Captivating Caroline Charles Collection Impresses

PUBLISHED: 11:11 22 March 2010 | UPDATED: 01:03 16 June 2010

Pippa Hales Brenda Ball Petal Arnold (manager Caroline Charles) and Noni Ware - Personal Stylist

Pippa Hales Brenda Ball Petal Arnold (manager Caroline Charles) and Noni Ware - Personal Stylist

At the heart of chic Beauchamp Place lies the flagship shop of Caroline Charles. Travel 193 miles South West to the Exeter branch, situated at 2 Roman Walk, Princesshay, and the feeling of exquisite elegance remains.

Pippa Hales Brenda Ball Petal Arnold (manager Caroline Charles) and Noni Ware - Personal Stylist

At the heart of chic Beauchamp Place lies the flagship shop of Caroline Charles. Travel 193 miles South West to the Exeter branch, situated at 2 Roman Walk, Princesshay, and the feeling of exquisite elegance remains. Flawless and sublime, the store played the perfect host to the presentation of the Spring Summer 2010 Collection on Tuesday, March 2.

The attending ladies, elegant and accomplished, watched the staples of the collection being presented. Although modelled by beautiful women, Caroline's Collection spoke for itself; perhaps unsurprisingly, considering Charles' renowned consistent-genius.

Lucky for the ladies, Noni Ware, esteemed personal stylist and ex retail editor of Harpers Bazaar, was on hand to talk through the outfits, with tips about how to wear the garments, with what and to what. Quite frankly, everyone would love a little Noni in their pocket when umming and arring about whether to buy that dress or those trousers!

An over-arching feminine kick set off the collection, with sumptuous materials, sharp tailoring and embellishments at its core. The opening outfit most definitely set the standard: an immaculately cut Chanel-style suit in red, white and black, teamed with quirky heart-shaped framed sunglasses, which have graced the pages everywhere from Fashion Bible Vogue to the Daily Telegraph. The versatility of Charles' skirt-suit allows the jacket to be worn with skinny trousers-white linen, perhaps, for it shouldn't be thought that splitting up the two components means subtraction from the effect. Further stunning jackets followed, most notably the "heirloom" piece; a folklore, Russian-inspired fitted jacket, whose 'v-neck' makes the waist look slimmer, and the show stopper "Jackson" beaded jacket, a masterpiece created in memory of the late Michael Jackson. Its short length gives it a 'matador' feel, and the intricate, jewel-like beading in turquoise, silver and royal blue gave the piece real gravitas, a wow piece.

Shift dresses also came out in force. In particular a poppy-coloured piece made from a heavier fabric than the previous chiffon tea dresses. The rounded neck was given a flattering edge by a slight central dip, accentuating the collar bone. Considered to be the little black dress's older sister, the little white dress has been hailed as a Spring/Summer staple, just ask Yves Saint Laurent. And, of course, Caroline Charles has such a piece. Similar in shape to the poppy-coloured counterpart, the ivory alternative is panelled, emphasising the waist, the fabric also having a classic herringbone effect. Worn with a simple scarf, whether it be red or blue floral, the outfit is transformed with ease from the blacks and navys of Winter to Spring. The simple but spot-on tailoring means that the dress can be worn straight as a shift, or with a jacket of contrasting colour, the customer being able to put their own twist to an already divine dress.

Famed for her tunics, Charles didn't disappoint. Especially striking was the Sahara example, a metallic mink coloured piece, the shade coined as a "true colour" by Ware and quite rightly so. Its strength and slight shine lifted the garment and gave it real originality. Shown with a chunky wooden necklace and bangles - the rattan bracelets in brown, natural and olive - are a particular steal - and super-high-heels, the outfit is impeccably brought together, with Charles having done all the work for you.

On the same jewellery vein, Charles treated us all with a delicious, multi-coloured cuff which Noni succinctly likened to liquorice allsorts. It was a quirky individual piece which put a smile on everyone's face. Simply good enough to eat!

"The customer and the life she leads". This was the inspiration for Caroline Charles' Spring/Summer 2010 Collection. And boy, what a collection it is. Charles' simple stimulus played homage to the saying “Less Is More,” and encapsulated what fashion should be about.

Caroline Charles-quite literally-tailored the collection to her customer, and undoubtedly achieved the "smart, feminine and fun" aim she set out to do.

The fashion world is notoriously cut-throat, but this Caroline Charles show I was lucky enough to watch defies the stereotype. The camaraderie of the Caroline Charles team, most notably Petal Arnold, manager of the Exeter branch and general star, Brenda Ball and Pippa Hales was a real credit to the luxury brand. The helpfulness and honesty of the team to their customers was utterly refreshing and a real respect between the two parties is clearly evident. Popular and friendly the women were, not a cruel Devil Wears Prada example in sight. I would like to thank the Caroline Charles brand, in particular, Petal Arnold, for making me feel so welcome and to Noni, for being such an inspiration to this work-experience girl.


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