|Welcome to the Emma Plus Forum/Blog. It seems hard to believe that we have been going strong since January 2009! During this time we have been spreading the word about new developments, shop gossip, and our passion for the world of plus-size fashion. We post photographs, answer questions, try to solve problems, and provide useful information about special offers and exciting events.
For those who like stats... we have had well over 300 posts now, with over 50 generous testimonials from our customers (many of which we have collected on our 'Testimonials' page in the main part of the site). Because this Forum/Blog is unmoderated we also get attention from our 'friends' the spammers, with anything up to 500 spam posts a day caught in our dastardly spam net Ė which usually makes quick work of them!
The Forum/Blog is split into separate pages for faster downloads. You can move through these pages by pressing the 'Prev' and 'Next' buttons at the foot of each one. In addition, we have provided quick access to posts on similar topics through the Topics Menu to the right. When making your post you will be invited to link it to one or more of these subjects.
The Forum/Blog's Search function (see just below) has been enhanced so that it now searches in the replies as well as the posts, and highlights the search terms in the results. If you know which post number you want, however, then simply type it into the 'Go to post number' function (below left)... and go straight there!
Contributing to the Forum/Blog couldn't be simpler. You donít need to pre-register or be an existing customer, and your post will usually appear instantly. All we ask is that you include your name and email address with your contribution. We will only use your email address if we need to contact you off-line about your posting Ė it will not be displayed on the site, sold on or used in our general marketing.
We want this section of our site to be fun, informative and entertaining, and offer a breath of fresh air to women across the country who have an interest in plus-size fashion. We hope you will contribute with your views and questions, as well as letting us help you celebrate your significant fashion moments with your photographs and stories.
We look forward to hearing about what rocks your plus-size fashion world!
Emma Saturday 18 May 2013 at 10:57
| Post #357 |
|Subject: The times they are a-changing...|
The times have changed quite considerably since I first opened Emma Plus. In those days we tended to sell clothes to women in our own immediate area. No-one spent more than, say, half-an-hourís travelling time to buy clothes. We sold to women in and around Brighton, with the odd person coming from the rest of Sussex.
This localised selling happened in all regions of the country, and had two detrimental effects on plus-size designer fashion. The first was that the shops that existed in those days were kept artificially small. ĎBonsaií shops, I call them. Because we didnít have very many customers, we could only buy a small amount of stock. Because we only had quite a small and limited range, it really wasnít worth a woman investing her time and effort travelling some distance to get here (in fact, when someone who lived far away from us telephoned, asking whether it would be worth her while travelling, we would usually advise her not to do so; it wasnít that we didnít believe in our stock; it was just that, after taking half the day to get here, a customer would generally prefer to have a choice of, say, more than two bottom halves, three tops, one dress and a coat in her size!). This, as you can imagine, was a vicious circle.
The other detrimental effect on plus-size fashion was a lot worse. Twenty years ago there really was very little product available in the size range that we cater for. Buying online had not been invented, catalogue selling tended to be quite abysmal, and many werenít lucky enough to live in the catchment area of a designer plus-size store. The high street just had a tiny selection, mainly from one particular chain, whose offer was very unimaginative. The result was that most plus-size women, unless they were gifted designer/seamstresses in their own right, looked under-par most of the time. People donít remember this now, but it was an accepted fact that plus-size women looked a lot older than their real age, less stylish, and almost completely sexless. If the plus-size woman of today could see the kind of offer that we were presented with in those days, there would be a riot. I think that even those of us who lived through that time hardly believe it now.
Clearly, how you present yourself has a great impact on your social standing and personal confidence. When it was difficult to find clothing that accurately represented how you felt about yourself, and how you perceived your social standing, it was very detrimental. For example, I was told this story by one of my customers that illustrates my point... She was a highly successful businesswoman and mother of young children. Her work was brilliant, and her company had reached the stage where it was going to be floated on the Stock Exchange. Unfortunately, as a busy woman with a family, she had very little time to travel the country trying to find the clothing that she really wanted. Instead, she bought everything on the high street, which created a look she didnít feel happy with, but she tried to convince herself that it wasnít important. Surely, it was her professionalism and knowledge that was most significant in the boardroom, not the way she presented herself?
