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The world of fashion is a complicated one - we all love to buy a new dress that makes us feel great. But sometimes the reality of the industry is not a positive one. On 24th April 2013, 1,138 people were killed and many more injured when the unsafe Rana Plaza factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Its anniversary is now marked by Fashion Revolution Week -  calling for greater transparency from brands about how their garments are produced. All with the question: "Who Made My Clothes?" This simple but powerful question helps us to think beyond the excitement of wearing a new dress and considering the life of the person who made it. It is our first year taking part in Fashion Revolution Week - we wanted to show you the faces behind the garments and the talented and hardworking machinists who help make Palava possible! Our factory is based in the U.K. -  it means we are able to visit the regularly and meet with the people who manage, cut, stitch and sew our dresses. The factory we employ is a small, family run business whose garment workers keep reasonable hours, in safe, clean working conditions.   We like to know that each person involved in the making of a Palava dress is treated fairly, safe - and happy! Here are just a few of the fabulous machinists that we work with, whose skill and expertise are essential to your finished dress. We have also interviewed our sample machinist and pattern cutter - Julie, to find out more about her, the work she does and why she enjoys it.    Before we talk any more about the Palava dress production, we should delve a little deeper into why ethical fashion is an important movement. Today, there are 60 million people working in the fashion industry. Most of these workers are women - producing garments in dangerous working conditions, being paid poorly and without access to basic worker’s rights. In many cases, forced labour, child labour, harassment, excessive hours and forced overtime take place. For more information, read Fashion Revolution's White Paper. These facts from Fashion Revolution are many of the reasons we strive to produce our own garments ethically. Did you know...? Legal minimum wage in most garment-producing countries, such as China and India, is rarely enough for a worker to live on. The current minimum wage in Bangladesh is 60% of the cost of living in a slum. Most garment workers are women. Many of these have children and families to provide for. Not only do low wages keep garment workers in a cycle of poverty, they add pressure to work long overtime hours, which impacts upon their health and safety. In India, 14 million children are in work, mainly in textiles, in hazardous working conditions.  The Global Slavery Index estimates that there are 36 million people living in modern slavery today, many of who are working for supply chains of Western brands. Back to our Palava production - we'd like you to meet our sample machinist and pattern cutter. Julie creates our very first dress samples and helps to tweak the sleeves, skirts, shape and little details that ensure the best fit. She also produces our limited edition runs, when we make a small number of dresses in a particular print. Julie had a chat with us about her skills, experience and dreams for the future.  Tell us about how you started working in the fashion industry. “I started sewing when I was 19 years old in a factory back in Lithuania. When I came over to the U.K I worked in a variety of factories for garment construction. At the current factory, there was the opportunity to work in the sample room and my current job developed from there. I was originally self-taught and have developed my skills over many years, working with many different types of fashion companies.”   When did you first become interested in textiles and garment production? “My grandmother used to sew and make all her own clothes – my interest in sewing may have come from that – watching her sew and knit for hours on end and taking great care in getting things right.”   What are your favourite things about your job? “I really enjoy interacting with my clients, working out what they want and what they need then taking it from being a two dimensional object, the pattern, to a three dimensional object, the finished sample or garment. I love to see the look on people’s faces when they see the finished piece! It’s very exciting to be able to turn their creative idea in to reality. My job also involves lots of attention to detail. I take a lot of care in my work.”   What are your aspirations? “I’ll tell you a little secret - really I want to learn about fine tailoring and producing the patterns for jackets and suits. As much as I love making dresses, menswear would be my next big thing.”   What do you like about working with Palava? “The fabrics can be more challenging than other textiles because of the patterns and the border prints. Working out the best way to cut things out, maximise the yields, so there’s no wastage – it’s all complicated but satisfying at the same time. As a collaboration it’s also really nice to make things in the UK and keep things here. Small businesses help other small businesses. All the work filters down and helps other people – from the button suppliers, the packaging, the zips and the belts – meaning that these other small companies will be here not just today, but also tomorrow. It's a positive cycle.”        If you want to contribute to the ethical fashion movement as a consumer, Fashion Revolution have created this very helpful guide. We hope you've enjoyed discovering more about the making of Palava. We'd like to keep the conversation going, so if you have any questions or suggestions - please get in touch by dropping us a comment here, or contacting us via Facebook or Instagram.  
27th Apr 2018
This week has been an exciting one at Palava HQ. Behind the scenes, we've been preparing the launch of our new homeware range. A selection of our favourite Palava prints are now available as single bedding, wallpaper and even some rather exciting wall stickers. You can view the full range here. I took a moment to chat with Palava designer Bryony about the inspiration behind the designs.   Tell us about Palava's new homeware range - is this something you've always wanted to design? "It’s been a long time in the making! The whole process has taken about two years from when we started, to our launch this week. It’s lovely to explore the prints from a different direction and see them on a bigger scale than we do usually. Our brand comes from a background of stories – we’ve always wanted to combine the bedding with the idea of bed-time stories - a true match for our little storybooks! If the range is popular we want to expand to full-size bedding too!" When did you first think of designing wallpaper? "It must have been back at our Budgies photoshoot several years ago - we pinned up a large piece of Budgies fabric as the background. And we all thought it looked so nice I started to dream about Budgies wallpaper! We've even had requests from customers for it over the years, so it just felt right." "Wallpaper has an amazing ability to transform any room. I can see our wallpaper in children’s rooms but also in a more grown-up context – living rooms, adult bedrooms and hallways!"   For our new wall stickers, you've picked out each of the animals on the Walking Zoo print. We have a tiger, a zebra, three flamingos and a peacock! How do you imagine these in the home? "One day I had a vision of a full-size tiger printed out at the top of my stairs! They'll be great for those who don't want to commit to full wallpaper but are after a splash of colour, fun and excitement to your room. The Tigers remind me of the Tiger Who Came To Tea - you could even have him peeking out over you in the kitchen if you wanted! Are there plans to expand the homeware range? "Yes! There’s no end to possibilities of what we could do! My next step would be to go into double duvet bedding, as long as there’s a demand for it. I’d also love to go into kitchenware – to see our animals parading around the side of a plate. We made some Palava lampshades for out homeware shoot and I'm looking into how we can make these happen! "Other ideas off the top of my head - more cushions, hot water bottle covers, shoppers and oilcloth bags, phone covers! I'd love to get some feedback from our customers about what they've love to see the most!  What’s your personal favourite piece? "I'm really enjoying our floral print duvet, which features our Chelsea Flower Show and Flower Garden prints. It’s lovely to use two prints together, the reversible nature of it is very flexible and it’s just lovely to see a border print in use!" What was your favourite bedtime story as a child? "Pippi Longstocking! She’s the best. She always inspired me because she's incredibly strong, brave and can do whatever she wants! I was especially inspired as a child by her stripey socks – this has never left me and is why we continue to make stripey socks at Palava to this day! I also love the freedom she demonstrates in the books and the sense of adventure. As a child, I also loved Milly Molly Mandy, Winne the Pooh and the stories of Enid Blyton. I still return to these books as an adult for inspiration in my drawing and designs." What are your tips for a good night's sleep? "I enjoy listening to audio books before going to sleep or reading – depending on how sleepy I am! I think it takes you away from the day to day grind and off into your imagination. Also a hot bath!" We hope you enjoying having a look at our new SS18 homeware range. We'd love to hear your feedback on what else you'd like to see us do - be it new items, or bedding and wallpaper in particular prints. Let us know by adding a comment here, emailing us hello@palava.co or dropping us a line on facebook or instagram. 
