Archive for March, 2010

Chocolate eggs and more: Easter in Portugal

Holy Week is in full swing in Portugal, which means street processions and frequent visits to church. For Good Friday, most Portuguese don’t eat meat or any desserts or candy, which in a country known for its sweet tooth, can be a challenge.

As in the United States, Easter is a family holiday. On Easter Saturday many families go into the countryside for a picnic, made all the more delightful by the fact that the flowers are blooming. On Sunday, children hunt for chocolate eggs and extended families get together for a traditional Easter meal of lamb.

My favorite Portuguese Easter tradition is a sweet bread called Folar da Páscoa. The recipe varies from region to region. In the north, the bread is flavored with anise and lemon zest; the southern version tastes more like a cinnamon roll. All versions have hard boiled eggs–which symbolize rebirth–baked into them. I buy Folar da Páscoa at the bakery but you can try this American measurement  recipe that I found.

I love designing clothes for Easter. For this season, I chose a gorgeous cotton voile in coordinating pastels that I made in the party dress, classic shorts, Spanish shorts, and rompers. For little girls, the Smocked Liberty Dress is truly special and looks beautiful with any of the voile options.

Have a lovely Easter!

Travel Insider: Spring Break in Palm Beach

One of my favorite ways to find inspiration for the clothes I design is to travel. For this collection, I chose several fabrics–including the red and blue coral used in the party dresses and the madras plaids for both boys and girls–because they reminded me of Palm Beach.

Growing up, a trip to Florida was a staple of every winter.  When my children were younger and we didn’t have to worry about conflicting school schedules, we took them to the Sunshine State for easy family holidays with my extended family.

Palm Beach reminds me of  a bygone era of big shiny cars in sorbet colors,  white capri pants,  big dark sunglasses, immaculately pruned hedges, and two tone shoes. And even though it’s certainly a draw for older people, this bastion of traditional Florida preppy style is also a great vacation spot for families. Here are a few favorite places to visit.

  • Sprinkles of Palm Beach An institution since its founding in 1985, this is the place to take the children for homemade ice cream–try the award winning double chocolate. The tuna and chicken salad sandwiches are also delicious. The shop was closed in 2009 due to a fire but is now back in business (561-659-1140).
  • Hamburger Heaven Classic American fare in a vintage Palm Beach setting where the kids will feel more than welcome (561-655-5277).
  • Lion Country Safari Roll up the windows and drive through this wildlife preserve of animals to see not only lions and tigers but also impalas, tapirs, and Asiatic water buffalo (561-793-1084).

What are your favorite Spring Break tips?

Trunk Show Notebook: Meet Nashville Hostess Gigi Grimstad

Gigi's younger daughter hits the beach in a Papo bikini and Boy's Tunic as a cover-up.

Gigi's younger daughter hits the beach in a Papo Bikini and Boy's Tunic.

Since the Nashville trunk show starts on Tuesday, I’d like to introduce hostess extraordinaire Gigi Grimstad.  Gigi first became interested in Papo when her oldest daughter, now 13, was a year old. “The clothes were beautiful and simple without ornamentations like embroidered cupcakes,” she remembers. “Baby outfits like that were so hard to find.”

Gigi’s trunk show took off quickly. Today, her team’s speciality is helping customers put together orders where every item coordinates. “Our philosophy is that kids can go into their closet and mix and match,” she says. “Everything works together.”

Part of the fun of Gigi’s trunk shows is that they are held at Jamie, her beautiful luxury goods boutique in the city’s lovely Belle Meade neighborhood.  The store carries a beautifully edited selection of women’s clothing by the world’s best designers, including Alberta Ferreti, Marni, Bottega Veneta, and Loro Piano.

Gigi's older daughter gives our smocked dress a modern kick with white jeans and sandals.

If you are in Nashville, stop by Jamie this Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday and see Papo d’Anjo’s Winter 2010 collection. I also asked Gigi for her warm weather picks. They include the Papo d’Anjo Bikini with the Boy’s Tunic Shirt as a cover-up. Her two daughters also love the smocked dresses from the Summer 2010 trunk show, which her oldest daughter has made even hipper by pairing it with white  jeans.