One day she had to go to the City to discuss the floatation. She walked into a room to meet with several Ďmen in suitsí for the first time. As she entered, and approached the table, several of them looked up and, assuming that she was the cleaner, asked her to tidy up part of the room Ďbefore the client arrivedí. She was humiliated, and understandably felt very undermined. Itís very difficult, even for a confident person, to come back from that kind of start to a meeting! She vowed that, no matter how much effort it took, she was going to present herself in the way she felt comfortable with in future.
To say that the impact of the internet has had unexpected consequences in almost every walk of life is something of an understatement. I, for one, never really anticipated how it was going to affect my industry. For the first time we can now get national recognition for what we do, and encourage more and more women to come into our store to buy from us. Today, if a customer telephones and asks whether it is worthwhile travelling to get to us, no matter how far they were contemplating, I wouldnít hesitate to say yes. Occasionally, women ask if it would be worth their while undertaking a two-hour trip, and these days I am quite bewildered... Two hours? Why, of course, thatís no distance!
This has meant that our stockholding has increased exponentially, and we find that we have more beautiful clothes in a wider variety of sizes and in greater quantity than ever before. And what is being offered to us by the designers is getting ever more exciting and gorgeous. For about 10 years I found myself saying Ďwow... this is the best season everí, with a tone of surprise every season. Now I understand the mechanism of how our industry works I take this situation as a given. Of course itís the best season ever, every time! It would be a bit of a let-down if it wasnít, considering the reasons why the industry should be improving year on year.
The next aspect of the internet revolution has also got into swing... the empowerment of the customer. Nowadays, bloggers and reviewers are trying to take some of the bother out of all this travelling. They are aiming to find out everything they can about the plus-size shops out there, and to give recommendations, warnings, and general feedback - not only to the store owners, but to the customers who can then have an informed choice as to whether they wish to get into their car or on to the train, and trek to a shop that may be some distance away.
This is a democratic development; hopefully we will now see the real power of the consumer. The shops that are worth visiting will get more popular, and those offering a disappointing product or service will either have to shape up, or will go. I strongly believe we should welcome the ĎTrip Advisorsí of this world, and encourage the bloggers and reviewers out there. We canít blindly accept what they are saying, but I do think they will have a vital part to play in the future.
This is why I was so delighted to see that one of the most popular plus-size bloggers, Boombands Em (pictured, above right, with Anna Scholz and me), had written such a generous and enthusiastic review of our recent ASD (http://boombands.blogspot.co.uk/2013/05/emma-plus-at-brighton.html) on her blog, and Tweeted about us, too.
Iím very grateful; I donít think many folk realise just what a hugely positive influence on our industry people like Em have, and how much we can all benefit from it.
Emma Thursday 09 May 2013 at 14:58
| Post #356 |
|Subject: Top three|
So what would be the top three items to have in the self-respecting plus-size fashionistaís wardrobe this season?
First and foremost I would say a dress. In fashion terms this is the era of the dress, and from a seasonal point of view, this is the best time of year to wear one of course. The dresses around at the moment are a little bit retro; the influence is anything from the nineteen fifties to the early sixties, with a bit of Art Deco-meets-the-nineteen seventies thrown in. There are contradictions all over the place; they can be quite ladylike (or the inverse, girly), with a repressed-librarian look (or an over-the-top sexy minx vibe). They can be closely fitted to the body, or swirl forth with acres of full volume fabric. They can be teeny-tiny-itty-bitty minis, or they can be floor-scraping maxis.