15th Apr 2018
Today marks International Women’s Day – a global celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. This year, the theme of International Women’s Day is #PressforProgress – a call to action for specific behaviours and attitudes that support women’s progress. These include valuing women’s success, ensuring credit is given for women’s contributions and the celebration of women role models. In this spirit, we thought it was a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on our female-led team at the Palava studio. We’ve also teamed up with Modcloth and will be featured in their International Women’s Day celebration later in the month. Be sure to keep your eyes peeled! Firstly, meet Bryony. As lead designer and founder, she designs all of our beautiful prints in the studio, draws up new patterns for dress designs and breathes creative life into all aspects of our brand. Bryony created the company over 10 years ago - in that time the business has seen many changes since then, and working in fashion is not without its challenges! But her focus and hard work continues to push us into bigger and better things.  What does International Women’s Day mean to you? "It's a moment to consider the challenges women have faced historically and the challenges that remain today. Thinking about what needs to be done to ensure women are supported and allowed the right opportunities. It's chiefly a day of celebration and encouraging women to feel proud and acknowledge all the wonderful things they have achieved and continue to achieve!" What do you like about working in a female-led team? "The three of us share a great sense of humour and we always make sure we support each other. I feel like we approach one other as equals, that we're all on the same page and understand each other. It really feels like a level playing field. I like to think in the Palava team each person can really be themselves and there are no expectations of having to be one thing or another. Plus we have a similar taste in dresses so it's amazing to work in a team where we are committed to the designs we create and genuinely love wearing them! This also extends to our customers, who are mostly women - we take all feedback about our designs very seriously and really listen and understand the comments and requests our customers have when it comes to making the next collection!" Next, we have Annabel our studio manager – supervising the day-to-day running of the studio and most importantly – our production! She is also the friendly voice on the phone when one of you gives us a call – and the person responsible for processing all of your orders. Annabel has worked at Palava for over four years; previously she studied childrenswear design at University.  What drives you? “Because I live in the countryside, I always knew that I would end up working in London, there's always such a buzz in the design studio. Whether it's photoshoot time or sampling time, there's never a dull moment.  I love seeing the first sample fabrics, then the physical samples themselves and then following their journey through production and finally onto the shop shelves!”  What is your proudest achievement at Palava? "My first, and biggest achievement is the fact that I'm working for my dream brand - the one that inspired my degree!  But my proudest achievement within Palava is the fact that I have the role of designing our lovely knitwear! Within my job at Palava, I encounter a real mixture of tasks everyday; I manage production and the trade side of the business and I am the first port of call for our customers! But my main passion is design work, I am lucky enough to design our knitwear collection as well.  The first cardigans I designed were our embroidered swallow cardigans! I remember when they were first released, it's an amazing feeling to see the designs come to life and to hear the feedback from our lovely customers. Plus it's pretty exciting to wear something you've worked on, I'm addicted to our cardigans!" And last but not least – me! I’m Jennifer – Creative Content and Marketing Manager. I’m responsible for many online aspects of the business, such as our website and social media. I’m also involved with visual aspects of our brand, such as styling and directing our photo shoots.  Who are your female role models? "I’m generally inspired by any woman who follows her own path and stays true to herself. I love books, films and art and in my spare time I write fiction and am interested in photography. Many of my creative inspirations come from women. A favourite authors is Colette, a French writer, mime and actress who was very ahead of her time and had a fascinating life, including a stint in the Parisian music halls in the early 1900s! I love the music of the 1950s and 1960s and so many of my favourite artists are from that era, such as Billie Holliday, Yma Sumac, LaVern Baker, Ruth Brown...the list goes on and on!" What do you love most about working at Palava? "Being in a supportive team where we all encourage each other and make the most of each day. We take our work seriously but we enjoy the social aspect of work - we have a Tuesday lunch club where each of us cooks for the team, and every day we sit down and eat together and have a proper break from laptops and phones! I've also become more involved with photoshoots and the visual direction of the brand in the year I've been working here. This in itself is an achievement as I'm in a job that allows me to be really creative. I'm particularly excited by our Autumn/Winter season this year and the photoshoot we recently worked on - you're all going to love it!" We hope you enjoyed reading more about our team and we wish you a very happy International Women’s Day! Now it's time for a celebratory cup of tea...cheers!
08th Mar 2018
Our brand is known for its unique, hand illustrated prints created by our founder and lead designer Bryony. Each collection takes on a unique theme and each print is scattered with small but delightful details that add something special and unexpected. Some of our most playful designs are part of our Ballroom collection – a series of beautiful patterns inspired by the dances of yesteryear. Our Dancers print even features Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers doing a twirl! I sat down with Bryony and had a chat about the inspirations behind the four key prints of our Ballroom collection: the aforementioned Dancers, Cocktail, Square Spot and the headliner – the Ballroom print itself. Bryony herself is a dancer – regularly attending swing dance classes and a wonderful variety of dance festivals in the UK and abroad. I also wanted to know more about how she got into dancing and how it inspires her creative work.  Q: With the exception of our Beatrice Ballroom and Freda Ballroom dresses, the Ballroom collection’s key dress is Irene. Tell us more about this style. “The Irene dresses were inspired by dancing – not just the prints but also the shape. She has short, flattering sleeves that allow plenty of movement in the arms (the worst thing about a long sleeve dress when you’re dancing is feeling your arms are restricted!). The bust on Irene is very feminine and gives a more ‘evening’ feel than our classic Beatrice shape. The waist is high and the skirt full – leaving a great amount of fabric that flows beautifully when you spin or twirl. The dresses in this collection are all made from organic cotton twill that really holds its shape and washes beautifully. The colours don’t fade and remain as vibrant as when you first wear the dress. Our Marilyn skirts are the same shape if you’re looking for a skirt version to wear with a blouse or cardigan. Both Marilyn and Irene are perfect when matched with petticoats as they accentuate the shape and give some extra sparkle and movement – be it on the dance floor or not! These dresses are perfect for swing dancers but also anyone who wants to dress up a little and recreate the spirit of the 1940s-1950s era." Q: Talk us through the four key prints of the collection – what’s the inspiration behind the fabrics? “Let’s start with the most classic print - Square Spot. Who can go wrong with a polka dot? It’s a classic print that goes with everything – a true classic! Nothing can be more chic than a polka dot dress, a simple colourful cardigan and a pair of elegant flats or vintage style heels. Our Dancers print comes in two daring shades of Mustard and Teal. The Dancers print was primarily inspired by my two all-time favourite dancing heroes: Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. I grew up watching their films, two of my favourites are Swing Time and Flying Down To Rio . I was always captivated by the elegance and grace of their routines. Between the two of them, I think they were the most glamorously dressed and talented stars of the 1930s and 1940s, whose legacies live on today. Here's one of my favourite clips from Swing Time (1936): For this print, I was also inspired by particular venues I’ve been to where the dances of the 1940s live on – such as the Rivoli Ballroom and Hornsey Town Hall Both are beautiful buildings that continue to house some amazing events. I would absolutely recommend anyone who has an interest in swing dance to look them up! The headliner – our Ballroom print, accompanies the illustrations in the Ballroom Collection storybook. This tells the tale of our special Palava characters Poppy and Fred’s big party. There’s a dance competition taking place, with plenty of foxtrots, jives and tangos! Finally, the Cocktail print is inspired by the novelty prints of the 1950s – and the time when having a cocktail cabinet at home was truly in vogue! It was also a time when more people than ever had a record player and a decent sized record collection; where throwing parties in your living room with the latest 45 rpm releases was the best way to spend a Saturday night! It’s great to see vinyl and record players back in fashion in the last few years. This print evokes nostalgia for that time and the elegance of the after-dinner cocktail." Q. Speaking