Category Archives: Bridal

An Interview With Crystal Parade

A bit of sparkle and razzmatazz on the blog this week – Crystal Parade  is the UK’s premier partner and supplier of Preciosa Crystals, Swarovski Crystals, and Crystallised Swarovski Elements – as well as supplying fabrics, feathers, fringes, crinolin and motifs for use in the theatre, TV, film, events, fashion, bridal and theming industries, among others.  I caught up with Wendy Miller, the Managing Director, to find out more about her sparkling inspiration and her passion for boots!

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Hi, my name is Wendy C. Miller. I’m an entrepreneur, Director/Producer of Musical Theatre, and Managing Director of Crystal Parade. I enjoy acting, gardening, singing, travelling, and spending time with close friends/family.

Crystal Parade was awarded the Feefo Gold Trusted Merchant accreditation this year. What was the inspiration behind Crystal Parade?

The inspiration behind Crystal Parade was to essentially collaborate with the Creative Arts sector in a closer way. Having a certain amount of knowledge, experience and a great passion for the industry, my desire was to build an online business which could add further value to the marketplace by providing high quality products, specialist advice, innovative ideas and excellent customer service.

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Your main areas of speciality are providing all kinds of Swarovski Crystals, Preciosa Crystals, principal fabric, abstract fabric, fancy fabric, feathers, fringe, crinoline and motifs for use in the theatre, TV, film, events, fashion and theming industries. You’ve recently supplied the products to embellish the outfits for Fleur East, Little Mix & Olly Mur’s dancers on X Factor, for example. How satisfying is it to see the finished costumes on stage that your company have helped to produce?

It is extremely satisfying to work with some of the world’s leading stylists, designers and artistes. We are very passionate about our business, our product range and the services we offer, the whole
team strive to provide excellence at every opportunity. The end result always gives us great pleasure and we are enormously proud of our collaborations.

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You also supply Swarovski Crystals, Crystallised Swarovski Elements and Preciosa Crystals and other such products for use in bridalwear, beauty, costumes, cardmaking, dance, equestrian,
jewellery and nail art. What products are most popular?

At Crystal Parade we have such a comprehensive range of high quality products to choose from, be that crystals, fabrics or trimmings, we find every industry has a different requirement. For instance our smaller sizes of Swarovski flatback crystals are extremely popular with nail artists and beauticians, and the larger sizes are used more for crystallizing dancewear, shoes and theatre costumes. The Crystal Clear and AB (aurora borealis) are easily our most popular colours in both Swarovski and Preciosa however, it depends on seasonal inspirations and of course which pantone colours are on trend. We’re always on hand to offer specialist advice whatever the requirement.

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You recently launched Crystal Parade TV where you showcase your latest ideas and fun projects which people can easily make – what has been your favourite “idea” or “project” which is featured
on the channel?

We have filmed around 10 episodes so far, crystallising different types of desirable objects for the home and garden, all of which are easy to make plus they look fantastic when complete. My favourite is a close call between the Marmite Jar episode & the Winter Lantern video . Both were interesting projects to work on and topical but the Winter Lantern episode features a cheeky cameo appearance by my cat so I would have to choose this purely for the entertainment value!

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What has been the most unusual item/ enquiry requested to be decorated with crystals?

As you can imagine, we receive all sorts of requests, some more interesting than others but one of the most unusual, not to mention humorous, enquiries we received when we first started out was to help crystallise a battery powered adult toy. Unfortunately we were unable to assist on that particular occasion!

Can you tell us about the Crystal Club?

The Crystal Club is an exclusive member’s only community for those who love to add sparkle to their lives and are dedicated to the art and craft of crystallising! Crystal Club members are able to build up ‘Sparkle Points’ every time they purchase from our website and then receive money off as well as receiving up to date information on all competitions, freebies, discounts, giveaways, special offers, downloads, projects, inspirational ideas plus all the latest news & workshop updates.

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As you are based in the UK, do you offer products or services overseas too?

Yes we do, Crystal Parade are recognised in the industry as the source of creative inspiration. Known as the go-to supplier of crystals, fabrics, feathers and trimmings for both consumers and businesses, we regularly work with customers from Europe, Middle East & Africa, America & Australia.

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

On the whole I’m a jeans and t-shirt girl. We have a smart casual dress code in the office so I get to wear jeans every day, consequently I have lots of different types,styles and colours. Joe is my favourite brand. I usually team them with a cool pair of boots, shoes or brogues, a nice artistic shirt/top, finished with a funky scarf and nice handbag!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Apart from www.crystalparade.co.uk? 😀 I like Steve Madden for shoes & I love shopping in Waitrose!

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

I just got some new ankle boots from Moda in London but I need some more Joe Jeans

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Boots or Shoes?

It would have to be boots. I’m a huge fan of boots, plus we are currently working with the award winning musical Kinky Boots in London. We provide the crystals & fabrics for the show. You should see the boots! WOW!

