Whether you are going on a special night out, going to the Races or it’s your Prom night, nothing beats wearing a glamorous dress. What could be better than going to an Aladdin’s Cave full of dresses, a specialist boutique, whose mission is to dress you up to the nines for your special event, regardless of your budget? Dress Code Nine based in Kelvedon, Essex is the Aladdin’s Cave owned by Carla – she has over 200 stunning dresses, stylish heels, fascinators & jewellery – plus a dedicated Prom dress department too! I caught up with Carla recently to chat about dresses….
Hi! My Name is Carla Lynch and I am the proprietor of Dress Code Nine which opened on October 7th 2017, offering evening and occasional wear for ladies all ages and sizes.
What inspired you to set up “Dress Code Nine”?
I love a dress and always have, I think most ladies do, but you can not always find the dress you need for the budget you have at the time. I wanted to address this with my boutique.
Although you do have dresses available to purchase, you have over 200 dresses available for hire from sizes 4 -24. What are the advantages of hiring a dress for that special event?
Not everyone has the funds or feels comfortable to spend so much money to buy a ball dress which you only wear once. This gives my clients both options: a hire collection and a purchase collection to choose from.
Your range of dresses include high-end designers such as Gino Cerruti, Jora Collections, Kiss Me Kate Designs, Eliza and Ethan – all are totally gorgeous! What dresses are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?
It is the Jora Collection. They are gorgeous dresses at a very reasonable price. I love them, the quality and designs are stunning.
Out of all the dresses, do you have any favourites?
Oh yes the one which springs to mind at the moment is one of the Jora collections. It is a gorgeous wine/burgundy colour with a diamante back with a train coming down the middle. If you have a look on our website www.dresscodenine.co.uk under the Jora collection you will see this, it has proved to be a Prom favourite this season.
When going out for a special event, I tend to choose a red dress – occasionally I pick blue or green. My daughter, for her prom, picked a stunning black lace dress. Do you think age plays a part in picking a colour of a dress? Which age group do you find most adventurous when it comes to picking colours for dresses?
I do not think age plays a part, It is more what matches your skin tone, hair, eye colour. Ladies of all ages can be adventurous when you least expect it.
Not only do you have a stunning range of delectable dresses but you also have accessories too. What accessories do you offer to match the dresses?
We offer bags, Fascinators, Hats, Jewellery, Shoes, Wraps.
You have a dedicated department just for prom dresses – what do you feel makes a good “prom” dress?
A style which suits your body shape is a must, as well as colour. A good quality dress also is a big thing for the ladies that come and see us.
If a lady is going to a special event, for example, a Valentines Ball and is interested in hiring/buying a dress – how do they go about visiting “Dress Code Nine”? Can they purchase online, is it appointment only or can they drop by and visit your boutique?
We are appointment only so we can give that one to one service for each lady that comes to our boutique to find their perfect dress so they are dressed to the nines.
When choosing dresses to add to your hire collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional charm or bits of all those?
Everything you have said is important but the most critical purchasing decision for me when buying from designers is catering for my client base.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
A dress with 3 inch heels
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
The high street has its place and for me, it is great for mass produced but good value outfits. I do love a Karen Millen dress and heels.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
More dresses, sparkle diamante flip flops and shoes and another bag or two.
Boots or Shoes?
Has to be shoes. You can wear shoes throughout the whole year for different occasions where boots are more just for winter.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Dress Code Nine.
Are you a lady who is 40,50,60,70, 80… and beyond? Are you frustrated trying to find an outfit that wasn’t dowdy/frumpy/boring/unflattering? Jacynth Bassett’s mother was frustrated and Jacynth became saddened at her mum’s frustration. So Jacynth launched her own online boutique and blog, the-Bias-Cut.com, for women who know that age shouldn’t limit style. I caught up with Jacynth recently to find out more. Hi Jacynth and welcome…..
Hi! I’m Jacynth. I’m 24 and the founder of the-Bias-Cut.com – Shopping With Attitude. It’s the first multi-label online premium fashion boutique that truly celebrates style at every age. I founded it straight out of graduating from studying law at Cambridge – where I was also president of the law society – using my minimal savings and some insurance money after my suitcase got stolen off a train with all my belongings in it (including some amazing Emporio Armani sandals that had been recent birthday presents from my mum!!). I developed, built and created the business entirely on my own, and now I’m one year in I can’t believe how much it’s already taken off!
