All posts by Linda

An Interview With Lesley Rose

With hair as bright as the fireworks we’ll experience this coming week, it seems appropriate to welcome onto the blog this week, the glamourous yet, down to earth Yorkshire lass,young alternative model Lesley Rose… whose face and body have graced many magazines plus an occasional appearance on telly …  it’s great to welcome you onto the blog, Lesley!
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Hi! I’m Lesley Rose, 22 year old Alternative Model from Leeds.
Have you always wanted to be a model?
No actually! Not at all! I actually wanted to an Advertising Art Director when I was little, oh how things change!
Just  a slightly different career path for you then!  You’re not just a pretty face though – you’ve just enrolled into university to study BSc (Hons)Psychology (Child Development).  How are you managing balancing your educational needs with your model aspirations?
It is difficult, I won’t lie, but I’m a good planner and I have a little diary that I carry around with me everywhere I go. I’m at uni 3 days a week and only in the mornings, so I have the afternoons for reading and then the other 4 days are for shoots, appearances etc. I never really have a day off! 
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You are billed as an alternative model, so have you been on any unusual or strange modelling locations? Or have you had any strange/unusual modelling experiences?

I actually did a shoot last year for a concept called ‘Asylum’ which was basically me with messed up hair, makeup, and wearing a straight jacket! I’m quite a collected person, but those things do send you a little bit loopy after a while! Other than that I think it’s been pretty tame for me! OH! Goodness I almost forgot, I shot a music video for an artist called Pirupa and in that I had to be topless with an animal mask on, that was fairly strange!
To date, what has been your most favourite photoshoot?

My favourite photoshoot. Goodness, that’s a tough question! Each photoshoot is different and each photographer brings an element of fun to the shoots.  My three top photoshoots have been with Grimbo, John Gardner and Rowan Murray. I couldn’t pick just one that would be unfair!
Is there any style of photoshoot /modelling / famous photographer that you would like to try that you haven’t yet experienced? 
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Well, I have lined up shoots with photographers that I haven’t dared contact just recently, Magic Owen, James Dekker and I’ve been speaking to Melanie Titus and Scott Cole, to work with all of them would be an absolute dream for me. I’ve always wanted to do something more raw as well, it’s hard to explain, but if I see a picture of it then I totally go ‘OH THAT’S WHAT I LIKE!’ haha!
Have you any favourite models whose style/attitude you admire? 

I have tons! I love Lusy Logan and Jade Allison as a pair because whenever we’re together we bounce off each other and we’re silly and it’s all smiles and laughs. Misa Rose is my little pint sized beauty and if I could put her in my pocket, I would! Lauren Brock is my drinking buddy and I love that we can just meet up, have a laugh and have a drink and have fun! I love all the girls at my agency because they are all so down to earth and that’s something that I would say is the most attractive character in a model.
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Your beautiful colourful hair can be called your “Trademark” … is it hard to maintain? 

Oh god yes! It costs me around £250 every two months just to get it done, never mind the products and treatment, styling time,etc. I love it though, and I’m going to hate  having to change it when I become a Child Psychologist!
You have some gorgeous tattoos – have you got a favourite?  Any stories behind them?
My favourite is my finger rash. You can’t see it in any of my pictures but it means a lot to me because me and my best friend from Leeds have the same one and I adore her. Her name is Tara and she has a little boy called Darwin, who I absolutely love and we’ve been friends for years. 
You recently held a coffee event with your friend in aid of the Macmillan charity – our local school also hosted a coffee morning event for the charity too.  It’s a cause close to your heart and I hope you raised a lot of much needed funds.  Was it a success and did you bake any cakes or goodies yourself?

Yes I did! With my friend Vanessa. We raised over £1100 and it’s a cause close to both of our hearts given her father passed away due to cancer as did my grandfather, so we wanted to do something to give back, and also to break the stereotype of what  people think models are like. I baked some amazing Gold topped brownies! But nobody bought them because everything else was better. I’m slightly bitter, but all my friends enjoyed eating them…for free…
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Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing when not modelling?
I live in jeans and hoodies. Literally, that is it. A pair of jeans, a top and a hoodie. On the rare day I wear shorts, but I’m not flashy about how I dress, because my hair is so flashy!

 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Abandon Ship Apparel do some amazing unisex clothes, Cartel Ink have some awesome tees and vests on the theme of being tattooed, Devine Delinquents do some awesome accessories that I adore too.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Well, I’ve just got a Barbour Jacket and some Leather Ugg Boots which I really wanted for winter so really I am SET!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots – purely because you can get away with the heel being higher without risk of breaking your neck! I have over 40 pairs of shoes back at my mum’s house in Leeds, so I’m a huge shoe lover!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter  etc so that readers can follow your modelling career.

Yes! Twitter = @misslesleyrose;  

Facebook = www.facebook.com/lesleyrosemodel 

Website = lesleyrose.bigcartel.com

Thanks for having me!
You’re very welcome Lesley, it was a pleasure!  We wish you the best of luck in your future career whether as the stunning model or the flamboyant child psychologist! I’m sure you’ll succeed whichever path you take.
Linda x
Images in the Jack Daniels Tee are by John Gardner – 
All others are by Emma Shamaya who owns her own studio, Shamaya Studios 

 

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An Interview With Masato Jones

This week I’m really excited to welcome onto the blog Masato Jones… I discovered Masato (and Mike, his partner) on Twitter this summer and fell in love with the Masato London designs.  I bought a fabulous shirt dress, and although in my photo I’m modelling it with buttons done up, it is so adaptable to many different looks and the colours are just fab!  If you want a real bargain, and are a size 10, check out their sample sales at the end of each season – you won’t be disappointed! So, without further ado, hello and welcome:The_fashion_designer_Masato_Jones_in_2013-e1380092156872

Hi! I’m Masato Jones originally from Tokyo, Japan, I came here to learn English in 2003 and never went back home except to visit. I originally was a hair stylist in Yokohama and Tokyo and developed a taste for fashion whilst in Brighton and applied for Central St Martins. They liked my designs and in 2005, I started my degree and graduated in 2009 after a year out with Giles Deacon.  I developed my partner’s surname to mix the Masato (my real name) with Jones and the label Masato London is both of us (myself and Mike) with my designs at the label’s heart. I’m work focussed, I rarely party – I’m more content talking to someone over dinner than a fashion party. 

imagesHave you always wanted to be a designer?

Yes, I loved the variety of the designers especially in my first home in the UK –  Brighton -the mix of what people wear in this city, it is so cosmopolitan and such fun ! I now live in London (since 2005). 

What do you like best about being a fashion designer? I know that a lot of your designs have been influenced by your Japanese heritage,so what else has given you inspiration?photo copy

The chance to create something a woman can wear, whether she is 17 or 70 and recently I’m developing menswear, although without investment, it’s costly to cross over completely.  Japanese heritage does creep into my designs from the shape of the kimono to the western style. 

