Author: kettlewellcolours

Kettlewell Colours use seasonal and tonal colour palettes to create garments that are of an exceptional high quality using only the finest yarns. Have you discovered your colour?

Postcards from Cape Town – Melissa’s blog

Apologies if the weather back home is a bit on the chilly side, but today’s blog post comes to you from sunny South Africa, where for the past four days we have been busy shooting our summer 2018 brochure.

This year, we are dividing the shoots between two stunning beach houses just outside Cape Town: Britannia Bay, where we are shooting Analu, our Brazilian Winter model, who lives in New York and whose dark skin tone looks amazing with the strong winter colours, and Kommetjie, where we are shooting our South African Spring model, Michelle. (The eagle-eyed will recognise Michelle from last summer’s catalogue – she has since had baby number two, as well as a fabulous new pixie haircut!).

Our January Cape Town shoot is definitely one of the highlights of the year for me – not just because it’s great to feel the sun on my face again, but because I get to see all our amazing new colours in their very best light: drenched in sunshine and brought to life by the reflected intensity of those vast blue skies.

I also love being able to see the new styles in exactly the sort of holiday location we’d envisaged at design stage – that easy jersey shirt dress worn for a stroll along the beach; that simple V-neck tee teamed with a pair of denim shorts for a relaxed sunny lunch on the terrace. It feels like the final step on the journey before the clothes appear in the catalogue destined for your doorstep.

Excitingly, for our summer 2018 collection, we’ve gone bigger on colour than ever before, with everything from limeade and electric blue to tangelo orange and neon yellow, as well as soft lilacs and pretty pinks. We also have the most amazing eye-popping hot pink for you winters. And I don’t think I’ll be spoiling the surprise when I say that our stylist Keira has some colour-blocking treats in store that are bound to be a great source of inspiration next summer.

For a live, behind-the-scenes sneak peek of our Cape Town shoot, watch us on Instagram Stories, where we’ll be posting videos and sharing moments from our day. But be warned: it may bring on a serious case of wanderlust!

Colour Conversation with illustrator and author, Marion Deuchars

A celebration of colour

 We’re going out with a bang this New Year with a colour conversation from the author of one of our favourite books from 2017, Colour, by the internationally acclaimed, award-winning illustrator Marion Deuchars.

 In Colour, you take a personal journey through colour, sharing what you know about the subject to inspire and encourage us to make our own colour journey. How did it come about?

I was interested in making a book about colour but it took me while to find a way to make it personal. The more I read about colour the more daunting that task became. I have always been interested in colour but remembered how hard I found studying Colour Theory at art school, and initially when I first started using colour pigments it was difficult. I thought I could make a book that made some of the stories and theories of colour more accessible and to hopefully inspire readers to play more with colour too in their lives.

A book that really helped me was reading Derek Jarman’s Chroma. It is such a beautiful book to read and so very personal. It gave me a way in to realise I could do my own personal journey of colour. In fact, it made me realise that all one can do is a personal approach to the subject as it is so huge to comprehend.

 

Tell us about your illustrative career and the kind of work you do…

I’ve been working as an illustrator for 25 years, so it’s quite varied. I tend to work across all areas of the industry, from magazines, books, newspapers advertising to design. Some highlights have been working for Jamie Oliver books and the Royal Mail (RSC anniversary stamps) to the Guardian newspaper. I like the variety of commercial work – it’s never the same and subjects help push your work in unexpected directions, as a result.

 Have you loved colour from an early age? Earliest colourful memory?

I have two strong colour memories. One is choosing my first pair of shoes. I was completely smitten with the red patent leather ones in the shop and not too happy with the sensible matt black selection my mother had in mind. I was appreciating without realising it… the ‘power of red’.

My second colour memory is my bright orange Chopper bike. I had wished and wished for that bike and finally got one for Christmas. My parents managed to buy a second-hand one so did not buy the one I had in mind (a red one). I remember being momentarily taken aback by the colour orange but grew to love it. Orange relates to adventure and risk-taking, inspiring physical confidence, competition and independence, so perhaps it was the right choice after all.

Do you have a favourite quote from the book?

The artist Josef Albers observed: “If one says ‘red’ and there are 50 people listening, it can be expected that there will be 50 reds in their minds. And one can be sure that all these reds will be very different.”

