Category Archives: Boots

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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An Interview With Celia Sawyer

I like to welcome onto the blog this week a lady who oozes sophistication, coolness, glamour and quite a lot of business savvy !!! She is the delightful Celia Sawyer from the Channel 4 TV Programme  Four Rooms, airing in the UK every Friday at 8pm …. make a note in your diary, electronic or otherwise ( yep, I still use my faithful filofax!).  A big, warm welcome Celia … tell us about yourself :Celia Sawyer 2

Hi, I’m Celia Sawyer, a self made multi millionaire business woman who has various businesses including luxury interior design, property developing, film investment, dealing in antiques and collectibles and TV star of Channel 4’s Four Rooms . I am also a mother of 2. 

How did you first get involved with the TV series “Four Rooms”?

I have an interior design business, and had seen the show as I also deal in collectables for my clients, so I saw an advertisement for the show asking for images of interesting objects, so I sent a photo of myself and said “How about me as one of your dealers?”

Great approach, Celia!

Celia Sawyer 3Have you had any unusual experiences whilst filming the programme? or any other funny anecdotes?

It is strange  when you look at items like Hitler’s toilet, you just cannot believe people have these items in their possession! Some of the dealers get quite competitive and the atmosphere gets a bit strained at times with everyone after one item, and we sometimes don’t speak for a day or so. 

During the series, have you come across any designs that have made an impression on you?  Have you “pinched” any ideas for your own home? 

The series is more about items, as opposed to designs, however I do get inspired by some of the more beautiful items brought on to the show and they give me ideas for my schemes.  I have the Road Kill Couture in my home on display! 

What do you like best about being a TV host?

It’s nice that people, who have seen the show, come to me for advice… I like to help if I can!

What role on TV would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet?Celia Sawyer 4

Mmmmm… an interesting question, but probably a role on TV that is inspirational and can give the public help to realise that “you can do it too” 

Any future plans in the pipeline that you can share?

Things in the pipeline that have to stay there for now I’m afraid, but you will be seeing more of me I hope! 

Oooh… Sounds good!… So, personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

Normally bodycon outfits… I like Donna Karan dresses and suits, Alexander McQueen jewellery, Burberry metallic macs. I train hard fitness wise, so I like to wear things to show my hard work off! Burberry boots, Louboutins and strappy sandles are my favourites, high and glitzy!  

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I love going to Harvey Nichols with the personal shopping team. They rush around for me and grab all sorts that I would never be able to find. I often look at Net-a-Porter online, but I really like trying on clothes first as I’m very fussy, so it’s often just for ideas! 

Celia3What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?

For someone to make me something outstanding for my next TV debut – sexy with some great long boots to match!

Boots or Shoes?

I love both.  Firstly, winter time I live in boots, either Burberry long ones with very high heels, my vintage 60s platforms (10 quid!) or my Louboutin ankle boots. In the summer I love strappy platforms, something unusual like my new Gianvito Rossi sandals which change colour in different light.

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

Twitter @celiasawyertv.

 www.celiasawyer.com

 www.cool10.co.uk

Thanks for a fascinating interview … those Gianvito Rossi sandals sound awesome Celia! Don’t forget everybody, tune in Channel 4, Fridays at 8pm!  

Linda x

Photo Credits:  The photographs have been published with kind permission from Celia Sawyer.

 

 

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Cherries & Berries – An Interview With Dolly Does Vintage

IMG_0899This week I’m interviewing the delightful and talented Maxine from Dolly Does Vintage. Welcome Maxine, please introduce yourself:

I am Maxine Day, unfortunately aged 48 years old, have been with my lovely husband Brian for 30 years, and am truly blessed with my beautiful family, Candy and Ryan.

What was the inspiration behind making your aprons?

Dolly Does Vintage is named after my dear nan, Dorothy May Cooper, who was referred to as Dolly by her friends. She is my inspiration, she had a hard life with 6 children, in which she brought up alone, however this did not break her spirit and she worked hard all her life, amongst many things she was a cook in a boarding school, and always seen with her pinny on. The idea was swirling around in my head, with my love of the 40s & 50s events, dressing up and enjoying the music, it seemed to be the right thing for me to do. Whilst I put it off through illness, I felt her on my shoulder always nagging me to get on with it and just do it, so I did!

Apart from your aprons,have you any plans to introduce other items too?IMG_0909

At the moment I have just kept to aprons. Occasionally I get a family request for something else, however I want to keep within my limits to give the best service I can to people, unreliability is not an option! All are cut from an original vintage pattern adjusted to my designs. I use original vintage fabrics, along side modern quirky designer fabrics. I try to only use retired one off pieces to give that originality to each apron.