Do you enjoy the buzz of the fashion shows? Do you get nervous beforehand? How far in advance to you prepare for the fashion shoots?

I love the fashion shows, especially the public ones we have developed through public investment of our social media audience assisting us, so it is important for me to show to the public rather than a closed show to media and the fashion buyers, although they are very important too. I do get nervous beforehand – the day before and backstage, as each collection is different, you are only as good as your last collection, so it is nerve racking as you don’t know what the reaction is going to be. We have to prepare 4 to 6 months ahead, this is due to gaining the right venue, fashion show, etc. I still work as a creative pattern cutter for Giles certain times of the year so this has to be scheduled in also. 

images-6Have you a favourite fashion show location?  Is there any location where you’d love to see your designs strutting the runway but haven’t physically done so yet?.

Yes, for me New York would be an amazing fashion show location as would St Paul’s Cathedral or Kew Gardens. I also like the idea of an empty factory – this gives you a blank canvas to work with and present art from other artists. It’s such a struggle to be in the right place at the right time and the right place at the right time should be happening at the right times more often. 

Have you got a favourite out of all you’ve designed? images-5

There are so many- there is an early design from 2009, Kimono jacket & Dementor dress from 2012 collection, the gold cape coat,  Mint fishtail and Poppy dresses from Spring 2013. 

Who would you like to see parading around in your designs that haven’t done so as yet? (as far as you know!!)

Kate Winslet, Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Amy Adams, Carey Mulligan. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I’m a typical designer –  I wear clothes from charity shops mainly, also clothes that have been sent to me, but I’m very casual. I have a Michael Kors pair of cords that I love, I always wear Puma and mix designer with high street. 

photoDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Uniqlo, Zara, Charity shops such as Shelter, Cancer Research, Oxfam. Online shop.masato.co.uk of course lol

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

I will go where my feet take me, I rarely get time to myself except Easter and Christmas usually, so it’s probably going to be Pretty Green, Zara, Uniqlo, Bershka, John Lewis, John Rocha. 

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes, not so much boots, more trainers Converse or Puma, you are either an Adidas fan or Puma – I’m a Puma fan. I had a trip around their factory in Nuremberg, Germany last February – that was cool. 

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about your products.

www.masato.co.uk 

blog : http://masatostudio.blogspot.co.uk/

Twitter : masatostudio 

Facebook : http://www.facebook.com/masato.jones 

Pinterest : http://pinterest.com/masatolondon/ 

Thank you for a fabulous interview Masato ..and we wish you continuing success!

Linda x

Photo Credits: Photos published with kind permission from Masato Jones; Adam Hobden Photography; Linda Hobden

 

 

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An Interview With Hotel Pelirocco

Rock & Roll seems to be definitely alive and kicking in the county of Sussex. Travelling to Hastings this Summer, I encountered 50s style diners/music venues en route, and Brighton attracts a nightlife that makes it the destination of choice for music fans of every genre, appealing to all ages and orientations! Add to that the vintage shops, trendy hair salons etc … the place is really buzzing! It seems appropriate therefore to welcome onto the blog this week, Mick Habeshaw Robinson, co founder/owner of the unique and exciting Hotel Pelirocco, England’s most Rock ‘n’Roll hotel situated in the pulsating heart of Brighton. Welcome Mick!mickpick

Hi! I’m Mick Habeshaw Robinson, co founder/owner of Hotel Pelirocco and a fan of Rock’n’Roll. As a hotel, we are truly independent and proud. In a more and more bland and corporate world we like to stand out and be unique. Customer service, I think is also important – we genuinely love this place and our guests! 

Hotel Pelirocco has been dubbed England’s most Rock ‘n’ Roll hotel,  so where did the inspiration come from?

The idea came about 14 years ago now, back then there was no other hotels, that I was aware of, that catered for a younger contemporary crowd, who wanted to stay up late, listen to music, in a relaxed hotel environment and get up late for breakfast possibly in their pyjamas and no one would mind!

Have you always been in the hotel business?

No, it was in at the deep end! I think when you go into a new business with no pre-conceived ideas, you have a fresh outlook which brings new ideas.

Do you enjoy running a hotel, especially one as flamboyant as Hotel Pelirocco?

Absolutely,it’s fun! It’s changed my life , and I’ve met most of my record collection!!

PlayRoom2All the rooms are decorated & furnished in different themes – I love the look of the “Play Room”, definitely the ultimate “dirty weekend room” !!! What room tends to be the most requested?

Hands down the Playroom then Betty’s Boudoir, people want to have fun!

A lot of thought has gone into decorating & furnishing the rooms just so!   Was it difficult getting hold of the knick knacks?

Initially the drive of getting the place off the ground kinda sourced everything, it was fun finding relevant stuff.

If you had another room to create into a “Hotel Pelirocco” what theme would you turn that into?

There are tons bubbling under – all secret…..

Sounds intriguing…

You have a range of Hotel Pelirocco merchandise.  What item sells the most?

T Shirts and Coasters.

Your hotel offers a variety of “Extras” for your guests to enjoy -boudoir photoshoots PoleDancein the rooms, cocktail classes, a karaoke room,naughty erotic hampers, massages & reflexology, classic afternoon cream teas, private DJs, burlesque performances…. so, what “extras”are most requested?

A razor ha ha!!

Obviously your hotel & the rooms are a great backdrop for photoshoots  – what’s the most popular room used for photoshoots?

BettysBoudoirThe Playroom and Betty’s Boudoir.

Name drop time!! Have you had any celebrities stay at your hotel?

Lots, only like to mention bands rather than individuals, Beastie Boys, Primal Scream, Scissor Sisters, Rizzle Kicks….

Which famous person would you love to stay in your hotel – who would leave you totally starstruck!!?

Bowie, Weller , Lydon,  Ice T…

Your legendary bar hosts gigs, book readings as well as being renowned for its cocktails – I just love a pina colada (not very adventurous, am I?!) – what cocktail is THE most requested? What’s your favourite?Bar

Named after the Sex Pistols – The Dirty Fuckin Rotter!

As well as running this fabulous hotel, “Pelirocco Platters” broadcasts twice a week on Brighton’s community RadioReverb.  What’s your musical taste and what sort of music do you get to broadcast?

I love everything, well apart from X Factor rubbish, Old Punk, Soul, Acid House but new music still excites me.

How did you get involved in broadcasting/DJing?

I was asked onto a show as a guest and thought I could do that.. I have also dj’d at parties for years

 SoulSupremeOn a musical note, my first album bought with my first ever wage packet after leaving school was Human League’s “Dare” … so what was yours?