I’ve always liked this quote. It reminds me that no two people see colour – or the world around them – in the same way. Your ‘blue’ could be someone else’s ‘grey’. Colours have had and continue to have a number of meanings across cultures and time.

 Most intriguing fact or word of wisdom?

There was no word for blue in ancient Greek literature. In Homer’s The Iliad (and later, in The Odyssey) the Aegean Sea is described as ‘wine-dark’, which raises the question of whether, when we look at the sea today, we’re seeing it entirely differently to how the ancient Greeks saw it. By far the most common colour words in his reticent vocabulary were black (170 times) and white (100), followed distantly by red (13).

 What does colour mean to you on a personal level? How does it make you feel?

I think like smell, colour often has a subliminal influence on how we feel and what we remember. It’s easier to think of colours we don’t like sometimes and that makes you realise, even if we think we don’t that we have a strong emotional attachment to colour. I like being in neutral rooms, for example and don’t like one colour to dominate, no matter how nice.

I like looking at colour in nature. My favourite colours are from the British coastline. Dramatic, ever-changing and subtle. Coming from Scotland, where the landscape transforms from the ubiquitous grey to dazzling sun-lit mountains, I can appreciate the whole spectrum and especially so when we don’t have a Mediterranean sun lighting up our lives every day!

 How much has colour made its way into your wardrobe? Do you have a favourite piece?

I am not very adventurous in wearing colour. I think it may be part of the London ‘fitting in’ thing where in a big city, one does not necessarily want to attract unwanted attention. I used to travel every day on the Northern Line and hide behind a newspaper as there were so many unnerving incidents happening there. When I’ve gone to countries like Mexico and Cuba were colour is ubiquitous and run rampant, I feel like we are so deprived and sadly lacking in colour in our every day life!

 And your everyday life? Do you surround yourself in colour in your home and studio, for example?

My favourite place to see colour is on the page. I do, however, have some bright pieces of furniture around the house – quite a lot of orange chairs and lamp shades, so it does creep in. My studio is probably more colourful, but probably just more messy.

 Who or what inspires you?

Living in London inspires me every day, keeps you on your toes, culturally, politically, creatively and mentally.

Last great colourful buy?

I bought an odd-coloured dress (not the famous blue and white stripe internet craze one) but a colour in between green and yellow. I would say it was chartreuse, but it was a good conversation piece as so many people saw it differently.

And finally, we have to ask, do you have a favourite colour?

I always say my favourite colour is cobalt blue. Blue is universally the world’s most popular colour so I’m not being too original here. I don’t like ‘all’ blues, though, and cobalt is not only my favourite colour to paint with but I love it’s history. Blue is one of the oldest colours we know of. The earliest known lump of glass dates back to 2000BC in ancient Mesopotamia. The Egyptians also used ‘blue glass’ known as ‘smalt’ in their pottery. It was then ‘lost’ as a colour until the modern era.

You can buy Colour by Marion Deuchars here. To visit her website, click here.

Photograph of Marion Deuchars by Tom Dunkley.

When Melissa met Gretchen

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of meeting the award-winning American author, blogger and speaker, Gretchen Rubin. Her thought-provoking books on habits and happiness have sold more than three million copies worldwide and consistently top The New York Times bestseller lists, and she was over from the States to give a series of interviews and lectures about her new book, The Four Tendencies.*

As luck would have it, Gretchen was also researching colour as the topic of her next book, and had been pointed in our direction by the fabulous journalist Hannah Betts (read Hannah’s interview with Gretchen in the Daily Telegraph), who had suggested she get her colours done – and be ‘Kettled’ – during her stay in London.

Opportunities like these don’t come round very often (after all, it’s not every day you meet someone who has been interviewed by Oprah Winfrey and had an audience with the Dalai Lama), so after a flurry of emails and some rather skilful schedule reshuffling, I got to meet Gretchen at the new Kensington colour studio in the Valentino Salon, Thackeray Street, run by Red Leopard’s Ilka Dunn.

Following a brief introduction about the science of colour analysis, Ilka used her trusty drapes to find out Gretchen’s seasonal palette, and discovered that she was bright Autumn leaf (moss, amber, kingfisher, rust and deep lime being her most flattering colours). She then finished off the consultation with a few tips on the best eye make-up, lipstick and foundation to complement her colouring, and a mini autumn makeover to show just how good the right colours can make you look and feel (you can read about Gretchen’s London ‘Colour adventure’ over on her blog).

