Today I’d like to bring you this very special interview with Alex Riggs, the extraordinary creator of Oobi Baby & Kids, twice voted number 1 favourite baby and kids designer by you, KidStyleFile readers, in the KidStyleFile Annual Reader Survey.
The Autumn/Winter 2010 Oobi collection for boys and girls will be in stores from 12 March 2010. In the meantime enjoy this inside scoop!
Hi, Alex, tell me about Oobi A/W10: what’s inspired you this season?
Boys used to pull my pigtails when I was a little girl and as an early teen I was in love with David Bowie for ages (still shocked I never married him!). That’s about all I know about boys really. They are a complete mystery to me in so many ways (try asking a man the same about women and I’m sure he’ll say they are a complete mystery to him too!).
But I know how I like a boy – or man – to dress. Sharp little jackets, funky shirts, nice retro touches, a rugged fitted Henley Tee and buttersoft jeans. Throw in a vest and some tweed and I’m a happy camper. No bling, nothing too fancy, just a quirky touch here and there, some neat tailoring and clever cuts and colours.
This season for little boys we’ve created a sweet range of tailored jackets with superfunky stripy lining that can be mixed and matched with our new Henley Tees (check out the cool buttons I found!) and created a range that I think is pretty well-rounded. I think that no matter what your style you can mix it up and create your own look. Red cowboy with grey vest, tweed pants and navy jacket? Cool. The same look with jeans and a Henley? Sure. It all works together because I chose the entire colour palette to co-ordinate without being matchy. I think that should make any busy mum’s job way easier.
For girls I’ve been inspired by Paris (a girl can dream, right?). Fresh, crisp French navy and white with bold touches of red feature heavily (the shirt dress is so Audrey-Hepburn-in-Paris!)
On the flipside, we’ve got some really autumnal stained berry colours, rich tweeds and some really old-fashioned shapes. We are loving our little swing coats with the beautiful ribbon features. The coat is lined in really soft jersey so they’re easy to wear and the hoodie has Oobi house-designed fabric peeking out.
Our Tweed bubble dresses are very quirky and I know they are not for everyone, but they are totally for me. I am so in love with this look and I hope there will be a bunch of mums that dig it too. Little crystal buttons and some seriously impressive pleating work just finish the garment so beautifully. The pleating was done for me by a special artisan who only works in pleating and has created garments for some very famous designers.
I’m especially pleased with how our appliqué work came out this season. Oobi is pretty well known for our appliqué dresses and pants and I found some lovely vintage-y fabrics to mix-and-match with my own Oobi prints. I think that the combos are really cute and I hope that everyone else likes them too. I always try and make mixing-and-matching easy so there are some great tees, retro headscarves and clips that go with everything plus some lovely tights and leggings to keep warm over winter.
You travelled to Toyko, Japan, recently. I know Oobi has been a best-seller in Japan for a while now. How was your trip?
We were invited to Tokyo to see Oobi sold in one of the big department stores there. Oobi has sold really well in Japan for a few years, but this was a huge big deal for us – lots of excitement (and lots of eating, eating, eating!).
The Silver-Grey Smock Dress with Rosette (also available in Dusky Pink, not shown) is inspired by Japan. The pleating is all hand-made and designed to work a little like origami. The fabric is gorgeous and soft and I think our little model wears it really well with her diamanté tights.
Notes on the Tokyo Pics: The one with the spinning top is not retouched in any way, that’s a paper cut-out! Terry and I are desperately trying to import one of those pandas for the warehouse. We like the idea of Ben riding around on those collecting cartons. The band… Ummm.. Because you’re never too old? A pic of this very cool band called Polysics that we went to see one night. Loads of fun, made me feel 24 again. Our distributor took us around on an Oobi stores shopping spree and we stopped here on the way, one of the most beautiful stores I’ve ever seen. We had a ‘pop up’ store in this super-funky area called Omotosando Hills (very “The Hills” – “Omotosando Hills”). Full of Gucci and Chanel all that stuff. As I was walking I saw a guy who looked like a rock star walking a monkey on a lead. Blurry pic because he wouldn’t stop his stride. My delicious lunch. Found it hard to eat it it was so beautiful. We weren’t even anywhere fancy, just a regular restaurant. All reasons why I love Japan!
I love the illustrations you have used with the photos in this season’s collection. Reminds me of old-school Disney in the 50’s: what was it inspired by?
The idea actually came when I was looking at this gorgeous Judith Fritchman drawing of a child on a swing. I thought how beautiful pencil drawings are and I immediately thought of one of our “Oobi Babies” who could rise to the challenge of pretending to be on a swing. The idea just kind of developed from there and most of the drawings using the babies were drawn in after the shoot to correspond with their spontaneous actions. Other shots we asked the children to ‘make believe’ which they did really well. There’s a little story throughout our catalogue this season and it’s written like a children’s book from the 1950s. It was the most fun concept and shoot ever.
Oobi Autumn/Winter 2010 will be available from stockists from 12 March 2010. Boy’s wear goes up to 5 years and girl’s wear goes up to size 6 years; the new release ‘Darcy’ skirts go up to size lucky number 7. Prices for all pieces range from $17.95 – $69.95. Follow Alex on the Oobi Baby & Kids blog, and let her know you’re a fan on Facebook.