Category Archives: Interview

An Interview With n-1 Couture

From Argentina last week to Italy this week, my guest this week is the independent fashion company for women whose outfits are hand tailored in Italy, offering a look and lifestyle based upon beauty and sensuality in harmony with our being and the natural world around us.  Watching the cycle race, Giro D’Italia , at the moment and seeing the gorgeous scenery that is Italy,  you can not help but to embrace the natural earthy colours and florals that comprise the n-1 Couture’s collection.  Without further ado, welcome Darren …image

Hello my name is Darren Eryou and together with Paola Morandi we form the core of (n-1) couture. We have backgrounds in such diversified fields as fashion, art, architecture, graphic design and photography, which makes us slightly schizophrenic but also provides us with different perspectives and approaches on the way we do things. We live in a small town in northern Italy called Cremona and we have a firm and steady belief in local production and have always been convinced that small scale “artisan” designers and workers will continue to have a relevant role in the fashion industry. Empiricists by nature, we like to participate in every level of what we do. This means that we don’t just have an idea or draft up a drawing of a design and have it sent off to be made – we make it ourselves. Sourcing fabrics for us means seeking out local textiles, visiting them, touching the fabrics, discussing with the producer how they were made, etc. We want to know as much about it as we can before deciding to work with it. This kind of approach can at times be exhausting, but it’s the way we work and is ultimately rewarding. There is no stitch or hem in any garment that we have made that doesn’t reside in some part of our minds.

imageWhat inspired the founding of n-1 couture?

We had been working in the field of what we could call “couture” for some time – making unique, custom designed outfits for dance performances, video productions, historical reproductions ecc. We have always been passionate about what we call the “plastic arts” – a very open concept – but something that could be defined as the moulding of colour and form, like with painting, sculpture or film. The step to founding (n-1) couture was a big one – because running a brand is not quite the same thing as creating individual couture pieces, for obvious reasons. As contradictory as it might sound – one of our goals with (n-1) couture is to maintain that spirit of artisian uniqueness while being a brand at the same time.

imageWhat’s behind the brand name, n-1 couture pronounced ENNE MENO UNO (or N minus 1 in English)? Was it difficult to find a name that really sums up your ideals?

In our case, our brand name preceeded us. Given that we still don’t have aperfect grasp on the meaning of (n-1) one could say that from a traditional brandind point of view we are a bit unorthodox. In any case – (n-1) is an ideal or philosophy which guides us. The further we go down our path, the more we begin to understand the meaning of our brand name. It may seem paradoxical, but (n-1) is an ideal that we understand by creating, constructing.
In a technical sense, (n-1) means subtracting the “transcendental” aspect of something, and discovering that “something” as it is in itself, without any form of prejudice. In a simple sense, (n-1) means discovering a kind of newness in things themselves by finding new ways to look at things in themselves. This is praxis for great painters. Take Paul Cézanne and his paintings of apples. Apples can be a seemingly banal subject – but Cézanne discovered new ways of looking at such a seemingly banal subject – an in the act transformed the art of painting itself. It is an approach that doesn’t explicitly attempt to create something radically new, such as with cubism – or by extension – “avant-garde” fashion circles. It’s a form of patient discovery, a labour of love – trying to see things are they are in themselves. Slowly, day by day. With Cézanne we see the same thing with his paintings of Mont Saint-Victoire. Cèzanne wants to see the Saint-Victoire mountain in an (n-1) kind of way – not as a landscape or a postcard or as a pretty picture but as a thing in itself stripped of all prejudice. The mountain becomes a kind of living mass of sensations – majestic, violent, burning hot, ice cold, etc. So that’s what (n-1) means to us. “n minus 1” or “enne meno uno” in Italian. Hope that makes sense
.

imageMy favourites from your Spring collection are the Matisse drop waist A-line Spring Dress in floral Liberty cotton; Sand Feather A-line lace dress; and the Fluo tailored shift dress. What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

Our Liberty 2014 collection, of which the Matisse, Renoir, Seurat and Degas dresses are a part of has done very well. We are very passionate about Liberty so this has been gratifying – we wanted to engage the floral trend but in our own way – and that’s where Liberty Art fabrics came into play. The Sand Feather dress has gone over well, as lace seems to have become a constant trend and that has also been the case with the Fluo dress – flourescent colours seem to be in the spotlight this season. Our line of tunics continue to be a success and one of our big present and future challenges is tranforming our line of tunics into a line made solely out of GOTS certified organic cotton. We want to be as sustainable and responsable as possible but trying to convince consumers that they should be as well is not an easy task. We still have alot of ground to cover.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection,what is your favourite?

It’s difficult to pick out just one item – we tend to think less and less in terms of finished “items” or “objects” and more in terms of concepts. “Liberty” is a concept we really like – some dresses have been more successful than others in terms of what we sought to accomplish – but we see the Liberty concept as kind of having its own organic being that pulls us into new and often unexpected directions. At present we are releasing a series of clutch handbags made in Liberty Art cotton fabrics which is something that we had never planned to do but just kind of “happened.” Such are the pleaures of being small and flexible. “Sustainable is Beautiful” is another concept born from our desire to put sustainablity at the forefront of our thinking and we are quite fond of the designs and the packaging as well – the idea of making the consumer a producer through packaging the garments in planters together with a bunch of seeds to plant and grow is a small step for us in attempting to propose a more multi-faceted notion of fashion that can enable us to expand the meaning of fashion and its role in the world at large. So in the broadest sense possible – “Liberty” and “Sustainable is Beautiful” are concepts which we feel very much a part of and hope to develop in new and unexpected ways in the future.

imageApart from your passion for sewing, you have a passion for keeping the Italian artisan spirit alive – by using materials, tailoring and packaging in Italy. what place in Italy has most inspired your designs?

(n-1) couture has a longstanding love affair with the island of Sardinia. We could list so many reasons as to why we are so fascinated with this island but I think what intrigues us most is this kind of spirit of austure beauty which kind of overwhelms you. The history of Sardinia and its unique maritime position have given Sardinia a very rich heritage which somehow never overcomes the sometimes savage beauty of the island itself. Sardinia has been colonized by different Mediterranean cultures since the prehistoric period – yet at the same time it has always resisted colonization. Each culture has let a series of traces – but they remain just that – traces, as if they were small zones of intense ornamentation and articulation which are knots on a tapestry which is the island itself. It has been crosses upon by the Greeks, Romans, Phoenician, Saracens, Byzantines, Catalans, Genovese and more. But more often than not these cultural traces are expressed as tiny fragments in local tradition, customs and festivals. If we imagined Sardinia as a garment, it would be an enormous, austere flowing sheet of fabric adorned sparsely with small but functional exquisite ornamentations: a gilded byzantine decoration here, a phoenician decoration there. The ornamentations are signs and would never be central to the garment itself – and they are always in a kind of reasonation with one another.

imageWhich famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of n-1 couture?

We have mentioned elsewhere that our “ideal” customers would be either Monica Vitti in Michelangelo Antonioni’s film “The Adventure” or Anna Karina in Jean-Luc Godard’s film “Pierrot le Fou.” And this is because they are women who are forced to reinvent themselves and the world around them – they must reinvent “love, language and themselves.” So those are two examples of possible ideal “faces” for (n-1) couture. In terms of a real, present day faces or a famous lady we really don’t have a single answer. Nowadays the very notion of the “icon” or “face” is in crisis – it’s kind of dissolving in the high speed rapid rotation of contemporary media culture and it’s rapid rotation. If we were to choose someone who could still represent a traditional face it could be Laura Morante. We love her work in theater and as an actress and above all her courage. If we wanted to choose amongst the faces that represent the new kind of icons of our changing contemporary culture it could be Lorella Zanardo – a writer and activist or Annalisa Leone – a colorist or illustrator. These are also talented women changing the world we live in.

imageYour collection is full of colours of every hue – what colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

We are becoming increasingly interested in colour relations as compared to just colours in the strict sense. Pastels are definitely a trend this season and we have followed suit with our Liberty collection – but what we increasingly like to do is propose a complementary item, often worn in layering, which creates a far richer dynamic in terms of colour. For each of our Liberty dresses – Matisse, Renoir, Seurat and Degas – we propose pairing a colored semi-transparent top which creates a distinct colour relation with the pastel dress. From a simple white chiffon top to a subdued gold-green organza top to a more flourescent fuchsia-organza gradient silk top – the idea is that through layering the perceived “sum” of the colours creates a sensation which is greater than the simple addition of colours. This was something discovered in colour theory or in pointillist painting in the 19th century called “colour contrast” – two colours, juxtaposed or overlapping – have the effect of a third colour when seen from a distance. We can call these colours something like “colours of the eye and mind” – if we juxtapose two primary colours we will peceive a third colour which has an intensity much greater than the sum of the two primary colours alone. So these kinds of colour relations interest us more and more. We are currently working on some flourescent designs but what interests us most is finding a way to increase the perceived intensity of the colours through “complementary” items with varying colours.

imageLooking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2014 – what styles/colours do you hope to see being worn?