of cocktails, which is your favourite? “It has to be a Margarita, with a slice of bitter lemon! Although I recently went to a fancy dress party that had a cocktail theme; I dressed up my sister as a Tequila Sunrise and I went as a Dark and Stormy! Q. In a previous blog we followed you on your adventures in Italy, attending a Lindy Hop festival on the shores of Lake Como. What other dances do you do? “I’ve tried quite a few over the years! At the moment I am also taking lessons in Collegiate Shag. I have danced Lindy Hop the longest but I’ve taken workshops and short courses in Balboa, Jitterbug, St Louis, Tap, Boogie Woogie and a little bit of Charleston. Each dance has its own identity, history and music that accompany it. The more you learn to dance the more you enjoy the nuances of each dance but also how the earlier dances of the 1920s and 1930s continued to influence later styles. Q. When did you start dancing? "Five or six years ago I started taking Lindy Hop lessons. You will never have as much fun in your life as you do when you’re dancing! I’ve met so many fabulous people – and it's taken me to some extraordinary places. I’ve travelled to Italy, Lithuania, Norway, to name but a few! I’m also always getting ideas for designs as inspired by vintage dresses I see on other people at dance nights – sometimes the prints, the shape of the dress, or the way the fabric moves. The other thing I love about dancing is that no one is too young or too old to dance! It really is something that can be enjoyed by everyone. That way of thinking is something I've tried to encapsulate in my own dress designs, and in many ways is at the heart of Palava as well."  Image: © Michael Bazergan Q. Lindy Hop is a partner dance, made up of some core basic moves -plus some more intricate exchanges between the lead and the follow. Talk us through some of your favourite moments in the dance. Well, the best thing about social dancing as a follower is within reason, you never know what’s going to come next! Each dance is different and so is each leader. I recently started taking lessons in leading myself and really enjoyed learning how different yet complementary the role is within the dance. In terms of specific moves, a really good and really fast swing-out (the hallmark of Lindy Hop) is hard to beat, but I’m also a fan of the Sling-Shot and the Basket. If you’re intrigued by these unusual names, you can look them up on YouTube and find out more!" Q. Finally, what’s been one of your favourite dancing memories? “It’s probably taking part in a Lindy Hop dance troupe, where around 14 of us performed at Hornsey Town Hall – complete with live band and packed out audience! It was nerve-wracking to perform in front of so many people, but after the first few steps, everything fitted into place and the dance just took over – as it should! Swing dance is such a wonderful way to make new friends, have fun and experience life to the full. I would recommend it to everyone!” We hope you’ve enjoyed this little insight into Bryony’s creative inspirations surrounding dance. All of the prints mentioned in this blog are currently part of our January Sale – so they’re a real steal! We hope you have a little look and treat yourself…and maybe even have a dance!
03th Feb 2018
Happy New Year everyone! We hope 2018 has been treating you well. We had a wonderful festive season and our studio team enjoyed a well deserved ten days off over Christmas and the New Year. We were all back in the studio come January 2nd, full of enthusiasm for our upcoming spring/summer launch (now only a month away) and a head full of fresh ideas on how to some meaningful New Year’s resolutions at Palava HQ. One of them is to talk more to our customers about the established working practices and environmental ethos behind Palava. So we thought we've give you the low-down about the things we're already proud to have achieved with our production - as well as the little things we do at the studio to be environmentally conscious. Since the start of our company, we have been committed to an environmentally friendly approach with our dress production: including sourcing and producing environmentally friendly fabrics such as Organic Cotton, TENCEL® and the highest quality winter and summer weight linens. The newest addition to our Palava range, TENCEL®, is a fascinating fabric that is crafted from the botanical fibres of sustainably sourced trees and plants. These result in a fabric that is "more absorbent than cotton, softer than silk and cooler than linen". TENCEL®  has won awards for the merits of its ecological production. This video summarises the making process: As of 2017, we moved our dress production back to the U.K from Turkey: a costly and time-consuming procedure which has enabled us to keep a better watch over how our dresses are made. This has also enabled a lower rate of transportation emissions. Now our dresses travel to our warehouse British roads, rather than plane or long-distance lorry. We still print the fabrics themselves in Turkey as we have a longstanding relationship with an excellent textiles producer. They are responsible for the printing, fabric and colour quality of our Palava dresses and skirts. We sleep soundly in the knowledge are fabrics are environmentally and ethically produced – plus moving the main dress production back to England has helped drastically reduce our carbon footprint.   You may have heard us talking about zero waste before. What exactly does it mean? Our aim is to use 100% of the fabric we produce. The environmental impact of this is twofold: we are able to reduce the amount of fabric we print, by utilising the fabric we already have, and we can avoid discarding fabric that’s too small to make into dresses or skirts. We are always coming up with new ideas of how to transform our scrap cottons and linens! The latest project was our extremely popular notebooks collection  - crafted from spare sections of border and all-over prints that are usually intended for a Beatrice dress or Elspeth skirt. We also use scrap fabric to produce children's bags, our tote bags, children's and women's hair accessories, toys and cushions! Not to mention our annual fabric bundle sale where we give our customers the opportunity to get their hands on scrap fabric for sewing and craft projects. We are proud to be part of the slow fashion movement. We design dresses that are made to last – we intend them to be investment pieces that are worth their money in quality. Despite an ever-increasing appetite for fast fashion, with a rise in trend-spotting brands that produce new clothing every few weeks, the fashion industry is also seeing an increase in a slow fashion, sustainability ethos. Whichever way the wind blows – we are committed to focusing on quality of design and fabrics above all else. We also believe it makes you feel good: wearing fabrics that are kinder to your skin, kinder to the environment, produced without slave labour and not destined to fall apart after once or twice in the wash. Beyond dress production itself is the running of our behind-the-scenes studio. We are a small team – comprising of four permanent members of staff who responsible for our design, customer service, marketing and production management. Within a small team, in a small business, you might ask what impact our studio practices will have on a wider scale – but we firmly believe that even the tiniest of changes help the world around us. In the studio we already focus making these conscious daily efforts. But we're always looking for ways to improve! We use low energy lightbulbs and make the best use of natural light in the Palava studio to minimize electricity. We also ensure all computers and devices are unplugged, switched off and tidied away at the end of a working day. We decorate the studio with as many plants as possible, adding a little green touch to our working space that is also contributing to a balanced eco-system.  Wherever possible, we buy fruit and vegetables from the local fruit stall to reduce the amount of plastic and recyclable packaging that is so common in supermarket purchases. We also try to purchase locally sourced products and buy Fair Trade fruit and organic milk where possible – where the use of environmentally damaging pesticides is reduced and ethical production has been considered. We’re also in the process of developing our own Palava kitchen garden on our studio balcony! By the end of the summer we hope to have an array of tomatoes, herbs and flowers that will be a tasty addition to our team lunches. We recycle whenever we can: milk cartons, cans, tins, cardboard – you name it! We also try to source second hand furniture for the office as much as possible and repurpose them using our scrap fabrics - like these wonderful Snowstorm print chairs.  We are lucky to work in a studio filled with beautiful tote bags! We have a working policy that these must be used for all office related shopping – be it for food, runs to the post office or buying any kind of office supplies. This helps us avoid the use of excess plastic bags. Nearly all office communications and planning takes place virtually – meaning no need for printing and wasting paper! When we do need to print, we re-use the material where possible as scrap paper.   Whilst this isn’t possible for the entire team - I'm lucky enough to live within a thirty minute walk of the studio. I recently decided to walk to work and back every day, come rain or shine. Although a fifteen minute bus journey or a ten minute drive is often tempting, walking is better for the environment and better for me! Bryony also cycles to meetings as much as possible.  We hope this has been an interesting introduction to our ethical and environmental concerns - and we'd like to hear what yours are! Have you started the new year with any environmental resolutions? We're also always looking for suggestions for ways in which we can improve. So if you can think of any - do let us know! Email hello@palava.co.  Once again, a very happy new year to you all.  