What inspired you to set up “Bias-Cut.com”?
Since I was 14, my intention was to become a lawyer but, by my second year at uni, I realised it wasn’t for me. Instead my mind started to drift to business, and I knew if I were to start up my own one, it would need to be in an area I really loved. So fashion was the obvious answer. I then started thinking about how frustrated and saddened I’d become at seeing women, like my mum, being treated as invisible and irrelevant in the eyes of the fashion industry – largely because of their age and changing shape. My mum and I are very close and for years we would go shopping together, but she’d often end up fed up by a demoralising shopping experience. I began speaking to lots of other similar women, and realised there was a real problem. So that’s when I became determined to create a boutique that actually empowered and celebrated women like my mum as much as everyone else.
Your brand name certainly stands out from the crowd. – but I was wondering, is there a meaning to why you chose “the-Bias-Cut.com”as your brand name?
I wanted the name to have a direct link to fashion, and to ‘cut on the bias’ is the fashion technique where someone cuts diagonal across the grain of fabric rather than along its lines. But equally we’re about cutting through bias and ending prejudice, largely based around age, in the fashion industry. So the name is a double entendre.
I am totally in love with the “Gigi Nude Brogues” – totally gorgeous! What items are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season?
They’re a lot of people’s favourites, and one of our best sellers! This season our new label POM Amsterdam is doing really well – from their fabulous fun scarves, to their jackets lined with the scarf prints. They are cut really well, and they just bring a smile to your face. But also our cashmere and our 100% cotton poplin printed shirts are always a big hit throughout the year.
Out of all the outfits, do you have any favourites?
Personally I’m a little bit obsessed with the sashenka moon midi skirt by Baum Und Pferdgarten. It is such and elegant shape, and it has pockets! And I love a cool print that also incorporates texture. Baum always cuts everything so well, from their trousers to their tops.
Your boutique is for those who like to shop with attitude – where ageism is never in style. On your website your designs are all modelled by normal women – different heights, shapes and sizes. I’m also impressed that you can search on your website for items by your body shape as well as size. Hypothetically speaking though, which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of “Bias-Cut.Com”?
Thank you! They’re certainly feature that have gone down very well. If I’m honest I don’t see any particular famous lady being ‘the face’ of the-Bias-Cut.com, just because we’re about encouraging our customers to aspire to be the best versions of themselves, rather than someone else. But, with regards to celebrities, it would be an honour to have women such as Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Kristin Scott Thomas, Viola Davis and Christine Baranski as brand ambassadors. They all have great individual style and fabulous attitude, which is exactly what we’re all about celebrating.
You feature in your online boutique an impressive number of designers, the latest being Cove Cashmere. Are there any other new designers you are hoping to feature this year?
Yes! We have a fabulous Dutch label called Fabienne Capot coming in September with a range of lovely embroidered cotton tees, blouses and an emerald velvet blazer I keep dreaming about. We also have a few other surprises but I don’t want to spoil them all for you!
Looking ahead, what colours/patterns/styles do you predict will be popular next season (Summer or Autumn)?
Constellation map prints are going to be big in Autumn – stars are always popular, and it’s a cool progression from the classic pattern. In fact, space all round is going to be big; there’s going to be quite an intergalactic feel! Plus the other big pattern is going to be lightening bolts. Velvet is still going to be very popular, as are bell sleeves and ruffles. And forest and emerald green is going to be seen a lot, as is red. If you look at the trend reports, there are lots of other looks that are forecast to be popular, as well as lots of contradictions. But, in my opinion and from the research I’ve done, these will be the big ones.
As you are based in London, do you offer worldwide shipping?
Yes we ship to 33 countries, and have lots of happy customers overseas! And at the moment it’s free worldwide shipping on all orders over £50 to celebrate the opening of our first public pop-up shop in Greenwich, London later this month (25th-31st)!
When choosing outfits/designers to add to your collection, do you take into account your own tastes, your customer base, current fashion trends, requests, traditional charm or bits of all those?
I have a set of rules I go by:
Everything I select has to be of a flattering cut. In other words, you shouldn’t have to be 6ft or size UK 6 to look good in it. In fact I often use my mum as the fit model as she has a very common apple shape.
Everything I select has to be of excellent quality for the price. I’ve spent a lot of time researching fabrics, so I know when it’s good or bad, or when the wrong fabric has been used. Sometimes I come across an awesome piece, but a very impractical fabric has been used, so then I won’t select it. Equally, I make sure to study the technological developments of fabrics, such as polyester, so that I don’t discard it straight away, and can spot the good quality from the poor.
