L-R: Luella Bartley in her Mickey Mouse ears, auctioned off for charity
"Hearts, Prints and Bows", Luella's Spring/Summer 2010 collection
"Luella's Guide to English Style" book, out now
For several years I had been a fan of Luella's clothing. Her designs had a fun, quirky side to them which I loved, not to mention the great colour palette she used. So imagine my horror when I heard her financial backers had pulled out and, unless a new one came forward, Luella the label was going to fold. I hoped one would come forward, but none did and so the Luella sale began. Anything left for sale on her website was made available at a heavily discounted price. Come January of this year and, with a small bit of my loan and the majority of my birthday money, I managed to get my hands on a hot pink Luella handbag for a mere £120 including delivery.
My mother went mental when I told her the price, thinking I'd gone crazy. But I knew this may be my only chance to own a piece of the Luella collections; something I'd been wanting to do since I first saw the collections.
As it was, all the items were sold and Luella ceased trade. Not, however, before some high street stores and supermarkets with clothing ranges whirled out copies of her latest collection (pictured above). I say supermarkets because, one summer's day drawing close to the autumn months, I was browsing through Tesco's clothing sale rack when I came across this dress:
It was a few sizes too big, and it was missing it's belt. However, it was a darn good copy of the Luella dress and had been reduced to £10. Rationalising that I didn't need another belt as I already had plenty, and one such belt could be used with this dress, I snapped it up. Yes I didn't have a lot of money at this time but hey, it was the last one!
Best bargain ever, people remark on the likeliness and owning a decent copy is often the next best thing when on a limited budget.
But Luella was not ready to leave us yet (hurrah!) and a few months after my wonderful find, she released a book. I was desperate for said book and practically stalked my local Waterstones (it took them about a fortnight to actually get it in stock and even then they only had three copies!) for it. It took me about two days of reading - fitted around uni commitments of course - to finish it and it was worth my manic searching of Waterstones on a regular basis. It's not a "how-to" book but more Luella's musings on how we as British birds like to dress, spanning through the generations and different style clans we may align ourselves with. Well worth £20, or a quick plea to Father Christmas.