Friday, 22 January 2010

I Am The Mess-Meister

With five days to go until we start showing the AW10 collection, I thought you might like a very brief update on where things are at in the SB studio.

Frankly things are a little stressful. We haven’t seen one single solitary Harris Tweed finished piece yet. Of the 25 Harris Tweed samples which we need to have ready in five days, we have not got one.

Only 18 of our 30 bags samples are here in the studio. Six are on their way to the wrong address in London thanks to DHL Italiana stupido. Four are on their way from India and may or may not clear customs before Christmas. The remaining two are, in theory, going to be here the day before yesterday. Great.

The studio is covered in tweed, threads, bits of pattern and little gold lions waiting to be sewn onto sweaters-which are everywhere.The place is a bombsite and in the middle of all of it Amiee decides we need a new table. It arrived unannounced at 9am and as it turns out she may have misjudged the size of our studio and now we have a table which is the size of the whole showroom. Please understand that this is not a Good Thing when that showroom needs to be filled with samples not table. Feast your eyes on the monstrous thing below:

My house is also in a state of total disarray as I continue my archiving process. There is nowhere in my life where I am not surrounded by a daft amount of mess. I am the mess-meister.

The Italian silk CAD for our Dan Baldwin collaboration arrived yesterday. Only a month late.  Now they have to print it, send it and we have to make up the dresses and coats -all in five days. FIVE DAYS!

And to top it all off, I left my Val lightning stripe hat in a taxi last night.

And people wonder why designers are highly strung, emotionally fragile and teetering on the brink of a severe personality disorder.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Sampling And Other Demons

It has taken me 2 weeks to admit that January has started. New Year’s resolutions and an optimistic attitude are all well and good but there is no accounting for the sheer drudgery of the first two weeks of January. It just seems to be a bit of a slog which is not helped by the shitty weather (snow was fun for about 5 minutes but I am now running out of outfits which look OK with snow boots) and the enormous amount of work to get through in time for the start of the season at the end of the month. The timing is unfortunate as it has taken 2 weeks to get in to the groove and now it is suddenly upon us and we don’t actually have a collection as yet.

There are always changes to a collection at the last minute because design is a process. We will be going down a creative path and then suddenly it will just feel wrong. And once it is wrong it is wrong and it has to change. It isn’t a matter of getting it right from the beginning of the process because as a process it changes and what was right becomes wrong. Clear?

As of last week we cancelled half the knitwear… We are using an amazing Irish Donegal yarn which is actually made in Ireland (you would be surprised how many Irish Donegals are made elsewhere) and looks so good we want to use it for another story and on the other side, a knit piece that we thought would be central to the whole collection has come out like a bag of spanners so we have had to re think the whole knit section of the collection. We have changed 2 of our 5 bag stories in order to accommodate some fabulous gold hardware we found at the last minute and  so now we are waiting on 1st stage samples to come back for those designs and 4 Harris Tweed coat patterns are not even in work as yet due to our inability to edit on time. With 10 working days until our first appointment this is not a good look.

There was a time when this would have filled me with fear, horror and a mounting sensation of hysteria. But as a 10 year veteran of fashion weeks I am aware that with a fair amount of stress, a pinch of panic and just a little help from the fashion fairies it will somehow happen and a collection will materialise in our studio.

For your amusement please see below for an idea of what it looks like in the SB studio when Amiee and I edit the collection.

A very serious discussion...

Which quickly descended into chaos

Trying to get to grips with the Harris Tweed swatches

On the upside the NYR’s are coming along swimmingly (See 2010 Resolutions 10 Clause Contract for a recap) …

