From here to maternity: looking stylish as you grow
A Hampstead mum is ensuring mothers-to-be are stylishly dressed, writes Bridget Galton SERAPHINE is the creation of Parisian-turned-Hampstead mum Cecile Reinaud. When Cecile became pregnant with her son four years ago, the former advertising executive re
A Hampstead mum is ensuring mothers-to-be are stylishly dressed, writes Bridget Galton
SERAPHINE is the creation of Parisian-turned-Hampstead mum Cecile Reinaud.
When Cecile became pregnant with her son four years ago, the former advertising executive realised there was a gap in the market for smart, comfortable, affordable maternity clothes.
"All my friends were getting pregnant and complaining they couldn't find anything to wear," she explains.
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"I realised there was not much on offer in between the mass market and very, very upmarket clothes.
"I wanted to come up with a fashionable, elegant, comfortable collection with the emphasis on quality fabrics and a good cut."
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Despite never designing before, Cecile brought her French flair to the British maternity market when she unveiled her first collection and store in Kensington.
"The first year was a struggle because I was pregnant and then had a tiny baby. Reality set in and it was much harder than I thought. But no success comes without hard work."
The success of the first store - and a thriving mail order business - have set Cecile on the road to expansion.
She now plans to launch the brand in her native country this autumn.
And two months ago she opened a Seraphine store in Heath Street, Hampstead, and moved the company into offices above the shop.
In addition to Cecile's collection, Seraphine sells Mama Mio body products, Elle Macpherson bras, cashmere blankets and some nursery furniture.
The brand has been bought by celebrities, including Reese Witherspoon, models Claudia Schiffer and Christy Turlington and Paul McCartney, who bought a Moses basket for daughter Beatrice.
Seraphine's star product is the £65 jeans, named best maternity jeans in more than one magazine, and a charity T-shirt with a baby scan on it which raised £50,000 for baby charity Tommy's.
Other items in the collection include stretch linen trousers, a gorgeous purple silk top and a small selection of baby clothes for up to six months old.
Cecile aims for personalised customer care, including a fitting service for bras, help from delivery staff to put up cots, uncluttered buggy-friendly stores, a breastfeeding room, baby changing facilities and a play area for kids while mum is browsing.
"We wanted a store in Hampstead partly because I live here and partly because it's the centre for shopping in north London.
"This is a niche market for a new culture of the yummy mummy so we had to make sure we could cover the whole area with one store."
She adds: "It's fantastic and rewarding when you get feedback from grateful customers saying thank-you.
"All pregnant women have a fantastic glow and it only takes a little to have the right fit of clothes to become very beautiful.