Saturday, September 26, 2009

The Life of My CKB Tote, By Arianne Berger

The new CK Bradley website is being created as we speak, and one of the parts of it will include Guest Writers, asked to write about all things from travels and where to go, to CKB stories worth sharing.

Arianne Berger, head of the CKB Cheerleading Team(in uniform on Left above) and CKB intern in NYC a couple years ago, is now recent graduate of St.Lawrence University and has sent in the following stroll down memory lane about the life and adventures of her CKB tote.

The Life of My CKB Tote

I once read that Elizabeth Taylor, when asked to comment on today’s fresh female faces in Hollywood, had responded by saying that they “don’t look like they own their clothes.”

In the era of publicists and Perez, the brevity of a style can last just long enough for trendsters to purchase and then pack away when a newer fad is deemed “must have.” In my opinion, the best clothes and accessories are those that are well-loved, and therefore evidently well-worn - sun-bleached fabric, tears, and the odd stain are proof that it belongs to you, and is tailored by your life’s adventures.

I spied my first C.K. Bradley tote at Rags, one of my favorite boutiques to frequent when I visited my family in Greenwich. On one such visit, 3 generations of Laidlaw women simultaneously invaded the store at the top of The Avenue. Clearly, I was oh-so-excited when my favorite (and always chic) Auntie Suzy (picking up on my hints), bought me one of the totes for my 14th birthday. The blue floral tote became my favorite, and a quick part of my high school weekend uniform.

In college, the CKB tote still occupied my personal IT bag status, and luckily so, as on my first day at St. Lawrence, I spied my future best friend Samantha because of her equally well-loved CKB tote, and we sparked up an initial conversation due to the obvious commonality.

Later when I ventured to Costa Rica to work on a sea turtle conservation project, though I feel I can rough it with the best of them, I didn’t think twice about bringing my CKB tote with me along with my hiking boots, mosquito net, and lonely planet guide-book.

Over the past few years, an increasing collection of totes (I’m up to 5) accompanied me to the Uffizi as I gazed at Leonardo’s and Botticelli’s, to South African elephant sanctuaries, and on boats in the Seychelles en route to uninhabited islands.

Thinking about what has been “toted” is also an interesting reflection of my life’s adventures as I begin a mental list of the London tube maps, bathing suits, love letters, English reading assignments, carefully hidden to-go sushi and made-at-home kettle-corn smuggled into movie theatres, as well as the seashell treasures that I stashed in the inside pockets.

More recently, en route from London to Nantucket, I stopped by Newport to check in with the CKB gang. Of course, I couldn’t help but pick out a new one from Camilla’s personal archives in the warehouse.

You can bet that through bike rides to Sconset, ferry trips to visit my latest love interest, and autumnal quests to savor the last of summer on Great Point, the newest tote won’t look that way for long.

While I have yet to see it on the trendster pages of US Weekly and InTouch, my well-worn tote, though not a Kelly, Birkin, Louis or Marc, makes a statement of its own – and one that I much prefer to make.

Check out Arianne's blog

I'm just plain tickled. If you have stories about your dress or tote, email

-So Many Totes, So Little Time Bradley

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Harriman Cup Strikes Again

With EVERY social event comes the opportunity to see who you can get to strip.

The Whomper made it's way to the Harriman Cup last weekend for the annual UVA vs. Yale Polo Match. I brought Stackle for the gamers, and Sonoma Dresses for the sneak peakers. In typical Camilla fashion, I changed outfits 3 times in a span of 1 polo match. Not exactly the usual way to introduce a new dress, but Why Not? I mean who needs Runway shows at Fashion Week when I've got a Polo Field filled with potential and repeat customers? No better press than that, although Oprah would be nice...

No changing rooms at the Polo Field. That's where the stripping comes in. Note the look on the guy checking her out...Yowzer!
Pull the Sonoma Dress over your head,
Squiggle out of your top,
Check yourself out in the nearest non aero dynamic car door
And Presto. New outfit. And what a great model she is!

Now not everyone stripped....This girl tried it on over her shirt and jeans...
Any way you slice it, good test marketing for the Solid Sonoma dress in Ponte Knit...perfect for Fall. More colors are soon to come, all made and sourced in New England we are happy to FINALLY report!

Even caught a beautiful sunset on the way back into NYC....
-Never a Dull Moment, Bradley

Monday, September 14, 2009

Inspired by Your Comments...

LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE! Inspired me. I am now the proud owner of a Tory Burch Isa Tote.

And to give into shameless self promotion, imagine how cute it will look with the new Sonoma Dress that has just landed in CK Bradley Boutique!

We had 2 other colorways that have SOLD OUT already...Next time I'll be quicker about getting it up on the site before we sell out to our Wholesale Boutiques.

Here's to Tory Burch and CK Bradley looking good together...

