SILENT AUCTION FOR SYRIA October 11 2015
The Silent Auction for Syria has officially launched and will be held at one of Edinburgh’s most iconic buildings ‘The Hub’ at the top of the Royal Mile - I'm so pleased to be part of the auxtion by donating a one off piece created especially for the night. The first 100 tickets are now on sale so grab them while you can! GET YOUR TICKETS HERE!
On Friday the 13th of November, to raise funds in aid of the Syrian refugee crisis, over 30 individual pieces will be on display to bid for which have been donated by multi award wining international designers, artists, photographers & milliners.
As a brand ambassador for Scottish creativity Gordon J Miller from Scot Street Style will host the evening as Master of Ceremonies.
Drinks and canapes shall be served and for those who can't manage the stairs there is a lift with disabled access so all can enjoy this wonderful event.
We look forward to seeing you all and raising as much as we can for The British Red Cross’s Europe Refugee Appeal. See you soon!
See our venue and list of fabulous talent below, each who have gifted a piece of their unique work.
JUDY R CLARK
ROSIE SUGDEN WALKER SLATER
SALLY ANN PROVEN
LETTERS TO JINNY
ANNE LEEN LINDSAY
Catherine Aitken Designs featured on Judy Murray's website... July 13 2015
AS A tennis coach, Judy Murray barely gives a thought to what she wears, but dressing for Strictly and working on accessories for Andy’s hotel have really raised the stakes
Judy Murray is the first to admit she was never a clotheshorse, with a wardrobe of jeans and sportswear more suited to coaching and travelling. But since she had found herself increasingly in the media spotlight, she’d been giving it a little more thought. Then there was the TV footage she saw of herself watching Andy playing at Wimbledon…
“Never wear vest tops. That’s what I learnt. I had a habit of clapping with my hands above my head and they showed me doing it in slow motion. I had thought my arms were not too bad for an old bird until they ran that. So, no more vest tops.
“Dressing for Wimbledon you need something that’s not going to stick when it’s hot and something to cover up when it’s cold.”
As well as paying more attention to her wardrobe, Murray has been focusing on design since she began working with Harris Tweed Hebrides and Scottish-based designers Catherine Aitken, Gráinne Broderick and Katherine Emtage on a tennis-inspired range of bespoke Harris Tweed fashion accessories and homeware, made exclusively for Cromlix, the hotel outside Dunblane owned by Andy and his wife Kim.
Launched last year, the Cromlix Collection of accessories includes handbags, washbags, messenger bags, cushions and cuff links, all made with Harris Tweed in a design specially commissioned for the hotel.
“We wanted something special for the hotel and picked those colours, purple and green, because they’re the Wimbledon colours and also the colours around Cromlix, the purple heather. My preference in tartans and tweed is for the more traditional colours.
“A lot of the Cromlix visitors are from overseas, so it was nice for it to have a Scottish link, and Harris Tweed is a good idea. We are very proud of our heritage and the hotel is very Scottish. It’s like an old country home and we’ve made it look as close to how it was while modernising it, leasing things like the paintings from the original owners.”
With the Cromlix Collection, which was launched last year, proving popular, Judy and her team have extended the range with several new items.
“It’s a small collection so far, but now we’ve brought in a few extra pieces, all in the Cromlix Tweed and some with deerskin leather and feathers too. There’s a baseball cap, because I wear them a lot, more bags – a smaller messenger one, a funky evening bag with a clasp handle and feathers, a clutch with a bow, a bag with leather on one side and tweed on the other – and iPad and iPhone covers.”
With all items made in Scotland, the collection also includes the specially commissioned bergamot and ginger toiletries created by Arran Aromatics for Cromlix.
“I have a jacket in the tweed and we are aiming to have people who stock the tweed making up things to order. I have a couple of waistcoats I had made, one with black leather lapels, and they’re great to dress things up. There’s also a stole trimmed in feathers that I wore to the Sports Personality of the Year Awards.”
For Murray, working on the Cromlix Collection has been a complete change of scene from her usual tennis coaching duties. Currently captain of the British Fed Cup team, she also campaigns to get more girls and women into sport.
