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Style | Diary of a Somebody

Joe Casely-Hayford – Day 3

A night at the ballet is a brief reprieve from a buzzing working day for the designer

Joe Casely-Hayford – Day 3

Image: Lydia Garnett

January 31 2013
Joe Casely-Hayford

Day: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Because a significant part of our business is conducted in Asia, it is quite easy for me to be on call 24/7. I know that each morning I will wake to my phone humming. The first message I look at asks about the timing of an imminent trip to Japan. We visit Tokyo a few times each year, and our next trip has just been scheduled for February 12. Today we will need to juggle things around as this date coincides with the major cloth trade fair Première Vision in Paris.

We start the day discussing our involvement with the menswear store Hostem, which is based in Shoreditch, east London. Hostem is about to launch a new project called The Bespoke Room, a collaborative venture bringing together craftspeople to offer clients a personalised shopping experience in the basement. Here, the shopper can indulge in exquisite custom-made products, ranging from our made-to-measure suits to handmade shoes, watches and jewellery. Hostem is also a stockist of the full Santa Maria Novella fragrance range, which I love. Our meeting reminds me to plan a visit for my wife to the new Santa Maria Novella luxury spa at Monastero Santa Rosa, situated high up on the Amalfi Coast. The spa was designed by my sister-in-law, Beverley Casely-Hayford, and is a delightful place to recuperate after Fashion Week.

I head back to the office to work through any snagging points on our autumn/winter 2013 samples before the production process begins. The collections we present in London and Paris in January need to be on the shop floor in June. Working through each product on a fit model with my team is a detailed and precise exercise, and requires in-depth knowledge of tailoring, knitwear, cut and sew, and footwear. Much of this information will later be translated into Japanese for our technicians in Tokyo to analyse.

I make arrangements to meet the management of a new musician who caught my attention at the end of last year. It was a rare moment when I was completely taken aback after listening to just one track. I am a music fanatic, taking in everything from Haydn to Haim. I put the track on to a playlist I was recently invited to make for a fashion website, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.

I receive a funny text message from my daughter, Alice, who is editorial assistant at District MTV, the new online fashion and music platform. Papped at the Little Black Book party, she features on the Bystander page in the latest Tatler, and through her job is also profiled in the current issue of ASOS magazine. Alice is at the beginning of her career as a fashion writer. She is an astute social observer and her sense of the ridiculous always makes me laugh when I’m exasperated.

I am thrilled to be contributing an outfit to the forthcoming V&A exhibition Club to Catwalk, which opens in July and explores the creative explosion of London fashion during the 1980s. I email the curator details of my outfit and offer to supply an instruction manual on how to wear the pieces – my, how fashion has changed. 

My wife, Maria, and I leave the studio early to head for the Royal Opera House. We go to see John Cranko’s ballet based on Pushkin’s verse-novel Onegin. The tickets are a Christmas gift from our children, which makes the evening doubly enjoyable. As long-standing balletomanes and despite having seen Onegin several times before, we are immediately immersed into the early 19th century. The orchestra warms up and we savour the build-up to the third act, which is pretty awesome.

As we leave the Opera House, sadly the mobile phone goes straight back on. Maria sighs; we love our own mobiles but hate everyone else’s. I catch up with my son Charlie, who is doing a shoot for GQ Style magazine in the morning and will be working into the night. As we arrive home, the emails from Asia begin to arrive. I could make a head-start on tomorrow, or wind things down. I decide to call it a day, carrying the thought that laziness is nothing more than the habit of resting before you get tired.