Everything has a modern twist combined with a timeless appeal. Our clothes are premium, so they are more of an investment than highstreet. So the last thing I want is for a customer to feel it’s outdated within 6 months. With that in mind, I do consider the trends, but only pick pieces that subtly reference them.
I don’t want to wear the clothes, why should my customer? We’re all about celebrating style at every age, so we refuse to sell brands that patronise the older customer, or offer frumpy clothing. So I have to like everything that we sell. But equally, I make sure to keep my customers, their comments and their feedback at the forefront of my mind, so that I never end up choosing something that’s just for me.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
That’s a very good question… I’m quite a style chameleon really and I have a rather excessively extensive wardrobe that reflects that. Every outfit is a reflection of who I am and what I’m feeling that day, but that might mean wearing a girly dress and brogues one day, and on another black jeans, ankle boots and a leather biker jacket. But if I had to define my style generally it’s feminine with a funky edge.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (Apart from your own!)
I adore Maje. Their aesthetic is very me – feminine yet cool – and their cuts work well on my figure. And I wear a lot of Whistles too. Designer wise, I love Brand for their quality jeans, and for shoes I wear a lot of Rupert Sanderson and Miu Miu. I also love traditional Moschino; I’m less of a fan of it now since Jeremy Scott has taken over as I find it a bit OTT, but I have a lot of the brand from before him, and still enjoy finding vintage pieces.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Idealistically, I would love a badass cape and a pair of Malone Souliers heeled sandals. Realistically, it’s a new crop top/sports bra and some Nike trainers for dance class!
Boots or Shoes?
That’s a tough one. It would have to be shoes because there are more varieties, so then I have more excuses to need a new pair. Plus, because I’m short, knee-high and thigh-high boots don’t work on me. But ankle boots trump all shoes for me, because they are so cute and sexy whatever the heel height!
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about the-Bias-Cut.Com.
Thanks Jacynth … and your galactic prediction sounds mighty fine to me. Just remember dear readers to look out for those stars and lightning strikes! I am so pleased that all sizes are considered at the-Bias-Cut.com – I am a UK size 10/12 and I find that a lot of companies geared towards the older woman have a starting size of UK12/14. Same goes for shoes – my feet are narrow – and a lot of shoes offered are wide fit, or extra wide. What fashion frustrations do you have, dear readers?
All photos have been published with kind permission of the-Bias-Cut.com
A few weeks ago on the blog I interviewed the UK charity Living Streets (read the interview HERE) and the charity were preparing for the UK’s National Walk Month this May. One of the events they mentioned was #HappyShoesday on Tuesday 16th May. That date is not quite here yet, I know, but it got me thinking about happy shoes! One of the current summer shoe wear fads this year is footwear with pom-poms. Adding a sense of humour to your outfit, this fad is not “new” by any means, the 2017 twist is plimsolls with a pom-pom on top…
So, what is a pom-pom? Pom-pom comes from the French word “pompon” which refers to a small ball made of fabric or feathers; an ornamental round tuft that originally adorned hats. Even Napoleon sported a pom-pom or two on his hats.
Pom-poms on shoes are not entirely a new idea either. Pom-pom mules called “tauranwari jutti” have been around since the early 16th century in the Pakistani province of Sindhu. They are perfectly suited to the hilly, sandy environment of the region – the pom-poms cushion the foot at the front whereas the open back of the mule makes it easy to flip out trapped sand.
Over in West Africa, in Burkina Faso, brightly coloured leather flip flops were worn with pride in 1965 … and still fashionable today!
In 2015/2016 fur pom-poms were a winter fad – in 1950, Ferragamo made laced up shoes dominated by a white mink pompom. In 2015/2016, real fur and its implications were shunned and there were plenty of vegan fur pom-poms around so that you can express your style without supporting an industry that kills animals.
Coming back to this summer, I have spotted many sandals sporting colourful little pom-poms – such as my high heeled sandals that I bought from La Redoute:
If you are really into your crafts, why not have a go at creating your own pompom created sandals? Shops like Accessorize or ASOS have pompom shoe clips … or grab a bag of tiny pom-poms from a craft shop or even in your local supermarket (I spotted lots of sparkly ones in Asda yesterday :)) There are plenty of YouTube videos explaining how to do your pompom creations.