What has been your favourite item to date that you’ve created?

I love making the aprons, all are my favourite. Each time I finish one I say to myself I will keep this one, this one is mine, however I have to be strong and part with them, although I have kept a couple…

IMG_0690What  would you like to try to make that you haven’t tried as yet?

I want to make myself a 50s beach playsuit for my trip to Viva Vegas 50s convention next year, if I can squeeze it in with everything else.

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

I love all clothes, new or vintage, I love to dress vintage at events, and I mix vintage with new for everyday. Shoes are my weakness and have more pairs than I should. Around 100 pairs Tut tut…

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I am an eBay addict; I search for hours to find my vintage fabrics, and one off remnant pieces. I love charity shops, with a mixture of a little bit of Zara.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?IMG_0761

My wish list is one thing and has been for a few years: A classic pair of black patent leather Christian Louboutin heels. One can only wish!

Boots or Shoes?

Boots and shoes – both are important. Whatever the outfit wear the correct shoe. Shoes can make or break an outfit, dirty & scruffy and the outfit is ruined, classic & classy gives you a fantastic look and makes you feel great. Boots are both practical and can be fun. I love my knee high suede black boots, classy practical heel and a sexy look.

IMG_0681Links:

Facebook Page: Dolly Does Vintage
dollydoesvintage@hotmail.co.uk
@dollydoesvint
Thanks for a fabulous interview Maxine …. around 100 pairs of shoes…WOW!  
Linda x
Photo Credits:  Published with kind permission from Maxine Day
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Paisley Love – An Interview With Aasen Stephenson

424300_335863973131091_188850434499113_1092796_744810175_nThis week I’m interviewing the totally awesome Aasen Stephenson – the fabulous tattooist/engraver whose talents grace the leather of the fabulous Jeffery-West shoes – ahead of the upcoming Jeffery West event at Selfridges in London (15 – 21  April) where Aasen will be showcasing his talents in store and if you pop in and buy a pair of the equally fabulous Jeffery – West shoes, he will engrave them for you there and then.  How cool is that?! Aasen will be in the store from 12pm – 7pm from the 17 – 21 April.   So, let’s meet this guy! Hi Aasen, welcome to the blog! Please introduce yourself:

My name is Aasen Stephenson and I am a designer/maker based in Northampton.
Your engraving on Jeffery West shoes is exquisite – where do you get your inspiration from?
Exquisite! Thank you!  You mean the inspiration for the designs I do on the shoes?.. these come from the customer ideally..but if they get stuck I’m there to help with anything and steer them the right way if I can.. but I have done some of my own designs.. engraving using a tattoo gun .. well it’s easy to just do classic tattoo designs onto the shoe..which look great I mean..but for me I always try and think of ideas that could sit on the shoe and look part of the shoe rather than something thats been stuck on if that makes sense?.. the skull paisley design is a popular design is one I have done…most of my designs I guess are inspired from the arts and crafts movement..William Morris etc… I use it alot with my papercut work..so it was just a natural step to use my designs and just engrave them instead…46347_10152161519945048_1609820002_n
Your paper cuts are also totally awesome – have you had any requests for strange/unusual designs?
Thank you.. yeah the papercutting has taken me to some great places..that’s what I love about it..it’s so simple..yet you can do so much with it.. a little while ago I cut a piece for someone ‘Will you marry me ?’ he hid it along a walk he had planned and  proposed to his  girlfriend with it…  I have cut big wedding pieces…and verses for funerals..and lots of designs for babies…so births, deaths and marriages..I cover it all! Ha ha… I have also cut paper dresses… book designs..record designs.. magazine pages..portraits… I am always trying to push what you can do with it.. I love the medium..As for weird and the strange..I guess anything you give the customer a free reign with ..well it can end up being crazy…I’ve had some great poems I’ve had to cut ..usually from men to their loved ones.. some crazy stuff  they write!….
71702_10152551787530048_1167069703_nTo date, what has been the most popular engraving/tattooing you’ve done?
Hmmm ..well most people stick to their names on the shoe..it’s a safe bet and you can keep it small… but on the other end of the scale the paisley design covers the whole shoe and has been really popular…wedding dates have always been popular too  I guess….
What’s your favourite artwork/engraving to create?
Well, I love it when a customer has their own ideas..and come in with a particular logo they want doing.. and are so excited..I guess for some people it’s like getting that tattoo they have always wanted..but been too scared..I guess with the shoe tattoo it puts them through the same process… but not getting it done on their skin…487858_10152634990065048_1036444508_n
Jeffery- West footwear are simply the one of the best designers/manufacturers of men’s shoes in the world, if not the best – so tell me, what’s your favourite Jeffery- West footwear?
Bloody hell ,where do I start?.. it’s hard to look around the store and find something I don’t like! The new collection is amazing! I’d wear them all..but I guess my favourite from the new collection is the Marriot Balmoral boot…and the monk strap and triple strap…shoe
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Well, I’m always in the studio at the moment working and with a new baby its rare I find time to get out and put something smart on..  so at the moment it’s skinny jeans..some JW shoes..and usually a band t shirt I guess…
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 
I love shopping… and love to look around Westwood or other designer shops…but always love vintage shops and charity shops and markets… you never know what you will find… thats why I love it…
Boots or Shoes?
I love them both… sorry it’s a poor answer..but it depends on the outfit… I love a good pair of boots…. but then a nice pair of shoes can look great… ha!
Links you would like to share:
I’d love everyone to check out Deathhouse on Facebook, www.aasen.co.uk… and of course check out Jeffery West!
Thank you Aasen – you definitely have a great talent and I’m so pleased to have interviewed you!  I look forward to seeing lots more of your designs in the future …
Linda x
Photos published with kind permission from Aasen Stephenson.
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Showstoppers – An Interview with Natacha Marro