“I’ve enjoyed getting involved in this. It’s been fun. I’ve really liked working with the designers to come up with something different. Also it’s been something completely new for me, with nothing to do with sport or tennis, so it’s been a really nice switch-off,” she says.
“I was never interested in clothes or accessories when I was younger. I had my ears pierced when I was 15 because the bus conductor kept calling me ‘son’. Then I was always on the road with the boys and other people’s children, so I just wore jeans or a tracksuit. I’ve always thought the most important thing is to be comfortable, so I’m usually in jeans, scabby sweatshirts and flip-flops. I just put my head down and go for comfort,” she says.
“I was never interested in make-up or fashion until the last two or three years, but now I have a bit more time to myself and more money and I’m going out more to social occasions.”
With the spotlight on Judy, whether it’s watching her sons play tennis or appearing at awards ceremonies – or the sparkly world of Strictly Come Dancing last year – even the smartest tracky bottoms and hoodie weren’t going to cut it. Strictly moved her wardrobe into a whole new world of glitz with a different outfit for each dance.
“I loved all of them. I couldn’t believe how much I loved all of them. Because everybody is dressed up and everything is sparkly you don’t feel self-conscious, it’s part of the show and it becomes second nature.
“The Cruella de Vil outfit for Halloween was one of my favourites. It had 3,000 crystals on it, an amazing fishtail and netting, with a white stole. That was amazing. The boys were very complimentary about how I looked on Strictly because they had never seen me dressed up. I have two very glamorous daughters-in-law and I always joke with the boys that they say you pick a wife that reminds you of your mother, except their wives are both glam. What happened?”
When we spoke on the eve of Wimbledon, Andy had just won his fourth Queen’s Club title and was in impressive form and Jamie is riding high with doubles partner Australian John Peters. How did she rate their chances at Wimbledon this year?
“It’s impossible to tell what’s going to happen. They’re both contenders for their events and aiming to win but that’s a very difficult thing to do. Seven matches in five days, each five sets, it’s physically very demanding, plus there’s the added spotlight of it being a home Grand Slam.
“But being on grass presents an opportunity, because not so many of the foreign players are comfortable on it. It also produces disadvantages too, in that tall guys with a big serve can come up with an unexpected win on the day, like Lukas Rosol beating Nadal.
“But winning Queen’s has given Andy a lot of confidence and both boys are comfortable on grass. They love Wimbledon. They do well there,” she says.
If they haven’t made it as far as the Wimbledon silverware this year, the Murray boys can always console themselves with a pair of Cromlix Collection cuff links.
“They have no interest in clothes whatsoever, but yes, they wear cuff links if they’re going to something special,” Murray says.
And whether or not the Murray boys return victorious from Wimbledon, visitors and fans will be able to take home a memory of Cromlix House. n
The Cromlix Collection, prices start from £25, is available online and Cromlix, www.cromlix.com.
Cromlix Hotel, Kinbuck, near Dunblane, Perthshire FK15 9JT. Some of the Collection is also available at Graham Stewart Silversmith in Dunblane,www.grahamstewartsilversmith.co.uk
The Women's Room Feature the Wanderlust 4Way April 19 2015
Remember our recent backpack research? (and here). I am still delighted with my Shinola purchase, but this lovely Harris Tweed one from Edinburgh based designer Catherine Aitken, recently caught my attention.
It’s called the Wanderlust 4Way and cleverly switches between back pack and over-the-body bag due to its strap construction, you just clip the straps to what you want. I think this is very neat. And it’s handmade in Edinburgh, which adds to its appeal, I love a bit of Harris Tweed.
The tweed is very tough and waterproof- although the bag is also interlined in waterproof fabric too- and the reverse of the bag is made from a dry waxed cotton in a dark chocolate, produced for Catherine in Dundee, so it’s comfortable and wont ruffle-up against your clothes. it’s £225 with free UK delivery and comes in a range of colours and checks.
