Summer Lovin’

“Sweet days of summer, the jasmine’s in bloom, July is dressed up and playing her tune.” Seals and Crofts captured the spirit of summer beautifully in their 1972 hit, Summer Breeze and it’s a fair observation that when the sun shows her rays, the nation appears to wake up from an often long and bleak hibernation.

With the sun comes the beautiful people, and with the beautiful people come the beautiful clothes; layers of sensual chiffon; neons and pastels working in perfect harmony as an array of summer dresses commute their way to work; perfect pedis grace the streets with pride and those over-priced sunnies get their annual dust-down.

Summer bags are the must-have accessory for any fashionista, be it the latest in new-look leather rucksacks, a Michael Kors colour-pop tote or Russell and Bromley’s quilted silver shoulder bag – truly a sight to behold and quite simply, summer on a delicately woven chain.

Quilty

Russell & Bromley’s ‘Quilty’

Alas, another produce of summer is the school trip. 30 plus children gracing the delights of London’s transport system, hyperactive on pouched fruit drinks and the prospect of visiting a well-stocked museum gift shop.

Yesterday’s journey home was timed to perfection as I was joined by a group of primary school children making their way back from The British Museum. Clearly buzzing from their visit and coping remarkably well with the heat (I had chosen to wilt in the aisle) the group provided a surprisingly welcomed excitement away from the usual awkward silence of a lone commute home.

As I listened to tales of their fun-packed day, I noticed the class teacher sitting with a group of eager young girls. Impeccably dressed in a floaty, skater-style summer dress covered in delicate strawberries, she was a vision of summer – the little girls were in complete awe.

original_strawberry-fayre-1950s-style-bustle-dress

Summer in fabric form – delightful

“I love your dress Miss Evans, it’s so pretty,” little admirer.

“Thank you, Alex, that’s very kind of you,” Miss ‘Summer’ Evans.

“My mum has something just like it, we use it as a table cloth,” little admirer.

And with that, I could literally see the essence of summer ebb from this young teacher’s grasp. Not knowing quite what to say, she simply laughed it off (no doubt secretly wishing for a glass of Pimms and a sun lounger to somehow magic her away from the stuffy carriage).

Roll on winter, that’s what I say, and let’s be honest, you can’t go wrong with a cable-knit!

Here Comes the Perfectly Accessorised Bride! (Via Olivier Laudus)

It’s a well-known fact that if you go off-the-beaten-track in any town, city or country, you find its hidden gems.

Nestled away from the pandemonium of London’s Oxford Street, is Oliver Laudus, an Aladdin’s cave of all things bridal.

Owned and run by stunning husband and wife team, Olivier and Sangeeta Laudus, brides are welcomed into their exclusive accessories boutique and made to feel how every bride should in the run up to her big day – special.

“We want to make sure our customer’s are happy,” said Oliver, “we would hate for any one of our customer’s to go away unhappy.”

The perfectly petite boutique houses some of the most luxurious bridal accessories I have seen (and believe me, I’m not easy to please on the bridal front!). With cabinets of delicately crafted headpieces and bridal jewellery, you can’t help but get lost in their haven of romantic tiaras, pearl encrusted combs and drop-earrings fit for any royal wedding.

Tiaras in cabinet

                Some of the stunning tiaras on display at Olivier Laudus                    

Olivier Laudus took their first steps down the wedding industry aisle over 10 years’ ago when the couple set themselves the challenge of designing the perfect ring cushion for their own wedding. Sounds like a fairytale experience.

“It wasn’t quite like that,” said Olivier, “it was a long process trying to find people and suppliers who understood what we wanted to achieve. We eventually found a family-owned business overseas and have been working with them for many years’ now.”

A replica of the cushion in question – and an increasingly popular request from their many customers – takes pride of place on one of their select displays and is a heart-warming symbol of the devotion Olivier and Sangeeta clearly have for their products.

Following their (continued) online success and the surge of excitement surrounding their pop-up store in 2011, the boutique was inevitable.

“Having a physical space in addition to our online shop was the most logical step for our business and we are really excited for our new venture,” said Sangeeta.

Corridor          B&W veils

           The chic setting allows brides-to-be to browse in style                     

Olivier and Sangeeta offer a bespoke service across a large selection of their exclusive products; brides really do get that unique, personal service I have felt so lacking in my wedding planning experience.

“Many items are bespoke and made to our customer’s needs. We recently met with a bride from Egypt who wanted a combination of two of our tiaras, so I’m helping design her ideal piece,” said Olivier.

And with the extensive product knowledge Olivier and Sangeeta possess, I have no doubt this bride will have an enchanting experience.

One purpose of my visit was to hunt down the perfect veil (a task I have been trying to accomplish since last September). Stocking creations by designer, Joyce Jackson, I was spoilt for choice. The veils float effortlessly along Olivier Laudus’ romantically lit corridor, each veil has its place and before long, I’d found the one for me (and no, you can’t see a pic…yet!). Olivier recently visited the Welsh-based factory and was more than impressed by their work ethic and craftsmanship. Skills Olivier Laudus clearly pride themselves on.

Me in tiara   Cushion2            

     Enjoying the Olivier Laudus experience               Where it all began  

If you’re looking for that attentive, individual touch, with the freedom to explore and truly discover some of the best and exclusive bridal accessories on the market, go to Olivier Laudus. Not only will Olivier and Sangeeta go out of their way to make you feel welcome, they make a genuine effort to get to know you. I felt free to get hands-on with their stunning pieces while at the same time guided and well looked after – all in the comfort of chic surroundings.

Close hanging veils

Lose yourself is a sea of Italian tulle

It’s an old cliché but wedding planning can be stressful, emotional and quite frankly, exhausting! So if you want a sense of calm amid the pom poms and table plans, make Olivier Laudus your haven of tranquillity – no wedding should be complete without a visit to their London boutique.