Meeting Gretchen was tremendously fun and inspiring, and rounded off what for us has been a year of highs at Kettlewell – in fact, the most successful since we launched back in 2004. Happily, 2018 looks to be equally exciting, as we prepare to move to bigger and better premises early in the year to accommodate more sizes and styles in your favourite colours.

On behalf of all the team at Kettlewell, I wish you a very merry Christmas and a healthy, happy – and colourful – new year!

Melissa

*Take Gretchen’s Four Tendencies Quiz to find out whether you are a Questioner, Upholder, Obliger or Rebel 

Gretchen’s book The Four Tendencies is available to buy on Amazon.

Colour conversation with design guru, Louise Chidgey

From textile buyer at The Conran Shop to colour forecaster and author, design guru Louise Chidgey has led a life devoted to colour. Now the owner of Dorset’s most colourful lifestyle store, Brassica Mercantile, she shares her journey through colour – and reveals why a pop of neon orange never fails to lift her mood.

How did you come to open Brassica Mercantile?

All my career has been geared up to working for myself. Starting out as a buyer for the Conran Shop, which was my benchmark, paved the way for many exciting opportunities.  After many years in retail, I moved to trend forecasting, taking on a creative consultancy role which allowed me to really think about product and its lifespan. It included a lot of travel and presentations in far-flung corners of the world which in turn gave me an insight into merchandising and the retail environment. Although Brassica Mercantile is a small store in the quiet Dorset town of Beaminster, the product comes from all over the globe.

What inspired the name Brassica?

The full name of our business is Brassica Restaurant & Mercantile, which incorporates the two strands of the company. The restaurant came first and we put a competition out with all our friends with a prize of two Eurostar tickets to Paris for the best idea for a name – however they were all so silly we ended up choosing Brassica ourselves as we were looking into produce grown locally to Beaminster. The mercantile part, which is a term for one who is engaged in trade and commerce, was added on to differentiate from the restaurant.

How important is colour to you?

Colour is hugely important, it defines everything! I spent many years colour forecasting at WGSN.com and Stylus.com, analysing colour palettes for the seasons ahead. It’s very interesting how colours can go in and out of fashion and how different they are from country to country.

Colour makes me extremely happy. Now that I live in the depths of Dorset, I get to see the changing colours of the seasons so much more than when I lived in London. Saying that, England is quite grey and a colourful house is respite from this.  My personal colour palettes are muted, definitely not primary colours – always a bit left of centre, but saying that a hint of neon orange always lifts my mood!

Hygge seems to be a big part of your brand.  Can you tell us why…

Environment and aesthetics play a huge part in my daily life – architecture, interiors, fashion, art all make my heart sing and this in turn has a positive influence on my wellbeing and health. Emotional design is perhaps a good word for it.  Hygge creates an environment which is also emotional – and that to me is very important, particularly when creating and designing the restaurant. I wanted our customers to feel immediately welcome and comfortable and perhaps even a little cosseted.

You’re the co-author of the book Paint & Paper: A Masterclass in Colour & Light. Tell us more!

David Oliver, the founder of the Paint & Paper Library, approached me many years ago. He wanted to write a book on colour but with a young family and running his own business he didn’t have the time! He laid out the structure of the book and sourced all the images and then I did the research and the copy. It was a long winter of coming home from my day job at WGSN to complete the 45,000 words!

How does your love of colour manifest itself in your own home?

Home is full of colour and pattern – everything from hand-dyed washed linen to Moroccan Azilal rugs. At the moment we still rent out our house in London and rent in Dorset so to personalise our home has been mainly through paint colour and possessions. I used to work in India a lot when I was the textile buyer at The Conran Shop, so although it was 20 years ago, I still have many of the samples from back then. I also love going to Marrakech and have a penchant for rugs!

Has colour made its way into your wardrobe?

I can’t get enough navy blue. I always pair it with pattern (I love patterned blouses and socks). Maybe a touch of neon orange too.

Have you ever had your colours analysed?