One of the brilliant things about fashion today is that there is plenty for everyone. Donít like your legs? Canít bear to wear tights? Then get a long dress, worn with leggings underneath. Not girly enough to wear a dress? Then wear one of the little dresses over trousers; it doesnít have to be girly - there are some lovely simple tunics out there. Havenít got a waist? Then invent one with a fitted style that imposes the optical illusion of a feminine, curvy waist, which - unbeknown to the unwary onlooker - you havenít got! There really is something there for everyone. Never has the excuse Ďbut I can never find a dress I likeí sounded so hollow.
This leads us on to out next must-have: leggings and jeggings. Leggings tend to be a jersey, close-fitting pant, whilst jeggings are more or less the same thing, but with stretch cotton woven fabric. Again, excuses need not apply. You donít think your legs are shapely enough to wear close-fitting styles? Take a good, hard look at your pins. I can tell you (in cold blood; I am a plus-size fashion stylist, so I am a kind of doctor!) that many highly insecure women out there have got perfectly good legs. They just feel negative about them. If this is the case with you, then you might have to think about the fact that every other woman in the country is walking around wearing leggings at the moment, and your legs hold up very well in comparison. Remember, just because a woman is a plus-size (with matching size legs), it doesnít mean that their legs are Ďworseí than slim womenís legs. Nature is more democratic than that, and has dispersed the good-looking legs around relatively evenly between women of different body shapes and sizes.
Even if your legs are, after a fair appraisal, slightly - ahem - wanting... so what? There's no need to abandon leggings. Itís just a matter of wearing them with the right accompaniment. There are dresses out there of every length. If your legs are your pride and joy, you can wear quite a short dress. If they are a little disappointing, then a dress just above the knee could look lovely. If they are your bÍte noire, then a dress worn just below the knee over leggings is perfect. The problem is not with the leggings, nor with the shortcomings in the shape of your legs. Itís all about context.
So whatís the third must-have item in your wardrobe this season? Well, like all of us involved in fashion, Iím going to cheat. Iím going to suggest something that isnít clothing, and isnít just one item. But it is definitely a must have! Iím talking about accessories.
This season, accessories have gone mad. It is no longer acceptable to think of yourself as well dressed just because you are well dressed. You now have to be fully accessorised!
And the number-one accessory this season is the necklace. Possibly because of the retro look that is everywhere, these are incredibly important right now. I think a really good necklace is a visual life-saver. Putting a necklace on an outfit doesnít just finish it off. It can add drama, or make a look more or less formal. It can add a touch of luxury... or whimsy. It can bring the disparate colours in the clothing into harmony. It can put a rebellious tweak on a rather workaday look. It can speak of sophistication or fun. It has the power to twist a whole look into something else.
When you really think about it, the difference that one simple item placed on the body can make is quite extraordinary. Choosing not to wear one suggests an unforgivable lack of imagination: a valuable missed opportunity to express your own personality.
Emma Saturday 04 May 2013 at 17:22
| Post #355 |
|Subject: And the winner is...|
It's been a week since the ASD and we have now performed our solemn duty... picking the winner of the £100 gift voucher prize.
The prize goes to Amanda Richards, who came along on the day and put her name into our hat. Now she can never say that she doesn't win anything!
We hope she really enjoys her prize!
| Amanda Richards Friday 10 May 2013 at 13:43|
To all the lovely ladies of Emma Plus,
Just wanted to say thank you very much for letting me know that I won the vouchers. When you rang on Saturday I was so excited!
Really enjoyed the ASD, love my clothes, and great to meet Anna, she was beautiful!
PS. Your ladies are so helpful. They make buying clothes a pleasure not a misery.
| Nicola Sutherland Saturday 11 May 2013 at 11:32|
I may not have got the call that Amanda did, but I did get my altered purchases from ASD in the mail yesterday. They all fit beautifully, and thank you for exceeding my expectations and getting all three items to me in time for my trip next week.
| Emma Sunday 12 May 2013 at 21:19|
Thank you so much for your kind words, which are much appreciated.
So glad you got your clothes on time, and were happy with them. I really hope you enjoy wearing them.
