Some people do look fabulous when they’re pregnant. I honestly never did. The ‘is she pregnant or just had too many pies’ stage quickly morphed into the elephant-woman-stage and then it took me a good few months to reverse the whole process.
Those who quite literally look SWELL for 9 and a bit months and then squeeze right back into their size 25 J Brands might not even know about Isabella Oliver, the pregnancy wear sold online. Personally, I couldn’t have left the house without their well-cut fat-girl clothes.
And then the mail order company branched out and launched their new line for the non-swell-woman. But they didn’t really tell us and, to be fair, it has had a few names along the way. So, when I couldn’t work out what the relentless Baukjen catalogue was shooting through my letterbox, I gave the PR team a call.
Baukjen de Swaan Arons is the founder and creative director of Isabella Oliver. I thought it would be worth a trip to their head office (with a retail consultant friend in tow) to try on their new season stock, hear more about the brand and meet Baukjen herself.
Some of the items are a little hit and miss, if I’m honest. The endless jersey material is fine when you’re pregnant but a little dreary otherwise. Their PR girl had left since I had made the appointment and a much more junior girl was doing her best along side a temporary Head of PR who seemed to have swallowed a branding manual. The Baukjen woman (we were told) lives in Queen’s Park, goes to the Everyman cinema, lights Dyptique candles and watches Borgen with her partner while her perfect smalls snore. She (apparently) mixes Baukjen with Whistles and Browns. Hmmmmmmm.
Anyway, I really DID like this green shirt dress (£109) and retail consultant friend thought the buttery leather jacket was pretty fab too. We hung around to try and meet Baukjen herself (as had been arranged) but it seems that she was too busy in a photo-shoot next door to pop her head round to say ‘hi’. She did answer my email interview questions though so I will still buy the green dress! Do flick the catalogue when it next drops on your door mat as I’m sure they’ll eventually make Baukjen as indispensible as her pregnant sister.
Here is the interview with Baukjen herself:
What is your fail safe work look? A cropped blazer, untucked shirt and skinnies are always classic yet sharp for work
How do you find inspiration for a new collection? Everywhere. But London is my true inspiration. For me, it’s the ultimate catwalk.
Heels or flats during the day? Both! A midi heel height can also work wonders for AM to PM dressing. I also love high tops and wedges.
What makes you scream? Scary films
How long does it take you to get ready for work? I have 3 kids so there’s not much time. Five to ten minutes is what I normally can scramble together
What do you wear in bed? At the moment it’s very cold, so pjs and a pair of lovely cashmere bed socks a friend gave me.
Half day to yourself, where would we find you? Probably curled up on the sofa with the family watching a good movie with hot chocolate and biscuits
Who have you always wanted to have dinner with? Grace Coddington – such an inspirational person
Self-grooming or spa lover? Self grooming
Best book EVER? To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. I read it every year.