Yes, when I was 18 as I was temping at a colour analysis company in London. I think at 18 I wasn’t that interested. I only wish I could find out my palette now!

And finally, do you have a favourite colour?

I have a palette which doesn’t seem to be changing at the moment: dark bluey/grey, dirty rose pink and mustard yellow.


You can find Brassica Mercantile’s website here and Brassica Restaurant’s website here

Colourful, colourful Copenhagen

As you have probably gathered by now, I’m never happier than when I’m hunting down new colours from everyday life, whether it’s the terracotta of Portuguese rooftops or gorse yellow of a Cornish headland. You never know when you might come across that next big shade that, translated in to a seasonal palette, our customers will love and want to embrace in their wardrobe.

Cities are jam-packed full of colour inspiration, and nowhere more so than Copenhagen, which John and I visited for a couple of days last month to source ideas for our AW18 collection. According to a recent fashion piece in The Times, colour is surprisingly big in the Danish capital at the moment, with the clothes as colourful as the crooked houses down on the waterfront at Nyhavn, a deliciously vibrant riot of pinks, oranges, blues and yellows.

Scandi style used to be synonymous with neutrals, minimalism and endless monochrome, but if the clothes shops I visited are anything to go by, colour has certainly come to town, with my current colour crush, orange, leading the way, from the palest peach to vibrant winter orange and burnt orange styled with gold. In fact, it was all that I could do to stop myself going into a colour shopping frenzy (Copenhagen is eye-wateringly expensive, so I was restrained and came away with just a few pieces of clothing, some watermelon nail polish, and some rolls of colourful ribbon to make a start on my Christmas wrapping).

If you’ve never been before, I’d heartily recommend Copenhagen as a city break destination. To the soundtrack of a thousand tinkling bicycle bells – bikes have outnumbered cars in Copenhagen for years now – you’ll find lots of historic back streets to explore and great places to eat (we had dinner by candlelight in a little restaurant that felt like we were dining in someone else’s home, with only two choices on the menu, and the rest of the time feasted on the most amazing open sandwiches with earthy homemade rye bread). And if, like me, you’re a fan of colour (which I’m assuming you are!), you certainly won’t be disappointed.

Meet our Summer Ambassador – Annabel Simons

From the perfect party dress to the essential dinner party top, our Summer colour ambassador and lifestyle blogger Annabel Simons from CountryWives reveals the pieces on her Christmas wishlist this year…

 Annabel wears an Alpaca Shawl in French Navy with a Pink Fiesta Three Way Scarf

What are your daytime essentials for work and weekend?
In winter, it’s jeans or leggings with a pair of Chelsea boots and something like a Silky Rollneck and Cosy Merino Wrap, which I’ll have hanging over the back of my chair when I’m writing the blog from home (your thermostat starts to go haywire when you get older so this is the perfect coatigan for shrugging on when you get chilly, just adding a Gauze Stole Scarf if you need to head out). I used to wear a lot of skinny jeans in the past but nowadays I find straight-legged jeans more flattering and work better with boots.


Annabel wears the Ava Dress in Iris Bloom, she also has a Leather Star Makeup Bag in Aquagreen and Grey

My perfect Christmas party outfit?

A great va-va-voom dress like the velvet Ava Dress if I’m going to a Christmas party or smart trousers and a top, such as the lovely new silky-feel Lulu Curve in Cherry, if I’m out to friends for a dinner. The Lulu Curve is double-layered and the lining means it hangs so much better and shows fewer lumps and bumps than a normal T-shirt. I always like to dress up because I think it’s nice for the hostess if you make an effort, and I’ll always make sure I finish off the look with earrings, scarf and a decorative necklace.

Annabel is wearing a Lulu Curve top in Cherry and has a Light Grey Paris Textured Jacket over her shoulder. She has added a silver Multi Star Necklace

Favourite piece from new winter collection?
It has to be the Ava, but I also love the Velvet Scarves for a bright pop (the Peacock Blue one is fabulous). The Cosy Merino Wrap is also great. I like the fact that it works equally well over a dress and trousers – it’s the kind of item that I know will get plenty of use this season.

Here, Annabel wears the Sofia Dress in Teal and French Navy, with a Velvet Scarf in Peacock Blue and a Cosy Merino Wrap in Bright Navy.

