2 posts tagged "Jane Shepherdson"
It’s hard to overstate Jane Shepherdson’s contribution to British retail. As the former brand director of Topshop—she stepped down in 2006, after twenty-two years at the company—she spearheaded the transformation of the brand into the superpower it is today. Now she’s using her industry expertise to revamp another British high-street label, Whistles, which, though founded in the 1980s, had been in a bit of a rut before her arrival.
Since coming on board as Whistles’ CEO in 2008, Shepherdson has facilitated a new sleek, youthful look (one that’s been favored by Kate Middleton). What’s more is that she’s elevated the brand’s international presence via new stores in prime destinations across the globe and a debut London fashion week show, which took to the runway last week. Held at the Dover Street Arts Club, the presentation featured Whistles’ premium range and included everything from cool camo looks to wearable leather trousers to cozy knits. Over tea, Shepherdson talked to Style.com about making the fashion-week leap.
When did you start thinking about doing a show?
Last summer we felt we were ready to start showing people what we are doing. We showed a small presentation at the Savoy, and we had a phenomenal turnout, about 150 different publications. So that was a start. We had stepped onto this international retail platform—our international online business is now about 20 percent, so it’s really starting to come through—and now we had to show people what we’ve got. And really, London fashion week is the only time to do that. We had already developed what we’d called our Limited Collection, which was this capsule collection of the essence of Whistles, the most coveted pieces that allowed us to use more expensive fabrics and let our design team stretch their wings a little bit.
Interestingly, I think that doing the show upped the ante across the whole business. When you are creating a collection that you know people are going to be looking at very closely, it really focuses the mind and pushes us to put that little bit extra into everything that we’re creating. And that has a knock-on effect with the rest of the collection, because once you have these pieces, you think, Okay, the rest of the collection needs to be at the same standard. Continue Reading “An Army with All the Bells and Whistles” »
At Luella on Monday morning, where the not-so-controlled chaos is turning it into London’s very own Marc Jacobs event, the buzz was about the dresses spotted in the crowd, namely this Monet-inspired watercolor number. Was it Chloé? Thakoon? Marni? Try Whistles. Once the shopping destination for the home counties set (read: dowdy), the chain store has had a stunning transformation owing to—is there a retailer she can’t transform?—Jane Shepherdson, the woman who made Topshop the international shopping destination it is today. Shepherdson banished the ubiquitous skinny jeans and loose blouses (“I’m done with that silhouette,” she told us) and has brought in a Lauren Bacall-ish postwar look of crepe de chine blouses and mannish trousers. The kicker? Most of the items ring up at less than £150 (about $270), which means we’ll be seeing a lot of Whistle converts this week.