photoThis week’s guest is the gorgeous, charismatic and talented shoe designer Natacha Marro…

Welcome Natacha, please introduce yourself:

My name is Natacha Marro.

I’m from Nice/France and moved to the UK in 1991, then started at Cordwainers College/London in 1992.
Have you always wanted to design footwear?
No, I started with Interior design, then fashion design and finally I found Cordwainers College in London, so then I changed to making shoes.
What do you like best about being a shoe designer? 
Shoe design is my ultimate passion, so I like every aspect about it!
What was the inspiration behind your “heel – less” creations?
IMG_2363
To create the perfect silhouette.
What has been the most unusual shoe you’ve designed?
Where do I start!! Probably the most unusual one was to make a pair for a funeral – for the person that was to be buried! 
Personally, I LOVE all your boots – but what’s your favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?
My favourite would be the “Ice Cream Shoe”
photo-69
Who would you like to see parading around in your designs that haven’t done so as yet?
IMG_2996
I’m quite lucky with lots of gorgeous women wearing my shoes – but I wish it would be more men!
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
For everyday I have my Ankle Boots Wedges, either in Glitter or Red patent! – my favourite colours are pale Blue, Red and Gold and I am crazy about Snakeskin – my turquoise Snakeskin Wedges are another favourite at the moment!IMG_2534
The thing I don’t wear is plain Black – only Black & White polkadots!
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Topshop and Vintage shops in general.
What’s next on your clothes/shoes wish list?
The metallic leggings by Margiela! And stretchy leather boots!
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely boots! Open boots for the summer, long and closed ones for the winter! Never sandals!!
I like that the boots are holding me and are accentuating my small ankle – I don’t like to show the skin on the feet!
Links you would like to share:

 

 

Thanks Natacha!  I love your views on boots …me to a T as well !! 

 

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from Natacha Marro

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Birds of a Feather

Welcome onto the blog this week my gorgeous and talented friend Lisa Goddard, whose cute ‘n’ cuddly owls and foxes have brought delight to many youngsters …Hi Lisa, please introduce yourself:

me_sewing_close_up

My name is Lisa and I have been designing and making owls, foxes, raggy dolls and decorations under the name ‘Daisy-Doodles’ for approx 4 years.

What was the inspiration behind making your rag dolls and cute owls?

I started by making bunnies, owls and small decorations for my own children and for presents.  They were so well received that I decided to have stalls at local events, and set up an online shop.  Over the past few years my repertoire has increased and changed, the foxes and dolls seem to be the most popular items. I made the first rag doll for Mimi (my youngest), she still takes it to bed every night along with the original Miss Foxy as she calls it!