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

Website – www.crystalparade.co.uk
Crystal Parade TV – https://www.youtube.com/user/CrystalParade
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Crystal-Parade/301559506525421
Twitter – https://twitter.com/CrystalParade1
Pinterest – https://uk.pinterest.com/crystalparade1/

It’s always a great pleasure to have a fellow fan of boots on the blog – I do love your fashion sense too, Wendy – you can never have enough boots, shoes or jeans I say! (Plus the odd glamorous dress or two)  I will try to get to see Kinky Boots – if only to witness the boots themselves! And as for the request for a crystallised adult toy…. Ah, dear readers, are you into crystal embellishments? What fashion/footwear item would you love to embellish? Dare I say it, but any other items?   Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Crystal Parade except for the shoe photo.Last photo: Daily Mail 
[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvshowbiz/article-3357710/Girl-power-Little-Mix-Fleur-East-leggy-display-team-epic-mash-hit-singles-star-X-Factor-final.html ]

Shoe photo credit: Linda Hobden

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An Interview With Lustrous Jewellery

Reminiscent of old world glamour, pearls and pearl jewellery are currently enjoying being thrust into the limelight once again, championed by the likes of style icons such as the Duchess of Cambridge, and complimenting virtually any outfit.  Available in a vast array of shapes and colours, there’s more to pearls than meets the eye! I chat to Lin Johnson of Lustrous Jewellery to find out more….

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Hi! My name is Lin Johnson and I am the founder of Lustrous Jewellery.

What was the inspiration behind Lustrous Jewellery and your choice to concentrate on pearl jewellery?

I loved pearls from a young age – my mum wore them often. My mum gave me my first string of white pearls for my 16th birthday. I always loved and treasured it and wore it on occasions – pearls really go with everything! When I decided to set up a business and was searching for a business idea, I saw my pearl collection, and just thought dealing with pearls would be a glamorous business! Pearls have been loved for hundreds of years and will never go out of fashion/business!

Hypothetically speaking, what famous lady (dead or alive) would you love to see as the “Face” of Lustrous Jewellery?

I would love to see one day the Duchess of Cambridge wearing our jewellery, she loves fashion and pearl jewellery, and that’s what we do!

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I do like the “Fish Bone White Pearl Drop Earrings”. To date, what has
been your most popular jewellery item?

Our most popular jewellery has been ‘Three Strand White Pearls Bracelet with Heart Buckle’. Like many other pieces in our range, this item has a contemporary aspect on classic pearl jewellery – the beautiful heart buckle. It’s also a very versatile item, can be worn everyday or on special occasions and it’s even the perfect bridal jewellery!

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?

I, of course, love all our pieces but if I have to choose a favourite, it’s
possibly the 18ct Gold Tassel White Pearls Drop Pendant Necklace. Tassels are trending at the moment, and pearls just go so well with them, the white pearls look like they are flowing in a golden stream!

Cultured pearls are available in an array of shapes and, until recently
did I discover that they come in a variety of colours too ( I had just
assumed they were just creamy white)! What colours are available and are particular hues/shapes better for certain items of jewellery?

Yes, pearls can be dyed nowadays in all colours imaginable! It’s really nice matching the colour of pearls with your outfit. Regarding shapes, round shape pearls are always classic and can go with any design but irregular pearls have been popular too due to their natural appeal. They are most used in pendants and earrings.

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Are you introducing any new items to add to your collection into for
2016?

Yes, we bring new collections every few months. For 2016, our emphasis is still to combine fashion with pearl jewellery.

Are your exquisite pearl jewellery pieces available to purchase outside
the UK & Ireland?

Our online boutique can ship all over the world, in fact, we have some
customers based in Europe and Asia too.

Have you always been interested in jewellery or did you hope to follow a. different career path whilst growing up?

I think a woman’s instinct always is to like beautiful things including
jewellery, but since I chose jewellery as my career, I’ve found it can be a beautiful piece of art as well as high fashion too. It says volumes about an individual and adds depth to any outfit.

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

I liked dresses and heels but since becoming a mother, I am definitely
wearing more jeans and flats.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

I love ASOS and Net-A-Porter, and it’s so easy to shop on devices nowadays.

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

I’m currently trying to go back to all the nice clothes I loved wearing before children! But I’ve been buying more shoes already than I need!

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely boots for the winter, they are cosy and look nice!

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

We have a blog on our website and http://www.lustrousjewellery.com/blog/
facebook page https://www.facebook.com/lustrousjewellery/  – we share news with our customers.  Our website is http://www.lustrousjewellery.com

Thank you for sharing with us your passion for pearls – your collection is  gorgeous and I have certainly had my eyes open to the types and colours available.  The only pearls I have owned are a pair of stud earrings so I am looking forward to expanding my pearl horizons! Dear readers, what about you?  Have you got a favourite piece of pearl jewellery?  Have you got your beady eye on some?  As always, do tell  – I’d love to know your thoughts!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Lustrous Jewellery.

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Shades Of White

“Shades Of White” is a clothing  line of the most gorgeous dresses, playsuits and two-pieces that I’ve seen in a long time –  timeless pieces focusing on elegance, feminity and beauty in classic designs with elements of white and gold. This is the latest collection of the equally gorgeous London based Polish designer, Agnieszka Klaput, who made her debut at London Fashion Week in 2014.  I caught up with Agnieszka recently to find out more about her stunning designs, her passion for art and creativity as well as what shoes tickle her fancy … Hi Agnieszka!

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Hello, my name is Agnieszka Klaput. I am a high end fashion designer and passionate tailor. I would also describe myself as an artistic and creative personality. I  established AGA Couture London brand in 2014.

What inspired you to become a fashion designer?

My love for fashion has completely swept me off my feet; it became my passion and has overtaken my life as I know it.  Giving me a sense of achievement, my true love for creative fabrics caused me to diverge from my profession to fulfil my desire of becoming a fashion designer.

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Have you always had a passion for fashion?