Make of the Month at Concrete Wardrobe March 01 2015
The Wonderful Grey Fox Blogs about our designs.... February 15 2015
The Cromlix Collection December 20 2014
While Judy Murray was dancing the night away on Strictly, her own Harris Tweed cloth was being woven in the Outer Hebrides. It's now been created into a range of luxury accessories that are available at her son's, Andy Murray's, beautiful hotel - The Cromlix. Most exciting, Judy chose some of our products for the new collection:
The Kate Clutch, The Munro Bag and the Hayworth Handbag and I think they look stunning in this fabulous new cloth that Judy personally designed - a beautiful green and purple fading check that is reminiscent of the Scottish landscape as well as Wimbledon! Created by Harris Tweed Hebrides we have also provided ladies and gents toiletry bags and iPhone and iPad covers.
Judy also rocked our Wild Stole, Wrap Belt and the Kate Clutch at the Sports Personality of the Year Award and looked fabulous:
This exclusive collection is available from the Cromlix Hotel not far from Dunblane and it just oozes old style glamour and luxury.
The Luxury is in the process.... August 27 2014
We often get asked about how we make the bags so here's a little blog post about the making of the Hepburn Hip. Most of our Hips are handcrafted at one of our local maker's studios, but we still make a few in house, especially the bespoke ones. So here's how we do it...
First we need all the ingredients:
Leather, Harris Tweed, black waxed cotton, cotton lining, heavy cotton webbing, O rings, Sam Browne, two forms of interlining (one waterproof), interfacing, labels. Our leather arrives in hide rolls and it's all handcut to the right size in the studio:
Once the interfacing is ironed on to the tweed, we use a protective spray that helps make the tweed water and stain resistant. Then we add the interlinings (our bags are strong!) then stitch on the front leather strap then add the Sam Browne stud:
We add the O Rings and the back pocket to the waxed cotton reverse and then mustn't forget the labels - our own and the Harris Tweed verification label.
Putting the two sides together, we're almost there but it's time for a little pressing...
Next we create pockets and attach them to the lining and sew that onto the bag. A quick flourish with the hands turning it all right side out and voila the bag is born, but it now needs another little pressing before we finish the top stitching:
Almost there - we just need to add the strap. This is riveted on to the O rings - watch your fingers with that heavy hammer!
We add a little noile of lavender to the inside, and now the bag is ready to leave the studio, to be loved and cared for by the new owner, wherever in the world they may be. The Hepburn range is named after the wonderful Hollywood actress Katharine Hepburn - her masculine/feminine style is a real inspiration, not to mention her love of tweed.
MESSYLA FEATURES KATE CLUTCH! July 07 2014
WHAT'S IN MY BAG
"What's in my bag" posts are some of my favourites to read from bloggers. It might be a little nosey, but I love it. I like seeing what they would carry around in real life: what lipstick they use, what purse they have or whether they carry around a sweet treat like I do.
I'm such a believer in shopping small, local and independent. I love British made beauties and of course, Scottish designers. Catherine Aitken is a wonderful Edinburgh designer whose designs I have fallen head over heels with. She uses Harris Tweed fabric in such a subtle, divine way that I find so simple and appealing! Sometimes tartan or tweed pieces seem a little cliché for me, but Catherine's eye for design and flawless craftmanship is beautiful and so unique.
My bag is the Kate Clutch in a beautiful olive green/mustardy colour. I was always looking for a clutch bag that wasn't too fancy - I tend to use my camera bag satchel everyday, so I'm not one for uber fancy bags - and one that was big enough to hold all my necessities!
What's In My Bag:
A little bar of chocolate. I pretty much always want a bit of dark chocolate after every meal or coffee.. so bringing my own stash is so helpful!
A notebook and pen. When inspiration strikes, you always need a notebook.
Business cards. For impromtu networking.
Purse. My mum and dad got me this 'Long Live Vintage' beauty from Ireland a few years ago.
Keys. Of course.
Lipstick and Balm. I love red and pink lipstick, I think it jazzes up every outfit and gives my face some colour. (I'm very pale!). I like to use lip balm first as a base too.
