If you're looking for luxury gifts, Aspinal of London is the perfect place to start — and their new woodland-themed collection is a true delight.
It’s never easy finding a nice Christmas gift — and finding something really special that sends all the right messages can sometimes feel near impossible. Thankfully, there are some places that do their best to help you do so, and nowhere more so than Aspinal of London.
The brand may only be 20 years old, but it’s earned an unimpeachable reputation for making truly beautiful things that will last a lifetime. Now, they’re taking it a step further by putting sustainability at the heart of their latest collection, which includes a series of woodland-themed luxury gifts inspired by the beautiful South Downs landscape that surrounds their leafy West Sussex headquarters. They’ve even found the perfect word to encapsulate the feel of their wares: Werifesteria, an Old English-derived term meaning ‘to wander longingly through the forest in search of mystery’.
It’s a fun — sometimes even mischievous — collection of wonderful pieces, with frolicking rabbits, foxes and cheeky robins as well as more overtly woodland-inspired items. While that light touch is ever-present, there’s a deeper meaning underpinning this line of gifts: a sensitivity to the environment, and what we must all do to preserve, restore and cherish our natural landscape. And this is no empty protestation of green credentials: Aspinal is backing up its words by planting 2500 trees in the South Downs National Park, plus an additional tree for every woodland scarf, charm and keyring sold from the collection, with a target of 10,000 trees in total. As if that weren’t enough to tempt you they’re currently running a Black Friday event, with at least 20% off everything at the shop, with some items as much as 50% less than normal prices.
So what about the gifts themselves? We can’t think of a better place to start than with the Woodland Silk Scarf, available in 35×35 inch and 50x50inch sizes — with Aspinal’s present Black Friday promotion in full swing, they’re priced at £112 and £156 respectively, and available in burgundy and mocha colour palettes, the evergreen you see here, and the ‘Winter Wonderland’ version you’ll have spotted at the top of the page.
Smaller, though no less adorable, are the wildlife-themed key rings at £36 — though you’ll leave yourself the problem of which one to go for. That fox is lovely, and both the deer and owl utterly charming… but we’d plump for the hedgehog, we think.
For something really extraordinary, though, The Trunk in Evergreen Velvet with Bird of Paradise Embroidery — £1,000, down from £1,250 in the Black Friday event — is an utterly exquisite design that resonates with the natural world while still providing a magnificent luxury gift.
Aspinal’s designers were inspired by the golden age of travel, and this limited-edition delivers romance, elegance and natural beauty, featuring a a bird of paradise perched on a cherry blossom branch. This is a handbag-sized creation, at 7.3×5.7 inches, and three inches deep, but for something smaller, which also features natural embroidery, you shouldn’t miss the Micro Hat Box.
It really is ‘micro’, at just 4.5 inches across, but this delightful bag — £1,000, down from £1,250 — is utterly exquisite. The velvet panel at the front is lit up by intricate hand-embroidered silk depicting a woodland scene that ‘encapsulates the whimsical magic of life in the forest’, as Aspinal themselves put it. The bag itself — sealed by a shield lock and hung off a shoulder by the chain — is intended merely to store the barest of essentials, such as a credit card and a lipstick, but to do so in unbeatably elegant fashion.
For something a little bigger (at 17×10.5 inches) and with a more subtle look, the London Tote bag, a design classic which Aspinal make in dozens of different finishes, colours and materials. Here you’ll see the tan and burgundy pebble versions (currently £520) made in environmentally-conscious metal-free leather. The bag’s sustainable credentials are highlighted by the little bee you’ll see hanging from the handle; it’s Aspinal’s symbol of sustainability.
If you’re looking for something that brings a bolder and younger style than the London Tote, this year Aspinal is making a completely new bag design: the Harper.
Seen here in khaki pebble and smooth black finishes, and with the company’s signature ‘A’ made integral to the design and stitching, this is a true everyday bucket bag that can be carried by the top handle or worn hands-free with the detachable crossbody strap.
This versatility transforms the same bag depending on how it’s used, and makes it perfect for everything from country walks and meeting-filled days in the city to glamorous evenings out. The standard-sized version is £440, down from £550, and Aspinal also make a slightly smaller version for £316.
These wonderfully earthy colours are typical of the choices made for Aspinal’s collection. Burgundy, tan and evergreen celebrate the natural foliage of Autumn, while there’s also rich red for the brightest leaves, deep green for the forest floor, and midnight blue to bring to mind the clear, crisp night skies of winter out in the wilds of nature. Even the ‘Champagne Gold’ palette has a natural touch, evoking the twinkling stars.
The gentlemen’s luxury gift collection draws on the same tones. Aspinal’s magnificent backgammon sets have been objects of desire for us for many years, and seeing it in the Midnight Blue croc leather finish only makes that stronger. The 15inch set in this finish is presently £476, down from £595 for Black Friday.
If backgammon isn’t the game of choice in your house, beautiful equivalents are made for everything from dominos and noughts and crosses to Monopoly, chess and Scrabble. There’s also a selection of options for keen golfers: a scorecard holder, tee holder and ball holder, all crafted in navy leather.
Also made in the same navy — as well as a few other options — is what must be the best working-from-home accessory that you’d never thought of: the beautiful A3 leather desk pad, currently on sale at £156 in the Aspinal Black Friday event.
Why have a mouse mat when you can have a beautiful piece like this to transform your desk? As you’ll see in the picture above it can be matched with pen holders and a letter rack, but even on its own it’s a very special indeed — something it has in common, it must be said, with all of Aspinal of London’s gifts.