This week The Women’s Room was invited by East to take a look at its summer range and find out a bit more about the company and I’ll be honest, we were a bit sniffy. We were thrilled to be asked but thought the range would be something we would not wear ourselves. Well we were wrong and had to almost fight our way through a shop full of enthusiastic 50plus customers (grabbing printed sun dresses and crinkle cotton shirts) to view the range in the Covent Garden store (sales have been very good, we are told).
East has been through a few ups and downs since its initial ethnic beginnings back in the 70s, when it was known as Anokhi and produced hand blocked Indian prints from traditional Rajasthan designs. But now one of the original founders, Penny Oliver is in charge of a new design team and they are concentrating on details that matter to our market, fabric quality and original design.
While we wouldn’t currently label this range ‘cool’, it does offer well thought out outfits and there are some hidden gems. Shapes are easy, the fine cotton is delightful to wear and there is cheerful colour everywhere. The prints this year are strong (although go easy with those bold ones) and the beading and embroidery add a point of difference to the design.
The Women’s Room thinks the designs work best when they are inspired by the company’s strong heritage links with India (the Anokhi for East range is all designed and made in Jaipur). The duck egg blue silk mogul jacket (£120) with woven gold thread details on the collar and cuffs look like something you could have picked up on your worldly travels, as does the tribal resin and pearl double layer necklace (£45) in shades of green. We also loved the woven striped long linen shirt jacket (£69) which has hints of hot summer evenings spent drifting in exotic climes about it.
But pick of the week for us is the bang-on-trend maxi kaftan (£69) in hand-block printed, fine natural cotton which is ideal for drifting around the house/holiday villa/beach in. It has a clever draw string cord belt to add a little shaping and has beautifully trimming at the neck. Perfect for Glastonbury, all you ageing hippy chicks out there.