Designer Spotlight from The Clothes Maiden July 07 2014
Men's Journal and the Renaissance Collection April 30 2014
Harris Tweed Jackets Reincarnated as Bags
Catherine Aitken loved Harris Tweed – hardly an unusual trait in a Scottish person – but had a hard time getting her hands on the fabric. That's why she turned to used jackets when she decided to make robust men's bags with a bit of Highland flavor. She could pick them apart and transform a tired coat into an eye-catching satchel. Now she sells her work out of her studio in Leith, the small, hip neighborhood that thrives along Edinburgh's port on the Firth of Forth, and in the British Museum.
"This comes from my love of mooching round thrift and charity shops," says Aitken, who worked as a film producer before giving it up to start her business. "People also bring them to me and some customers bring their own to be created into a bag especially for them."
The only appropriate reaction to Aitken's upcycled creations, which she refers to as her "Renaissance Line," is to wonder how precisely she makes them. It's complicated, but she's figured out a system. It goes like this.
1. "The original Harris Tweed Label is taken out."
2. "The lining, padding, and interfacings are all removed using a picking tool, scalpel, and scissors."
3. "Once just the cloth is left, it's into the washing machine at a low temperature – this also binds the yarn into a closer tighter weave, closer to its original texture when the jacket was new."
4. "The pieces are then dried, ironed, cut to size, interfaced, and then we go over them looking for areas that may need to be patched with our Scottish deerskin leather."
5. The jackets are folded and carefully sewn up. Because each jacket is unique and each bag is constructed to showcase different design elements, the building process varies quite a bit more than the tearing apart process.
Aitken says most of her work targets the "suited and booted who want to have a bit of individuality in their everyday wardrobe." That works out just fine because tweed jackets are not uniformly made. The pockets are different, the shooting patches are different, and the men who've worn them down are all different. The only constant element, really, is Aitken herself.
THE GENTLEMAN'S EMPORIUM FOR LUXURY GOODS April 09 2014
Catherine Aitken will be part of a fantastic Men’s Fashion and Accessory Pop-Up Shop over Easter Weekend and we hope you can come along!
Princes Square, Buchanan Street, Glasgow on the 18th, 19th and 20th April.
We would like to announce the launch of the ‘The Gentleman's Emporium of Luxury’ Pop-Up Boutique in Princes Square, located on Buchanan Street’s ‘Style Mile’, over the Easter Weekend. The Shop will feature a range of Men’s Fashion and Accessories from four of Scotland’s Luxury Brands on sale exclusively at the event. There will be a range of products on show including Tartan Jackets, Highland Brogues, Harris Tweed Accessories and Luxury Watches.
The Focus of the Shop is ‘Made in Scotland’, including a spot-light on Scottish Textiles and Scottish craftsmanship, presenting a range of products designed and created in Scotland.
The Four Brands include –
Hunter Kingsley Tailoring - https://www.hunterkingsley.com
Catherine Aitken Accessories - www.catherineaitken.com/
Kennett Watches - www.kennettonline.com/
Buchanan Bespoke Footwear – www.buchananbespoke.com/
Unit 31, Princes Square - First Floor (between Kurt Geiger and Arran Aromatics).
Opening hours are:
Friday 10am – 7pm
Sat 9am – 6pm
Sun 11am – 5pm
MEET MAGGIE March 16 2014
The new Maggie Clutch is now online. Beautiful leathers - Scottish Deerskin and Nappa Leathers - teamed with pleated Harris Tweeds and silk linings. A textural delight as well as being a practical everyday size. Zipper closure and magnetic stud to keep the fold in position, the classic style looks great teamed with jeans or a little black dress. Versatile perfection.
WELCOME BACK MUNRO! February 04 2014
The original Munro bag is now back in stock. It's one of the first designs created, and was also one of the first manbags in Harris Tweed. A simple design, but really stylish, standing out with the strap being attached with kilt pins - an amazingly strong attachment. Great for all weathers, this is a wonderful away day bag, but it's also large enough and strong enough to carry a small laptop, netbook or ipad - amongst other things of course. Currently available in the gorgeous green herringbone overcheck, more colours will be added from time to time.
