Stray Talking: The Harrogate Store brings inspiration for decor and gifts
Where does the time go? It is almost impossible to believe that three years have passed since Cordings first opened in Harrogate, bringing to our North Yorkshire town an utterly magnificent three-storey emporium of British country style. It’s now the jewel of the historic Westminster Arcade on Parliament Street and well worth a visit, especially for those who, like me, are currently on the hunt for distinctive Christmas presents (of which more later).
Creating the Harrogate store took much consideration, care and expertise. Master craftsmen restored all the wood panelling and plaster work in order to create the backdrop for the breathtakingly beautiful interior featuring tweed cushioned window seating, silk damask wall coverings and stags heads aplenty, along with framed prints and shooting trophies brought over from the Piccadilly store. The result is there for all to see on a daily basis. Each floor is completely charming, both grand and homely, and it’s a great place to visit for home décor inspiration. The green stag’s head cushion I bought there yesterday now has pride of place on my sofa. Christmas has officially begun.
What I love most about Cordings is the individuality that underpins not just the store but also every product it stocks, from tweed jackets to silk scarves, ties, cufflinks and bags. This makes it a wonderful hunting ground for gifts, and not just for those who have specific country pursuit interests, because there are lots and lots of quirky, personality-packed pieces with wide-ranging appeal. I’ve picked out my very favourites here.
GIFTS FOR HIM
THE SCARF FOR ALL SEASONS
Green Medieval reversible silk scarf, £135.
Everything about this scarf says chosen with love and much thought. One side is Italian silk, hand-printed with a lovely leafy design, edged with a border featuring woodland animals and the Cordings brand name. The other side is in pure wool, finished with hand-knotted silk tassels. It comes three different colourways, but there’s something so rich and timeless about this green one.
THE DISTINGUISHED TRAVELLING COMPANION
Medium holdall bag in house check, £245.
Distinctive and understated in Cordings soft green house check, this British made, neat but roomy travel bag is crafted for durability with style in Scottish tweed, lined with cotton drill and rubbed bonded so it’s waterproof. Cordings says it can withstand all that baggage handlers are able to throw at it. This one is 38cm long, and there’s also a larger version for £295.
THE JOY OF SOCKS
Country patterned socks, £13.
There are socks, and then there are Cordings brilliantly quirky country patterned socks celebrating traditional pursuits with pheasants, hares or this one, Mr Fox in hunting attire. They come in a variety of lovely colourways and I defy anyone not to smile on finding a pair in their stocking come Christmas morning.
THE BEST BELT EVER
Classic English made bridle belt, £95.
If you are looking for a classic leather belt – surely a great gift idea for a style-loving man of any age? – Cordings has the right selection. This one comes in both black and brown, and is handmade using English vegetable-dyed bridle leather, with nickel buckles.
THE CUFFLINKS TO COVET
Trout Solid Silver Cufflinks, £230.
Hallmarked Made in England, these shimmering trout cufflinks have been made using a vitreous enamelling technique, adding metallic oxides to create exquisite colours and durable translucent shine. There are also sold silver ones featuring hares, tractors, shotguns, spaniels, fishing reels, owls, wild boar and more – some with moving parts.
GIFTS FOR HER
THE LIBERTY PRINT SHIRT
Little Leaf Tana Lawn Liberty Shirt, £65.
Cordings impeccable tailoring meets Liberty print pure lawn cotton – and the result is a shirt that any woman would adore, appreciate and, most crucially, wear – and wear on repeat. There are lots of gorgeous prints to choose from, but I love the intriguing sophistication of this leaf print design set against a dark background.
THE OUTFIT-MAKING SCARF
Rust tonal wool and silk jacquard scarf, £149.
Endless outfitting options present with this luxuriously large scarf (it’s two metres by 70cm), adding vibrant colour and a chic swirl of luxe whether you wear it for special occasions or simply with your weekend jeans (try it instead of a jacket). It’s made for Cordings in France, and there are also blue toned and purple toned diamond versions available.
GLOVES TO LOVE
Plum leather tassel gloves, £79.
These sleek gloves are the ultimate in luxury and practicality, keeping hands cosy with a merino wool lining within beautifully crafted, sheeny, buttery fine leather. The stitching is immaculate, and they are finished with a sweet but sophisticated tasselled bow. They also come in tan and black.
THE GO-ANYWHERE BAG
Leather despatch satchel bag, £129.
When you buy someone a bag as a gift, it should be exactly the same sort of bag you would buy for yourself. This one is compact (just 18cm wide) and neat, crafted in quality leather with brass fittings, and I love that it is minimalist and yet packed with detail, like the little stud on top of the strap. It also comes in wine.
THE ONE TO WATCH
Yellow Harris tweed watch, £199.
How lovely is this new watch? It’s made especially for Cordings by Morris Richardson, with a Swiss quartz movement, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass and a stainless steel case in a rose-gold colour. It also comes with blue and pink woven tweed straps – just the thing to add a touch of colour and texture to your look.
WHERE TO WEAR
Stylish diary events for the forthcoming season.
Jack and the Beanstalk, Harrogate Theatre, November 28-January 20. Oh yes, it is! An annual town favourite, the Harrogate panto is back for another season of frivolity and family-friendly festive fun. Tickets start at £20, and a box is £100. See www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk
The Grand Old Dame of York, York Theatre Royal, December 13-February 2. Folk travel from far and wide on their annual pilgrimage to see York Theatre Royal’s pantomime, which celebrates its 40th year. It’s a special must-see this time because it marks the retirement of legendary dame Berwick Kaler. See www.yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
The Nutcracker, Leeds Grand Theatre, December 4-16. Northern Ballet always gives a wonderful, shimmering, spine-tingling performance and this Nutcracker is a wonderful piece of festive dance theatre for all the family. See www.northernballet.com