You can’t deny that pom-poms do bring a smile to your face – brings back memories of making wool pom-poms in Girls Brigade! Did anybody else enjoy making wool pom-poms in their youth? Do share your pompom stories… I’d love to hear them 🙂
From Machynlleth in Wales, my guest this week is the lovely shoemaker Ruth Emily Davey who has been making handcrafted shoes designed to last for over 12 years. She began shoemaking when she was apprenticed to designer shoemaker Alan James Raddon – she still makes Alan’s designs under licence as well as having a range of her own designs too. In 2016 she travelled to Mexico and Japan to investigate the passing down of shoemaking techniques between master and apprentice; in 2013 she won a QEST scholarship to study more about tweed on the Isle of Lewis; plus she has trained to be a reflexologist so she really does know how to create shoes that benefit your feet. I caught up with Ruth recently to find out more. Hi Ruth….
Hi! My name is Ruth Emily Davey. I am a Shoemaker, trading under my label Ruth Emily Davey or RED Shoes. I make footwear for people from all walks of life from my shop in Machynlleth, Wales which I opened in May 2016. My shoes are made to the unique shape of your feet, so they are broad in the toe box, narrow under the arch and flat, which is much better for your body. They are made from bespoke Italian leathers which last for years and years and are repairable too.
What was the inspiration behind your venture into shoemaking?
I am from an art based background, so I had just finished 3 years of Art college and was a bit unsure of what to do next, lots of my friends were going on to university and I felt like I wanted to do something much more creative and hands on instead of spending hours writing about conceptual art projects. It’s all about who you know in Wales and Alan was a friend of a friend and my mum had heard he was looking for an apprentice. I went to see him, we clicked and it began as an informal apprenticeship which developed into a 5 yeas of learning how to make shoes and also how to run a business (Alan left his successful career in advertising to begin life in Wales in the 1970s). This was 12 years ago so I have been making shoes independently of Alan for 7 years. I have won several awards for my work which has really helped boost my business. I am a Balvenie Young master of craft, a QEST Scholar and a WCMT fellow and I have been on judging panels with Kevin McCloud, all of which has helped me on my way.
You still produce shoemaker Alan James Raddon’s designs under licence as well as having your own range of designs. What styles are popular requests?
So I had the need to breathe individuality into my work as well as continue the legacy of Alan’s designs after I had finished my apprenticeship and so I made a range of boots which are really popular amongst my own age group. The Shandals®, which are Alan’s creation are timeless and people of all ages wear them all over the world as they are so unique looking and really good for the feet.
Have you got a favourite style from your collection?
I have been busy making a collection of footwear using handwoven cloth from my travels and I love the combinations of leather and fabrics together, I am greatly inspired by colour.
Early in 2016 you were awarded the Winston Churchill Travelling Fellowship which enabled you to visit both Mexico & Japan to investigate the passing down of techniques between master & apprentice. What were the most interesting/ surprising things that you learnt whilst in Mexico & Japan? Do you use any techniques/ideas that you learnt whilst abroad in your shoemaking nowadays?
The trip was one of the best times of my life. I got to visit small indigenous weavers in Mexico and amazing craftspeople all over Japan that continue the work of their ancestors. I learned so much about what craftsmen and women put into their work and it reaffirmed the reason why I believe making things are such an important part of our skills as human beings. I also learned a lot about the passing on of skills and how important it is to bring forward the work of our past. Like here in the UK, for example, we have a kind of devotion to the handmade product but there is masses of infrastructure to encourage us to bring workmanship from abroad instead of employing the hands of people here. It means there are thousands of young people with no skill sets and as time goes on people are becoming emptyhanded and a bit depressed. Skills are becoming lost or forgotten and I think that is criminal. There needs to be way more support for individual apprenticeships to bring back the revival of cottage industry. Children need to be taught hands on skills and creative education needs to be brought back into education to bring forward a new generation of makers and creative thinkers.
Which famous person would you love to see as the “face” of RED?
That’s a good question! Hmm Natalie Portman because she has nice feet! And I always wanted to get a power woman like Alex Polizzi in my shoes, I always see so many celebrities teetering around in high heels and their feet are so squashed it must be excruciating! I always think they would look so much better in shoes that are the right shape for their feet and COMFORTABLE so they can feel grounded and powerful and their toes would look so much better!
Looking ahead to Spring/Summer 2017 – what new colours/styles do you hope to introduce?
