Simply Elegant | Meet Cashmere Lover Catherine Robinson

Catherine Robinson |  Founder & Designer of Catherine Robinson Cashmere  |  One of Catherine’s favourite photographs taken by her daughter Victoria on a wonderful ‘mother and daughter’ holiday in Croatia

Catherine Robinson |  Founder & Designer of Catherine Robinson Cashmere  |  One of Catherine’s favourite photographs taken by her daughter Victoria on a wonderful ‘mother and daughter’ holiday in Croatia

Catherine Robinson is the designer & founder of a line of beautifully made cashmere knitwear and accessories of the same name. I was so pleased to happen upon her shopping site last spring and ended up following her blog: Cashmere Lover . Not only does she have an eye for design, I love what she shares on her blog about style, meditation and yoga. I asked Catherine to share with us how she how she started her business and where she finds inspiration—our conversation naturally led to her other passions, meditation and yoga. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. 

Q: Catherine, It seems that we all cannot get enough cashmere these days! Can you tell us what led you to start your business?

A: On a London shopping trip in the Summer of 2010 I purchased two lovely linen ponchos they were my favourite pieces that Summer…which got me thinking how wonderful this design would be in cashmere, I couldn’t find any that I loved and I thought, okay, I’ll design them myself!

My daughter had left home, things were changing…I was approaching 50 and thought it was the perfect time to start something new. I’ve always been interested in fashion, I did a little modeling in my younger days before entering the fast and exciting world of public relations but ‘style’ and the 'art of dressing well’ has always been something I’ve enjoyed…I devour magazines, exhibitions, photography anything related to the art of style!  

My next step was to find a manufacturer; a company I could work closely with.  Mongolia was my first choice as in my opinion it is simply the best cashmere. It was important that they were able to work with my ideas and designs and I’m happy to say I have a wonderful relationship with them and I’m thrilled with their attention to detail and the beautiful pieces they make for me.

I feel, I’m exactly where I should be and it’s such a privilege to be involved in the ‘world of cashmere’.  I’m enjoying creating a brand and extending my product lines. I like to listen to my customers and what they would like…this year it was…”please, please design a cashmere robe” and it’s just arrived and it’s simply gorgeous…the perfect luxurious, loungewear!

I think some of us feel we’re restricted by boundaries—many of them of our own making…I feel if you have an idea, a passion, explore it and see where it takes you. I have learnt so much since I began, the ups and downs of a small, growing business, the highs and lows and the constant energy and creativity needed and I can honestly say, I’ve loved every minute of it…

'if you are thinking about starting something new but are not sure whether to
‘bite the bullet’ I would encourage you to do just that, don’t be afraid
just listen to your voice and slowly begin.'

Q: I love what you write about simplicity and elegance. Can you tell us how you view style vs. fashion?

A:  I think there is a huge difference between fashion and style…everybody can follow a fashion but style is very individual…it’s all about ‘you’ it’s creating your own style, what works for you, what compliments your character, your personality, how you live your life…being identified by a signature piece, a scent they all contribute to your sense of style; for me, it’s definitely wraps and scarves, I can’t leave home without them! Friends can’t quite believe what I can do with a scarf!

I don’t think my style has changed that much over the years…I still adore my wide pants and v neck sweaters (cashmere, of course!) jeans and jackets, knitted dresses and boots and elegantly long dresses.  I’m definitely an Autumn/Winter person…
I like to wrap myself in cashmere, a cashmere wrap and ponchos are my favourites…
a tailored coat and trouser suit too.

Personal style is something that grows with you through the years, for me, I do believe ‘less is more’, a simple elegance…when you see an elegant lady she is timeless; that is why Audrey Hepburn and Grace Kelly are still very much revered today…one of my favourite quotes from Audrey Hepburn is ‘elegance is the only beauty that never fades.

Q: While you and I were writing emails back and forth our conversation moved almost seamlessly from cashmere to style to yoga. What can you tell us about your experience with yoga? 

A: I have been practicing yoga for over 13 years now and it is an absolute joy and passion of mine it has simply changed my attitude to life, this hasn’t happened overnight it has been a process, a journey.  

In recent months my meditation practice has become simply, a way of life, I began to believe I really could make a difference in my life if I meditated daily, learning mindfulness and simplicity. I am constantly learning and will continue to be a ‘lifelong learner’ both yoga and meditation focus your mind, they quiet the inner noise and you begin to live mindfully and to simply ‘be’ and from this you begin to live a much happier life, a life of simplicity.  Yoga, for me, has always been a spiritual discipline, a life practice.

Q: Your blog Cashmere Lover features some of the most beautiful and iconic women in the world. Who do you find the most inspiring?

A: Victoria Beckham inspires me, she has her critics, unfairly, I think…she works unbelievably hard, she has created a phenomenal brand, her designs are elegant and new…she always looks beautifully groomed and stylish and is a wonderful Mother too. I admire her because she re-created herself and endured and continues to endure all the criticism and personal attacks with such grace.

Photo provided by Catherine Robinson

Photo provided by Catherine Robinson

Audrey Hepburn inspires me greatly…her beauty, her grace, her humility…the list goes on and on…her way of being and kindness inspires me to be the best person I can be. Her life was far too short but still today so many people think ‘what would Audrey do?’ She is incomparable.   