I collect vintage fabric and trimmings and love scouring car boots and charity shops to find them.  I then use them to make the outfits for the dolls, it’s great to gauge people’s reactions when they see fabric that reminds them of their granny or their childhood.  Many a doll has been sold because she’s wearing a dress that brings back memories.  The owls are great to make because I get to use lots of different fabrics on each one, they are all totally unique.
foxes_owls_and_dolls_pic
Have you been asked to make anything unusual?
I have just completed a commission for a pair of foxes wearing bling, to be given as gifts to a real life Mr and Mrs Fox.  They were so pleased with them that they themselves have asked me to make another pair, this time wearing festive outfits ready for  next Christmas!  I have also recently made and sold out of tweed moustache brooches!
What has been your favourite item to date that you’ve created?
I always enjoy making the first one of anything.  I love getting the ideas, sketching them out, making the pattern and then see it come to life.
What  would you like to try to make that you haven’t tried as yet? 
That is such a difficult question because I don’t have enough hours in the day to make the things that I have already planned out let alone the things that I haven’t thought of yet!1
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
My style tends to be quite casual.  I nearly always wear leggings (gasp!) with a tunic style top and a brightly coloured/patterned cardigan.  I like to accessorize and have lots of bold necklaces and rings particularly when I find myself wearing all black. I live in my black leather DUO boots, flats for daytime and wedges for evening.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Being of a certain size, the high street can be quite restrictive.  I often shop in TKMaxx as they stock larger sizes and the clothes are more individual.  Online (and when in London) I love Gudrun Sjoden.  The clothes are pricey but the fabrics, colours and cut of the clothes are fabulous.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I am on an eternal search for a pair of wedge evening shoes ( animal print or black suede) that are wide enough yet comfortable and don’t slip off.
Boots or Shoes?
Definitely boots because then I can get away with leggings and longer tops.  Comfort all the way!
Links you would like to share:
My website address is www.daisy-doodles.co.uk  having a major overhaul in the next few weeks so don’t be put off.
You can follow me on twitter  @ daisydoodlesx
Like me on Facebook:  Daisy-Doodles
Thank you very much Lisa for chatting to us!  As always, join the facebook group Boots Shoes et Al  (press the icon) for pictures to drool over, sell your unwanted shoes, buy some bargains and generally chat to other likeminded shoe addicts!
Linda x
Photo credits: Adam Hobden Photography;  Alex Palmer ; Lyst; Amazon UK; Lisa Goddard
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Laced Up And Netted

A little bit of sauciness this week as  I’ve interviewed the fab “Bad Girls” photographer Claire Seville … so are you ready for your dose of sauce?

On my blog this week  is the sexy and talented Claire Seville, “Photographer For Bad Girls”. Hi Claire, please introduce yourself!

I’m Claire Seville and I take pictures of wonderful ladies!!! I love retro, vintage, pinup, latex, chocolate, fast cars, and dancing till my feet hurt!

What made you want to pursue a career as a photographer?

I used to do a little modelling when I was younger and I kind of fell into to in naturally. I also enjoyed art and being creative and photography was the one outlet that got me hooked.

What has been the most unusual photoshoot request you’ve had ?

Recently I had a shoot with SINderella Rockafella and she wanted to create a cobweb bra out of liquid latex and I had to paint it on for her, that was a pretty unusual experience, I got right into it though and amazed myself that I actually did an ok job!

What has been your favourite photoshoot to date?

I absolutely adored shooting Masuimi Max, she’s such a doll and we had a real good giggle through out the shoot. I was a bit nervous to begin with as I had admired from when I was modelling myself, but she’s so lovely the nerves soon went. We’re getting together again next year and I can’t wait to work with her again.

I love your catchphrase ” Photography for Bad Girls ” – but, if you were given the chance, who would you love to photograph? Who would be your ultimate “Bad Girl”? 

Madonna!!! She has such a great attitude, she doesn’t give a crap and loves to shock, she’d be amazing to shoot as I think she’d be up for pretty much anything. There’s loads of other models I’d like to shoot too, Bizarre did a shoot with Vivi Stirling and Fae Raven, they looked smocking hot together, I’d love to get my hands on the pair of them.

What style of photography would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I’m hoping to do some erotic art next year, I have lots of ideas I want to try out. I rarely move far from the sexy stuff, it’s what excites me!

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

I’m a real chameleon to be honest, I wear dresses, shiny leggings, leather, denim, high heels, wedges, high tops, dr martens, creepers, always got a slight rock chic edge though. I wear a lot of black.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Topshop has been pretty good this season and suits my style. I’m not really a label kind of girl although I do have some beautiful Vivienne Westwood pieces. I recently brought some suspend leggings from Black Milk Clothing which were cool. Pinup Girl Clothing, Doll Chops Clothing, Kreepsville 666, Kissin Bombs Design all have some mega cool stuff and you can’t beat a bit of latex Psiclone make a lot of custom stuff for me.

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

I’d love a 80s classic rock style fringed leather jacket, haven’t found one I like yet though.

Boots or Shoes?

Do I have to choose? lol I wear a lot of boots but for the right occasion it’s got to be heels, providing I don’t have to do too much walking!

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

Thanks Claire!  

