It’s a question many of our customers ask, where do we get inspiration for our designs? This past fall, Danielle Konotop, our Head Designer, and Kirsten Bowen, our SVP of Merchandising and Design went on a five-day inspo trip to Paris and London. Call it part creative-ideas gathering mission, part soak up the European vibe, and part girl trip - it certainly was an excellent fashion adventure!
“Design is about people — understanding their needs, motivations, and challenges. Traveling is an excellent (and fun!) way to develop curiosity and drive innovation,” Danielle explains. “We get a lot of inspiration from European couture, art, and architecture. Also, giving yourself a mental break, changing your context, and allowing your mind to wander more freely can spur you to take on new perspectives and have creative breakthroughs.”
During their mini tour of the design meccas, between cafés and bistros, lots of hard work got done to ensure the WHBM customer will see the inspirations in our collections.
“It is time to get inspired by new cultures, art, street style and seeing through a different lens.” Another plus for Kirsten? “Danielle taught me patience to sit through European coffee time, this was big for a girl who can’t sit still.”
Danielle and Kirsten work closely together all year round, but this was their first journey overseas to get inspired, relax, shop, and of course enjoy the sights. The pair shared their travel diary along with some snapshots of the who, what, where, and wear, of their journey.
PARIS DAY ONE
Landed in the early morning ready to conquer Paris.
Dropped off our bags at our hotel, located in the center of Paris 1st district, between Place Vendome and the Jardin des Tuileries
All public transportation was on strike! So we walked a lot!!!
First stop was La Samaritaine, a Parisian department store built in 1869. Closed in 2005, reopened in June 2021. It was worth the wait! The beautiful Nouveau and Art Deco features and structures were restored and are now setting for the modernist world of luxury.
Then we walk back through rue Saint-Honoré for some high-end designer collections inspo and ended the day in a typical Parisian café for some well-deserved French cuisine.
PARIS DAY TWO
Started our day walking through the Jardin des Champs-Elysees and found the perfect spot for our petit dejeuner (classic French small breakfast of café au lait and a buttery croissant; pictured above) so we could start our shopping on our favorite spot in Paris… Avenue Montaigne. The newly remodeled DIOR store (30 Ave Montaigne) is a must.
We had the perfect lunch on a perfect Parisian fall day in our favorite spot café L’Avenue (above). Great for amazing food and people watching. The beef tartare is to die for!
Bought some great chocolate on our way back…
PARIS DAY THREE
We explored the old charm of Les Marais that is filled with hip boutiques, galleries, and great cafes.
Kirsten taking a cafe break in Paris.
Lunch at Merci conceptual store café USED BOOK. The atmosphere is of an old library room. Great for quick bites.
Rue Vielle-du-temple has great shops and is home to The Musée National Picasso – Paris, an art gallery dedicated to the works of Pablo Picasso!
LONDON DAY ONE
Au revoir Paris! We took the train to London… Nothing glamorous about schlepping bags on and off the train. LOL
We dropped off our bags at our lovely hotel and onto more walking down Knightsbridge to Harvey Nichols department store
We then walked to some of our favorite curated stores around Mayfair and Soho… Liberty London, Browns Fashion
Wrapped up the busy day with some well-deserved cocktails over fish and chips at Dean Street – Soho House
LONDON DAY TWO
Kirsten enjoying the street food of Notting Hill
Spent our day on the lovely and super busy Notting Hill and Portobello Road walking down the market, exploring great vintage shops and enjoying great street food
Pic of Notting Hill bookstore for the fans of the movie!
Finished the day at Amaya Grill for delicious modern Indian cuisine.
“This trip takes you away from your routine and opens your eyes to discover what is next,” says Kirsten. “I come back refreshed and recharged to innovate and build on our strong foundation.”
So what inspirations did Danielle and Kirsten discover on this particular trip? Their top five takeaways were:
- Fabulous couture details for our iconic jackets
- Great color ideas for our Spring 2024 collection …(yes we work that far ahead)
- Utility details everywhere
- More relaxed silhouettes
- Parisian Chic street style will never feel old
Stay tuned to see how these inspirations make their way into our collections.