I have been privileged to work with a lot of incredibly talented people over the years. These people have been instrumental in the expansion of my own creativity.

I am constantly inspired by my women friends. There seems to be no end to their creativity and warmth of their friendship, I look upon them as my family.

One of these fabulous woman is Isabel Ettedgui.

Isabel and I go back a long way. We first worked together on ‘The World of Interiors’ magazine. After moving on from the magazine we continued working together on various projects including CONNOLLY 

In the late 1980’s Isabel became involved with the Connolly family. She worked with them to design a chair for Joseph. JOSEPH ETTEDGUI was London’s most influential fashion retailer. Isabel and Joseph made a brilliant creative team, not only did they continue to work together on Connolly but they went on to marry. Sadly in 2010 after 20 years of marriage Joseph died and Isabel put Connolly on hold for a while.

Last November Isabel re launched the Connolly brand, a brand she has known for the last 30 years. She found a house in Mayfair’s Clifford street and put every ounce of herself into creating an amazing shop with a home on top, a massive undertaking. She pulled together a team, developed new products and designed an exciting luxury retail space that feels like a home.

What she has created is more than impressive. Everything about the shop and the merchandise in it is pure quality. Her attention to detail is exceptional and her and her staff are like a small family.

The experience is like shopping in someone’s home, it could not be any better.

To say I am proud of my friend is an understatement.

I have loved photographing the Connolly products, I am drawn to the detail and quality of every piece.

Read below what Isabel says when I asked her some questions about her new project CONNOLLY

connolly layout My favourite knits

connolly layout2 The softest leather

connolly layout3 I love this cuff detail

connolly layout4 Babette the company mascot fits in perfectly with brand Connolly

When and how did you become aware of the brand Connolly?

It was in late 1980s when I worked with the Connolly family on designing a chair for Joseph.

Can you give us a bit of info on the company and how you were inspired to become involved?

Established in 1878. I think I fell in love with the Soul of Connolly and the idea of a fourth-generation family business. And a great family. The essence of Connolly is the classic motor racing and touring dream, coupled with a strong sense of British know how and craft in the production of the finished leather that graced the seats of the first Rolls Royce, Bentley, Jaguar, Aston Martin and is still found by special request, on Ferrari Jaguar Alfa Romeo and the top classic cars. As well as amongst other notable institutions and icons like the seats of the Houses of Parliament, the desks of the British Library, the Eames chair, Concorde, the Coronation coaches of the Royal Family, to Ferrari, Alfa Romeo and the limited-edition Jaguar E type.
What has been your biggest challenge in relaunching the brand and developing its new premises?
Apart from planners and finance it has been trusting my instinct and having faith that we could make it happen.

You have a real talent in surrounding yourself with a great team. You clearly understand the importance of those people who to me feel like family. Can you tell me a little about how you go about it?

I like working with people who I have worked with before and who I trust and then add new blood in younger members who bring new ideas and different disciplines – it’s a bit like a wardrobe – strong staples and some new looks and accents. I also think women entrepreneurs prefer to create a work team family – with the same dynamics and obviously, the same problems – but it just seems to lend itself to a stronger sense of commitment and loyalty.

What has been the brands biggest achievement to date?

Opening!

You certainly know about luxury; how do you see your luxury brand developing in the next 5 years?

Honestly, I know about quality and value not luxury and I hope our customers can feel that – it’s important that customers are coming back showing their Connolly pieces from twenty years ago with pride and love. I am building the brand the old-fashioned way—relying on a close network of friends, focusing on consistent design language, high-quality products, and a strong, cohesive narrative, which takes time and deep pockets and patience. I think another two stand-alone shops maybe in Japan and somewhere by the sea… and find brilliant retail partners that know their own clientele extremely well and can and want to introduce them to Connolly in their stores.

For the most divine shopping experience visit Connolly England 4 Clifford Street London, W1S 2LG website HERE

Photography Claire Lloyd 

connolly layout6 Chunky rugged knits

connolly layout7 Wrap up in the softest cashmere

connolly layout8 Connolly shows us not just quality but also a sophisticated colour palette

connolly layout9 Perfect stripes

connolly layout10 Beautifully finished products