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Fabulous Florence - Helen Lennie Loves

17th September, 2010
Jenny Butler
Friday 17th September 2010

What a fabulous week it's been! A HUGE thank you Helen & David Lennie and Danielle Hooker for such a great collection of guest blogs. Today we get a very special insight into what inspires Helen and a collection of things she loves. Enjoy! -Jenny x

Inspiring photographs from Aquabumps

One of the best things about working here at Signature Prints is having the opportunity to work with some amazing clients, collaborate with some of Australia’s best designers and meet some really creative contacts and friends!

At Signature we have recently had the pleasure of working with Alexia Gnecchi-Ruscone, the brilliant designer and founder of the niche fashion label Eclettica!  The Eclettica collection boasts cool linen separates (a must have this summer!) and stunning Mediterranean-style sandals for everyday wear, the evening and holiday. Eclettica also features a great handbag and wallet range, beautifully crafted in fine Italian leather. The Eclettica range showcases new and on-trend styles that remain true to their original design philosophy - elegant yet practical.

Alexia and I met almost five years ago, she had only recently moved to Australia from Italy when she stumbled across the story of Florence Broadhurst. Alexia loved the whirlwind tale of Florence and fell in love with her designs just as we had a few years earlier. Alexia soon popped in to see us and find out more, and after this we decided it would be great to work together!

Above - Eclettica's Rimini bag, Palm Beach Sandal, St Topez bag and silk, lagoon dip dyed Kimono Dress.

Together we have crafted Florence Broadhurst & Eclettica bags, transforming some of Alexia’s best and most renowned bags with some of Florence’s most prestigious prints. We decided to double brand the product giving each of our companies’ equal and great exposure. We both love working with like minded people and this was the start of both a great personal and professional relationship. Our bags went down a treat and we absolutely love them!! To see Eclettica’s new spring range why not pop down to her lovely shops in Potts Point and Woollahra, all details can be found on her website,

On the left - Florence Broadhurst & Eclettica Deauville bag in Horses Stampede. On the right - Florence Broadhurst Eclettica Riviera clutch in Tudor Floral.

I just love Alexia’s designs and have such an appreciation for them. My wardrobe is full of Eclettica’s smart yet practical new spring collection. Her clothing is simple, fresh and great for my busy lifestyle, yet I know that its great quality and lovingly made. Alexia sources only the finest fabrics which are then made into beautiful garments. This is one of the reasons our two brands work so well together - we’re both really passionate about showcasing ultra great Australian design which is practical, bespoke and in-disposable.

On the left - Dip dyed, silk, Kimono Dress in Lagoon, the Ailsa sandal and the Rimini bag in silver. On the right: The Cuba dress, the St. Tropez bag in natural linen with tan trims, double Elba belt and the Pompei sandal in tan.

This is one of my favorite outfits from Eclettica’s new spring range and I recently bought the lovely top and scarf, the palm beach sandal pictured below in this beautifully photographed image by Juli Balla, I have actually had for a few seasons - I absolutely love them. I just wish I could get away with these lovely white jeans, a big hazard working in a hand-print workshop!!

Above - Palm Beach sandal in orange patent, the St. Tropez bag in black cotton canvas with tan trims, Striped T-Shirt and the Classic Panama hat.

Another great design is the Rimini bag, a charming little bag for the evening, just the right size for your iphone and a few credit cards which enables you to be handsfree! The strap on this bag also unclips, transforming it into an ultra cute little clutch.

On the left - The Rimini bag in Silver. On the Right: The Rimini bag in Black Mock-Crocodile.

Mr Rose, another of my favorite designers and a great friend has become a real inspiration to me over the past few years. But who is Mr Rose? Mr Rose is in fact the lovely Sophie Toohey, she herself explains that “He is the fantastical figure I conjured to channel a love of design, exquisite detailing, beautiful fabrics and the joy of dressing-up. With a team of talented femmes, this affair of the heart translates into seasonal collections that we design and make in Sydney, Australia.”

Mr Rose is a one of a kind, Australian women’s shirting specialist, here they use premium fabrics with a real focus creating beautiful femme silhouettes with an eye for the all important detail. Mr Rose celebrates shirting in all its guises, from the crisp tuxedo to the relaxed weekend “artisan” tunic style. I just love how designer Sophie blends both feminine and masculine styling to create a boutique label that only produces a limited edition of styles each season. The new spring range consists of a fabulous collection for women that understand and appreciate quality. These lovely, recently shot photographs of the collection are of local business women who work within the area of their Norfolk Street, Paddington boutique. The Mr Rose team are continuously inspired by the confident women who wear their shirts.

