Blink Events: London Fashion Week, why don’t you…?

Its the run up to London Fashion Week. The excitement is building, as are my wardrobe choices for the event…

I was just reading about Diana Vreeland in the recent US edition of Harpers Bazaar and it inspired me to give you all a bit of a ‘Why Don’t You…?’ list of things you could do in London during LFW. It won’t perhaps be as extravagant as some of Vreeland’s suggestions would have been, but we’ll give it our best shot!

Why don’t you…

have high tea, cocktails or dinner at the stunningly renovated St Pancras Renaissance Hotel.

head to Harrods to enjoy the celebration of Chanel, including ‘Une Promenade’ on the 3rd floor- a collection of room sets which all represent different aspects of the brand, its founder and its current creative tour de force, Karl Largerfeld.

Chanel's 'Une Promenade' at Harrods

if you’re attending one of the shows being held at Waterloo’s old Eurostar terminal, why not take a moment to take a walk along the Southbank afterwards, to enjoy some of the best views of London alongside the Thames.

experience the newest retail space in London and head East to the enormous and amazing Westfield Stratford City. You’ll not only be shopping the newest shop fits and retail concepts, you’ll also be within glancing distance of the Olympic Village.

if you don’t have any shows planned for Friday morning, then why not take a step away from London Fashion Week, but also a step towards London Fashion by getting an early shot of inspiration at Portobello Market. Still a key location for vintage, and this is the best day to see it. When you’ve done the market, you can always walk up to Westbourne Grove and Ledbury Road to enjoy a more sedate retail experience in the world class boutiques lining these streets.

fill your boots in Topshop‘s flagship store at Oxford Circus. I know its gone global, but I do believe that there are still some lines that are produced for this store alone, so you can still find something fabulously unique that’s guaranteed not to break the bank either.

have a truly wonderful tea break. You know you deserve one. Yumchaa is our recommendation for tea that is an experience. From choosing from the diverse and eclectic flavours, to which cake you’ll have, to the moment you take your first sip- its all a delight.

have flowers delivered to you at home, your office or your hotel room. Scarlet and Violet is the only name that you need to know. Well, if this florist is good enough for Lily Allen and Kate Moss’s nuptials…

Scarlet and Violet

Blink guest blogs for the CSF: ‘Joy’

Here’s the guest blog post that I wrote for the Bulletin, the brilliant blog for The Centre of Sustainable Fashion.

So, the subject matter this month is ‘Joy’ and this one turned out not to be quite as straight forward as I first imagined. I was thinking of posting pictures of things that bring me joy, and then I realized its not really these things that bring joy but moments, relationships and experiences. An unexpected smile and things seen out of the corner of your eye just get your heart fluttering far more than a new pair of shoes. Actually, scrub that- shoes are one of the only ‘things’ that will always bring joy, until they make your tootsies ache or give you a blister!
I realized that we all spend most of our day working and so I decided to think about what brings me job in my working life. Joy in your day job is not always something that’s achievable, but for those of us lucky enough to be perusing our dreams its a definite box to be ticked when you are sense checking the path that you have chosen. I thought I’d put the question out there to creative friend’s of “Blink” and here are some really lovely answers which I hope you will find inspiring…

Victoria Brotherson, Founder of ‘Scarlet and Violet’:
“When we get the first box of English sweet peas of the year I know the day is going to be a complete breeze. That is a truly joyful feeling. Also I am lucky enough to laugh a lot at work, mainly at my own and the team’s general gooniness, which is a tremendous joy. Then there are the moments of pure delight that we see on a customers face when they collect a bunch of flowers and they leave the shop. That is a weird combination of pride, relief and joy!”

Steve Wallington, Founder and Creative Director of ‘Inn London’:
“Everything!  I hopefully have managed to carve out a job that allows me to do all things I love. From meeting new & interesting people whilst traveling, documenting this through film and script and then curating and exhibiting the most talented people from across the globe. Cant get much better can it?”

Dilys Williams, Founder and Director of ‘The Centre for Sustainable Fashion‘:
“Its all about the people! And curiosity and surprise and great clothes – but mainly its the fact that my work offers me the opportunity to exchange thoughts, ideas and actions with some of the most incredible thinkers, doers and collaborators that you’d wish to come across.”

For me, I find joy in seeing my business, “Blink London”, evolve, develop and grow. You may launch your business with a fixed mission in mind, but if you don’t let the market’s changing requirements, your customer and your growing experience all combine to shape and tweak that initial plan, you may not have a business for long. I always feel joy when I complete a project and deliver it to a happy client (as well as feeling relief!).  I also get a real frisson of joy when I find something or someone that inspires me, just like the three people I have quoted above always do. Thanks to all of them for getting involved.