19th Jan 2018
Welcome to out stockist spotlight! This is a new monthly blog feature - so you can find our more about the wonderful boutiques we work with. We're a small British brand but we're lucky enough to have stockists all over the world - including Japan, the USA, Europe - and some rather wonderful shops here in the UK too. For our first stockist spotlight, meet Godiva - an independent Edinburgh based boutique who offer a hand picked selection of independent design, vintage and made-to-measure collections for women. Founded in 2003 by Fleur MacIntosh Godiva pride themselves on finding original, high quality and ethically produced designs - championing British and locally made brands. We recently had a chat with Godiva's social media and marketing manager Natasha.  1.     Tell us more about Godiva and how the boutique was originally founded. "Our lovely owner Fleur opened Godiva around 15 years ago. It started off as a smaller boutique a few doors up the street from our current location and only sold vintage! We’re very close to the Edinburgh College of Art, and students were always popping in the store to find unusual vintage pieces to rework into something modern and new. Fleur started stocking some of the students’ graduate collections, and we grew from there! We still have close connections with ECA, stocking established graduates such as Karen Mabon and Rowanjoy alongside other local and independent designers." 2.     You are champions of ethical fashion and independent designers. Can you talk a little bit about Godiva as an alternative to the typical high street experience? "An independent store is so much more personal than the high street. At Godiva in particular, everything is a very democratic process. We are a small all-women team, and we each have a say in the new designers we’re going to bring on board, the collections we’re going to purchase from, everything down to displays and the music we play in store. This makes for a far better customer experience since we have genuine enthusiasm and love for our products! We can tell you what everything in our shop is made from, where it was made, and the names of the people who designed it. We know our regular customers by name and get excited to show them new pieces we think they’ll love, whether that’s when they come in store or on social media! It’s a friendlier experience and more honest, too - we let our customers know if something doesn’t suit them or doesn’t fit them properly. It’s better to have an relationship with a customer that’s built on trust rather than pushing a sale on them. Ultimately, we want our customers to feel as comfortable as possible in our shop, and to love our products as much as we do!" 3.     How long have you been selling Palava and what first drew you to our brand? "We think it’s been around 4 years now - time flies! Fleur always says how Bryony’s gorgeous illustrations and patterns stand out from everything else at the trade shows, and of course what lovely people you all are! The quality is obvious when you see any Palava piece, and we love that everything is ethically made from natural, long-lasting materials. And pockets! You wouldn’t believe the delight all our customers feel when they find pockets in Palava’s dresses and skirts! Palava is like the holy trinity: beautiful designs, fabrics that withstand the washing machine, and POCKETS!  We also love the attention to detail, from the lovely packaging to the covetable story books that accompany each collection. I get super excited to read about the adventures that Poppy and Fred have been up to each season!" 4.     What are your favourite items from the latest Palava collection and why? "The puffin cardigans have been such a hit with everyone at Godiva. When they first arrived, we almost sold out over the weekend and had to immediately reorder so I could get one for myself! The rust is my favourite colour, and the puffin is my favourite bird so it was fate really. Fun fact - the puffin is called a Tammie Norrie in Scots! The puffin cardigans have been a huge hit this year with customers and staff alike. We sold out almost immediately, and I was a little nervous that I wouldn’t be able to get one myself! We even have our newest member of staff thanks to the puffin cardigan: she’d stopped to admire it in our window display, and then saw that we were hiring. Fun fact - the puffin is called a Tammie Norrie in Scots!" 5.     Godiva is based in beautiful Edinburgh. Can you give some of your top tips on how to spend a weekend in the city? "We may be a little biased, but our Grassmarket area is the perfect destination for a weekend break. Godiva is situated in the shadow of the famous Edinburgh Castle, right in the heart of the Old Town. There are quirky hotels and lots of Airbnbs close by (our favourite is the Grassmarket Hotel) and streets such as Victoria Street and Candlemaker’s Row which inspired Diagon Alley from Harry Potter, and are full of quirky independent shops like our favourites Hannah Zakari and Red Door Gallery. At the other end of the Grassmarket you’ll find us and the vintage trail: Herman Brown, Carnivale and other vintage shops all along the same street! There are also delicious sweet treats to be found at Mary’s Milk Bar, Lovecrumbs and Tasty Buns - and healthier options at Hula and Pumpkin Brown to counteract all that sugar! You can fill your Instagram feed with the perfect shot of the Castle by marching up the Vennel steps opposite Godiva. It’s such a beautiful and hidden part of Edinburgh that I chose to have my wedding photographs taken there! And of course, no trip to the Grassmarket is complete without a stop off at the amazing Maison de Moggy - Edinburgh’s very own cat cafe!" So, if you're based in Scotland or visiting Edinburgh soon - we hope you can make it in to meet the wonderful team at Godiva. We're proud to work with another small British business who share our values of high quality, excellent design and ethical manufacturing. Long live Godiva! Godiva Boutique 9 West PortEdinburghEH1 2JA Tel: 0131 221 9212 https://godivaboutique.co.uk Happy shopping!  
07th Dec 2017
It's the first weekend of December...and that means only one thing! Christmas is coming! Here at Palava we're looking forward to a festive month ahead full of mince pies, mulled wine and...dresses! We've put together a selection of our Christmas Collection highlights for you all - so whether you're looking for a gift for someone special, or a Christmas dress for yourself - we've got you covered! Also - for this weekend only use the code CHRISTMASISCOMING for a special 15% off! For women, our Beatrice Long Sleeves is one of our most popular styles. With three quarter length sleeves, full skirt and tie waist - Beatrice offers the ultimate style and elegance whilst remaining comfortable and practical. What more could you ask for at Christmas? The adjustable tie-waist is particularly handy after one too many mince pies! Beatrice Red Christmas is perhaps the ultimate festive dress - with a beautiful set of hand illustrated Christmas trees running along the border of the skirt. Our Beatrice Red Aunt Eva and Beatrice Navy Aunt Eva are two complementary choices - these dresses are Palava classics that we've been making from the very beginning! Lined in our special poppy print fabric, the print tells of a blustery winter's day adventure. We also adore our Freda Plum Christmas dress - an elegant and enchanting plum and gold short-sleeve style. Freda is easy to wear and can be transformed into a party dress with a pair of sheer tights and heels. Or wear for a festive daytime look with one of our sparkly pink cardigans.  As with all our Christmas choices, the border print is the best part! This dress is certainly a conversation starter and a great choice if you want something a little bit different for the festive season. Beatrice Black Hungarian Flowers is one of our favourite dresses from our new autumn/winter collection - inspired by the bold floral prints of Hungarian folk art - this style features one of our most intricate border prints. Running along the edge of the skirt, the arms and the neckline, Beatrice makes a bold statement! Simply add a few red hair flowers for a whimsical Christmas look. Now on to our Children's Christmas Collection. Our top Christmas dresses for little Palava folk include a mini-me version of our Aunt Eva print - in our Martha style. This is a sleeveless dress which matches our sparkly cardigans perfectly - or can be work pinafore style with a little top underneath. For a party look, add one of our brightly coloured petticoats! Our mini Hungarian Flowers (below right) is another highlight of our children's collection - perfect for any mum's out there who are after a matching Christmas outfit for them and their little one. For a classic, vintage inspired festive dress - look no further than Margaret Green Swallows or Margaret Cream Ducks. Both of these beautiful dresses are crafted from tencel - an environmentally friendly fabric made from sustainably sourced trees. Here at Palava we are committed to finding the best ways to produce fabrics that are friendly to the environment and ethically produced from start to finish. So you know that at every step of production, workers are paid a fair wage and the impact on the environment is as minimal as possible.    Two of my personal favourite choices for children are our Margaret Red Carpet and Margaret Navy Woodland. Our Red Carpet dress is an exclusive for children this year - featuring our limited edition cinematic print - one of my favourite. Our Woodland dress is crafted from a rich navy organic cotton, painting the picture of a walk under the stars.   And last but not least - our red Christmas dresses! On the left is Alice Red Velvet  - perhaps our most classic and nostalgic choice for children. On the right is our Margaret Red Christmas - featuring our beautiful Christmas tree border print. My favourite part of this dress, that features on both the adult and children's versions - is the gold belt tie waist that contrasts so beautifully with the rich festive red.  These are only a few of our Christmas choices for women and children - shop our full Christmas collection here. Until Monday 4th midnight we are also offering a special 15% off our Christmas collection with the code CHRISTMASISCOMING.  Now it's just a case of putting up some more decorations and looking forward to a month of festive celebrations. We also have some rather exciting Palava stocking fillers coming in next week...so keep your eyes peeled!
