Monday, 4 March 2013

NY Triptych concluded

I am writing this in bed feeling kinda yucky - some lurgy has crept through a chink in my armor and a part of me is glad of an excuse to lie down. We've been back from NYC for over two weeks and finally I'm concluding the round-up.

Danielle tries the "Evelina"
Wednesday, the day before we left for home, we breakfasted with Helen and Ingmar at their hotel near the UN on the East Side of the island before taking ourselves off to the nearby British Consulate. Our meeting there was with Danielle from the UK Trade & Industry Department and Brittany from the Consulate staff who looks after fashion commerce.
Ingmar stands aloof from the hokey kokey

The ladies both seemed to think we had a good handle on how to progress but gave us insight into various joint initiatives we can pursue. We will have another meeting in London next week with our UKTI point person Nicola. There is plenty of assistance and structure to lean on out there if you make the effort to contact them. We pottered off for a pit stop before intercepting Redboy on the sidewalk outside the offices of Barneys. Once we were through the most remarkably unsmiley security (I considered it the triumph of the day that we managed to make the corner of his mouth twitch before we made for the elevators) we kept the most welcoming receptionist on the Barneys floor company while Red slipped into the "Tectonic" suit.

Ingmar waiting in reception at the Barneys office (we should have put a shoe on his head to balance the composition)
Then a familiar voice called up the stairwell, "Can it be, are you really here?!" before the elegance that is Jay Bell, VP Buyer of Designer Menswear, appeared and enveloped us in his embrace. He adapted to the extra personnel we had brought along with customary good humour and we shoehorned into his office along with a clothes rail. He tried on every piece. We had been corresponding in the week also, thanks to an introduction from Nile Rodgers, with Simon Doonan, the Englishman in New York and now Creative Ambassador-at Large of Barneys

Jay Bell in the "Mister Wesley" mac and Redboy in the "Tectonic"

He was particularly taken with the grey herringbone overcoat with velvet collar and red piping. As we have named each piece in the "Hell for Leather" collection for someone who has helped us and given encouragement, then this shall henceforth and for ever more be known as the "Jay B": 

The "Jay B" overcoat in 100% Harris Tweed wool herringbone, photograph by Ben Amure.
As well as Redboy, we had Ingmar to model and he showed off the "Edwin" corduroy suit inspired by an old French gardener's suit with the lovely spotted silk lining and plaited leather buttons:

Jay tapped at the calculator working out prices with taxes and import duties and freight and all the other costs that have to be factored in. To buy the whole collection for the stores would be a major spend and we had appeared, as it were, Hell for Leather, at the end of the cheque book. Our sort of gorgeous don't come cheap here in the UK but with all the extras added on for the US market it makes for what is known as "investment dressing". Still, we like to think that pieces by Bedlam will be passed down a generation so divide years of potential wear into the total price and you've nabbed yourself a bargain. So what we settled on was a series of accessories to introduce the brand in Barneys, to be able to say that we are in. So a smaller order but an enormous cause for celebration. More on that later.,default,sc.html

We next dashed back to Gladsons to meet Blanche who by now had dug her way out of Connecticut. She lived up to all the fanfare Mr Harrop had given her. Legend has it she keeps a notebook of her outfits so as not to repeat one when she goes on meetings. She was as pleased as Edwin had been to see what we had done with their fabric and twirled for us in the "Helen" coat:

Blanche gives Mr Wesley a squeeze
That evening, our last in the City, we rode the train out to Scarsdale for dinner with friends Craig and Hayley. It was a five star treat to eat home cooked spag bol and talk about school with their boys. I asked Gabe, their youngest, if he would be my Valentine. "No," he said directly. "He is your Valentine", pointing at Mr Wesley. 
We had brought cup cakes decorated in sugar hearts from the bakery in Grand Central Station and had them for dessert before we rode the train home. It had started snowing again in Scarsdale. I wore my pearly cap. It's still not finished, it has the threaded needle in the brim, but people are taking that as a design conceit and digging it! Funnily enough, Craig and Hayley have started collecting pearly artwork by a lady called Ann (whose last name I must double check). I loved the Pearly Queen that hangs in their drawing room:

On our last morning in New York City we hosted a meeting in the lounge of our building with Helen and Ingmar and the gentleman Helen has appointed to help her guide a design project with which we may be involved. We shall return to that in time when various legal procedures have been cleared. Helen then went to be interviewed about her foundation on a TV show while we hopped a cab with Ingmar and rode up to Times Square to visit GQ in the Condé Nast building, such as Cameron had set up for us

En route we had the best celebrity sighting ever. Ingmar nearly fell out of the cab with excitement. That would have been a shame to mar our last day together with a Sesame Street sidewalk splat. We had an action packed month with him and it was full on until the last moment.


So Michael Rossi  - who used to work at Decades with Cameron -  was kind enough to look through the collection and having said how much he liked it, request a look book to show his GQ colleagues. We were tempted - Ingmar was set on it - to go up to Vogue's floor after we left him and barge our way into see Anna. I was tired and had just enough in my tank to get us through the day and onto the plane. I guess adrenalin would have kicked in had we had an elevator encounter with La Wintour. Here am I looking peaky with Michael:

Enfant Terrible aka Wunderkind
Condé Nast but Nice

Then we returned Ingmar to his mama, went quickly in to Any Old Iron to say our "goodbyes" and "thank yous" to Mr Clancey, bought cleaning products from the grocery store to give Francine's apartment a gleaming swish over before hailing our last taxi of the week to deliver us to Newark Airport. It was Valentine's night, everyone was headed outta town early to get home to their honeys, not least those romantic Italian types who all live in New Jersey. The traffic was a gnarl fest but we arrived to check in on good time with a host of preposterously tall and slender models on their way to London Fashion Week. We came second in the "Best 'How We Met' story" competition and won a £20 voucher for onboard shopping. The next morning Stuart was at the Heathrow to meet us in is Hansom Cab. What a kind chap. I am as tired now as I was then and my achy head is flopping forward so it's a wrap and lights out for this edition.