I'm beside myself and can't quite believe that I am finally putting it into words. I have designed my first young children’s range for Mothercare, including an eclectic mix of nursery bedding and accessories and a wide range of clothing, from newborn to 5 years.
I really love clothes: just ask my long-suffering husband! Since we met he's known about my passionate hobby collecting fashion magazines. I have over 300 Vogues: some vintage from my birth year (1974), all inherited from my mum's original collection (I see where I get it from)!
Since having our first little girl, Poppy, my obsession with dressing her up and collecting beautiful clothes for her has grown. This of course has been magnified by the arrival of the next two girls: Daisyboo and Petal. Thank goodness for hand-me-downs. And it doesn't matter how expensive or cheap an item of clothing was, everything has been carefully chosen and lovingly worn by all three girls.
Having thought the arrival of no 4 - our gorgeous baby boy - would stop the obsession: I've had to think again! Dressing boys is just as much fun and in fact I think I’ve become a bit more creative when I dress Buds! He's not adverse to a bit of lilac or pink and he loves nothing more than slipping in to Petal’s red sparkly Dorothy shoes and pink tutu brandishing her wand like it's a pirate sword!!!
So to be approached by Mothercare to design a range of children’s clothes from newborn to 5 years old was a dream come true. I am still ecstatic. My inspirations are simple. I love all things vintage and the contrast of mixing old with new.
Thankfully my mum kept nearly all our baby clothes - from my sisters and me. She allowed me (when I was heavily pregnant with Poppy) to root through her treasure trove: trunks of carefully wrapped tissue paper protecting little liberty print angel tops, bunny print romper suits and duck and lamb embossed nighties. Some still have our names written on them from the hospital.
Other influences probably come from my hippy-at-heart side. Proof in the "wacky" names we have chosen for our children. Although often criticised, each name suits our little girls and boy perfectly. They truly fit their character. As for my little Petal she was almost a Rainbow - my husband says thank heavens there was no time for the gas and air or god knows what I would have come up with!!!
I have worked with some truly wonderful women at Mothercare who totally understood my vision and allowed me to express this in the clothes and the range as a whole. The process has been fascinating from start to finish. From the original concept to where it ends up. I have learnt more than I ever thought I would and have been allowed to follow the whole process from start to finish. Choosing fabrics, colours, threads, buttons, poppers and ribbons: it's a whole new world and such fun to be so creative for a change.
It has also been a real family affair, with my mum joining us for most of our meetings giving her very valid opinions on the clothes whilst rocking little Buds in her arms! I also have my mini fashion gurus in the form of my daughters, Poppy and Daisyboo who I often bounce ideas off. I get them to help make a decision on something when my brain is just too fried to think for myself: it's their idea of heaven!!!
So I am both proud and thrilled to finally see the gorgeous range completed. I'm nervous about the launch and cannot wait to hear what you all think of it – oh and I’m so eager to see a little person running around in one of my t-shirts or dresses. That really will be the ultimate!!
In the meantime the team at Mothercare and I are working on Spring 2013 so no time to stop and rest on my laurels.
Over the coming months I will share my inspiration with you and show you what really goes into designing a collection…
Much love Joolsxxxx
Read all of Jools Oliver's blogs here!