My husband inspires me, he has taught me so much over the years, he has always been so encouraging and has taught me to believe in myself, he has such an enthusiasm for life, which I admire greatly...we’ve been together forever and in all that foreverness, I’m sure that’s not a word, he’s always made me laugh, we laugh more now than ever and that is a wonderful gift to have…he is my soul mate. And my daughter,Victoria is an inspiration to me, she makes me want to be a better person…she is the joy of my life.

Q: What is the single most powerful lesson you have learned along the way? 

A: ... to have faith and be honest with myself, not to be afraid to ask for help, it’s taken a long while to recognize and believe that ‘I can do it’ ...it may take awhile, there maybe setbacks but with faith and a belief in yourself you can see that it will all be okay…I take this into my daily life not only in business…and to be kinder to myself, I use to be very good at ‘beating myself up’ I’ve erased the negatives!

My Life Philosophy…Be in love with your life every minute of it…
live simply with grace and humility, be gentle and kind and always mindful to others
Catherine Robinson in her office in the UK

Catherine Robinson in her office in the UK

To read more about Catherine, please click on the links below: Cashmere Lover  |  Catherine Robinson Cashmere Site  |  Facebook  

Catherine, Thank you for sharing your insights and story with us! 

Color Trend for Fall: Dramatic Reds

Cultivating Personal Style
Like many of my friends I enjoy flipping through fashion magazines and wandering through beautiful boutiques and high end retailers to see what is new. It is exciting to see what designers are coming up with and add a few pieces each season. Before shopping for anything new it is a good idea to know what you have in your closet that can work as a staple as you add in new pieces to build upon what you already have. Style unlike fashion, is an extension of who we are and once we have a sense of our own style it becomes easier to cultivate our look.

Fashion can be bought. Style one must possess
~ Edna Woolman Chase

Style starts by embracing all the funny, funky, unique parts of ourselves instead of seeing clothing and accessories as a means to an end or a way to cover up an unaccepted part of our bodies that might reveal some "imperfection".  For me style is not serious at all, it is a form of self expression and helps me create order in the chaos of style options that surround us at retail.

In the vast ocean of brands, styles, fabrics, price points and virtually endless options how does one create their own personal style? I recently had a great conversation with Growing Bolder Radio where we began a discussion of how to go about this. I love the idea that we all can cultivate our own style by embracing what is unique and beautiful within ourselves. The first step is to recognize ( and then clear out) the old mental clutter of negative self-talk, that for many of us is decades old. Then we can get on with the the adventure of uncovering what our personal style is all about. When asked about style, one of my favorite contemporary designers, Rachel Zoe stated that: "Style is a way to say who you are without having to speak." Brilliant!

Recently, I have been having fun putting together several trend boards for Fall 2015. This first one, above, Dramatic Red is a collection of gorgeous looks with classic lines. Although they are on-trend for this coming season they are also timeless looks. You can click on the image block above and it will take you to a shopping site to see those specific pieces or you can just look for similar items and colors when you are out shopping. 

Dramatic Reds 
Last January Pantone© announced that Marsala was their pick for the color of the year. It seems it is also the color this fall season with a variety of reds to choose from. Click here to see the Patina & Hue article about Marsala from last January. I have long adored red for its fun, upbeat vibe but deeper shades within the red family (burgandy, wine, marsala) are timeless and elegant. Some of these darker reds veer toward  purple so you will want to make sure to try on a few hues to see how they look against your skin color. These dramatic reds would look amazing paired with camel, tobacco, navy, denim, gray, warm whites and black. Have fun looking for a dramatic red piece to add to your wardrobe and tell us in the comments section below if you find something amazing!

Happy Fall and thanks for reading.

Pamela

Lets talk: Style + Design + Inspiration!

When we started our blog the goal was to create a place in which we could share style and design ideas as well as introduce stories about people who inspire us. We can say that it has been all of that and more over the last year and we want to thank all of you who have shared your stories, ideas and comments with us. You make this all worth it! 

If you are new to Patina & Hue please read about how we got started here or if you have been following us all along—below are a few of our posts that readers told us they really liked from the last year:

Style
Coco Chanel: Making Men Uneasy
Fear No Denim: Boyfriend Jeans even if you are over 40!
P&H INTERVIEW FOR 1010 PARK PLACE

Artist made Jewelry
The Depetra Sisters Jewelry
VICTORIAN + GEORGIAN JEWELRY = TRUE LOVE

Artwork
Robert Siegel Studio 
ICONIC ARTIST WAYNE THIEBAUD–A RETROSPECTIVE

Inspiration
Our 4th of July post received the most Pins on Pinterest
While our story about Lucy Meyer received the most comments, feedback and donations

Interiors
AUNT BABBS' LUCITE: CIRCA 1960S
CREATE MEANINGFUL SPACE IN YOUR OFFICE

We are working on new ideas all of the time and welcome your input and feedback in our comments section. We would also like to invite you to email us with any ideas you have or want to share. If you like what we are doing please invite your friends and family to the conversation by sharing our link. 

We have recently had quite a few people ask how they can get our blog posts to come directly to their email so they don't have to look it up online each time. There are several ways you can follow us:

1. Subscribe to our blog so that you can receive our latest posts into your email box. We post 1 to 2 times a week.
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Thank you again to all of you who made this last year magical and memorable!

Marianne & Pamela
Patina & Hue