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Last week when we didn't receive our golden ticket in the mail, we weren't sure if the new kid on the block, Ted Baker was opening with as much grandeur as promised. Alas, it was spectacular and Ted must have known we were coming because they flew in some big be-spectacled execs for the party, rolled out the signature orange carpet, and hired a London-style double decker for transport to the after-party. It properly kicked off our President's Day weekend with Bombay Sapphire TedTinis and Bakers Bubblies and we even scored some spiffy cuff links in the swag bag that we wore to a patriotic gallivant on Monday. It was warm enough on the night of the party so that we could, like the family of cheeky rotating Russian dolls in the window elude, shed our layers and strut our stuff on that fabulous orange carpet.
Walking into Ted's windy city-themed retail theater, we're perusing the racks of the current women's collection, which, in the past two seasons has really grown into itself and Ted's designers have upped their game by adding more fashion-led pieces to the collection and perceivably, from an American point of view, has gone from being very classic to a much more trend-led brand. Ted's team tells us he has never run down an inspirational route with a strong story line, they've rather relied on certain themes related to trends each season. With this, the view from within the brand stays grounded in its tailored roots and makes each piece re-wearable season after season.
Drawing on relatives of trends, for Ted's Spring /Summer "Dressing Model Citizens" campaign, the design team has come up with four or five key prints with names like Dragonfly that they've incorporated into the run. The 2011 collection is quite a contradictory collection in terms of the powdery blush, flesh, and nude tones juxtaposed to the "pillow box red" and the "cornflower blue". By using texture in the pieces Ted has expounded upon the flesh-colored bases which pair nicely with those key prints and silk panels. The key prints are also used in the linings in handbags or into sewn into the suit jackets.
Traditionally, Ted Baker's background is in men's tailoring, but since the expansion into more US markets, has seen an uptick in womenswear sales and now 40% of clients are female. With this acknowledgement of femme-products, we can see in the evolution of their new women's suits which are becoming tailored more like Ted's slim-silhouette, double-vented, nipped-at-the-waist men's Pashion Suits (which we love in the high-shine sharkskin-colored silk blend). With celebs like Chi-town's own Jeremy Piven dawning this signature hard, fast suit that fits every guy, it in most any occasion, its no wonder that the brand has gained popularity stateside.
Ted oftentimes pairs these trendy cuts of classic suit with traditional ideas of eccentric English dressing from figures such as Oscar Wilde and the 19th century Dandys of yesteryear who celebrated the post-romanic patterns. This process of designing that adds the classic Savile Row perception outwardly seems timeless, but always adding hidden interest like the paisley-lined passport and ball point pen pockets inside the wrinkle-resistant $780 dollar Endurance Suit keeps the Baker brand current from year to year.
As our thought process wanders from Milanese brocade to patent purses we criss-cross the store, sipping our Sapphire Tedtini and surveying the crowd of fashionable shoppers and mint Chicago media. We see a woman signing up for the $2,000 shopping spree, and catch another broad stashing Ted-branded English tea packets into her clutch! But before we go off to snag some friar tuck and get our forty winks before the after-party, we find the lovely Joni, from Ted's Full Service in Los Angeles who we met earlier on in the week. We ask her if there's anything we should look forward to? plus what event would be worthy unless your Racked investigative reporters unearthed some top-secret news. What about a Royal Wedding surprise? Well, Joni tells us that just before April 29th ceremony, Ted Baker Boutiques are unveiling a bespoke collection of items for sale related to the theme of the Royal Wedding. Along with purchases from the limited William & Kate line, they'll be giving away traditional English Wedding Tea Towels and hinted that quirky chocolate corgi dogs may be involved.
Off the record, Joni and her colleague, Fiona, when they revealed this corgi—under—wraps info, were worried that some Americans aren't sure what a corgi is. We have confidence in your Royal knowledge, but if you're finding yourself befuddled about the Queen's best friend, we'd like to break up your day by having you watch this really amazing video.
· Ted Baker [Official Site]
· All Ted Baker coverage [Racked National]