We have waxed lyrical about hush before. It is, to our minds, the best destination for loungewear that looks – and is – good enough to wear out. Indeed, as I type I am wearing these sandals to which I have colour-matched my toenails (Chanel’s Le Vernis in Tentation, should you be interested), and I cannot wait for the weather to warm up sufficiently for me to deck myself in this dress (which I bought in navy and white but think I may need to return for the cornflower, too…. This is what hush does to you. Discover it and you cannot stop. It’s addictive. I know several fashion editors and stylists who swear by it for their downtime look.)
Anyway, it’s a simple but genius concept and the woman behind it (and the designs) is the lovely Mandy Watkins – a relaxed, charming but completely on-the-ball Australian girl who was pretty much compelled to set up a company selling luxe loungewear when she moved to the UK and was overwhelmed by the cold. Sort of. I’m paraphrasing somewhat.
“I started hush 10 years ago with a rather generous redundancy pay-out from a mobile phone company I was working for,” she explains. “I know nothing about phones, but a bit about clothes – so I designed a small range of pyjamas and other styles for cosy nights at home, and hush was born. Today, the collections take the same relaxed look outdoors and offer everyday wardrobe staples for the fashion-conscious woman.”
“I’m very guilty of designing clothing that I’d like to wear, so I’m often inspired by a gap in my wardrobe. I design clothing for women who want a relaxed, stylish and wearable wardrobe. The pieces are versatile, they can be worn with heels, trainers, a favourite pair of jeans, out to lunch or lounging at home. It’s all about stylish versatility and ease.”
“I’d describe my style as relaxed”
I like to look well put together without seeming like I’ve tried too hard. Predictably I wear an enormous amount of hush. However, I also love Zara, COS, Vanessa Bruno, and Elizabeth and James. In winter I usually wear a dress, tights and boots. Otherwise, it’s jeans, t- shirts, jackets and boots (our Chelsea Boots and Isabel Marant’s Dicker suede ankle boots.
Chelsea boots, £150, hush
“I can’t live without…”
I have a vast amount of t-shirts and vest tops which are mostly from hush, but also have lots from Bassike. They both have great colours and use beautiful cotton.
From left to right: long sleeved v neck, AUD$132; stripe heritage, AUD$108; scoop v neck, AUD$96, all Bassike
I love jackets – they are a great way to smarten up a casual look. My favourite is one I bought from Forte Forte a few years ago. I have blazers from Zara, a gorgeous leather biker jacket from Acne and the hush jersey jacket in every colour we’ve ever made.
Merci Black leather jacket, £1100, Acne; Jersey blazer (also in natural, sand marl, navy and charcoal), £55, hush
Jeans. Dress up or dress down – they are incredibly versatile and irresistible as a result. I don’t have a favourite brand. I wear Current Elliot Boyfriend jeans, hush or Paige cords, Goldsign skinny jeans and Adriano Goldschmied.
Current Elliot Panhandle low rise boyfriend jeans, £285, Matches; Goldsign Lure skinny jeans, £285, ASOS
“I love scarves – partly because I’m always cold”
….But also because I think they can transform an outfit. A pop of colour, interesting texture, a beautiful print or a hint of sparkle can turn something from ordinary to extraordinary. Most of my scarves are samples from hush shoots but I also have some great Zadig et Voltaire scarves, Humanoid scarves and random ones I’ve picked up in markets.
Kerry soft heart print scarf, £140, Zadig et Voltaire
I tend to go for understated jewellery, l have a Cartier Tank watch which I love and rarely take off, a very simple diamond pendant necklace that I wear most days, along with diamond stud earrings.
When I want something more fun or colourful I wear Hultquist jewellery. Their bracelets look great worn together and the bright colours look fantastic with a tan.
Hulquist Macrame bracelet, £39.38, Cast Jewellery; Cartier Tank watches
“I use my hush messenger bag most days”
…it’s small, light, has just the right number of pockets and it keeps my hands free for all the other stuff. I also have a couple of beautiful Mulberry bags my husband has given me which I love, although they do weigh a tonne. I walk my kids to school in the morning and often end up carrying their back packs, sports kits, school projects etc . If I’m lucky I also get a couple of hands to hold!
Leather messenger bag, £120, hush
“This summer I will mostly be wearing…”
My Current Elliot boyfriend jeans or our Vanessa trousers [above, £45], tees and jackets. I have recently discovered a love of shirts and I can’t get enough of them. We have a great chiffon shirt in our spring/summer collection and I have a couple of beautiful washed silk shirts from Equipment. When the weather warms up I love to wear dresses, the ease of only having to put on one thing really appeals to me. Our jersey and printed maxi dresses are firm favourites.
Fern green signature silk shirt, Equipment, £230, my-wardrobe; Havana maxi dress, £55 and printed maxi dress, £50, both hush
And what should we be wearing? (Plus, a sneak preview of hush’s A/W 2013 collection)
Metallic silver jumper, £85, hush
Gauzy knits are a really big trend this season and looked great layered up or down. We have some beautiful textured and metallic knits and more basic styles in gorgeous hues of petrol, rhubarb, charcoal and bright whites. Next winter we have a fabulous long knitted jacket and some fantastic dresses that I can’t wait to get my hands on. Following my recent discovery of shirts, I am adding some beautiful silk shirts into next season’s collection.
My Stylish Life
Beauty product….Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturizer SPF 20. It makes your skin glow in the same way as a week’s holiday relaxing by the beach. And eyelash curlers. I asked the makeup artist we use for our catalogue shoots the one thing every woman should have in her makeup bag – her answer was eyelash curlers, I’ve used them ever since.
Interiors shop…Merci in Paris is my all time favourite shop for interiors. Located in an old wallpaper factory, it extends over more than 1500 sq: 3 floors of beautiful, inspiring space; they sell everything from furniture and homewares to fashion, books and flowers. Caravane, also in Paris, is another favourite. For kids interiors I love Bobo Kids.
Homewares at Merci, 111 Boulevard Beaumarchais, Paris
Holiday…For a local weekend getaway The Olde Bell Inn:Ilse Crawford-designed interior, Aesop toiletries, delicious food and a beautiful garden. If you can drag yourself away during your stay there’s a beautiful riverside walk into Henley. I have longed to go to the San Giorgio in Mykonos ever since discovering it on pinterest..
Just one of the blissfully gorgeous rooms at the San Giorgio hotel
Restaurant…For something special I love Hakkasan for the food, the cocktails and the interiors. I spent 5 fantastic years in Hong Kong and this reminds me of my time there. http://www.hakkasan.com/. Ottenlenghi – for lunch, their salads are amazing and they have the most delicious cakes.
Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, I’d never usually read a book if I’ve already seen the movie but a girlfriend told me this was one not to be missed. She was right. Recent favourites include: Gillespie & I by Jane Harris, On Chesil Beach by Ian Mc Ewan, Thoughts & Happenings of Wilfred Price, Purveyor of Superior Funerals by Wendy Jones.
Mandy – it has been such a great pleasure. Now, we’re off to shop hush’s spring/summer collection….again. We. Cannot. Stop. Ourselves.