I started young whilst at junior school, my brother got me into Bowie so I bought the Ziggy album.. all thanks to him.. Thank you Geoff ( R.I.P)

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Into clothes big time.. sometimes im a bit modernist, sometimes a bit of a rocker, I tend to like bits and pieces of all different styles.. on a non smart day – converse, straight jeans with turn ups, hoops; smart day- Westwood shirt, white jeans, bass weejuns..

 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

Present in London or vintage/ Ebay

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?Cardi1

Always Westwood, if I can afford it, they do some great loafers at the mo…

Boots or Shoes?

ONLY  Converse boots! I LOVE SHOES!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about your hotel.

www.hotelpelirocco.co.uk
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Pelirocco-Platters
Blog: http://hotelpelirocco.tumblr.com/
Podcast: http://www.mixcloud.com/PeliroccoPlatters/

Thanks Mick – brill place, brill music taste too! Next time, readers, if you’re heading for a weekend away in Brighton pay Mick and the Hotel Pelirocco a visit – you’re sure to have a WOW of a time!

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from Mick Habeshaw Robinson

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An Interview With Sarah G Cosmetics

drama queen lipstickThis week I’m talking make up with the gorgeous Sarah, founder of cosmetic company Sarah G Cosmetics and make up artist extraordinaire! With many years experience in the cosmetic industry, Sarah has a strong knowledge of what women want when it comes to makeup which led her to create Sarah G Cosmetics an innovative,high quality brand. The brand’s theory tells us that makeup is ageless; it is one size fits all and should be attainable to all walks of women, bringing colour to skin of all colours. Sarah likes to keep the packaging understated and let the products do the talking. The products are manufactured in the USA using extremely sophisticated scientific and pharmaceutical technology. They are not tested on animals. The range consists of everything from primer to pencils and all other essentials combined with trend led seasonal products and innovative breakthrough products, keeping up with the ever competitive cosmetics market. Above all Sarah’s main ambition is simple, to make women feel beautiful.sarah g cosmetics shoot pallette

So, let us talk to the lady herself…welcome Sarah! What was the inspiration behind setting up Sarah G Cosmetics?

I decided to take a break from the cosmetics industry and go down the fashion route. I opened a ladies boutique, however a year in I realised how much I missed what I had now discovered was my true passion – makeup. I looked into stocking makeup within the boutique and the idea snowballed from there to create my own line. As much as I enjoyed my fashion jaunt I realised my heart was in makeup more than anything else and so I gave up my store, launched a website and began the journey with SGC.

Have you always wanted to be in the make up beauty industry?

Ever since I was in my teens I wanted to be a MUA. I got my first job with MAC and my determination to have a place in the cosmetic industry grew.

What make up products seem to be most popular currently?

blush palette openThe most popular products right now seem to be palettes, whether it be eyes, cheeks or face. The customer is getting more looks for their money and it enables them to experiment and create multiple looks from one product. By far my best seller is my Face Kit which contains 4 versatile shadows/highlight a contour/bronzer powder and a suit all blush, its gorgeous! Of course glitter is always popular for party season SGC has some pretty amazing ones!

I love your lip glosses! All the colours! What’s your favourite make up item from your range?

I have to say my favourite item from the range is my concealer palette, a must for gorgeous flawless skin, hand in hand with this a gorgeous blush can do wonders for your complexion, so I have to say my Baked Mineral Apricot Glow is a must for luminous skin.apricot moulin rouge

What do you think will be the dominating makeup colours this winter? 

The dominating shades for this season are browns, burgundys and plums for lips; for eyes, dramatic, graphic liner and full lashes are bang on trend.

What plans,if any, have you got to extend your range of products?  Any new products in the pipeline?

I am always looking to expand the line! For next season expect bold colours and skin perfecting products.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Little MermaidSince most of my work involves a computer, my shopping is mainly done on line. I love Asos! The quality of their items are so good, I dont think I have bought anything from there and been dissappointed. I love a rifle through Primark also for seasonal trends.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe/ bag wish list?

Next on my wishlist for winter is a pair of dressy knee high boots, I havent seen any so far but I am thinking an old school vibe style in black patent…

Boots or Shoes?

Clue in the previous question… I am a boot girl! I just love boots, ankle, knee high, thigh high, I love them all! I feel like a good pair of boots will go with any outfit, dressy or casual.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Sarah G Cosmetics

https://www.facebookcom/pages/Sarah-G-Cosmetics/162057843849505

Thanks for a fabulous natter Sarah…I love the fact that you are a fellow boot lover like myself!  I must say that your new eye palettes for this season, Sarah, are to die for … check them out peeps … bright jewel colours just ready for partying as well as the other delights Sarah has on her website!
Linda x
Photo Credits:  Photos have been published with kind permission from Sarah G Cosmetics.
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An Interview With Sukki Singapora Part 2

In September 2012, I  interviewed on this blog, the little known Singaporean burlesque star… and now a year later, Sukki Singapora is well known as the globe-trotting Burlesque Queen, next in line to Dita Von Teese’s “Burlesque Throne”. With a dedicated fan base (who refer to themselves as #teamsukki) and a World Tour under her belt, it’s been great following her success as a Burlesque star …. as well as an international role model. So, it’s with great pleasure that I welcome once again my gorgeous friend onto the blog to chat about her year… 
Hi Sukki! Your debut Burlesque performance was in 2011, and I was fortunate enough to interview you in September 2012 …. so, what made you want to become a Burlesque performer in the first place?Sukki Singapora Singapore Burlesque by Trixta Photography
I’ve often talked about how I entered into burlesque – from my upbringing in classical ballet to a discovery of vintage fashion, which in turn led to a discovery of burlesque – but perhaps less so the why. I suppose it was because when I was growing up as a child of mixed race, it was hard to fit in to any one culture. In my teens I discovered vintage fashion as an outlet for this and a way of “belonging” – of course then you hear about burlesque as the two tend to go hand in hand. I fell in love with the art and glamour of it all.
Congratulations on being nominated  for London’s Asian Women of Achievement  Awards in 2013!  Being a role model for Asian women & The Arts is such an achievement in itself… and not forgetting your Royal Invite to Buckingham Palace too!  What was your Royal Day like?
Sukki Singapora arriving at Buckingham Palace Burlesque view 1Why, thank you. The day was wonderful, and it was an honour to be greeted to such a reception. I was shown around on a tour by Master of the Royal Household near the Queen’s quarters, and then sat down for tea and cake from the Royal Bakery. It was my first time in Buckingham Palace, and I was enamoured by just how luxurious the it was. I believe I’m the first burlesque performer to be invited for tea, so it was certainly a huge compliment. Aside from the showbiz and glamour side of the day, I just hope that it help promotes the message of my Society and makes a difference to those who struggle to follow their creative dreams.
 
