There's Nothing like a New Year.
2012 is here….
(Fireworks over Big Ben)
I like nothing more than the start of a new year. Fireworks exploding with much gusto, Champagne corks popping, ridiculous New Year resolutions being made that will never be kept, Auld Lang Syne being sung, mainly out of tune due to a little too much drink and an overwhelming feeling of good spirits. It gives me the wonderful feeling that new opportunities, new beginnings and new adventures are all about to start. And this new year is no exception, for I feel full of energy and optimism that it is going to be a fabulous year, difficult in some ways perhaps, but jolly good in other ways !!
Maybe it was all the sea air I breathed in at Christmas time clearing out the cobwebs in my old brain, that has given me so much verve – but whatever it is I feel like bouncing into the new year with much vigour and enthusiasm, ready to face whatever comes my way with vibrance and passion. Sounds rather dangerous!
So let me tell you about all the exciting plans for Carolyn de la Drapiere this year. Oh but before I do, I must tell you ladies, that this Christmas, I discovered Dorset. Indeed Yes !
Dorset at Christmas time was lovely. Our tiny cottage by the sea with its roaring fire and old beams set the scene for a perfect English Christmas. You see, I am still thrilled to have cold Christmases after all the hot humid ones of the southern hemisphere. Cosiness with a log fire, a roast Christmas dinner that doesn't make one break into a sweat whilst cooking it, as it does in the sizzling Australian heat, Christmas lights twinkling from real Christmas trees that are beautiful and perfume the room with a delicate forest scent – divine. All goes to making Christmas a wonderful time for me.
When I was a child growing up in Australia and New Zealand, the Christmas cards at the time were somewhat ludicrously traditional English cards – depicting scenes so far removed from the reality of life as we knew it. They were the stereotypical cards of pretty little thatched roofed cottages surrounded by holly trees. Robins sat decoratively about twittering away, and then of course a light powdering of snow made the whole scene look so magical that it seemed like fairyland. As a child with a very active imagination I always thought that this was how Christmas should really be and that for some reason or another we were missing out on the real thing, what with our hot days and scorching sand at the beach, where we typically spent our Christmas day having a BBQ and swimming!
Likewise was my immense fascination with castles – only read about in story books. These amazing labyrinths of rooms and corridors, seeping with intrigue and romance fuelled my fertile mind and to this day I never tire of looking through one. So imagine my absolute delight, when rounding a corner one day last week whilst on a drive through the Dorset country side, to see a gorgeous old castle sitting majestically amongst the trees and lush green fields dotted with pristine white sheep.
My childhood fantasies, of princesses locked in turrets with dashing young men bounding up on white stallions to rescue them and gallop away to some fabulous place, all came back to me!
(I love the symmetry of this castle – wonderful shape, beautiful grounds – think I could live here quite easily! )
But Dorset is not all about castles and fairy tales, oh no, for it is also the home of the brilliant Thomas Hardy, an author who is known for his very realistic tales of hardship and struggle.
(Thomas Hardy – The realist)
His Characters often seem to be in the somewhat overwhelming and indeed overpowering grip of fate and are mostly viewed as tragic – struggling against their passions and social circumstances. No fairy tale endings with Hardy. Quite frankly, I have decided life is too short to read any more of him and have therefore not opened one of his somewhat depressing tomes since teaching, many years ago, 'Far from the Madding Crowd' to a class of somewhat cynical 18 year olds studying the depths of moral responsibility in relation to tragedy. All a bit much I am afraid, and I shall leave him tucked away in Dorchester where he lived and died.
(Max Gate – The home of Thomas Hardy)
Dorset I discovered has fabulous coastal scenery. And it was in the discovery of this, that I also discovered that I am not as hardy as I thought I was. Picture the scene of a lovely little coastal village with a fabulous hill set high above it, and the suggestion being made that the hill should be climbed to see the view from above !
The sun is shining, the day is mild and the idea sounds nothing short of blissful. Imagine however, ten minutes later, being half way up the hill on a particularly steep incline, the weather has turned nasty, sheets of heavy rain pelt down, a strong wind is blowing and the top seems miles away. The hill has turned into a mountain and the whole experience is no longer that much fun. Does one turn and run down, or do you soldier on with the fortitude of Sir Edmund Hilary and get to the top?