  1. I am starting the year with a Mc Sweeney’s short stories collection. I am a big Zadie Smith fan and she has a wonderful little tale in there.
  2. I have cooked several sensational suppers these last couple of weeks, one of which included an apple and pear crumble which will go down in history and has been my complete and satisfying meal for the past 2 nights. Food is the new Fashion.
  3. This very morning I met my new (and very buff) personal trainer. He is going to whip my m****** f****** arse into shape by Easter. Apparently if I cry every time I try to ease my aching body out of a prone position it is a Good Thing. 
  4. Reminded of this again today when chasing samples from Italy. I can’t be certain but it is possible that I am getting the words for ‘I promise you will have them by Thursday’ confused with ‘I want to have sex with your sister’. 
  5. The builder has been in to give a quote and there are clothes all over the house in various stages of the ‘archiving process’. I feel the need to stress the difference between ‘archiving’ and ‘tidying up’. Big difference. Huge. It is possible that my husband may divorce me over the mess. On the upside there is now a nice empty room for him to move into. 
  6. Bring it on. I am off to Paris for the shows at the beginning of March which I love. I stay at the wonderful boutique hotel - Bourg Tibourg in the Marais which I have been going to for so long it is like a second home. 
  7. I am trying. It’s the first month of the year. I have another 11 months to perfect this.
  8. Did you see our photos? Got to laugh through the pain. 
  9. Whatever. 
  10. Super mum! Obviously. Even made pancakes this morning. I swear! Amazing how good a little Betty Crocker can make you feel about yourself!

Monday, 4 January 2010

2010 Resolutions

First and foremost a happy, healthy and joyous New Year to you all!

And with that jovial spirit hanging in the air I am loath to cave in to the overwhelming sentiment of slovenly misery brought on by too much food, too much central heating, too many bad presents and too much family. As the last of those dried out pine needles hits the floor and the remaining chocolate Santa’s dangled dismally out of childish grasp is eaten I would like to focus on the year ahead and the relentless optimism of my New Year’s resolutions. It is my intention that by setting them down for all to see, I am in fact entering into a binding contract with myself and any failure will be both public and rather embarrassing. So here goes:

1: Read 1 ‘good’ book a month. I will finish Candide (3 years in the trying) and Penny Vincenzi (my guilty secret) doesn’t count.

2: Become the mistress of my kitchen. Last year I became a passably proficient cook. This year I will be a culinary sensation.

3: Move my skinny self. My body is a stranger to muscle tone and this year, as I edge ever closer to my mid 30’s is the perfect time to introduce those duelling factions before my arse hits the floor.

4: Learn a language. My French is bordering on embarrassing and speaking to our Italian factory is an exercise in hilariarity. Time to get a grip on those verbs and pronouns before I order 200 purple suitcases.

5: Archive my wardrobe and build a studio. Perk of the job means that I have, over the years acquired a ridiculous amount of clothes which aside from being beautiful have enormous emotional value as they chart the course of the last 10 years of my life. They are currently occupying a whole room in my house which would be much better used as a studio for all the writing, drawing, painting and sculpting I never have space for. Sample sale time! Karmic Klean!

6: Travel. Always a pleasure, never a chore. The world is my oyster. LA is to be the new destination of choice for 2010. Skinny mocha chocca double decaff soya lattes here I come!

7: Accept, relax and enjoy. As I gain in years and experience it seams that I spend too much time battling the inevitable. Sometimes it is so much better to practice acceptance and have faith that your life will be the best it can be if you smile. Easier said than done but a nice thought none the less!

8: Laugh. Often and deeply. It makes the bad stuff better and the good stuff great. Also very good for your stomach muscles.

9: Be nicer to Amiee. She insisted on that one and I am never one to look a challenge in the face and back down.

Save the best till last…..10: Be the best mother I can to my two beautiful children. Show them fun, laughter and all the love I have.

Someone once told me that life is a privilege, and it is with that in mind that every year I am excited by the prospect of 12 shiny new months ahead of me. Full of possibility, chance, effort, achievement, joy, laughter, friendships and family. Of course there will be the tears and traumas but what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and as long as I and my loved ones are still standing to tell the tale then let the Theatre of Life play on…. Who knows what the New Year will bring!

And in the spirit of achievement for the New Year a big congratulations to Danielle who having tasted success as a pole dancing queen, has now moved on to marathons completing her first in Texas on 1st Jan 2010. Check that girl out!

Danielle (centre) post race with running pals Alex (left) and Becky (right)