My passion for high end fashion started quite early – when I was justified  12 years old.  My first drawings of my designs and picking up new tailoring skills and techniques was my hobby. I started sewing simple outfits as birthday gifts for my nearest friends and family. With a helping hand of word of mouth, my designs became so popular that at the age of 19, I found myself creating some of my first high end attires for theatres, boutiques, dancing groups  and high ranking people in the business sector.  I have always been drawn to art in all its forms and as it happens my educational background closely followed my artistic inspirations. Having spent 5 years in my profession as an antique restoration specialist, I have never parted with my beloved sewing machine and constant demands for new fashion productions kept me incredibly busy throughout my regular employment. I came to London in 2007 with my family and as a mother of two beautiful boys I decided to put my fashion ambitions on hold… my love for fashion might have been temporarily out of sight, but definitely not out of heart. In 2014 I took my AGA Couture London brand straight to the catwalks of London Fashion Week and Oxford Fashion Week. At the same time I established a regular collaboration with Top Model UK. My designs are feminine, elegant, designed to empower confidence and enhance uniqueness in women. I favour natural colours and luxury fabrics for my designs, which constituted to my AGA Couture London signature.

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You showed off your latest collection “Shades of White” at London Fashion Week (Oct 2015), this time using classic styles with elements of white and gold. What was the inspiration for this collection?

The “Shades of White” collection  was  inspired by the concept of contemporary femininity: strong, confident, emancipated yet subtle, gentle and thus stunning. I am also inspired by the fabric, its quality and characteristics. Once all is put together, having fun with accessories is simply icing on the cake. I believe that a well-tailored outfit can transform a person and I am always more than happy to help when help is needed. Why “Shades of White”? I brought this concept back with me from my recent visit in Swiss Alps, where I was absolutely breathtaken by the magnificent beauty of the nature. I adored moments in the sun watching shades of white freely move over the mountain tops, which left me totally mesmerised.

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Out of all the outfits in your collections, have you got a personal favourite?

Yes, I do have my personal favourite. I know for a fact that I will wear A-MOCHA for few functions. I love the colour – gold toffee – ALWAYS elegant and contemporary, highlighting the feminine appeal. I love the fabric – I used the highest quality silk and guipure.  A-MOCHA is very functional and simply pretty. Best of all, it is not a dress as all seem to think, but a blouse and skirt, which gives you a versatile configuration of your outfit!

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If you were able to visit any where in the world, to inspire a collection, where would you go?

The stunning island of Bora Bora – it has the most beautiful lagoon.

Which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of the Aga Couture London?

Monica Bellucci

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Having made your debut at London Fashion Week in 2014, then being present again in 2015, what do you enjoy most about showing your collection at London Fashion Week? What is, for you, the most stressful part?

The most stressful parts are the last 5 minutes before the show… and the whole duration of it in fact! All the models running back and forth, changing in the rush, adjusting the clothes, tidying up the hair, make-up so that all
looks perfect… as if it was all planned – it all really is a piece of art in itself. All this anxiety simply evaporates the moment you come out to see the audience to thank them for their time and attention… the warm reception, clapping hands, the astonishment on people’s faces… the recognition that it was truly amazing… that it was all worth it.

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Each piece in your collection is a custom design, cut to the client’s specific measurements and lovingly hand stitched and embroidered. As you are based in London, are you able to offer this custom service to overseas clients?

In today’s realm you simply must go global. My clientele comes from all over the world – Europe, USA, Japan… Please feel free to visit my AGA style brand page: AGA Couture London, where you can easily and safely purchase our garments. You can have, as well as order, bespoke custom made designs.

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When you are not designing outfits, do you indulge in artwork of some kind or do you have other hobbies?

I am a very imaginative person. I love creating, making different things. If I find a moment, I enjoy painting on glass or going back to my roots restoring antiques… but for my personal use only. I find it very relaxing and will always choose this over watching telly.

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

I like an elegant style with a hint of fun – smart look – it must be comfortable as my daily life is rather full on.

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Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Believe it or not, I really  dislike shopping and whenever I can I do my utmost not to contribute to the negative impact of “fast” fashion. I will, however, invest in good timeless quality and revisit it and/or tweak it to suit my mood.

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

Definitely shoes – there are never enough pairs of shoes in a lady’s wardrobe! However, this requires quite an effort to get those most desired ones. And clothes… I create them myself – the possibilities are endless.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes of course… dancing shoes!

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

www.agastyle.co.uk
AMAZON brand page: AGA Couture London
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/agastyle.co.uk?pnref=lhc
Twitter: https://twitter.com/AGAfashionStyle
Instagram: AGA Couture London

It has been lovely to chat to you Agnieszka …your collection is simply gorgeous.  I do like the idea of the white dress teamed with a bright red scarf and shoes.  Dear readers, what colour accessories/shoes would you wear with a plain white dress for an evening out?  Would you go monochrome, bright, pastel, metallic or all white? I’d love to hear your ideas, so do comment below!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Agnieszka Klaput.

 

 

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An Interview With Azela

My guest this week has just teamed up with ASOS.com marketplace to be the only Western Australian fashion label with a range on the platform.  Launched in 2015 by Tanja Coyne, Azela is a Perth-based “after five” and evening wear label, whose dresses are very alluring and definitely desirable. I caught up with Tanja recently to find out more … hi Tanja and welcome …image

Hi! My name is Tanja Coyne and I am the creator of the ladies evening wear label ‘AZELA’.

