In this second instalment of our interview with Lotty, we hear a little about her inspiration and find out what her favourite garment is:
Your prints are gorgeous - how do you get your ideas?
Mustique is my muse and, because I live here almost all year round, nearly everything I design is inspired by this little island. I walk most days, usually off the beaten track along the coastal pathways and I am continually fascinated and enthused by the stunning colours and combinations of colours, or the shape of a leaf or an insect. I often bring a plant home that has captured my interest and I sketch it, then paint it and sometimes I take it to the next stage, which is to simplify it and make a repeat pattern. I am constantly building up the design and then simplifying it depending on what it is for.
Because I am not hemmed in by designing for any one thing, i.e. women's fashion or fabric design or china, I can design whatever I feel like and the Pink House is the flagship store for all we create. We can trial run things in the shop here before putting them on our website for world wide distribution.
Who designs the garments?
Originally all the designs were mine. My first memory of designing a piece of clothing was for my teddy bear when I was about 6 years old, sitting on our veranda steps in Africa where our nanny helped me cut out a felt jacket. I think it was the first time I was aware of three dimensions in a practical sense - in that the jacket couldn’t be flat, it had to fit around the fullness of the bear’s tummy. I always loved stitching and I was very good and neat from an early age and my love of sewing and making clothes grew as I got older and I became more proficient.
Since I have been designing for my collections, family and friends have given me tips, eg. try a longer style or a different sleeve, or they’ve shown me a piece that they particularly like and of course I take inspiration from these suggestions. I have also really enjoyed working with students who have an idea they might like to go into fashion and it is so rewarding to be able to give an opportunity to someone to design their first piece. My favourite of these was the Eleanor Playsuit, one of our first Limited Edition pieces, designed entirely by Eleanor who was an intern with me at the time.
The photography is wonderful - very natural and appealing - how do you organise the shoots? And who are your models?
Of course the fabulous island scenes and great natural lighting are a huge advantage and I am very lucky to have a pool of family and friends who are very used to me taking the odd hour or two of their holiday to photograph them modelling our latest creations! Everyone is welcome to join in and we have tremendous fun at our shoots, nothing is taken too seriously. Some people help with the photography, others on wardrobe and everyone who is not camera shy is encouraged to get in the picture.
What is your favourite garment?
The “Lotty” Kaftan of course! Actually, that’s not strictly true, although I do wear it most evenings that we are out for dinner as it is so easy to dress up with a pair of high heels and a necklace. Equally, it is easy to wear more casually with a pair of flip-flops - and it is extremely comfortable.
However, the sarong remains my best friend. I really never go anywhere without one. The sarong is simply the most versatile and useful piece of clothing ever and can be made to fit almost every occasion from acting as a sling for a sprained wrist to becoming a stunning evening dress.
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This is a topic often talked about in our UK HQ. Regardless of age, it seems that we have all practiced one or both in the last two years, with some of our number making a class or two a week a staple in their diary.
We have been collaborating with the Tresco estate for some years now as our island style is perfect for their aesthetic. Lotty has recently designed a print with Tresco which will be available later this year.