From Australia to London via Dolphin’s Barn, weekends are about friends, fun and catching up on sleep for Alighieri brand manager ISABELLA DAVEY
At the moment a weekend is holy as this year has been hectic so far. I flew to New Zealand for Christmas to see my family, then on to Western Australia to work on a campaign shoot for the new collection of Alighieri jewellery. We set up in Port Gregory, a tiny mining town north of Perth – where six of us lived on a campsite, getting up at 5am to avoid the 42°C heat. Our location was a salt lake which, due to algae, is the most beautiful pink colour. I couldn’t tell the miles of pink salt land from the sunset sky; it was utterly magical and a stunning backdrop.
I recently changed job, moving from working at the British Fashion Council where my role involved specialising in designer initiatives, creating the show schedule for London Fashion Week [both menswear and womenswear] and account managing up to 60 designer brands. It was a tough job as my role during LFW was to ensure all the shows ran smoothly – difficult at best, impossible at worst. I particularly liked the first Friday morning slot when Richard Malone’s show traditionally kicked off the week – it was a chance for me and my Irish friends such as the brilliant editor and stylist Aisling Farinella, to converge.
I’m now brand manager at Alighieri; I love the meaning behind the brand [named after and inspired by the Italian poet Dante] as well as the accessibility to the story of the jewellery. We are currently preparing for a banquet in a crypt for 45 supporters and friends of the brand, such as my wonderfully wild pal Isabella Summers from Florence & The Machine.
I used to think a weekend was for packing in as much as possible. Now it’s about taking things more slowly and minimal emails. Normally it starts at 6pm on Friday with prosecco to hand at Catalyst, near the studio. It’s a time to laugh with the team about all the things we were tearing our hair out over at the start of the week.
Otherwise I often hop on a Ryanair flight to visit friends. My next trip is to Milan to catch up with a close friend who is a designer at Marni. Her long hours will have waned post-AW19, and I am looking forward to experiencing some of her favourite restaurants in her newly adopted city.
I also return to Dublin as often as I can to see my parents [Davey studied Art History & Classics at Trinity College]. I spent my teenage years in Dolphin’s Barn, where my parents still live. Moving from a sleepy neighbourhood of Canberra, Australia to the Barn definitely had its challenges but I still thank my parents for the move. They are both talented art conservators and had a huge impact on my career direction and interest in fashion: they showed me the overlap between all artistic points of expression. I also have a deep appreciation of Dublin-based designers – Edel Traynor’s architectural influence, Alison Conneely’s elegance, Capulet&Montague for colour and Pearl Reddington’s contemporary knitwear. My one true fashion passion is T-shirts and I still have some I bought in Wild Child Vintage, Drury Street, Dublin where I worked as a teenager. The owner, Will, also bestowed on me a love of John Peel and an appreciation of vintage Lacoste. When I’m back in Dublin the perfect trifecta is a catch-up with friends, a visit to Grogan’s, a cheese toastie with mustard, and a Guinness.
In London I live in Hackney, and if I’m at home I like nothing more than a lie-in on Saturday, followed by breakfast in The Shepherdess in Old Street. Once a favourite of Tom Jones, my staple order is a bacon bagel with brown sauce or a Cabbie’s fry. The coffee comes two ways – straight or milky.
Sometimes weekends have to include work. In addition to contributing to several avant-garde magazines [including Twin, LOVE and Office] I often give talks to BA or MA students studying fashion. When preparing, I find the British Library, Humanities, Level 2, is the best place to focus and thrash out my thoughts. Recently I sat on a panel with the menswear designer Bianca Saunders; a few weekends before that was dedicated to leading an “In Conversation With” the buying director of Browns Fashion for trend-forecasting the season ahead.
I gained a lot of my initial fashion experience working long hours in design studios of the talented designer Danielle Romeril and Claire Barrow, and supplementing my income by waitressing. I have always been an ardent supporter of emerging brands, such as Richard Quinn with whom I worked from the start of his brand, Molly Goddard and A-Cold-Wall. Having seen firsthand the creative energy involved in designing a collection I know the value of a well-made garment and as a result I buy locally when I can. My weekend wardrobe includes Ashley Williams knits, Faustine Steinmetz jeans, Toga shoes for stomping around in, or, if the weather is forgiving, my Dorateymur leopard loafers or my elephant-heel mules. For going out, steventai, Halpern and Marques’Almeida two-pieces and Preen Line for dresses are my go-tos. I was asked to be a Preen Line girl and feature in the Preen Line muse diaries last year: Simone Butler from Primal Scream was another muse. It was such an honour to be featured, especially as I have such a strong affinity with the label.
Having friends across many different creative fields, means I’ve had some spectacular nights out, especially during Paris and London Fashion weeks. I will never forget a LOVE and Marc Jacobs party in Paris, or evenings in David Lynch’s nightclub Silencio. However, the common thread to any good night is the company. If I’m not going out, I enjoy cooking for friends – my foolproof lemon spaghetti is a favourite recipe.
Sunday morning is all about sleep followed by reading. I am enjoying Mark E Smith’s warts-and-all autobiography of one of my favourite bands, The Fall. I’ll head out afterwards for brunch to St John in Smithfield, where I’ll order their Welsh rarebit. If I’m back in Dublin, it’s always Bibi’s, especially on a sunny day, for a late breakfast with my sister Tallulah May. In the afternoon I enjoy the chance to catch an exhibition – the recent Wolfgang Tillman’s exhibition in IMMA was brilliant and The Barbican in London is always a solid bet: you can visit their beautiful conservatory on a Sunday too. A game of darts in my local, The Wenlock, or dinner in Afghan Kitchen in Angel Islington is the perfect finish to my weekend.
Often emails will start trickling in on a Sunday evening – as my boss says: “the crazy never stops”. However, Sunday nights are kept sacred: life is too short to worry about the thoughts that bloom before the inevitable Monday 7am alarm.
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