Lineapelle (Summer 2018)

I’ve recently returned from Lineapelle in Milan and thought I’d share my impressions on the emerging trends for Summer 2018. The first day was relatively quiet, so it was easier to look around the fair and see the colours, materials and trends.  As you’d expect from Lineapelle, there was a great deal of innovation and new development in leathers, particularly in the finishing.  A common theme was the mixing of different materials, textures and tones, which was inspiring and really made one think about the season with new energy.

Here are some of my first impressions of the fair:

  • Shine/sheen – patents, eighties wet look finishes and metallics in all colourings
  • Woven leathers – mixing tone on tone, combining different finishes and drawing inspiration from antique tiling
  • Printed leathers and synthetics – painterly florals and blurred florals. Stripes and camouflage are still selling well.
  • Focus on the back of materials – whether playing with colour, texture, or bonding with different fabrics to make it double faced.
  • Colour – the strength of blue, especially cobalt, mixed with the tones of brown.
  • Tone on tones – really lush saturated tones ranging from vibrant oranges and pinks to meadow greens.

The Size Issue

This season’s bags come in all different sizes from micro-mini’s that can just about carry a phone, credit card and keys, to larger everyday bags for everything else you might need during the day. On the catwalks for the summer, designers suggest you can always carry an extra bag but not just the obvious practical solution of a shopper/tote – for Celine its a very individual classic frame bag. Although the shopper/tote is still very important, there’s no clear trend on how to carry or even wear them, as they vary so greatly ( you can actually have the kitchen sink with you! ) in size and material construction .

Velvet Crush for Autumn

velvetsVelvet’s in all forms from quilted, to embossed and adorned, is one of the key fabrics for the season. Picking up on a mix of fabric influences from the eighties, the bags range from the obvious evening and occasion pieces to the everyday functional. Many have a contrasting trims, which range from exotic prints to patents.
Velvet is such a luxurious fabric, but there is several reasons why bags aren’t generally made of this material. As with any fabric with a pile, you can get serious shading issues. It is also easy to crush and mark while in manufacture. Exposure to rain leaves a mineral deposit that has to be removed as soon as possible. If you find yourself caught without an umbrella and your bag gets drenched, blot it dry using an absorbent towel. If you find your bag stains, try steaming carefully but not directly on the fabric, pat dry with a cloth and finish with a soft brush.

Where Are We Now?

made in britain

Following Friday’s shock result on leaving the EU, Britain faces serious economic challenges in the days ahead. This is particularly so in the fashion industry, which accounts for a big chunk of our intentional trade. Although we have been historically successful in exporting our goods into Europe, this is by no means a simple one way transaction. Very few handbags made in the UK are entirely from locally sourced raw materials. We rely on importing leathers and hardware from Italy and other EU states. Outside the single market manufacturers may well face tariffs on exports, as well as carrying the burden of a weaker pound and parity issues with VAT. This will inevitably effect profit margins. Crucial to this will be the speed and success the government have in renegotiating trade deals.

The EU has also been important in supporting initiatives within British fashion schools, which in turn attracted foreign students able to study here without visa restrictions. This free movement of talent has only been beneficial to our industry and helped to keep us at the forefront of design and enterprise. It now remains to be seen if the government will be willing and able to step up and fill these inevitable funding gaps.

Patents and trade marks are another area set to get more complicated for British designers as we may lose access to the Unitary patent scheme, and be forced to protect our intellectual property on a country by country basis.

Hopefully there will a positive to Brexit amidst the gloom and uncertainty. And particularly designers with small brands and small workshops may well stand the best chance on riding the storm. Only time will tell.

Making Shapes in Spring

Spring BagsAfter all the boxy styles from previous seasons, curves and circles look clean and fresh for the coming season. From hard forms from Mansur Gavriel to the soft curve of Victoria Beckham,and the fun of the new gathered roomy bag from H&M.

The Chanel Exhibition

Yesterday I went to Mademoiselle Chanel Prive exhibition at the Saathci Gallery in London. You enter the exhibition through a wild garden of beautiful flowers and shrubs, which perfectly sets the tone. Inside you get a real feel for Chanel both as a woman and a meticulous designer. A recreation of her wonderfully stylish apartment dressed with the carefully chosen objects with which she surrounded herself, offers a fascinating insight to her aesthetic. It still is as fresh and modern as when she created it. For me the best part of the exhibition is a film that dramatises Chanel coming face to face with Karl Largerfield, and their conflicting vision of how they both see the Chanel brand.

I also loved the amazing room dedicated to her first perfume Chanel No.5 which is a sensual experience no to be missed.

The exhibition runs until 4th November and is really is worth a visit.

wallclothes 2clothes-1 stairs mirror

The Colour Red?


Autumn is here and looking back at last year’s colours it seems as though we are still infatuated with red. Tones of warm reds from russet through burgundy, with the contrasting and complimentary hues of ochre and browns – all great leather colours. Porter magazine shows the continuation of these colours but with a lot more individuality, playing with textures and finishes. This season there is a real mix of nostalgic ideas from the seventies and eighties – town versus heritage country looks, details with tassels and fringing. Without thinking about what you your bag is saying, is this a road sign to the future?

Red is a classic colour especially the warmer brick and burgundy tones but what will happen next winter? Apart from all the warmth and nostalgia, could this be the perfect foil for the darker sombre shadows of winter?

The Long Tall Story

long story


Elongated silhouettes and how to carry a bag is important this Spring. Carrying your bag in new stylish ways has been seen on the catwalks for the past couple of years.  Handles and straps are not just practical but also function as decorative detail. The same handbag can serve different purposes, carried on the shoulder for every day use, or as a clutch for evenings. With designers showing their new collections over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to see how the new bags will be worn on the catwalks.


The Colours of Autumn



Autumn is now here and the shops are emphasising  the rich deep tones of claret to warm madder and red.

These colours are seen in handbags  from the luxury brands through to high street stores – mainly because red is a great colour and sells well.  But what makes this season different is that they are promoting more than one shade, showing real confidence with this colour range .




Made in Italy – Padua

I’m leading a new exciting new course based in the beautiful town of Padua, Italy from 22nd -26th September.  Made in Italy will give students and established entrepreneurs a unique opportunity to experience the whole handbag production process from initial sample through to finished product. We will be visiting a  range of manufacturers and suppliers, many of whom work with the world’s leading luxury brands.  Padua  itself has the charm of being an old historic town that even Shakespeare couldn’t ignore . September  is a great time to visit the area with the heat of the summer fading into the golden tones of Autumn.