Style | Diary of a Somebody

Maria Grachvogel

The fashion designer on meetings, margaritas – and pre-show burnout

Maria Grachvogel

September 13 2011
Maria Grachvogel

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There is one thing I must confess: I am a morning person. I usually wake up before the alarm goes off at 6am – but this week even more so; my spring/summer 2012 show is this Friday during London Fashion Week and I wake up with my mind going a million miles a minute.

I always struggle with what to wear at this time of year, for many reasons. It may have something to do with the changing seasons and shifting from one creative vision to another. My head is usually so far into the collection that I want to wear all the new pieces I have been designing, creating and thinking about in such great detail. I often find myself staring at my wardrobe wondering, “What am I going wear?” Yes, even those of us who do this for a living have mornings such as these.

To get dressed today was especially challenging as it was grey and drizzly – in other words, a typical September day in London! But at these moments I do get great clarity about the pieces that I am going to wear forever; the most classic and timeless clothes always feel right. So today I ended up in the Raven dress from my current autumn/winter collection – it’s a simple drapey black dress with an architectural back and has a bit of the vibe of the new collection that I will show on Friday. It is infinitely easy to wear and so perfect to start the crazy week ahead.

I try to get myself together by 7am, the time when my lovely 17-month-old son, Ansel, rises with boundless energy. I try to get at least half an hour of fun with him every morning to play and cuddle and sing silly songs before heading to the office. He is at a wonderful age – chatting and toddling everywhere. This is without doubt the best part of my day.

I started my work day with our usual 8am Monday morning staff meeting. This gets everyone together so we all know what is happening in the coming week and we can get organised and set priorities. Of course today we spent a good part of the time discussing the show and the launch party on Friday night to celebrate the opening of our new shop on Culford Gardens, Chelsea.

I shared the details of the meetings we had over the weekend to confirm the hair and make-up for the show. This took longer than usual; the new collection is such a riot of colour, print and texture, and it was a challenge to create a look that would not compete, but it’s very exciting. While the collection has our signature femininity, there is an element of fierceness about the woman who will wear it, and I really wanted to capture that. The hair will be quite clean and we have used the hues from some of the signature prints to create pops of colour on eyes and lips.

Spent the rest of the day handling a barrage of requests for the show, sending out invitations and working on the seating plan – very challenging. Each season I paint and create the designs of the invitation myself so it reflects the prints of the collection. This season we tried something new and laminated the covers and we are so happy with the final result.

It is very easy to burn out in this final stretch leading up to the show, so I have learned to maintain a fairly quiet routine outside of the office in order to stay focused and rested.

I try my best to have some time with my son before he is off to bed. After that I will spend an hour or so catching up on emails while Mike, my husband, plays the piano. He is an accomplished jazz pianist and he practices everyday – it is a lovely way to wind down from the work day, each of us doing it in our own way.

After that, we are ready for dinner; we love to cook together. It was getting a bit late tonight, so we discovered some of my fabulous chili con carne in the freezer (made the authentic way with 14 different spices), cooked up some rice and had a simple and tasty dinner. My infamous margaritas would have been the perfect complement, but as it’s only Monday, we thought we should turn in early. I will have to save my secret recipe for another time!

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