We will be moving forward with our Liberty 2014 and Sustainable is Beautiful collections with neutral and soft tones for autumn. The so called “street style” or “luxe sport” is something that we have begun working on with our “Inuit” hoodies in boiled wool and is a style we are developing in our own individual way – the idea of mixing couture with wearable and athletic sihlouettes is something destined to grow as the line between haute couture and everyday life continues to blur. Layering is also a trend we will be following up on. And, of course, knitwear. Which will be a big step for us.

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

Argh! This is a question we want might to skip. We put everything including all of our energy into what we make – what we wear boils down to what is most comfortable to work in. A pair of supergas, jeans, linen smocks. Essential and extremely practical.

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

One online store which has always stood out for us is Nastygal. Beyond the whole issue of content driven e-commerce which Nastygal does so well, there is an underlying sense of style and “essentialness” which make it stand out from the others. It’s chic but there’s something so fun and elegant about it at the same time. And that takes talent – so it’s a well earned success.

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

As far as shoes go – anything by Charline de Luca will definitely go into the wish list. For clothing – Antonio Marras.

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes, shoes, shoes…It’s not that we don’t like boots – quite the contrary, it’s just that we weren’t genetically constructed for them.

Any links you would like to share so that readers can find out more about n-1 couture

Our website is www.nmeno1.com and drop by and visit us at:

Facebook: www.facebook.com/nmenouno.couture.3
Twitter: www.twitter.com/nmeno1_couture
Instagram: www.instagram.com/nmeno1
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/nmeno1
Google+: www.plus.google.com/b/109586194278781359290/+Nmeno1

Thank you very much for talking to me tonight, the essence of Italy has certainly captured me and I’m sure that many blog readers will feel just as inspired….

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with the kind permission of n-1 Couture

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Bizi Buenos Aires

On this week’s blog I’m going south of the Equator to the land of the tango, cowboys. steak and leather… Argentina! I’ve been chatting (or nattering!) with the delightful Meredith who has designed some rather funky luxury handbags and accessories for playful personalities, all handcrafted in Buenos Aires and inspired by the energetic explosions of colour found not only in Argentina but throughout Latin America!  So, Meredith, a big warm Hola to you!

image
Hi! My name Meredith Wilkins a Virginia girl, turned expat, accessories designer living in Buenos Aires with my darling dog Biscuit with the goal of creating accessories that are so yummy you might just want to eat them.

You spent years working in the fields of technology and real estate in Virginia, so what inspired you to change career direction, start up your business and move to Buenos Aires?

I have been a maker/designer of all kinds of things since I was very young. At age 4, I went to an Egyptian mummy exhibit and was floored by the ornate jewelry and decoration. Using items from my granddaddy’s junk drawers and workshop I made an elaborate headpiece inspired by my girl Cleopatra. I was so happy making it and even prouder wearing it around. These creative projects never ceased. But while I have a very creative mom, a creative career in my family was never given much attention. So I never esteemed design or art as a career for myself and I discounted my creative abilities because they didn’t feel like hard work. So this industry change has been coming for a while it just took me a while to figure it out. I moved to Buenos Aires for many reasons, but one was just the access to great leather and craftsman to make this possible. The outdoor cafes and handsome polo players don’t hurt either!

imageYour bags have been created for women with outgoing & playful personalities! When choosing designs/styles/colours for your bags, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own tastes/needs or bits of all those?

I really don’t start designing thinking about any specific handbag trends, but I do think we are all exposed to a lot of the same art, culture and fashion, etc. so that there is a general wavelength from which all designers draw inspiration and it results in designs that may be considered “on trend.” I do like to make sure that I offer handbag shapes that are appealing and complementary to some of the current clothing designs and any prints I may be developing. For my next collections Fall/ Winter + Resort, everything started with an abstract painting and another one a random doodle, which I have developed into a print for leather and was the foundation for the whole collection. I definitely create pieces that I would like to wear.

How did you come up with your brand name, “Bizi”?

I always wanted a name that was easy to remember and a bit unplaceable. My feisty mutt Biscuit or Bizcocho in Spanish was christened by her Argentine amigos as Biz or Bizi. And quite frankly, she is a total inspiration to me every day in innumerable ways. So because this project was so dear to me just like her – it fit. 

imageMy absolute favourite of your bags is the very funky futuristic Llao Llao Pleiades Collection Large Tote. To date, what has been your most popular bag ordered from your repertoire?

Thank you! Actually it would be that one and the large frame in the same Pleiades collection. The Lucite geometric mirrors give what is a classic shape an ultra contemporary space aged feel. The silver leather is muted so it provides a nice contrast with the Lucite mirrors. And this silver leather is amazing, goes with everything and is a year round item.

imageOut of all the handbags on your website, what is or has been your favourite?

I love the same ones you do. The Pleiades Llao Llao bag is so striking, but also practical as it fits everything plus your small dog and so comfortable to wear. But I also ADORE the pink Nahuala Palermo Chico small frame satchel. The pink print is tribal but feminine, and I developed it from a collection of vintage Guatemalan textiles I have collected. I use this as a cross-body bag for running errands or going out to lunch. It holds all the essentials and the hand-forged custom frame hints of the fabulous French ironwork found throughout Buenos Aires. The Lucite rooster makes it a little quirky and upbeat. And it goes great with jeans or a dress. So quite a versatile little satchel.

Your designs cannot fail to be inspired by the energetic explosions of colour found throughout Latin America – from the sultry Argentine Tango dancers to vibrant flora colours of the jungle, the white sands and the azure seas….I’m dreaming now!! What place have you visited that really had the WOW factor and gave your imagination a real boost? What place would you love to visit for inspiration if you could?

The indigenous markets I have explored in Ecuador and Mexico have been great sources of inspiration for all their colorful and geometric textiles. In Latin America, I want to go to Guatemala and Peru next. These markets from what I discern online will be for me like walking into a colorful candy shop. Plus I love to see the process behind how their textiles are made and the love and pride that goes into their pieces.

India is right now is tops on my list. But if I go, I really want it to be for a month at least so I have to figure that out. And I think that will be after I am feeling better! Online, I am getting to know each region of India and the textiles for which they are famous. Also I am a fan of many a Bollywood movie with all their color, music and beautiful costumes, I could happily draw inspiration just from Bollywood for years to come.

imageTalking of women with outgoing & playful personalities earlier, and bearing in mind you’re based in Argentina, I could just imagine your bags would have been Eva Peron’s cup of tea as well as the feisty Madonna who plays her character in the film, Evita (one of my favourite films!) What famous lady, dead or alive, would you love to see wearing your handbag with pride?

Well, if you visit Buenos Aires you must visit the Museo de Evita, which is home to a lot of Eva Peron’s dresses, hats, handbags and shoes on display. Afterwards you can have a wonderful brunch in the outdoor garden café. It’s a lovely place, nestled beneath a green, tree-line street in Palermo Chico. Since you are talking along the lines of Eva Peron, then I would say I would be honored to have beautiful Argentine born, Queen Máxima of the Netherlands wear a Bizi handbag. Couldn’t get much better than that!

imageHave you got plans to extend your range in the future?

Yes! I am adding about 6-8 new styles and some complementary necklaces for FW and Resort as well as adding some coordinating solids that compliment the upcoming, featured prints. But still in interesting leather finishes that I think Bizi customers will love!

Unfortunately, you were diagnosed as suffering from the debilitating disease, Lyme Disease, which at first put paid to your designing ambitions. How hard was it to overcome the problems and actually get your dream career going in the end?