What inspired you to launch Azela?

What inspired me to launch AZELA was the desire to make women feel confident, amazing and just simply glamorous. I absolutely love dressing up, so I thought it was a natural progression to start designing dresses that I too, would love to wear.

Have you always had a passion for fashion?

I sure have. I remember buying my first evening wear dress, which was for my year 12 graduation and entering this gorgeous boutique in Perth. Not only did I buy the dress, I actually asked the owners if I could have a job there. Sure enough – 6 years later and I was still there. I then moved out of retail and worked in the corporate world, but again always looking for ‘fashion related roles’. I was lucky enough to work my way into the National HR Manager role for one of Australia’s icon designers ‘MORRISON’. So fashion has always been a big part of my life.

Your dresses are absolutely beautiful. So, when deciding which style dresses to design and sell, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

Having worked in retail initially, I think I developed a good feel for what confident women loved. Therefore, every single AZELA dress has to be 1)Sultry, 2)Classy and 3) Must have a wow factor. I literally will not create a dress unless it fits the ‘AZELA’ criteria.

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The Yelenda dress is gorgeous, especially in the pink. What dresses are popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Our two most popular styles have been the Alyssa in champagne and also the Pennita in black. The Yelenda has also really done exceptionally well with a lot of clients wanting the mini Yelenda (Yelenda Mala) in the cocktail length.

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Out of all the dresses in your collection, what is your favourite?

Oh that’s a hard one. For me personally, I think the Rita Votz in white. The front is so clean and elegant and then the back has such a wow factor with the completely sheer lace ensemble all the way down.

Apart from your own website, you have just teamed up with ASOS.com marketplace to be the only Western Australian fashion label with the range on the platform. Have you noticed any differences in buying preferences between your Australian clientele and your UK/European clientele?

We are the only evening wear label in Western Australia and I think one of only 20 designers in the whole of Australia currently stocking on the ASOS Marketplace. Not only is it a huge honour, we are so super excited to enter a whole new UK and European clientele. It’s still early days, but we can definitely see the differences in preference. One of the biggest differences I am seeing straight away is colour choices. UK ladies tend to prefer the darker shades with orders of Royal Blue dresses as an example.

AZELA Photo Shoot 2015
AZELA Photo Shoot 2015

Which famous lady do you feel epitomises the ideal Azela woman?

I would have to say someone that is confident, knows there self worth and is just simply glam. I’m leaning towards Jessica Alba – not only is she stunning and has an amazing body, but she is a also an exceptionally smart business woman.

Looking ahead to both the next Australian & European Spring/Summer 2015/2016 collections – what styles/ colours do you hope to introduce to your collections?

We are incorporating a lot of golds in our upcoming collections – its all about the Glamazon. We will also be doing a lot more of a cocktail range, as that is what the clients are really wanting as well.

Having expanded from Australia into the UK market via ASOS, where else are you hoping to make global inroads? Are you able to ship overseas via your current website/ASOS?

We would love to enter markets that are exotic and full of flare. I’m thinking Miami, St Tropez (and it’s not just a reason for me to go on holidays to those destinations). I think the AZELA woman is a globetrotter, so we really aim to spread our wings to some wonderful destinations.

AZELA Photo Shoot 2015 - Glamour
AZELA Photo Shoot 2015 – Glamour

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

I love colours and whites. I think what you wear is a reflection of how you feel inside. On a casual Saturday I would probably be wearing a pair of ripped jeans and a tee, with some heels. Im only 5’6 – so I love my heels. If it is a ‘dressy event’, I will opt for a dress in colour (red, white etc). I actually don’t think I have ever worn a black dress to a ball/formal event. I’m definitely a colour gal.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?(apart from your own!).

I like online shopping in stores like Zimmerman, Sass and Bide.

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

I want a nice Louis Vuitton suitcase that I can carry with me when I travel.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes. I live in Perth, 80% of the year it is very hot. I don’t think I would get too much use out of my boots.

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

www.azela.com.au

our facebook and linkedin are #AZELAAUSTRALIA.

Thank you for chatting to us Tanja and showing us your dresses with that wow factor!  Blue is certainly a popular colour trend in the UK this season and it is interesting to hear about how the colour of choice differs in each nation. I tend to go for red/coral or shades of blue – teal and navy – when looking for evening dresses. What are your main colour choices when looking for evening wear, dear readers? Do tell, I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from Azela.

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An Interview With Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor

New Delhi, Mumbai, Hong Kong …. and now East Shopping Centre in London  – Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor is one of India’s leading couture brands and since opening their first UK boutique in London in June 2015 they have been looking forward to introducing fashion straight from the catwalks in India to the British Asian Market.  Not only is it their first UK boutique, but Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor are the first couturiers from India to have a stand alone store in the UK. Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor regularly dress A-list Bollywood celebrities like Bipasha Basu, Anushka Sharma, Kangana Ranaut, Katrina Kaif, Hema Malin, Mallika Sherawat, Lara Dutta – as well as some of India’s elite socialites. I caught up with the lovely Anjalee to find out more about her brand and her hopes for the brand’s influence in the UK.

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Hi! I’m Anjalee.  I am a perfectionist in everything I put my hands on. You probably won’t know this but…I love to paint (canvas) and Arjun has a great flare for interiors. Had he not been a designer for clothes, he would be designing homes. He is extremely houseproud and the little details in our house are his magical touch.

What inspired you to enter the world of fashion?