Here are some of the key looks I love from the spring summer 2010 collection -

Above - This is the lovely “Mu”, a beautiful silk cotton piece available in charcoal, amalfi and blush as seen here. I think this is absolutely brilliant for an Australian summer, its so easy to wear - dress is up or down, its breezy and the fabric feels divine!

Above - This is the brilliant Mr Rose “Waistcoat” and “Short”. This is a great energetic Italian digital print. Worn separately or together they form the romper suit of childhood dreams. This piece is great worn with heels on a summers evening destined for a great adventure of the adult-kind.

Above - This fine specimen is one of my favorites - the “Artisan”

I just love the confidence of this brand, their bio states “We love the snap of a crisp white Italian cotton, the visual splendor of an eye-dancing print, an off-beat colour combination, the weight of a sandwash silk on the body, the scent of a shirt hot-off-the-press - and we harbour a quiet fetish for sticking pins into a freshly made pincushion – it’s all about the “pop!”. Mr Rose is unique boutique designer who prides itself on exquisite detailing, which in my opinion are extremely well received and important in an era of mass production. Here at Signature Prints we just love small run, niche brands, owner operated and run by people who love design, for people who love design - Just like us!

I am blessed to be surrounded by so many creative and like minded people, our friends are so clever. Like Florence Broadhurst, David and I are very fortunate to be well travelled, and her legacy takes us around the world. It isn’t until we are outside of Australia that we realise just how much of an inspiration our country is to us. When we arrive back home we automatically notice the colour, the light and the space which Australia holds, it is so unique and inspiring.

Mother nature is something that always has and always will inspire me. Each morning as part of my daily routine I check out the Aquabumps website on my laptop with a cup of coffee. Aquabumps is a daily documentary of Australian beaches between 6 am and 7 am, this is quite often of Bondi Beach. This is a real get up and go and gives me big boost at the start of a day. This is an especially important fix when I’m overseas, it isn’t until the harbor and sea are taken away that I realise how much they mean to me.

Daily updates and more inspiring photographs can be seen at and also on their Facebook page.

Inspiring photographs from Aquabumps

Last but not least, I am completely in love with the work of a brilliant lady named Saskia Havekes. She is the talented florist behind Grandiflora, a beautiful flower shop based in Macleay st, Potts Point, Sydney. A small single fronted shop containing a ceiling high jungle of colour, hosting the some of the most stunning, beautiful smelling, locally and organically grown flowers in Sydney.  My favorites flowers are garden roses, which I always get when they’re in season.  Saskia and I met a few years ago when her outgoing husband Gary Heery (the very talented photographer behind these images) began drawing rather a lot of attention to himself in our showroom, I proceeded to give him a little telling off and instead we had a lovely chat, and since then we have all been good friends. I completely inspired by the way that this couple work so well together in professional sense, they combine their skills, pushing their businesses forward to create successful brands together.

Grandiflora - shots by Gary Heery

Saskia’s inspiration also comes directly from nature, she believes all the main elements of composition, line, texture, form and colour are found there, and this make a really good springboard from which to re-interpret.  Saskia’s childhood was spent growing up in Dural, surrounded by the Australian bush and a cultivated garden. Saskia’s parents were artists, and their home an unusual and eclectic mix of styles and influences, particularly from Europe

Grandiflora images by Gary Heery

Saskia and her team shop at the flower markets three mornings per week. This ensures their stock is fresh, of premium quality, and the elements we use change on a frequent basis. This means each time you go into the shop there is always something new and exciting to choose from depending on what is in season of course.

Above - Grandiflora Arangements, a book by Saskia Havekes and Gary Heery.

Saskia and Gary have worked together here to design and publish their book, Grandiflora arrangements (available to buy on the Grandiflora website). More of Gary’s stunning images are available to view on his folio site.

A little about Gary - Gary Heery was born in Sydney but has travelled extensively as a photographer throughout Australia, North Africa, Europe and America. In 1975 Gary co-founded Indian America, a magazine which chronicled Native American society and culture. During his time in the United States, Gary worked in Los Angeles and New York photographing record covers for Roy Orbison, Frank Zappa, Madonna and Paul Simon!! His photographic portraits of movie and music stars have appeared in Life, Esquire, Rolling Stone and Interview. In 1988 Gary returned to Sydney and ‘Big Shots’, his ten-year retrospective of celebrity portraits, was held at the Australian Centre for Photography. Gary’s forty-five shot collection entitled Nudes was exhibited at the Pod Theatre in Sydney, his is exhibition ZOO was held at the State Library of NSW.

Above- Images from Gary Heery’s Nudes and Winged series

Thank you for a wonderful week!


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