Posted by imogen tutton

Thursday night I had a bit of an open mic moment .... the background to this glorious, star spangled experience was that Merricks General Winestore have set up their fabulous The Traders house (in what is usually the art gallery) and Thursday night was launch night to the staff.  The traders who were available came down, shared some bubbles and talked about their collections to the (mostly) young and gorgeous folk from the Winestore and the team running the Traders. Informative, exciting and certainly generating a Christmas shopping list for me. And then it was my turn....

I have only just realised this, but I love an audience. I hate a crowd, but put me up the front of a mob leashed with the power of polite obligation and I'm unstoppable.  For which I apologise. Especially to the lovely young things from Thursday night.  Because I got on a roll and found myself espousing 'Imogen's theory of managing the horrors of the ageing body with clothing". For those who share this awful, endless experience, please read on.  For those who are yet to be ambushed by gravity and thickening, stop now. Retain your innocence, but be really kind to your mothers and women in supermarket queues. 

My body has done remarkable things.  When I first noticed its existence as a separate entity to 'me' I brutally challenged it with bulimia and anorexia. When I wandered lost through my 20s it endured terrible food, toxic levels of alcohol, blistering sunburn and bugger all sleep. In my 30s when I wanted a family it obliged with back to back babies and little complaint. When I discovered horse riding it forgave me again and again for pelting it to the ground at speed (and kindly continues to do so, twice in 1 hour last week). Now I'm in my mid 40s and am grappling with what it needs me to accept - crumpling skin, thickening middle, bunions, livid veins, expensive dermatology outings, aches and stiffness.  I'm sure you have your own list.

The pain of this understanding is part of the ethos behind my designs.  So on Thursday night as I started to explain the collection for Summer, I tried to help the lovely young thing realise that the face is the best feature we can draw attention to - because its about the only thing we can work on successfully.... earrings, scarves, hats, big collars, contrast fabric details, necklaces, makeup, more makeup, lipstick and more lipstick all keep the attention away from the horrors below.  As I've been reflecting over the past days on my moment in the spotlight, I've realised I never look below the hip when I look in the mirror. I guess that's a sort of of acceptance, or maybe a tolerance. Or maybe just the cruel reality of a sporting passion that involves tight breeches. 

So Mrs T, solidly in her 40s, is here at your service to help enhance the good, hide the sad and keep us trucking in style.


Happy riding, xx


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