03th Dec 2017
It’s that time of year - the nights are drawing in and we are beginning to feel autumn has truly arrived. In recent months, more than one of us at Palava has been yearning for our winter wardrobes and all the fun and excitement of the colder months. The first stop must surely be Halloween! To get into the spirit of things, we've enjoyed carving our own pumpkins this year, featuring our very own Palava animal characters! If you'd like to enter our pumpkin carving competition, we'll give you £10 to spend in our online store, plus a prize of £30 to the most creative Palava inspired pumpkin! For full details, read on! First things first, food! We decided to make the most of our pumpkins - so as well as carving them, we conjured up some delicious pumpkin dishes. Two of our recipes come from award winning chef Yotam Ottolenghi, whose cookbook Plenty is a firm favourite with our founder and chief designer Bryony. The first recipe is for these delicious pumpkin wedges, garnished with breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme and lemon rind and served with soured cream. These were delicious and an interesting, different way to enjoy pumpkin! We also made this gorgeous risotto – based on Ottolenghi’s lemon and aubergine risotto – adding in our own roasted pumpkin chunks. Serve with a glass of cold white wine and you have the perfect autumnal dinner. Now for the crafty part! We had lots of fun in the studio carving these Palava inspired pumpkins. Annabel chose our Reindeer - as featured on our Mabel dress, Bryony chose a woodland scene and I carved our very own Mr. Fox – star of our recent popular Mabel Fox Dress. If you like to enter our special Pumpkin carving competition, we'd love to see your special Halloween pumpkin, inspired by Palava! This could be one of our animal characters, a scene from a storybook, a detail from one of our prints...any ideas sparked by one of your favourite Palava dresses! If you'd like to use one of the Pumpkin designs we made here of Mr Fox or our elegant Reindeer, you can save the images from the links below: Palava Reindeer   Palava Fox 1. Print the image, cut out the shape of the reindeer or fox and fix it with masking tape on to the front of the pumpkin. 2. Draw around the design with a pen - and get carving!  3. Bring your lantern to life with a little tea light candle!   Each entry for the Palava pumpkin competition will receive £10 to spend on our website! The grand prize for the most creative pumpkin will receive £30 to spend. Tag a photo of your Palava pumpkin on Facebook or use #palavamyway on Instagram. The deadline is Thursday 2nd November. In celebration of Halloween, we're also offering 15% off some off our darker Palava prints. This includes our new Beatrice Black Hungarian Flowers which has already proved to be a very popular piece from our new collection. It's the perfect chance to treat yourself! Hope you have a fabulous spooky weekend whether you're trick-or-treating, pumpkin carving, dressing up for a party - or simply enjoying the cold autumn evenings curled up at home. Enjoy!  
27th Oct 2017
Last weekend Palava were lucky enough to return to the fabulous Goodwood Revival – a three-day weekend of classic cars and vintage glamour. Despite being one of largest historic motorsport events worldwide, Goodwood is as well known for the authentic vintage attire sported by its visitors. We were very excited to be selling our dresses to such a stylish and interesting set of customers! We were set up in the shopping hub at Goodwood - surrounded by a fascinating bunch of stallholders, selling everything from original vintage motorsports memorabilia through to vintage coats, hats, and jewellery. For our little Goodwood shop, we brought back a range of our autumnal prints, alongside our summer dresses. It's always good to give a girl a choice! Our stall was decked out by our experienced visual merchandiser and newest Palava recruit - the wonderful Kara Louise. Didn't she do a fab job? Some of the autumnal dresses we have re-released are the Ballroom print, our Cocktail print, and our Dancers print. It was lovely to see them out on the rail, and being tried on in our little dressing room by the stylish Goodwood clientele.  One of our best sellers from the weekend was our Beatrice Teal Ballroom dress. We sent several of these off to their new homes, including the one from our display which caught the eye of a very discerning customer... We have also brought back our autumn coats! We took our Cocktail coat and our Beauty Pageant coat to Goodwood - and these have both now returned to our website. They have a lovely padded lining and are nice and warm for autumn.  The best things about pop-up events and festivals is the chance to meet the fabulous people who buy our dresses. We certainly are looking forward to doing more of these in the future - nothing beats the magic of a customer fitting perfectly into a Palava dress and falling in love with it on the spot! And nothing is more special than seeing some of the little one's decked out in a Palava dress, hat and petticoat! Does it get more cute? Here's another happy customer...this little one chose a Blue Dancing Ladies dress - sported with a muddly pair of wellies for the ultimate festival chic! And here I am with my lovely boss Bryony. We're wearing our favourite autumn Palava prints - Bryony in Cocktail and me in Ballroom. Unfortunately, the weather didn't hold up and we started the weekend with torrential rain! The upside of this was the excuse to get back into autumn tights and petticoats...plus we finished out outfits off with these fabulous sparkly animal ears from our friends Woodstock London. We were lucky enough to be sharing a stall with Charlie of Woodstock - who designs and handmakes all the ears herself. She's a very talented lady! Here are a few pics of Charlie's side of the stall and the beautiful hair bows and headbands she creates. We collaborate with Charlie on all of our own hair bows - made from the scrap fabric of our production. You can see our full range of hair bows here.  Now for some more of the marvellous Goodwood...one of our favourite places to visit at the festival is Betty's, a beautifully re-created 1950s hair salon. Here you can visit one of their experienced stylists and get yourself an authentic 1940s-1960s hairdo- created with hair rollers, hairspray and plenty of backcombing! We enjoyed visiting and just watching all the magic unfold... Here's Bryony, pondering which hairstyle to choose! Inside at Betty's there was magical glow of dressing room lights, vintage fashion magazines and all the hair stylish equiptment of your dreams! Our very own Kara Louise posing under the amazing vintage hairdryers! Here's the stylists and customers from Betty's showing off their impeccible style... The site is also filled with newspaper and program stands, with all staff wearing suitable vintage attire. Check out these two! The tearoom at Goodwood had colourful bunting and vintage photographs aplenty! We stopped here numerous times for essential tea breaks and eating as much of their delicious lemon drizzle cake as we could manage...the perfect way to reboot after a long day in the shop!     We've talked plenty about the sartorial elegance of Goodwood - but that's not to say our hearts didn't race at the sight of some of the gorgeous classic cars. Here's a little low down of some of our motorsporting highlights from the weekend. These vintage BP petrol pumps are a good place to start... This little service truck caught Bryony's heart. Doesn't it look fabulous alongside her Palava dress ;-) And here we were lucky enough to meet one of the race winners! He was such a character. We were particularly impressed with his floral wreath and bottle of champagne! One of the other special aspects of Goodwood is the funfair, situated a short walk from the main racecourse. We're always partial to a ride on a carousel! We even ventured on to the Ghost Train. Which we genuinely found quite scary! (We're not used to loud bangs and skeletons appearing out of nowhere!). It certainly gave us the giggles once we were back out in the fresh air. In addition to classic cars, motorcycles and mopeds are popular at Goodwood. We particularly liked this Lambretta, parked just outside Betty's salon... And now for some of the serious motors! Cars can only enter a race if manufactured between 1948 – 1966 – the original golden era of racing at the Goodwood racecourse. During this era, sports and Grand Prix cars were raced in events such as the Tourist Trophy and the Glover Trophy. Internationally renowned drivers such as Stirling Moss, Jim Clark and Juan Manuel Fangio all claimed trophies at Goodwood during these years. We can imagine them racing in one of these beauties!  The Fiat 500s were another highlight...I loved the little red one myself! There was in every colour of the rainbow.. And one final shot from our Palava Goodwood shop...these lovely ladies posed for a picture - we adored their headscarves and aprons!  Despite the wind and rain, we managed to have a wonderful weekend at Goodwood. It was lovely to meet some Palava customers old and new - we are so looking forward to the next one! Hoping you all have a fabulous start to autumn. Our Autumn/Winter collection is coming soon...it's going to be a good one! Until then, have a look at our final reductions in our end of season sale. There are some extra special bargains to be had. For children, browse the sale here. Enjoy!  