Your favourite Summer colours?
Pastel shades from pale blue and duck egg, through to pale lilac and pink (I wear a Cashmere Gauze Stole in Peony all the time). I also love red, especially a pop of it for a scarf or necklace.

Best feature?
My hair. Only because I know that everyone in the hairdressers is always asking for my hair colour! Everyone thinks it’s dyed until they meet my sister and realise that she has exactly the same colour hair. Feature I’m not so keen on? My neck – it’s very long and a bit wrinkly, so I don’t like it at all.

I also hate the fact that as you get older you put on weight in all the wrong places (although I don’t want to get skinny as that doesn’t actually suit me, either). I’m starting to come to terms with the fact that no matter what you do, you have to just accept your body, within reason, and then dress accordingly. Oh, and always look at your back. French women never forget to check what they look like from behind!

Claire (Autumn) wearing Cypress Green, Annabel (Summer) in Iris Bloom and Melissa (Spring) in Cosmopolitan Velvet Faux Wraps!

How does wearing your colours make you feel?
Wearing colour, particularly round my face, makes me feel better and gives me an instant uplift. As you get older your skin loses a lot of its dewiness and freshness, and without painting yourself like something out of the circus, it’s far easier to put on something close to your skin in a great colour.

Since I was first introduced to Kettlewell, there has been so much more colour in my life. If you’d  looked in my wardrobe three or four years ago, you’d have found white, navy, grey, brown and black. Now it looks like a Summer wardrobe and is so much better for it, particularly as I tend to live in a uniform of jeans, jeans and more jeans. Even just having a sweater in my right colours can make all the difference.

Annabel wearing a Merino Tunic in Bright Navy with her favourite peony Cashmere Gauze Stole

No outfit is complete without…
A scarf. As you get older, you get colder, so putting something round your neck is immensely useful. I wear scarves all year round; even in summer when I go off on holiday I’ll pack a couple of scarves to drape round my shoulders in the evening. Nowadays I find that you don’t need a really thick scarf, even in winter: my Peony Cashmere Gauze Stole and Dusky Rose Florence Infinity Scarf are all the cosiness I need.

You can follow Annabel (and her friends Grace and Ellie) over on the CountryWives website.

Meet our Spring Ambassador – Amy Mulcrone

Nothing beats a pop of colour on a grey winter’s day, says our new Spring Colour Ambassador Amy Mulcrone, jewellery designer and creative director of Chambers & Beau.

What are your daytime essentials for work and weekend?
Jeans and ankle boots in the winter; jeans and trainers in the summer  – so easy to throw together and dress up or down. My weekend look tends to be the same as my work look as I’m a jewellery designer and work at home, so I’m generally alone in the studio with no particular need to dress up. But I’m a sucker for a handbag and I love scarves (although they do cover up my jewellery, so I may need to rethink that!).

Go-to dressed-up look for evening?
A pair of heels and plenty of bling. A pair of statement earrings has the same effect as popping on your favourite heels.

Favourite piece from the Kettlewell A/W collection and why?
The new Alexa faux-suede biker-style jacket is totally gorgeous. The colours are lovely and it is the perfect piece for that layered look. Only problem is working out which of my seasonal colours I love best!

Favourite colour and why…
I have only recently had my colours done and discovered I’m a Blue Spring, so for a long time I tended to stick to neutrals. But I’ve always loved red and been complimented whenever I wear it, and as it’s one of my ‘wow colours’ and this season’s key colour, I am totally going with it. I also love Kettlewell’s Royal Blue and Hot Coral, which work really well on me.

Amy wears the Alpaca Shawl in Hot Coral

Best feature (and parts you prefer to play down)?
My upper body is much better than my lower half. I have good shoulders and toned arms so I get them out whenever I can. I hate my legs, so I keep them tucked away ­ hence the jeans wardrobe.

How does wearing the right colours for you make you feel?
It has made such a difference and has really changed the way I dress. I love seeing pops of colour, especially during our drab grey winter. I won’t be saving them for holidays and sun-kissed skin any more.

No outfit is complete without…
Lashings of Chambers & Beau jewellery, naturally!

You can see all of Amy’s jewellery on her website Chambers and Beau.

Photographs by Katharine Davies

Thanks to Cherryade Life Store, Poundbury, Dorset