Friday, 26 February 2010

My holiday at London Fashion Week

My eerily calm few days as the label is launched with Vauxhall Fashion Scout

In comparison to the chaos that led up to LFW week, the whole presentation of the collection for four days was unexpectedly calm. No more sewing, spreadsheets, invites, printing, stuffing envelopes etc just plain old chatting, eating cake and drinking tea. Lovely.

I rocked up at the Freemasons' Hall on Friday for set up. Having left the Island at 6am to meet the printers down the road and get my button holes done by Mr buttonhole (D.M. Buttons just off Berwick street) before set up at 4pm.

I of course was early for everything, turning up at the Freemasons' around the time of David Komas' show. His glamorous entourage gliding past my disheveled self, laden with half my collection (covered with bin bags) on one arm and a giant ironing board on the other. It took me a while to persuade the door staff that I actually was a designer and not a homeless person looking for a bed for the night.

The space looked lovely and I managed to get my stuff set up before most other designers arrived. I had about 5 times as much stuff too. It was like trying to pack for my holidays and I hadn't been all.

The full set of china tea cups, saucers and teapot and 100 penguin cakes were of course a necessity. Five different types of tape might have been a bit much and a full styling kit for the workforce (me plus one) could probably have stayed at home too...never mind.

Can you tell me how many other designers served tea and Penguin cakes at their exhibitions

Also I might add, great branding. The cakes in turn transformed the tongues of the cake victims blue, so as a bystander would recognize a Stella McCartney guest by their goody bag, a CHARLOTTE TAYLOR guest was distinguishable by the colour of their tongue...genius. next victim..

When dad arrived with mum and a very hungover disruptive brother in tow I donned him with my specially made penguin bow-tie and stood back to admire.

Within two minutes of arriving dad was chatting up all the pretty girls including my designer next door neighbor, who apparently already knew who he was because she had read my blog and much to dad's despair I reference his antics on a regular basis..this new found fame clearly canceled it out and dad was grinning as he circled the room chatting to everyone (as he always does) as if they were his long lost friend.

My bro demanded tea putting the wet cup down on my new lookbook (good one) and ate too many cakes and leaving a hefty amount of crummage around my area.

Mum was angelic as always and still recovering from being ill just hugged me lots.

On the whole, the exhibition went really well and I have had some great positive feedback so far.

Fingers crossed for the next steps.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

The storm before the calm

A glimpse at the carnage that lead up a surprisingly relaxing London Fashion week

Preparations and multi tasking the weeks before LFW

This is a photo from the Freemasons' Hall in the room where the exhibition took place. This is a before picture. It's an amazing building and a great space. Every detail around us had a story and a purpose. Very Da Vinci Code. My grandpa was a Freemason so I am very into their history and it felt fitting to be launching my business from this building. Gramps would have liked that I think.

Back on the island as the CHARLOTTE TAYLOR chaos began snowballing through the Isle of Wight I found some great people who crazily wanted to jump on board and help me out.
One of these loonies was Becky Ball.
Becky lives in my village and also attends OAP yoga on Mondays (Apparently when they arrived late one time my dad clapped them in...smooth). Becky helped me out on a number of things:
1. Beckys' dad owns the local waxworks museum in our village (don't ask) which has just closed to be developed into flats. I was looking for stuffed birds to use in my lookbook photo shoot (don't ask) and low and behold it turns out that there are about 500 of them in my tiny village 100m down the road...of course why wouldn't there be.

The whole place was in fact a treasure trove filled with historic clothes, artifacts, cars and of course wax people.

I'm not gonna lie, I was a bit creeped out when a lonely head could be found left on a stray table eyeballing me as I weighed up the pro's and cons of orange bird vs green bird. The whole scenario was weird yet somehow typically and beautifully Isle of Wight.

2. Cakes
Becky in her spare time is a cake making extraordinaire.
She made me Penguin cakes and mini bite sized cakes in the colours of my collection for all my LFW guests. I'm sure you'll agree they're pretty special.
Becky's services are available for hire and you can contact her at: or on +44 (0)7733 104 894

I will put more photos of the cakes at the show in my next blog.

It was then onto the photoshoot up in London, which I have talked about before so I won't bore you. I hope you agree though that the shots are lovely and the styling and make up are 'lush' (i said this a lot on the shoot and no I am not 12, my brother just refers to me as his delusional sister so I guess you all do the same). Great team and great result.

Rachel with the colour card which we shot with before each shoot to make sure all colours in each frame were coherent with the 'real' colours of the clothes.
I'm at her feet..."tweaking".

Camilla doing her bit..

Ellie and Camilla perfecting the Penguin print

It was then back to the studio to get the photos sent off to the printers, finish the collection and prepare for LFW.

One word sums it up.


Fun but messy

Tuesday, 23 February 2010



An eclectic, yet cohesive ensemble of inspirations has infiltrated Charlotte Taylor’s designs for her premiere London Fashion Week collection for AW’10.
Trashy grannies, penguins, old soap operas, movies and the eccentric within provide fuel for the fire in this bold yet elegant collection.

