allycapellino at lfw
Ally and her Jackie bag,; phone and new Prada glasses

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.

ally capellinojumper

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-aw16-web-luxe-iago-red-0313
ac-aw16-web-luxe-iago-green-0197

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…

22 thoughts on “Creative Women at Work: Ally Capellino

  1. Dear Ally (C) and Ally (W)!! Please could you find it within yourselves to send me a sample of a Ally Capellino brown or black leather frame bag. I think I need to road test one for research purposes! Thank you in anticipation!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Wonder if that striped jacket she’s wearing is one of hers from the past. So glad she’s doing more clothes again… her bags are divine but so were her clothes. I mentioned before I’ve got one of her silk shirts that I still love and I now think I had a wonderful suit in cotton that was hers… in brown and yellow and blue check. Bring it back, AC.

  3. ‘Chic Not Shouty’ now is my aim. Nearly 60 and finally I think I have found my style mojo! I naturally drift towards Ally Capellino, Margaret Howell and Paul Smith. Funding doesn’t always allow this but as I no longer care for ‘fashion’ very much I have gravitated instinctively towards my own way of dressing that makes me feel ‘me’. Simple colours – what is the buzzword – neutral with a (small) pop ,classic gentlewoman/classic styles with artisanal chunky silver and tortoiseshell jewellery. I find it all very exciting and am thoroughly enjoying myself.

  4. Chic Not Shouty” is a good motto. Thanks to an earlier post of yours, Alison, I was introduced to the Ally Capellino frame bag, and am now a proud possesor of the aforementioned. I think I will now pop over to her site and maybe be tempted again.

  5. The best coat I ever had was an Ally Capellino long wool coat with fluffed up wood cuffs and collar made to look almost like fur. I wore it for years. I got it at a store called The Smiths in Soho, NYC. Love the Petra bag too.

  6. One of my favorite items of clothing ever was a sleeveless, purple cotton Ally Capellino dress I bought in her Soho shop in the very early 90s. I always felt great and completely myself in it. Love her design style and colors. Thank you for sharing your encounter with her in your article.

  7. Great interview TNMA… So pleased that I got to work with both you and AC all those years ago. Wonderful chic women who are definitely not shouty!

  8. So very tired of all the shoutiness in general in the media…and in particular in fashion blogger land. Why can we not love something without being obsessed with it? So very tired of a girl in faded jeans and a simple tee being described as “insanely chic.” Gad. Hyperbole be gone! How about we all just calm down and be ‘chic but not shouty.’ Thanks Allyson for always providing my morning cup of grown up fashion sanity:)

    P.S. Very happy that I’m able to start wearing my khaki suede Twiggy jacket (that I won right here) again now that cooler temperatures are here. xo

  9. Love her bags & have a little collection so was very pleased to see her again . She’s wearing well too – like her bags do 🙂 Such lovely leather & they never look dated . I can’t buy them locally now but I can recommend the delivery from their website .

  10. Oh I just love the new Ally C bags.
    Simplicity and chic all the way for me it’s all about comfort and confidence as you get older.
    LOVE LOVE Ally C’s style.
    I also love this time of year cover up clothes, layers and plenty of scarves.
    My favourite scarf from Rews current collection is Lolly, the bright mustard collar which looks fab worn with greys and muted colours.
    Maudie you may like this.

  11. Oh I just love the new Ally C bags.
    Simplicity and chic all the way for me it’s all about comfort and confidence as you get older.
    LOVE LOVE Ally C’s style.
    I also love this time of year cover up clothes, layers and plenty of scarves.
    My favourite scarf from Rews current collection is Lolly, the bright mustard collar which looks fab worn with greys and muted colours.
    Maudie you may like this.

  12. I loved the Ally Capellino clothes I bought in the 90s especially the print ones. I have kept many of them. I recently when moving unearthed a coral colour velour midi length high waisted dress I had kept but not worn for a long time. I plan to wear it again this winter 2016. The style still looks good and still fits me. I shall jazz it up with contemporary diamante necklace by Anton Heunis. Do make clothing again with the style and originality of previous collections

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