Well, very hard. I had just started with this business when I started getting sick, It took a long time to get properly diagnosed and this project was put on hold. But I regarded getting healthy as my new full time job and went about it with extreme intensity. A tube was placed into my heart, which was used to pump in strong antibiotics every day for over a year. This was the nuclear option and I made some good improvements, but eventually went downhill again. I then researched alternative treatments and one was extremely helpful. I am better in some ways, but not 100%. But I plan on getting there ASAP. So it is an added challenge because I still deal with a lot of unpleasant symptoms that I have to manage while growing a business. However, Bizi has definitely been a medicinal outlet for my own creative expression and a wonderfully positive distraction. I think when we go through trying times it is important to surround yourself with uplifting art, design, music and movies that energize you. And that is what I hope comes through in my designs because I am creating what I am most craving now! Bizi is meant for the girl who wishes to inject a little levity and festive whimsy into her life. For her life is serious enough, so fashion is her refuge for all things quirky fun and joyful!

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

Argentina is very casual. So when I “dress up” its mostly casual chic. I live in jeans and I like to dress them up with a cool top, statement necklace or colorful scarf and of course a great bag. I tend to gravitate towards expressive accessories paired with quirky basics as a general rule. But since I am at the dog park a lot and out visiting suppliers my day is more dirty than dressy and I can assure you this look is far less interesting and may even require a fashion intervention! HAH! Just keeping it real!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Well in Argentina, I love JT by JT because she stands out for being more experimental, Tramando for his futuristic clothes and interesting transfer prints. I also love Rapsodia for ethnic inspired clothes and scarves that are very wearable.

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

Like most expats living here, I have a HUGE clothing list when I head back to the U.S. There are amazing designers here, but there isn’t any consistency to sizes so most expats unless super petite can find shopping hit or miss. So I can’t wait to go home and stock up. Right now I want a really nice classic black leather biker-jacket, which I hope I can find here. And I’ll take most any shoe by Sophia Webster although I can’t promise I can walk well in them.

Boots or Shoes?

It just depends on what I am wearing and my mood. Because Buenos Aires has a short winter I try to get away with sandals as long as possible which I adore best of all. I am pretty clumsy in heels so flats are my friend. Come winter I live in boots because I am always freezing. Argentina is great because there are only 2 months that are really cold so the rest of the year I can try to get away with my beloved sandals.

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

I’d love to connect with your readers!

Also be sure sign up to our emailing list for 15% off your first purchase over on on our blog!

http://shopbizi.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/shopbizi

Twitter: http://twitter.com/bizibuenosaires

 

I hope you find your black biker jacket Meredith, it’s the one item in my wardrobe that has constant wear – with jeans or dresses! Thanks for introducing us to your  fab bag collection and I am sure that many of my outgoing readers will be heading for your website for a taste of Latina fun! 

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from Bizi Buenos Aires/Meredith Wilkins.

 

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Wear Eponymous

Hailing from Glasgow,  new fashion brand Wear Eponymous have introduced a fresh and fun approach  by strongly championing emerging designers and showcasing exciting limited edition lines as well as believing the fact that everybody should embrace their individuality.  So this week I’m chatting to the lovely three founders – Elaine, Laura and Alan, to find out more …welcome…image

ALAN: Hi! Wear Eponymous is a new fashion brand with a fresh and fun approach to the industry we know, love and as individuals have worked in for many years. We think everyone should embrace their individuality and eponymous means uniquely you. Shopping with us you’re choosing to dress for yourself, to follow key trends without following the crowd and, most importantly, be your own story.

You’ve all got good vast knowledge of the fashion industry from the photographic, MUA, and technical knowhow. What inspired the founding of Wear Eponymous?

We wanted to create a sustainable future for ourselves after many years working as freelancers but we have key goals to achieve that align ethically with our own sustainability plans. As many creatives will tell you, there is very much a ‘working for free’ attitude that has crept in to the creative industries (and others) over the last few years and we want to address this. We feel that providing quality products at affordable prices will allow us to achieve our goals of sustainability and in return will allow us to pay creatives and give something back to people in the industry.

imageYour idea is that everyone should embrace their individuality and the word “eponymous” means “uniquely you”. So who thought up the brand name? Was it difficult to find a name that really sums up your ideals?

We wanted to create a sustainable future for ourselves after many years working as freelancers but we have key goals to achieve that align ethically with our own sustainability plans. As many creatives will tell you, there is very much a ‘working for free’ attitude that has crept in to the creative industries (and others) over the last few years and we want to address this. We feel that providing quality products at affordable prices will allow us to achieve our goals of sustainability and in return will allow us to pay creatives and give something back to people in the industry.

imageYou’re a new fashion brand with a fresh & fun approach to fashion and you also feel strongly about championing emerging designers, such as your first guest emerging designer, fellow Scot, Laura Sherriffs. So, when designing or choosing outfits to represent your brand, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

LAURA: As a team, we have an extensive background working within the fashion and beauty industries and as a result, working at the likes of London Fashion Week helped to educate us in trend forecasting and observe the process of runway collections translating into high-street everyday looks. When choosing collections to represent our brand, we’re always mindful of our customer base and combine their thoughts with trend forecasting to deliver an affordable but high-quality product. When it comes to selecting our emerging designers, we use a criteria of exceptional talent and originality of design.

My favourites from your collection are the turquoise checkered shirt and the black classic clutch bag. What outfits are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?

The dress collection in particular has been very popular and we have seen a sellout in our classic black bag.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection, what is your favourite?

I’m torn between the contrast collar dress and the high-waisted faux-leather skirt! The great thing is our products are designed to be extremely flattering on the body and as a petite but curvy lady, the struggle to find dresses and skirts that don’t swamp my figure up is over! The contrast collar dress is completely timeless, but with the collar, it adds that little element of personality other little black dresses are missing. As for the high-waisted faux-leather skirt – being a fan of leatherette textures, it’s perfect for helping the transition into spring/summer – black faux-leather is too harsh for summer! It teams up perfectly with pastels.

Wear Eponymous aims to prioritise good ethics in everything you do from chosen suppliers through to product packaging and model casting. How important is it to you and your designers that your models promote a positive body image?

ELAINE: We think it’s so important to promote a healthy image as life is tough enough without scrutinising your body and focusing on what you don’t like or wish was different. No-one is perfect and we don’t want to promote an unachievable image. We want everyone to embrace our tagline of ‘be your own story’ and encourage our customers to dress for themselves.

imageWhich famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of Wear Eponymous?

We love and admire anyone who has fun with fashion and dresses for themselves. From a fun point of view, someone like Paloma Faith clearly epitomises ‘be your own story’ and injects so much of her personality into her outfit choices and we love that! We select pieces that fit with trends but are also timeless too so a classic beauty such as Jourdan Dunn fits our eponymous ethos; you instantly know her style.

Your collection is full of cutesy pastels and striking monochrome – What colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

Always a fan of pastels, I’m really channelling baby blue and pink! The blue hues seen in our pastel skinny jeans and pastel blazers are so fresh and bright – just what we need after what seems a very long and miserable winter. I’m always a champion of monochrome as it really is seasonless – it will never go out of fashion, but as always, in summer I lean more towards white, and in winter towards Black. The third trend I’m really tapping into this season is “Geo” – which is the trend based off of an earthy palette. Nudes and earthy tones are very underrated and used, but incredibly complimentary to all skin tones – the trick is to select the right hue for you. I’m personally in love with the W.E. Classic trench coat in beige – the toning is so rich and unusual for a trench coat.

imageLooking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2014 – what styles/ colours / era do you hope to see being worn?

There is a fair emphasis on a neutral colour palette predicted – a lot of grey, black and nude tones present on the A/W 2014/15 runways. That being said, there’s also hints at colour bursting through, particularly in tones of burgundy, purple and burnt orange, as well as a touch of deep blue. In terms of shape, we’re definitely moving away from skin-tight clothing and heading towards traditional feminine silhouettes, as well as boxy oversized tailoring.

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

I love classic pieces that are comfortable to wear and allow me to go about my varied working day knowing that I won’t be held back by an uncomfortable heel or super tight skirt! When I’m working on shoots or rushing between meetings I opt for a tailored trouser, classic shirt and a ballet pump or boot. I love dresses for events and will definitely opt for a heel then but at 5ft 9” it’s never too high!

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

I always like to visit House of Fraser as they have a great selection of brands (personal favourites being Biba and Mary Portas). Warehouse has always been a go-to for classic pieces and you can’t beat New Look for some fast fashion.

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

We’re already looking towards our autumn/winter collection, but for spring/summer we’re hoping to bring in some more pastel palettes in our shirts and dresses and we love the monochrome trend, in particular we have spied the most stunning dogtooth heels which may have to make a debut before the change of season!

