Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Harrogate Trade Show

One of the excited questions I often get asked by Brides-To-Be is 'Do I get to choose the dresses for the shop?' The answer, of course, is 'yes' alongside variously Amy, Gen - my Mum, Corinne and often my long suffering boyfriend Marshy! (Hmm - I wonder why I'm not engaged?) Although I have to say when I fill out the online registration forms them they only get the 'some influence' over the buying decisions box ticked!

The September Issue of this biannual experience is almost upon us. I have yet to work out if I am going, how am getting there, who's coming and where we are staying. Yes Readers, that is what you call professional buying. I want to qualify the next few words by saying Harrogate is a beautiful place, with some amazing hotels, restaurants and shops. As aconference centre the staff in all the  venues are professional. courteous and the Harrogate citizens are a fine bunch.

So how come I feel so uninspired?

1. It is quicker door-to-door to get to Barcelona for the trade show there!
2. The show organisers make the stands so expensive that only the big mass market labels can show there
3. It feels like a fashion backwater any planner or stylist would be able to present the collections better than the corporate set designers
4 I feel quite depressed by the amount of stands selling the same dresses with different labels
5. So much so that I even look at the skeletal see thru Swarovski  corset gypsy dresses for a laugh (My Lady anyone?)

So why do I still go?

I stock Maggie Sottero -a label I have written about on the Blog a few times. If you look at their website you would think they were an incongruous choice for Miss Bush. However I do like democracy of style, design & price. Maggie Sottero's designers, which must be legion, produce two massive collections a year,each numbering at least 100 dresses.  If I  sit through a fashion show which is desgned to be tech rather than revelatory I can pick out 10 - 15 classic Miss Bush dresses that fit superbly, use exclusive fabrics and retail between £800 and £1500. There are some monsters, in my opinion, in their collections - but they are a massive worldwide label producing designs for a vast selection of countries, cultures and tastes. There are also treasures. The only problem is that one has to go and kick the tyres so to speak. The art direction of their marketing images is handled by the worldwide Sales HQ in Utah! So unless I  go  and meet the dresses face to face I will get the buying very wrong!

To illustrate this I have looked through my images to see if I could find any shots of Harrogate, specifically me - there! Gosh I what do you think I found? Yep - me a little squiffy, at the BBEH Awards do where Miss Bush was a runner up in the Retailer of the Year Award.

Left to Right: Me, Stephanie Allin and my Mum Gen

The quiet considered buying at the stylish Jenny Packham HQ

Left to Right Petra, Ella (from Jenny Packham) and Amy from Miss Bush

The stunning interior of Jenny Packham - this is what I mean about buying  and inspiration in tandem!

The lovely Ella from Jenny Packham and the ever unphotogenic me!

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