Our Creative Director's Christmas Picks
We spoke to our lovely creative director and co-founder of IRIS, Annie Pollet, about her 2020 Christmas and how her plans have changed (much like everyone’s!) this year. She also shares her top picks on gifts for the little ones, what she’ll be getting her friends, and what she’s hoping for herself under her Christmas tree. Annie, who also acts as our head stylist, shares her favourite outfit from the December Collection that will be her go to look for Christmas day, and why the new IRIS pieces are perfect for a ‘dressing up to stay in’ look this Christmas.
How do you normally spend Christmas? How has your plan changed for this year?
Christmas is nearly always at home either here or in Dorset where my Mum lives - we tend to often stay in London as we have a big blended family and the kids need to see all of their parents! We tend to go away straight after Christmas somewhere in the English countryside, I really value this time together as a family as we rarely get to spend quality time together, away from the distractions of London and tend to stay in a hotel to have a break from emptying the dishwasher 10 times a day!
Do you normally dress up for Christmas? If so, what's your favourite pick from the new party collection that you'll be wearing this year?
I would not say I would ever dress up in a formal way for Christmas - Christmas is all about being comfortable but nor would I spend it in my pyjamas as I like to maintain a bit of a ceremonious feel to the day. The collection we have done this year for by Iris suits my Christmas Day aesthetic perfectly, as we have imagined it around the idea of "dressing up to stay in" and a Christmas spent at home, designing easy to wear pieces in soft velvet in bright jewel hues which are just perfect for celebrating the day in a cosy yet stylish way.
Do you have any Christmas Eve traditions?
In normal times I love an early Christmas Eve party at a friends or neighbours just low key with all the family with me ( a rare social event in itself!), normally somewhere very local so we can walk there and walk home in plenty of time to get my little girl tucked into bed not too late with her Christmas stocking. I think this will be a purely family affair this year which will be lovely too! If I am with my Mum we always have a fish pie on Christmas Eve, apparently it is traditional to eat fish on Christmas Eve though I am not sure anyone else has this tradition or if my Mum made it up!
Is there anything that you're getting for yourself as a treat this year?
For treats for myself this year my biggest treat would be a gorgeous travel plan to look forward to in the NY - adventures have been few and far between in 2020. Apart from that I would love to have one of our new velvet Shae dresses wrapped up for me under the tree this year, maybe in our new gorgeous hot pink colour way. Apart from that just some little luxuries- bath and beauty treats are always a hit with me, I love the Le Bonnet beanie hats we sell at Iris and have a different colour every year, cosy cashmere socks and books - I think I get given enough books at Christmas to get me through the whole following year!
What are your top picks as presents for friends?
We have some brilliant gifting ideas for friends at Iris this year. I love personalisation when it comes to gifting friends and I absolutely love our new personalised gold letter necklaces from Deborah Cadby, perfect for girlfriends and our small letter pouches which are great for popping something inside like a small beauty treat.
What do you think are the perfect stocking fillers?
I still do stockings for my whole family - my big kids are 20 now and I even do one for my Mum! I love buying the little things that make a stocking brilliant, socks (always!) gloves, underwear. For my kids I always fill them with the useful things that I know they need (don’t all mums do this?!) to the point when my little girl begged me to ask Father Christmas not to get her a dressing gown and pants this year, but some kind of plastic pink unicorn that glows that she is after! Much to her dissatisfaction I try to avoid the plastic stuff and go for small special things that I know will last! Teenage boys are the hardest to think of gift ideas for, the girls are so easy in comparison.
Are you a fan of a Christmas day walk? If so, what will be your go to pieces for keeping warm?
I love a Christmas Day walk and it is always firmly on the itinerary…we are a big family and we need to get out of the house at some point during the day. It is also a rare time that we are actually all together especially now my big kids have gone to University so it is a real treat to get out with them to Hampstead Heath - we love to stop afterwards for a Christmas Day drink at the Holly Bush in Hampstead there is such a great atmosphere there on Christmas Day and great for spotting dogs dressed up in their Christmas Day finery. To keep nice and cosy I will definitely be wrapping up in the Ganni wrap coat, and cashmere scarves and gloves.
What are you excited about for the New Year going forward with IRIS?
I am very excited for the New Year at Iris we have a lot of projects in the pipeline. We have re-opened our store in Hampstead and as a firm North West London girl it is great to have a store back open again in my hood! Our by Iris own brand collection is going from strength to strength and we are so excited to showcase Spring Summer 2021 …after so many years at Iris buying so many brands it is really nice that we have reduced the number of brands we buy and have the breathing space now to really focus on our own brand collection and create what we love based on what we believe our very loyal Iris customers will love and wear on repeat. After the crazy year we have had this feels like the right place for the business to be in with a focus on creating collections that are responsibly sourced, have longevity and really reflect the essence of what we think Iris should be, to try to stay special rather than chasing after trend after endless trend.