I can make shoes in pretty much any colour and I love seeing outside inspirations coming through people’s choices, so someone can walk into the shop and choose combinations that I would never have expected to go together or they might have always dreamed about a pair of scarlet brogues or sapphire blue suedes and it’s an amazing feeling to be able to fulfil that inner desire. I recently made a pair of bright red/yellow/green brogues for a woman in her 60s who was determined to turn heads as she walks down the high-street. I love making shoes for men and and women of all ages, from all sorts of backgrounds.
Although you are based in Wales, are your shoes & boots available to purchase overseas?
I am based in Wales but have a postal order service so you can send your measurements and I post you a fitting. This means you can order my shoes from anywhere in the world. I have several customers in the USA and Australia and all over Europe. It’s always nice to meet the person you are making shoes for though and this week a lady from Sweden came all the way to my workshop to order her shoes in person.
You won a QEST scholarship in 2013 which helped you to study more about tweed on the Isle of Lewis and also enabled you to train as a reflexologist. How important was it to you that you trained in reflexology and how has it helped with your shoe designing?
I think Reflexology is such a fascinating and deeply ancient practise, I wanted to learn more about the feet from a holistic perspective and the course has been great at really understanding how important the feet are and how many ailments can be targeted through reflexes in the feet. We so often bundle the feet into shoes that are totally immovable; we have lost the connection we should have to the earth and as a result SO many problems begin with the feet. You only have to walk barefoot in grass for 10 minutes a day to feel the benefits and although I am a shoemaker I tend to be barefoot as much as possible!
With travel on my mind, if you could visit any other place to study footwear/shoemaking or just to gain inspiration – where would it be and why?
So many places… I would love to go back and spend 6 months solidly learning how to make traditional Huarches in Mexico (one day..) and in terms of fabrics there is some really interesting places all over the middle east, India and Africa. One day I will have made shoes from fabrics from every continent in celebration of the work of craftspeople all over the world.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I can normally be found wearing boring black suede ankle boots despite having access to literally any shade of any colour under the sun.. but I love unusual designers and cuts in clothing that are really original so you know you are the only one wearing it.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? (apart from your own!)
I only wear my own shoes, I have tried other shoe designs that I like but it just feels wrong! I love quite understated but unusual clothes but often don’t have time to search for them. I am 8 months pregnant right now so all I am looking for are nice stretchy clothes at the second!
Boots or Shoes?
I find a short ankle boot goes with nearly everything. I also have a pair of gold brogues which I love wearing at the moment.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that readers can find out more about you & your footwear.
Thank you Ruth for joining me on the blog today and I hope all goes well with the birth. I love the bright colours and I do so love the Shandal … in fact I would like all the shoes in your photos! 🙂 So, dear readers, what colour combinations would you go for? For me, a combination of turquoise, teal & cobalt blue would be my choice. What about you? Do share your thoughts, I’d love to know!
All photos published with kind permission of Ruth Emily Davey.
Spring is nearly here in the Northern Hemisphere! This Spring THE pastel colour to be seen in is shades of lilac ( I do include hues of lavender, violet, mauve, iris blue, cyclamen, hyacinth and purple here). For UK at any rate, Mothering Sunday will be here on the 26 March, and as my own mum is rather partial to all things lilac, this post includes lilac gift ideas too.
Flowers – a traditional good gift. Instead of a traditional bunch of multi coloured flowers why not look at pots of hyacinths or plants for the garden. Talking of gardens, do you colour co-ordinate your plants or do you mix colours? The photo below is taken from my mum’s garden – she has green fingers and finds gardening therapeutic.
Books – many garden centres, stately homes, and public gardens have gift sections/shops where other gifts can be purchased other than plants. How about a book about flowers? I bought this book from a National Trust property …
Toiletries – from body lotions to foam baths and shower gels to soaps; there is a vast range of lavender based colours and smells all set to entice you to relax and breathe in that lavender scent reminicescent to Southern France in summer. I quite like the Tesco lavender bath foam – plenty of bubbles – and the new shower gel scents from Avon. I just love jasmine perfume.
Make Up – lilac colours have been around since time began but I do so love the new eye colour and lip glosses from Body Shop…
Eye shadow can be so versatile – in this photo I’ve used the eye shadow as an eye liner too. Avon do nice eyeliners in purple hued colours too. This particular eyeshadow is by Sarah G Cosmetics.