-Never say Never, Bradley.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spotted...with Tory Burch

Sometimes a Blog can really draw me in. Before I know it, I have spent an hour perusing other peoples lives. But that doesn't happen often...Having left NYC for salty air, I find myself enjoying other peoples accounts of the parties I used to go to, and the people I used to see. Melissa Morris is a great customer of CK Bradley, looks great in almost anything she wears...and has an adorable dog, Monty. Her Blog has accounts of nearly everything from eating to travel to..a day in the life of Melissa. Scrolling away, I came upon Melissa wearing CK Bradley with Tory Burch.

Love it. You look fabulous Melissa!
It made me do a little thinking about Tory Burch. CK Bradley had been around for a year or two when Tory decided to start her business. Tory hired my first employee, Meg Doepke to be her right hand woman. Meg was great at CK Bradley back in the day, and Tory was SMART to hire her. Meg actually still works for Tory today, and I run into her outside of the daunting orange walls they put up around the Tory Burch booth at the Coterie every year. The Coterie, for those of you who don't know, is THE show where boutiques and larger department stores come to buy lines for the following season.
This was CK Bradley's FIRST Coterie Booth in 2004. Tigger is in his kelly green cage in the right hand corner! All of our samples were in white fabric, and we had drawn the print on laminated paper for stores to pick and choose what color ways they would like. This will require another blog, since I am getting OFF topic reference Tory Burch.

So back to Tory. Who is the Tory customer? I don't own anything she makes, but that's not to say I don't like her taste, I do. So why don't I buy her stuff? Something to ponder. And it's NOT because I get to design my own closet is full of Marc Jacobs, DVF and old Tocca.

-Any Ideas? Bradley.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

What is Sexy

My Dad thinks a woman in a flannel nightgown is the cat’s meow. In fact, he adores a woman in a long flannel nightgown so much, he keeps a stash in our foyer ‘gift’ closet for his latest ‘lady friend’. Meanwhile, a Belgian baron I had the pleasure of sitting next to at a wedding in Marrakesh, nearly carried me to the nearby alter when I talked of having gone to cooking school and my ability to sew.

Wedding in M'Kesh (bridesmaids dress courtesy of CKB and Baron not included)

For others, stiletto’s paired with a flesh hugging leather pencil skirt (or kelly green pique skirt) is hotter than hot. Alas, we put sexy in the eye of the beholder.

The ooohing and ahhing of men for women in high heels and a tight skirt just plain confuses me. Wait, no, I GET IT. What I mean is, is it fun to be out with a girl that has to sit on the sidelines when the night calls for skipping and cartwheels? Is she willing to dump the shoes for bare feet and to rip her ‘oh so sexy’ too tight skirt? Is her ‘sexy’ ensemble going to kill the fun? Probably not for you if you're a guy...but for me, YES.

I like to think things gone wrong can sometimes make the fun. So sometimes, restrictive clothing adds to the fun…but only if the wearer is willing. At the Orange Ball a few Winters ago, surrounded by many a dashing Dutch man, I split the zipper of one of our CK Bradley sample dresses doing a dance move over the back of my very nimble partner. (This is just one of the MANY ways we test the clothing before it hits the racks at CK Bradley) Now I must admit, had I known the move my partner was about to thrust upon me, I would have rapidly swooshed off the dance floor in search of another lime for my libation, but my dance partner was just too quick. He had me up and over his back before I could blink. Over him I went, zipper ripping as fast as my mind was wondering where the floor had gone. I landed on my feet, (thanks to non-stiletto’s) and grabbed the front half of my dress that now lay around my waist before the whole party could see my bare breasts.

(there was a time when I didn't mind showing off my bare breasts...)

The rest of the night I danced about the Ball with a tablecloth wrapped about me like a Pashmina covering my top half. Now I realize this might not be sexy…but it sure was fun. (And to be honest, had it been a tight skirt that split, I would have had just as much fun wearing the tablecloth about as a full dress/toga)

Back to the ever popular sexy stiletto. At 5’11”, I don’t wear heels that often. No need to be taller than that on a day to day basis. So when I do decide to be out and about in heels, I am far from the hip swinging, hair thrusting diva that owns her heels and attitude while wearing them. Instead I feel like I am playing a video game avoiding all hazards from sidewalk cracks to subway grates to uneven asphalt. If someone sends me to fetch a Jack and Ginger at the bar, I walk like an 8 yr old playing dress up in her mom’s pumps and have to down half the drink before my return trip to minimize spillage. If the menu calls for heels, like some black tie party, I stick some flip flops in my usually large clutch. This makes me totally mobile if necessary. With a moments notice, I can outrun the other 10 people trying to grab a cab, run after the cutie who thought it was OK to leave the party without introducing himself, or flee at lightening speed from an old flame who thinks its time to break the ice, again.

Maybe sexy boils down to confidence. When you have it you can possess any mood you wish and present it to the world as you like. I suppose if you can ride piggy back on the cute boy you just met in your tight leather skirt and win a race up a Down escalator in your Manolos, you are sexy and are having fun. But its plain sinful to let sexy get in the way of fun.

-Barefoot and Fancy Free, Bradley.