I bumped into one of my favourite ‘chic not shouty’ bag designers at London Fashion Week. Up bright and early on Sunday morning, Ally Capellino was outside the Margaret Howell show and so we had a quick coffee and I managed to squeeze in an impromptu Creative Women at Work interview. Always working, the pair of us…
TNMA: I like your new jumpers – tell me about the collection – does this mean you’ll be doing clothes again?
AC: Thanks, we all like them. They’re made in Scotland with Home Grown Wool. There’s a rota going on in the studio so that we don’t clash too much. The clothes are creeping back slowly, slowly, but we don’t have big shops and more importantly no changing rooms, so we’re doing outerwear and knits as they are easy to try on without stripping down to your knickers.
TNMA: How do you manage to keep the bag collection looking fresh and modern but still very Ally Capellino after all these years?
AC: Oh and thanks again. I think the key points of simple and functional design always have the most modern feel. When clothes or bags are decorated or use too much embellishment or unnatural shaping then they can look dated quite quickly
TNMA: How do you work? Can you talk me through your creative process? What’s a typical day like?
AC: Well I’m working all the time – watching, and these days taking ridiculous numbers of photos on my phone. I look at colours and shadows and people. It’s just a constant, but with the bag collection it’s quite important not to make everything change each season. It’s more strategic, and always a team effort to make it all come together. Having said that there’s always room for a burst of passion and new ideas. They can be real winners (or complete washouts). I’ve just had a new idea and am going back to the studio afterwards; it’s a little theory inspired by being relaxed. Some of the bags have got a bit posher and I suddenly thought we’ve got to go the other way, be a bit more relaxed and not uptight.
TNMA: I like your new red and green tote bags, you’re using more colour these days, why do you think that is?
AC: You mean these two little beauties? Yes, they do look good together. The red was a risk but the green is very dark and classic with the black leather. The red has been a winner – and so we’re very happy about that. I wear more colour these days since I started bleaching my hair. I love colour even more and have become a bit more brazen. Sugar pink is now my official favourite.
TNMA: What’s in your bag? (Ally is carrying a beautiful green leather Jackie cross body bag)
AC: My phone, obviously. My new glasses, lip balms, business cards, purse, big bunch of keys, bike lights, lots of bits of paper – I don’t have a notebook so there are endless wodges that I have to decipher. I could easily be the MP leaving valuable information on the bus seat…