Hope to see you again soon-
Emma Thursday 02 May 2013 at 11:54
| Post #354 |
|Subject: Anna Scholz Day #3|
We are still both high and exhausted after our Anna Scholz Day on Saturday. Having had these days before (this was our third ASD), we thought we knew what to expect. On the day of the event the shop looks very different after the special delivery of Anna Scholz items has arrived, and it feels different, too: itís very unusual for all of the women who work here to be present, all at one time. There is always a buzz as we gird up our loins for the busy day ahead.
At the beginning of the day, before we are open, there is a pregnant pause. We gather together to have an early morning coffee, and to examine our handiwork. The shop floor looks great, with the Anna Scholz collection providing a riot of summer colour, and new shop floor displays created to showcase the event. The window display has been carefully devised to give maximum impact. The dainty nibbles (courtesy of John Lewis) are ready on their plates, and the fruit punch is already in its bowl. All the decks are cleared, and the pin-cushions are stuck full of pins. Outside, the sun shines brightly.
Then itís opening time... We turn the Ďopení sign on the door, and the key in the lock. And almost instantly the shop is full of people. Within minutes you can hear the laughing and the giggling. People are trying on colours and looks that they have always wanted to try, but they just didnít KNOW they wanted to try them! Women move in and out of the changing rooms - a kaleidoscope of colour and pattern.
The day goes in a whirl. This particular ASD was the busiest yet. Personally, I had no time to think about anything for about seven hours: it is a kind of meditative experience. I am lost in the moment, and my head is cleared of everything except what is in front of me. Not being at all sporty, I guess this is what it must feel like to compete in a sporting event. I actually think this kind of thing is good for me (and the other members of staff) psychologically. I am certain it is very good for our customers, who, quite clearly, are having a blast.
At the end of the day we have waved Anna and Darren off, sat back down on our sofa, almost too tired to start on the journey home. And we all feel happy and grateful that we work in such a lovely job.
Emma Saturday 20 April 2013 at 16:14
| Post #353 |
|Subject: Anna Scholz|
I have been cogitating on the designer, Anna Scholz. Not surprising, because next week we are hosting our third Anna Scholz Day on Saturday 27th April, where the designer herself will visit our store, meet her customers and bring much of her range with her.
Itís always a great day. We have lots of scrummy nibbles and drinks, oodles of fantastic Anna Scholz clothes, loads of happy customers and, of course, the lady herself - a beautiful, charismatic presence.
Many times I have had people ask me why I love Anna Scholz and her oeuvre so much. In order to explain this phenomenon I will have to go back to the beginning...
I started working at this store 23 years ago. It was then, just as it is now, a proper plus-size shop. When I say Ďproperí, I mean that it has never been one of those irritating shops that call themselves Ďplus sizeí but start at a size 12 (why?) and go all the way up to a size 22 (surely, this doesnít even count as a plus-size these days?). When I first came here we stocked fashions from a size 16 up to a size 26; nowadays we stock mainly between size 20 and 32.
Back then, it was very difficult to find really lovely clothing in those Ďproperí plus sizes. The main reason was good old-fashioned prejudice. Against all the available evidence it seemed that our own plus-size industry had decided a number of things about its customers. It had decided that we were elderly (or middle-aged in a particularly frumpy way). It had decided that we were dowdy (dull and lacklustre). It had decided we were sexless (heaven forbid that we showed a bit of femininity). It had decided we were shapeless and wanted nothing more than cover-ups. We were supposed to lack the energy to bother about fabric care (there was a disproportionate amount of Ďdrip-dryí clothes). We werenít prepared to spend on our clothing. And, more than anything else, we hated colour.
Iím not saying that it was impossible to find lovely clothes back then. It was just very, very difficult. And they were few and far between. It was a difficult time for our shop.