Could you talk us through the outfit you wore on the day?Sukki Singapora arriving at Buckingham Palace Burlesque view 2
I had the great pleasure of wearing a bespoke dress by one of my favourite designers, Kiku Boutique of Manchester. My heels were by a Singaporean company called Charles and Keith, and I accessorised with Clogau diamonds from the Welsh Gold company. I was acutely aware that it was a moment in history, so I wanted to do that moment justice!
After 5 years of being away from your beloved homeland of Singapore, you returned this year to promote Burlesque!  How did you feel and how was your reception?
Sukki Singapora AWA Awards Sponsor BoardI honestly felt overwhelmed and moved by the reception back home. It was hard not to get emotional when I met some of my fans who’ve supported me the whole way, and knew of my political struggle. It’s still not something that is widely accepted, so to receive an applause after greeting some of my Burlesque Society members and students brought me to tears. It was a difficult moment, but one which I’ll never forget. It’s why I’m inspired every day to push myself further, so that one day I can say I was the first Singaporean to perform Burlesque legally in Singapore.
 
You’re known for your elaborate sparkly costumes… and you’re currently working alongside the awesome Will.I.am‘s jewellery & bling team to create some new pieces for your new Sparkle for Singapore Act!  I’m impressed!!! So, how did you get to work with those awesome fellas and have you managed to meet THE man himself?
I was actually contacted by the designer who founded the celebrity brand, a woman called Bella. A lot of her clients are based in Asia, so I was extremely humbled to be approached by her to represent the company. The moment it became real was when one of the pieces was delivered to my house and I’ve never seen anything quite so exquisite. I love Will.i.am‘s work, so it was a pleasure to be able to work with his team. I’ve not yet met him, but I tweeted him a hello the other day. You never know, it could be on the cards for next year…
Apart from your Burlesque shows & Society, you’ve featured in numerous Corporate Burlesque Entertainment Booking Sukki Singaporaphotoshoots and appeared in several high profile ad campaigns. Do you enjoy modelling? 
I adore modelling. It’s great to be able to do both the live shows, but also to take a moment to create an incredible set, get the lighting just right, and then capture that vision like a work of art. It appeals to the side of me which loves to create that look of unobtainable beauty and glamour.
You’ve been doing an awful lot of travelling lately around the world – where have been your global highlights this year? Any place you haven’t visited that you would love to visit for pleasure or business?
Sukki Singapora Asian Burlesque Singapore All Asian ShowReturning to Singapore was most definitely a highlight, however it was also a joy to be able to tour countries such as Japan. I’ve always wanted to visit Japan, and it didn’t disappoint! The fans there are some of the most wild! In terms of where I’ve not visited, I always said at the start of my journey into burlesque that one day I’d be performing in shows in Las Vegas, so next year will be a landmark year for me in that sense.
Looking ahead to 2014 – any plans in the pipeline that you can reveal to us?
I’m trying to keep next year a surprise, however I can reveal that I’ve been secretly filming pilots for several TV appearances… you’ll have to wait and see!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I like to mix my style depending on my mood, as well as incorporating talented individuals to design wardrobe pieces for me. At the moment my favourite pieces are from Armani and Kiku Boutique. My favourite shoes have to be heels.. of all shapes and sizes. I love crazy graphic heel shapes, or platforms which look like they defy gravity. Cubism chic!
What’s next on your shoe wish list?
At the moment designs by Charlotte Olympia and Nicholas Kirkwood are catching my eye. I’ve a soft spot for his lace courts. 
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes! Although as winter in the UK approaches I may be converted!
You can follow and keep up to date with Sukki via facebook: www.facebook.com/SukkiSingapora Twitter:www.twitter.com/sukkisingapora or via her website: www.SukkiSingapora.com
If you would like to read Sukki’s September 2012 interview, press here 
I’ve really enjoyed catching up with you Sukki and I think Las Vegas will be mesmerised by you….!! 
Linda x
Photo Credits:  Photos have been published by kind permission of Sukki Singapora
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An Interview With Tiffany Wright

Tonight I’m really pleased to welcome onto the blog, journalist and author Tiffany Wright, who has written for some of the top fashion magazines including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Company, Elle … and has a novel out called “Somebody Else’s Shoes”… so,without further ado, welcome Tiffany:The Proposers

Hello, I’m Tiffany – journalist, author and Proposal planner (WHAT? I hear you say? Don’t worry- I’ll tell you more about that later!) So, how did I become a writer? Well, I suppose it all started when I was doing work experience for Marie Claire magazine. I was surrounded by clothes, accessories and shoes (ahh, the shoes!)and I felt like I had discovered my spiritual home. I ended up working at Elle for nearly a year, before landing a job at Company magazine where I became their Senior Writer. I  lived out my magazine days writing about relationships, interviewing celebs and spending hours in the fashion cupboard lusting over every pair of shoes that came in. I  eventually left Company and headed ‘down under’ to write for Cosmopolitan magazine in Sydney where I  became their ‘Sex and the Cosmo girl’ columnist. Ooh, that was fun!  Whilst in Sydney, I  decided to write a blog where she wore a different pair of shoes every day for a year. I  did it, and has the blisters to show for it! The blog swiftly turned into an idea for my  first novel “Somebody Else’s Shoes.”

So,spending time in Sydney, writing for Cosmopolitan mag,  and being their “Sex and the Cosmo Girl” columnist  for nearly 2 years, what city would you say is for the single woman, Sydney or London?! 

310406_2465651754962_1062301386_2787766_859163210_nDepends on the sort of men you are after!! If you’re after the sporty surfer types with freckled skin, sandy hair and muscles galore then I’d definitely head for Sydney.  However my husband would kill me if I didn’t say that the best sorts of men are from Ireland (Yup, I bagged myself a handsome irish man – how lucky am I?)

You’ve been a journalist/writer for some of the top women’s magazines in the world – Company, Grazia, Elle, Glamour, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan to name a few…is there any magazine/newspaper you would love to write a feature in that you haven’t already?
I’ve been really fortunate in that I have managed to write for most of the magazines and newspapers I really admire. I think my desire to write for certain magazines changed with age – when I started out I was desperate to work for Company (my fave magazine at the time) and then as I got older I wanted to write for the top glossies like Grazia and Marie Claire. I suppose if I had to pick one magazine that I am yet to write for then it would have to be American Marie Claire –  any excuse to head over to New York and write whilst sitting in Central Park!
Bit of a nasty one but…. which magazine(s) do you read most often?
As part of the job, I have to read every magazine out there! It’s so important as a journalist to know what is going on in the magazine world, so you’ll often find me in newsagents grabbing every possible magazine off the shelf. I am, however, a complete sucker for Celebrity gossip mags – but at the moment I get to call that “research” as my next book is set within the world of celebs and glamour. 
 