Not to be beaten by a bit of rain, heavy as it may be, or head-on winds, I sallied forth only to find myself being overtaken by hardened hikers in full wet weather gear, spiked boots and professional walking sticks! They'd obviously checked out the weather forecast first! Soaked to the skin and somewhat puffed I saw the view, the sun came out and all was jolly again – until one had to face the somewhat slippery and extremely muddy slide back down that intrepid hillside!
Oh ladies, let me tell you, I am one for luxury, but a little mud doesn't hurt on the odd occasion!!
So as for the fashion in Dorset….. well, I never really saw any. Just vast amounts of walking gear on people that certainly had their kit together – though I always love checking out the different coats, scarves, gloves and hats that women put together. It was in Lyme Regis that I made the greatest fashion discovery of the week. A hat shop stuffed full of the most fabulous handmade hats imaginable. Owned by a very creative lady, Alison Tutcher, who literally whipped hats up from all sorts of old mismatched pieces of fabric and sweaters – the place was an Aladdin's cave of original pieces. How I love finding people who make completely different things from the norm. It is always inspiring and of course, being the hat lover that I am, I just had to try on lots of those fancy pieces of frippery and succumb to the odd one or two – or three!
(Pop Goes the Weasel – Hat Shop by the Sea)
And now to the New Year. What does it hold?
Well ladies, look out for some fantastic events coming up. I am planning a fabulous afternoon tea in May with a full jazz band and dazzling fashion show. What fun to sip Prosecco, tap one's foot to a little funky rhythm and watch as ladies strut down the catwalk in glamorous curvy clothes for the summer season. Joining us on the catwalk will be a full lingerie show by a local designer – what fun that will be seeing pretty bras, knickers and basques being sexily shown off by some gorgeous models.
And what would a fashion show be without some handsome men? A range of menswear will also be modelled by some dapper gentleman, just to give a bit of balance to the afternoon's events !
In contrast to the luxury and delicacy of sipping tea from fine china, comes the outrageous and absolutely hilarious photoshoot with the London Welsh Rugby team. Nothing like some big beefy boys and a curvaceous model to make some sparks fly!
You may wonder what on earth I am doing with a rugby team? Well dear readers, my interests are many and varied and watching rugby is another little pastime I rather enjoy…. so why not sponsor a rugby team and have some fun with a photoshoot?
And besides, we all need, as you will agree ladies, a little bit of 'rough' in our lives!
(London Welsh at Old Deer Park)
Another big photoshoot is coming up in February with the amazing Italian photographer Alessandro Capocetti. He is absolutely brilliant and will capture our summer collection beautifully. We are doing the shoot on a catwalk to enable us to video each item as well, so that you will be able to see the clothes from all angles as the model walks and turns and spins ! All very new and exciting.
The list goes on throughout the year and I shall keep you well posted of events and promotions coming up.
But to start the New Year let me introduce the brand new page on the website dedicated to the studio, with lots of new pictures, and an incredible video clip as photographed by Alessandro… the photos are soft, subtle and simply gorgeous!
Check out the tool bar along the top of the website to find the new 'studio'section.
As we have more and more women (and the odd man) coming to the studio to buy clothes and enjoying the experience, we thought it would be fun to give those of you who cannot come to visit us a better 'virtual' tour of where we are and what we all look like. So click on the link below for a full tour of our 'little hidden shop of luxury' for curvy women.
As I swing open the doors to the New Year, I wonder what this year will bring?
I feel like bursting forth, full of enthusiasm and with new aspirations bounce down the stairs of that lovely castle with great ebullience, ready to tackle new challenges and goals head on!
The grand doors to Lulworth Castle – How I would love to swing them open, run down the stairs singing the song that Julie Andrews sings from The sound of Music as she escapes from the Abbey….
'What will the day be like – I wonder…..?'
But I would change it to – 'What will the year be like?'
– I do wonder!
Happy New Year to all my dear readers. I hope it brings much happiness, health and goodness to each and every one of you!!
I will leave you with a couple of silly pics of me trying on hats in Alison's fab shop!!
(I really liked this Cloche design)
(And as for this look…. not too sure!!! But the hat is cute!)
HAPPY NEW YEAR
(Sunset over the Dorset coast)