Luella Bartley: is this the end?

Luella’s recent Spring/Summer 2010 collection, described by Bartley as ‘Manga meets Margaret’ was a whirlwind of PVC Minnie-mouse bows, candyfloss textured dresses, and palpable polka dots. It was the perfect collection for any girl who is willing to poke fun at their own cuteness. However, the likelihood of this comely collection ever seeing the shop floor seems improbable, as on November 10th 2009, Bartley shocked the fashion world by announcing that her Luella label would cease trading.

Bartley started her career on the other side of the catwalk as a fashion journalist, but after two years of working for Vogue UK she decided that she could no longer stay away from her true calling: design. Bartley’s first collection, ‘Daddy I Want a Pony’, was shown in Pulp bassist Steve Mackay’s apartment, and instantly sparked great interest.

Since then, Bartley’s collections have been trademarked by their quintessentially British attitude, beginning with her tongue-in-cheek London Fashion Week debut collection entitled ‘Daddy Who are The Clash?’. Her inspirations are clearly drawn from the British music scene, as she appears to have translated Vivienne Westwood’s ‘punk’ into more contemporary terms.

Bartley describes her clothing as “the kind of clothes you can get drunk and fall over in”. The price tags would probably prevent most patrons from puking on these prom dresses, but nevertheless it is the accessibility of the designs which has kept Luella in good stead until recent days.

So, does this mean the end of Luella? The brand has been left hanging precariously in fashion-limbo, but it has been reported that Bartley is seeking a new backer in order to continue the brand. If there is one thing everyone knows about the Luella girl, it’s that she won’t go down without a fight.

Sarah Drumm


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