What was the inspiration behind the creation of your debut novel “Somebody Else’s Shoes”?Thillnew2
I was writing a blog whilst in Sydney where I was challenged to wear a different pair of shoes every day for a year (it’s a tough life!) Unfortunately I couldn’t afford to buy a new pair of shoes every day so I ended up borrowing friends and families. Suddenly I realised that I was getting to actually experience what it was like to walk in somebody else’s shoes for the day – and that is where the idea was born.
 
What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors? 
I’ve just been blown away by JoJo Moyes “Me Before You.” It really is one of those books that had me laughing out loud and sobbing at the same time.
Are there any new novels planned?  Are you sticking to the same format or going to be trying something different?
The current book I am writing is a real jet setter of a novel – we have characters flying across the globe to LA, Switzerland, Paris, Cannes and Whistler. It oozes glamour, expensive perfume, fur coats, designer sunnies and lots of badly-behaved men.
You are such a busy bee, but your love of writing shines through!  Tell me a bit about your Online Writing Courses…. what was the motivation behind that idea?  
I run an online course for people who would like to write for women’s magazines called “The Stiletto Bootcamp.” I decided to start running a course after receiving at least 5 emails a week from wannabe journalists asking me for tips on how to get into magazines. in the end, I decided what better way to help than share my experience with an online course! So far it has gone really well – all of my students have gone on to be published in top magazines and some have even landed full time jobs. I’m so proud of them! The course runs every month for 6 weeks. As it’s online it can be done from anywhere in the world! You can find out more about it here: http://www.tiffanywright.co.uk/courses.php
Not forgetting your Be In The Media Agency, that focuses on selling real life stories to magazines, newspapers and TV shows… have you had any memorable/unusual stories that have gone via your agency that you can tell us about? 
photo-45
Oh wow…that’s a great question. To be honest, most of the real life stories that have been published are pretty memorable – from the controversial ones (I interviewed a woman who admits she only sleeps with married men) to the heart wrenching ones (a woman whose boyfriend forced her to dig her own grave.)  I think my favourite story of all time has to be a guy who left his wife and married his dog. I kid you not.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Having worked for fashion mag (Elle) I am afraid I am hopelessly obsessed with shoes. For my wedding present my sister bought me a pair of Louboutins (BEST SISTER EVER). They hurt like hell but I wear them everywhere I go!!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
I’m addicted to Net-a-Porter and ASOS.
Boots or Shoes?
Shoes. In fact, scrap that. HEELS. I can’t go anywhere without heels. They instantly make you feel more glamorous and as though you can take on the world.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!
p.s. You know I mentioned I’m a  proposal planner too? Intrigued? Check it out: www.theproposers.co.uk

Thanks Tiffany for chatting to me tonight – I look forward to reading your new jet setting novel and I wish all your ventures every success!

Linda x

All photographs published with kind permission from Tiffany Wright.

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An Interview With Kellie K Apparel

Image 3Strapless bras!!! Love them or hate them, there comes a time in a woman’s life when you definitely need them!  Finding the right sort of strapless bra is the key – some flatten your boobs, some are bulky that they become uncomfortable, some ride up as the night goes on (that has happened to a friend that wishes to remain anonymous!) and some fall down!  In a few months the party season will be upon us… those little black dresses and glitzy bandeau tops beckon …. and, yes, we need help ladies in finding that perfect strapless bra!  Kellie experienced the same problems, and as she stood in front of her wardrobe having a moan that her strapless bra didn’t look right in the drop dead gorgeous dress she hoped to wear …her husband took note …and the rest is history …so I’m really thrilled to welcome onto the blog tonight the Founder and President of Kellie K Apparel (and Kellie’s husband)… Dr Anthony Roy  and Kellie K Apparel’s VP of Marketing, Tara Clark…
Hi, please introduce  yourselves and Kellie K Apparel :Tony_Roy_Headshot_Square_compact
Dr. Anthony Roy, Founder and President: I founded Kellie K Apparel with the goal to provide all women with a superior strapless bra.  I’ve had prior experience in designing prototypes in the support of various multi-million dollar start-ups as a research engineer at Idealab.  I received my B.S. and M.S. from The Ohio State University, and my Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology, all in mechanical engineering.
Tara_Headshot_compactTara Clark, VP of Marketing.  I have over 10 years of experience in customer care and developing small businesses. Prior to Kellie K Apparel, I was the Senior Manager of Customer Care at SlideRocket, where I expanded to product scope from a small private beta to a large-scale operation with over 1.5 million users and acquisition by VMware.  I attended the University of Oregon, where I double majored to get bachelor degrees in both psychology and philosophy.
Kellie K Apparel launches our revolutionary strapless bras through our Kickstarter campaign on August 26th. Our American-made strapless bras are engineered to provide the necessary support and refined to deliver the utmost comfort. The patent-pending lining that keeps the bra in place without irritating the skin! Finally a strapless bra that women will want to wear.

What was the inspiration behind making your strapless bras in the first place? 

Kellie K Apparel started one evening when my wife was lamenting her lack of clothing options.  She wanted to wear a particular top that bared her shoulders, but didn’t want to wear the strapless bra that went under it.  When I asked her what was wrong with her current bra, she said she didn’t feel like having to deal with pulling up the bra all night.  When I said she should get a new one, she said it wouldn’t matter because she can never find a bra that is both supportive and stays up.
I set about making a crude prototype that consisted of me super-gluing the very first iteration of GeckTeck to one of the strapless bras my wife said wouldn’t stay put.  She tried it on and said it fixed the problem.  However, I knew I had truly struck gold when one night we were going out, and she once again wanted to wear that top which required her to wear a strapless bra.  Instead of using one of her store-bought bras, she grabbed the prototype I built and enjoyed a night of not having to worry about her bra once.  At that moment I realized I truly had a great idea for a business.”

Image 1The unique patent pending lining uses the same principles as geckos use to cling to virtually any surface – it must have been quite an “eureka” moment when you discovered that this gecko idea will help solve a nightmare when it comes to the world of strapless bras!  What made you turn to the gecko for ideas?

It was actually, it was the other way around. I had been aware of the gecko-inspired, wall climbing robots for years. The eureka moment came when I realized my wife had a problem of never being able to find a bra that stayed in place. Once I realized my wife preferred my crude first prototype over her store bought strapless bras, I knew this idea was a winner.

I wear quite a few tops and dresses that require the services of a strapless bra, especially as I’m a lot older and bigger busted than I was as a teenager when going braless under a camisole/ bandeau dress was not an issue. The bras look very pretty and not at all bulky – so who picked the material, look and choice of colours?  Did you have an opinion poll, or did Kellie state her preferences or a bit of both?  

