Last week saw MyFashionReview at Modus Christmas and Cruise press day. Although it was odd to think about Christmas in the sweltering heat on one of the hottest London July evenings ever, it was one of those lovely balmy evenings at a smart hotel. Amongst a lot of gorgeous brands and seductive things I wanted to buy right now, I came across www.cavan.com As a fashion stylist, there are always certain young brands that I follow and I hope I have developed a good instinct for which ones will do well. Paper London and Negarin are two young brands I have made a point of chatting to at London Fashion Week for at least three seasons, and it was exciting to immediately recognise their signature clothes under the www.cavan.com collection. I knew that the person behind this label must have long strong fashion legs, and it turns out that Cavan Malony has headed up the very best in the business before branching out into doing her own online boutique. Malony is the president of CL Luxury Holdings, owning the franchise for Missoni in the UK and Spain. Formerly the CEO at Sundari and Brand Manager at Chanel and Lancome, Cavan has had huge experience in fashion and retail, all of which she brings to the fashion and lifestyle table. I couldn’t help but note how well Ms Malony has identified and understood her customer and the mood of the times due to the mix of designers she has chosen.
I love the edit: Andrew Gn, Apsara, Bella Freud, Dinny Hall, Fiya Jewellery, Jenny Packham, Kotur, Lounge Lover, Martin Grant, Missoni, Paper London, J Brand, Paige, Sophie Cox Shoes, Tissa Fontaneda, Rachel Gilbert, Unreal Fur, Lotty B and Zara Simons. Rachel Gilbert, Cavan.com takes The Road Less Travelled. an Australian who is taking the red carpet by storm, is also part of the collection available. As from Spring 2014, Matthew Williamson and Cavern will join the party.
It is uplifting to see an upmarket online destination which has something more interesting to offer than the usual list of well known designers and brands, who so quickly become predictable and tainted. While some of the brightest and the best are already in the Cavan mix, I love Malone’s brave but confident choices. These just under the radar but soon to be internationally massive designers embue the buyer a sense of confidence in her own choices. We are neither obliged nor desire to dress like the lovely ladies of the emerging super powers, head to toe in high end designers with a huge profile. Indeed, I was invited by UKTI just a week or so ago to attend a high level meeting with some of the most influencial movers and shakers in Chinese retail, and I was told by Claire Chung (Vice President, Global Business) of Shangpin.com, one of China’s leading online plarforms for fashion and luxury brands, that Chinese buyers will often purchase an entire editorial page of fashion, including all accessories. While this is wonderful, in particular for the brands and designers involved, not to mention Shangpin.com, there is of course a totally different mentaility here in the UK to dressing, and it is all down to the confidence of the customer. There is beauty and wonder in a road less travelled, and the Brits have always disrupted tradition, even as we are the veritable keepers of the heritage gate.
The great Rupert Brookes’s poem “The Old Vicarage Granchester” described our traditional roses thus, and in this one sentence he sums up the quirky unpredictability of all things English:
“Unkempt about those hedges blows
An English unofficial rose”
Today our designers push this element of surprise even further, and take this English rose, poison and crush it, and then smother its dark beauty over an Erdem or Christopher Kane dress. Heritage meets disruption and the results can be breathtaking creativity. This, for me and also so many international buyers and customers, is the excitment and appeal of British design, and young designers in particular.
So, give us the as of yet undiscovered designers, those on the path to greatness, so that we can grow with them and say “..yes, of course I have worn Paper London for years”. Bravo Ms Cavan, your pedigree speaks for itself, for you have captured the esprit du corps with great fashion erudition. Check it out here: www.cavan.com