It’s official – spring is here. We’ve had the solar eclipse, Easter and sacrificed an hour’s sleep to usher in summer time, all of which adds up to mean one glorious thing: it’s time to start buying summer clothes, says Gabriella Le Breton
Perfect timing, therefore, for an invitation to arrive at Hip & Healthy HQ for a preview of the brand new summer and beach wear collection from Hush at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons, Raymond Blanc’s posh Oxfordshire pad. Hush is the online brand we’ve come to rely on for everyday clothes that are comfy, well-made and give you that ‘stylish without trying’ look, so we very happily accepted the invitation. (The idea of spending a night in Monsieur Blanc’s little pocket of French luxury in the countryside was rather tempting too…)
Hush started life in 2003 as a loungewear brand created by the enterprising Mandy Watkins. Missing the balmy evenings of her native Australian and learning to embrace chilly British nights curled in front of the fire, Watkins spotted a niche in the market for comfy yet stylish lounging wear. She’s since evolved the brand to include elegant dresses, cashmere jumpers, key denim pieces, and handpicked accessories and – now – beach wear.
As we sipped Champagne in one of Le Manoir’s swanky suites, Watkins introduced us to some of the key pieces in her new range. Picking out a fabulous bright orange bikini, she explained: “I couldn’t seem to find swimwear that bridged the gap between gorgeous yet expensive brands like Heidi Klein or Melissa Odabash and Top Shop, so I created my own.” With bikinis starting at £65 (tops and bottoms can be ordered separately), she’s definitely hit the nail on the pricing head while also providing flattering cuts in lush colours.
Other favourites include the Clovelly Dress (£55): “so pretty with its vibrant orange embroidery at the bottom and a perfect match for the bikini”. The Grecian Dress (£40) is another of Watkins’ key pieces: “It’s made from rayon, a fabric so light and airy that you feel like you’re wearing a cloud.” And the Palm Beach top (£40), whose pretty hand-crocheted chest panel across the top and slim straps show off tanned shoulders perfectly.
We’ve got too many favourites to name here but they include the Tropical Strapless Dress (£45), which screams summer and flatters even the larger bust, and the chic hand-embroidered Sun Sea Surf sarong (£55). Suffice to say you’ll have to be quick when this small but perfectly formed collection launches on 5 May because Team Hip & Healthy will be poised and ready to place our orders!
Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and Hush has created a special spring offer. This costs £890 and includes overnight accommodation, dinner for two and breakfast and an indulgent gift from Hush. This will include ladies pyjamas, a candle and £50 voucher to spend on Hush (https://www.hush-uk.com). Valid from Sunday to Thursday nights, subject to availability, to be taken before the end of June 2015 (based on two sharing). For information visit http://www.belmond.com/le-manoir-aux-quat-saisons-oxfordshire/