I will never forget the first time I saw Annaís collection. It was at the huge clothes fair that used to take place at the NEC in Birmingham and it was in February 1994. I had seen a picture of one of her dresses, and I had already decided that I was going to look her up if I got the chance. I walked on to her stand at the exhibition, and the rest is history: my shop has never been without an Anna Scholz garment from that day to this.
Anna (as far as I know) was the first plus-size woman to have her own fashion line, and it showed. She didnít need anyone else to tell her what larger women wanted. She was young, vibrant, attractive, driven, enthusiastic, uncompromising, skilful, and anything but apologetic about her size (she is still all of these things). Her clothes were a revelation, and we couldnít get enough of them.
Looking around today itís easy to think that she is just one among many designers producing fashion-forward, sexy, joyful, colourful clothes. Yet she was the first, and still the best. And she has been a powerhouse, turning out fabulous items that have been a joy to consumers and an education to our industry for the past almost two decades.
| Kim P Wednesday 24 April 2013 at 18:43|
I hope everyone has a great day on Saturday, so many beautiful designs to choose from! They are always great fun and I am sad to be missing it.
| Emma Thursday 25 April 2013 at 13:18|
Thank you very much... We're sorry you can't make it.
We've already had the delivery in and we're trying it all on, stomping up and down, pouting, squatting, swinging our hair around and posing girlishly - just like the models in the photograph!
Pam Scanlan Friday 19 April 2013 at 17:26
| Post #352 |
|Subject: Wonderful service.|
I came into Emma Plus yesterday with my husband Paul, to buy something for my step son's wedding next week. From the moment we entered you were all so welcoming, friendly and helpful. I can honestly say I've never been treated so well in any other shop! I bought 3 tops, a fascinator and a clutch bag, and I'm really pleased with them, thank you for your advice and support, and for making my stay at Brighton all the better!
Keep up the amazing work.
Kind regards, Pam (and Paul) xx
| Emma Friday 19 April 2013 at 18:07|
Thank you so much for your kind words. It really was lovely to meet you and your husband yesterday.
I didn't get to see your photographs, but if they are as good as your husbands amazing ones, then you are an incredibly talented couple!
I hope you enjoyed your trip to Brighton, and that you are able to come again one day soon!
Emma Tuesday 02 April 2013 at 17:22
| Post #346 |
I was going through the airport duty free section when I noticed an advertisement for a new type of foundation. I had wandered into the cosmetics department, looking for some top-ups for my make-up bag. It pleased me greatly to see this new formulation, which offered what seemed an almost limitless number of different shades. Gone are the days, it seems, when there were only three or four shades of human skin that warranted matching make-up. A few years ago only some lucky women were Ďworth thatí it seemed.
However, I have always known that, whatever the range, even if there are a thousand different shades of foundation on offer, I will need to have either colour number 1 (the absolute palest) in the winter, or number 2 (after I have a particularly impressive tan at the end of the summer). Yes, I really am that deathly pale!
I think it is a generally accepted fact that any skin looks a bit better with a bit of melanin in it, but I am happy to accept my Ďshortcomingsí, just as I accept the fact that I do not have a waist. When I was younger, I was annoyed with my faults, but I have long Ďforgivení my body for not being exactly what I would like it to be.
I remember listening to a record as a child that suggested that the world would be a much better place if it comprised Ďone big melting pot, turning out coffee-coloured people by the scoreí. I was appalled. Of course, if there were such a scenario, then I (and my snow-white legs) would personally have a lot to gain, but I felt, even as a young child, that the world would be greatly impoverished in the process.
It seems to me that there are forces always at work that try to cajole us either into all being the same or into feeling ashamed or inferior because of our diversity. Women with whiter than white skin like mine often slap on layers of self-tan, even while some of our sisters bleach their skin to try to achieve that elusive cafť-au-lait beauty. Some women try to straighten their hair, and, for hundreds of years, some have squeezed their figures with corsets in the course of giving themselves the required body shape.