Linda x

Photo credits: Claire Seville

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Metallica the Trend

Metallica …it hit the fashion runways in both 2011 and 2012 but didn’t make too much of an impression …then along comes 2013 and metallica comes alive for both men and women! This time the trend seems destined to stay throughout winter, spring and into summer – especially as Summer 2013 looks set to have the colour white as a main fashion colour – because, combined with white, golds and silvers enhance a tan quite unlike any other colour.  Back to winter and spring though – gold and silver combined with black and greys glamourise an everyday outfit and although the party season may be over for some, there is no reason not to strut your stuff at the local club in some sparkly wear. There’s nothing more sexy than throwing on a black leather biker jacket  over a little metallic number, adding some heels and your weekend is sorted.  This year though, metallic colours are not just limited to silver and gold – explore copper rose/coral (fab as a top teamed with khaki shorts or chinos), metallic beiges ( brightens up an “ageing” colour!) and oyster pink ( beautiful wedding alternative). It is not just sequins either – satin (a la 1970s/1980s), dyed leather,lurex knit, silk mix metallic materials, and even fine silk twill laminated with a thin layer of foil!  2013 most certainly has arrived in a bright and shimmery fashion!

Time for a chat – I’d like to welcome to the blog this week Alex from Seventh Circle Artworks … Hi Alex, introduce yourself:
Hi, I’m Alex Palmer, owner/designer/maker at Seventh Circle Artworks.
What made you want to pursue a career as a jewellery craftsman?
I studied sculpture and fine art at college and have played in various bands over the years, so combining the two creative elements seemed like a natural thing. I made my first piece for the US metal band Saint Vitus and sold all 25 limited edition rings in just one day on their merchandise stand at a Dutch festival. To be there with them, watch them play, and generally have a great weekend of rock n roll because I made some rings is about as much incentive as I need to want to do this professionally!
What has been the most unusual jewellery request you’ve had ?
Nothing too unusual as yet but its early days! I have made a ring for someone with the words “Life Is Too Short” engraved in large gothic style lettering around the outside. It was for a guy who had been going through treatment for cancer for the past year and wanted something to remind him that indeed, life IS too short, don’t waste a minute of it. Not unusual, but a beautiful piece to be asked to create.
What has been your favourite jewellery piece to date?
My favourite piece would have to be the celtic torc I made for the singer of Saint Vitus, Wino. We had talked for a year about it but finally confirmed it with only 2 weeks before he arrived for one day in London! That kind of piece would normally take around 6-8 weeks, but the pressure really helped me pull it off. From the hand carved wolf heads to the hand twisted silver wire torc itself, it’s the one piece I genuinely did not want to hand over to the client.
Where do you get your inspiration from when creating a jewellery piece?
If it’s a custom piece I like to find out something about the client first in order to get a grasp of where their inspiration comes from. For my own work, generally the darker things in life inspire me. Skulls, occult symbols etc. Music also has a big influence on my work. Depending on what kind of piece I am making I will listen to something like ACDC for the more rock n roll edge or maybe some doomier underground stuff like Amber Asylum to get that extra bit of atmosphere to the piece.
What style of jewellery would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet?
I’d like to try designing jewellery with precious/semi-precious stones as the centre piece of the design. I am hopefully going to be working on a collaboration with French based Oblivion Jewellery next year which will fulfil that goal. We already spoke a few times online about ideas and we both come from a similar music related background so I’m quite excited about what we can come up with.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing ?
Haha!! Not something I usually get asked to be honest with you! Pretty old school rocker in that sense, denim and leather! I can always rely on my New Rock biker boots and Lee jeans without fail.  
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
There is a great handmade leather stall in Camden market where I got a cool wristband from a few months ago. They are really interesting guys and happy to talk about what they do with you, and go the extra mile to make you something you want. There are a few stalls and shops like that in Camden, you just have to search for them.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
More band t-shirts I imagine! I’m a sucker for buying shirts at gigs.
Boots or Shoes? 
Boots without a doubt. They are comfortable, hardwearing and as a big 6ft guy they are chunky so suit me better than shoes. And because they simply rock!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Alex…don’t forget to check out the fabulous Twins of Evil Torc Bangle and the Stone Dead Forever Skull Eternity Ring, as pictured – great ideas for Valentines Day!

Linda x

Picture Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Marie GC Photography; Zuleika Fray;Alex Palmer

 

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Man Up!

Happy New Year!  Welcome to the first blogpost of 2013 – a post almost entirely dedicated to menswear!  I’m talking this week with the Man about Town himself, Bret Hollywood.

Bret Hollywood  is an American/British Television personality and MMA ring announcer. He has worked for most major MMA promotions across Europe and the Middle East including Cage Rage UK’s Ultimate Challenge, Cage Warriors, Cage Contender IFPA and others. He has hosted the Miss Great Britain Pageant, several charity events, was featured on the Sky Atlantic show “The Guest Wing” He is known for his flamboyant dress and his trademark catch phrase “It’s Go Time”. He has been seen on live and pre-recorded televised MMA events in more than 70 countries! 