Sometimes I like to buy a perfume based on its bottle and this perfume by Vera Wang not only smells divine it looks good too. So pretty to have on your dressing table!
When it comes to slippers, these lilac polka dot slippers by Avon caught my eye.
And there are some pretty canvas shoes and sandals about too!
Dear readers, are you ready to embrace the lilac invasion? Have you dyed your hair lilac? Do you like the lilac pastel hues or have other pastel colours caught your eye? Do share your thoughts!
As 2016 comes to a close, I’ve decided to make the last post of 2016 one which I share with you some discoveries that I have made across the board – fashion, footwear, beauty, food, etc. These discoveries might not actually be “new” but they are new experiences for me 🙂 So, in no particular order, here are 6 things I discovered this year….
1. The Jack-it Bag – I love it as a jacket but it can easily convert into a bag. Catch my interview with the brand HERE. The jacket I’m wearing is made of velour and has a strong satin lining. I’m looking forward to wearing it more in 2017.
2. Salted Caramel. Since the end of 2015 when I discovered Tesco Salted Caramel Cream Liqueur and Wilkins Salted Caramel Spread, I have had an indulgent love affair with salted caramel throughout 2016 – cheesecakes, ice creams, chocolate – and then, at the beginning of December, I found this ultimate shower cream from Avon ….. Yes, it’s “salted caramel & almond” …..
3. Chocolate Red Wine. This year, courtesy of my darling husband, I discovered chocolate red wine. It is a combination of 2 of my favourite things – chocolate & wine! It is pretty sweet, smells divine and tastes heavenly – it is akin to port rather than your standard glass of red. My new favourite “liqueur” to date.
4. Contouring. I was a little late in embracing this make up look and couldn’t quite “get it” until I came across this delightful contouring stick by W7. It is a 2-ended stick with a highlighter at one end and a bronzer at the other – plus clear and handy instructions on how to apply on the box.
5. Slippers. OK – not quite a “discovery” BUT I used to hate wearing slippers as I always received furry ones or memory foam style slippers which I felt were uncomfortable, made my feet sweat and I couldn’t walk in them! I needed to find a pair that I could wear indoors – and I found these leather Moroccan style ballerina style slippers from NEXT. They not only look stylish but they fit well, are comfortable and I now wear slippers indoors! No more stubbed toes that used to occur when I walked about barefoot.
6. Fitbit. Coming home on a flight from Madeira in August I was listening to a podcast on my phone that was talking about the health benefits of walking 10,000 steps. It motivated me to move more. A Fitbit was on my Xmas list but my lovely husband treated me to a Fitbit beforehand. I love it. I have gone from being a slob to being on the move and although I don’t always hit 10,000 steps every day I am pleased with the 8000 steps + a day I do currently hit and my twice weekly 10,000 steps +. Love the turquoise colour strap too.
What did you discover in 2016? Do tell, I’d love to know!
It’s nearing the end of the year and I have had a clear out of my shoe wardrobe. Some of my shoes and boots have seen the end of their days and as much as I hate to do it, they were ceremoniously dumped as they were getting holes and becoming unglued! They were mostly my flats that have endured daily school runs over the past year or so…
My favourite heels have remained pretty much perfect – I have stored and mollycoddled them – being worn only when my journey by foot involves minimal walking outside!
My friends at ShoeZone have come up with this terrific infograph with great hints and tips to keep your footwear looking in pristine condition. I have personally tried most of these hacks and give them a big thumbs up! My personal tip to add is to use matching coloured nail polish to paint over scuff marks on heels – just as well black nail enamel is on trend as I use tons of it on the heels of my work shoes!
Which shoe hacks have you used in the past? Have you got any shoe hacks of your own? Do share, I’d love to know…
Snow has already descended on parts of Canada, USA, Scotland and Northern England, heralding the start of the winter ski season in the Northern Hemisphere. It seems most fitting, therefore, to introduce onto my blog one of the finest, if not the finest (in my opinion), alpine designer fashion & ready-to-wear ski wear shop in the world – Maison Bernard Orchel Courchevel. Founded in 1975 in Courchevel, Maison Bernard Orchel Courchevel was named after the famous alpine skier. Maison Bernard Orchel Courchevel is more than just a shop, as I found out…..
Why did you pick Courchevel as the location for your shop?
Courchevel is a luxurious ski resort located in the French Alps, with one of the largest ski areas in the world: 3 Valleys. The ski resort hosts the most prestigious international clientele. This ski paradise is also one of the most luxurious places in the world with a high concentration of 5 star hotels, Michelin-starred restaurants and unique boutiques.
