Marie Chantal’s eponymous childrenswear label turns 18 this year and she has a brand spanking new flagship store on London’s Motcomb street to celebrate. Having opened its doors last week, the beautiful boutique store, (complete with a play area for little children) showcases all the Marie Chantal classics, including her beloved anglewine onesie. Crown Princess Marie Chantal of Greece, wife to Pavlos, the Crown Prince of Greece and mother to no less than five children is head of an empire that started long before many designers were doing mini designs, such as Stella McCartney and Dolce & Gabbana. She took time out of her trip to London for the store’s opening to chat to Kodomo.com exclusively about her treasured memories of family travel.
What is your earliest travel memory?
I grew up in Hong kong and I think one of my most memorable travels was going to Bali before Bali was the Bali we know today, back when there were rice paddy fields everywhere. My father had rented my mother a little scooter and I must have been 3 or 4 years old, just riding around and playing. There were no hotels and I just remember being exposed to these incredible cultures. We went to Sri Lanka when I was five and I remember being so in awe. What I remember when I look back is how the world was a very different place but it was so incredible to see from such a young age.
Do you travel often with your children?
Yes. I grew up with that travel mentality and my parents are in Hong Kong. We are a big clan now and we go back to see them a lot. And my In-Laws are in Greece and we go to America a lot; we try to do big fun trips at least once a year.
Your children are a bit older now but, when they were little, did you find the experience of travelling with them very stressful or did you try to just go with it?
I went with the flow. We traveled young, my parents did it with three girls and it was never a fuss so I wanted to do the same. It’s trying to teach kids to behave on airplanes that was my big stress. Travelling with five kids meant I always got death stares from people worried about the children disrupting their travel time but I managed to keep them busy and entertained. And that was before iPads! I would take little DVD players for them. It sounds so weird now but it was all about colouring books and cards and I’d pack little back packs for them with treats for the flight.
What would be a favourite destination for you as a family?
Hawaii is a big one. I remember going and just loving being in the great hotels there, which are so nice for children and it was a place I went back every 3 or 4 years with my kids; now they’re bigger they like to surf. We are going to Japan this summer as a family so that will be mazing. Again, it’s showing them the culture: that’s what I love most, that and drawing back on my memories and then seeing them learn about different cultures and foods and even different time zones. It’s great to take your kids on these journeys.
Can you tell us a little about the Autumn / Winter 2018 collection available in store and online now?
Over the past few seasons I wanted to take it to the core of the brand and really strip it back to what we’re good at, so the beautiful party dresses, the soft textures, the florals and a warm, cosy collection with lots of detail and soft tweeds and cashmeres and good pockets. It’s very sweet. And there is always at least one Liberty print in there somewhere.
Marie-Chantal, 4 Motcomb Street, London SW1