16th Sep 2017
Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to travel to the Elaphiti Islands of Croatia to soak up some summer sun. Travelling during central Europe's heatwave, I arrived in a simmering 37-degrees. It was a welcome shock to the system after the milder temperatures in London this month. A car journey and a boat ride later,  I arrived at one of the many charming and tranquil idylls of the Adriatic.      Dalmatia is the most popular region of Croatia for holidaymakers, for its wonderful clear turquoise beaches, delicious Mediterranean cuisine and long, warm summers. The Dalmatian coast runs along the east shore of the Adriatic Sea, parallel to Italy. Scattered in between the two countries, are 79 islands and 500 islets. So choosing an island holiday truly leaves you spoiled for choice! Some of the most frequented include Hvar, Vis and Mljet. The magical Elpahiti Islands, my own holiday destination, include Lopud, Kolocep and Šipan. The culture, cuisine and language of the region are rich with history. Dalmatia is named after an Illyrian tribe called Dalmatae who inhabited the region during Greco-Roman times. The Republic of Venice later controlled Dalmatia between the 15th and 18th centuries, and consequently, the region developed an Italianate flair. Šipan, experienced its heyday during the 15th century when it was a top holiday destination for Dubrovnik aristocracy. Its first town Suđurađ, is home to many notable historical buildings from this era, including the 16th-century castle of the Stijepović-Skočibuha family. The head of the household was a wealthy sea merchant who also constructed a beautiful watchtower in Suđurađ, intended as a look out for pirates. Each morning I read up a little on the history of the island over breakfast - I love taking in the details of a place before exploring it in person. Breakfast consisted of fresh bread, french pastries, and fruit. I especially enjoyed the juicy blood oranges - the tastiest I've ever eaten! One of my adventures was to find this beautiful 15th century garden in Suđurađ. Sadly it was closed to the public during my visit - but a little door has been left open so you could peek through and take a look. I always love imagining all the interesting characters who must have sunned themselves in here during years gone by! Despite being the largest of the Elaphiti Islands, Šipan’s population is a tiny 500. Šipanska Luka, the island’s second town, remains busy with fishing boats heading out for their daily catch. The rest of the island is filled with palm trees, vineyards and citrus groves. Several of the restaurants have no menus - only a fish of the day, beautifully seasoned and grilled, fresh off the boat.  Despite being in Croatia, I took full advantage of the U.K's National Prosecco Day! With this exception, I stuck to local Croatian wine at dinner such as Pošip, which I highly recommend it for its dry, gentle flavour. The perfect accompaniement to fish and seafood.   One of the joys of Croatia's position on the Adriatic coastline is the countless harbours and boats you stumble across. This beautiful harbour was our departure point from the mainland towards the Elaphiti Islands. We stopped here only briefly to catch our boat - but I had to capture a photograph!   My adventure in Croatia was made all the more fun for the Palava holidays dresses that accompanied me. Our Kew Gardens dress is one of my all-time favourite Palava prints.  I was glad to wear something lightweight and white during the heat. And nothing is more cheerful than exotic animals exploring a greenhouse! Here I am having a little stroll around Šipanska Luka,  taking in the view of the beautiful harbour.  Our Rose Pineapple Heaven was also a good choice for the holiday. Here I climbed up to a little spot above the water to shield from the sun. The colours of the Croatian scenery were so vivid and beautiful. Just look at the colour of that water! I returned to London dreaming of the magical blue sea.     Both of these lovely dresses are in our big summer sale. You can also get an extra 10% off this weekend only by using the code EXTRA10 at the checkout. I hope you've all had a wonderful summer. I certainly don't want it to end! Luckily as I write this, the sunshine has returned to London and we look set for a warm bank holiday. Fingers crossed we get another good few weeks of summer wardrobe weather before Autumn descends!        
26th Aug 2017
August is here, which means holidays! Several of team Palava have trips coming up this month. I am lucky enough to be travelling to Croatia next week - I'm so excited I have already started packing. Here's a selection of my holiday essentials, chiefly - sunglasses, books and dresses!  This is my pick of books for the trip: an anthology of women travel writers, a novel by Elizabeth Bowen and my favourite novella by W. Somerset Maugham.  Elizabeth Bowen was an Irish born writer from Dublin. Born in 1899, her first collection of short stories entitled 'Encounters' was published in 1923. Bowen went on to be a prolific short story writer - her work is often taught as part of creative writing and literature courses as a shining example of the craft. This novel, 'A House in Paris' was first published in 1935. Split into three parts, it follows the meeting of two children in France's beautiful and majestic capital city. From there we travel back in time to learn more about the boy's parents and the family's history in Paris - their lives, loves and adventures. William Somerset Maugham was born in France in 1874. His influence as a writer is apparent in not only the continued popularity of his novels and short stories but also the many film adaptations of his work. One of my personal favourites is 'The Painted Veil'. Maugham himself was an interesting character - during WW1 he served with the Red Cross, going on to work as a government spy. He fictionalised his experiences of espionage in 'Ashenden: Or the British Agent' (1928) and other short stories.   'Up At The Villa' (1941) is both a literary classic and the perfect holiday read. I have read this twice before - the last time was a few years ago, so the memories of the story have faded a little. One of the most enjoyable things about returning to a book is the different perspective that time can provide. The nuances of characters and plot can shift, depending on your own experiences and the context or the place in which you read the book. Without giving too much away for those who haven't read it, 'Up At The Villa' is essentially a tale of romance with a dark twist. The clean prose and vivid characterisation enable you to get lost in the luscious Tuscan countryside where the novel is set.  'The Virago Book of Women Travellers' is a collection of short stories by female authors: including Mary Wollstonecraft, M.F.K Fisher and Joan Didion. Selected for their common theme of travel - all stories take place with the author or lead character visiting places far away from home. The stories date between 1717 and the later part of the 20th century, and are fascinating snapshots of women who were fearless in their ambition to travel and explore the world, even during times when it was particularly unusual for women to do so. I am looking forward to dipping into this during my own summer adventure!   Now that I have my book choices sorted, on to the dresses! These are all currently in our big Summer Sale, alongside countless other styles. I picked these three for myself and am looking forward to wearing them in Croatia.  The detail on our Kew Gardens print is very special - featuring Mr. Giraffe and several of his animal friends including a crafty snake, a few birds of prey and a magnificent peacock in full plume. The vibrant colours, unique print and flattering cut make this one of my favourite Palava designs.  Irene Coral Doodle is a lovely lightweight summer dress that was designed by Bryony after an afternoon doodling. A little sketch on a notebook transformed into the print you see on the dress. The muted coral colour is vintage inspired and perfect for summer. Our Rose Pineapple Heaven dress is a classic - with a V-shaped neckline, pretty pink waist tie and lovely knee-length skirt. I love the fun quality of the novelty print.   I can't wait to share some photographs from my holiday with you all, so stay tuned. In the meantime, have a browse of our sale. Many of our gorgeous prints are limited edition and won't be made again. Which makes them even more special!     Whether you're going away in August or staying at home, here's to a good month ahead!    
