MiH eases our way into AW14 with a pre-collection pitched perfectly between the seasons. Chloe Lonsdale and her team have eschewed their perennial love affair with all things blue and embraced a more sophisticated and subtle palette. Dark indigo denim - bodycon jeans, dress, skirt and coat - is the backdrop for luxe peachy knits, caramel silk shirting and soft grey flannel. Phoebe Slim, which was our favourite jean in the Summer, is back with a patch and in super dark indigo. Every look in the lookbook is who we want to be this season.
Here we are, summer is in full swing and we're just getting comfortable in our lightweight threads. And then the pre collections come along, vying for our attention with an irresistible taste of things to come.
First up is J Brand, and that suits us fine. Summer it may be but jeans are never far from the front of the wardrobe. This is our most technical collection of denim yet - jeans for all shapes and requirements - so here's a little guide to help suss them out.
We've long been envious of the way letterpress artist Stephen Kenny spends his days, working from 'problem press' headquarters in East London, listening to Radio 4 and producing some of our most favourite posters and greetings cards. Time to take a closer look at what he's getting up to.
As books go, this one is rather beautiful; a three-metre-long frieze capturing the capital's most iconic Art Deco buildings in minute detail; from Battersea Power Station's 78,500 bricks to the Michelin building's beautiful stained glass window to the hidden jewels of the thirties.
It's the culmination of 1,200 hours of meticulous work by French artist and illustrator Thibaud Herem; drawn in its entirety using a Rotring Rapidograph pen and lovingly printed on 300gsm uncoated Munken. In one word: collectable.
Lucy is an uber fan of this lady. Hilary Robertson, major league interiors stylist, art director and all round oracle on the stuff we love. We've been pouring over her exquisite new book, The Stuff of Life, for several weeks now, so we were just a bit wowed to talk styling, buying and NYC life with the lady herself.
How did you get started as a stylist?
After university I interned on various magazines which helped me decide that I wanted to be an interiors stylist. Initially I had wanted to be in the fashion department but I discovered that the interiors/design world was more appealing to me.
There aren't that many jobs available on magazines but I was very determined! I found a magazine that was about to launch and wrote to the publisher before he had even hired an editor.
Who or what couldn't you work without?
Travel is really important to me as I am always looking for inspiration, new products and trends. I'm in Copenhagen at the moment which I always find refreshing aesthetically.
I lived here in my twenties and it definitely influenced my choice of career. Scandinavians have such a rich design history and they integrate design into their lives in a very natural, practical way.
What do you like most about what you do?
I like the immediacy of photography: you can make a picture very quickly. I take pictures myself all the time. Instagram is fantastic for amateurs. In fact, the iPhone has really helped me to be a better stylist; it makes communication easier and I can record a visual diary that I find incredibly useful in the process of creating a story.
Which project or achievement are you most proud of?
I'm always moving forward and learning so I don't really dwell on the past! I'm always convinced that the next thing I'm working on will be the best. I'm grateful to my publishers for backing my ideas!
Anyone you would absolutely love to work with in the future?
I'd love to work as a creative director for a brand. When I first arrived in NYC I worked on creating a new interiors brand, Canvas. I enjoyed that process as I was involved in everything from sourcing materials and products to art directing shoots.
Tell us a bit about your move to New York, and from a buying perspective, how it differs to London?
The decorating business is very different here from London. US magazines are very focussed on showing homes that have been 'decorated' by
professional interior designers, quite different from our approach in the UK.
Finding independent retailers with their own identity is hard here as the US high street has become so homogenous; the same home brands are everywhere. I reacted against that by spending lots of time at flea markets where I can find things that help me put together a more individual look. I also love to discover crafts people who sell their work on Etsy or at fairs.
Who or what inspires you?
Visiting museums and art galleries is invaluable. I always spend any free time that I have looking at art and design or watching films with a strong aesthetic. Bergman's Fanny and Alexander is my favourite film.
Finally, if you could go back in time, when and where would you put yourself?
The Bloomsbury Group's interiors have always appealed to me. I like the Omega workshop's inventiveness and unconventional approach to creating rooms bursting with texture, color and pattern. I adore Cecil Beaton's interiors too and the sets in Jean Cocteau films. (Around 1912- 1930 might be about right).
Our squeaky clean skincare project has arrived. Our man from Ren, Mr Dan Wooding, has worked his beautifying magic and the shelves are now stocked with the complete Ren offer, including Anti-Ageing, Clear Calm and Radiance ranges. The lovely Vanessa and Louise (from the Ren team in London) will be offering free skin consulations and mini facials (if you would like to book a consulation, please email or ring us or ask any staff in store for detail. Ren consultants will be in store on the following days: Friday 13th, Saturday 14th, Friday 20th and Thursday 26th June, Friday 4th and Saturday 12th July). We're also giving away a free, personalised gift with every purchase. And you have the chance to win a host of Ren goodies.
She's the lady behind the most exquisite and luxurious collection we stock up in womenswear but hers is no sterotypical designer's life. She runs Queene and Belle from an attic studio on her farm in the Scottish Borders, surrounded by fields and 700 sheep. Join us lusting after Angela Bell's gorgeous glam/ unglam life.
The Hambledon is the home of a mainland UK exclusive. Daiki Suzuki's Workaday makes an appearance in the basement. This is the continuity utility line from the Engineered Garments team. Expect every day staples (Bedford jacket, 19th century shirt, selvedge denim, pocket tee and cords) which maintain pattern, construction and quality season after season.
1 Briliant Biscuits Tin £7.50 | 2 City Cycling Europe £25 | 3 Dad Ribbon Card £4.25
4 Musgo Real Colognes £30 | 5 Balsam Fir Incense £12 | 6 Food Books from £14.95
7 Sling Shot £35 | 8 Chapped Hands Remedy £18 | 9 Dad Bear Card £3.95
10 Thermos Flask £14.95 & Falcon Mugs £7.99 | 11 Superhero Dream Mask £7.95
12 Gentleman Ceramic Soap Dish £18 & Gentleman Trio of Soaps £18