- by Sarah Holton
Well, I don’t know who is more exhausted, me or Frankie Dettori after his three (THREE!) wins I witnessed at Ascot last week. I’m also not sure who would have been more nervous and delighted. For those of you who follow me on social media, you would have seen my exciting announcement earlier this summer that Dragonfly & Blossom were chosen by Royal Ascot to design and produce an exclusive collection just for the festival. What a monumental – and very special – moment.
The Cotswolds has no shortage of horses. I’m usually stuck behind at least 3 on average every journey (more so when I’m running late). But daily exposure to happy hackers could not have prepared me for the magnificence that is Royal Ascot. It wasn’t that I was to capture generic equestrian imagery and pop it on a mug or two, but I wanted to create something truly special, something that would capture the vibrancy of the day and be a true souvenir to take home and remember the occasion with.
After an initial phone call with the team I was invited on a private tour of the racecourse, Royal Enclosure, boxes, and shops to gain an idea of the magnitude of the task ahead. It was as I sat in the car outside, looking at the entrance, that it actually hit what I had been asked to do. I must admit, a few happy phone calls were made … last year I was a visitor to Ladies Day at Royal Ascot and this year my designs were going to be a part of it!
There’s something so thrilling about standing on a racecourse, even without an event going on. The atmosphere radiates from every blade of grass. Fuelled with inspiration I raced (excuse the pun) home and put pen to paper and started sketching. This is always my favourite part of the process, unlimited creativity with a blank sheet of paper and a pencil. A few cups of coffee in my lucky bee mug later, and I had selected the images I thought truly represented Royal Ascot and just hoped the team there felt the same. Luckily, they did! I was a very happy lady.
Across the range of products they wanted produced – jugs, mugs, tea towels, oven gloves and bags – I also got to investigate and play around with some different fabrics, which will be a growing and exciting feature for Dragonfly & Blossom in the coming months (stayed tuned!) Of course there were a few changes to be made, a number of iterations of the first set of designs, but everything came together along with multiple package designs. Being the head of a small business is challenging at the best of times, and my resolve was well and truly tested. Thank god for gin.
Seeing my designs in 8 outlets across Ascot, as well as in the Royal Enclosure, what a feeling. It didn’t even matter that the weather was atrocious at the start of the week and my fascinator went flying as I tried to grab it with a glass of champagne in the other hand . The atmosphere was electric, the racecourse was packed, the bandstand was like a scene from the Proms with flags flying all around and the joyous occasion continued into the outlets with great enthusiasm for the Dragonfly & Blossom products.
Don’t worry if you missed out, the Dragonfly & Blossom exclusive Royal Ascot and Ascot designs will be available direct from Ascot racecourse at the coming race meets over the race calendar this year. The perfect momento from a truly magnificent venue.