Image 2Thanks! A bit of both. Our team at Kellie K is made up of highly trained individuals who have come together to create a cooperative bra that feels good and is functional with a variety of clothes.  We’ve explored LA’s fashion district to the get the right fabrics. We’ve worked pattern makers with decades of experience, and gone through tons of trial-and-error to make sure the fit was perfect. For the colors Kellie and Tara separately stated their preferences, then several potential customers were polled.

Apart from your strapless bras,have you any plans to introduce other items too?

Currently, we’re focused on creating the best strapless bra on the market. Of course, we’re always bouncing around other ideas.

Dr Roy, what other items have you created or have helped create a prototype, not necessarily in the fashion field?
One of the first pieces of complicated hardware I ever helped create was on a team that made an autonomous robot that could navigate an obstacle course. For my master thesis project, I created a two degree of freedom probe and haptic controller where a magnetorheological fluid would provide force feed back to the user when the probe collided with an object. For my doctorate, I used simulated evolution to generate robotic controllers based on neural networks. After school, made several heliostat prototypes, which are mirrors that track the sun to collect solar energy. I also made a refrigerator shelf that could tell when an item was almost empty and order more of that item, a case for an iPhone that could be plugged directly into a wall for charging, helped in the design of a giant ski-lift for electrical smart-grid technology, and this weekend I’m using a program I wrote to determine my draft picks for fantasy football! Some worked well. Many didn’t. But, we always knew very quickly when we had a winner!
These beautiful bras are American- made … so apart from the USA, will they be available to purchase in the UK, Europe and Australia too? Image 4

Yes, during the Kickstarter the bras will be available for purchase and shipped globally.

Dr Roy, what would you like to try to make that you haven’t tried as yet?

I had planned on making a program that could properly size a woman’s bust from iPhone pictures, but a group in the Bay area may have beat me to it! Continuing my doctorate work and making systems that could learn would be nice too. And I’m sure in a few months I’m going to be cursing that fantasy football program and wanting to make it better!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Dr. Roy- Shorts or blue jeans, and a t-shirt or casual button. However, my favorite shirt is one made for my former softball team, Base Invaders. It’s a great shirt!
Tara- Most of the time I’m in NY and Company Jeans, Banana Republic shirts and Naturalizers shoes. Since I have a toddler, if it’s not machine washable it’s not in my wardrobe.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Tara- I buy almost everything online. The delivery guy and I are on a first name basis.
Dr. Roy- I honestly don’t buy many clothes online! In fact, I haven’t bought clothes myself in a long time. Somehow, my wife took control of my wardrobe!
Tara- And she does a great job with it!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Tara- Either An incredible pair of shoes to wear to my friend’s outdoor wedding this fall. Or a pair of gray ankle boots.
Dr. Roy- Ask Kellie K!

Boots or Shoes?

Dr. Roy- Shoes. I live in LA and it never snows or hardly rains here, so there no reason for me to wear boots.
Tara- Can I pick both? All boots are shoes, but not all shoes are boots, so shoes I guess.
Fun Fact- The cowboy boots our actress Kamala wears in the Kicstarter video are her own. She wore them to the shoot and we loved them so much we included them in the video.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that my readers can follow the progress of Kellie K Apparel and start wearing comfortable strapless bras!

www.kelliekapparel.com/
https://www.facebook.com/KellieKApparel
https://twitter.com/KellieKApparel

Thank you very much for chatting to me at the start of what could be an exciting era in bra history … I wish Kellie K Apparel a lot of success and I’m sure you’ve not only solved your wife’s dilemma, Dr Roy, but solved the dilemma for women globally.
Linda x
Photo credits: The photographs above have been published with kind permission from Kellie K Apparel
PS  Whilst we are Stateside this week, Californian company Access Tattoo are offering readers of this blog a brilliant 10% off their tattooing products…just quote the coupon code!

 

Get 10% sitewide when you shop at Access Tattoo. Valid until October 2013!

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An Interview With Crystal Bridal Accessories

Summer is well underway here in the UK and weddings are in the air…my interview this week is with a fabulous bridal company that are definitely worth looking up if you have a wedding coming up later in the year or are planning your nuptials  beyond! I’ve been chatting to Amy of Crystal Bridal Accessories…Hi Amy! Please introduce us to yourself and your company:Amy_Karim

I’m the MD for Crystal Bridal Accessories, a mum of three girls aged 10 and 5 year old twins and I love shoes!

What made you start up your business?

I was working as an e-learning tutor on a local schools project and discovered I was having twins…I decided that I wanted to take a career break but as I am such a workaholic…I thought perhaps I would need a ‘hobby’ whilst on my break. I love jewellery and I adore shoes – the bridal industry is full of sparkle and glamour and all things beautiful…so this all combined to create Crystal Bridal Accessories. The aim was to create a one-stop shop for the best bridal accessories on the market so that brides can easily find everything they need to accessorize their bridal look!

Swirl_Pearl_Comb£45_model_shot_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukWhen choosing stock for your shop & website, do you have a set criteria or do you go with what grabs you at the time or a bit of both?

A bit of both really! I won’t put anything on my website which I wouldn’t wear myself…I really do believe in choosing only the best, most beautiful things and putting them all in one place together. Some of the criteria is based on current bridal dress trends and quality of the items – everything  has to be manufactured to a high quality otherwise I won’t even consider it.

You have your own exquisite jewellery range too – where do you get your inspiration from?

Ava crystal bridal belt mood shot_£249_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukThe inspiration for my Signature Collection comes quite simply from a mixture of gaps I’ve seen in the jewellery market over the years combined with vintage design! The backdrop necklace was my very first idea for my own piece because I noticed that there simply wasn’t anything so glamorous for brides as a back piece…all the other pieces in the collection are designed to mix and match so that brides can choose one piece – such as the Ava Studs – or add the Ava Necklace and Ava Belt depending on how much glamour they want to create!

What’s the most unusual item of jewellery you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?

The most unusual accessory I’ve designed is the Ava bridal belt…it is completely unique as it’s made entirely of crystals and a refreshing change to the other types of bridal sashes you can buy which are all set on ribbon or satin. The brooch with tassels and navette crystals gives it a distinct vintage edge which is all the trend nowadays!

To date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your website/ shop?

This would have to be our rose crystal trailing flower bridal brooch! 

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?Grace_Forehead_Band_model_shot_£55_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.uk

My favourite item is our own Grace Forehead band – I love the simplicity of it but it is still such a glamorous fashion statement!

You do a shoe dyeing service for the blushing brides & for other special occasions, so what has been the most popular colour in recent seasons?

Cadbury Purple and Fuchsia are always the most popular colours – but we have seen a trend for more peach / blush nude shades as well recently.

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Marina_exclusive_Harriet_Wilde_for_crystal_bridal_accessories_£419_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukI love my High Street brands…Zara, Mango, Aldo and Warehouse…but most of my shopping is done online…of course!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Asos…of course, Zara, Mango… and as I’m a mum, I love the French site Vertbaudet for their pretty kidswear!

