Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
A few weeks ago, we caught up with Lily Atherton Hanbury and Katya Shyfrin as they were social distancing from the countryside. Just outside of London, the co-founders of footwear and accessories label Le Monde Beryl were connecting daily via video and finding new ways to work with their artisans from afar. That time also provided them the opportunity to reflect and assess what is truly valuable to them and their community and get re-invigorated by forgotten treasures at home—like textiles and cookbooks.
To hear more about their time in isolation, and why they called it a reboot, Whitewall spoke with Atherton Hanbury and Shyfrin.
WHITEWALL: How are you doing?
LILY ATHERTON HANBURY: We are well, thankfully. Trying to keep in mind that lockdown is not going to be interminable but will come to an end one way or another and I want to look back on it and feel I have used the time to really have fun with my family and work.
KATYA SHYFRIN: I’m surrounded by my family in the beautiful countryside home of my husband’s brother, his wife, and their kids. We are lucky to be here altogether, in nature and seclusion and everyone is well and healthy. The circumstances made me pause and really reflect on things that matter, which is to do with the family values and dedicating more time to my loved ones and myself.
We spend time cooking together, going for long walks in the fields, staying active, and training on a regular basis. Every night during dinner we share our little wins for the day and acts of kindness—given and received. This really brings us together and adds a lot of positivity to the mindset.
WW: What are you listening to, reading, or watching?
LAH: We have been reading a lot together. We are slowly making our way through War and Peace and love listening to Stephen Fry narrate his book Mythos. We have re-watched every Merchant Ivory film, Death of Stalin, and Claude Chabrol’s Madame Bovary.
KS: Currently, I’m reading Modernists and Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London Painters, as well as the Business Of Fashion daily to keep in sync with the industry.
My sisters-in-law and I dance and sing away during the dinner prep, as we listen to Spotify mixes of old school Russian songs, rock-n-roll, classics, and disco hits—accompanied by a glass of champagne.
Our days here are quite busy, but when we do find the time to watch something; it’s usually documentaries—anything produced by Ken Burns being a favorite.
WW: What are you cooking?
LAH: I make a lot of last-minute Spanish omelets but have been cooking from Ottolenghi’s book, Simple, and Sky Gyngell’s book, Spring, which she very kindly gave me on one of my last nights out before lockdown.
KS: The Daylesford farm is one field over from us, so we are being spoiled with their organic produce—veggies, meat, and amazing quality fish. Ottolenghi’s Simple and Gwyneth Paltrow’s cookbooks are our go-to. We get fresh eggs daily from our own chickens and have a little herb garden too. I rarely cooked before the lockdown, but now I’m absolutely in love with the process and it’s such a great feeling of serving the dinner and observing the whole family enjoying it.
WW: How are you staying connected?
LAH: We have daily zoom meetings, WhatsApp calls, and my family in America and I make a big effort to face-time as often as we can.
KS: It’s an oxymoron really that now when we must be socially distant, it just brought us closer to each other. My parents, brother, and sister all live in Moscow, so I spend so much more time on video calls with them. I do Zoom parties with my girlfriends weekly and have numerous WhatsApp group chats with a very heavy meme exchange. It’s great to have that spare time to reconnect with the people I love and miss.
WW: How are you staying creative? Are you able to make work at this time?
LAH: We have been able to work every day remotely over Zoom. Even though our factory was closed for a brief period, there is so much else to be done, planned, researched, and really thought about. So, having a pause gave us a really good opportunity to come back to our roots and really nurture our ideas.
KS: The pressure of the fashion calendar has subsided, and it allowed Lily and me to go back to the roots of our brand and vision and dedicate this time for research. We are exploring artisans and dying crafts all over the world and thinking of ways how we can help them in these difficult times. The situation is actually a much-needed pause to reboot, look for ways to improve our business practices, and really make things different once we come out of the lockdown.
WW: Where are you finding hope or inspiration?
LAH: We have been able to spend so much more time researching and learning. I have spent a lot of time looking through my collection of art books and my historical jewelry, textiles, and craft books have found enormous inspiration in my friends who all do incredible projects. We have been thinking a lot about how to work more collaboratively with some of these friends and about how to share these resources and ideas with our community.
KS: Every change is difficult, and it takes a lot of effort to adjust, so I see hope in that change, as it makes you think outside of the box and create ideas out of necessity. I really believe that humanity will better itself during this time and become more considerate of our planet, compassionate to each other, and will remind itself that we should be grateful for the big and the small things in life. This is what really inspires me and serves as the light at the end of the tunnel.