Because I was passionate about it, I have been creatively inclined since my childhood. I paint as well. I believe creativity cannot be restricted only to one medium. For me, designing clothes is like nurturing my child; step by step and putting in my best. Playing with colours comes naturally to me, and putting a mix and match in and styling the silhouettes gives me a lot of creative satisfaction.

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What attracted you to designing wedding outfits?

My mindset was always fascinated on effective artwork. I love to choose different article themes every season and interpreting them my way on the garments. Rich ornamentation, vibrant colour mixes, mix and match of fabrics, styling the garments – all leads to creating one of a kind couture garment. I love playing with the details that are present in every outfit of ours. So I guess our style mantra is more inclined towards occasion dressing.

Where do you get your inspiration from for your collections?

Season to season I look for different inspirations which I could incorporate into the collection. The Spring/Summer collection influence has been from the Persian architecture and culture. I have incorporated rich motive grids combined with a lot of layering techniques. My previous themes have been jamavar aria, Mughal Opera, Phantom of the Opera, etc.

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Who is the Anjalee and Arjun Kapoor customer?

The typical AAK girl is a glamorous girl with great body language, great carriage and the right attitude. She is flamboyant and wants to wear an impactful statement piece for the most important day of her life.

What is your definition of style?

Being glamorous and making our AAK girl stand out. Our garments have a strong signature look which we have followed. Since we started the label it has that zing factor which is a complete transformation when one wears it. We aspire to give that feel good factor to every AAK girl and guy.

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What do you consider is the perfect outfit?

We style a variety of outfits giving options to our clients and tailoring each look. Each outfit looks different on different body types, but as long as the outfit brings out the best in you, I would consider that particular ensemble as the perfect outfit.

When grooms and brides visit your studio in London, what would they find?

Stylish ensembles that create a strong statement when worn. Glamorous outfits with a lot of oomph!

What has been your biggest achievement to date?

Our standalone stores in different parts of the world. We are planning for more flagship stores in the coming future in other countries as well.

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What is your dream for the future?

I would like the AAK brand to become a sought after global brand with stores all around the world.

What will your next fashion challenge be?

To set up a western global couture line and have it available all around the world.

What do you predict would be the bridal look for the next season?

Lots of interesting drapes over their lehengas, (skirts) fusion concepts for pre-wedding functions, lots of floral ideas in ornamentations, layered styles in anarkalis, mughale styles for the grooms on the wedding day.

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What difference do you find in brides overseas for example, UK and Indian brides?

The Indian Brides in India are more experimental in the silhouettes, colours and concepts. They are willing to try newer looks. The Brides in UK are more traditional in their dressing and love to stick to conventional colours for their wedding day.

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You can find the Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor studio in London’s East Shopping Centre, Green Street, London E7.

You can also follow Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor on Twitter :

@Anjalleekapoor

@ AAKapoorLondon

For details of East Shopping Centre, check out my blogpost HERE.

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Thank you for chatting to me Anjalee and those dresses are absolutely exquisite. A friend of mine got married a few years ago in a gorgeous red taffeta and black lace wedding dress – she looked stunning. Did you get married or are you getting married in a dress/outfit that isn’t in the conventional colours?  Do tell & share your stories…

Linda x

All photos published with kind permission from Anjalee & Arjun Kapoor.

 

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Spotlight on East Shopping Centre

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Saturday 14th March 2015 sees the grand opening of not only London’s latest shopping centre but it is Europe’s first purpose-built boutique Asian shopping centre, East Shopping Centre, based in Green Street, London E7 – not far from West Ham’s football ground and Newham’s other recently built shopping centre, Westfield Stratford. Following its successful soft launch on January 24th 2015, East Shopping Centre has generated around 200 jobs for the local area as well as injecting much needed enthusiasm for shopping locally. Built on the one acre site of the former bus depot, the centre has retained its original facade but has incorporated the latest eco friendly touches such as solar panels, water flow restrictors, and carefully resourced building materials – protecting resources and saving money too. Green Street has always had an important trade and cultural heritage – my own mother bought her wedding dress from a Green Street dressmaker back in 1962 – and East Shopping Centre hope to build upon and become part of that heritage too.

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So, what’s inside the shopping centre? Major Asian fashion outlets are represented including Zarkan of London, Andaaz Fashion, Memsaab, Imaani London…plus other non fashion companies including Urban Chocolatier and Coffee Republic too. There is a “souk” comprising of smaller, local stores selling everything from costume jewellery to mobile phones – menswear, shoes, bags…

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Overlooking the shopping centre is a spectacular food court where you’ll find food delights such as Piri Piri Chicken from the Roosters chain, desserts and mocktails galore from Lost Asia, American-style burgers from Brioche Burgers… getting hungry?

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Being indoors, the centre is ideal as an all year round shopping venue and with its late night closing time, your shopping pleasure is not hurried.

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So, as I was saying, Saturday 14th March is the official opening day and from 12pm West Ham MP Lyn Brown will be cutting the ribbon. There will be lots going on – the centre will be creating a mela atmosphere with music, dhol players, face painting and much more. East Shopping Centre is also offering raffle tickets giving one lucky winner the chance to win a luxury weekend holiday for two in Dubai, £1000 gift voucher to spend at East Shopping Centre and two iPad Mini 3’s. The first 100 people to arrive on Saturday will receive vouchers to the food court worth £10. All proceeds raised from the raffle will be donated to Masoom, a locally based charity that supports vulnerable women and children around the world.

