Alison Lloyd and her Ally Capellino brand celebrated 30 years in the business with an exhibition at The Wapping Project last year. The first twenty of those were dedicated to her clothes range, but after starting a fresh in the millennium, Lloyd focused her talents on bags and accessories. The last few seasons, though, has seen Lloyd slowly reintroducing a few key apparel pieces into her collection. It's no revolution, rather a sartorial evolution. The the waxed cotton and oiled canvas parka jackets are excellent examples of the Ally Capellino aesthetic being translated from clothes to bags, and then - 10 years later - back on to a model as a clothing piece. The colours, the fabrics and the cuts are all a continuation of the goods on sale in the Shoreditch store. And now, in conjunction with what will hopefully be an extended clothing line, the brand is also expanding its retail outlets, opening up another shop in Notting Hill. It's truly an exciting time for Alison Lloyd and her Ally Capellino gang...
Dazed Digital: Why and when did you stop designing clothes?
Ally Capellino: In 1999, due to financial and personal breakups, the Ally Capellino business folded and we stopped producing clothes. I started a new business doing consultancy for various different companies, but although remunerative, it didn't keep me very busy. I made a bag or two on the kitchen table. I didn't have any experience with leather so they were a bit basic, but they were nice enough for me to show them to a few people and to take quite a lot of orders on them. So by mistake I was back in business and suddenly I had to learn how to run a business rather than just be a designer.
DD: What made you take it up again?
Ally Capellino: The temptation is always there and sometimes it's just irresistible when the fabrics lend themselves so well. The parka that we made is from an old pattern from the 80s, but slightly adapted.
DD: How does the design process differ from the bags?
Ally Capellino: Bags are easier, because they only need to fit in a limited way. Clothes are much more detailed on proportion and fit. I think there is always a similar starting point with inspiration, but there is further to take it with clothes as there are so many different garments available. It's difficult to force too much of a story into a bag, when basically it's for carrying stuff in. There is a decorative value as well obviously, but I'm always aware of the practical.
DD: Do you now see the clothes as accessories to the bags, rather than the other way around?
Ally Capellino: I see them as fairly equal, coats are almost accessories like bags. One of the reasons that I'm happy not to be doing clothing collections is that I don't really like dictating a total look, I much prefer seeing peoples own interpretations of how to put a look together.
DD: Tell us about the new Notting Hill store, why there and now?
Ally Capellino: I have been looking for something on Golborne Road for a while. It's such a mixed street, it's like a living soap opera with so many different businesses and nationalities all rattling around together. The Shoreditch shop is going well so we thought we could handle another one – I always love a new project.
DD: What's next for you and the brand?
Ally Capellino: Well, most of the focus is on getting this one up and running now, but we have just launched a couple of new bags on the Apple website. Our bestselling iPad bag is now fitted out to take an 11" macAir as well. It's available in cream with black trim as a limited edition and navy as a core colour. For the run up to Christmas there is a whole range of new leather pieces. An iPhone purse on a neck cord, and 11"and 13" macAir sleeves and a re-edition on the leather satchel also made to fit the iPad and 11" macAir.
The leather range is exclusively online with Apple Europe but in the top stores there will be a dedicated Ally Capellino area with the ever popular khaki wide despatch and the iPad satchel in Navy and Khaki Canvas. There are also new projects in the pipe line at Tate and a new line of bike bags for cyclists for next year.
Ally Capellino, Golborne Road, Notting Hill, London