Boots or Shoes?

This is hard! I’m always a sucker for a great court heel – get the right pair and you can wear them with anything! However, if I were to base it on trends, it has to be the cut-out boot – black for winter, tan for summer! They have a great versatility and I just adore how clunky and grunge-like they look with any outfit. Other classics include a Chelsea boot for a great 60’s mod vibe and a pair of tan Oxford brogues – comfort, androgyny and sophistication all in one shoe!

Links you would like to share:

http://www.weareponymous.com

http://www.facebook.com/WearEponymous

It’s been great chatting to you and learning about what Wear Eponymous is all about.  You have a great future in front of you and I’m sure you’ve gained some new customers/fans amongst my readers!

Linda x

Photo credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from Wear Eponymous.

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With ROSAvelt

This week I’m interviewing Sadia of ROSAvelt, an independent British clothing label whose women’s clothing has wowed me with their fab mix of classic, contemporary and vintage influences. I really adore touches of lace, crochet and the sensualness of silk –  classic touches that can be updated each season to accommodate passing trends, that can also easily be worn during the day yet still come alive at night. Welcome to the blog, Sadia…image


Hi! My name is Sadia, founder of ROSAvelt. From a very young age I had a lot of interest in fabrics, colours and fashion; as a child, I used to design my own outfits and hand-sew doll outfits for my crafts homework. I embarked on a career in Engineering and Investment banking, but it didn’t allow me to pursue my creative interest to the degree I wanted. However, I persevered, slowly working towards my goal and after years of background work, research and personal enthusiasm, I was able to launch ROSAvelt in 2012.
imageROSAvelt is an independent British clothing label established in 2012. What inspired you to start the business?
I feel that most retailers and even designers are easily going out to markets abroad, sourcing products in mass quantities and pushing them onto buyers well over 4 times a year on the name of “Fashion”. Salaries unfortunately do not change with the same rate as does the fashion, so consumers are left out of pocket with these ever changing looks & trends. I researched the products which were loved by consumers season after season, year after year – call it the “wardrobe constants” if you will. These are the products which ROSAvelt specialises in. We want to bring evergreen, all season boutique concepts so our customer make the most out of their money and wear an outfit with many seasons, holidays and parties to come. Our dresses are classic, clean cut and tailored beautifully, with an added benefit of them being Limited Edition. Let me elaborate on the Limited Edition concept a little bit more – I once went to a wedding where 3 girls turned up wearing the very same electric blue dress which was retailed by a well-known high street clothing brand. Much to their annoyance of course, let’s face it – it’s hardly an ideal situation! So going completely against the mass production retail market out there, we are creating pieces in truly limited quantities using old school, traditional tailors. You’ll never bump into someone wearing the same outfit at a party ever again.

imageYour limited edition women’s clothing combines classic, contemporary and vintage influences. So, when designing your outfits do you go by popular styles, customer requests, your own preferences or bits of all those?

 I follow and research all possible fashion events;  red carpet looks, colours of the season, fashion runways, Oscars, movies, all-time favourite fashion icons…you name it. Sometimes just a passing by bus with a massive promotional banner can give me an idea. My main source of inspiration is nature, which is why I used a lot of natural backgrounds in the photography and used real pictures with no air brushing of any sort.

imageMy favourite dresses from your collection are all the floral printed silk dresses and the flower printed silk dress. What dress/outfit is proving popular amongst your customers this season?

Linda,you certainly have a good taste! Indeed, our silk dresses are proving quite popular – I like to call them our “Multi-tasking dresses” because they are made of pure silk, very lightweight for your holiday wardrobe, colourful for a summer party, barbeque or a wedding. We intentionally use pure silk to create these dresses because silk is natural fibre,so it adjusts itself to your body temperature, unlike polyester which sticks to the body and works against its natural temperature. Also very popular is our handmade collection which required a lot of effort and precision.

imageOut of all the outfits in your collection, what has been (or is) your favourite?

I personally love our pure silk printed trousers. They are very versatile; easy wear yet luxurious for all season wardrobes, especially spring/summer. I like the comfortable, no fuss look which doesn’t require too much time but still look fashionable. Our silk printed trousers always receive many compliments and I wear them with our lace tops for work, casual T’s for a holiday and with plain T shirts/cardigan for a day out.

What do you feel are the advantages of shopping for limited edition outfits?

I think it’s for women who do not wish to be consumed with the ever changing fashion industry. They want to own looks which they know they can safely wear for a few seasons for a few different occasions. Also, for women with certain taste who like the delicacy of pure silk, pure guipure lace, original jacquard and of course hand embroidery.

imageI’ve also a soft spot for your white embroidered crochet dress – it has a definite 60s wedding dress vibe to it – reminds me of the sort of thing that the young Twiggy would’ve worn!  Which famous lady would you love to see strutting their stuff in one of your dresses?

I can see Olivia Palermo and Big Brother House’s Emma wearing it. This dress was in fact inspired by an Oscar after party look which caught my eye and I created a more “wearable” version of it.

I love the idea of the monthly competition on your website, “Face of ROSAvelt” giving customers the chance to appear on your website and could potentially get a chance to model for future collections. What were the reasons behind launching such an initiative?

We are a young company and really want to connect with our customers. I mentioned above that photography was real with no magic wand techniques of air brushing so it’s something we want to adhere to in our future shoot, therefore we want to find models from real life instead of professional models only. It’s a win- win situation both ways because it gives newcomers a chance to start their modelling career and it gives us a platform to connect with our customers and see how they wear our clothes. We are open to ideas and all ages are welcome to become Face of ROSAvelt.

Your collection is full of bright colours! My summer wardrobe seems to be leaning towards the bright citrus colours, intertwined with shades of blue and snatches of red, white & navy too! What colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

Yellow! An all-time summer favourite! Yellow is a very safe summer hit almost every season and I love the Canary yellow Crochet dress in our collection. Pink is another colour you can’t go wrong with; it instantly lifts the mood. In fact, I was reading an article just the other day and one of the recommendations to enhance your mood is to wear bright colour outfits – I couldn’t agree more. We also have some great new additions to our collection coming up soon so look out for Nautical dresses, Ceramic print silk and sequinned shift dress featured on our website in coming weeks.

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

In summer: Sandals, skirts and tops as casual and always a dress for some outing/formal event.Winter: Velvet skirts, Cashmere clothing, boots/heels etc. This winter I teamed our hand embellished velvet skirts with some cashmere plain tops for evening outs and they gathered many compliments because they are so lightly embellished without overpowering the entire clean look.  

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

I like Vivienne Westwood for her edgy looks, Marc Jacobs for his laid back approach and Jenny Peckham’s styles.

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

This summer I plan to experiment with many of ROSAvelt’s collection for nights out and work, I do however have a Burberry black handbag on my wish list at the moment.

Boots or Shoes? 

Boots – they are easy to run around in rainy London.

Find out more about ROSAvelt by checking out their fab website:

www.rosaveltonline.com

Thanks Sadia – I certainly love your current collection and I’m going to give those printed trousers a try too!  

Linda x

Photos Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission from ROSAvelt.

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Gate City Management

This week I’m truly honoured to chat with the suave, family-orientated and musically talented Chris from Gate City Management.  Hailing from Atlanta, the “Gate City”,  Chris grew up with a love for the entertainment business and by the time he left  high school he was proficiently playing 5 instruments.  But that’s not all… fashion is also in his heart.  So, without further ado, let’s welcome the man himself… hi Chris, a big warm welcome to the blog..image

Hello my name is Chris Waymon, CEO of Gate City Management. I am a musician, businessman, a father, a husband, and a friend.
Where did you get inspiration from to start Gate City Management?
I was once an artist myself. Growing up and learning the entertainment industry, I saw and experienced what it takes to be a successful artist through artist development such as, vocal lessons, stage presence, dance lessons, interview techniques, styling, branding plus many more. Longevity is what we are striving for through artist development. This is why the artists I grew up on were so successful. This is what a lot of artists now are truly missing and they are wondering why they are one hit wonders. So I created Gate City Management to help bring this concept back.
imageYou have experience as a producer, production manager, and event organiser as well as a big love for music. So what “hat” do you tend to favour the most?
My favorite hat will always be music. It has always been an outlet when I needed to express myself. Over time I have evolved to be a producer/ production manager, and event coordinator but each one was still for a musical project.