Happy New Year! January 09 2014We hope you all had a wonderful time over the festivities and are now fighting fit for 2014. For us - it's back to the studio, creating some new designs, consolidating our production base in Scotland and buying new materials. It's going to be an exciting year ahead - watch this space!
FLASH SALE! December 30 2013
We're having a sale - we've reduced our remaining stock as we get ready to create new designs in the new year. Thanks for all your custom and support during 2013 and we hope you have a lovely time over new year and all best wishes for a wonderful 2014.
Caroused, aroused October 08 2013
Last year I produced Mark Cousins' documentary - What is this film called Love?
It was great fun being back in the midst of film producing again and the film has travelled the world at various festivals. Mark was the writer and director of The Story of Film - An Odyssey
http://www.channel4.com/programmes/the-story-of-film-an-odyssey currently screening on TCM along with a selection of films introduced by Mark himself. He's just recently written and directed The Story of Film with Children so how he found the time to write and direct a lovely 4 minute film inspired by one of my bags, I don't know! It's beautifully romantic - you can view it here:
And here's the star:
Renaissance Munro Meall Ghaordie
Hope you like it!
TOO MANY LOVELY THINGS! October 08 2013
So the fashion weeks are over for another season. So many gorgeous designs, beautiful fabrics. Stand out for me was the Vivienne Westwood collection http://www.viviennewestwood.co.uk/multimedia/red-label-ss14-the-catwalk
Love the oversized flowers with this dress
Cute dresses in boucle wools from Karl Lagerfield - the oversized pearls were fabulous and I loved the little handbags in a variety of pop out colours. http://www.marieclaire.co.uk/fashion/ideas/36741/34/chanel-ss14.html#index=12
Besides all that's been going on on the catwalk - Dundee designer Hayley Scanlon has launched her Queen of Hearts diffusion line and it's now available online. You can view it here http://www.hayleyscanlan.com/browse/All_0_0_0.html
I want this skirt!
And this dress - a cross between punk and pop art. She is such a talent.
Grey Skies Day September 30 2013
Weather is right glum today - does mean we get to crack out the rain boots though. Fantasy wardrobe: I'd wear our Patti bag with a leather top from TIBI, Wanda Nylon jain coat, Alice + Olivia skirt, Opening Ceremony Boots, Tomasz Donicik bracelet finished with a flash of neon from this Tom Binns necklace. How you dressing for the weather?
I Predict A Riot! September 30 2013
Once a punk always a punk? I can clearly remember the summer of ’77, Sex Pistols’ God Save The Queen booming out in Silver Jubilee year. …a bunch of us at a party dressed in black denim, plastic bags (ooh we thought we were sooo Debbie Harry), Dayglo plastic specs and belting out the Stranglers’ Peaches. An exciting time to be a teenager – we so thought we would change the world with our rebellious attitude and our anti-establishment passions…
Fast forward – oh far too many years to mention – and Punk is still around, in fact it seems to be having a resurgence currently, mostly thanks to the New York Met Museum’s exhibition – Punk: Chaos to Couture. But Punk’s longevity is best captured in the quote from David Byrne: “Punk was defined by an attitude rather than a musical style”; and that attitude has stayed with us.
It’s the attitude of the women of the time that I found and still find so inspiring. Patti Smith, Siouxie Sioux, Debbie Harry, Joan Jett and Poly Styrene all served as key inspiration for my new collection of handbags “Riot.” With bags named after these eponymous women of rock I’ve used leather, tartan, tweed and hardwear to create a collection inspired by some of the most stylist and influential women of rock.
A guy walks up to me and asks ‘What’s Punk?’ So I kick over a garbage can and say ‘That’s punk!’ So he kicks over a garbage can and says ‘That’s punk?’ and I say ‘No, that’s trendy!’”
