The co-founder of LITTLECIRCLE shows us around her London home and talks about juggling a business and motherhood, her storage secrets and the lure of a statement coat…
If you work in the fashion industry, at some point you will have found yourself staring at Anna Bromilow. She is the exotic-looking former fashion director of Tatler, with cheekbones to kill for, who’ll make you want to wear your hair in a centre parting and copy her entire look from head to toe. She is also the co-founder of childrenswear website LITTLECIRCLE, a celebrity stylist (Elle McPherson is among her clients) and the mother of three gorgeous girls, Martha (8), Georgia (known as GiGi, 5) and Theodora (10 months). Together with her husband Dom, they live in their newly refurbished West Hampstead home – today she is showing us around her wardrobe while talking about juggling motherhood and running her own business.
“I know I’ve given myself a near-impossible task trying to be always present for the girls, when I’m a workaholic with my own business,” says Anna. “But most of my friends are in the same struggling boat – I am incredibly time-poor but emotionally rich.” Together with business partner (and best friend) Lisa Picardo, she had been discussing launching something for years: “We spotted a gap in the market – a childrenswear equivalent to the likes of Matches.” And so LITTLECIRCLE was born – a contemporary online platform that stocks brands reminiscent of what we would buy for ourselves: Erdem, Isabel Marant, Marni. With impeccable taste and an enviable eye for a bargain, you will love nosing around her stunning family home – and you will never guess that some of her favourite shoes are from Topshop…
At the moment I have an antique free-standing wardrobe (we are about to have a wall of bespoke cupboards built, floor to ceiling – I can’t wait). But what this interim storage has done is really hone my skills in editing, something I learnt during all my years working in magazines. I tend to hang according to colour – it just seems to pull my wardrobe together and makes sense to my eye. I feel I can better visualise what I have when my shoes are mainly kept in their boxes.
Despite having acquired a pretty sizeable collection of clothes over my years in the fashion industry, I have become quite militant about reducing my wardrobe to fit my space limitations. If something hasn’t been worn for longer than a year but is an investment piece, I keep it safe and out of view. It’s quite liberating in a way – being an incredibly busy working mother with limited time to get ready, I need a kind of extended capsule collection to make decision-making fuss-free!
I never in a million years imagined having three girls! I was stunned every single time. And I must say it is lovely to imagine them in years to come wearing and appreciating the collection I’ve accumulated, clothes that already hold memories for me – extending their shelf life.
This is GiGi’s favourite steal – a wicker treasure chest filled with my statement, heavy-duty jewellery, such as this pair of Vionnet white ceramic cuffs with huge crystal adornments. They are outrageous and are always commented on whenever I wear them. I have a pretty silver shell dish that houses my ‘never take off’ pieces, mainly delicate, gold trinkets and stacking trays that neatly store earrings and larger trinkets.
My girls ended up sharing together while our building work was taking place and we decided to keep this new set-up. Having been to serious amounts of childrenswear trade shows and appointments for LITTLECIRCLE, I’ve picked up décor tips and brands by osmosis! I love Numero 74 (which is where the tent and bedspreads are from) – it’s clean, modern whimsy at its best and their colour palette is spot on. These years of imaginative play are limited and I want to make their surroundings as beautiful and inspiring as possible.
I started LITTLECIRCLE with my best friend Lisa – we like to think of it as a childrenswear equivalent to the likes of Matches. It’s a contemporary, online platform that offers a highly curated edit of unique, aspirational brands. A bit like Wardrobe ICONS, we are not about throwaway, fast fashion. Our pieces are mid-market, more investment than high street but not so expensive that the cost outweighs the shelf life.
We stock a lot of European brands with a sophisticated aesthetic. Our brands tend to be smaller, independent labels with incredible quality and a unique approach to children’s fashion. A golden rule for us is that nothing we source can be found on the high street, so it feels one-of-a-kind, artisan, special. We also launched our own super-chic dress-up collection and collaborate with talented designers on pieces exclusive to LITTLECIRCLE.
When it comes to my school pick-up look I have a trick – I style up the most low-key of looks with a statement coat. I have a worryingly large amount of outerwear… My favourites this season have been this vintage leopard-print swing coat that I bought from a friend’s mother a decade ago and rediscovered this year. And also a two-tone Whistles faux fur that has beautifully rich tones (and helps washed-out skin if I’ve been stuck indoors!). I also have a vast collection of sunglasses and these often go on.
