20 November 2014
LAST NIGHT, THE EVERYWOMANCLUB HELD ITS FINAL GATHERING OF 2014, AT ONE OF ITS CHICEST LOCATIONS TO DATE – HOST AND CLUB MEMBER AMANDA WAKELEY OBE’S MAYFAIR FLAGSHIP IN ALBEMARLE ST, A TREASURE TROVE OF EXQUISITE CREATIONS.
As a dresser of princesses of both Royal and pop varieties, some of the biggest names in Hollywood, and after last night, a good few Club members, Amanda is one of Britain’s most celebrated designers. And her store is every bit as elegant as you’d imagine.
Designed by Amanda herself, it’s intended to be a ‘home from home’ for her clientele. Homely though the lovely, relaxed ambience may be, the marble chimneybreasts, chain-link chandeliers and sweeping staircase straight out of a classic movie, add more than just a dash of glamour.
It was a very special evening with lots of exciting announcements from Karen and Max including:
- A major corporation’s recent membership of the everywomanNetwork - taking it to tens of thousands of women across Africa.
- The focus for 2015 is to extend the global reach of everywomanNetwork – excitingly this means Club member’s interviews and videos will be accessed by an even wider audience than the 10,000+ members already enjoying the benefits of their invaluable insight.
- The Club’s charity initiative has launched and for every new Club membership or renewal the Club is donating 10 everywomanNetwork memberships to one of the following charities: Refuge, Princes Trust or a charity chosen by the Club member.
- The Club’s 100th member has joined - a warm welcome to Lesley Ottery, Director of Transformation at Southern Water.
- To top it all off, we were hooked on Amanda’s story of how she went from a child ‘tearing up everything in her dressing-up box’ to the woman Angelina Jolie, Scarlet Johansson and the Duchess of Cambridge turn to when they need to look and feel their absolute best.
Having grown up with ‘an innate desire to create’, Amanda decided the traditional design college route into fashion wasn’t for her.
Aged 19 she took herself off to America, where she modelled and turned to design. On her return to Britain she identified a gap in the UK fashion market for the kind of clean lines and pared down elegance she’d fallen in love with in the US.
She describes her label’s formative years as having an absence of strategy or business planning: ‘There was just a craving to create beautiful things and make women feel gorgeous’.
However it was precisely this vision, over her 24 years in business, garnered the attention of both a host of celebrated customers (the late Princess Diana was a loyal fan), and interested investors. But Amanda admits, the road to success was not without its tribulations.
There were the huge deals that fell through at the eleventh hour, the investors who struggled against the brand, and the periods of working around the clock when the future looked uncertain.
Then along came a partner who understood Amanda’s vision of creating the first truly British lifestyle brand. Award-winning collections followed - from bridal and occasion to everyday cashmere, tailoring and the perfect white shirt - all taking their inspiration from the understated elegance of Amanda’s ‘Clean Glam’ aesthetic.
So what’s on the agenda for Amanda Wakeley in 2015? A lot, is the short answer! More capsule collections are on their way, most notably the ‘bullet collection’ of handbags named after Hollywood’s most loved gunslingers (we’re torn between the ‘Eastwood’ and the ‘Jackson’ for our Christmas wish lists). Behind the scenes, Amanda is working on a ‘fascinating psychological journey’ of rebranding her business to remain relevant to the next generation of fashionistas.
All this work is underpinned by Amanda’s overarching objective of ‘empowering women through what they wear’; something she says is all the more important to her in this age of airbrushed celebrities and unrealistic ideals.
Summing up her career journey, she reflects:
When I began there were no networks, no mentors. I could have avoided a lot of pain if ambassadors and Club members had been around when I was starting out. I’ve learned a lot of my lessons the hard way, but if sharing my story can help and inspire, that’s great.
Thank you Amanda, for sharing your tale and your beautiful store. Festive wishes to all our Club members; we’ll be in touch soon with details of our first 2015 event.