So, Hi Bret! How did you first get involved with Mixed Martial Arts in Britain?

I moved to the UK in 2007, and was married to my British wife Julia in 2008.  Needless to say I didn’t have many friends coming here from the US.  I have always had some form of martial arts in my life and on the way to work one day I noticed a sign that read “Unity Martial Arts” I thought to myself “hmmmm that would be a great place to meet some other like minded guys.” I looked them up on the Internet and found that they had Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes. I called and spoke to the instructor who actually turned out to be world-class champion. We had a chat and before I knew it I went in to check it out. The day I got there, he was in the middle of an MMA session, and the guys in the room were all big hitters!  They all held championship belts and had fought on some of the biggest shows in the UK. I got talking to one of them called Denniston about wrestling (which is where my background is) and he invited me to come to an afternoon sparring session. My very first ever MMA session was really more like a school yard beating! It was AWESOME!!! I’m still not sure if I’m game or stupid, especially at first! I would stand in front of anyone! That day I was absolutely killed! I broke my nose, got KO’d and learned why you should always keep your hands up! From there I was in!! Denniston and I became very close friends and before long I was managing him. Through him I made a lot of really good contacts into MMA. After a few months, I got my first invitation from a promoter.  He asked to MC his upcoming show, KAYO MMA because of my American accent. That show was televised on The Active Channel and from there it just sort of took off! Before I knew it, I was getting calls from all over the country and have never looked back.   I have now announced hundreds of shows all over the world and have been part of both live and prerecorded television broadcasts.  I have hosted my own weekly television chat show, and even stepped into the cage myself and had a fight for the Katie Piper Foundation.

Have you had any unusual experiences when you’ve been MC/Ring Announcer /TV host or as an after dinner speaker?

Hmmmm. I suppose there have been quite a few “Unusual experiences”  I can remember once when a fighter entered the cage and he was very excited to be there.  It was his first fight.  He began bouncing off the cage walls (you know, like a wrestler would do) and breathing really loud.  The cameraman looked at me and began to giggle, and it started me giggling too.  This poor guy was getting ready for the first fight of his life and we were all giggling.  I then had to stare down the barrel of the camera and announce him and try not to laugh. I have had production guys telling me jokes in my ear when I was doing a live broadcast, less than accurate information and all sorts.  At the end of the day I just try to be the most professional guy in the room and do my best.

You are known for your flamboyant clothing style, so,what has been your favourite outfit/jacket worn whilst hosting?

That’s a tough one!  I have a gold sequin jacket that I had made for me by Sir Tom Baker.  It is one of my favourites!  I had it made for a show I was doing in Amman Jordan.  I also have some gold Jeffery West boots to match.   This was probably the first really amazing outfit I bought.  It was a big deal for me because the show was in an exotic location and the promotion was gaining notoriety and I just knew that the crowd there would love the gold. I have others that I am really fond of as well.  I have another sequin jacket from Tom in black, and a red lame’ jacket with skull lining (also Sir Tom Baker) A black DJ with a big diamante skull on the back… its hard to pick one that is my favourite.  I also have boots to match them all!

What do you like  doing best – MC, ring announcer,tv host or after dinner speaker? 

I guess my favourite part of my job is the crowd interaction.  If it’s a fight night, there is nothing like stepping into the cage at the beginning of the night, the lights down and the buzz in the air…I step into the middle of the cage, The spot light hits me, I say “Gooooooooooooooooooood Evening!” and the crowd responds!  Then when it comes the main event of the evening, I announce the fight using my catch phrase, “Ladies and Gentlemen… IIIIIIIIIIIIIIIT’S GO TIME!!!!  And again, the crowd responds! I absolutely love it!  After the shows there is always an opportunity to meet fans, take photos and just chat in general.If on the other hand I’m hosting a dinner event, the atmosphere is a bit different, and I like the intimacy of a smaller crowd and the opportunity to spend more time with the attendees.  I love chatting to people I meet, and if they are fans, its even better.  I know sometimes some people are a bit shy about talking to someone who may be in front of the camera or on TV, but I don’t ever want anyone to be shy about approaching me.  I love chatting with fans!

What role would you like to try that you haven’t tried as yet? 

I wish I could sing!  I would love to be a singer!  The trouble is I couldn’t carry a tune if it had a handle on it !

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

Seneca said “We live not according to reason, but according to fashion”  I love that quote!  I think clothes say a lot about a person.  I tend to go for more in your face rock and roll stuff!  I love to stand out (as if you couldn’t tell already) I get a lot of stuff custom made and have very few stores that I go to. 

