Christina Strutt has been at the helm of her home and fashion brand Cabbages & Roses for 14 years, sailing, at times, through rocky waters. We’ve always been big fans and despite a few set-backs along the way – “I’m not a very good business women’ she said to me last week ‘I just like designing pretty things, my mind just wander’s off during financial meetings”- she is still here making lovely fabrics and clothes. We were invited to tour round her pretty, double fronted shop off King’s Road in London which opened last week and caught five minutes of her time to ask a few questions on style and surviving.
Christina, we’re so pleased to see you still in business, how are things?
“I probably started this business too late, I’m getting too old and I don’t have the energy I would have had if I’d started it twenty years previously. However, starting a business is like giving birth, it’s your child and after you’ve nurtured it for 14 years you’re not going to let it go…..We had a bit of a blip, I was leaving it to others, to my cost, but you learn from mistakes and I was very determined to rise like a phoenix. What turned out to be the most valuable lesson was family…in our difficult period, my husband took over, he was brilliant.”
Your clothes have a romantic aesthetic too them, can you tell us a bit about your style of dressing?
“Well what helps is that I’m a bit fat…if you are thin and tall you can wear skinny jeans and look good in everything, if I was still skinny I’d wear a bikini, all the time! But God has blessed me with a very difficult figure and so I make much more of an effort to look good. I’ve built a style which consists of layers of disguise and distraction! Anything that helps me say ‘don’t look at my thighs or my hips’.
I love wearing volume too, it can look fabulous on older women, think about how beautiful Camila Batmanghelidjh looks in her colourful volumes. I think we should celebrate age, the older I get the more eccentric I get too….you might notice i’m wearing a fairy skirt today, it’s part of the summer collection and its the only sample I could fit into…but it feels so comfortable worn with one of our square sweaters.
I do wish I could wear shorter styles though, and I envy older women with good legs. A beautiful woman came in the other day who had lovely legs but was shaped like me, then she tried on a short number and looked amazing in it, she asked us if she was too old to wear it but we all said absolutely not!
Our A line and square sweaters are best sellers every season because they are so easy to wear and our hero style is the Carly bubble dress. It’s like a corset and is a marvellous item because it can be dressed up or down. The top is quite fitted and holds everything in, then it gathers out at the waist, woofs over the hips and shows your little ankles!”
The summer collection is filtering into the store and onto the website from this month, so check out the look book for details. I love that wide brimmed hat on the mannequin and I have desk envy over Christina’s lovely working space. Right by the desk is a big window over looking the street, so she can see exactly what’s going on.
Cabbages & Roses is on Sydney Street, right by the Chelsea Market, just off Kings Road.