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

Hmmm…very practical…but I’ve got my eye on a Knomo laptop trolley for my trips away 

Model_shot_Charlize_shoes_£299_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukBoots or Shoes?

OMG…shoes all the way! I’m not really a boots person…a pair of peep toe heels transform your look instantly!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about you.

Our website www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.uk

Join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CrystalBridalAccessoriesLtdSheffield

Follow us on twitter @wedding_queen

It’s been a real pleasure to chat to you Amy and your accessories are certainly exquisite…thank you for joining us.

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission of Crystal Bridal Accessories.

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An Interview With Janey Rosen

This week I’m so excited to be chatting to the delightful Janey Rosen, author of The Sebastian Trilogy, the trio of books that are rapidly making headway up the best sellers lists… Hi Janey, welcome to the blog …  JaneyRosenJune13

Hi, my name is Janey Rosen and I’m the author of The Sebastian Trilogy (Secrets, Dark Bonds and Retribution).  When I’m not making up stories and telling tales, I’m mum to 4 amazing children ranging from 6 to 21 years old!  I try and write when they are asleep.  I also run a business which cares for disabled adults, which I set up in 2005 having left nursing.  Overall I’m a busy bee.

What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Sebastian Series?
It was a story which came to me last summer, during a holiday in Brittany. The seedling idea quickly blossomed and I had to write it down.  
I know that the places you’ve visited in the South West helped to shape the settings of your novels, but what about the characters themselves?  Are they based loosely on people you’ve observed through people watching? 
SecretsCoverMarketing
Penmorrow was based on a crumbling manor house I visited in North Cornwall.  It is owned by a friend of a friend of a friend – a tenuous link which is why I got a huge buzz from sneaking around inside the amazing house, which has never been opened to the public (they would likely break their necks as many floor boards were missing!).  I loved finding the secret passage which led down to a smugglers’ tunnel.  With regard to the characters, I have often been asked on whom I based Sebastian … my husband likes to tell people that he is Sebastian … I like to tease him and say he’s Alan. My lips are sealed further than that.  There are bits of me in Elizabeth and friends who have read the books know which bits those are.  Similarly, a couple of friends recognised themselves in various chapters!
 
Have you got a favourite character?
I adore Scarlett – she is just so wicked!  I also like Ruth, Elizabeth’s BFF – nothing phases her, she is the best friend a girl could have.  I like Marcus least of all.  
 
I have still got my old English book from school where I wrote pages upon pages of stories – mostly about earthquakes & exotic countries, even though my only foray abroad at that time was a day trip to Boulogne in France! As a child did you write lots of stories with an ambition to be an author? If so, what were your stories mostly about?DarkbondscoverMarketing
 
Yes! Just like you, I scribbled story after story and recall boring my English class with regular updates on my fictional character, Ned, and his adventures.  Drawing and writing were my passion from a young age, I was not a sporty child, preferring to have my nose in a book or a pencil in my hand. Now, I love nothing more than making up stories with my daughter – our favourite are the adventures of Bowbelie and Maria, a girl and her fairy friend who lives in Oak Wood.  That mischievous fairy gets herself in trouble daily – usually I lead her astray, and my daughter finishes the story with a happy ending.
Reading is a minefield! … What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite books or authors? 
My early reads, as a teen, were the Flowers In The Attic series by Virginia Andrews.  Lately, my favourite authors are Stephen Leather (The Dan Shepherd series) and Peter James, both of whom write edge-of-your-seat thrillers and crime stories.  I also love ‘What Have I Done’ by Amanda Prowse.  I love trying work by new authors and believe in supporting indies.
 
Are there any new novels planned?  Are you sticking to the same format or going to be trying something different?
Yes! I am writing a thriller entitled ‘The Hidden Bride.’  It’s a story which has been rattling around in my head for nearly 2 years.  It’s entirely different to my ‘Sebastian’ novels.  I’m really enjoying getting inside the mind of the new protagonists – one in particular is intriguing to write as he is a hugely complex character.    
 
I belong to a book club – we are passionate about books and we do like discussing them over several glasses of wine! Do you belong to a book club? What do you think about the growing popularity of Book Clubs in the UK? 
Unfortunately not, but it’s on my ‘to do’ list!  I have a circle of friends who love books and we always suggest new books when we find a gem we love.
 
Is there a writing genre you would love to try and haven’t yet done so?
The thriller I’m writing is a new genre for me and therefore a new challenge.
Retribution Cover Marketing
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Monday to Friday I will always be found in a skirt, blouse or top and heels – the ‘boardroom’ look helps me to mentally shift from mother to business woman.  I have a weakness for dresses and own more evening dresses than I have have the opportunity to wear! Favourites are Sonia Pena and James Lakeland.
 
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Coast and Monsoon are my favourite high street shops.  I try and support small, local boutiques and am fortunate to have some great ones in the town where I live.  
 
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I have my eye on a fitted suit by Armani – I just need to work out how to sneak it into my wardrobe without my husband noticing 😉

Boots or Shoes? 
At 5’10” tall I struggle with high heels.  I’m envious of every woman who can wear Jimmy Choo or Louboutins! I own one very high pair of black heels but have yet to find the courage to wear them.  I love boots in the winter (Nine West are so comfy), and my Unze sparkly sandals as well as a black crystal pair by Sam Edelmam.

Links you would like to share:
Twitter: @JaneyRosen

Thank you Janey! I wish you continued success with your writing – I look forward to reading your thriller but in the meantime I’ll settle for a summer of good reading with Sebastian & Co…

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from Janey Rosen

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An Interview with Councillor Brandon Eldred & Northampton Shoe Museum

I adore Northampton Shoe Museum – it is a place worth visiting for both its shoe collection (2nd largest collection in the world, the largest being in Canada) and the attached art gallery is just as fine!  So, this week I’m delighted to be chatting to Councillor Brandon Eldred who is not only the councillor responsible for this gorgeous place, but an avid fan of the Museum too …so, welcome Brandon, please introduce yourself:Cllr Brandon Eldred

I am Brandon Eldred, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for community engagement.  Optimising the reach and appeal of the museum service falls within my remit.

Northampton Shoe Museum is totally awesome – I was blown away when I visited – caring for the largest collection of objects charting the history of shoes in the world is a big responsibility! Your staff have oodles of enthusiasm for their job. What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Shoe Collection?

The museum staff do indeed have oodles of enthusiasm and a real pride in what they do.  Northampton Museum and Art Gallery was founded on in 1865. The footwear collection was started in 1873 by Moses Philip Manfield, a Northampton shoe manufacturer, so that local workers could see specimens of boots and shoes made elsewhere in the world. Since then the collection has grown to include many examples of Northamptonshire’s shoe industry. We are still collecting today from all over the world.  The collection also represents the best of British.  The best of British includes current footwear manufactured in Northampton and the county, which we are immensely proud of.Union Jack boot, Shellys, 1978

What exhibition or showcase has been the most popular?

