The Mystery of Liz Jones.
There was great excitement in the Carolyn de la Drapiere studio – the inimitable Liz Jones was coming to visit and take a look at our new collection. The date and time had been set through a series of emails and the preparations began! Previous appointments and plans for the day were altered and changed as the afternoon was set aside for this most exciting of visits.
Now as you know girls, Liz Jones is renowned as a fashion expert, a popular columnist and a very opinionated writer, so it with some trepidation that we readied ourselves for her visit. It was an honour for us to have our clothes viewed by a woman who frequents every fashion show in the world, who knows most major designers personally and who is herself a model of perfect fashion sense. It was refreshing that someone within the realms of 'normal' sizes was taking fashion for more curvaceous women seriously. We were therefore all determined to make her visit enjoyable, as well as gain some valuable feedback from such an expert in the field.
The day drew nearer and the preparations became more intense, ridiculous really, but I am sure you know what it is like when a special guest is expected. The showroom and workroom were both spring cleaned from top to bottom – not that they really needed it, the winter flower pots on the window sills were replaced with new spring bulbs, the windows were polished twice as much as usual to gleam in the morning sun and the carpets were given an ultra deep clean.
Knowing Liz loves animals as much as I do but guessing her dogs were probably groomed to perfection on a daily basis, my dog Buttons, who is always at work with me, was given a thorough scrubbing with my best shampoo, and was brushed to within an inch of her life! So resplendent was she, that no less than a first at Crufts would have sufficed for her state of immaculateness!
It was as if Her Majesty the Queen herself was coming to visit. And of course, being the hostess that I am, we availed ourselves of the finest selection of organic teas and coffees, not to mention dried fruits and nibbles that we knew Liz could eat, as we had been told she had very particular dietary requirements and only ate organic. Every conceivable option had therefore been considered.
The day arrived beautiful and sunny. My staff looked the very picture of respectability, all beautifully dressed with not a hair out of place. Gone were the jeans and casual tops you will usually find us toiling away in – hard at work, but in their place were pretty dresses and smart shoes, hair was styled and the lipstick was on. We were all ready to meet Liz.
The hour of the appointment came and went, another hour passed, and another and yet another. The day ended and not a word from our visitor! Had she fallen ill? Had she had an accident? Had a more exciting offer for the afternoon come along? Had she forgotten? Or did she just decide we were not worth the effort after all ?
We may never ever know, for we never heard from her again, despite sending her a polite email the next day, enquiring as to whether she was in fact okay or what had indeed happened? Not a note of explanation nor of apology, just a complete 'no show' .
Now girls, those of you who know me well, know I am fairly easy going and don't get ruffled easily. And being in business one has to have a thick skin and be tough enough to handle the knocks and setbacks that come our way on a regular basis. A complete lack of manners, however, is one thing I never cease to be flabbergasted by.
It was therefore with great amusement that a few weeks ago I saw Liz Jones splashed across the front page of the ' Daily Mail' asking the question ' Is Liz Jones turning into Kate Middleton? And I had to laugh. Somehow I think not. The very respectable Kate I am sure would be far too polite and well mannered not to email or phone regarding a change of plan or to indeed send a note of apology.
So girls, once again, I am left with the feeling that those of us, who like cleverly cut designs that fall beautifully over a curvaceous body, and who like 'unpopular' sleeves in our dresses, and who always like our hemlines below our knees are once again looked upon as the outcasts of the fashion world!
A well off, curvaceous business woman in her late 30's said to me rather despondently just this week, 'I have the money to spend on beautiful clothes, I enjoy fashion and want to look up to date and glamorous, but the choices available are so limited that I sometimes despair. If 47% of the female population are a size 16 and over why doesn't the fashion world take this market seriously? – Thank goodness I found you! (Which was lovely of her to add!)
It is of course a question that is asked frequently and one I cannot answer. The one thing I can say however, is that I love my job dressing women in gorgeous, fabulous clothes that make them feel confident and vibrant. I love the smiles of women who are initially shocked at seeing themselves in an amazing creation but then feel so good knowing they can go to the ball looking like a princess or indeed the wedding of their son or daughter looking like the proud mother that they are, in a outfit to shine in. It is a job full of rewards.
( A magical feathered top for a very glamorous customer who was off to a party!)
And as for our non visit from Liz? Well, we've all had a jolly good laugh about it since – the studio had it's spring clean a little sooner than planned, and Buttons smelt like roses for the rest of the week and despite the fact we are all back in our casual work clothes, we have been having luxurious morning teas with all that fine organic tea, coffee and dried fruit every day since. It matters not one jot.. for life moves on, with new people coming continuously into our lives and new exciting adventures always beckoning!
Thanks to all our customers who knew the visit was due to take place and have enquired about how it went. You now have your answer!