Notes of Summer: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

January 26, 2015

“One of the things most liked about the city – apart from all its obvious attractions; the theatre, the galleries, the exhilarating walks by the river – was that so few people ever asked you personal questions.”

Summertime in London could arguably be one of the most beautiful places and times in which to be alive.  In a city where it rains 145 days of the year and where the bustling commute leaves no opportunity for eyes to meet, the slip into the seasonal spirit in Britain’s iconic capital is unlike any other in the world.

Coats are replaced by picnic blankets, coffee for bottles of wine as people flock to the beautiful green open spaces in their thousands, all with the shared aspiration of catching every last slither of light before the sun descends on the silhouette of the city’s horizon.

Smythson Spring Summer 2015 collections

Summertime in London

Smythson’s Spring Summer 2015 collections are inspired by the palette of this quintessentially British  summer; a blend of fresh hues bringing a selection of sumptuous leather bags and accessories to life. From Ascot to garden parties, the offering of refreshingly romantic pieces make the perfect companions for the season and beyond. Tones of Southbank green and English rose lend a nod to London’s summer hues – denim blue completing the trio for flawless tone-on-tone accessorising.

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The Dover Collection

From the London Sunbathing Society of the 1920s to today’s Wimbledon-goers, summer has been synonymous in England from the outset; a celebration of the valiant yet refreshingly playful. Smythson’s collections speak the same message, combining bold construction with crisp hues and relaxed shapes with bold infusions of colour. New styles play a key part in this ongoing affair; an integration of graphic lines and contrasting panels speaking to both the cool, calm and collected feeling of the city’s warmest season.

There’s something to be said about these wonderful connotations; endless opportunities, aspirations and above all a feeling of relentless expression. And as Samuel Johnson once wrote, “when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life.”

Discover the Spring Summer 2015 collections

The Mini Dover Crossbody

The Mini Dover Crossbody

Behind the Scenes: Spring Summer 2015 Mens Collections

January 20, 2015

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

‘Art is the only language that can be understood anywhere in the world.’

Being on set captures the very essence of this sentiment – from the painstaking design process to the final product, a heart-stopping moment is suddenly attained as each element falls beautifully into place.

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

From Fashion Week to seasonal campaigns, the ongoing showcase of artistry from designers is always fascinating. Hours, days; maybe years of sketching, cutting, drafting and crafting to create the perfect collection – all for it to fall magnificently into place as if by serendipity. And that’s the beauty of it. Art is the mother tongue of every resident on the planet, and each person can absorb an image and decode its story in seconds.

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

Smythson’s Spring Summer Mens collections speak a similar message – from the hand-picking of the leather from European tanneries to the last snap of the camera’s shutter – each final image hints at the long journey through the quintessence of British craftsmanship. However, as the saying goes, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words’, and it is up to its audience to depict it.

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

Behind the Scenes: Smythson Spring Summer 2015

Behind the Scenes: The Set

Behind the Scenes: The Set

Smythson Spring Summer 2015

Smythson Spring Summer 2015

 

An Enchanting Story: The Making of The Nutcracker Card

December 4, 2014

Christmas is an enchanting time here at Smythson, where adults feel like children again at the sight of the Nile Blue boxes that arrive under the Smythson tree at our New Bond Street flagship. Always one for celebrating the whimsical, this year we stepped behind the scenes of our latest paper creation – a theatrical card rendition of one of Christmas’s most enchanting tales, The Nutcracker.

‘On an enchanted Christmas Eve, under the heavy boughs of the candlelit tree, Clara battles with the Mouse King and falls in love with a handsome stranger. As the air grows colder and snowflakes begin to fall, Clara and her valiant Nutcracker take a hot air balloon ride across the frost-dusted London skyline to the glistening Land of Snow where her adventure really begins.’ In a world of Edwardian elegance, The Nutcracker is recreated in Smythson form; each quirky character brought to life in our make-your-own theatrical Christmas card.

We stepped behind the scenes to discover the magic behind the craft with our stationery designer.

The Smythson Nutcracker Card

The Smythson Nutcracker Card

What was the inspiration for the card?

I have always been fascinated by the traditional paper and wooden miniature children’s theatres, and Christmas seemed the perfect occasion to design an extra special greeting card, especially as many of us take the theatre trip over the holidays!

Research

Research

How did it all start?

Research, research, research! Traditional paper, miniature children’s theatres, the stage facade – you name it! The Nutcracker Ballet was a natural choice – a traditional Christmas story that many of us will see over the Christmas period (not to mention I wanted to draw the sugar plum fairy). I then delved into ballet company archives to find inspiration for the scenes, characters and costumes.

The initial sketches

The initial sketches

What happened next?

After the initial sketches, I began the actual artwork for the backdrops and the characters. The technical design for the paper construction required several mock ups to get right. I chose to portray the opening party scene in Clara’s beautiful home, where a giant Christmas tree takes centre stage surrounded by presents. For the change of scenery, I chose the land of sweets – the perfect scene for the sugar plum fairy to make her grand entrance.

Cutting out the characters

Cutting out the characters

Did you come across any challenges when designing the card?

The most challenging part was ensuring the pop up card could fold flat and slip inside an envelope, with all the changes of scenery too. I wanted to ensure people would be able to post it to family and friends.

How did you select the colours of the card?

I decided quite early on that the colour palette would be soft shades as I wanted the overall look to be feminine and quite subtle.

Colour matching

Colour matching

Finally, how did you bring the characters to life?

Firstly I created Clara, the little girl who dreams of the nutcracker coming to life. The nutcracker, a toy given to Clara on Christmas Eve by her Godfather and the King Mouse with whom Clara and the nutcracker have a battle were also an evident choice. Finally, I was most excited about illustrating the sugar plum fairy, who dances to the iconic sugar plum fairy tune that we all know and love. Inspiration for the characters’ costumes came from many different productions of the ballet, while the style of the characters was inspired by folk art to add an authentic touch.

Discover the card here

The English National Ballet Nutcracker performance (as quoted)