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{ Fashion Friday } Love Luella

Posted by Abbey on Nov 25, 2011

Luella Bartley I heart thee.

The poster girl for Chelsea style and Cornwall cool. I once even emailed her royal fabulousness to tell her so. I got a reply {not from her probsy}, but nevermind, I was in heaven.

Starting her working life in fashion journalism on the Evening Standard, Vogue, The Face and Dazed & Confused  {not a bad roll call, huh?} led Luella {like a siren call} to her first love of design, closely followed by a catwalk debut in 2000 {supported financially by the backing of a close friend} life in all in all sounded so perfect. According to the stylist, Katie Grand, Luella decided to launch her own label one night when they were both out on the lash {see why I love her so?}.

My idol grew up in Stratford Upon Avon {she has said that not coming from London helped her succeed} and when she started out she famously stated that she made "the kind of clothes you can get drunk and fall over in" {so my kinda gal}. So what was it that drew so many of us to this blonde designer? Whose bag {The Gisele she designed in collaboration with Mulberry thus totally reviving the ailing brand}
Maybe it was her whimsical and total "don't take me seriously attitude" the names of her shows have always been inspired: Dial F for Fluoro; Daddy I want a Pony; Cowboys and Indians at Glastonbury..or maybe it was the fact that we could all access her via her first collection for high street store New Look for spring/summer 2002 {starting the designer\ high street collaborations} whatever it was, it worked, liked magic and before long Luella was everywhere and success took her global, staying in New York for five years and showing at New York Fashion Week, but in 2007 she returned to her roots to show in London and opened a new shop on Brook Street.

Here are some of my highlights {being immortalised by Fifi Lapin is a dream of mine btw}...

And so it went, with the signature style prom dresses becoming uniform for young female songstresses from Lily Allen to Kate Nash. Trademark girly with a whole lot of twee thrown in for good measure. which is why it was a very sad day on 10 November 2009, it was reported that Luella had ceased trading.

Losing their backer {Studio 21} coupled with our being a recession. Not good news for any brand but for a brand who spends £200k on shop rent alone....So what of the designer who was lauded for striking the perfect balance between alternative cheek and Establishment chic..

Well it is a totally harsh lesson to all of us girls {and everyone in business} having brilliant concepts, beautiful designs, a great client list, endless PR and being the darling of all things Brit just isn't going to hit it long term and sustainably if you are not covering the bottom line. Each business decision must be made with financial forecastings first and foremost {I HEAR you, believe me this does not come naturally to me either}..

So what now? Luella is still in Cornwall and designing, raising her children, living the good life and taking on a number of projects each year, her most lucrative to date being Luella's Guide to English Style which I totally recommend buying if you haven't already..and last year she was awarded an MBE and who knows in the future her fabulous designs may adorn our shops and shoulders once more..

Design. Paper. Textiles. Pretty. Lovely.


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6 comments on “{ Fashion Friday } Love Luella

  1. Amy Watson on said:

    I have a Gisele! would never part with it, its the only “it” bag i have ever owned! I was always hoping to go on a splurge at the Luella shop at Bicester Village but it wasn’t meant to be. so sad. Thank you for reminding me how much I loved the brand!


    • awww me too amy makes me sad! and also makes me remember that success can end just as easily as its earned.

      hope you have had a lovely weekend xx

  2. Annabel - Love My Dress Wedding Blog on said:

    I LOVE Luella Bartley, I got her Guide to English Style for Christmas last year and read it all in practically one session. Love love love it.

    This is a stark reminder to me that I really need to get that 2 year financial forecast sorted, like, right now.



    • i knowww!!!! its a stark reminder (that i sometimes forget when i take “exciting” projects on) that it HAS to be the bottom line that makes every (business) decision xx

  3. Eve (For Eve) on said:

    I have the black floral dress with the black lace edging I adore it and is my special dress, perfect for any occasion. So sad ;(