I can honestly say 10 years ago I would rarely have bought a pair of shoes from Topshop or Zara, but over the past few years I have added some treasures to my collection that felt like complete bargains. My general rules are: I never buy leather (or faux leather) and I never buy boots. Details like buckles are also a bit of a giveaway. So focus on fabric (satin/silk styles are always effective), form (sculpted/bows are generally good), sophisticated colours and either no heel or simple, structured heels.
This is the jewellery I wear every day – my beloved Harry Rocks necklace that means so much to me. It has the initials of my daughters, my husband, my father and late mother and it makes me feel close to them all the time. My bracelets – a bit of daily arm candy – are from Monica Vinader and Cartier. It’s a super-simple, classic look with a bit of a rock undertone.
My Monday to Friday is generally structured around school drop-offs and pick-ups – I like to be be present for the girls as much as I possibly can with the help of grandparents. Lisa and I have a crazy work ethic, we work late into the night and often weekends. We are lucky enough to have office space at each of our houses, so are pretty fluid with where we work. No day and no week is the same, so we have to keep on our toes and be very organised.
Before children, work and fashion were everything to me. I travelled the world, worked hard, partied hard, pursued my own personal goals. Once children come along, your dreams change and extend. Your priorities shift. Caring for my girls, celebrating them and being the best mother I can be is absolutely top of the list. This time with them while they are so young, innocent and vibrant is golden and it is short. But I’m still the same person with the same ambition and drive, and fashion will always be running through my veins.
I just can’t live and work in clutter; my stress levels sky-rocket. Due to my work being partially based at home, I make sure our life and home is as orderly as possible. So storage has been key. We have a bench that runs the entire length of our kitchen packed with storage underneath. All of the children’s board games and bulky toys are in a walk-in cupboard in the kitchen and only the toys they are currently playing with are left in easily accessible boxes.
For day, I gravitate towards boho chic. Practical dressing, but with a luxe hippy overtone. I am a real lover of jumpsuits; they’re an immediate outfit solver, less prim than a dress, a little bit daring and feel effortless. This one is from Ulla Johnson and it will take me from the school run to the beach – it feels seriously transeasonal. It’s an easy-to-wear print that feels modern and a little bit hippy, plus I couldn’t be more comfortable with an elasticated high waist.
Our kitchen is the focal point of family life. A long dining room table and island means there are different areas to gravitate around, as well as an extended bench, so there’s bags of seating. I love nothing more than all the family being in there together, the kids painting, me cooking, more often than not my husband working, with a glass of wine in hand. We’ve had big parties in there – the girls’ birthdays, grown-up drinks, dinner parties, Sunday lunches. The girls dance along and jump off the bench like it’s a stage!
My bathroom is the only room in the house that has a lock and is definitely the space I disappear to when I need to escape motherhood! Friday night is all about a soak in the freestanding bath and a glass of bubbly. Even if it’s just for 10 minutes. I am religious about removing make-up and toning skin. I see Vaishaly and use her products, as well as Estée Lauder moisturiser and their tinted daywear. I also love Barbara Sturm’s incredible exfoliator and swear by peel-off face marks – Rodial’s are a favourite.
As I get older, and life gets busier, more unpredictable and varied, I have become much more confident and daring in my personal style, particularly for the evening. I want to feel excited and more joyful about what I’m wearing. Colour has slightly crept up on me and I’m embracing a more vibrant, exotic look. I’m still very rooted in classic elegance – I don’t feel I put looks together in an eclectic way, but I will buy eclectic one-off pieces.
There is nothing I like more than getting dressed up and gaining some serious height and attitude, but the reality is I get far more wear out of flats or kitten heels. My collection of black heels ranges from Prada to Chanel, each pair with its own signature detailing and style. My Topshop black embellished block heals were a surprise find and my new gold and silver strappy Louboutins have already had some serious outings.
These velvet Gucci Princetowns were a present from my husband for Christmas. I still don’t think he quite ‘gets’ them and I’ve had a few children ask why I am wearing slippers to school, but I can’t get enough of them. They feel so luxurious, are unbelievably cosy and they give a luxe edge to the simplest pair of jeans.
Back in my Tatler days I was known for supersized bags. I would carry half my life around in them. Post-kids, they’ve all been sold or have gone into storage. I really only ever use a cross-body bag due to needing to be hands-free! My Gucci tassel bag is by far the most loved and used of all my bags. There’s nothing it doesn’t go with and I love its simple tassel.
Sign up to
THE ICONS UPDATE
"We show you what never goes out of fashion"