Gate City Management only seek those who have worked a minimum of 3 years in their chosen genre of the entertainment industry, and currently working full time in that said career.  You are not a firm for those seeking to ‘get discovered’. However for those new to the entertainment business you do offer workshops, conferences and career consulting.  What seems to be the most popular type of service you offer amongst your clients?
We are also looking for the next superstar, whether it’s a model, actor, or artist. How the entertainment industry used to work is the record label used to pay for artist development, but since most artists are looking to go the independent route they miss out on the artist development phase. Being the “Starving Artist” many can’t afford or understand artist development. So as of now our most successful service is being a producer/ production manager.
imageYou were born & raised in Atlanta so it’s hardly surprising you have a love for the entertainment business. In fact, Gate City Management is named after Atlanta’s nickname back in the 1800s, Gate City.  Was it difficult to pick a name for your company or was it just an obvious choice? 
It was kind of hard, because I love my city and the history of Atlanta so of course I had to do my research to find a way to show my two loves music and Atlanta. The problem I had was finding a way to represent Atlanta and still connect with others, because overall I want it to be a universal household name.
You went to Georgia State University and majored in music;as well as when you were in Middle School you formed a group which emulated The Fugees; so what career did you dream of having when you was studying?
Growing up I idealised Sean “Diddy” Combs as a successful businessman in the entertainment industry. I planned to be an artist, and afterwards have a record label. So once I stopped being an artist I could focus on my own entertainment company almost like Bad Boy.
imageI’m impressed that you can play 5 instruments including the iconic sax! What’s your favourite instrument to play?  What sort of music genre do you enjoy listening to?
My instrument was the sax even though I learned the bassoon, trumpet, baritone, and drums I still appreciated where it started from which was the sax. As far as the type of music I enjoyed, I like jazz & blues with a appreciation of the instruments and if it was R&B and Hip Hop, it’s lyrical content. 

Are there any new services you hope to introduce in 2014?  

I have one of my consulting managers that wants to do sports management so we have been discussing it but as of right now not at the moment.  We have enough on our plate. 

You have worked with talent in the past such as Jermaine Dupri, Nivea, Young Bloodz, Bone Crusher…. is there anybody (alive or dead) you would love to work with if you had the chance?  Who would make you totally awestruck?

If I was still an artist, I would love to work with Andre “3000” & Kanye West. I would also like to work Jay Z  from a business aspect of the entertainment industry. 

Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
 A lot of people don’t know but I have a background in fashion. I am slowly working on three different clothing lines but that is further down the line. So I like to consider myself being fashion forward. My favorite brands are Akoo, Polo, and Gucci. As far as shoes are concerned, I’m a sneaker-head and collect shoes but I only like Air Force Ones and Retro Jordans, and Gucci and Prada dress shoes.
 
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Being that I’m 6 ft tall I don’t have many shops that cater to my height, so my stylist gets most of my clothes from different places. I’m  just not sure where from.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
I’m looking to work with upcoming designers to help build their line as a brand ambassador, so if there are any designers reading this, please contact so we can talk. I’m looking for something different.
Boots or Shoes?
Both it depends on what I’m wearing that day jeans or a suit.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you and Gate City Management.

It was so nice chatting to you Chris and I wish Gate City Management all the best in 2014 and beyond. Don’t forget, my designer friends, to get in touch with Chris …

As always, join our Facebook group Boots Shoes et Al, for daily shoe pics, shoe bargains, and lots more …just press the button! Whilst you’re pressing buttons, press the subscriber button and be one of the first to receive my new blog post each week… I look forward to hearing from you 🙂

Linda x

 

Photo Credits: Photos have been published with kind permission from Chris Whymon and Gate City Management. 

 

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Alex Proud

Tonight I’m really proud to be interviewing the man about town, Camden Town that is, Alex Proud.   I can’t remember exactly when I first became aware of Alex – it was either through watching one of my favourite TV programmes, Channel 4’s Four Rooms, where Alex is one of the regular dealers; reading one of his highly entertaining articles for the Telegraph Men section ( I know I’m not male but I love Alex’s writing style and wit and quite often I agree with his sentiments);  or, hearing about his fab entertainment venues – BUT most recently I discovered that he had a love for Jeffery West shoes, a love shared by most of the men that I’ve interviewed as well as by my darling husband too.  So, without further ado, let’s meet the man himself….hi Alex, welcome to the blog:image

Hi! Alex Proud, pleased to meet you.

Although you are a nightclub & gallery owner & dealer & TV dealer & journalist, you studied politics at the University of York.  Do you still have a love for politics?  Is being a politician next on your impressive career list or is writing a regular column for Telegraph Men a sort of “political” outlet for you?

Yes I still love Politics, I used to be Charles Kennedy’s advisor, and I still actively engage with the Liberal party. Also, I am the Vice Chairman of the local business improvement district and I’m heavily involved in Camden politics. But yes, sometimes I do see this column as an outlet for my political passions.

You started your dealer career by selling Japanese art and eventually moved on to Rolls Royces.  Were you driven to selling items that personally appealed to you or because these items were in demand?  What made you opt for Rolls Royces?

I hate to destroy any romantic imagery, but I did what I did to make a living. Ha! But I do love British cars – I currently drive an Aston Martin and I love Jags – the new advert is fantastic; it is good to be bad!

imageYour fabulous famous photography gallery, Proud Central, was opened in 1998 and has become one of the world’s foremost private photographic galleries.  What inspired you to open such a gallery?

A series of coincidences led me to put on Dennis Morris’ Sex Pistols exhibition and when I saw the reaction it garnered, I quickly developed a passion/love affair that has endured since.

imageThe photography shown in your galleries focus on popular culture, encompassing rock & roll, fashion, sporting moments etc.  What sort of photography do you like to look at? Have you a favourite print?

Somewhat like the referee of a football game, it would be undiplomatic of me to express my personal favourites. I enjoy all good photography.

In 1999 you set the publishing company, Vision On, with well known photographer, Ian Rankin. I am a great admirer of the work of Ian Rankin, so I am well impressed! Do you do any photography yourself, as a hobby?

Yes. I’m a keen Instagram-er if that counts? But I have to admit I’m pretty dreadful.

imageIn 2006 you opened the stunning 700 capacity bar & music venue Proud Camden, which was soon followed by Proud Cabaret, the burlesque restaurant within Proud Camden; and Proud Brighton. What’s the most memorable gig held at Proud Camden? 

Most memorable gig would be the launch of the first Proud Bar, when The Libertines played…

imageBeing a bit of a party animal, having co hosted parties with people as diverse as Paul McCartney and Hugh Heffner,  you probably are not easily starstruck … so any great party anecdotes?

I’ve got hundreds of great party anecdotes. You will have to take me out for dinner and get me drunk to get them. Sounds good to me… 😉 

imageYour close ties with Mencap has led you to put together club nights in an effort to change people’s attitudes towards people with learning disabilities.  What inspired you to help in this way?

I dislike the way the British are obsessed with puppies and kittens and donkeys and we seem to ignore human beings with far more desperate needs. Mencap and people with learning difficulties are a wonderful way for all of us to put a little bit back into society. I only wish I, and many of us did do more.

You appear on Channel 4’s Four Rooms – I love that programme – so do you enjoy the TV experience?  What item would you say was your best deal as a result of the TV programme?

It’s great fun, albeit long-winded and tiring and I don’t deal well with the early starts that are necessary in the television industry. The best deal I’ve done as a result of the show is still purchasing the world’s first passport which I’m holding onto, but which I believe to be worth much more than I paid for it.

imageYour wife, Danielle, is an interior designer, Creative Director of your Proud establishments  and in her previous job, Head Designer at Biba,  so she obviously has taste too for certain items – do you share a similar taste for objects?  Have you ever done a deal and brought home or to the gallery an object which didn’t quite meet her approval?

Danielle and I don’t have very similar tastes but we respect each other enough to manage to live with each other’s differences. Yes, I regularly bring home things that don’t meet her approval and ditto the other way around. It tends to mean that things disappear. Like some sort of dictatorship when things randomly disappear in the middle of the night.

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

I normally wear Jeffery West shoes and Gresham Blake suits.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love ASOS, because I hate walking into shops. Again, Jeffrey West shoes, I have them handmade bespoke for my feet and I have blue croc skin, brown with flames up the side…

I like Mr Porter for the odd treat.