What are your most popular products?
Just like every year since forever, Moon Boots are very popular. The most popular shoe brand is Jimmy Choo, so it stands to reason that their moon boots are a great hit.
What’s new for the 2016 winter season?
Chiara Ferragni Moonboots, some exclusive Fendi Sportswear, and the launch of Balmain Man at Bernard Orcel.
What makes Maison Bernard Orcel Courchevel special?
Maison Bernard Orcel offers customers the chance to unwind and relax by being surrounded by beauty and quality. Florence, the Head of House for 25 years, knows and recognises the very dear Bernard Orcel clientele. Like a real concierge, the whole Bernard Orcel team supports our customers during their stay in Courchevel for any of their requests. We offer our customers a shopping service at home. The collections (ready-to-wear or skiwear) are presented by a personal shopper from our team. Our seamstress is also at the disposal of our customers throughout the season to adjust and retouch their purchases.
Although you are in France, do you deliver worldwide?
According to the client’s wishes, we offer the possibility of a delivery service any time in Courchevel, and all over the world.
AZ Atelier, Bogner, Dsquared Ski Capsule, Fendi Ski Collection, Jet Set, Kru, Toni Sailer, Zai, Zero Ski. We also provide sales services and ski rental delivery directly into the hotel or chalet in Courchevel. This service also includes the possibility to try and buy our skiwear collections. A full service from the ski outfit to the technical equipment!
Buscemi, Emma Salimova & Ugg, Guiseppe Zanotti, Jimmy Choo, Ludwig Reiter, Santoni, Tod’s.
Fashion & Art
Bernard Orcel has invited the famous artist Leo Caillard to exhibit his work as a tribute to the classic sculpture. The exhibition, entitled “Hipster In Store”, offers an unique alliance of fashion and art through sculptures of antiquity. Dressed in a contemporary way, the gods Zeus, Hercules and the goddess Diana enter our era wearing shirt, jeans and a little dress.
Bernard Orcel, Rue du Rocher Courchevel 1850, 73120 Saint Bon Tarentaise.
So, when you next go skiing in the French Alps check out Maison Bernard Orcel Courchevel and have a browse amongst the rails and enjoy the unique art exhibitions too! What a shopping experience! Dear readers, do you enjoy partaking in winter sports? Do you have a favourite skiing location?
All photos published with kind permission from Maison Bernard Orcel Courchevel.
I’m going for gold this week as my guest on the blog is Laban Roomes, founder of high-end brand Goldgenie. Specialising in luxury personalised gifts and items using pure 24K gold, Rose Gold, Platinum and Diamonds… in fact, they are best known for their decadent designs and blingworthy materials. From 24K gold shoes and embellished Apple watches to a 24K gold bike worth more than a Ferrari, there’s hardly anything in the world that can not be given the Midas touch. I caught up with Laban recently and used the golden opportunity to ask a few questions…. Hi Laban !
Hello 🙂 My name is Laban Roomes, founder of Luxury Gift and customisation services company, Goldgenie. I developed an innovative portable plating device that can gold plate pretty much any item that is conductive. Our clients include The Oscars and Emmy awards in Los Angeles, HTC, Samsung, BlackBerry, AMEX and our flagship client Lexus as well as iconic retail outlets like Harrods and Selfridges, plus a host of Celebrities including the Beckhams, Elton John, P. Diddy, Denzel Washington, Rhianna and Mark Wahlberg to name just a few.
What inspired you to launch your business venture, Goldgenie?
The business suited my character as someone that always had a keen interest in luxury goods and services. I thought better to develop something that I can do and live with a passion then just do something for the money… It just so happened that money came anyway. I also believe that the self development that occurs mentally and spiritually for oneself can be profound if approached in a certain way.
Goldgenie featured on BBC television’s programme “Dragons Den” and received backing from James Caan. Was it a nerve racking experience? What surprised you most about the experience?
Yes it was a nerve racking experience and as time went on and I was losing the support of the Dragons something switched on inside of me, the fighting extinct came alive as there was no way I was going home without the investment! What this confirmed to me is that people really do buy into people and the more you let your light shine the more powerful you are and the more you radiate and exude confidence,which everyone wants a piece of. The biggest shock was that the stairs I walked up on the Dragons Den was on a set 2 miles away from the actual studio that I appeared on and got my investment.