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East Shopping Centre can be found at 232-236 Green Street, London E7 8LE.

For more information, you can follow East Shopping Centre via their website – www.eastshoppingcentre.com – or via Twitter @EastShopping; Facebook: East Shopping Centre; Instagram: EastShopping

Hope to see you all there! Happy Shopping!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Puja Vedi

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Kellie K Apparel Revisited

Way back in August 2013 I interviewed a new kickstarter company from the USA who were introducing a new strapless bra made using technology inspired by the humble gecko.  The inventor, Dr Anthony Roy, had the idea after his wife Kellie had problems finding a strapless bra that offered comfort and stability all day, whatever the activity.  Thus Kellie K Apparel was born. (To view the original interview, click HERE).  Fast forward to January 2015 and I have revisited Kellie K Apparel to find out how they are getting on, how they found the Kickstarter process and to catch up with their personal news. So welcome once again to the blog, Tony and Tara…..

For those new readers of my blog, could you please reintroduce yourselves:

My name is Tony Roy, and I’m a mechanical engineer who has solved his wife’s problem of not being able to find a bra that stays in place and supports her. After finding out many women have this same issue, I decided it would be the basis of a good business, and set-off solving the set of problems starting a new business brings.

My name is Tara Clark, and I’m the customer focused VP of Marketing helping get the word out about our revolutionary strapless bra solution to as many people as possible.

I was fortunate enough to interview you on 28th August 2013 at the start of the kickstarter plan – how nervous were you all at the start? Would you recommend the kickstarter route?

Since the Kickstarter worked for us, I would definitely recommend it! It really was a great way for us to get some essential early feedback, such as sizing and marketing strategy, early on. However, it is NOT free money, and I caution those planning to do a Kickstarter campaign to also be ready to put in a lot of work fulfilling the rewards.

I was feeling a mix of excitement and nervousness. Kickstarter was a new fundraising tool for me. I love a challenge and it proved to be a rewarding one. I have recommended Kickstarter to other small businesses as well as shared some of the things we learned along the way.

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Congratulations as 2014 has been quite an eventful year what with the birth of your babies and the growth of Kellie K Apparel. What have been the highlights & lowlights so far?

I’ll start with the lowlights first. They’ve basically been the trial and error it has taken delivering a good product. Our biggest challenge was finding a manufacturer able to make our bras. There have also been several other production issues that anyone would expect to encounter when making a new product. Whilst each issue has been relatively small, they can add up to a lot of frustration.
Fortunately, there have been more highlights than lowlights! The first ones that come to mind are overcoming the aforementioned production issues. Finding solutions to grading, sewing, and packaging have been an amazing relief. Furthermore, feedback from people who have received our bra has been phenomenal. I knew the importance of having a product that, at its fundamental core, did what was promised. I wasn’t sure others would value the importance as well, and the positive reviews we’ve gotten have been a large source of encouragement. One of the best reviews is from a Kickstarter backer who has to wear strapless bras for medical reasons. I’m thrilled at the thought that our team was able to make such a positive impact in someone’s life.
Thanks! Personal highlights have been welcoming my second child. Lowlights, I swear one of my kids is always awake. I miss sleep.
Professionally, highlights has been shipping the bras. Getting to see the bra go from a functional prototype to having a finished product shipped has been very rewarding. Lowlights, as with starting any business we’ve had to stumble before we got things up and running. The trick has been not to let the stumbles keep us down and  instead focus on the positive.

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I’m loving your new look website – very slick – so what colour bra has been most popular?

During the Kickstarter campaign, beige was the much more popular color by about 3:1. However, I’ve found that men buying a bra for their presumed loved ones tend to buy black bras! I’m glad we have both available and I would love to be able to offer more colors in the future.
Thanks again. The website update was a great way to highlight how far we’ve come.

If you could pick any famous lady to be the “face” of Kellie K Apparel, who do you think would be the epitome of the brand?

She’s not famous, and she’s a bit camera shy, but my wife would be my answer! In all honesty, I’m a bit hesitant for “Kellie K” to have a face, since we really want our bras to be for all women.
If I could pick any famous lady, I’d pick Jessica Simpson. I love her fashion line. She has great personal style and I’m sure she understands the importance of a supportive and comfortable bra.

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Early days yet, but any plans for launching other bra colours in 2015?
We have plans for a complete bra redesign in 2015, which will likely include additional colors. We’ll give you more details as it develops.
Like Tony said, we have big plans for 2015 and will be sure to tell you as they’re announced.

You’ve received some lovely testimonials – any stories or feedbacks that have been memorable?

I guess I already mentioned it above in our highlights.
We’ve been lucky to have so many customers share their detailed feedback with us. Hearing how we gave a customer the ability to feel like she looked sexy again was the most memorable. Having recently had a baby I know what it’s like to go from feeling “meh” in your clothes to feeling sexy again.

Although you are based in the USA, you do ship worldwide. Have you any plans to sell your bras via retail outlets in the USA/ Rest of The World or are you solely aiming to keep it online via your website?

The current production costs of the bra require us to be direct sellers, which is why we plan on having a redesign! In the future, we do plan on having retail outlets, and I see no reason why Kellie K shouldn’t be a worldwide phenomenon.
We have free shipping with in the USA and offer expedited shipping or ship worldwide for an additional charge

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

I got some new shoes a month ago, so unless my wife thinks otherwise, which she probably will, I’ll be set for at least a year!
My new shoe obsession is cute shoes that I put on while holding one child and stay on while I run after the other. Puma Zandy Flat and Puma Women’s Bixley Animal Print Ballet Flat have become my favorites.