Actually, I think these forces are very strong, have always been there, and are probably more powerful today than they have ever been. We are continually subliminally (and sometimes not so subliminally) told we have to have one type of hair, to be a certain age, a particular height, a type of body shape, no more than a maximum weight, and yes, a certain shade of skin. If you are any different from this then you are a failure, and you cannot ever achieve beauty.
Maybe itís just because I am a contrary type of gal, or perhaps it is because I have never personally fitted into to these Ďidealsí, that I have never accepted them. Or maybe itís because I have observed that they have absolutely nothing to do with actual beauty. They are just a form of bullying. If you donít believe me, I can prove it... Just sit in a coffee shop and watch the people going past. Look at their faces, their bodies, and their general appearance. Men and women; I defy you to really try to tell me that it is only those who fit into the accepted cultural norms of attractiveness (those rules about height and weight, colouring, body shape etc.) who are beautiful.
I refuse to feel badly about myself, just because my legs could be used as beacons, warning sailors not to crash on the rocks. Nor do I feel particularly ashamed because my measurements are more or less all the same - all the way down my body - so that I am always in danger of my skirt falling around my ankles.
When women come into my shop I often see a strange phenomenon. I see beautiful women dressing as if they think they are plain. When you talk to these customers they often say that they strongly believe that they are not attractive. It seems odd, because itís hard to understand how they can avoid having noticed how lovely they look. Donít they have a mirror? I cannot always change their point of view, but, by golly, I can provide them with the clothes they need to dress to their best.
I strongly believe in the beauty of the diversity of human beings. No matter how strongly the forces that try to shape us all in the same mould (and try to make us feel inferior if we donít Ďshape upí) press down on us, I will do my best to make my store a haven from those pressures.
Itís my belief that is what a plus-size store should be. Because if it isnít about this, what on earth is it for?
| Kim P Thursday 04 April 2013 at 16:31|
Well said Emma!
BTW, those two lovely grey dresses I bought for work are a great success. Had several compliments and I am so pleased I was lucky to be able to get them both. Thank you!
| Emma Friday 05 April 2013 at 11:08|
You looked fab in those dresses: so glad you got them!
Looking forward to seeing you on the ASD!?
| Kim P Wednesday 10 April 2013 at 18:06|
Sadly can't now do the ASD but our conference is in Brighton again this June so will be sure to pop in then!
Emma Thursday 07 March 2013 at 17:27
| Post #345 |
We have a rather bitter-sweet announcement: our lovely, long-serving store manager, Jaq, has decided to move on to pastures new.
Jaq started at Emma Plus in 1995 as a Saturday Sales Assistant and soon established herself as a keen fashionista and personal stylist. Trained as an artist, she has a fantastic eye for colour, fit and style, and a wonderful way of helping her customers achieve the look they are seeking.
Over the years she progressed through the ranks to take over the day-to-day running of the shop, and built up a customer base of women who really appreciated her for her humour, friendliness, knowledge and judgement.
More recently she has started to think about returning to her artistic roots, and decided to take a sabbatical to explore her creativity. She has been so successful in this that she has decided to give up her position as store manager completely to concentrate on her artistic work.
She will be hosting an 'Artists' Open House' as part of the Brighton Festival (the cultural event that happens throughout May), and her house promises to be among the very best in the city. We will provide details here on the blog nearer the time.
Jaq does not intend to become a stranger to Emma Plus, though. She is still an avid customer, and has promised to help us out when we need her.
I know that all of us at Emma Plus wish her well, miss her already, and are delighted that she has found a fresh way to fulfil her talents...
| Jaq Buckeridge Friday 08 March 2013 at 20:04|
Hi Emma and all the lovely ladies of Emma Plus,
I want to thank Emma and all the team for an amazing 17 years at Emma Plus. Ive really appreciated all your support and kindness and i will miss you all greatly.
