by Camilla Ridley
Leading influencers Kat @doesmybumlook40 and Masha @masha_theone share their fashion edit and recommendations from the Chelsea Flower Show VIP Press day
The Chelsea Flower most definitely marks the start of Spring and the English Summer Season. It’s incredible to think that London’s annual celebration of nature, colour and design is in its 157th year and if you’re heading to Chelsea this week you’re in for a real treat. I feel incredibly privileged to have spent yesterday at the VIP-press day which gave me the chance to admire some of the most incredible gardens and extraordinarily beautiful flora close up. And as a keen gardener and regular visitor to the show, I was even lucky enough to chat with some of the amazingly talented and lovely designers as well as a handful of well-known faces. It was also a real treat to spend the day with friends Kat @doesmybumlook40 and Masha @Masha_theone. Such Brilliant company and we all agreed... Chelsea isn’t just about the gardens and flowers, there’s so much design, fabulous food, hospitality and inspiration on offer, in such a unique setting. It just gets you into the right mood and ready for summer. From a fashion perspective, yesterday gives us our first real glimpse of the key looks for this season. So if you’re heading to Royal Ascot, a wedding or special event the Chelsea Flower Show is a great guide to what’s in and what suits who. So without further ado, here are our thoughts on our day and what we saw.
Flower Power: Kat Farmer from @doesmybumlook40 and Radio 1's Jo Wiley embrace this season's bold florals in their statement silk maxi dresses. Kat is wearing a Ridley London bespoke Martha silk maxi dress. Meanwhile Camilla, Kat and Masha talk florals with leading designer Jo Thomson in her stunning Wedgewood Garden
Camilla: Kat and Masha what did you think of Chelsea Flower Show this year?
Masha: This is my first time to Chelsea and living in London, I’ve obviously heard so much about it so I was really excited to experience it. Especially on the opening day. And wow, I wasn’t disappointed. I love gardens and nature anyway and Chelsea is such a British event. The thing that really stands out for me though is the positive energy. it’s such a creative atmosphere. And it was amazing to go right into the gardens and meet the designers and learn about their creations and the special flowers and plants they used. They’re really talented. I’ve come home so inspired and ready to do some gardening!
Kat: I have to say, I had the most awesome day. Totally brilliant. Not only did I get to dress up in the most fabulous dress ever…I got to spend the day with you both, drinking champagne and seeing some of the most incredible gardens. I mean what’s not to love?!!! Now I’m going to say something quite controversial here, given this is Chelsea Flower Show. I’m not the biggest fan of flowers ever. There, I’ve said it. I mean I love gardens…I love the green. But I like my gardens more minimalist. I don’t mind a bit of lavender. I quite like alliums...even though I don’t like purple…which is pretty random!!! But there are some amazing displays and ideas here, that really appealed to me in loads of different ways. Some really lovely, fantastically creative people. And there were lots of stores, selling brilliant, brilliant products. And the sun shone for some of the time. It’s just a great day out. I’m still not entirely sure how I made it home!!!
Camilla: So being somewhat biased here, I really loved the Back to Nature Garden by The Duchess of Cambridge and Davies White and also Jo Thompson’s Wedgwood Garden. Did any particular garden or thing stand out for either of you?
Masha from @masha_theone cuts a demure figure of floral refinement in her bespoke Ridley London printed silk midi dress. Meanwhile The Duchess of Cambridge and designer Andre Davies show off the finer details of their Back to Nature Garden. Andre wears a bespoke Ridley London silk Martha midi dress
Kat: Yes. Because of The Duchess of Cambridge’s involvement, the Back to Nature Garden was incredibly popular. It was literally swarming with press. I’ve got to say I thought the Yorkshire Garden was pretty incredible. I mean they build an entire canal, with a working lock. Extraordinary. And there was this lovely lady on a paddle board who I had a conversation with afterwards and she actually paddles up and down the canals of Yorkshire collecting rubbish. She is absolutely amazing. I mean if that isn’t inspiring?!! She also said she quite liked my dress! I also really liked the Wedgwood Garden. It was incredibly beautiful. There was lots of space and everything lined up so it really appealed to my minimalist tendencies. Also Jo Thompson was really lovely. Finally, and then I promise I’ll stop talking…I thought Raymond Blanc’s garden was pretty awesome. He had a lot to live up to with the Garden at Le Manoir Quatre Saisons and this really delivered. I really liked the kitchen garden design and the fact that he uses all of the vegetables and plants from the garden at Le Manoir and then uses them in the cocktails and dishes they serve there. All the cocktails we tried were amazing by the way!!!
Masha: I also really liked the Back to Nature Garden. It was really inventive and I know my children would love playing in it. I’m sure this kind of garden with its amazing tree house, and swings and tunnels would encourage many children to understand that nature is really fun and positive. And this is so important for the environment. I think The Duchess of Cambridge and Andree and Adam have done a really great job. And we get to see a new wild side to the Duchess. Like you Camilla I also loved the Wedgwood Garden. it’s so beautiful and feminine but also quite modern. I loved the mixture of the really delicate roses and verbascum and all of the colours, the different shades of pinks and apricots. And this balanced really well with the very modern design. This style really appeals to me. And it was really special to meet Jo and hear about her creative design. All these designers are such amazing people. I also loved the Cactus displays in the Royal Pavilion. My father-in-law collects these types of plants they’re really beautiful and easy to look after.
