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It's in the bag with Aspinal of London

Debonair chats to Maryia Dykola, the British brand's creative director, as it collaborates with David Gandy

We live in a world where fashion changes quickly, but classic style is timeless.

My earliest fashion memory is… I grew up in Ukraine during the Soviet Union era. That was the time when everyone wore the same garments in the same prints, because every shop sold more or less the same clothes. We couldn’t always afford to shop for dresses, so my mum used to make the most beautiful dresses for herself and for me. I actually preferred them to the ones in the shops, because they were unique. She inspired me to create my own pieces and to become a designer. 

The most stylish item I own is… a Giles Deacon tailored jacket. I adore Giles and every single piece he creates. They are so unique and extraordinary. He creates the most beautiful patterns and prints. It was incredible to collaborate with him for our capsule collection, presented during London Fashion Week.

My most valuable item is… my engagement ring. Not because of the material value but because of the sentiment behind it. My husband gave it to me 10 years ago and these have been the most wonderful years of my life.

The difference between fashion and style is… As Yves Saint Laurent said, “Fashions fade, style is eternal.” We live in a world where fashion changes quickly, but classic style is timeless. Aspinal of London’s core aesthetic combines these two elements, refining English elegance with a modern, innovative twist.

We live in a world where fashion changes quickly, but classic style is timeless.

The one look I wish I could pull off is… one of the very brave and extravagant red carpet gowns that you often see at the Met Gala.

The one item nobody should wear is… Crocs!

What are your thoughts on accessories? Accessories are the key to your look — they express both your style and your lifestyle. A beautiful designer bag or scarf could elevate your outfit and make it feel more luxurious.

When I shop I… tend not to buy trend pieces. I know exactly what suits me and, most importantly, I look for quality pieces that are timeless and will fit my existing wardrobe. I am obsessed with shoes and hats.

Do you prefer bricks-and-mortar stores or online? Both. With my busy lifestyle, it is more convenient for me to shop online, but when I have a bit of time I love to pop in to boutiques and department stores for the ambiance and service. My favourites are Harrods and Selfridges in London, Galeries Lafayette in Paris and SKP in Beijing.

Who would you say is the most stylish man to have ever lived? I am torn between Cary Grant and Noel Coward.

If you could invite three designers (past or present) to a dinner party, who would you invite and what would you serve? I would love to have dinner with Coco Chanel, Giles Deacon and Tamara Russo. I will serve them oysters and champagne.

The one item I can’t live without is… my phone; I am constantly using it to keep up to date on social media. I love Instagram.

What I like best about my job is… wearing my creations. I love carrying and styling our bags with new outfits, thinking about new colours and textures, and seeing them being worn by other women and men. Every season I love challenging myself to design a new best-selling bag. In addition, I find travelling and meeting creative people rewarding.

How do you feel about the industry? I love the fashion industry because it gives me the opportunity to do what I am passionate about. But it’s a very competitive world, moving at an incredible pace. It’s constructed from a lot of parts that must all work together to be successful. Working in the fashion industry, I am conscious of it having a massive impact on global pollution. But I believe that, with the help of many creative minds working in this industry, we will find the way to adapt and become more environmentally friendly.

If I wasn’t in the fashion industry, I would… be an artist! I love working with a palette knife and oil paint on canvas in my studio.

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