Websites:

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

Special coupon code for Boots, Shoes and Fashion readers. Save 10% though February 2015 using code: BOOTS10

Thank you very much Tony & Tara for chatting to me again and I’m so glad that things are progressing well for you.  So, readers, now’s the time to invest in a bra or two and with the special discount code you’ve no excuse not to treat yourself! As always I’d love to know what you think so don’t be shy and drop me a line or two! Have you had bad experiences with a strapless bra? A gecko inspired bra might be the answer! Do tell!

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission of Kellie K Apparel

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An Interview With Author Linda Finlay

It was quite a coincidence that over the last couple of weeks I have read two historical novels based on the young Queen Victoria – one was a moth eared paperback I spotted at my mother-in-law’s by Jean Plaidy (made a change from the kindle & it was enjoyable); the other was a first novel by author Linda Finlay,  a historical saga published by Penguin, that I downloaded, called The Royal Lacemaker.  This novel was equally enjoyable and highly recommended – perfect for fans of Jean Plaidy, Dilly Court and Katie Flynn. So I am really chuffed to welcome to the blog this week the delightful author herself and chat about her book, lace making and of course, her views on fashion! Hi Linda!image

Hi! I’m Linda Finlay, an image consultant and novelist with an avid interest in people, what they wear and what makes them tick.

Congratulations on publishing your first novel, a historical saga called The Royal Lacemaker. Where did you get inspiration from to write this novel?

Thank you. The past few months have been very exciting. The inspiration for The Royal Lacemaker came on a visit to Beer in Devon where I saw the sign for Ye Olde Lace Shop. Naturally I had to investigate and so my story was born.

Your novel follows the fortunes of a 17 year old orphan girl and the choices she must make when she becomes part of a secret commission to produce the Honiton lace for the wedding dress of Queen Victoria.  I hear you were taught lace making too – was the incentive to do so linked to getting a sense of reality to the story or was it something you’ve always wanted to do and now with your novel in place you was able to indulge yourself?

Research took me to All Hallows Museum in Honiton where I watched a demonstration of lace making. It looked such an intricate craft I had to try it for myself. I like to think my experience added authenticity to the story as I find it hard to believe women used to make lace in their cottages to supplement their incomes, along with the household chores and bringing up their children.

imageAs I’m somebody who cannot knit or crochet and can barely sew despite 3 years of needlework lessons at school, I really admire you! Was lace making hard to learn?

Although I love knitting, sewing is not my forte. Luckily I found a very patient teacher in Colyford, who along with her team of lovely ladies, kept my lace making on track. It really is as hard to go back and re work the lace as I indicated in The Royal Lacemaker. However, if I managed to make lace, you certainly can too!

Ha, ha … we’ll see! Swiftly changing the subject, what made you realise that you wanted to write books? Did you like story writing as a young girl?

I have always loved writing stories. Along with sport it was the only thing I was really any good at in school. Frequently I would lose myself in a story rather than tackle the other subjects I was meant to be concentrating on.

Apart from being an author, you are also an image consultant. What do you like best about both of your jobs?

I love people and helping them to make the best of themselves. It is rewarding to see a client leave my studio confident and smiling. I always try to champion my characters by making the timid grow stronger throughout my stories.

I know that this book has just been published, but have you started to think of ideas for your next novel? Would you stick to the same genre or would you try something different?

My next novel, The Girl With The Red Ribbon will be published in the Spring. It is about lunar gardening and millinery. Quite diverse subjects that are brought together by a common theme. I am now on my third novel.

What sort of book genre do you like reading? Favourite book or authors?

I love historical romance and stories that teach something of the period without being heavy handed. I find it satisfying to learn through an entertaining story. Phillippa Gregory is particularly good at this.

imageObviously living in Devon played a big part in the formation of your novel. If you could visit any place in the world to set your next novel in, which place would you love to venture to?

It would have to be the Norwegian fjords. My imagination could run riot there!

When you’re not writing or running your image consultancy, what hobbies/past times do you enjoy?

I love walking the coastal paths and exploring little villages and bays. A story always seems to pop into my head though, so I don’t really switch off – unless I’m shopping with clients of course. Then it’s clothes, boots, shoes and accessories all the way.

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

I love separates. Pencil skirts, polos, embellished shirts and shaggy gilets with ankle boots and opaques are this seasons must wears for me.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Wallis, Next, Very are all superb for topping up on seasonal fashions. They are always on trend with reasonable prices that don’t break the bank.

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

A faux fur jacket and faux leather pencil skirt are on my wish list, along with more ankle boots of course.

Boots or Shoes?

Both! They are my absolute must haves and a girl can never have too many! After all they update an outfit instantly.

Links:

amazon.co.uk/Royal Lacemaker – Linda Finlay

amazon.com/The Royal Lacemaker by Linda Finlay

Thank you very much Linda – I can’t wait to read your next novels.  After reading The Lace Maker,  I was partaking in a quiz when a question came up : “What craft uses bobbins and pillows?”  I was so pleased that I knew the answer (Lacemaking) which I wouldn’t have had a clue a month or so ago. So, there you go, not only a good feel good read but educational too! Check the book out and let me know what you thought of the book too! I’d be interested to know!

