because family is funny
Cadogan Place, with its regalia of stucco swags and bows, is the kind of London square where nothing could go wrong. That's the feeling that permeates Emilia Wickstead's atelier, which occupies the corner of the square adjoining Pont Street, SW1. Pushing open the gleaming door, I am met by three women: one in Neapolitan ice-cream pink, one in buttercup yellow, and one in longchamp outlet paintbox blue. All are wearing pointed Manolos. "Can I get you some sparkling water?" asks Pink, as Yellow takes my jacket. This is how I imagine a salon in Paris might feel, circa 1956. That's exactly what I'm going for, says Wickstead, completing the scene in a pistachio ensemble of her own design. "I've always been inspired by old-world couture, the Dior salon feeling, rather than girls just standing there watching you shop. I like to think it's a personal place." The emphasis on a salon, rather than a shop, is key.Wickstead makes clothes for women who have tennis lessons on a Wednesday morning and poached salmon for lunch. Among her fans are the Duchess of Cambridge, who wore a marine blue, pleated dress by the New Zealand-born designer on her recent Antipodean tour, and longchamp outlet store Samantha Cameron, as well as scores of smart west London ladies. They are used to old-fashioned service and elegant clothes. Wickstead's made-to-measure, classically feminine designs - and steady supply of San Pellegrino - fit the bill.The autumn/winter 2014 collection, however, was a departure from the gelato pastels and prim styling we've come to associate with Wickstead. The show, held in London in February, was all python, leather, metallics and black. What inspired her new direction? "In previous seasons I think I had been pigeonholed," she says carefully. "And yes, the fabrics and textures were longchamp outlet online different. But that silhouette was still true to Emilia Wickstead." She thinks for a moment. "Maybe I've just become a bit cooler?" She erupts into giggles. Wickstead has never been afraid to experiment. As a teenager growing up in New Zealand she spent most of her time rifling through second-hand stores, buying up bowling shirts and patterned nightgowns. "Once, four friends and I cut all our hair off, like boys," she says. "A couple of them cried afterwards, but I thought we looked really good."