We chatted, we reminisced and we coveted all the home, fashion and vintage treasures at our AW13 press day yesterday. Some of the biggest names in interior & fashion journalism joined us for an intimate showcase at the beautiful listed venue of Il Bottacio off Hyde Park. Arguably our most nostalgic collection yet, next season celebrates our diamond 60th anniversary with an explosion of nostalgic prints from the past re-launched and modernised for today. The show was received with sheer delight and we hope our dear customers love it too! Here is our round up of the best bits…
Berry and vanilla smoothies served up at press day- yum.
First stop was a tribute to our rich past and heritage: a pop up archive curated by history extraordinaire Angela (our London archivist). Divided into decades, we took journalists on a journey through time from our oldest item (the Pelham scarf printed on Laura and Bernard’s kitchen table in 1953) through to the contemporary designs of the noughties. This was a rare chance to enjoy our most sacred vintage fashion, admire our past prints, old Ashley family photographs and personal pieces from Mrs Ashley’s very own china collection. Note Bernard’s large antique carved wooden chest filled with Laura Ashley textiles and the porcelain doll made in the likeness of Laura Ashley from Christmas 1984. We even created a mock room set adorned with 80′s home collection ‘Alba Roses’ and showcased the original 70’s uniform of burgundy & white printed aprons and a frilly hat. Taking any of you back?!
Vintage lover Liz Tregenca arrived at the press day dressed head to toe in this incredible vintage Laura Ashley dress
A3 black and white print of Laura and Bernard Ashley receiving the Queen’s award for export in 1977
Bernard Ashley’s antique carved wooden chest
Alba Roses roomset from the 80′s
After a trip down memory lane, step this way for our new home collections with nostalgic inspiration. Big story for the season is that we are re-releasing some of your adored prints from the past! Last year we asked our facebook fans what their favourite prints were from days gone by. We listened and we’ve supplied… Heritage prints ‘Clarissa’ (1999), ‘Mr Jones’ (1984), ‘Emma’ (1984) and ‘Ironwork Scroll’ (1993) are all being resold in their original colour ways for Autumn along with a handful of new carefully produced colourations including shades of duck egg, amethyst, cranberry and dove grey. Do the original prints bring back any memories? Also creating a stir and new to the home furnishings range is the ‘Pelham’ print (taken from the earliest print design crafted by Mrs Ashley on her kitchen table and originally a head scarf) available as a wallpaper and fabric design. Named after the company’s first London store on Pelham street, which opened in 1968. Although our oldest design we marveled with press at how fresh and modern it still feels today.
Mr Jones print is back! Here is a new cranberry colourway.
The ‘Pelham’ print now available in different shades of wallpaper and fabric.
You can also get the Pelham print on made to order shades.
Other big home stories were our 5 new collections, each offering something entirely fresh and different; ‘Cranberry Peony’ with it’s beautiful drawn peonies offering a grown up feel, ‘Amethyst Peony’ mixing scattered peony heads with our heritage ironwork scroll print exuding confidence and style; ‘Leaf’ our big trend story with botanical inspired motifs, large scale + graphic mixed leaf prints; ‘Markings’ with perennial animal themed prints in luxe shades of linen, mink and touches of pewter for sheer opulence; and ‘Cool Coral’ (a new shade for us) mixing hand drawn flowers and painterly fabrics for a pretty and feminine story…
AW13 home story ‘Leaf’.
Wallpaper print in the ‘Leaf’ collection. Including Pelham in Natural.
AW13 home story ‘Cool Coral’.
AW13 home story ‘Markings’
Liz our Head of Home Buying sitting in the Hydrangea roomset- a print which has been recoloured in duck egg for the new season.
Anyone for a cuppa? The new ‘Peony Amethyst’ print on this pretty china
And pieces capturing the eye of the press? Rose gold ‘Arielle’ furniture (an entirely new finish for us!) injecting some glamour into our ‘Cool Coral’ home story, beautiful new metallic hammered frames and lamp bases, the stunning crystal ‘Lotus’ lamp base and the limited edition Heritage print mugs and candles…
Metallic hammered frames and lamp bases.
The popular crystal lotus lamp
Heritage mugs and candles.
Fast forward into the fashion room where Helen (our Head of Design) and Sandra (Head of Buying) talked press through our to-die-for new style stories, taking a dynamic new print direction with striking ikat and folky prints, accessorised with statement costume jewellery and buttery soft leather bags.
Injecting some sparkle into the new season was our Christmas occasion wear offering (trophy sequined tops and peter pan beaded collars) guarantee to get you noticed at this year’s festive party line up. For a more casual feel this Christmas, we are can’t wait to cosy up by the fire in our irresistibly cosy red knits, chunky weight sweaters and duffle coats with playful check lining.
Continuing our love affair with the past a ‘Twiggy-esque’ photograph from the archive offered the inspiration behind swinging 60’s collection ‘Heritage’ (with geo monochrome prints) standing loud and proud in our fashion room, catching the eye of fashion virtuosos from Prima and Woman + Home. Another grand salute to heritage print Pelham is the rerelease of the original ‘Pelham’ silk scarf that Laura and Bernard Ashley first made during our humble beginnings!
We wonder which of our stylish new pieces you can expect on the pages of our favourite fashion titles next season? Which items from photos below have caught your eye? We’d love to hear your thoughts below…