After we told you about the improvements in East's summer range, the design team, headed by product director Penny Oliver, invited us in to take a look at the company's improved autumn range. And it's fab, right back to 'old East' where colour, pattern and a scattering of ethnic inspiriation gives it a strong handwriting. Penny and her old design team are now back in charge (after a period when others were given control) and she told us "Our customers are very articulate and loyal and they told us very clearly they weren't coming back unless we improved! Luckily they are also very loyal and have returned in their droves for summer."
The autumn range is full of wearable jewel box hues such as plum mixed with raspberry, teal and burnt orange and a great ruby red. "We can spend hours choosing just the right shade of green…."says Penny and it shows, as the design studio is a cheerfully colourful place, with mood boards and swatches above rails of autumn samples. It's a vibrant relief after the rails of dour grey and black we've seen in stores so far for winter. Senior wovens designer Francine points out the detailed floral embroidery on the wool felt jacket and how she's combined a couple of traditional Rajasthan prints (the company has strong connections with prints and fabric manufacturers in Jaipur) to produce a rich contemporay version.
The Women's Room really liked the the knits, there's a great plummy long line cable knit cardigan-coat, and the teal mohair cardi is super fine and light, which would work really well as a throw on for early autumn. The stripey knits are big sellers, according to senior knitwear designer Laura, who is working on producing classic knits that are anything but boring.
They are a fun bunch at East, you get the feeling that Penny really understands her customer, who like her is still looking for gorgeous clothes. "I want our customers to feel happy, sexy (they love a bit of cleavage!) and really enjoy their outfits. Above all I want them to return to us and embrace our prints and colours as enthusiastically as we do!".
Here are Penny's suggestions for TWR readers for autumn, we're defintely coveting the teal cardi and the 50s retro print dress it's worn with and that embroidered coat is to die for in real life….check out the website too.