Getting past sequins and too-tight tees

Papo's Smocked Top is a great option for girls who like colorful, trendy T-shirts but whose mothers still want them to dress in clothes that are youthful.

Now that the trunk show season is in full swing, I thought I’d write about an issue that our hostesses deal with all the time: customers who love Papo d’Anjo clothes but say that their daughters won’t wear them because they prefer hot pink T-shirts with sequins.

I asked the trunk show hostesses for their advice on this matter. Here are their suggestions, which I’ll update when I receive more. Please  post your own suggestions for getting girls of all ages to choose clothes that appeal to both them and their mothers–not to mention grandmothers.

  • Only buy items that you approve of and put them in your daughter’s drawers and closet. Make sure the items coordinate with each other, so you can confidently let your daughter dress herself, which she’ll appreciate even at a very young age. Having options to choose from is key.
  • The Smocked Top (pictured above) is a huge hit with girls who like trendier clothing. It also comes in a hot pink print and solid white.
  • Try having your daughter wear the A-Line Dress or Gathered Sleeveless Dress with leggings or jeans. My high school-age daughters sill like the Poplin Gathered Top.
  • If you’re daughter insists on that too tight T-shirt, dress up the look  with Papo’s classic Twill Safari Shorts.If your daughter balks at wearing something classic, let her try the Gathered Sleeveless Dress with jeans or leggings.

The 2010 Sloan-Kettering Bunny Hop

Tina Fey with Papo d'Anjo's trunk show directors Angela Howenstein, Sara Schilleci, and Sybil Heine.

Last week Papo d’Anjo was a sponsor of the Society of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center’s 19th Annual Bunny Hop. Held at FAO Schwarz on Fifth Avenue, the event raised money to help pay for overnight stays for patients and families who have to travel from outside New York for treatment.

Papo d'Anjo's trunk show directors with Papo staff, including (from left) Claire Wagstaff, Customer Service Director Sandra Santos and Patricia Costa, our Director of Production.

It’s an honor for Papo d’Anjo to be part of such an important cause. And the night was a huge success. Honorary co-chairs Tina Fey and Melania Trump and their children joined over 1000 people to play in the magical wonderland of the legendary toy store. The Papo d’Anjo team was in town from Lisbon for the New York City trunk show and also took part in the fun.

Melania Trump and her son Baron get in on the fun.

Fall Forecast: The New York City Trunk Show

This week, Papo d’Anjo is hosting our New York City Winter 2010 Trunk Show on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday at the Carlyle Hotel at 33 East 76th Street. I will be there along with my trunk show colleagues and we would love to see you and personally help you coordinate your children’s clothing for next fall and winter.

I have made several updates to the line that I’m particularly excited about. In response to customer requests, I’ve designed a new holiday dress with long sleeves, as well as a few new dresses that are more fashion forward than my more traditional models. They’re adorable and I think will give mothers and daughters more opportunities to agree on outfits that are both trendy but allow girls to look like girls.

I normally design each collection to have five distinct color stories. This year’s big color is a gorgeous shade of purple that looks beautiful on any skin tone. I have even incorporated a beautiful lavender sweater into the mix for boys.

Please join us at the Carlyle. I always love connecting personally with Papo d’Anjo’s customers and hope to see you there.

A Few of My Favorite Things: Best Family Movies

As a designer, I’m always looking for inspiration for my collections and I especially love watching classic family movies for ideas. Like many women of my generation, I watched the  “The Sound of Music” when it was on TV or at a second-run theater. Little did I know how much it would influence my ideas about children’s clothing.

I first visited Salzburg when I took my oldest daughter Camilla to visit a childhood friend, who was living there with her family. Camilla also loved the movie and couldn’t wait to see the glass pavilion where Leisl and Rolf sang “You are Sixteen Going on Seventeen.”  I, on the other hand, was busy observing traditional Austrian clothing–especially the women’s dirndls and the rustic horn buttons used on men’s jackets.

Over the years, many details from “The Sound of Music” and Austria have made it into my collections, from the romantic full skirts on the party dresses to the lederhosen-style suspenders on the boys’ Spanish shorts to the horn buttons on my quilted jackets. I have watched the movie with each of my children and they have all found it as enchanting as I did when I was their age.

What are your family’s favorite movies?

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