Dashes of colour through tweed, navy, cream and pearl, twist through folds and pleats. Weighty fabrics and concealed contrasts create clothes that flow, move and transform with the movement of life. The dresses are ripe for the winter dance’aholic’, whilst coats and capes engulf you in a sea of wool, chunky zips and head consuming hoods. Tops and blouses emblazoned with a unique penguin print make for a strong, memorable statement. Elegance is also key; as is the strength of tailoring. Lines and seams are there for a reason, subtly and beautifully accentuating the female form.

Photographer: Claire Pepper
Stylist: Ellie Cumming
Hair and make-up: Camilla Hewitt
Model: Rachel Cockerell at Models 1

I hope you like the collection as much as I do.

I dedicate it to my grandfather Harold; my biggest supporter and my buddy, who passed away in October 2009 having never seen the final outcome. Love you gramps.

For all inquiries please contact:

Thursday, 18 February 2010 WILL go to the ball!! whose idea was this whole "Fashion Label" thing anyway...

So as the days roll on they get longer and longer. Sleep is for the faint hearted I tell myself. Who needs friends? After the photo shoot on Saturday a friend actually asked me if they had put make up on and around my eyes...."No Jamie, they're just bags". Anyway enough moaning (i'm not really I love it) and move on.

So it's Monday morning and I have post (in itself very exciting especially when it's not bills). My labels were delivered whilst I was away so I pop off to the Post Office to collect. I'm excited, the labels represent the final stages and the sample ones looked great.

They are wrong

I check my emails and fortunately I have put in the correct description after having seen samples to proof. They are liable, thank god.
Unfortunately Mr Labels man seems as enthusiastic about getting the correct labels to me as a toad and has proceeded to tell me to "call back tomorrow" for an update every day since. Looks like they'll be arriving on Saturday (too late) - great.
Never mind, the alternatives will have to do...grrrrrrr.

My poor Mama has had the lurgy this week and as she finally breaks through into the realms of normality, I grab her. She is appointed head label on sewer and for a few wonderful hours we sit and peacefully sew reminiscing about her past and how she thinks I would have made a great Ice Skater (the Olympics are on and she used to be one herself)...I don't think she could be further from the truth. I have inherited my Dad's clumsy gene (which she assures me I can "keep under control") and tend to generally sew my fingers together rather than the material itself. God knows what i'd be like on ice with blades on my feet, that's asking for trouble I say. Ill stick where I am thanks.

So as I approach Saturday I have a million and one things to do and of course there is never enough time so apologize for my lack of updates but I am documenting and will show lots next week.

So I give you my last minute to-do list:

- Finish sewing on labels
- Make head scarves
- Go to town and pick up stationary and props for the exhibition
- Finish all hand sewing on garment
- Prepare Sales and Press packs for the exhibition
- Book Ferry
- Terms and conditions
- Confirm team and timings etc
- Email VFS with details of guestlists etc
- Confirm printing with printers
- Pack car and pack everything up for a week away
- Check with pals that they have managed to get hangers.

Phew and i'm sure I have forgotten stuff to write down..Better get on with it then! I am going to try and blog throughout the exhibition but will have to play it by ear so for now...wish me luck!!

Monday, 15 February 2010

Snappy Snaps R Us

Saturday 13th February 2010 - The Look Book Shoot

So two days before the shoot we find out that our island gal Fifi can not do the shoot...don't panic Charlotte. However we have the amazing Lucy on board from Models 1 who, in a jiffy mails me over some great alternatives. I send the online portfolios to the look book team and we all individually pick the same girl. She is perfect. She is Rachel.

Rachel Cockerell, a 15 year old schoolgirl from London who is just entering the modeling world and is the consummate professional, a natural and at the same time, lovely.

So Friday was a mad one. Having to book your car onto the ferry gives oneself exact deadlines for when one must exit the house. 2.45pm was my deadline and it was tight. If you can imagine an irate chicken running around its pen in circles, flapping wings and squawking uncontrollably you're about half way there. It was messy.

Dad helped me pack the car, dropping a few silk dresses out their respective bags on the way, then trying to blame me for it... By the end of the packing drama the car looked like I was trying to escort a body off the Island in my boot...I wasn't, just some stuffed birds from the local waxworks museum and a young (alive) girl who was scarily in need of some sedative and should probably be sectioned...Good afternoon north island.

So the shoot went brilliantly.
I forgot the shoes in the morning so had to SOS by bro out of bed for a quick trip into town. He popped in for 10 minutes, distracting everyone...what's this for? where does this go?, hey Charlie check this out...ha ha ha..!
Ben get that off now and go away...NOW

It took us a while to get going.
Claire insisting on getting the lighting exactly right so we could continue with the exact theme throughout. She of course was right and it looked epic.
Camilla perfecting Rachels' look: she looked stunning, really stunning.
Ellie and I having a catch up and going through all the accessories and sorting through looks.
Yasmin, my buddie and assistant not talking to anyone and slowly, yet methodically stroking the hairs off all the garments....a 5am finish that morning taking its toll. Ouch. Bless her.

