When I was younger I loved styling, I was much more into ‘fashion’ than I am now and it was all about the statement piece for me. These days, as I’ve grown up a little bit I’m more about style, classics and the odd trend that catches my eye! Of course I love a good statement piece still but I’m definitely more into wearing maybe one statement piece at a time with some classic pieces not 3!
I’ve been catching up with Kate Davis, a stylist from luxury cashmere brand N.Peal that create the most incredibly beautiful cashmere sweaters such as this one. Check them out if you’re in need of a treat for sure! I wanted to pick her brains about styling and her inspiration for the latest N.Peal collection because it’s just super fun to talk about.
Tell us about yourself, Kate!
My name is Kate Davis. I was born into a fashion retail family – my father owned shops in Hackney where I worked on my summer holidays selling Sergio Tachini and Farahs. I studied graphic design and eventually returned to fashion via a job designing sets for music videos. I have worked at Red magazine, the Telegraph and for Sky Tv and came to N.Peal as a stylist. My role is to put together and come up with concepts for the shoots and also to consult during the designing process.
What, who or where has inspired the latest collection/style story?
There is always a thread of travel, good manners and late deco design that runs through the N.Peal conciousness. This season we were thinking about the clean simplicity of 1930’s architecture, inspired by light textures and hand techniques in weaving. We are picturing our hero and heroine on an adventure through the dust and deserts encountering wild hand dyed blues, of endless skies and Tuareg travellers. A bit of the wonderful British movie The English Patient.
What’s the hero pieces and colours this season?
Colours : the Reef blue and the Primrose. The Reef blue has a vibrant saturation yet naturalness to it that comes alive in the summer light. The Primrose is softly fun and like a bright cream – it reminds me of lemon posset. I love the boxy lightweight cable knit. It is cleverly constructed and the fluted sleeves have a loose but feminine shape. The superfine long sleeve cashmere top is simple, cooly elegant and is soft luxury at it’s best. Both pieces would be perfect to take on holiday as they so lightweight. For men the Milano blazer is a must have- I always “borrow” my husbands!
You’re a brand all about London – where are your favourite places to eat, drink and chill out?
Eat – La Fromagerie W1 is an absolute must morning, afternoon or night for food and ambience and has the best coffee in London which I copiously need with two little boys under 7!
Drink – A cheeky afternoon decamp to The Chiltern Firehouse on Chiltern Street W1 for a unique botanical cocktail – and the best Gin and Tonic in London.
Chill – you can usually find me in Queen Mary’s rose garden in Regent’s Park’s inner circle- picnic blanket, cricket bat and a lovely cold bottle of the Kernel Beer in hand. From there you can sometime hear the Open Air Theatre sound effects which gives added drama to a picnic!
What’s the best thing about working for N. Peal?
Working with the owner – an incredibly open minded Yorkshireman who is always up for a style adventure and nice cup of tea.
What’s your advice for anyone looking to start out in a stylist role both inside and outside of London?
Offer yourself as a fashion assistant to really experience the fashion world from within. Try every avenue to learn all aspects of the role and be a ‘yes’ person. Get involved with fashion week. Be as creative as possible and give away all your best ideas. Be inspired by real people and solve real problems. Know all your brands, designers and the PR companies who represent them. Be indispensable!
What inspired you to want to be a stylist?
During the early 80’s The Face magazine blew my mind. The fashion articles were minuscule but hugely influential to me and helped me to liberate my self image. I experienced how fashion can alter the way we feel about ourselves and the world – it’s miraculous! Also theatre and film and characters. My mum worked for a National Theatre director so at a young age I got to experience the parallel universe of backstage and touch the amazing costumes of the RSC. Photography really inspires me and constructing stories and compositions within an image, I wanted to be a part of that process but not as a photographer. Styling incorporates so many influences and you get to work with people on a personal level. And its hard work but fun!
Who’s your personal style idol?
My grandma Helen – she could have been a Chanel model. She wore a lot of black and everything had to be light as she herself was waifish. She shopped in H&M and Topshop into her eighties but always wore it like Chanel. She wore her false eyelashes and a silk neglige to bed. And she knew every song from any black and white movie. I also look to vintage images of Lauren Hutton and Jane Birkin when I’m having a style crisis!
Thanks for your time Kate, I hope you guys enjoy reading.