It was a gathering of glamourous proportions at the tea party held on a rare sunny afternoon at Caramel Baby & Child, Notting Hill. Star shaped biscuits, heart shaped hats and a rather dapper magician made for a magical atmosphere. A smiling DJ played upbeat tunes whilst children dressed in an array of pretty dresses, smart blazers and lots of girls with bows in their hair danced and enjoyed the games and food.
The tea party was hosted by Caramel founder Eva Karayiannis and supermodel Natalia Vodianova in celebration of the launch of their latest collaboration. Natalia has designed a girl's cashmere yarn dress, also available in adult sizes, and an on trend collar accessory both of which will be sold at Caramel with 50 per cent of the profits going to the charity that she founded; The Naked Heart Foundation. We caught up with the supermodel mother, grabbing a few moments of fresh air in the shop's pretty garden.
Natalia sits neatly at the garden table looking effortlessy elegant in a navy mini dress with cherry red shoes and a red crochet collar. "The heart is the symbol of the Naked Heart Foundation" she says "So I always wear red when I go to our events. Normally I would wear everything red, but I just have detail this time." The beautiful crochet collar accessory is designed to be worn either with the dress or alone and is certain to be a hit with the London fashpack; great news for the charity. "I established Naked Heart about seven years ago" she says "But we really started to be active about five years ago. We have two programmes, the first is that we build playgrounds and play parks and to date we have built 67 in 47 cities throughout Russia."
"Play is in demand everywhere" Natalia laughs "But in Russia the existing playgrounds are over 50 years old, often unsafe and shouldn’t be used. We’ve taken this role of bringing fun and play to Russia."
And what can she tell us about the second branch of the successful charity? "We can only build around 15 to 20 playgrounds and parks per year. We started to raise funds beyond what we needed so that gave us an opportunity to start a second programme, in which we work with children with special needs." A cause close to her own heart. "My younger sister was born with mental disabilities, so it was something I grew up with. My charity organises family support centres and activities to raise awareness of children with special needs."
A collaboration with Caramel certainly suits Natalia's relationship with fashion, having modelled since she was 15. "I’m a big fan of what Eva does with Caramel, her attention to style and detail" she says "So I can trust her to create something really beautiful and something that I will be very proud of."
And the final design is a big hit already, with pieces flying off the rails at the party. "When Eva proposed for me to design a dress, I immediately thought of a dress that I wore as a little girl. My favourite dress amde from red crochet. I remember feeling like a little princess in this dress, it was so beautiful. I told Eva about it and she said, this is exactly what we need. So we modernised it slightly but keeping the vintage, seventies element."
It takes five days for one of Natalia's crochet dresses to be carefully handmade. She has cleverly enlisted her beautiful daughter to model the dress in the campaign. "My daughter Neva is six, I also have an older boy, Lucas Alexander who is ten and a little boy Viktor who is four. My children didn’t help with the dress design but they are helpful in other ways. They are great children which makes my life so much easier!"
50 per cent of all profits go to The Naked Heart Foundation. Prices start at £225 for the girls dress (ages 4-12) and from £380 for the womens. The collar costs £45. Available at Caramel Baby & Child 0207 352 8857
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