I have been a huge fan of Vineyard Vines since I first bought a pair of whale flip flops (shocking, I know) a couple of years ago and those pretty much became all I wore. The blog URL actually comes from that because with my friends those became known as my signature of sorts.
When Vineyard Vines invited me to their Blogger Day, I was ecstatic and felt so lucky that a company that I love so much was interested in my opinion. The fact that it was on my birthday just made it seem like fate. The day was absolutely perfect in my opinion and now I am an even bigger lover of all things pink whale-related than I was before yesterday, if that was possible.
We were picked up at the Stamford train station in an adorable navy van with pink whales and Vineyard Vines logos all over it and driven to the VV showroom. We had a lovely breakfast and were given some of the most amazing and generous goodie bags I have ever seen. Sadly, I am still not able to upload pictures, but here is what was inside: 2 polo shirts, a pair of flips (more whales!), a tote bag, a wristlet/camera case, a sash, a floppy sun hat, a keyfob, a leather belt from their new fall line, some adorable note pads, and some bumper stickers.
We were shown the Fall 2009 collection and got to preview Spring 2010. Because Spring 2010 is still in production and changes are being made, we were not allowed to photograph it. What I will say is that I am very much looking forward to this one. There are a lot of cute casual dresses and a lot of things in the acqua/turquoise/Tiffany blue color pallette which I adore. The fall 2009 collection does not disappoint and might be one of their best to date. There are so many items that are now on my NEED, not WANT list for my England trip that I may just order them when they go on sale, take out the box, dump it out into my suitcase, throw in some shoes and makeup, and call it a day. Here are my notes on the upcoming Fall 2009 collection:
1) The theme of the Fall 2009 collection is "wooden boats." All of the clothes are inspired by either the lifestyles of the people who sail on the different types of boats, the boat hardware, and the rope/knot details.
2) The men's collection seems to be a lot more technical oriented while the women's collection is more fashion oriented. A lot of the men's clothes that we were shown are made out of ripstop (the same material that sails are made out of), and are meant to be used while fishing, skiing, or sailing. What I really loved in the men's collection was that the blazers were lined in a beautiful navy blue silk with old charts of the area on it. I really wish that Vineyard Vines would consider doing a skirt or dress for women in this print. I would snap it right up.
3) This year, you can really see that the company is branching out with its accessories line. They have always had a few accessories, but the supply was limited. In the fall, they are introducing several different styles of totes in addition to their classic tote with the silk border, they have some fun skinny bangles, and a sterling silver whale charm bracelet. There are also great leather belts with silver whale cutout buckles. We received these in our goodie bags and I am in love. In their Resort/Holiday collection, they have a gorgeous silk cosmetic case with a shell print that is available in both a baby pink and a pale Tiffany blue. It will be interesting to see how this sells, while I love the case, it does not appear to be very practical, it looks like the kind of item that would get ruined after the first time you used it.
4) One of my favorite ties from the men's collection was a "pool shark" tie. It quite literally is a shark playing pool. I love things that are quirky and a little tongue in cheek, so this brought a smile to my face. I hope that there is a tote or other item available for women in this print.
5) "Buy it now, wear it now" is an important aspect of this fall collection. Instead of introducing the heavy sweaters and bulky items up front that you can't wear for a few months, Vineyard Vines is rolling out lighter items now in the first production, and is rolling out the heavier and more seasonal items a bit later. Some of the tunics and shirts in the very first rollout would be perfect for an evening to wear even now.
6) One item which I did not like very much was from the Spring 2010 collection. It is a pink, white, and green tunic dress with white embroidered trim. Sound familiar? I felt that if you switched the label on it, you would not recognize it as a VV dress and it could easily pass for a Lilly. Since the line is still being worked on and tweaked, we were told that changes would be made to it, and I really hope that it is changed enough to make it stand out more in a sea of Lilly.
7) Since I can't upload pictures, here are my descriptions of the items which I just have to have:
a) A v-neck cardigan with large metal buttons with 2 whale cutouts on the buttons.
b) A navy blue sweater peacoat. Instead of having regular peacoat buttons, it has buttons like nautical knots.
c) A beautiful cotton tunic. It is a little Tory-esque and going back to the boat theme, has a pattern that is meant to look like a sale with VV on it. As soon as I saw it, I could not stop raving about it for the rest of the day.
d) A jacket, I believe it is the Nor'easter jacket, that was usually only available for men is now being made available in the women's line. I absolutely love it in both the pink and the navy colors (navy would be more practical, but pink is so much fun!) and it would be great for my trip since it's waterproof.
e) A black, white, and gold shift dress with a diamond rope and not pattern. Would be a perfect piece for work with a turtleneck and some flats.
f) A belt that is actually from the men's line. It is a brown leather belt with a brass buckle in the shape of a fishing hook. As soon as I saw that, it just cried out "MRM buy me pretty please and love me," and as soon as it comes out, I will be more than happy to oblige.
After our previews, we got lunch at the Crab Shell, I don't eat shellfish so I had an absolutely delicious tuna. We then got to ride on their speedboats. This was so much fun and the weather was absolutely perfect for it. We got to meet the founders, Shep and Ian at lunch and rode on the boats with them and it was great to just talk to them and see how interested they were in our input. All in all, it was an absolutely perfect day and I am now on a complete Vineyard Vines high and am singing their praises.