Sunday, 29 November 2009

Atelier Annick - luxury handbag designer

Whilst working as the head of the Luxury Goods Department at the Financial Times newspaper in Paris, Annick Adjo spotted a gap in the market of high quality handbags and accessories. Annick decided to create her own exclusive handbag label “Atelier Annick” which would fuse the vibrancy of Africa whist maintaining the high quality craftsmanship of Europe.
The inspiration for this eclectic mix is down to Annick’s own cultural background. Born and raised in Paris, French chic comes naturally along with the preference of good quality products and attention to detail. This is reflected in her collection which only uses the finest leather from Italy and France with luxurious silks. Annick’s strong ties to the Cote D’Ivoire through her parents bring an African influence to her designs. Annick states: “I went to visit my relatives in the Ivory Coast, and was really struck by the creativity there – the art, sculptures, colours and textures – and by the quality of the craftsmanship. I started looking around and I discovered this incredibly talented man who makes woven strips, called Kente. They became a signature theme for my bags”
At this September’s pop-up showcase hosted by micro-boutique hotel 40WiNKS, Annick launched her Spring/Summer 2010 collection “Riviera Glam”. This collection recalls the opulence and artistry of the French Riviera. The collection comprises of two new ranges standing alongside her classic signature line. The ranges are Bassam and Opeli. Bassam is a large day tote made of especially treated raffia and fringed with luxurious Italian leather. The choices of colour are natural/aqua and natural/beige. With the tote is a matching purse to ensure complete co-ordination.
The Opeli at £265 is a versatile evening clutch in gold Italian leather with a detachable gold chain. There are 2 separate inside compartments .Depending on the occasion and the outfit worn the clutch can be held 3 ways: 1. as a shoulder bag with the gold chain 2. As a handbag using the wooden handles. And 3 as a clutch with the wooden handles folded and the chain detached.
Since launching her label over a year ago, Annick has celebrated several achievements, one of which was the Best Start Up Business at the Precious Awards in Nov 2008 - these awards recognise enterprises by women of colour. Since then she has exhibited at the highly acclaimed PrĂȘt a Porter show in Paris and also the London and Paris Fashion Week in 2009.

One of Annick’s designs, Bebe, has developed a following and now has a waiting list thanks to Cheryl Cole who bought it in red. This patent leather handbag is made of zebra print pony skin with caramel lining and costs £725. It also comes in brown and black. No mean feat for a new designer!

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

New Jewellery Designer- Katherine Wardropper

In 2007, Katherine Wardropper won the “Most on Trend Product” at the Pulse Design Awards. This prestigious award recognises designers who display excellence in product design and innovation.
Her style is definitely innovative as she carefully hand-constructs 3-D patterns using a developed “Sculptural Fabric Technique”. The result is corrugated loops of fabric placed together and decorated with beads and crystals. These designs are then used to create unique and timeless sculptural pieces for high-end fashion jewellery and interior designs.
Jewellery consists of delicate brooches, neckpieces, earrings, hairpieces and belts.
At September’s pop-up showcase hosted by micro-boutique hotel 40WiNKS, Katherine was one of six designers exhibiting their collections. This eclectic and chic location was a perfect backdrop for her larger than life statement jewellery pieces. Each piece conjured up their own fantasy image of swirling wedding cakes, Victorian lace, bejewelled snowflakes or elizabethan ruffles.
Katherine worked at the English Eccentrics studio from early 2006 as a guest designer where she collaborated with them in creating and developing fabric sculpture pieces for their “Fairy Tale of London” A/W 06 collection. Below is the quill necklace designed for that collection. The design represent snowflakes from Hans Christian Andersen’s Ice Queen. Materials used are satin polyester , beads and crystals. Other pieces created for the collection were brooches, belt and hair accessoriesin a palette of red, white or black.
In addition to these larger than life statement pieces Katherine has developed a 'Diffused Range' catering for the commercial market – These can be bought from places such as Kabiri at Selfridges Oxford St and the National Gallery Trafalgar Square. She also offers a commission based service producing bespoke or limited edition pieces specifically hand-crafted to suite the client's needs and specifications. Prices range from £200-£2000 upwards depending on materials, size and creativity. All pieces are created in her London Studio. For more stockists and details on her bespoke service visit
From her design pieces, Katherine creates wall hangings and decorative touches to furniture such as mirrors, cushions, tables and chairs. She can also create bespoke set pieces for theatre and window displays. Cream, white or light coloured designs are a great way to create a fairytale and fantasy wonderland for weddings. Katherine advises: “Using different colours really changes the illusion of my work. My wall hangings of sugar pink and baby blue satins conjure images of the Mad Hatters tea parties treats and sweets”. For a more dramatic look, change the colour to a darker hue or stark black – great for themed parties.
Katherine states: “Due to the technique, it is a constantly developing organic process therefore I am always open to new ways of incorporating my technique in collaboration with other designers and artists. “. And her most current collaboration is working with award winning costume designer Sandy Powell on the Shakespearean film “The Tempest” starring Helen Mirren. - Now that is “such stuff as dreams are made on”!


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