Our exhibitions appeal to a wide audience and there is always something going on to suit all tastes and interests. One of our most recent popular exhibitions was ‘If We Could Be Heroes’, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the iconic Northampton based company Jeffery-West.  Jeffery-West is creating some of the most exciting men’s footwear today, and the exhibition featured a selection of their shoes alongside quirky and beautiful objects from the museum’s social history, archaeology, geology and art collections – all chosen and arranged by the designer half of Jeffery-West, Guy West.  It was a visual feast for the eyes.Jeffery-West boot

I caught the Jeffery-West exhibition too and my husband started a love affair with Jeffery-West shoes ever since!! Have you got a favourite out of all the exhibitions/showcases?

I have to say I have real interest in the sports shoes. Through the generosity of external funding we have built up our sports footwear and sneaker collection over the last three years.  Today we have over 800 examples, which make the Northampton sneaker collection the finest in the public domain.  My particular favourites are a pair of signed David Beckham boots from early on in his career, a pair of motor racing shoes worn by Emerson Fittipaldi and the running spikes worn by Christopher Chataway. He wore these spikes when taking part in the four minute mile at Iffley Road in Oxford on 6 May 1954. The race included Chris Brasher, Roger Bannister and Chris Chataway and it was during this race that Bannister became the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier for the mile in a time of three minutes 59.4 seconds.Emerson Fittipaldi motor racing shoe

The facilities at the Museum are fantastic – it’s a valuable source of reference for budding shoe designers, a great place for modern shoe designers to showcase their talents, a history lesson for Northampton’s schoolchildren and it is a shrine for those who have a deep love for footwear – what do you feel is the Museum’s main purpose?

The museum’s vision is to generate and increase cultural awareness and aspiration in Northampton. Its mission is to provide the lead and be the principal focus for heritage, artistic and cultural interest for all citizens and visitors to Northampton. The overall purpose of the museum service is to provide high quality museum facilities, activities and opportunities that meet the needs of our diverse communities now and in the future.  Caring for the town’s many fine collections, including the boot and shoe collection, engaging with communities through education and hosting an ever-changing array of exhibition and events are our three main drivers.  We promote participation, innovation and life-long learning through the direct provision of services and by working in partnership with others.  The museum is also one of Northampton’s key cultural attractions that draws visitors from far and wide

When I visited, I was drawn mostly to the footwear of the 70s/80s – shoes of my “growing up” era!  What section do you tend to linger over?Elephant Boot, 1959

When my children were young they always wanted to look at the elephant boot whenever we visited the museum.  Even now I never resist the opportunity to see it when I pop in.  A boot for an elephant is quite something to see.  The Elephant Boot is one of four boots made by Lotus for the British Alpine Hannibal Expedition. The expedition aimed to recreate and track Hannibal’s route during his invasion of Italy in the 3rd Century BC. Although often disputed by historians, chroniclers reported that Hannibal crossed the Alps with 37 surviving elephants to take into battle.

The British Alpine Hannibal Exhibition asked the question: Can an elephant cross the Alps? Turin Zoo was generous enough to provide the non-geological materials.  Her name was Jumbo. Jumbo traveled 150 miles in 10 days from France to Susa in Italy. The result of the expedition’s experiment suggested that elephants can indeed cross the Alps. To protect Jumbo from the weather she had a canvas coat and trunk cover and made and a set of canvas and leather boots to protect her feet. These boots were made by craftsmen at Lotus Ltd using the patterns supplied. To find out the size of her feet the elephant stood on a large sheet of paper and someone drew round her feet. Unfortunately Jumbo was unable to finish the last eight kilometres of the expedition, as the track was considered unsafe.

Is there any footwear missing from the Shoe Collection that the Museum would love to add?

 The shoe collection is extensive and consists of:

  • Footwear – more than 12,000 items ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary design
  • Accessories – including buckles, laces, shoe horns, trees, spats, leggings and polish
  • Shoemaking tools, machines and components – including lasts
  • Retail trade material – including shop furniture, fittings and advertising material
  • Archive material – including trade journals, company catalogues, books and photographs
  • Fine and decorative art – including paintings and prints depicting shoes and shoemaking
  • Index of shoemakers and shoemaking firms – from the Roman period onwards
  • Index of concealed shoes – hidden in buildings to bring good luck
  • Specialist reference library

As you can see the collection is really extensive, but having spoken to the museum staff, I can tell you that we still have gaps we would like to fill.  We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who would like to gift or donate the following:

  • Shoes with stories – shoes that you worked in, met the love of your life in, wore on a holiday or took part in an extraordinary challenge in. The shoes might reflect exceptional or everyday stories
  • Designer shoes – in particular Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier, André Courrèges or early Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Celebrity shoes – shoes that have belonged to famous or significant people
  • Shoe catalogues, non-designer contemporary footwear, footwear from South America and items relating to shoe retailVivienne Westwood’s Super Elevated Ghillie shoes, 1998

Are the shoes/footwear donations or are they bought for the purpose of adding to the shoe collection or a bit of both?

We acquire items in many different ways, including donations, purchases and bequests. Not a week goes by without a member of the public bringing something into the museum or contacting us to offer an item or items for the shoe collection. We have also benefited from the generosity of local shoe manufacturers and national designers in donating examples of their current designs. Recent donations include footwear from Jeffery-West, Hotter and Prada.

 So what showcases/exhibitions at Northampton Shoe Museum for 2013 can we look forward to visiting?Nike Aloha trainer

We have a varied and interesting choice of future exhibitions for visitors to come and see this year. Our main gallery and shoe lounge are devoted to showcasing an ever-changing array of shoe exhibitions.   We have an exciting exhibition on at the moment that features Norman Walsh English Sports Footwear. Norman Walsh started out as an apprentice shoemaker in 1945 for J.W Foster & Sons. His outstanding shoemaking skills were soon recognised and he made the running spikes for the British Athletics team at the 1948 London Olympics including those worn by the winner of the 100m Alistair McCorquedale. In 1961 Norman founded the Walsh business on his own and became a specialist in making footwear for Rugby League and fell running.  Coming up in July we have an exhibition on Mod culture that explores all things Mod – the history, music and style. The exhibition ties neatly in with a concert by Paul Weller in July staged in the beautiful grounds of Delapre Abbey in Northampton. In October we will be presenting Strictly Northampton, which will look at all things dance orientated in the town.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook

www.northampton.gov.uk/museums

Facebook /northamptonmuseum

Twitter @northamptonShoe

Flickr

Thank you for the interesting insight into the Museum … I can’t wait to revisit very soon!!!

Linda x

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