The photos looked amazing. I am over the moon. The team and set-up worked seamlessly, the day was essentially fun and memorable and I want to say a huge thankyou to you all for making a girls dream come true. Hard work can pay off to London Fashion Week!!!

The photos are now in post-production and will be ready for LFW. I will post them up here soon so watch this space.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Casterton, Casterton, Casterton our school....

GCSE textiles revisited

So this weekend I sent out an SOS to my buddies. Hand sewing, spreadsheets, print layouts and banter needed in excessive doses and my oh my did they deliver...

My besties are actually mainly still from my school days at Casterton School in Lancashire. Named best value for money in the UK i.e half a sandwich for lunch and a netball court sporting one to many pot holes. We loved it though...excelling in all areas and setting an exemplary standard of conduct at all times....

Our first school buddie got married last year and being a 'frock maker' is made worth while when you can punish your pal with a red PVC swimsuit for a pre wedlock weekend of debauchery...

So the team arrived friday night. I fed and watered them, sending them to bed early for a bright and early 12pm!?!?
There were 5 troops in total and we sewed, ironed, organised and did fancy stuff on illustrator. As we would have said at school it was totally LUSH.

It brightened my weekend having the girls down, it has also broken me in gently for communication with the outside world in preparation for my exit from the house in a weeks time. For this and that I thank-you all. Love you long time xx

Saturday, 6 February 2010

The watering 2

Mac, Tea shops, Model bookers, Symbolism, Sushi and rubbish internet cafes

So after our Photoshoot meet, Camilla and I potter over to Covent Garden. We are meeting with Models 1 to discuss working with one of their new faces who is actually also an Island gal. We have a bit of time to spare so head off to Mac to look at make-up (not my forte, I try on about 10 lipsticks and end up looking like i've been rejected from the traveling circus) but Camilla has her business head on and we pick a few key colours to use in the shoot.

On our way to the modeling agency we pass a tea shop. AKA a shop solely dedicated to tea. Heaven. I buy a multi selection for a small fortune before being dragged kicking and screaming down the road.

So as Camilla and I are sat in Models 1 reception I surprisingly find myself more nervous in this scenario than most I have previously encountered. Maybe its because everyone is super human and I feel very not superhuman. The bags from sleep deprivation raising their ugly heads and oh, god, are those wrinkles and ergh, no, a grey hair......arrrrgggghhhh. Calm down nut job.
We meet with one of the bookers who is lovely and says that we can use our Island gal, Fifi as long as she agrees etc. We are over the moon. She is amazing. Now we wait.

Elated, Camilla and I head to eat Sushi and discuss the shoot. It's been a good day so far and we are hyped. Post Salmon teriaki we part ways and I head off to the Freemasons' Hall to meet the VFS team and see the exhibition space.

The Hall is unreal. The detail, phenomenal. I'm blown away. Our space is within one of the more simplistic room, which is light and airy so we're all chuffed. What a great venue.
We meet Emma, who is head of Sales for VFS and her assistant Chloe, both lovely, enthusiastic and really, really helpful. John, who is one of the directors of VFS is also there and after we tour the building and relevant spaces we sit down and talk.
Plans are put in place, advice given, questions answered and worries eased. It feels like a hugely successful counseling session. I feel cleansed and so excited. To visualize the space has realized the event in my mind. Eek.

Vauxhall Fashion Scout have also updated their website with all the designer info so take a look: CHARLOTTE TAYLOR Profile

I then head off to meet up with some of the team who will be helping me at the exhibition before jumping on the train to head back home.

Good Day.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

The watering 1

Back to back meetings for my final trip to London before D Day

Tuesdays' penultimate task sees me night training it up to London to meet Brian for our pre-exhibition de-brief. It basically involved me filling Brian in on my progress, discussing how we can push ideas further and primarily what happens and how to prepare for what happens after the exhibition is over (so I don't hit a wall of chaos having not thought it through).

It's an early start on Wednesday to meet the team for the look book shoot next weekend. They include:

Claire Pepper The photographer.
Has won young fashion photographer of the year amongst other achievements.

Ellie Grace Cumming, stylist extraordinaire
Assistant to Katy England.
Check out her shoot below with Photographer Daron Bailey

Camilla Hewitt Hair and make-up guru.

We all meet at Claire's studio in Central London at 8.30am. Claire provides us with tea and croissants and then the brainstorming begins.
- I show everyone my ideas and inspirations behind the shoot, attempting along the way to assist them in understanding the brand and what suits its image and what doesn't.
- Ellie goes through many of the practicalities, making sure that we are all clear of the shoots direction and what we want to achieve. She also adds spins on my ideas, pushing boundaries.
- Claire talks technicalities. Lighting, backdrops, cropping and post production.
- Camilla goes through the options for hair and make-up, which we don't quite pin down as we are not sure if we have secured the model we want or not at this stage.

It is so helpful for me to visualize the studio in which we will be shooting, introduce all the team to each other and see them collectively getting excited about a now shared goal and vision.
It's a strong team sheet and my tail starts wagging again.

This is going to be good. This is going to be REALLY good.