A winning way with colour

With Mothering Sunday tomorrow, it seems fitting that my blog post this week should be about mother and daughter-in-law, Helen and Emma – winners of our exclusive colour consultation day at Fenwick of Bond Street, with Ilka Dunn­.


A midwife from Northumberland, Helen had never had her colours done before, nor had her daughter-in-law Emma, who is a lawyer from London and mum to five-year-old Freddie and five-week-old Harry. Both were thrilled to be picked as winners and intrigued to find out the colours that suited them best.

I love discovering other people’s colours almost as much as they do, so I was keen to come along to meet them and watch the brilliant Ilka work her colour magic. Plus, I’ll never knowingly pass up the chance to visit Fenwick of Bond Street and explore its gorgeous fashion and beauty floors. There’s so much choice, from classic tailoring to casual capsule wardrobes, and plenty of inspiration for the colour fanatics amongst us.

I must have been radiating colour vibes that day because on the way up to the studio for the analysis, I bumped into Fenwick’s personal shopper Sophie, who spotted me straight away. “You must be Melissa,” she said, singling me out from the others in the lift. Clearly my obsession with orange and turquoise was a bit of a giveaway.


Introductions over, first up in the hot seat was Helen, who, as Ilka quickly discovered when she started placing the drapes around Helen’s face, wasn’t going to be a straightforward diagnosis. While some colours from each season looked great, others from the same season were unflattering (Helen’s best colours appeared to be more or less universal, i.e. scarlet (wi), watermelon (su), violet (sp), Kingfisher (au), Royal Blue (wi)). As soon as the colours got too warm, Helen looked ‘muddy’, when they were too cool she looked flat. From the two bright seasons, the strongest Winter colours were overpowering and most of the Spring shades looked a little cheap. It clearly wasn’t going to be an easy one to figure out.

Undeterred, Ilka kept trying different sequences and combinations until she reached her conclusion that Helen was the brightest Summer she had ever come across (she put this down to Helen’s style personality being a fun-loving gamine). Although Summers normally feel happier in softer, blended shades, Helen was totally comfortable embracing colour and contrast, with stripes being her favourite.


After lunch at the stylish Bond Street Cafe, Emma moved apprehensively into the hot seat while Helen had her make-up done with Alisa on the Bobbi Brown counter (having established Helen’s season, choosing the right make-up for her skin tone was easy). But she needn’t have worried – the moment Ilka draped the Autumn shades around her neck, her whole face lit up, coming alive with the gorgeous tones of Rust, Kingfisher, Coffee, Moss and Brick Red, and opening up a whole world of colour possibilities to her wardrobe.

It was such a lovely way to wrap up our competition colour day, and judging by the email I received from Helen the next day both our winners felt the same.

“As a non-girlie girl, I really didn’t imagine that winning the competition would have provided so much joy,” wrote Helen. “Emma and I had a lovely time, you made us so welcome and gave us lots to think and talk about on our way home. We both agreed that we could have happily spent a week with you both learning about colour and style. We’re now inspired to dress with colour.”

I just hope they enjoy the compliments coming their way!

If you would like to win an exclusive colour and make-up consultation and lunch or afternoon tea for two with Ilka Dunn at Fenwick of Bond Street, enter our competition here

A colour consultation makes a perfect gift for Mother's Day - you can find a stylist near you here

Hayley Adkins on Mar 31, 2019 8:42 AM

Yes, I would love this experience!

Doreen on Mar 30, 2019 9:45 AM

As a mother of three daughters,granny of 7 now at 67 years of age I need help style and colour!

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