Happy Monday everybody. I’m comfortably back in the North after my hectic time last week. So, picking up where we left off, I arrived in London with just enough time to get to the hotel and change. I knew it was pretty close to Covent Garden tube but when I got above ground Google maps wouldn’t work on my phone so there was nothing else for it but to take a cab…or…a rickshaw – made me smile!
So which outfit did I decide on in the end? I went for the blazer and bistro crops with a statement necklace to bring the classic look up to date a bit. Excuse the selfie – my hotel room was really dark so I had to stand in a cupboard to take it!
I felt especially welcome when I arrived because my lecture theatre was called the Garnett Theatre – definitely a good omen! The lecture went really well which is always a relief – I have a horror of looking round and seeing a sea of blank faces but they were a lively crowd and had lots of questions which always makes it easier.
Despite being shattered, I didn’t sleep very well in the hotel – I hate aircon – so woke up feeling pretty tired. The Waldorf by the way is very snazzy downstairs but the rooms are pretty average for something that’s rated 5 star. Apart from its location, I wouldn’t recommend it.
Friday morning was great, just such a treat to be in Covent Garden with only myself to please for a while. I had a leisurely breakfast at Balthazar reading lots of newspapers which reminded me of trips to New York. Next stop was Knightsbridge for a long overdue catch up with an old friend. Jayne was the last of the marketing assistants that I trained at Selfridges so she is a bit of a protegée. Whilst I left to do the family thing, she’s flown up the career path and is now Head of PR & Marketing at Gant. We’ve tried to meet up over the years but for one reason or another, always end up cancelling so it was really good to finally get together. Here she is looking amazing even though she’d just flown in from San Francisco the night before.
(Jayne’s wearing Banana Republic & Zara by the way).
Now I haven’t told many people I know that I’m blogging. As I think I’ve mentioned before, I get the feeling from friends and family that they think I could be doing something more worthwhile with my time so I’ve stopped mentioning it. So, when Jayne offered to show me the new range, she was thinking only of our shared love of retail… but… the chance to take some photos was too good an opportunity to turn down, especially when she told me that no other blogger has seen the new look. So here you are, an EXCLUSIVE UK PREVIEW of Autumn/ Winter 2014.
I should fill you in a bit first. Before I went to see Jayne I didn’t really have an opinion about Gant other than it being a brand I’d noticed in department stores, a bit like Ralph Lauren but with something about it that said ‘golf course.’ (Sorry Jayne if you’re reading this – I told you I’d be honest). Anyway, for A/W 2014 they have a new designer and I can honestly say that when Jayne went to make a coffee and left me to try the new clothes on, they were SO midlife chic that I had an emotional reaction to them. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous but you know when you put something on and you really don’t ever want to be parted from it – a Cinderella moment I suppose – well it was like that. I could only try the jackets because everything was about a size 6 / 8 (not a hope for the trousers then!) but the tailoring is supreme, they’ve really paid attention to the cloth so that it flatters your figure. Here are some pictures.
The first pic was a selfie because I hadn’t told Jayne about the blog at this point. Lovely orange coat, the colour, quality and texture of the wool somehow made me look less tired which would be a great thing in winter.
Gorgeous tweed jacket (with light and dark blue in the cloth so it would work really well with lots of colours)
This was the only piece I didn’t think was worth the price tag – a parka which was great quality but retails for about £395 – maybe I just picked up the wrong colour but it did nothing for me.
Fab navy tuxedo style jacket with satin lapel for nights out
And finally (on me) a biker that was the softest wool and just lighter than navy – the shade that doesn’t drain all the colour from your complexion
And here are some clothes on some far more elegant ladies – aren’t they great. This styling reminds me of Aubin & Wills – such a shame that disappeared.
The thing is that Gant isn’t a fast fashion fix. The jackets I was trying on were all about £250 – but I do think that jackets make an outfit. When you’re wearing something as well cut as this, you can make up the rest of your look from Top Shop and you’re still going to look a million dollars. I think a good jacket is the thing that sets the women apart from the girls – especially if you’re working. I always remember being in awe of the 40-something women in great suits when I was first starting out in my career – they seemed to have, and know, it all. Now I realise they were probably just juggling madly but their soignée appearance was their disguise. Would I buy one? Yes I genuinely would, maybe I’d invest in one each season like I do with cashmere – I’d be torn between the tweed and the tux whilst chanting things like ‘investment’ and ‘cost per wear’ to Mr MC!
It was hard to leave but Jayne needed to head off to a do at The Dorchester! My next meeting was cancelled so I tried to pop into Harrods to buy a little treat to take home for the boys but they wouldn’t let me in with my suitcase (stupid policy which made me mutter Horrids as it was referred to when we worked at Selfridges). So that was enough of Knightsbridge for me, I do think it’s an architecturally ugly part of London anyway and that it’s becoming really shabby. I jumped back onto the tube to Long Acre and midlifechic mecca (Whistles, Cos, Hobbs, Jigsaw, White Company, Zara, Reiss, Massimo Dutti, even M&S all in one road). It’s never a good idea to go straight back to the high street when you’ve been playing with luxury brands though!
Do you have a single destination that houses all your favourite brands or do you rely (as I do most of the time) on the web? It was lovely to hear from so many of you last week – do keep commenting – I love all the conversations that we’re starting.
(This is an honest review by the way – I haven’t been paid or offered anything in return. Yes, Jayne is my friend so I wouldn’t have written a bad review, if I hadn’t liked the product I simply wouldn’t have mentioned that I’d been there. Clothes shown will be available from Gant and in stores such as John Lewis from September 2014).