How has this come about? Well to some extent the answer to this question is I have no idea. It has been long dreamed off I tell you, but dreams do they really come true? It seems so. If you reach for the stars sometimes you get the moon but in this case the moon is a great deal better than the murky clouds of middle England fashion we've been subjected to of late.
First the bubble burst well and truly on our champagne lifestyle. Ms Massent may have brought luxury shopping to a keyboard near you but even then most of us were more focused on the low to high option than ordering an Oscar de la Renta number (please correct me if I'm wrong so I can self flagellate with envy) when feeding our Net-A-Porter habit. And clever old Natalie knew this too and made sure she snapped up affordable but luxurious options and also delivered the taste of luxury to empty mouths with The Outnet.
But back to now or rather back to the future, because fashion folks the future includes pink and it is bright. Briefly the afore mentioned holy trinity will be providing you with real fashion options that scream stylish, affordable, grown up, good for proper female bodies and not likely to be tinge with the cheap stench of death aka Primark. More on John Lewis and M&S another time.
This post belongs to Boden, in fact Johnnie, it belongs to dear Johnnie. What can I say that will not be met with snorts of derision given my past views or the fact you might venture to think I'm in their pay. I am about to deliver an uncomfortable truth that although the collection will not be to everyones taste I defy you to not find one item that will be a perfect wardrobe hit in terms of fashion, price, quality, washability (wrong, but for copy purposes *coughs*) and colour.
Far more likely will be the fact you can find three pieces you will love and adore that will see you through next season with ease. My list is at 8, with a possible 2 more. The collection is the best yet. It hits all the right notes. My main beef has always been the fact the brand was too prissy/frumpy/obvious. I accept any fashion brand wants a signature, a deft sweep of the brush to define its being but whilst I liked the ethos I loathed the execution. And the fact was and is that in the background away from the hullabaloo of 'personality', 'being known' there I was quietly tip tapping away writing fashion editorial or styling for a number of magazines of no particular importance in terms of hierarchy I was positioning products to the buying public and still am.
Product placement is much easier and more successful when it is good and currently when it suits lifestyle, conscience, purse strings and age. Women in the 45+ age group hold the purse strings. They are the buying force and now they have somewhere to spend it without worrying are they trying too hard by striving to stuff their bodied in Reiss, Topshop or other brands which they want to love but can't quite connect with. It is a fact that the slimmer you are the easier it is to wear clothes. Damn annoying but true. However the tide is turning and women are reclaiming the right to be anything other than a lollipop with a head.
Back to Boden, the comfort factor, the trust, the excellent customer service, the personality all soothes the middle class soul, except for a long while it did seem like a #fail in the fashion or style stakes. No more. Maybe it is because I can now talk doggy to and with Johnnie. And I got to give lots of doggy rubs and snuffles to the adorable Sprout ( Mr Boden's dog) who is probably related to Patches Valentino as they are both Parsons and both very good looking. Maybe it is because I really do want a proper fabric, something that sits on the knee so my knickers aren't in danger of being displayed when I bend over and actually something that screams FEMALE but doesn't pin me in the corporate tribe. The Boden A/W13 collection delivers sexy. Not smut, not perversion, not subjugation, not stereotypes but honest proper loving, caring, admiration of the female form and womanhood in all guises.
The colours choices are vibrant and understated. I did actually think, with the exception of a few old hard to let go designs, aside from the setting that the rails said J Crew. A proper British offering that has come full circle because no doubt J Crew borrowed off Boden and got it right and now Boden have borrowed of J Crew and got it right. Lets not stop at J Crew, I'm thinking Marc by Marc Jacobs and some old school YSL to boot. There are options for the French/Scandi feel that chic Parisian young ladies pull off with ease and then there is a last top note of screen siren Sophia Loren with a few garments I've clocked.
Boden Press day, selection of forthcoming A/W13 collection and the gorgeous Sprout, photographed with permission of course!
If there is one point of criticism it comes to the models, isn't it about time to include some more older models. Helen Christensen last year was a wonderful inclusion for those of us who grew up with her but I feel some more are needed and styled and set in the right lifestyle concept. It is great to capture the younger crowd but are they really going to go for Boden over Topshop, Zara or Jack Wills? I suspect only if mummy or daddy are paying. I've been fairly hard pressed to leave Zara behind but regardless of Zara's style credentials the garments are often so shoddy after one wear/one wash I prefer H&M currently.
The great news is at last Boden is well and truly in the mix. You won't look like a mad aunt unless you really are a mad aunt, nor a lazy person for shopping everything off the catalogue. Most importantly it is great product placement for the fashion pages.
My first attendance (yes I'm back in the fold) at the Boden Press Day was a delight. It was a pleasure to admire the fruits of a companies labour and meet new people while waiting for our nails to be done. One thing I did learn courtesy of the lovely ladies from The Sunday Express S Magazine, gin with raspberry and sparkling water is a winner but don't take up the offer of a free blow dry if you want to avoid looking like Mrs Thatcher.
UPDATE: This post is the second draft of a final version that got lost due to publishing problems with Blogger. I do feel my final version was better but now it is lost :( hence this version. One point I made in the new version was that I didn't think Boden was age based and it suited all ages, it just ticks a lot of boxes in terms of lifestyle.