I went down to Cardiff with work a couple of weeks ago for Bonmarché’s store opening event in St David’s shopping centre. It was an enthusiastic crowd outside the store on the day of the grand opening, and they all joined in with the countdown. In less than a minute after the ribbon had been cut the store was buzzing with people. As well as looking at all the new fashion they were all there for one reason – to meet the living legend, the designer of Princess Diana’s wedding dress; the one and only David Emanuel.
David has a solid fan base, and with him being a household name thanks to his royal business connections people recognised him even outside of the store, and stopped him to shake his hand or to take a photo with him.
Those who hadn’t met him before were pleasantly surprised by his genuine personality and charm. One could say he hasn’t forgotten his roots!
Even though his hand must have been cramping after all the handshakes and the autograph writing, he was still chirpy and shared his great humour with his fans.
The overall atmosphere at the Bonmarché store opening event was very positive, and many customers expressed how impressed they were with the new store, which they described as having a ‘boutique feeling’. The dressing rooms had a bit of a boudoir style with a lovely antique looking vanity table and mirror outside, decorated with beautiful glass pieces and books.
I later went for lunch with David and took the chance to ask him about his collection at Bonmarché, and his designs in general. He said that the cuts of fashion really goes around in circles, and that he focuses more on the patterns and colours.
To the question of where he gets his inspiration from he said that it’s about seasons and on-trend colours. But not any colours! David likes his clothes to stand out from the crowd – the more bold the better! When walking through the shopping centre after lunch he grabbed hold of a skirt in another store and burst out “This is dull!", pointing out that dull colours make you look dull, and that you would have to make a real effort to pull off wearing such a garment. A minute later he pointed at a bright orange top and expressed “That colour is fabulous!”
David Emanuel’s collection at Bonmarché isn’t quite as bold as that orange top, but you can see where he’s coming from. He explained that he usually uses black or white as a base, but that he loves a pattern with a colour that stands out.
The focus on this season’s clothes seems to be on the colours of bold purple and dark turquoise, or almost petroleum green. And one garment that kept coming back in numerous colours and patterns was the classic tunic.