Just before I went to Sweden I was lucky enough to go to a talk with Cath Kidston at Regent Streets Apple Store. Now you know when you are of a certain age when the prospect of meeting Cath is much more exciting than Richard Gere, one of the numerous celebrities appearing at the store in recent months. I'll let you into a little secret. My son is events manager for Apple - a dream job where he gets to work with some of the most talented artists on the planet - and more importantly a reserved front row seat for his Mum!
She's come a long long way since then. It's rare to find someone who hasn't got a bit of Cath somewhere. I remember being at a business meeting and I had Cath bag which was much admired. I kid you not that every woman in that meeting produced a Kidston product from their handbag!
When I bought my little cottage back in 1999 Cath's early faded rose prints were my inspiration. This was back in the day when she had her first little shop in Clarendon Cross. In fact it was Cath herself who served me when I bought the wallpaper for my bedroom (I like to claim my part in her success!). I told her that I had bought my cottage just so I could decorate my bedroom with her beautiful rose pattern wallpaper.
(Sorry the picture quality isn't great but this gives you an idea of the venue)
Cath was there to promote her new book Coming Up Roses. She talked about her childhood and how the prints from the home she grew up in influenced her work now. You couldn't help but warm to this very natural and self effacing woman. My son always takes a portrait picture of all the artists who appear. He asked Cath how she would like to be photographed - don't show it to me and tell me it's great she said modestly.
I was fascinated to hear how she developed her business. Staying true to the brand identity is everything. She said how she was asked to do some mens pants (we're talking undergarments here US friends not trousers) but refused as she felt it would compromise the brand identity - too right!
The interview, by a reporter from the Evening Standard, ran for 45 minutes and then there followed a Q & A with the audience. There ensued much gushing from the ladies in the audience thrilled to meet there idol! At the end my son was having to gently hold back the women desperate to get her autograph - I bet Richard Gere didn't get as much adulation!!
One of the questions asked was what was her favourite print. She said how her latest always tended to be her favourite but if she had to choose it would be that early rose pattern I still have in my bedroom.
I've sometimes thought of painting over it but how could I now :-)
A video podcast was made of the event which you can download for free on iTunes. Just search in podcasts for Meet the Designer: Cath Kidston.