Camilla: I love the motivation and idea behind the Back to Nature Garden and having spent time with Andree this week, I really got to understand how this was embodied in their design through all of the clever interactive natural elements like the tunnel and treehouse that were developed to inspire play and children’s imagination. I also love the fact that this garden is all about family and how the Duchess of Cambridge selected forget me knots as a tribute to her late mother-in-law Diana. it’s really very touching. On the other hand, the Wedgwood garden is more conventionally elegant, I loved the planting, the beautiful florals and colours. And the water features.
In the Pink: HM The Queen, Joan Collins and Christopher Biggins embrace one of this season's hottest colours. Meanwhile, our very own Lucy Peasley discusses the finer points of horticulture in her Virginia printed silk midi dress with Chelsea Flower Show's very own Royalty Monty Don.
Kat: I love a water feature in a garden. But for me, 2019 has got to be the year of the tree house. I thought the Back to Nature tree house was great but personally, I’d go for the luxurious Chewton Glenn one every single time. Imagine having your very own treehouse complete with a hot tub, four poster bed, TV and bar!! Somewhere you could just get away from the family to watch your favourite Netflix box sets in peace!!!
Camilla: So moving swiftly onto fashion, please can you tell me a little about the Ridley dresses you both chose to wear today and how did they make you feel?
Kat: Genuinely one of the most amazing dresses I’ve ever worn. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments on a frock. So, so many people stopped me yesterday and said how fab it was. Anyone who knows me knows I love a maxi dress...especially ones with pockets! They're just so flattering. But this dress takes maxi dresses to a whole new level. I love the fact it was individually made for me so there’s nothing out there quite like it. It’s incredible how you can make a combo of two styles of dress, the body and sleeves from one and the hem frills from another and make it work and fit all 5ft 10 of me perfectly. I felt like a million dollars. Completely elegant, incredibly comfortable. Just the perfect dress for Chelsea. And every other smart event I’m off to this season. Camilla, you’re a genius!!
Masha: I also really love the beautiful Ridley Grania silk midi dress I wore today. The floral print is so beautiful and the chiffon so delicate and feminine. I normally wear plainer colours but this midi dress is just perfect for Chelsea Flower Show and any other summer events. I felt so elegant. And like Kat I had so many positive compliments which made me feel amazing. I guess this is the difference with a dress that’s tailored to fit. Which is something really unique and special. It's amazing that you could alter the top so I could have a lower neckline and shorten the skirt for me while keeping the flounce on the hem the same. I also love wearing the midi dress style. It's really flattering for me and I believe midi dresses are going to be a big trend this year.
Camilla: Thank you so much both of you for those incredibly kind words. I feel very flattered, I’m really glad you both enjoyed wearing these dresses so much yesterday. That means everything to me and the team at Ridley London. Looking around Chelsea Flower Show, were there any other dresses you saw which particularly stood out or any wider trends you recognised.
On the prairies: The Duchess of Cambridge was among a number of Chelsea devotees to this season's printed floral prairie dress trend including Gabby Roslin whose pictured here in a looser open-necked boho style prairie with Kat from @doesmybumlook40 and visitors to the stunning Welcome to Yorkshire Garden
Masha: I really noticed floral prints and floral dresses were absolutely everywhere. Which is really appropriate for Chelsea Flower Show as it helped to make the day a celebration of flowers. Also, many of the designers were also wearing floral dresses. I didn’t like any of them as much as the Ridley Grania dress I was wearing today. For me, this is the perfect dress for a summer garden party. I also noticed that the colour pink was everywhere and also coral. Both are really flattering and feminine colours for spring and very in fashion right now.
Kat: Firstly, I’ve got to say how great it was to see so many people looking so good yesterday. And there were some really incredible dresses on show. Apart from my Ridley dress (Obvs!) I really loved Jo Wylie's floral silk maxi dress. Amazing. Incredibly bold colours, bags of attitude that really looked great on her. And volume. Yes, you heard it here first. Dresses with volume. Definitely the next big fashion thing. I also noticed the style of the moment Prairie dress (as worn by the Duchess of Cambridge) was also very popular and appeared in lots of pretty floral prints. Anyone who knows me knows I’m a sucker for a prairie dress right now. And the more ruffles the better. The elegant high ruffled necklines, the sleeves and frills and the maxi length skirt. Amazing. And I also noticed a lot of pinks, especially on Joan Collins. Serious Royalty!!
Camilla: Brilliant, so there you have it. Amongst the incredible Chelsea Gardens this year printed floral silk maxi dresses have been a big hit as have floral Prairie dresses. And we've learnt that if your dressing for an event this summer whether your royalty or otherwise this season is all about embracing vibrant pinks and living corals. What a fabulous day. Thank you so much to both Kat and Masha for being such great company and both of your witty and insightful opinions. If you're heading to Chelsea Flower Show this week I hope you have the most fantastic time. And if you're looking for a special outfit for this season do call. We'd love to help.