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

A new tailor that Holly introduced me to – he’s going to make me a suit. He’s called David Brooke.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots. Always. I just think that Chelsea Boots are cooler. And preferably with Cuban Heels to make me a bit taller.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!

Twitter: @AlexanderProud

Instagram: alexproud55

Proud: www.proud.co.uk

 

Wow, thanks for a great interview Alex!  If any readers are in London, pop into the Proud Chelsea gallery and view the fab photographic exhibition currently on show until May 4th 2014 charting the career of legendary Formula One driver Ayrton Senna – as 2014 is the 30th anniversary of Senna’s debut as well as being the 20th anniversary of his death.  Entry is free.

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photographs have been published with kind permission from Proud Publishing Limited 

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Mel Boteri

I’m talking bags again this week, although this time I’m chatting to Melanie, the gorgeous person behind the luxury handbag company, Mel Boteri.  Not only has she designed fantastic bags to die for, but she has written a bag guide providing an unique and exciting inside look into the fab world of handbags.  So, a big warm welcome to the blog Melanie:image

Hi! My name is Melanie Mueller, and I am the Founder and Creative Director of Mel Boteri.  My mission is to inspire women to discover their unique style and to express it confidently through luxury, one-of-a-kind custom and bespoke accessories.  

What inspired you start up your business? 

Shopping frustrations are what ultimately inspired me to start Mel Boteri.  There have been countless times where I envision something precisely as I want it – a dress, a piece of jewelry, a handbag – whatever it might be, and it would either be impossible to find the right size or the style simply did not exist. I felt stuck in the world of mass-produced fashion and wanted to make a change. Luckily these frustrations hit their peak while I was studying to get my Masters in Business Administration, so I was able to lay down the groundwork for my business during my last semester of school.

imageWhen choosing designs/styles/colours for your bags, do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own tastes/needs or bits of all those?  

I believe keeping up with current fashion trends is part of my job so that I can intelligently consult with my clients.  However, I do not believe each trend is appropriate for every individual.  It is all about incorporating the elements that work for you, your body, and your unique personality and style.  That being said, when designing my bags it is a bit of everything you listed – trends, client requests, my own taste – that directs the look and style of the finished bag.

You launched your brand in 2009, how did you come up with your brand name, Mel Boteri? 

The name came to me over a few glasses of wine with my parents.  As a first generation American (my mother is Colombian and my father German), it was important for me to incorporate my family heritage into the name.  Mel therefore stems from the German name my father gave me, Melanie, and Boteri stems from my mother’s maiden name, Botero. Oddly enough, soon after starting my business I discovered that my maternal grandmother also designed bags, which she hand-knitted for family, friends and neighbors in her small town of Calarca, Colombia. I guess I was destined to have this fabulous job.

To date, what has been your most popular bag ordered from your repertoire?

That is difficult to say since the majority of my orders are customized to the particular needs of each client, but most recently I have noticed the ‘Blake’ style to be quite popular.  I believe it is the perfectly-sized everyday bag, holding all of your essentials without looking or feeling too bulky.

imageI love your handbags, especially from your latest collection the cobalt blue “Sayde”shoulder bag with its gorgeous turquoise suede lining. What gave you the idea to line in suede?

Mel Boteri has evolved quite a bit from its inception until now, but one thing that has never faltered is the dedication to quality.  To me, suede was the most luxurious lining option against the fine Italian exterior leathers.  Lambskin lining is used in our new line of exotics, but the turquoise (my favorite color) is signature across the board.

imageOut of all the items on your website,what is or has been your favourite?

My favorite would have to be the ‘Boteri’ tote.  This was the second handbag I ever designed (the first being the ‘Mel’ hobo), and so it is the most representative of my personal style.  

Mel Boteri has partnered with luxury brands including Mercedes-Benz and Hideoki Bespoke to create both co-branded and private label accessories for a discerning and selective clientele.  If you had the chance to design a handbag for any famous lady in the world (living or dead) who would you like to see flaunting your handbag? 

Hands down Jennifer Lopez (I hope she sees this)!!  Even before Jennifer became as popular as she is today with all of her music, movies, and especially American Idol, I have always looked to her as a style icon.  She is the epitome of a confident woman, who knows how to take a trend and make it her own to flaunt her best assets.  I would LOVE to see what kind of handbag she would customize!!

imageAll your handbags on your website can be customised with a choice of leathers and hardware. What has been the strangest or most memorable bespoke handbag request you’ve received?

The most unique handbag I have created to date was a patchwork version of the ‘Cynthia’ tote.  I love a good challenge, so it was also one of the most exciting ones to bring to life.  

You’ve written the first of many bag guides planned, “7 Secrets of Handbag Shopping”, created to provide an inside look into the fab world of handbags.  With secrets including how to learn to select a handbag that will best flaunt your body, what are the most popular handbag mistakes you feel that ladies make?

To me, the most prevalent mistake women make is carrying a handbag simply because it is the current “It Bag” or because all of her girlfriends are coveting the same style.  A handbag, just like any other piece of fashion, should be personal and a representation of your unique style.  Bag Servant, one of my favorite sites for scoping out what’s new in the world of handbags, has a fabulous tool where you can shop by personality.  A “Vintage Queen”, for example, should not be carrying the same handbag style as the “Boardroom Perfectionist.” Once woman make this switch and begin to discover their personal style, they will look and feel much more confident.

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

I have a saying, “when all else fails, wear black and accessorize,” and with my hectic schedule, I often find myself doing just that!! Depending on the day, my shoes will either be part of the “all black” of my look or more of an “accessory” in leopard-print or a pop of color.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

I cannot get enough of Net-A-Porter.com.  They literally have something for every fashion mood that comes my way – classic, trendy, sporty, girly, you name it and you can find a beautiful version of it on Net-A-Porter.com!!

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

I am a huge fan of Tamara Mellon, not only for what she created with Jimmy Choo, but more so for her innovative approach to business and the fashion industry specifically.  I am dying to get my hands on few of her #BuyNowWearNow shoes and clothing.  

Boots or Shoes?

It really depends on the season. During fall and winter, you won’t see me in anything other than boots, and in warmer months my go-to are strappy, platform wedges.

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

Sure!! Readers can follow me and Mel Boteri on the following sites:

Website – www.MelBoteri.com

Download “The Bag Guide” –http://shop.melboteri.com/pages/7secrets

Facebook – www.facebook.com/melboteri

Twitter – www.twitter.com/melboteri

Instagram – www.instagram.com/melboteri

Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/melboteri

Google+ – https://plus.google.com/+MelBoteri

It has been great chatting to you Melanie – your bags are fantastic and I’m a big fan already.  I’m sure you’ve inspired a lot of my blog readers to check out your wares too!

Linda x

Photo Credits: Photos have been published with kind permission of Mel Boteri

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Evanji

This week’s interview is very much beauty based as I delve into the realms of the ancient Arabic art of sugaring with my knowledgeable guide Denise of Evanji Limited.  A warm welcome to you, Denise….20140214-154800.jpg

Hi! My name is Denise McGowan and I own and run Evanji Ltd. I was previously a Secondary School Head of Food and Textiles. As a student I played International Canoe Polo and later on achieved my Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award. I was in a life changing accident at the age of 19 and now try to acquire as many skills and much knowledge as possible…life is too short! I love to travel and experience other cultures. My passion is passing on my skills and knowledge.I have 2 beautiful daughters and a fabulous husband who is a Firefighter. I do a lot of charity work with Evanji and Arbonne International awarded me the Spirit of Arbonne last year, out of 20,000 Consultants! Very honoured.

20140214-154748.jpgWhere did you get your inspiration from to specialise in the ancient art of sugaring and to set up Evanji?

The inspiration behind specialising in Arabic Sugaring was more of a specific need! I was becoming a single Mum and needed to pay the bills! I already had a successful craft workshop but this wouldn’t reach the income I needed quickly enough. I came across sugaring at a charity ladies night and was asked if I’d like to learn. I could see the potential for the growth of the business but didn’t anticipate how quickly it would grow. My teaching skills and course writing experience helped when we became a registered training provider so that we could pass on this skill.

What’s the history behind sugaring?

Sugaring is an ancient Arabic Art of removing hair from the root with a ball of paste made from sugar, lemon and water. We manufacture the pastes ourselves. In Arabic and Egyptian countries the ladies would meet and sugar each other, indeed before getting married all the hair was removed except for the hair on the top of the head, the eyebrows and the lashes!