05th Aug 2017
Who doesn't love afternoon tea? We had some special guests this week at the Palava head office and took it as an opportunity to get creative. As part of the floral theme we have been exploring, we baked a Victoria Sponge with a difference. In addition to a double cream and strawberry jam centre, we decorated the centre piece of our afternoon tea with edible flowers.  Restaurants and cafes are using edible flowers more than ever in sweets, savoury dishes and cocktails. We got ours from Maddocks Farm - one of the most popular producers of organic edible flowers in the U.K. Cut flowers from florists and supermarkets are generally not suitable for eating due to the chemical sprays used to preserve them. Maddocks Farm is based in Devon - close to wild and rugged Dartmoor. As an eco-friendly farm, the production of the flowers includes solar powered electricity, use of natural spring water and environmentally friendly packaging. No chemicals are involved in the production of the flowers, making them perfect for adding to recipes or as decoration to your home baking.   We were excited to incorporate organic flowers into our afternoon tea. As a company we value the ethics and quality of organic production greatly and are ourselves committed to using organic cotton for our dresses and skirts. This ensures a more ethical means of production and results in fabrics that are softer and kinder to the skin.  Our cake recipe was from Bee's Adventures in Cake Decorating by Bees Bakery by Bee Berrie. A gorgeous book, filled with creative ideas that has certainly rejuvenated team Palava's baking creativity! We stuck with the basic, fool-proof vanilla sponge recipe that was as easy and delicious as promised. We are now looking forward to trying out the colourful and unusual recipes such as aubergine cake, beetroot and chocolate cake, orange veg cake and avocado icing. We also decorated these tasty prawn and cheese slices - made especially by our boss Bryony from a favourite family recipe. To make these, simply mix freshly cooked prawns with cream cheese and dill - season with salt, pepper and lemon and serve on freshly sliced wholegrain bread. Add as many edible flowers as you dare!  To wash down the cake, we enjoyed a pot of earl grey tea and a few glasses of Italian sparkling Rosato. It was certainly an afternoon tea to remember! We continue to celebrate flowers and nature this week and the various ways we are inspired by them. Our pick of the week includes a selection of our floral skirts - a great alternative to our classic dresses. Enjoy!      
23th Jul 2017
At Palava HQ we are celebrating a two-week floral extravaganza! Join me for a look at the inspiration behind our designs, as I discuss florals with our founder and lead designer Bryony.  Flowers and botanicals are so often at the heart of everyday life; from the food and drink we consume and the beauty products we use, to the way we decorate our homes and fill our wardrobes. Flowers are also symbolic of many aspects of human relationships and the way we express ourselves creatively - we give and receive flowers to mark anniversaries and celebrations; and produce poetry, music and art that attempts to capture their natural beauty. At Palava, floral inspiration comes in several forms. We make a point of decorating our studio with fresh flowers and have a rather impressive collection of house plants that add a natural splash of colour alongside our fabric swatches, notebooks and computers. This week, we chose shocking red gladioli. In addition to surrounding ourselves with floral inspiration in the studio, our designs themselves frequently pay homage to the vibrancy of nature. Bryony initially sketches our prints with pencil, paper and watercolour. These are then transformed into detailed, colourful illustrations which are carefully printed on to cotton and linen, ready to be cut into dresses and skirts. I sat down with Bryony over a cup of tea and asked her to tell us more about her creative process, hints of what she's working on next - and inside tips of where to visit to enjoy florals and green spaces throughout the seasons. To start, can you talk us through why flowers and nature interests you as a designer? Are there certain flowers or places you return to for inspiration? "Flowers offer such a wide variety of colour and texture, there’s so much to work with. I always seem to go back to my childhood as a starting point. Growing up in north Yorkshire I was very lucky to live very close to an amazing bluebells wood. When the bluebells are in season the ground is completely covered in beautiful, luminous lilac." "Photographs never completely do it justice – but they offer a glimpse into the colour and the effect this has on the light and feel of the wood. When it came to designing our Bluebells print, I wanted to capture the stillness of the woods: the feeling of being completely surrounded by nature, lost in thought – perhaps the freedom you feel as a child." "I’m also often drawn to wild flowers, growing in places they are not meant to - out of place with their surroundings. Foxgloves always seem to pop up on their own, often against quite bleak or homogenous backgrounds. The contrast and colour they offer is eye-catching and amplified. We tried to capture this in the Foxgloves print by choosing the stone-coloured natural linen. " I’ve also been very inspired by herbaceous borders and some of the ingenious designs at places like the Chelsea Flower Show. As a design concept it’s the perfect match for one of our Palava specialities - the border print dress." How you get from the idea itself to the print we see on the dresses? "It can be a long time until something comes to fruition. I have a huge folder of photos and inspiration I work from. I’m always keeping my eyes open, always snapping away. I’m constantly thinking of where our Palava characters Poppy and Fred’s next adventure might be happening. When I have time I enjoy taking a little sketchpad into somewhere like the bluebells wood and begin the illustration in person; really trying to soak up the atmosphere of the place. I think that makes for better designs. Saying that, the bulk of the work happens of course in the studio, where I pin hundreds of floral pictures to my noticeboard for inspiration."  Floral prints are central to one of our latest collections - Chelsea Flower Show. Where else do you visit in London for your floral inspiration, and why? “In summer, Regent’s Park - especially the rose gardens. I love learning the names of all the different varieties. It’s also a time to stroll and explore new green spaces – there’s always a new little square or garden I stumble across and discover. That’s the joy of living in a big city! In autumn, Curve Garden in Dalston. It’s involved with various community projects, festivals and music nights, which make it a great space to meet new people in a unique, outdoors venue. At Halloween they do an amazing themed evening with pumpkin lanterns that I would recommend! In winter, a walk on Hampstead Heath; the unparalleled views of London from Parliament Hill, the woodland, iced over ponds…I’ve walked there in the snow and watched all the trees and greenery cloaked in white. I love the way the snow changes the sound the place, muffling everything – it creates a beautiful quietness all around. The heath is probably the closest I can feel in London to the countryside where I grew up, because it’s so big you can almost get lost in it. In spring, nothing beats the flowers at Kew Gardens. I am always inspired by their tropical greenhouses and the exotic plants - the inspiration to our Kew Gardens dress. There’s then the history of the place itself. Kew Palace was a favourite residence of King George III – the house serves as a kind of museum, documenting the time his family spent there. I also admire the scientific research that Kew produces and its commitment to protecting species of plants and flowers. It’s a gorgeous, picture perfect park but education and research are at its heart." At Palava HQ we recently enjoyed some of your delicious homemade elderflower cordial. What are your other favourite floral flavours? "Jasmine green tea is delicious and very soothing. In terms of home-made recipes, I recently grew some borage in my garden and have discovered its magical secret…drop it in your gin and tonic and see what happens! Food-wise, rose flavoured Turkish delight always hits the spot." Which of the Palava floral designs from the Chelsea Flower Show collection is your personal favourite? “The Chelsea Flower Show design itself. It’s really the essence of our company; the border print, and this was the perfect design to showcase that. I create a storybook for each collection and  particularly enjoyed painting the illustrations and writing the story of Poppy and Fred getting up to all kinds of mischief. It's playful, colourful and fun - which is what Palava is all about. Plus, it features a topiary elephant!" What’s next for Palava florals?  "We have so much in the pipeline! We’re quite floral obsessed and have designed three completely new prints for Summer 18 to add to our Chelsea Flower Show range. This includes a bold tulips print that we’re very excited about. For Autumn/Winter 17, our popular Hungarian Flowers print will be released in a new colourway, giving it a very different feel - perfect for autumnal adventures!" We hope you've enjoyed a little insight into the background of our floral designs and the ideas that spark our interest. As part of our floral celebration, we are offering 30% off our top five floral dresses of the week - for both women and girls. This includes the beautiful Irene dress in our Flower Garden print. Enjoy!  
