by Alice White
Daisy Darche is no ordinary up-and-coming fashion house. Aimed at women of all ages, it delivers some of the most stunning and unusual garments we have ever seen. But, most unusual of all, it is run by mother and daughter Eva and Alex Darche. We spoke to them about designing, the future, and how difficult it is working with your own family.
How is the Daisy Darche brand? All ready for Summer 2012?
Alex: We are definitely ready. We feel that 2012 – the year if the dragon – is our year, and we’re very excited about our new projects and the new direction the brand is going in. We have been looking into printing on silk primarily, but are now also looking into printing on leather for the autumn/winter 2012 collection. Textured wools are also something we want to experiment with.
So when will the Spring/Summer 2012 collection be available to buy?
A: It will be available very soon – we are just working on which styles will be available online and which will be in boutiques. At the moment Daisy Darche clothes are for sale in Liberty of London, which is selling extremely well, so we’re extremely happy about that. We are also looking to expand into America sometime soon, but we are a young company, so we’re conscious of not expanding too quickly.
Eva: We took part in a show in New York and we had a good response.
A: Yes, we’re in talks at the moment with a major chain on the West Coast of America. It’s a very exciting time.
What have been your main inspirations for this collection?
A: For this collection we broke it down into 2 sub seasons. For spring, the Fortress Castle collection: Greens, bright yet muted colours, with purples and greys. For the summer we taken the spring collection theme and adapted it, with the injection of the orange and yellows and monochromes again. The garments with yellows and oranges will be in store very soon.
The inspiration behind the Fortress collection was Copenhagen. I went there on a holiday with friends and it is a beautiful place. It is a very inspirational and creative place, as it has a good music scene as well as art. Whilst there I had a picnic at the Rosenberg Castle and I took a photograph, and it became a catalyst for this collection. That’s how I design: I like to travel. It’s important to feed your imagination.
Being mother and daughter, how do you both find working with a member of your family?
A: I have to say I’m really lucky having the mother that I have. She’s worked her whole life and I’ve learnt a lot from her. It’s a very difficult industry and initially she tried to discourage me from going into fashion. But we work really well together, because we bring in our own ideas.
Would you say you have a typical mother-daughter relationship? Or are you more like best friends?
A: Yes, we are good friends, but in a good way. We work very well with one another.
E: We have the same train of thought when we design a collection, because we understand each other without saying anything. I couldn’t have asked for a better daughter.
A: I’ve seen this industry from the inside out. I fell in love with the fashion shows but even more the creativity behind it. My mum has taught me so much, so it is a perfect partnership.
Savista is aimed at the over 50s market – what do you think Daisy Darche can offer women that they won’t be able to find anywhere else?
E: Our aim is to create a collection that can be worn by women of all ages. Women over 50 don’t want to be boring, but they don’t want to feel like mutton dressed as lamb either – our clothes make women look and feel younger in a positive way. That is why we designed these classic, timeless pieces which suit any age, body shape and occasion.
A: It’s not about losing three stone just to look good: we do believe in living healthily, but you don’t have to be a size 0. I don’t agree with size 0. My friend Laura who models for us is a size 10, and I don’t like to use young models, because we are aiming at women over 30. With our clothes you don’t need accessories either – this fashion can be accessible to all. A lot of places you feel you need the bracelet jacket, the bag, the shoes, but our dresses speak for themselves.
E: We also wanted to create clothes which are not restrictive. Women can have good figures but most people haven’t, therefore we’ve tryied to find some clever shapes which will hide a multitude of sins.
They are certainly very glamorous dresses, if only I had a movie premiere to go to!
E: It’s not only for those ‘red carpet’ events though
A: They could be for buying some milk from Tescos!
The Daisy Darche collections are very original. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything quite like it before. What sort of feedback have you had from your customers?
E: A lot of feedback we’ve had is from women didn’t like printed fabrics and clothes, but having seen Daisy Darche clothes, they do now: It’s not what they thought printed dresses would be like. It highlights various skin tones and aims for feel good factor, and our friends and customers often come back for more.
A: We’re definitely not trend-led – I don’t believe in that. If you buy something today you should be able to wear that for life. Not following trends means that our designs are timeless.
E: Trends also seem to be repetitions of what already was. It’s not really interesting anymore.
A: We love the 50s as an era, but we don’t pull from specific icons. Also Japanese designers we draw a lot from that, as I am very interested in hand painted silks and kimonos.
We like to champion English products and brands. How important was it to you that the garments were all made in England?
E: Yes, of course. Made in England/Europe is something other designers have come back from. High-end designers now produce in the UK if they can. The industry has been somewhat destroyed, and has gained a bad reputation from outsourcing to cheap labour overseas, but we are hoping the government will address the problem so we as a nation can help and develop. It’s important to produce in England as there are a lot of creative talented people based here. Dealing overseas can also throw up problems with customs, delays and deliveries.
A: If things are made too far away it is hard to have a consistent quality. It is so important that everything is up to standard. I see price tags of £1000 for a dress in some shops and the standards are not there. If you expect people to pay, you should offer them luxury.
E: My husband prints the fabrics. It’s a real family business. It gives us a lot of strength. We buy fabric but I also work with London-based agents who work with couture fabrics, which are expensive but also based in Europe and based in France. Design, creating shapes and producing the fabric is all done in house.
Can you give me any sneaky bits of information about the collections for later this year?
A: In the next year we are hoping to launch a range of interiors. The way I’m branding it is fashion for interiors. I want to put an interesting spin on wallpapers, but I can’t really talk about it yet. We still need to experiment more, as we don’t want to bring half-baked ideas. It has to be done really well.
What are your favourite pieces from the Spring/Summer 2012 collection?
A: I love the knot dress (Olivia). It is so versatile and you can wear it to literally any event, and you can wear anything with it.
E: I really love the goddess dress with the castle and the cobbles on the front.
Finally, if you had to sum up Daisy Darche and what it represents in three words, what would they be?
A: Accessible, sophisticated and timeless. We work very closely with our buyers and their feedback, as they speak to our customers. That’s how the brand develops, really looking at the details, as that’s the mark of a successful brand.
For more information, you can visit the Daisy Darche website here: http://www.daisydarche.com/