Last Tuesday, I was lucky enough to be one of the invitees to an exclusive Bloggers Event at the new Bertie flagship store in South Molton Street, central London. The event was organised to celebrate the opening of the brand new store, as well as unveiling the new collection of footwear for Autumn/Winter 2010. It was specifically aimed at fashion bloggers as Bertie are currently aiming to increase their digital and online coverage – and neither the event, nor the new collection disappointed!
The store itself is relatively compact but perfectly formed and decked out, described on the Bertie website as ‘an eclectic mix of metropolitan style, uniquely blending nostalgia with contemporary London chic.’ The exposed brickwork and distressed wooden workbenches topped with cast iron shoe plinths create an industrial feel which is complimented by the more contemporary styling of retro picture frames, vintage floor-length mirrors and an exquisite open-fronted French dresser containing row after row of shoes. A particularly unique feature is the simple yet striking use of hundreds of shoe laces dangling from the ceiling like minuscule stalactites, creating an interesting, moving texture, with the added effect of reminding you that you are in a shoe shop and have not fallen through the Looking Glass with some girl named Alice and a repetitive white rabbit for company!
Which brings us to the main feature… the shoes! To be perfectly honest, before last Tuesday I had never stepped foot in a Bertie store, and before seeing the promotional photos for the new range, it would not have occurred to me to make a special trip to Bertie for my footwear needs! However, the Autumn/Winter 2010 Lookbook for Bertie is very enticing. It was photographed by renowned photographer Elisabeth Hoff, and the setting is in F. Cooke’s traditionally-Cockney Pie, Mash and Eels shop in Hoxton, East London. The shots all feature in black and white giving them a gritty edge, and as most of the images have been shot on the street, in doorways and hanging out of the windows of the pie shop – there is a real urban, ‘street’ feel. The styling of the models is also very ‘street’ with scruffy rolled-up skinny jeans, layered leather bomber jackets and knits, and chunky scarves and socks all contributing to a nonchalant, relaxed look, showing off the footwear to great effect.
The in-store collection of footwear is very versatile and there are several different types of boots and shoes for both casual and smart situations. The boots range from distressed-leather workman-style boots (expected to be very popular this Autumn/Winter) to moccasin-style desert boots, and also include a kind of deck shoe-boot hybrid. The shoe selection is just as varied, ranging from the more casual Bertie take on hi-tops to classic deck shoes to colourful tasselled loafers. Bertie also offer some traditional espadrilles either in muted stripes, or in a lovely, smooth tan leather which look great teamed with the archetypal raffia sole.
Particularly exciting for me was the selection of classic brogues on offer – and the Bertie designers clearly share my passion for these. The classic ‘Braxton’ sticks to the historical roots and design of the brogue but adds a modern twist by featuring them in different unconventional colours such as arresting bottle green and royal blue. My personal favourite, the ‘Brooklyn’ is a slightly more contemporary take on the brogue concept – and I was lucky enough to be presented with a complimentary pair by the very generous and helpful in-store staff. The collection can be viewed at bertie shoes online shop – but it is important to mention that not all of the styles available in store are available online – so get thee to a Bertie’s pronto so you can peruse the full collection!
All in all, the Blogger’s Event was a huge success, and if the beaming faces of my fellow bloggers as they paraded through the store trying on various styles and fighting to get to the front of the vintage mirrors are anything to go by – I am sure they would agree. Not only were we fed and watered with delicious sandwiches, custom-made Bertie cakes-on-sticks (a deliciously fantastic invention!) and beverages on ice, all attendees were also treated to their own choice of a complimentary pair of shoes from the new collection – so an evening well spent! All that remains is to say a HUGE thank you to Joanna Marsden and the rest of the Bertie PR team for hosting such a great event, as well as the in-store staff who kept smiles on their faces despite having to work into the night. And to all you beaners out there who haven’t yet graced Bertie’s with their presence – I highly recommend a visit.
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