Toast is one of those brands you either know or you don’t. Me personally, well I’ve been a longtime fan, from the quilted bed jackets to the easy loungewear and hand-worked home goods. If you’re not so familiar with this truly down-to-earth lifestyle brand, then now’s the time to make friends. You see Toast really comes alive during the summer season. The winter coats and knits are fantastic, of course, but such a rustic label just works so well during the summer months. These clothes are made for dusty walks in the park, balmy city evenings and sandy beach vacays.
Fittingly then, it was the back-to-the-elements appeal of the vast Arizona landscape that inspired the SS18 collection. Lakes, mountains, rocks, clay and cacti. Which brings me to the wonderful Toast life drawing class, where I joined interior stylists, photographers, writers, painters and a melting pot of other creatives for an evening of uninterrupted drawing. The Conservatory Archives (have you been to the Hackney store?) moved into Toast’s Notting Hill shop, waved their magic greenery wand and hey presto – green heaven. A concept pop up where an entire installation becomes instantly shoppable, it made it super easy to pick up a floaty, printed spring dress while topping up your structural cacti and succulent collection.
Shop The Key Pieces
What a luxury to have a couple of hours to myself to draw plants. Led by London’s The Art Academy the aim was to study the collection of 100 succulents and cacti and interpret them as we wished, no rights or wrongs. I must say, by the end I was a very calm and collected mama who relished the opportunity to focus on just one thing for the first time in (what feels like) forever, reset my brain and practice a healthy dose of mindfulness.
Drawing in two different sized pens, we worked through various tasks to practice multiple techniques. Using a continuous line (aka not taking your pen off of the paper at all – it’s hard!) creating texture and structure using both pens in one drawing, timed sketches and finally, the let loose with vibrant colour chalks end-of-class blow-out. I plunged for all the Miami feels with purple and pink.
Throughout the store the new spring collection was a huge (happy) distraction when trying to focus on the drawing class! Most guilty? Well, there’s a pair of high top court shoes in black and ecru that fast make my Converse feel a bit ‘done’. Then there’s the wide brim straw hat to beat all others, simple wear-all-summer leather sandals, jute stripe tote, seersucker skirt and a large circle raffia bag with my name written all over it.
Hurry up, sunshine!