I also want to thank all those wonderful customers, you know who you are, ive loved working with you and enjoyed your company.You have made it such a pleasure to be at work. I leave you in the very capable hands of Kim , Jackie, Lisa and Anna, you cant asked for a better bunch of girls. Maybe i will see you at the Emma Plus's Anna Scholz day on April 27th, i can't wait to try on some her fabulous creations.Going by previous events its a highlight of the seasons calender.
As Emma has so kindly said i will be running an Artists Open House in the May Festival in Brighton. I will be part of the 7Dials trail.So if you fancy a little art and cake, i would love to welcome you to my house. There will be at least 14 other artists showing with me, including ceramacists and jewellers. If the weather is good i hope to be serving tea and cake in my bijou garden.
Thankyou again Emma, for your tremendous leadership, foresight and kindness.
| Kim P Saturday 09 March 2013 at 21:26|
I wish you every success and good health Jaq, you are such a talented lady.
| Nicola Sutherland Sunday 10 March 2013 at 21:39|
Good luck in your new venture Jaq - you will be very much missed by your customers. You helped me the first time I visited the store, and although I only come to Brighton once or twice a year, you always remember me and it's like I am in and out every week!
I love the experience at Emma Plus, and you have some fantastic colleagues who I am sure will step into your shoes (if not fill them!)but I'd like to thank you to introducing me to a whole new way of dressing, to paying that little bit more for fit and comfort and for the introduction to Anna Scholz. Though not sure my bank balance is thanking you for that last one!
All the best
Emma Monday 04 March 2013 at 23:17
| Post #344 |
|Subject: Anna Scholz A/W 2013|
I think that regular readers of this blog will already know what this post is going to be about... More than anything else, I am a creature of habit, so it can be predicted with some certainty that once my buying has finished I will be turning over in my mind thoughts about my favourite designer, and putting pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard).
Of course, it is always exciting to see the Anna Scholz collection every season. She, more than any other designer, is the inspiration for much of what we try to do at our shop. I like unapologetic, celebratory clothes, that are fashion forward, sexy, self-confident and joyful. I want fashion that is well-cut, flattering, colourful, creative and original. Of course, I get these qualities from the other design houses that we stock (I wouldnít bother to buy from them if I didn't), but it is Anna Scholz that takes all of these qualities in each season and runs with them. She is the only collection that I have stocked continuously from the time that both she and I first started our businesses.
So it is always with a feeling of anticipation that I go along to my buying session in her large, airy rooms in London. I have never come away disappointed... but some times I come away angry. And this was one of those times.
Perhaps I should reassure readers that my anger didnít stem from any kind of disagreement. Anna and I did not have a spat over whether orange or teal was the colour du jour. Nor did her right-hand man Darren spill coffee in my lap. And her little pooch, Frieda, did not shed dog hairs on my Alpaca coat. No, this was a completely different kind of anger.
I have mentioned before in my blogs that I can get very cross indeed when I am buying, and I particularly love what I see. I am like a spoilt girl (Violet-Elizabeth Bott, from the Just William books, I think). I see something I really love, and I just want it. I want it now! This is how I felt with several items in the latest Anna Scholz collection.
Just walking in the door, my eye fell on a lovely leather jacket that was softly calling to me. It was gorgeous: a typical Anna Scholz cut with all the designer trimmings and more, plus a really beautiful fit. Available in black or crushed raspberry, it was a real, classic leather jacket, zipped and tailored, but with fabulous fashion-forward detailing on the shoulders.
How I would have loved to have walked out of her showroom right then wearing it. To be honest, I would really like to be wearing it right now. I donít think I would ever want to take it off. Sadly, I had to say goodbye to it, and wait six more months before I even see it at again - because, of course, this was the Anna Scholz Autumn/Winter 2013 collection. I will have to wait what will seem an eternity before I can get that jacket. Gggggrrrrrrr.
Leather did seem to be the icing on the cake of many of her designs for the autumn. I particularly loved a little boiled wool coat with faux leather trim and sleeves, which I would want to wear over one of her new tunic dresses. There is one, in particular, with a small herringbone tweed that would combine into a kind of twin-set, for wearing either with opaque black tights (and which would look super with little boots) or leggings (see picture).
