Brit-Classic-Cool: Aspinal of London AW17
‘They’d been calling her ‘Chelsea girl’ since she was fourteen years old. It didn’t bother her necessarily but often times she did so wish they would take her Art more seriously. It seemed somehow that her boarding school accent was of detriment in the circles she needed to move in. She could feel her heart begin to palpitate as they called in the person before her. Her hands gripped tighter around the strap of her Tote bag; as if holding onto it for dear life. The contents of this bag would, for now at least, either grant her the position or not; which in turn would have a dear impact on the opportunities she’d have moving forward. She grabbed her compact mirror out of the inside pocket and checked the corners of her eyes were clean. At least, she was happy with her outfit- a wool sweater, straight-leg jeans, moccasin shoes and of course her Aspinal of London Editor’s tote which she took nearly everywhere with her. It was almost as though just by wearing it, she felt that perhaps she would be an actual editor one day. And it certainly fit her entire life inside of it. A moment later she saw the secretary walking towards her. Getting up out of her seat and swinging the bag over her shoulder, she took a deep inhalation and in about five seconds, centred herself. And then remembering that a notepad always made one appear more serious and professional, quickly took it out of her bag and held it tight to her chest - in the meantime, noticing the engraving of her initials on the bottom-right corner and thus, in that moment, remembering just exactly who she was.’
One forgets just how young Aspinal of London is as a brand. After all, they pride themselves as being somewhat British Heritage. But alas, as people keep reminding me, I am a baby at my age now yet nevertheless remember being fourteen years old and calling a number I’d found in the classified section of a well-known fashion magazine.
You see, I was under strict instructions not to get my mother anything for her birthday (‘I only want my Cartier,’ she’d say, referring to her perfume) but I couldn’t quite let go of this idea I’d had having seen that advertisement.
I was used to journaling (I’ve done it all my life) and loved it so - I wanted for my mother to reap the same joy. Or at the very least, have a place where she could write down her copious, copious ‘to-do’ lists. And I had seen a beautiful red (a very particular shade of red, mind) leather-bound journal which closed by leather strap tie-ups. And you were able to engrave it with your initials.
At the time, engraving wasn’t as effortless as it is now- it was actually rather an exciting prospect! And I had certainly not before come across a brand that did so for such competitive price-points. So I rang the number and a gentleman picked up. It’s hard to believe now what a small, tight-knit company it was back then.
I ordered the journal and my mother was delighted with it (though she did in fact use it to write down her to-do lists!).
It’s prevalent because years later, a senior in Sixth Form, my then boyfriend bought me the most beautiful gift (he knew I wrote a diary). It was a red (a very particular shade of red, mind) leather-bound journal which closed by leather strap tie-ups. And it was engraved with my initials in gold. He hadn’t known about the one I’d bought for my mother years earlier but indeed, this too was Aspinal of London.
I tell you this story because it’s a personal one - and that’s just the thing about journals and indeed, handbags; they are sincerely intimate items. The beauty of Aspinal of London is that despite the fact it has grown exponentially over this time, it is still a highly personable brand. This is certainly evident in the AW17 collection in which some of my favourite bags include the Mayfair (*note the clasp*) and Editor’s clutch. There is something traditional to their design which feels very English (and thus to me, homely). Beyond that, their SS18 collection collaborative with the film ‘Murder on the Orient Express’ (for which Aspinal invited me to a private screening at the Charlotte Street Hotel: champagne and popcorn, I tell you, do go together and it is a fabulous movie) perfectly exemplifies how well the brand understands the concept of heritage-luxury.
And finally, in an age where we have such a mish-mash of high-street-come-luxury collaborations (you all know how I feel about this - ‘ugh’ would probably be a good word to describe my sentiments), Aspinal of London has positioned themselves as a brand perfectly. They are their own thing, a bit like Joseph established way-back-when: high-end casual.
Girl in Style.