20140214-154733.jpgSo, what are the benefits of choosing sugaring over other forms of hair removal? Is there a downside to sugaring?

The benefits of sugaring include that the hair grows back softer, sparser and lighter in colour. Unlike waxing it only sticks to dead skin and hair so it will never rip the skin. The paste is applied and removed by hand so there is no blistering and peeling. The paste is effective on stubborn hair, yet can be used over eczema and psoriasis. It is gentle enough to use on elder skin with our oldest client being 92.

Evanji has now expanded to support a growing number of franchisees… and as well as sugaring, Evanji offer a range of courses including eyelash/eyebrow tinting, massage, manicure, pedicure, hopi ear candling – what seems to be the most popular service that therapists want to master?

As well as sugaring we offer a large  range of treatments and courses. Therapists are very keen to learn massage and facials. Among Clients nails are a popular treatment. We are in the process of adding baby massage to our repertoire of massage courses.

20140214-154722.jpgWhat service is your absolute favourite?

My favourite service is sugaring because it is my passion. So many ladies suffer with polycystic ovaries which results in greater hair growth. They are often then lacking in self esteem and confidence. By helping to keep the hair under control and eventually encouraging it to cease we can raise self esteem and confidence. After this my next favourite is Deep Oscillation a very specialist treatment and a whole new blog!

Out of the services you personally provide what seems to be the most popular amongst your customers?

Sugaring is most definitely the most popular, followed by Deep Oscillation.

Are there any new services you hope to introduce in 2014?

In 2014 we will be introducing baby massage by March. Later in the year Accupressure will be arriving!

20140214-154812.jpgA little bird told me that you’re hoping to expand your franchises overseas  – so how’s it going planwise? Where do you hope to expand to?

As a company we have expanded by word of mouth and have been very lucky to have trained Practitioners abroad. We have 3 ladies in Milan who have now expanded to a further salon. We have a Practitioner in the Dordogne and were very excited last year to train a Practitioner in Australia. In February we are adding to the countries by training a lady in the Canaries.

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

My favourite colours are orange and turquoise…although not together. I tend to team them with black trousers and black, flat shoes. I do own some heels but definitely know when I have worn them. If I know I don’t have clients or meetings I can be found in a bid white shirt and jeans. I definitely like to be comfy.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I am a bit of a M&S girl. I do like boutique style shops and in my home town we have a fabulous one called Curves.

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

I actually make a lot of clothes as I used to teach textiles. I am currently making a jacket, shirt and bra. I am looking to buy some boots but know specifically what I want which makes it more difficult.

Boots or Shoes?

I usually wear shoes because I have a high instep and chunky calves…not ideal for putting boots on!

Links you would like to share so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!

www.evanji.co.ukwww.evanji.myarbonne.co.uk, we are on Facebook as Evanji Limited and Twitter as EvanjiSugaring.

Thank you very much Denise for chatting with us today and I hope that Evanji carries on spreading the beauty word well into the future….

Linda x

Photo credits:  Photos published with kind permission from Evanji Ltd

Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With The Miniature Perfume Shoppe

20140130-133720.jpgLove is in the air… it’ll soon be Valentine’s Day and what lady doesn’t like to be wooed by perfume? For this week’s interview I’m chatting to Leslie Ann and Allen Aaron White of the Texan based Miniature Perfume Shoppe – a perfume bottle shop and museum rolled into one. Leslie Ann White is the Founder and Owner of Miniature Perfume Shoppe. Her professional career of more than twenty five years in the cosmetics industry includes time spent as the Cosmetics Buyer for Foley’s (now Macy’s) Department Stores, and an Account Executive for Clinique Labs responsible for 24 accounts and $10M in annual sales. When not out on the hunt for the next great mini through either her travelling or surfing the web, most of Leslie Ann’s time is spent researching, processing, and professionally cleaning/restoring minis for Miniature Perfume Shoppe. As co-owner, Allen Aaron White (Leslie Ann’s husband), created the MPS website that launched online in 2009. With a varied and successful professional career that has included work as a retail manager, human resources executive, and ordained minister, Allen joined Miniature Perfume Shoppe full-time in 2011 where he currently serves as curator, photographer, and resident perfume historian.

A big welcome to you both, I adore your idea of a miniature perfume shop – it is the first & largest online store of its kind in the world devoted exclusively to the collector of miniature perfume bottles – where did you get your inspiration from?image
Leslie Ann : The inspiration for Miniature Perfume Shoppe began with a small sample bottle of Chanel No. 5. My mom had  just finished using a mini of her “signature” fragrance and asked me (I was thirteen and living in Scotland at the time) if I would like the empty bottle. Little did either one of us realize then that this would not only be the beginning of my personal miniature perfume bottle collection, but also my professional career in the cosmetic industry. Soon, I had two, then ten, then dozens of tiny perfume bottles. My collection continued to grow through the years (I still have that original bottle) with some of those minis ultimately becoming the first inventory for Miniature Perfume Shoppe. My personal collection today is less than a hundred bottles – mainly vintage Chanel minis – but being surrounded by literally thousands of minis every day, I feel a special connection with each and every one. It’s hard to let them go!
20140130-133731.jpgYou stock over 5,000 minis including limited editions,famous brand names, antique, vintage and new too.  What’s the oldest bottle you have, the rarest, the most extravagant, the priciest and the newest?
Allen: First launching with about a hundred bottles, Miniature Perfume Shoppe has since surpassed the 5,000 bottle mark (we currently have our eyes set on that 10,000 mini milestone.) Truth is, since we’re constantly searching for and buying minis from all over the world – individual bottles and entire collections – our inventory is constantly changing. With collectors in more than 35 countries our minis are often here today and gone tomorrow, and with hundreds of “new” minis arriving each week, every day is like Christmas around here. Through the years, some of the oldest (and rarest) minis we have had include miniatures from the mid-1800s, with quite a few regularly arriving from the 1920s such as a Grossmith Phul-Nana, Jaspy Myrodata, and a scarce La Mysteree by Lothaire. As for the most extravagant mini, well that is in the eye of the beholder, but it is hard to beat an Adrian Designs miniature or early Irice Czech glass bottle. Although most minis sell at our shoppe (on average) in the $10 – $25 price range, we also offer “Paris minis” as low as $2.95. Of course, scarcer, hard to find, discontinued miniatures in very good-to-mint condition sell for much, much more. The Priciest? A sealed Guerlain Shalimar “Umbrella” bottle from the 1950s, and a signed, numbered, Serge Lepage Botticelliana mini by Schiaparelli c1970s come to mind – each valued at around $200. We work hard to maintain as diverse a selection as possible with a mini for every taste and every pocketbook. As for the newest, well that depends on what arrives on any given day. Last week it was Wonderstruck by Taylor Swift and Flora from the Gucci Garden Collection.
20140130-133756.jpgTo date, what has been your most popular bottle requested?
Allen: There are some minis that are considered timeless and classic, usually because of either the bottle design or the fact that the fragrance has been discontinued or reformulated. Minis that we find very difficult to keep in stock (and usually sell within days of arriving) include: the original Shalimar, Lauren, Must de Cartier, Poison, and Anne Klein II.
What’s your most favourite perfume bottle?
Miniatures
Leslie Ann: Chanel No 5 from the 1920s-1930s
Allen: Champagne (with wire) by Yves Saint Laurent
 
