Gifi the Great — A.K.A. the Scarlett & Jo sample sale

So, Wednesday 9th September, my friend Vicky and I got ourselves on the London Bound train and headed off to Great Portland Street, the HQ of Coppernob, and its fabulous sample sale.

Now, being dress addicts, we couldn’t refuse the possibility of lots of gorgeous Scarlett & Jo dresses, all at knock down prices, so off we went!

I had previously met Gifi at StyleXL where I had the honour and pleasure of wearing a beautiful black and gold lace gown for him on the catwalk. Being a fan of the Scarlett & Jo styles, I couldn’t resist going and seeing what would be available, so we took an hour off work and got ourselves into London.

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Arriving at Great Portland Street, we saw the lovely Mayah and Hanna who both work there. It was great to have a catch up with Mayah, and to finally meet Hanna who is such a sweetheart!

Ushering us into the building, we entered a huge room full of rows of brightly coloured garments – a girl’s dream come true!

The fabulous owner and creator of these wonders, Gifi Fields immediately came over to say hello and offer us a cup of tea. He asked us how the journey had been, and then proceeded to tell us he was going to show us something very few get to see…

I could not believe it when he took us on a personal guided tour of the company, introducing us to staff who were all busy beavering away.

He took us to see bolt upon bolt of beautiful material, including jewel coloured jacquards that he was using in a new collection.

We saw ladies cutting out patterns, patterns being edited on the computer, and a lady on a sewing machine bringing it all together.

Gifi told us how everything is done in-house, which absolutely surprised me. I just thought, as many of you might, that the designs are done in-house, and then sent off to be produced.

The sheer array of beautifulness in that room was overwhelming. I wanted all the patterns, prints, styles and designs. I literally was like a magpie, my eyes flitting over everything, desiring it all.

Gifi then showed us the most amazing room. It was filled floor to ceiling with the archive prints that he owns, swatches of material and unbelievably, hand painted sheets of paper from many years before.

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Some of the floral patterns in there were to die for! There was one particular print that I could just imagine as a prom dress – I’ve got my fingers crossed that one day he might use it!

Eventually after looking at all the wonders Gifi had to share, we got back to the reason of why we were there, the sample sale. Because Coppernob make clothes for many of the high street stores, there were clothes from size 8 upwards, and spent quite a lot of time looking for items for one of my daughters.

However, after searching fruitlessly for her, I decided to look for me and I certainly was not lost for choice.

Looking at rack after rack of delicious items, I eventually decided on a beautiful dark purple and black flocked prom dress with mesh sleeves and neckline, a longer raspberry dress with angel-wing sleeves and a purple bodycon dress with black lace embellishment.

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One of the other bonuses to the night was getting to see the delightful Mookie Barber and Hayley Stewart who both popped in, and we managed to have a good old natter, whilst trying on the fabulous items available.

We rounded up the night with a glass of bubbly before setting off back to the train station. Vicky and I had a couple of hours to kill before the late train back, so we popped into Cafe Rouge and had ourselves a lovely late dinner. A Croque Madame…. my favourite!

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We got back into Northampton around 11pm, full and tired, but having had a fabulous night, and a wonderful insight into how the clothes we love, buy and lust over are designed and made into the products you see on the rails in your favourite shops.

That was truly an experience I could never have imagined having!

Thanks Gifi for showing us your world.

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