Linda x

Photos have been published with kind permission of Linda Finlay

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An Interview With Hollie Kamel (Wedding Singer)

With less than a fortnight to go before Santa does his rounds over the world’s rooftops, I felt that my guest this week should be someone who is a bit Christmassy yet a bit sazzy …. someone like the dropdead gorgeous Hollie Kamel, with her seasonal name, her angelic voice, and her sazziness!  Hollie is a popular wedding, party and event singer – and I caught up with her recently to chat about music, her wedding business and her passion for fashion too .. welcome Hollie…image

Hi – I am Hollie Kamel and I am a Professional Singer and UKA Salsa Dance Instructor & proud mummy to a gorgeous little 5 year old called Jasmine Lila.

You’re a professional wedding, party & event singer. When did you realise you had a passion for singing?  What made you take the plunge to pursue wedding singing as a career?

I first started singing as a child, as I come from quite a musical family (my brother has had a few top 40 download chart hits!). To begin with I was in the school musicals and then went on to perform on radio and at about 16 started to train classically to give me a strong foundation of technique and skill to perform from. However, my career took a very corporate path, in media, marketing and sales and my singing and dancing was always a part time profession. This all changed once I had my little girl, as part time corporate doesn’t really exist, so I took the leap of faith to launch myself as ‘Hollie your Wedding Singer’, perfect for Weddings, Parties & Corporate Events!! 😉

imageYou offer an excellent range of bespoke entertainment including solo singer, duo, and a mini function band.  What tends to be the most popular package?

I provide Solo Singer, Party Duo & Themed Show packages and to be totally honest, they are all really popular and different in their own right. Where everything I do is bespoke, I always tailor make the package to meet and exceed the client’s needs and depending on their event, the service they choose will reflect this. (I do find that Vintage/American Songbook/Jazz is hugely popular & of course, Party Singer!!).

What do you love most about being a wedding singer?

What I love most about being a wedding singer, is that you are blessed to share and be a huge part of their wedding day and all the love, celebration and emotion that surrounds it.

imageYou have a vast range of songs in your songlist portfolio. What are the most popular songs requested for the wedding ceremony, wedding breakfast/reception, and for the evening do?

Most popular Wedding Ceremony songs include:
• How Long Will I Love You
• At Last

Most popular Breakfast/Champagne Reception songs include:
• Let There Be Love
• All of Me

Most popular Evening Reception songs include:
• The Shoop Shoop Song (in his kiss)
• All about the Bass
• Dance with Me Tonight

imageIs there any song on your list that you really enjoy belting out? Any song on the list that makes you groan?

Songs I love to sing:
• Somewhere over the Rainbow
• At Last
• Rather Be

Songs I could live without singing for a while
• Wind Beneath My Wings
• I Will Survive

What music genre do you enjoy listening to?

Where do I start with the genres I like listening to…..I love SO many kinds of music and it really depends on my mood. I love vocal based music like Eva Cassidy and the Carpenters, James Taylor etc, but I also love R&B and of course Salsa!! I have a HUGE passion for West End Musicals!

imageIf you had the chance to sing a duet with anybody in the world, dead or alive, who would be your partner and what song would you sing?

If I could duet with one singer (dead or alive) in the whole world then I would love to choose to sing with Jessie J (as I think she is vocal Viagra) but her range is SO huge that I wouldn’t be able to – so instead I choose to sing Somewhere over the Rainbow with Eva Cassidy !

Have you had any unusual song requests?

I have had some very strange requests in my time including ‘Gilbert O’Sullivan’ numbers and Copacabana!

Singing all year round at weddings, parties and events must be a strain on your voicebox. How do you try to keep your voice limbered up and ready for performing? How do you avoid the dreaded sore throat/croaky voice etc?

As a Singer it is really important to continually look after your voice, so I always do the following before a performance:
• Warm up
• Avoid dairy
• Take Vocalzone
• Drink lots of water

As a cure for a ‘sad’ voice I do the following:
• Take Singers Throat mix (the most evil tasting liquid in the WORLD)
• Drink Honey and Lemon (Hot)
• Steam
• Hum
• Vocal REST!!

imagePersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing on and off stage?

On stage you will find me wearing very glamorous evening dresses or ‘themed’ attire (such as Vintage) with ridiculously high heels and accessories and ALL my hair and make up intact!! Lol!
Off stage you will normally find me in skinny jeans, ugg boots with a skinny rib t-shirt in the summer and a trendy jumper or hoody in the winter!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

As far as retailers go Amazon is amazing for costumes and accessories. I love QUIZ at Lakeside/Westfields for glamorous party wear and Ali Express for every kind of costume, dress or outfit (but it takes about 8 weeks to arrive but is CRAZY cheap!!)

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wishlist?

My next purchase needs to be another shorter style, sparkly or sequinned party dress for xmas season (more laid back events).

Boots or Shoes?

For me, boots or shoes is hard, because boots at home and shoes at work nearly always!

Links you would like to share eg website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can follow you and your career

https://www.facebook.com/holliekamelsinger
https://twitter.com/holliekamel
https://www.youtube.com/user/holliekamelsinger
http://uk.linkedin.com/in/hollieyourweddingsinger
http://www.pinterest.com/holliekamel/

Many thanks for chatting to us today – I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Prosperous, Fun  & Eventful New Year! For those readers in the UK who are looking for some fabulous entertainment then Hollie is your girl – she’s simply divine! My wedding song was Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing” – what was yours? Please do tell!

Linda x

All photos were published with kind permission of Hollie Kamel.

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