t What Beautiful Soul Did Next - Ethical Hedonist

What Beautiful Soul Did Next

November 26, 2010 in Slow Luxury Fashion

The unfolding story of a designer with talent, vision and passion is an intoxicating spectacle. Nicola Woods, an insurance broker turned visionary designer, started her design journey with a love affair with the Orient, and upcyling rare, one-of-a-kind, vintage kimonos.

She explored the whole ethos and history of this intricate, emblematic piece of clothing, and dreamt up a hundred different ways for the smart, well-travelled woman to wear her clever, grown up garments. Until now, the collection has revolved around her signature coats, jackets, skirts, and cropped shrugs, with the aid of elegant ties that allow for the ebb and flow in a woman’s body shape.

“In my first year of working with kimono fabrics, it was all about finding out how far I could design within the strictures of 28 centimetres of fabric. It is not until you have an understanding of those constraints, that you can push the fabric in the design, and go anywhere.”

Now Nicola has allowed her fertile, restless imagination to soar, and her collection for summer 2011 represents a dizzy, exciting leap in confidence – and the resulting glamour is hard to resist.













For me, the star pieces in the forthcoming collection are the gorgeous day-into-night tailored boudoir dresses; divinely ladylike summer coats with side tie bows; swishy, intricately tailored capes in a bewitching new print; and vibrant corsets made from the offcuts – enabling Woods to stick firmly to her mantra of zero waste.

The cut and drape is inspired by fashion’s current obsession with Dior’s New Look and the cult television drama Madmen. Then Woods adds another dimension: Each seductively draped and fitted kimono inspired dress is made from a single, antique kimono, making the resulting garment a precious heirloom to treasure.

Nor has Woods forgotten the boys. This season she has added a small, but rather arresting collection of tailored jackets for men who long to be metropolitan birds of paradise in the most tantalising of prints. I can imagine Bryan Ferry, the ultimate sartorialist holding court in some fabulous night-time playground in Beautiful Soul’s Mai lounge jacket.  See Beautiful Soul’s SS11 film here.

Beautiful Soul is stocked at the V&A and from www.beautiful-soul.co.uk
Retail prices from £150 – £700


about the author

Alison Jane Reid

Alison Jane Reid - Journalist, Editor & Emerald Princess of Slow, Sustainable Luxury Living - 18 year track record interviewing real icons for: The Times, The Lady, You, The Mirror and Country Life. Now leading her alluring fairtrade, emerald revolution - Don’t Miss Out - Have you joined The Ethical Hedonist set?

3 responses to “What Beautiful Soul Did Next”

  1. Sarah Peterssen says:

    Hi Alison,
    The V&A stockist you mention really IS The Victoria & Albert Museum! I though for a moment it must have been some sort of eco-H&M! Beautiful Soul have a great little display in the shop as I discovered last week when I bumped into His Majesty there who told me you’d sent him in to check it out and take photos. A new slogan methinks (for those who remember the V&A’s cafe advert) “A Green Boutique with a museum attached”

  2. What a fabulous write up. Thank you Alison…I love it !
    The V&A have just confirmed that they will be stocking Beautiful Soul’s Menswear from Spring 2011, in addition to our Womenswear, which is wonderful news for us.
    Our Autumn Winter 2011 collection is coming to life at our studio…we will tell you all about it soon!
    Please do come and visit us soon and you can select your very own vintage kimono from our vast collection, which we will up-cycle in to a ‘one of a kind’ piece for you to cherish for a lifetime.
    Thank you again for your support Alison,
    Nicola, Beautiful Soul xxx

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Forward PR, Forward PR. Forward PR said: "…an intoxicating spectacle." What on earth could we be talking about? Find out here: http://cot.ag/dGXoZo […]

    [WORDPRESS HASHCASH] The comment’s server IP ( doesn’t match the comment’s URL host IP ( and so is spam.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *