Thursday, March 11, 2010

Border collies, interstate love songs and Swan Lake

The title of this blog entry reflects three of the best things in life: much-loved pets, romance and performance art! All three have great meaning in the life of Annabel Campbell, the designer behind miller & harry. The label creates beautiful quality clothes and accessories for babies, all made purely from incredibly soft, natural fibres like organic cotton. I don’t know about you, but sometimes I find it seems so, well, wrong to put scratchy or synthetic fibres next to the velvety skin of babies or young children. 

The story of how Annabel came to start her label is most interesting. As a former solo artist with the Australian Ballet, she spent almost a decade performing in productions including Swan Lake and Giselle. At this time, she designed footwear and apparel part-time for the dancewear company Bloch: many a ballerina worldwide was shod in pointe shoes customised by Annabel. And as if life wasn’t already hectic enough, this talented woman made her own tracksuits and leotards under the watchful eye of the touring costumier! As glamorous as this life sounds, it’s also one that demanded discipline and routine, and after retiring from the company she craved an outlet that let her indulge her fun and playful side. But first, this Melbourne girl was to meet a man … a Sydney man she would one day marry … and she picked up her life, leaving behind the city of great music venues and markets for the city of sublime waterways. (As an aside, I have a great love of both cities and don’t really understand the Sydney/Melbourne rivalry, as they are both wonderful, but very different places! Although I have two left feet and would look utterly ridiculous in a tutu, Annabel and I have one thing in common – while she left Melbourne to join her man for a new Sydney life, I left Sydney to join my man for a new Melbourne life). Where was I? Oh, yes! When the happy couple found out they were expecting their son Freddie, Annabel knew she’d want to be close to her baby as much as possible. So she left her role at Bloch and started miller & harry, named after their two beloved border collies. Sadly, Harry died while Annabel was pregnant with Freddie. She likes to think Harry is protectively looking down upon them all from doggy heaven, which explains the miller & harry logo.

And here’s Annabel with Freddie.

Annabel declares the most beautiful and luxurious item in the miller & harry range to be the cashmere blend pram blanket.

It’s soft as a cloud, generously sized and machine washable. (Hmmm … do they come in adult sizes?!) The girls’ lace-trimmed cardigan featuring cute, sparkly buttons is also a favourite.

Exciting times are ahead for this label, with Annabel now developing a new knit fibre blend using soybean protein for the next range. It has much to recommend it, being sustainable, super soft, biodegradable and the only material on the market made from botanical proteins. Now THAT deserves a standing ovation! Pirouette your way over to the miller & harry stall at Mathilda’s Market in Melbourne at the Hawthorn Town Hall this Sunday 14 March.

Peta x
Mathilda’s Market blogger

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