I had my own style, and I was quite known for my style. Lulu returned to London in , aged 20, to star in a play called The Reluctant Debutante. It should have been called The Reluctant Actress. It made me very nervous. For her it was love at first sight. She was a very unusual person. The Lulu style. It was man-about-town meets girl-about-town, the next six years of courtship basically a blast.
He was writing songs. She was singing backup, modeling, and working in P.
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Her job required late-night meetings, early-morning shoots, and she was tired. I think she sort of wondered what on earth to do with her life. And there was a moment, it was , she said that she had an idea for a briefcase type of thing.
And she was going to try and make it. So I was like, How can I take this idea on from here and sell thousands? It sold out at Liberty, Joseph, and Browns. It did not make Lulu a fortune, but already it had a Lulu kind of life: that flash of surprise, a secret inside. Buyers saw something.
Like what you carry? This is it. This is my invention. She leapt from the masculine to the mommy and had a breakthrough success with her Baby bag. The concept? It was a bag that you could wear with your power suit. It doubled as a really chic tote bag. The Sunday Times ran a photograph of Lulu holding the Baby bag, and the first hundred sold immediately. Her first was the Dolly bag, a soft 40s shape very much like the makeshift bag a hobo slips onto a stick. Getting her stuff into the big shops. Getting the publicity. The first four years were this great struggle to make a name for herself.
And then the blossoming. In , relaxing into her gift, going with her whim, Lulu designed the first Florist Basket. If the Filofax briefcase was meant to show off status symbols in its pockets, the Florist Basket itself was … not status-y but deeply desirable, poetically rich.
It spoke of courtly love and cultivated gardens. And then I met her and became enamored with her personality.
I mean, warm, funny, so incredibly talented, dry English wit—that light touch we need in the heaviness of this world around us. You just get caught in the Lulu spell.
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In short, a tabletop metropolis, a Lilliput of purses. The collectibles are works of art, showstoppers. But, for Lulu, the show must go on.
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In the three collections she designs annually, her personality plays with the same generosity, but at every price point. Lulu is wise about women, the echoes and dimensions that tickle and delight. Even when she was a young girl, friends and family went to her for advice.
Recently, Rizzoli went to her, and for a similar reason. Like Vreeland, Lulu is quite happy to make pronouncements—to be, so to speak, Head Girl. Volumes bear it out.
Even in Ireland I still think ‘Will they drop a bomb?’
There are 75 to 80 items in each collection, which add up to , pieces a year. The company has expanded into shoes, stockings, scarves, fragrance, sunglasses, stationery, umbrellas, and, most recently, gloves, winter knits, and powder compacts. The best-selling item in the Lulu Guinness empire sums up the attitude of her customer. But what wallpaper! It travels up the stairs like a vivid imagination. Lulu has been a designer-entrepreneur for 15 years, and while it looks from the outside like a charmed climb up, it has also been about balance.
Unfortunately, a head can hold more than ideas. But decades went on and people were obsessed with the 60s, and would ask me about it. I just kept my head down and kept singing. We had to go downstairs and it was freezing, but I accepted it. The colourful stories are now in full flow.
But the most important thing in her life, she says, is family. She comes to stay overnight with me and I love it. And then, her mummy and daddy pick her up and I have my house back again. Tickets from the ECHO ticketline What's On. By Jade Wright. Thank you for subscribing We have more newsletters Show me See our privacy notice. Follow EchoWhatsOn. What's On all Most Read Most Recent Liverpool bars Independent city centre bar's heartbreaking confession as it debates closing for good due to 'big battles ahead' "We can't quite decide if we are beaten". Liverpool bars Independent city centre bar's heartbreaking confession as it debates closing for good due to 'big battles ahead' "We can't quite decide if we are beaten".
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