We have long been fans of Smythson, the English stationery and leather goods purveyor. Their products are without fail, exceptionally well made, deeply luxurious and discreetly elegant - and those are words we don’t toss around often. When the “Nancy” clutch came out, Madonna's stylist was one of the first to pick it up, and of course Prince sends out party invitations exclusively on Smythson paper -- not a surprise for a company that holds several royal warrants, the gold standard of excellence here in England. I am also a fan of Samantha Cameron, aka SamCam, the woman who heads up the company. Wondering who she is? Consider her our very own "MObama-in-waiting". That is, she is the wife of David Cameron, the politician who is widely touted to be the next leader of this country. Oh, and she is also an Astor, and described by one journalist as “A lady whose background is so elite she makes the Royal Family look common in comparison."
Not that she is out of touch or a snob. SamCam is approachable, engaging, chic and intelligent. I met her briefly once at a cocktail party she had to attend due to her husband's position as Opposition Leader. It was about six months after the tragic death of her severely disabled son, Ivan. To be sure, she was suffering in a way one would never want to imagine, but she maintained her grace and a quiet dignity. She is the embodiment of why the brand is so great. So, it goes without saying that when Smythson releases a new product, we pay rapt attention. Today, they introduced their new line with guest designer Erdem, who follows in a long line of interesting collaborators like Giles, Alexander McQueen, Zac Posen, Missoni and Matthew Williamson. Erdem has designed a series of notebooks and diaries for them, complete with some beautiful Japanese motif patterns and his own hand drawn illustrations. Very charming, very collectible and sigh, just another Smythson item we have to add to our wish list.