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Yes, as you can tell, I am pretty particular about the things I wear.  I tend to do most of my shopping on Jermyn Street in London. Favourbrook does fantastic velevet jackets and waistcoats; New and Lingwood also do great waistcoats and lots of amazing skull stuff. I tend to get most of my shirts from Duchamp, or Etro, I love Blaqua in Carnaby Street for cufflinks, I have an amazing vintage Cavalli suede jacket that I just love and John Varvatos does some cool stuff too but more casual! I tend to be impulsive about jewelry, whenever I see something I like I will buy it.  I wear a lot of rings on my microphone hand, because I think it adds something to the close-ups for TV.I get most of my jackets made for me by Sir Tom Baker (no, not the Dr Who guy, the London bespoke tailor).  Tom is one of the coolest guys I know, and he dresses the most rock and roll rock stars in the world!  He has made suits for Robert Plant, Martin Gore from Depeche Mode, Keith Flint from the Prodigy, Alice Cooper, Dave Stewart, David Hasselhof and of course me, Hollywood! I love the whole process of getting something made for me.  There is nothing like getting a bespoke suit handcrafted for you! I get all my shoes from Jeffery West.  In fact, with the exception of trainers, they are all I wear in or out of the cage!  I have about 30 pairs of shoes and boots from them.  Again, their shoes and boots can be seen on all sorts of rock stars and TV personalities.  Jeffery West designs shoes [that are] my style and I get a lot of attention because of them.  In fact I wore a bright red pair to a live show once and there were so many comments that night on Twitter that they actually trended.  I love it when stuff like that happens! From that night on, Jeffery West shoes have been one of my trademarks in the cage.  I even have a fantastic pair of silver skull encrusted Jeffery West boots that were made for me by the fab Milly J Shoes.  (In fact they now reside in the Northampton Shoe Museum)

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

Why a new pair of Boots of course !  I saw a preview of a new pair that Jeffery West is releasing in their next collection and I cant wait!  Other than that, I sometimes get an idea or a picture in my head of an outfit and then will go and try to get it made.  I always have a head full of ideas so I’m never short of things on my wish list.

Boots or Shoes? 

I always wear boots! In fact I even tweet a picture of my boots every day “the view from my desk”.  Of course I do wear shoes when I have meetings or am delivering presentations in my day job (The corporate world isn’t quite ready for Hollywood)  I just prefer boots and cannot find shoes that are as edgy as the boots I typically wear.

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

You can find my fan page on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/HollywoodBret

 Twitter @HollywoodBret

And of course my website is http:// hollywoodmc.com

Thank you Bret and I hope you like some of the ideas I have highlighted! Don’t forget, ladies, keep in touch with the latest footwear and accessory bargains and styles by following the facebook group BOOTS SHOES ET AL  – just press the icon.

Linda x

Photo credits:  Jeffery-West;  Bret Freeman; Adam Hobden

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A Night At The Museum

It was a cold but clear night. Travelling from the wilds of the Essex salt marshes to the heartland of England’s shoe industry – Northampton – went myself and my husband, on Friday 23rd November 2012.  Our destination was the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery home to the world famous shoe collection – the second largest shoe collection in the world (the largest being in Ottawa, Canada), no less.

We had been invited to the Press and Celebrity Private Evening Viewing of the fabulous collection of Milly J Shoes and I had been looking forward to this evening for weeks!  Milly couldn’t have picked a better place to launch her exhibition – Northampton Museum is “Heaven on Earth” for shoe lovers and I fell head over heels in love with the place as soon as I stepped over the threshold. As well as shoes, the museum also has a prestigious collection of Italian and British artworks, including work by John Collier and David Hockney.  But let’s get back to shoes….as I was saying, the ground floor of the museum looks at shoe fashions, shoemaking and the significance of shoes and in the comfortable Shoe Lounge, currently exhibiting until 6 January 2013, is the fantastic artwork shoe creations of the delightful and unique Milly J.

Milly J Shoes – one-off art to wear shoes and shoe sculptures are unique and the work and creativity that goes into each and every item needs to be seen in the flesh, photographs cannot do them justice. I found myself looking at each and every shoe with awe and wonder – I have seen them before in photos on Milly’s website – but up close…well, the details blew me away!! The shoes are works of art, no doubt about that, but wearable too …and ever since Jodie Marsh stepped onto the This Morning’s set in her “teapot” shoes designed by Milly J …other celebrities and non celebrities have been clamouring to own their own unique pair and be part of the Milly J Shoe  Envy Club.

So, which were my favourites?  I loved the Red & Black Vampire Diaries court shoes that matched the dress I was wearing that night…but they are owned by a lovely lady called Emma, who won’t part with them (understandably!) I also had a crush on the green lace up army boots …little army figures climbed up the heel and around the shoe …they would look fab with my jeans although my husband did point out that one trip and the little man at the front would probably come to a sad end!

