FASHION STYLIST AND DESIGNER OF OUR NEW SUMMER CAPSULE.
For our second collaboration, we have created seven feminine pieces, each made from 100% organic cotton in a nostalgic colour palette of soft pink, cornflower blue, sun-kissed yellow and classic summer white. Intentionally versatile and easy to wear, the Martha Ward Bamford collection is designed to slot seamlessly into your summer wardrobe.
HOW DID THIS COLLABORATION COME ABOUT?
I have been a friend of Carole Bamford’s for many years and we have lots of shared passions. This collection was the most spontaneous of ideas and Carole set the ball rolling literally immediately. She’s a true do-er! The notion of a collaboration was very exciting for both of us. What she has created with Bamford is unique and appealing, and the ethos behind the brand is what I admire most. We are aligned in many ways and this was very important to me when collaborating.
TELL US A LITTLE ABOUT THE COLLECTION
The dresses are super easy to wear, suitable for all body shapes and would be as lovely for London as they would for the country or a holiday abroad. Versatility is critical. I also love the intricate details; the pretty embroidery, the pops of pink, the wavy hems and sleeves, and – vitally – the long shoulder ties.
I designed two very different style shirts as I can never resist a pretty blouse, and smocking is literally in my DNA. I also love the masculine oversized nature of the double-breasted shirt. This is an element I haven’t seen before so wanted to try it. I’m a sucker for a vintage men’s dress shirt so this was a bit of a play on that.
AS A GODDESS OF DRESS WEARING, WHAT ARE YOUR TIPS FOR THOSE OF US WHO MAY BE A LITTLE DAUNTED BY THE IDEA OF WEARING A FROCK?
Dresses are the easiest things to throw on and they are always cheerful and cheering. People sometimes have a notion that dresses are for formal or special occasions, but they should never be relegated as such. They are so practical for everyday wear. Dresses don’t have to be feminine or pretty, as I know that deters some people from reaching out for a dress too, if it’s out of their comfort zone.
WHEN DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER YOUR INTEREST IN STYLING/FASHION?
I treasured my clothes as a child and vividly recall the joy certain things brought me. My Peter Pan collars, Liberty floral dresses, a soft pink skirt with deep pockets, clogs, Victorian lawn dresses… I’ve always had an appreciation for craft and detail, and embarked on a fashion assistant role straight from university. I liked the process of putting outfits and things together.
WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING AT THE MOMENT?
The Paper Palace by Miranda Cowley Heller. I’ve always got a tapestry on the go which can occupy valuable reading hours!
WHERE ARE YOU GOING TO SPEND TIME THIS SUMMER?
I love France, particularly the south. It’s a place I’ve visited for as a long as I can remember – from family holidays as a child onwards. The smells, the sights, the sounds – it’s all pure nostalgia. So I’ll be in Provence, doing my usual market trawling and hunter-gathering, and also lavender buying. I’m also going to Lake Como which I can’t wait to explore.
WHAT ARE YOUR SUMMERTIME ESSENTIALS?
Baskets! And plenty of them. In all their forms. I am endlessly mocked for my basket obsession and vast collection. I buy one in almost every single place I visit. Vintage dresses are another essential, plus reams of ribbons and trimmings which I use for belts and hair ties. And lots of SPF and oversized sunglasses.
ANY BEAUTY AND WELLNESS TIPS TO SHARE?
My morning routine is very basic, as is my getting-ready-to-go-out regime. My lifelines are relaxing baths with lavender-y or eucalyptus-y oils, Ross Barr Calm and Healing patches, lots of fresh (out of town) air, and Classic FM to restore calm when life overtakes (which it does and far too often). And a wild swim, sea swim or cold swim whenever possible! It’s unparalleled in its rejuvenation and invigoration.
I’m about to embark on a course on how to breathe properly – as ridiculous as it sounds, it's not something I do at all and I’m endlessly told about how bad my shallow non-breathing is for the soul. So I’m going to learn how to breathe! According to Wim Hof it’s truly game-changing if you get it right.
WHAT IS YOUR GO-TO BAMFORD PRODUCT AND WHY?
The The B Silent Bath Concentrate It’s truly wonderful for a bedtime bath and makes for a deep and wonderful sleep. I love a bath. And a good smell. This really is a good combo of lavender, camomile and vetiver.
WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE APPS?
Instagram. I love the photo sharing element and album-like nature of it. I haven’t yet moved into reels or TikTok. It’s classic stills photography for me, forever.
I also love photography associated apps – either for editing, or transferring from my Leica camera to my phone, or a framing app for Instagram. They are all photography related as that’s my favourite hobby and always has been.
And then BBC Sounds. I am plugged into radio 4 and iplayer for many hours of the day, and night. It’s a trove of wonderful things to listen to, old and new. Not to mention The Archers…!
WHO’S IN YOUR FAVOURITES LIST ON YOUR PHONE?
My parents, my siblings, and my lifelong Swedish best friend who’s on my speed dial even though she’s quite far away in Stockholm and may not be able to tend to me that swiftly in an SOS situation!
WHAT’S NEXT FOR MARTHA WARD?
Yikes. I’m struggling to look beyond the end of the week at the moment! My plate is quite full. I’d like to see where the wind carries me.
MARTHA WARD IS A FASHION STYLIST AND FASHION DIRECTOR OF CONDÉ NAST TRAVELLER MAGAZINE.