Rachel Riley‘s eponymous childrenswear label is a British name synonymous with traditional detailing, tailoring and vintage designs. Known for her exquisite details, hand smocking, forties, fifties and sixties inspired designs and, of course, stunning patent shoes for even the tiniest of feet, her clothing and accessories are coveted. Despite having three children in three years, she has taken her label from strength to strength. She tells kodomo.com how travel fit into all this along the way…..
Q: What is your first childhood memory of travel?
We would drive for days, feeling car sick most of the way, to get to the South of France or Italy, with lots of kids piled into the car. Pitching tents involved a lot of arguments amongst the adults, and made me vow never to camp again.
Q: Where have you had your best holiday to date?
During our first year, when I lived in New York and my now husband (who is French) lived in Paris, he took me on a series of trips to different parts of France so I could get to know the country, food, landscape (and him) better. I have such fond memories of that time.
Q: Where was the first place you went with a little one in tow? How did it go?
I remember taking my small baby on a commuter flight from Paris to London and being, not only the only woman on the plane, but the only person with a child. My babe-in-arms cried the whole way and I stood apologetically near the crew to avoid the negative energy of the businessmen, whom I am sure were trying to work.
Q: How do you find the experience of travelling with children?
Once we had children we decided we wouldn’t travel long-haul until the youngest was 7, ‘the age of reason’. Then we went to New York with three children under the age of 10. It was such fun. They chose where we would go in the mornings, and we chose the afternoon’s activity and that worked really well.
Q. Do you ever travel with your children for work?
I never did, as I feel it is always easier to concentrate on the job in hand when they are not there. With my husband, we always made sure that we took it in turns to travel, and that involved organising our diaries well in advance.
Q: Where was your best holiday with your child?
We had a lovely week staying with friends in Corsica, with a beach at the bottom of the garden so we could wander down early morning, or in the evening for a swim. We have lovely pictures of our children copying the gym session that my friend instigated on the sand.
Q: And your worst?
Hmmm, I don’t seem to have a worst, although on a subsequent occasion we were invited to the same beach house and our middle child had an ear infection and was unable to travel. I still went with the other two, and my husband and son had a lovely week together in Paris. It wasn’t less good, just different!
Q: What is your must-have travel accessory when away with children?
A firm hand, and a no-nonsense attitude! My husband, in true French style, always made them try all different foods, and never took ‘no’ for an answer. I remember him saying, ‘what do you mean you don’t like beetroot, it’s delicious, just try it and you’ll see!’. It meant they were never fussy eaters.
Q: And top tips for travel with kids?
To let go of the rules. I remember wondering if I should encourage them to sleep on a long-haul flight to Tokyo, or just let them watch films back-to-back, but decided that they could listen to their own body clock and make their own decisions.
Q: What do you think explains the immense success of the Rachel Riley label in such a large market? Any pieces in your current collection that would be great for holidays this summer?
As I had 3 children in 3 years I always favoured matching outfits when we were out. I didn’t want to risk losing one, and thought I could recognise them more quickly if they were dressed the same! It also meant that even if they behaved badly, strangers would be more indulgent if they were dressed beautifully. Matching dress and boys shirts or matching swimsuits are our speciality!