 My husband Adam loved the boots made for TV personality and MMA Announcer Bret “Hollywood” Freeman …they started life as a pair of Jeffery West white boots and with a little magic from Milly they have been transformed into boots full of skulls! Designer Guy West (Jeffery -West) also admired the transformation! (Jeffery – West are also exhibiting their 25th Anniversary exhibition in the adjoining room until 9 February 2013 – to the delight of my Adam and Bret who had a quick mooch around that exhibition too!)

Bret “Hollywood” Freeman opened the proceedings with a toast to Milly J and her achievements in just less than a year.Milly J presented to the museum a special exhibit called the Tap Shoe – this was a shoe in a black/white check (reminiscent of traditional bathroom tiling) with a tap and plug on it….hard to describe but it is a fab piece of artwork….

 

Milly J is certainly a talented lady …apart from wowing us all with her creative shoe artworks, she is a lovely chatty and friendly lady with a proud, supportive and equally lovely fiancé Mark, and her main forte is actually being an actress and classically trained singer …and she blew me away with her fantastic rendition of In The Summertime ...it was just a fantastic evening and the fabulous cupcakes with edible shoes on them also deserve a mention … these were provided by Cuppies ‘n’ Cream …delicious Natalie, thank you.

So, here are some of the gorgeous Milly J Shoes creations…made with lots of love…

Wedding boots with a difference…and the Birdcage…

Liquorice All sorts …Breast Cancer Awareness Shoe..

For photograph enthusiasts…these were another favourite of mine…

Oranges…ideal if you’re feeling fruity…

At the Cafe – look at the detail – menu board, tablecloth, crockery…

Rubik’s Cube…

Secret Garden…

Another pretty one…ladybirds and roses…another favourite contender..

 

 

Dotty Tea Pots..

 

 

 

 

 

These have removable candles on the front with faux flames …

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And now I’m pleased to welcome to the blog the unique lady that is Milly J. Hi Milly, I really enjoyed meeting you and seeing your creations close up… so please introduce yourself ..

I am Milly J, aka Emily J, the shoe artist

Your shoe designs are amazing! Where do you get your ideas from?

My inspiration comes entirely from my belief in what is possible. I do not hinder myself and I am not scared to take a risk and surprise myself. I am from a theatrical background and this has put me in good stead to truly go out with an idea and see it to the end process. My skills in communication, my love of surrealism, my upbringings abroad, culture, society, anthropology and food. Though what really inspires me are the people that come to me. By talking to them and building a rapport of what makes them tick is very important. By having a hook in any form of work, your work will breath life.
In your opinion, what has been your wackiest design?
To be honest, to me I know that those that perhaps are more “middle” of the road would see my designs as “whacky”, though it’s when you read the titles and start to understand the meanings behind the shoes, they make complete sense. Though in terms of un-conventionalism, I’d have to say, the Mad Hatter’s teapot. Not just due to the actual design, but also due to the whole psychology of the Mad Hatter Character. A totally bonkers entity that sees elements where perhaps elements are not apparent. I took this mentality and tried to create this through a shoe.
Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?
Yes, the Guardian Angel Shoe. This shoe was created almost straight after the passing of my brother. It is a shoe that is steeped in sensitivity,  based on “real” situation that is so very dear to me. A shoe that speaks of taking flight and letting what will be rest.
What do you like best about being a shoe designer?
The uninhibited nature of being an artist is so very liberating. Be able to realise that art is simply what works. Being able to create for not just yourself, but others too. The non selfish aspect of designing is so very special too, sharing your work with the world.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing  ?
I am at heart not someone who is hindered by what the market perhaps may subtly tell us to wear.Like my work, I like to be free in the notion that there are so many possibilities for me to fit in to. So it could Boho, Rockabilly, preppy… what ever works for me.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
I love etsy. As it’s an avenue where you can really enjoy hand made creations that are created by fellow artists and designers, from the heart. None of that manufactured, processed malarky!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I want to own a really nice Boho coat. I already have one, but another wouldn’t hurt! The type you can find in Camden. With silks and embroidery that speaks of craftmanship and skill.
Boots or Shoes?
Any works for me :-). I after all am a shoe person full stop. I love demonia boots to look at but I also love a dainty shoe to ponder over.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc
Thanks Milly …it was lovely to meet you …and don’t forget if you are in Northampton pop in to that gem that is the Northampton Museum and be mesmerised, as I was!!! In the meantime, check out her website and have a look at all the other creative works not shown here…Milly J surprises me daily with new creations!!! 
Linda x
Photo Credits: Adam Hobden Photography; Linda Hobden
 

 

 

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