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! 

Scarf Obsession + Ideas to help you incorporate Scarves into your wardrobe

Calling all Accessories Addicts!
As trends come and go scarves remain a classic wardrobe staple that can be worn for years. We are both obsessed with scarves of all hues and sizes, vintage and new, low end and high end. It's not just the yummy, oversized cashmere or modal versions that keep our necks warm in the winter months that we love but also the smaller sizes that can be worn year round, are light weight and dress up an outfit as a sophisticated and playful accessory. 

How to implement scarves into your wardrobe: 
For a simple wrap on the crown of a hat: align the middle edge of the scarf with the crown in the front and lay the scarf over the hat, holding on to each end. Fold the edge under about an inch and wrap the crown, centering the scarf so that the fabric falls evenly on both sides of the hat. Next, pull the two ends toward the back base of the hat, overlap the extra material that is now covering the hat and tie the two ends at the base, allowing the ends to fall down your neck/back. 
Butterfly Wrap: Take a larger scarf and fold it in half lengthwise—then take the ends that are together and tie them in a small, simple knot. This can work with a 36" scarf or one that is much larger. You will have one knot on the left and one on the right. Then lift the scarf and place your arms through the two holes you just created with the knots....and you have a "butterfly" sleeve wrap
Loose Neck Wrap: Wrap a thin scarf around your neck and tie it so the ends drape down your back, ideally you have a little skin showing between the scarf and whatever you are wearing. 
Halter Top/ Blouse: Take a scarf that is roughly 36" square and tie it as a halter top. There are accessories you can purchase that make this easy or you can just tie two ends together at your neck and behind your back. This looks great with a blazer.
Purse Wrap: Wrap a purse handle for a punch of color. Fold your scarf so that it is about 1 1/2" to 2" wide and line it up with the edge of one side of the handle. Holding the end in place, overlap the scarf as you begin to wrap the handle. Make sure to run the wrap over the start of the scarf to hold it in place—leaving about an inch or two of the end sticking out. Keep wrapping toward the opposite end of the handle and leave room to tie it off and allow a bit of the scarf to stick out. Ideally the two ends match in length. This may take a couple of tries but looks great when you get it!
Scarf with Pearls: Grab a strand of pearls and a smaller scarf, intertwine the two and tie at the back of the neck. Twist the scarf tight enough so that the pearls are held in place by the scarf. A trick to making this work is to keep twisting the scarf around the pearls so the scarf "catches" and holds the end of the necklace within the twists. You can also use a long strand of pearls with a longer scarf and once they are intertwined you can wrap the scarf around your neck twice and tie in the back. 
• Camera Strap: Remove a beat up camera strap and replace with a scarf instead. In this case we used a vintage scarf to go along with an old camera. 
• Choker: Roll or fold a lightweight scarf to the desired width. This is simple, just tie to the back or side. What makes this a chic look is to dress up a sun dress or sleeveless blouse by leaving a little skin showing!

Keeping it all organized: If you have a collection of scarves that are folded on your shelves or placed in a drawer, it is easy to forget about them. We recommend hanging them along side your clothing so you can easily reach for one when needed. We found these great hanging systems (below) at Bed Bath and Beyond. 

What scarves can do for you:
If you haven't been one to accessorize with scarves this post is for you! This often overlooked accessory can add personality to your outfit, or dress up a your basics:

1. Scarves add a pop of color to your neutrals.
2. They can be worn as a necklace, a choker, a hair accessory, a belt, a blouse, a cape...and more.
3. The artwork on scarves can be unique and beautiful in addition to being seasonal and fun.
4. You can spend a little or a lot depending on your needs and tastes. But you do not have to break the bank to collect a few great pieces. 
5. You can find new or gently used, designer scarves on the REAL REAL, EBay, Tradsey and other like sites. If you want to add a vintage or retro designer scarf to your collection we recommend reading about how to spot an authentic Chanel, Hermes, or other designer scarf. There is a great article titled: A beginner's guide to collecting Hermes scarves that gives you a little history and information on this designer label so you can make the best decision when shopping on a consignment or resale site. Do your research to make sure you are not purchasing a knock-off. 
6. Add an updated design or color trend: Jump over to Growing Bolder to see our newest article on Spring Styles as we have a few vibrant choices that we love—all under $100. 

There are endless resources to learn new ways to wear scarves. If you have not collected them in the past or they have gone overlooked in your wardrobe, we want to apologize ahead of time for introducing you to this little addiction! 

Below are a several books we recommend that feature design as well as ways to tie scarves.  
Have fun and thanks for reading! 

P & M




 

 

 

 

Shopping for floral pumps for spring: a personal first!

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I have a confession—I've recently been daydreaming about floral shoes! If you know me—the last thing you would ever have expected [ in a million years ] is to hear those words pass my lips! I called M and asked her if she owns / wears floral shoes and she texted back a photo of a very tired pair that have not been worn in decades. So we are both now on a mission to find a pair in the next month. How have we gone this long without these little lovelies? No one in my life would ever expect to see me turn up at a lunch or party with my feet adorned in a floral print and it is for this very reason that I am moving full steam ahead on choosing the perfect pair! I will post my final decision early May on Instagram at: pamelaquigley. Please follow so you can receive the feed. 

I have several very good reasons for needing [translation: "justifying"] this purchase: 
1. I could wear them to lunch with friends or my hubby during the spring and summer months. They would look gorgeous with linen palazzo pants or white jeans.
2. I can pull on any old pair of denim jeans with this shoe and look totally put together. I'm thinking bellbottoms which allow only the front toe to show would be a great look.
3. If I have an upcoming wedding or other formal event I will be prepared ahead of time!
4. I love being tall on date nights as my hubby is 6' 1" to my 5'3".
5. Any of the florals will look great with dresses I already own: summer brights as well as neutrals.
6. I don't have any floral heels or pumps YET and will only buy them if they don't hurt my feet!
Gotta feel good to walk in!

If you are considering adding this feminine look to your wardrobe check out some of my "research" to the right and email us at Patina & Hue with photos of floral shoes you have or are thinking of getting. We will add your photos to our post early May! Happy Shopping!

P&H Interview for 1010 Park Place

Pamela + Marianne in Texas |   1010 Park Place  article | photo by  Jennifer Denton

Pamela + Marianne in Texas |  1010 Park Place article | photo by Jennifer Denton

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We are always on the lookout for style savvy blogs that are focused on women 40+ and love what 1010 Park Place is doing. So it goes without saying, that we were thrilled when this New York based shopping site and blog invited us to be featured in their style section. If you haven't had the chance yet we highly recommend you jump over and stroll through their: Style Inspiration, Brenda's Blog and see the fabulous finds in the 1010 Park Place Shop. Thank you to the 1010 Park Place team for featuring Patina & Hue, it was very fun!

To see the our interview click here.
All photos ©Jennifer Denton