As London Fashion Week draws to a close it's time to reflect on what stole the show.
Competing with catwalk debuts from Victoria Beckham and a first in the form of a breast-pumping model, it was a tough year to make an impact.
But it was away from the catwalk that handbag designer Anya Hindmarch, chose to make a splash.
Championing inclusivity rather than the exclusivity that is synonymous with luxury fashion, she chose to tear down the velvet rope and launch her Chubby Cloud collection with an experience for the public.
The Big Idea
According to Hindmarch, Chubby Cloud handbags are so soft they can double as pillows. With this is mind she curated an experience that celebrated sleep and mindfulness.
She filled the floor of the historic Banqueting House with what is claimed to be the world's biggest beanbag. As orchestral music played, members of the public could sink into comfort under the building’s stunning Rubens-decorated ceiling.
What They Did
Over the course of three days visitors could immerse themselves in an array of mindfulness-inducing activities: from bedtime stories read by Claudia Winkleman to a guided meditation with Richard E Grant, Chubby Cloud dwellers were encouraged to luxuriate into relaxation.
Time on the cloud/beanbag was made bookable as hour-long sessions and were dedicated to subjects like; how not to be permanently 'turned on', the science of sleep and even a boring, but entertaining, reading of The Shipping Forecast.
Culminating on the Sunday with a conversation with Hindmarch herself, the experience allowed mere mortals, including myself, to get to sleep with her unique brand.
As an exercise in throwing off what Hindmarch perceives as outdated and elitist approaches to fashion, this beautifully curated brand experience certainly made a statement.
At a time when it's difficult to get cut-through, this creative moment generated conversation, column inches and talked directly with her consumers.
Tapping into lifestyle trends to elevate a lifestyle brand made sense and this thoughtful and fun approach to a sometimes too-serious affair was imaginative and genuinely soul-enriching.
I wouldn’t change much from this approach. It not only stole a march on a cultural moment, but also allowed her experience-loving audience to get up close and personal with her.
Surprisingly there were few products on display. A few handbags and a couple of trainers were deemed enough to whet the appetite. I think this worked well, but some of her fans have said they would have liked to see more of the collection.
Having taken part in a couple of the sessions I would recommend the viewing of art, listening to music as you disappear into a beanbag.
Just try not to fall asleep.
*Images credit: INCA Productions