For more “Blink” blog posts related to the Centre for Sustainable Fashion, just click here.

Blink Interviews: Scarlet and Violet’s Victoria Brotherson

Next in our schedule of monthly interviews, we have managed to catch up with the inspiration that is Victoria Brotherson, the creative floristry force behind Scarlet and Violet. We are fortunate enough to be based just around the corner from this beautiful store, so regularly indulge in flowers from Vic and her team. They are always incredibly busy, so special thanks for agreeing to do this for us!

Scarlet and Violet launched in 2006, based in Kensal Rise, North West London. Prior to that Victoria had worked as a florist for 15 years. It was an accidental career choice for Victoria who left university (she studied Fine Art at Oxford) but decided that she wasn’t cut out to be a painter. After passing by a shop with a ‘to let’ sign for 6 months, Vic decided to take the terrifying plunge into opening her own business. Scarlet and Violet was conceived as a workshop that would double as a shop, and it has grown into an eclectic and ever changing showcase for Victoria’s unique style.

Vic puts it perfectly when she says “We are good at making flowers seem easy and relaxed. Intimate dinners and small weddings are our forte. Lots of our clients ideal is that the guests think that they have done the flowers themselves, and I am very happy to be the invisible florist and carry on using the workman’s entrances and delivery doorbells!” Well, we can reveal that one of these ‘intimate dinners’ was  with Vogue and Louis Vuitton in the penthouse of the new Bond Street store, and a few of those ‘small weddings’ have featured the joining of some very well known names…

For you, what is the most important aspect of being an independent retailer?
Freedom is the obvious one. We can play with how the shop looks, we can decide which jobs we take on and maintain some kind of balance between work and rest (in my dreams!) There is no real rule book so making decisions brings challenges, and whether these are right or wrong, I only have myself to blame.

Care to share any floral don’ts or disasters?
Touch wood, no disasters yet. Don’t ever be snobbish about flowers, there are loads of inexpensive flowers and foliage that work just as well as the pricey ones.

Which comes first for you and Scarlet & Violet, personal style or trends?
Personal style for sure. Each of the girls in the shop has their own style when it comes to flowers  (and clothes!). Each of our clients is unique too, and that is something that is crucial to what we do. We have to have an understanding of their taste before installing flowers in houses or indeed coming up with ideas for a wedding. It is not about me inflicting ideas or style, but much more collaborative than that.

Do you think that ethical and sustainable issues are at all relevant to what you do?
Of course we try hard to find the most friendly options in everything we do. We create a lot of waste but the majority is flower matter and we pay some astronomical price to get it all recycled. We’ve talked about composting but there would just be a mountain!

What project are you currently working on and how is it shaping up?
We are doing a book, so far so good! I can’t give you any more details just yet…

What or who are your longest standing design influences?
I think I am really quite rooted in a very classic style. My preference is always for the old. Textiles and interiors inspire me more than anything.

What’s currently inspiring you?
All the foliage we have at this time of year in amazing so I would say “green”.

How would you describe Scarlet & Violet’s aesthetic?
I can’t it always sounds really contrived when put into words. Its much easier to make something!

What is currently tempting you into making a purchase, for you, your home or your shop?
We have just got a load of old milk bottles and french flip top jars which are brilliant with really mismatched flowers.

How has the floristry scene changed since you opened your business?
I think most consumers buy  flowers from the supermarket rather than independents so we have to make sure we really do present something unique as we can’t compete any other ways.

What’s the best thing about your job?
The sense of satisfaction when I make something that just works still gives me real pleasure.

I feel most creative when…
I am in the shop alone either really early or late and surrounded by all the peculiar things we have in there amongst all the flowers.

Any final word of advise?
If you ever see something you love and can afford, it don’t leave it there! This applies particularly to antiques and one offs.

Click here to see more interviews with people and businesses’ that inspire us.

Scarlet & Violet

Scarlet & Violet

Scarlet & Violet

Scarlet & Violet

Inspiration: Summer in a vase

I know this is slightly off of our usual subject matter, but we just loved these flowers so much that we had to share them with you. We were passing our friend’s florists, ‘Scarlet and Violet’, the other day when we spotted these amazing ranunculus (our favourite flower). Even though we were a little late for a meeting we just had to stop and grab a bunch. The colour was just incredible and irresistible. It was like a vase full of little chicks or bursts of sunshine. Perfect to try and cheat a summer feeling even though the weather isn’t quite playing along.

Thanks Vic!