— Billie Joe Armstrong
It's been a busy time.... September 12 2013
So the new website is up and running! We hope you like it. We've still to put more images up on the front page but we're having a little shoot next week and they will added soon. The past two weeks have been incredibly busy, sending order here, there and everywhere! Some Munro bags and toiletry bags off to the British Museum
As well as the last of our gorgeous vintage kimono clutches, ready for the new Shunga exhibition taking place in October.
The new McGonagall - so called because it's teamed Harris Tweed with waxed cotton from Halley Stevenson in Dundee and we thought the name was a poetic (sorry!) choice...
... has gone off to the lovely Vintage Hound shop in Winchester along with the Freya Messenger, belts and bow clutches.
Lots of the gents toiletry bags have been sent to France, Germany, Norway, the US and now we're working on a very large order for a wonderful magazine who want to give them as gifts to all their advertising clients!
Some new designs still to come - a new handbag, a new manbag, some more of the ever popular Hepburn range and a few more scarves.... coming soon.
When You're Running From The Devil... August 29 2013
…best to be nicely accessorised. A bit like Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby.
Dashing down the corridor after tipping the contents of her handbag out to stall for time. Costume designer Anthea Sylbert (who also worked with Polanski on Chinatown) gets the period spot on with the little baby doll dresses and sets the tone for Rosemary’s character with her predominant use of white.
You might also want to check out these amazing dolls by Alicia Newman-Breen – here’s her version of Mia Farrow and Ruth Gordon from Rosemary’s Baby:
And just for fun, here’s Rikki Lake and Divine from Hairspray:
Thank You Carimateo August 29 2013
Thank you Carimateo for spotting my handbags and posting them on her blog. You can view Carimateo’s designs here:http://sunsetgurldesign.typepad.com/
“Give me classics anytime like these Harris Tweed bags designed by Catherine Aitken. Although I would not at all mind returning to Edinburgh, we don’t have to fly there to purchase her bags. They’re available to buy online…”
MODH MAGAZINE August 29 2013
The Missoni fabric designs – Bow Clutch and Voyager were recently featured in MODH Magazine:
IKWIG August 29 2013
Watched the wonderful I Know Where I’m Going this week. We seemed to have the weather for it. Wendy Hiller is wonderful and just as wonderful is her leopardskin clutch that Roger Livesay seems to be making a grab for in this shot!
MARLEY & MOONRISE KINGDOM August 29 2013
So – after whiling away a lazy afternoon watching I Know Where I’m Going last week, this week I went out with a chum to see the Bob Marley documentary directed by Kevin Macdonald – coincidently, he’s Pressburger’s grandson – so it was kind of keeping it in the family with the two films. Marley is a fascinating documentary, a real insight into Bob Marley’s life, his family, his dreams, his music. With footage never seen before and permission from Marley’s family to use it, interviews with his various wives, girlfriends, children and many people who worked with him – Kevin tells the story of an extraordinary man and musician who sadly died so young – just 36. Definitely recommended viewing!
And to top that – if it’s possible. One of the trailers preceding Marley was for Wes Anderson’s new film Moonrise Kingdom. What a delight this films looks to be and I can’t wait to see it. There’s a brilliant cast: Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Frances McDorman and Bruce Willis…. but it isn’t just the cast that’s so intriguing – it’s the production design of the film and the wonderful props! At the end of the trailer is this shot:
I just love this little tartan bag at the right hand side. I had to know if it was vintage or retro, so that I might be able to buy one so I got googling. A few emails later the Props Master of the film, Sandy Hamilton, kindly got back and told me it was vintage and in the spirit of a Scottish boy’s school bag. You can view the whole trailer here:
Be prepared for a visual delight! Can’t see any reviews yet but I will be there as soon as it’s opened for sure.
AUDREY HEPBURN RESURRECTED August 15 2013
What do you think of the new Galaxy ad? At first I thought it was a look-alike but it turns out it’s original footage of Ms Hepburn that’s been CGI’d. I like the ad, think it’s good fun – and her family obviously licensed the use of the footage. Nice squidgy little handbag anyway – perfect for posing your co-ordinating chocolate!
I wonder what Audrey would have thought of it all? Here’s an appropriate quote from the lady herself:
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