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Meet the Junior Design Awards Guest Judges

They came, they perused, they judged… meet the purveyors of impeccable taste who helped us choose our winners in the Junior Design Awards 2013




Fashion designer Elspeth Gibson admires the dinkiest of handbags by Italian fashion house Simonetta
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Elspeth Gibson, fashion designer and mother of Evie, 12, and Amelie, nine

Who is your favourite designer?Coco Chanel. I really admire her life and how she started. She's always been my inspiration.

What qualities do you look for in a well-designed product for your family? Designer style, flair and a certain edginess. Something new and fresh and desirable, lovely colours and fabrics. In fashion, I look for wearability, practicality and whether the items serve the purpose they have been designed for. Having two daughters with strong opinions themselves, I would try think about how my daughters would view the garments and whether they’d be happy to wear them.

What was your most treasured childhood possession?I had a wonderful collection of beautiful shells, crystals and pearls. As a child, I spent a lot of time in Cornwall, where my mother now lives. My fondest memories are of time spent on the beach and in the countryside; I love being around nature. It is the most beautiful inspiration for design to me.

Do you have any treasured family heirloom passed down through family? I have two necklaces, one from each of my great grandmothers: one is a gold locket with old photographs of my great great grand mother, the other a beautiful cameo. The intense colour of the old rose gold is amazing.

Which single piece of baby equipment couldn't you live without? I found basic cotton white all-in-one bodysuits very practical. I loved my Bill Amberg sheepskin baby carrier, which was very of-the-moment. It was so comfortable and stylish and always looked fabulous. 

What has been the best piece of baby kit for your children? We bought the classic Stokke TrippTrapp wooden high chair, which looks good and is very practical and stylish. It’s also great for posture, and my daughters still use it now as a homework chair.

Which products have stood the test of time? As a fashion designer, I’ve always loved clothes and so my daughters both have enviable wardrobes. All their clothes get handed down to friends, like wonderful cotton print dresses, little printed tops, which wash well and always look so fresh. I love classic French brands like Cacharel and Bonpoint, who always seem to get it just right. Bonpoint has always been a long time favourite. Whenever I was travelling to Paris when I first started designing, I always went into their boutique on Place de Victoires, and would buy something it was incredible and still is, but its expensive, you can see why though. Some of the pieces you would pass down the family and friends or just keep them because you just can't bear to part with them. We also have a gorgeous set of Peter Rabbit books by Beatrix Potter. The stories are lovely and sweet stories with wonderful illustrations. I loved the stories as a child and my daughters enjoyed them just as much.

Which products have most impressed you when judging in the Junior Design Awards? I was very impressed with the fresh contemporary design of Mini Boden, which seems to have really moved on and is looking good. Also Maria Chantel is so chic. I loved the new brand Pale Cloud: the clothes are just beautiful and it’s a sweet poetic name. Stella McCartney does wonderful childrenswear, and Rachel Riley is beautifully made. I love the retro feel, so old English. My youngest daughter has two of the cotton ruched swimsuits: a blue one with fish design, and a white one with orange coral, and they even look better when faded with wear!

Is there any childcare product you wish someone would invent? How about an automatic nappy changer for day and night with no mess or smell, a bit like a waste disposal unit attached to the baby’s bottom, so you didn't have to notice the motions. 


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