Commercial
Both: Hedonist by Parfums Viktoria Minya, Paris
You also buy in bottles – have you any that you are particularly hoping to come across?
We are always on the lookout for very early Guerlain minis (especially Jickey and Shalimar) and early ornamental Czech glass minis – the older the better.
You’re a big supporter of the Institute of Art and Olfaction – every mini that is bought you make a donation to the Institute – plus you’ve made a donation of books for their perfume library.  How did you get involved with the Institute?
Allen: Since we first opened for business, we knew that at some point we wanted to partner with and financially support a worthy non-profit organization. That happened last year when we discovered the Institute for Art & Olfaction, based in Los Angeles. For us, it was love at first sight (or sniff) because in the IAO we found the best of all worlds: fragrance, art, and perfume education. When we learned they were trying to build a perfume library we jumped at the chance to help, so since their opening in January of 2013 we’ve supported the IAO monthly. We also donate 10% of any sale made with an IAO discount code. The Institute is involved in some of the most innovative, cutting-edge work being done in the perfume world today and we’re proud to play a mini part in their success.
20140130-133709.jpgThe Vintage Bottles are intended for display purposes and not for use as an everyday personal fragrance.  So, tell me, what is your perfume of choice for everyday wear?
Leslie Ann: Because our miniatures come from diverse people and places from all over the world, we seldom know for sure how a bottle has been cared for over the years. Ideally, minis are kept in a closed display case protected from light and extreme heat or cold, but we cannot always say that with absolute certainty. For that reason, we don’t guarantee that “the juice” in a bottle is still good or wearable. That said, often the perfume in a bottle may be perfectly fine – even after decades of sitting on a shelf, although more often than not some of the top notes have “gone off.”.  As for my personal perfume of choice? That’s easy. My “signature scent” at this time in my life is Hedonist by Viktoria Minya. I think it is the most beautiful, intoxicating perfume on the market today. In fact, I love it so much (and my husband loves it on me so much) that we now carry the line at Miniature Perfume Shoppe. But I also have a fragrance wardrobe that I can choose from based on the season or special occasion. Of course, I also have the luxury of being surrounded by thousands of minis and fragrances every day. Depending on my mood, I can wear just about any fragrance I want anytime I want.
You also sell very cute perfume pins/brooches – I love the Montana silver tone – what’s the most popular? What’s your personal favourite?
Leslie Ann: All of our perfume pins and brooches are adorable – that’s why they are so collectible (especially in Europe), but you’ll almost never find my favorite in stock. That’s because they sell as quickly as they come in – vintage sterling silver perfume pins by Judith Jack.
20140130-133805.jpgYou have a library/resource area too – a great idea – what sort of historical enquiries do you get?
Allen: There is no shortage of great books, websites, and blogs on perfume. Through the years we’ve tried to include links to some of the very best on our website. But we’re excited to have just launched a perfume project we’ve been working on for sometime – The Mini Museum. (www.TheMiniMuseum.com) Although our ultimate goal is to one day have a brick-and-mortar building for our collection (we’re looking at sites in Houston and Paris, Texas), our virtual museum and timeline provide a photograph, fragrance facts, and perfume history for “every” miniature perfume bottle in our collection. It’s still a work in progress, but we’re hoping over time it will become a great perfume resource not only for mini collectors, but lovers of fragrance as well.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
Leslie Ann: Less now, than when I was in the corporate world, I have always enjoyed wearing timeless, classic, tailored clothing and accessories. Generally, some of my favorites include: Clothing: Christian Dior & Talbot’s, Cosmetics: Clinique, Handbags: Gucci and Coach, Shoes: Clarke’s (casual) and Vaneli (dress), Watch: Gucci, Coach, Mondaine
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?
Leslie Ann: With my many years in retail, I do very little shopping at department stores anymore, preferring to do almost all of my shopping online. Besides, the internet is open 24-7-365 and delivers right to my front door! However, Allen and I both love vintage so we really enjoy “going antiquing” (and mini hunting!)
 Boots or Shoes?
Leslie Ann: Always shoes, maybe an ankle  boot. I prefer comfort and simple elegance. For me, I find boots too constricting – like I can’t breathe, lol. Besides, more often than not here in Texas the boot of choice is the cowgirl variety. Definitely not me.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the Miniature Perfume Shoppe
Miniature Perfume Shoppe
Spring, Texas 77388 USA (Near Houston)
 
 
(New) Instagram/Miniature_Perfume_Shoppe
Thank you both very much for chatting to me…I love perfume and have found your shop and museum really fascinating. Hedonist is the featured fragrance of the Miniature Perfume Shoppe this Valentines Day – so don’t forget to sniff out a bottle soon…
 
Linda  x
 
Photo credits:  Photos have been published with kind permission from Allen Aaron White and for the Hedonist photo, with kind permission from Parfums Viktoria Minya, Paris.
Share This!
Pin It

An Interview With Be Free Style

New Year, New You, New Wardrobe…. if that’s your New Year’s resolution then you’ll love tonight’s blog guest.  I’ve been chatting to image consultant and life coach, Belinda, who has led the life of an ex pat wife in America and Thailand, where the non stop social whirl of lunches, dinners, fundraising events, corporate entertaining etc  made getting your wardrobe details right very important indeed.  So, a warm welcome to you, Belinda…20140124-204900.jpg

Hi, I’m Belinda Freestone, a Style Coach based in Nottingham, covering all of the East Midlands. A style coach is a combination of an image consultant and a life coach. I help people to look good on the outside and feel good about themselves on the inside.

Where did you get inspiration from to become an image consultant & life coach?

I’ve always been interested in fashion and looking good, so when I found myself in Thailand as an expat wife with lots of free time on my hands, I began to research distance courses I could study in my own time, with a view to setting up my own portable business. The Style Coach Institute offered a comprehensive course I could study anywhere and in my own time.  When I graduated with honours in 2010, my thoughts turned to starting my own business and so Be Free…Style coaching was born.

20140124-204909.jpgHaving been an expat wife living in both America and Thailand, and now back in the UK, have you noticed any style differences between the three countries?

There are a lot of style differences between the 3 countries I have lived in. Here in the UK we look to Paris & Milan for style inspiration as well as the stars in Hollywood, whereas on the east coast of America, they view the whole of Europe as the essence of style. Americans tend to be more conservative in their dress, especially on the East Coast and aged 35+.   Locals in Thailand also aspire to follow western trends.  Thai people place a lot of emphasis on hierarchy and their place in society, so they dress according to, or above their standing. The women especially love glamour, accessories and shoes.

What are the ups and downs of being an expat wife?

An expat life in Thailand can be one long round of social engagements, either through work or as part of one of the many expat groups i.e. British Women’s group, etc. Most expat families have drivers and live in maids, therefore the everyday tasks for a wife and mother are taken care of. Leaving the expat wife time to exercise, shop, and socialise. This sounds great, but I struggled with losing my identity, I could no longer do the job I had done for nearly 20 years, I was a long way from family and friends and had left my older children in the UK. You have to take up every invitation going and mix with a variety of people you may not usually associate with just to avoid being bored and lonely. As a westerner you got privileged treatment wherever you went and had access to all the elitist places as well as experiencing the real Thailand at street level. Traffic was always horrendous and simple journeys took ages, but overall the experience was amazing.

20140124-204838.jpgYour services as an image consultant & life coach include finding out your body shape; colour, season & style profile; full wardrobe de-clutter; personal shopper; networking style package; wedding services + shop; holiday wardrobe. So which service seems to be most popular so far? Did you do similar services when you wereabroad and if so, what were the most popular services there?

Wardrobe de-clutters and personal shopping are my most popular services here. I had only just started my business in Thailand when we had to move back to the UK, but I did do a couple of wardrobe de-clutters and  shopping would have been popular because finding clothes in larger sizes was difficult.

What service is your absolute favourite?

Personal shopping is my favourite. I love really getting to know a client and seeing their face light up when they find the perfect outfit. I love seeing people’s confidence grow as I show them the correct things to look for.

20140124-204850.jpgHave you any funny stories or unusual events you can tell us about whilst personal shopping etc?

Confidentiality is important in my job so I don’t tell tales but I do get funny looks when doing my research for a client as I go from shop to shop taking photos and making notes on the items they stock. It is funny when I note an item is in a certain place on the day of my research, only to find when I go in the next day with my client, the store have moved it somewhere else.

We all make some wardrobe mistakes at some time in our lives – what common mistakes or style misconceptions have you come across? What are your pet hates?

The most common mistake people make is wearing clothes the size they used to be, that works both ways either too big or too small. My pet hates are trousers that are too short and ill-fitting underwear.

20140124-204825.jpgAre there any new services you hope to introduce in 2014?

In 2014 I hope to introduce a loyalty scheme and a once a season shopping trip.

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

At home I usually wear leggings or skinny jeans with a tunic top or jumper and ankle boots. For work I prefer shift dressers or smart trousers and a fitted top. I love high heel boots or shoes but if shopping with a client I have to go for stylish but comfortable.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

My favourite shops are Zara, Phase8, M & S and Next. But I love to hunt for bargains in TKMaxx and designer outlets.

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

Smart/casual pair of trousers that aren’t jeans or leggings.

Boots or Shoes?

Boots every time! They keep my feet warm, I can wear socks or tights with them and they make me feel sexy!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers of the blog can learn more about you!

To find out more about BeFree or to make an appointment visit www.befreestylecoach.co.uk you can also follow me on Facebook at Be Free Style Coach or on Twitter @Befreestyle47

 

Share This!
Pin It