well), an increased consideration for price point (evident in all accessible designer entry level ranges) and most importantly the Value and Virtue of Luxury. Although many of these adjustments have undoubtedly been forced by the economic downturn and have been potentially difficult decisions to make and then execute, it is clear that the results are positive. The stores are busy, product looks excited and that jazzed New York buzz was palpable again as though oxygen had been pumped into its veins.

The buyers responded to that renewed energy in their approach to the new collections we were showing for SS10. On our own side of the pond we at Sara Berman had made some bold decisions about what we wanted to show the buyers for SS10. We wanted to embrace the chance for change and present a collection that was not dictated by past parameters and instead was simply and honestly what we wanted to design and to own. We pared the collection down to the essentials. Truly luxurious pieces which were trans-seasonal and would be fabulous through our unpredictable summer and into seasons to come… Extravagant leather jackets, kooky-classic cashmeres, cool cotton knits and of course loads of amazing bags. We are having so much fun designing the bags and we are lucky enough to own our own business and have the freedom to chose our direction and put the emphasis on whatever is inspiring us most and giving us pleasure as well as a financial return. And I think it paid off. The reception to our work in New York New York was so enthusiastic and positive. It was truly wonderful to feel their energy and excitement with our work. It gives us the desire to be bold, to continue to innovate, change, push ourselves and have the confidence to do what we want above and beyond anything else. This is why we are in fashion baby!