The first three photos are from Luella's latest collection: Spring/Summer '10. The rest are from the Spring/Summer '09 collection.
The dress above is my DREAM dress. I love everything about it. The ballooning ruffles look to me like sugary clouds of fabric.
When I was contacting designers to feature in 'Love Pink', only two turned me down: Prada, and Luella. I have always loved Luella. My first AS textiles project revolved around the citrus colours, florals and bows of Luella's Spring/Summer 09 collection. Having never studied art or textiles before, I embarked on the course with more than a little trepedation, but every time I openend my sketchbook and saw all those cake like tiered dresses and sunshine colours I couldn't help but smile. My friends joke about Libbyland, the rosy world of bunnies and daisies that they say I seem to disappear to when it is raining or I have had a bad day. Well, in Libbyland I wear a floral Luella dress.
I was therefore undoubtedly disappointed when they said no. For a while I used to growl at the tv or my computer whenever I saw Luella Bartley being interviewed, or at a magazine if I saw a model sporting an unmistakable floral dress.
It didn't last very long. I was in Liberty drifting around the fashion department (perhaps I am very sad but I love to wander around and touch clothes I could never afford, getting a rush whenever I recognise outfits from catwalk photographs) and found myself helplessly drawn towards a rail of Luella dresses. Before I knew it I was stroking the pink folds of fabric and frothing frills. "I'm sorry! I take it back! I love you!" I felt like shouting.
On Tuesday Luella announced that they had lost their financial backing, and were ceasing trading. I think this news is terribly sad. Ok, I may not be able to afford the dresses that I dream about, but I love Luella for exactly that; the dream. And perhaps I may not have bought THE Luella floral dress last summer, but I did buy something quite similar, a Luella inspired high street number. For 10 years Luella has brought a well-needed splash of playfulness and colour to the fashion scene. When fashion week comes around (be it Milan, then New York and now London) I look forward to logging on to style.com and seeing what Luella Bartley has created. Perhaps a backer will come along and save the brand. I certainly hope so. Luella is girliness, quirkiness, pink, sunshine and smiles. And where would we be without those things?