Monday, April 26, 2010


Inn at Irving Place

Words/ Showroom Images Judith Ecochard
Event Images courtesy of Radley London


A charming townhouse salon, the Inn at Irving Place's Lady Mendl’s tea room… put out a cozy welcome mat for rain soaked editors…

…but it was a completely revamped collection of high quality handbags, accessories and luggage--- by the UK brand Radley London, that got us warmed up.

What a difference a season makes.

Because we barely had time to sip a cuppa …we did follow up our tea-less preview visit with some more time at their midtown Manhattan showroom…that confirmed our initial impressions.

Namely that the carryalls and small leather goods got a major overhaul for A/W 2010 …with exceptionally well crafted, broader style categories expanded to include coordinated handbags and accessories...

---exceptional- but easy to wear with what we own-- colors refreshed in deep bright tones,

…and cleverly sourced vintage silhouettes brought back to life for this year.

For A/W 2010 (starts shipping July)…the inspiration is the iconic pre-WW II Bloomsbury group of writers, artists and intellectuals (Virginia and Leonard Woolf, E.M. Forster, Duncan Grant, Vanessa Bell, John Maynard Keyes…) …who collectively are remembered for having rich, creatively free wheeling, and intellectual discussions considered progressive even for merry old London in the 1920’s and 30’s.

And also formed an engaging artistic counterpoint to a post-impressionistic world of decorative and fine arts.

And oh yeah… had many well gossiped about/chronicled love affairs with each other…(some things never change, ha ha).

So much like Radley London…a fusion of the classic with doses of sassiness…as exemplified by the linings of the bags--- terrific prints…that are whimsical, and fun.

Translated for au courant dwellers in the former colonies…what grabbed our eyeballs right away are the bold, colors like a Carrot orange, Kelly green and Mustard…as well as the neutrals- black, brown and tan.

The popular styles like the Primose Hill satchels and the Grosvenor samples in assorted sizes...
  ---come in these energizing shades that are so different than the usual Fall bunch of darker tones.

What’s great is that since all black attire or denim/tees are everyday staples, a Radley London hauler can really brighten up a wardrobe.

New for 2010 is a natural fit…a soft, textured assortment of plush leathers combined with custom hand-woven tweeds in the best selling Grosvenor group…in cahoots with Scotland’s famous Harris Tweed company.



With a closer view…we saw some of the signature flourishes like brogue detailing, drawstring leather bags and plaited straps throughout…along with the cute hangtag leather terrier dog- that is a collectable on it's own.


We particularly like the new assortment of English framed clutches, fun wristlets===

--- and retro bowling bag styles in unbelievably soft, yet sturdy leather that have solid hardware that’s modern, not blingy.

The Vintage line silhouettes with country elegance and neat charm laden hangtags…are modern classics with cache...

include the Rossiter Zip Top group (Acrossbody and tote), the Hutchinson (like the classic saddle bags with an equestrian buckle),

---and the Mortimer group ---with a thick braided leather strap detail as the focal point.

We also thought the new Oil-skin handbag collection that includes the quirky flirty prints “sprig & spot” patterns and old school, hat box style Carrington luggage set, extraordinary—as both have that old school flair…

But like all Radley bags…are very up to date with…

Inner and outer pockets galore for all our electronic gadgets, 


...easy metallic closures, 

and solid carrying straps that survive overstuffed conditions!!!

Practical small and large leather pieces make practical sense, color wise too, ---coin purses, passport wallets etc..

Across Body -S, M, L

AND OUR FAVORITE---the umbrellas!!!!

For Americans unfamiliar with the brand…it’s price wise in that Coach ‘affordable luxury’ category…

But we think Radley London is subtly sophisticated…and less common...

... though we saw several models carrying Radley London bags during NY Fashion Week. 



Zip top nylon totes---like the Elliot.

Mixed textures…


And patent leather…

An exotic SACKVILLE Large Scoop Tote with hand embroidered details…named after the equally exotic poet/writer Vita Sackville-West. Very British.