The Voice of Luxury Network:
Twitter Twitter
Custom creations
By

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gladstone London is a premium English accessory brand, handcrafted using the finest Italian leather. Launched in 2015 by John O’Sullivan Founder and CEO, having over 30 years’ experience in luxury fashion – operating for brands such as Harrods, MCM and Tanner Krolle, where he was Chief Operating Director – Gladstone offers the ultimate accessories for the modern man.

It all began…

My first brush with fashion was back in 1979 when I attended the Judy Dench Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. It was here I met two models; both having won contracts with Eileen Ford in New York, had access to all the big A-lister nightclubs such as Annabel’s, Regine’s and Legends. Taking me along with them, I was exposed to all the mesmerising parities filled with fashion Royalty.

The best advice I’ve received…

The best advice I have been given and follow was from the managing director at the Chanel group; David Raymond, who told me to always go with your gut extinct.

My brand to…

I want my brand to follow and capture the values of being a collaborator over the dictators that I feel the super brands of today are. My brand brings back the personal association with our clients, you tell us what you want and we bring you the advice and expertise to bring this to life. They seek us for our expertise, advice and fine craftsmanship but they bring to us ideas and original concepts they desire.

Dana Thomas wrote a book called, “Deluxe, How Luxury Lost Its Lustre.” Here she states, “Today’s luxury marketplace would be virtually unrecognizable to its founders. Gone are the family-owned businesses dedicated to integrity and quality; the industry is now run by multi-billion dollar global corporations focused on growth, visibility, brand awareness, advertising and above all, profits. Handcrafted goods are practically extinct, and almost all manufacturing has been outsourced to large factories in such places as China, where your expensive brand-name handbag is being assembled right next to one from a mass-market label that will cost substantially less.”

My shop…

I want my store to reflect the values the business holds. I believe it is key to have a friendly, open and welcoming atmosphere whether you can spend or not. We want clients to feel at ease, comfortable and at home during their visit. Overall, giving a pleasurable experience where are competent to advise, confidential in what information they are given, understand where Villa d’Este is when a client is raving about a trip but are also approachable and deliverable on expectation.

My customers…

I want my customers to value and feel valued as our craftsmanship is an extension of this.

The luxury accessories market is…

Personally, I believe the luxury accessories market has become over saturated. The blueprint of the department stores and streets filled with countless boutiques and shops are very predictable and are catering towards the emerging markets. Whereas, our customers come to us. Each customer visiting a place seeks out the hidden gem and this is what we relate too.

The rule I live by…

The rule I live by as a designer is never to compromise when it comes to materials and craftsmanship needed to achieve excellence. We will not settle for anything less and this takes effort, stress, and some wastage but striving for excellence is something I do and can be termed “perfectionist” which has a more derogatory undertone.

When I travel…

As someone who travels for a living, I, like our customers, seek the hidden gems. When I travel, to give me the connoisseurs’ choice I spend hours committed to research to find the best hidden artisanal restaurants, boutiques and things off the beaten track. I will also use Conde Nast Traveller and TripAdvisor the hell out of places paying most attention to the American posts on service. Not wanting to stay in the big well know places, I recently stayed at the exquisite Villa Feltrinelli located on Lake Garda and another one of my favourites being Rosa Alpina in the Dolomites.

My designs…

Gladstone London’s range fuses contemporary aesthetic and functionality with the lost designs and craftsmanship of the 1920-30’s era of ‘London Made’. Our young designers combine function and aesthetic to create timeless and durable designs. All of our products are handcrafted in a small Italian factory near Lake Como to a level of quality only matched by the most renowned Superbrands.

I define luxury…

I define luxury as bespoke and couture. The ready-to-wear pieces available these days can be beautifully made but are no longer necessarily luxurious. Again, from Dana Thomas’ book, I take the quote, “There was a time when luxury was available only to the rarefied and aristocratic world of old money and royalty. Luxury wasn’t simply a product, it was a lifestyle, one that denoted a history of tradition, superior quality and offered a pampered buying experience.”

My biggest lesson…

The biggest lesson I’ve learned has been my taste level.  I appreciate that everyone is unique but there are certain individuals that have such a taste level and some of these ladies have mentored mine. Deborah Soss of Bergdorf Goodman in New York, and Chanel on the smallest detail. Manuela Moran, a designer I have worked with at Tanner Krolle and helped me launch Gladstone London has this on the highest level, which is why I chose to work with her on launch.

The most popular labels in my wardrobe…

The most popular labels in my wardrobe at are brands such as, Vintage Zoran which is so hard to find, Haider Ackermann is pure genius to me and Hermes pieces and vintage Ralph Lauren from the very early 1980’s.

I would like to work with…

If given the opportunity I would always have liked to work with Tina Chow if she was still alive today. I have always admired her understated beauty and tomboy style which can never be repeated and is a distinct fashion sense that will never date. She is timeless.

The best surprise I’ve received…

The best surprise I’ve received would be a Tina Chow crystal given to me as a gift from a dear friend, Louis.  Both he and Tina are sadly not with us anymore for the same sickness they suffered.

The best thing about London…

The best thing about London is the diversity of its people. The variety of cultures provides a melting pot of creativity whether it be in streetwear, food, and lifestyle.

I’d like to have a cocktail with…

I’d like to have a cocktail with Iman Abdulmajid, David Bowie’s wife. I just adore her and even as a boy I used to have her posters up on my wall, she is fun, eternally beautiful, elegant and sophisticated and there I nothing better for a man to be in the company of beautiful and intelligent women.

The best gift I have given…

The best gift I have given and feel I can give is my knowledge, advice and mentoring to startups. I believe if you don’t give back, it stops and for me learning should never stop.

My favourite restaurant…

My favourite restaurant would by the unique Kitty Fishers, which is situated right on our doorstep in Shepherds Market. Everything from food to the service is exceptional.

See what other readers have to say about this article, or leave a comment of your own.
COMMENTS