Anna had devised a whole forest of these tunic dresses. I fell in love with several - including a gorgeous georgette layered one in black, which would look very sophisticated for an evening do. Another had a subtle geometric print, and a line of sequins running down the front. They felt so girly, and yet also so grown-up and sassy.
As ever, there were plenty of Anna's lovely signature stretch silk dresses, in different lengths and prints, and all manner of beautiful tops. More and more I am noticing little tunics, both as tops and as dresses.
The colours were black, olive, pink, lime, teal and purple - while the looks were both retro and modern. The fabrics were her stretch silks, leather (both faux and real), tweed, boiled wool, and various jerseys.
I will try to put any frustration to the back of my mind, however, because we have the Spring/Summer Anna Scholz collection in our store right now. And it is a dream! In reality six months will pass in the blink of an eye, which is about as much time as it will take me to lay claim to the leather jacket when it's delivered.
Emma Saturday 02 March 2013 at 17:40
| Post #342 |
|Subject: Fall 2013|
So, now I can officially say that I have finished my buying for Autumn/Winter 2013. If there is anything out there that I should have bought, I neither have the time nor the budget to get it now.
I do think next winter is a very strong season. As many regular readers of this blog will know, fashion doesnít usually jump forward with a sudden jerk; it tends to evolve in a logical progression over a number of seasons. And Autumn/Winter 2013 is no exception. The looks are simply evolutions of the last winterís lines. This means the retro-nineteen-fifties/early nineteen-sixties styles are still holding sway.
If you referred to them (and wore them) as 'tops', they would be considered long, but if you referred to them (and strutted around in them on your gorgeous legs) as 'dresses', they would be quite short. These are the garments to invest in. The look is simple, with little tunics relying for their charm on their beautiful, soft, detailed fabrics. Often there is a kind of twin-set of tunic with matching coat/jacket - which smartens up what is rather a sporty feel (see picture, right, of a lovely Marina Rinaldi set of coat and dress). Like it or not (and I love it), this is the signature look of the season. Many women will be rocking the look by teaming these items with leggings or even tights, while others will opt for a more conservative look with trousers.
The correct trousers to wear with the dress/top are, in the main, quite narrow, but some slightly wider ones are being produced that are bit more accessible for the woman who doesnít like to show her legs off in too much detail. Then, at the other end of the spectrum, there are the really wide strides, which counter-intuitively can actually look very good with a tunic top. This is because they Ďturní the look a little - introducing a kind of Art Deco aesthetic.
Skirts are dirndl (please donít expect me to buy these for my shop; I cannot bring myself to do so... yes, they are very fashionable, but I find them extremely unflattering to all larger body shapes), or pencil. Both these looks would be worn with rather grown-up looking vintage blouses and little jackets.
As far as fabrics are concerned, we are talking about luxury - with materials falling in soft drapes around a minimal silhouette. There are very soft tweedy weaves, knits, cashmere mixes, silks, jerseys, faux-furs (and real furs: but we donít stock those!), even the odd velvet and devore. In fact, there is quite a lot of sheepskin and leather next winter, and, although the embellishment is subtle, beading and sequins give little splashes of interest here and there (and not only in eveningwear). Leather in trims and sleeves gives an edgy feel. We are increasingly seeing the use of digital printing, more often than not on jerseys, with the inspiration being the very futuristic production method itself. Many of the patterns are op-art, modernistic designs, in beautiful jewel colours.
The colours are teal, petrol and deep turquoise, mustard, cobalt, purple, grey, red, cerise... but most of all, black and white.
From both a retailer and a fashion enthusiastís point of view it is a lovely season: so easy to buy and such a delight to introduce my customers to. In fact, I can only see one down-side. It is the fact that, even though the weather is so cold now (and, of course, I would love some new knits and coats), I still have to wait another six months to see the clothes come into store!
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