14th Jul 2017
In June, Bryony visited beautiful Lake Como in Northern Italy for a weekend of sunbathing, spaghetti and swing dancing.  An avid swing dancer, Bryony can often be found hitting the dance floors of London's Lindy Hop scene. Originating in Harlem in the late 1920s, Lindy Hop is a partner dance that unifies elements of jazz, tap, and charleston. Increasingly popular in the U.K and Europe, swing dance festivals have multiplied in recent years. You can now choose a dancing holiday in any country you like, from the beaches of rural Corsica, the lakes of Finland, to culture hotspots such as Berlin, Barcelona and Budapest. The Swing Crash festival is an annual weekender that brings Lindy Hop to the shores of one of Lombardy's largest lakes - the majestic Como. Bryony visited with four friends who are fellow dancers, renting an apartment close to the shores of the expansive 400m deep waters. Lake Como is known for its idyllic palatial villas, tranquil tree-lined towns and the mountainous terrain of the surrounding countryside. Its history in the arts is significant - Como has inspired literary greats such as Mary Shelley and Mark Twain and finds reference in the works of Ernest Hemingway and Samuel Beckett. The lake itself is fed by the river Adda. Full with greenery and rich vegetation; figs, olives and pomegranates flourish upon its banks.  Each of the group packed a Palava dress for their Como adventure. The warm temperatures of June required easy-to-wear summer dresses - but more importantly, the desire for something comfortable, elegant and eye-catching to dance in. We asked the girls to talk us through their style choices. Scientist Bella chose our Large Flamingo print, one of our most popular styles from the Walking In The Zoo collection.  "I love flamingos! And the blue is super flattering, along with the nipped in waist. Plus it could be worn at a wedding, or more casually, like dancing around the house!" Publishing professional Caroline picked Beatrice Cap Sleeves in our Red Walking Zoo print. Perhaps the most colourful of our dresses, featuring a parade of exotic hand illustrated animals: you can spot zebras, monkeys and peacocks on patrol.  "I love the colour. It matches my lipstick! The shape is flattering and easy to wear. Best of all, it's made from organic cotton which is very soft and comfortable. The quality speaks for itself."  Construction expert Victoria wore Audrey Foxgloves, made from high quality summer weight linen. The floral print adds a dash of colour to a classic, flattering shape.   "I've not come across many dresses with such a range of unusual and quirky prints. I was drawn to the botanical print. I like when objects from nature are used to make distinctive, bold prints. The neckline is also very flattering. I love the sustainable ethics behind the company, the use of high quality organic fabrics and the attention to detail of the prints themselves."   Housing professional Rosie loves Audrey Bluebells - a chic, sleeveless design with back zip, side pockets and slim fit. Our Bluebells print added a touch of springtime cool to the intense Italian heat. "My dress has such an elegant shape, I love the tailoring on the waistline...it pulls you in nicely and is very flattering. The bluebells pattern is quite striking...makes it a bit of a stand out frock!" Lake Como provided a rare opportunity to observe four very different Palava styles worn side by side. Be it during afternoon strolls around town in search of coffee and gelato, or dancing into the night - each dress passed the Palava holiday test! If you want to try one of these dresses for yourself, they are featured in our pick of the week selection. Enjoy 20% off - this weekend only, plus a few other summer styles. Have a peek now!    
07th Jul 2017
With the wedding season in full swing, we often get the chance to see bridesmaids - and sometimes even brides, dressed in Palava. Bryony recently attended a friend's wedding in Pesaro, Italy and was lucky enough to witness no less than four bridesmaids in our folk art inspired Hungarian Flowers print. One of the unique aspects of Palava is that our prints are designed for both women and girls - allowing our mini Palava folk to feel just as grown up and stylish as their adult counterparts. It's also an easy way to coordinate dress codes for special occasions. In the case of Claudia and John's Italian wedding - three grown-ups and one mini-me! Pesaro is in the Marche region of Italy; famous for its mountainous countryside, Verdicchio wine and coastal bays lining the clear waters of the Adriatic sea. In my view, nothing symbolises central Italy as well as tranquil, sweeping olive groves - and Pesaro has plenty. The morning before the wedding was spent wandering through the greenery - taking in the gentle, luminous scents of freshly growing fruit. Bryony's choice for the day was our Audrey Bluebells dress crafted from lightweight summer linen. Both Bluebells and Hungarian Flowers are vintage inspired floral prints; the linen and organic cotton fabrics work especially well in the high temperatures of summer.  It was the perfect day for a wedding, without a cloud in the sky... Here are the stars of the show! Our three grown-up bridesmaids looked beautiful in their Beatrice dresses - styled with elegant floral wreath bracelets. It doesn't get more summery than this. There's nothing better than capturing a Palava print against a beautiful floral backdrop. Italy did not disappoint. And last but not least...our mini wedding guest in Margaret Hungarian Flowers. Our girl's dresses are designed with style, practicality and comfort in mind. We want children who wear Palava to feel elegant and special - but it's important this doesn't get in the way of fun and adventure. From picnics in the park, dancing at family get-togethers, or simply eating with gusto - all of this is possible in Palava! Our children's dresses are very comfortable, easy to get on and off - and machine washable. They come up great with a bit of vanish if your little one gets their paws a bit mucky. What better example to set that having a little boogie! Part of the joy of weddings is the communal celebration; big and little, younger and older - all enjoying in the festivities of the day. It was a proud moment for team Palava. If you're looking for a summer wedding outfit, our Chelsea Flower Show Collection has many good choices to pick from; inspired by summer flowers, natural scenery and adventures abroad. Filled with plenty of floral, border and all-over prints, the dresses are a modern take on the summer styles of the 1950s. It was a joy to see this special Palava wedding in Italy...we can't wait for the next one!
23th Jun 2017