What products are proving popular amongst your customers so far this season for embellishing with pure 24K gold, rose gold, platinum & diamonds?
The iPhone 6s remains triumphant so far and close second is the Apple Watch and iPad. Ever since we customised the first ever iPhone way back in 2007 this has without a doubt been our best performing product to date. Finishes available are 24k Gold, Platinum, Rose Gold and Diamonds.
Out of all the products you’ve decorated, do you have a favourite item?
Not really as everything is still so fascinating to watch and see the total transformation a product undergoes during our processes – but the two I have been most proud of to date is the Neasden Temple in London and the range of Swarovski crystal encrusted iPods I personally designed for Elton John to raise funds for his EJAF charity.
Adding the Midas touch to everything from new technology to footwear, what has been the most unusual item you’ve decorated in 24K gold?
This has to be the Sultan Of Brunei’s toilet.. Or maybe a top of the range vibrator Ann Summers commissioned us to do for a well known celebrity I’m not at liberty to mention.
Your collaboration with designer shoe maker Deeasjer has resulted in an awesome limited “Pure Gold” capsule collection of Deeasjer shoes each incorporating 24K gold embellished heels & featuring Deeasjer’s signature brand symbol – the Rose. How did the collaboration first come about?
Goldgenie sponsored a fashion show for Deeasjer many moons ago, when the owner Charlene Beckett was designing the “Pure Gold” Capsule collection she asked me to be involved in the designs – I just had to,of course, feature 24k Gold heels.
You have expanded from the UK into the UAE … Have you any plans to expand elsewhere globally in the future?
Yes we have expanded recently to the UAE with our first retail store opening in the first week of July and have plans to open a shop in Los Angeles or Puerto Banus in Spain next year – hopefully we will be able to do both.
As you are based in the UK, do you offer embellished products or services overseas too?
Yes we do and have an award winning service that can pick up your item anywhere in the world with our secure and trackable courier service, have your item customised and returned within 14 days of pick up.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I am fortunate that whatever I put on because of my build I look good in (not bragging, of course) but I do like brands like Sisley and Paul Smith or I will get my suits made. In saying that, I also buy clothes for the fit more than the brand behind it. For footwear I love Clarkes and Cruyff shoes, brogues without a doubt are a key part of my wardrobe and Adidas.. keeping it simple.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Yes, I have a passion for watches and do like online watch sites like Rolex, Patek Philipe and Brietling – I have great admiration for the Apple brand including their online and retail stores. Steve Jobs is one of my all time favourite entrepreneurs and his success to me has really made a positive impact on the world, anyone that starts their business with little or no money from a garage and grows it to be one of the richest and most cutting edge companies in the world, you just have to admire.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe/accessory wish list?
I intend to buy myself some fresh tracksuits and trainers – you can never have enough trainers.
Boots or Shoes?
That will be more Cruyff shoes – they suit me down to a T.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about Goldgenie
Thank you Laban for joining me on the blog and giving the blog a touch of golden glamour. So, dear readers, have you any items that could benefit from the golden touch? I do love the golden heels and I’m sure even my trainers would benefit from a lick of gold! Wouldn’t a golden Harley Davidson look cool too?!? ..as always, share your ideas, I’d love to know what you think!
All photographs have been published with kind permission of Laban Roomes/ Goldgenie
The humble wedge shoe has been around since 1935, when Italian designer Salvatore Ferragamo designed the orthopaedic wedge; followed by the wedge heel in 1936. 2016 sees its return to our closets and here are 5 reasons why you should consider wearing wedges….
The first wedges didn’t have a distinct heel and had cellophane straps. Salvatore Ferragamo used cork and wood when creating his shoe because in 1936 there was a leather and rubber shortage. Cork was more popular than wood because it is lighter and the cork sole was also sturdy and durable. Cork heels and soles are still popular today as they are hard wearing and are hard to scuff. The shoes never look scruffy and look presentable, whatever the occasion.
During World War 2, wedges grew in popularity in the USA. Wedges offered height and easier walk in than skinny heels. During the war, wedge heels got up to 5″ high and were often worn with jackets that sported shoulder pads adding to the illusion of height. A fashion we saw repeated in the 1980s with power dressing – shoulder pads, wedges and big hair! Wearing a heel that you can walk in goes with this year’s Summer fashion of floaty palazzo trousers, culottes – although the shoulder pads haven’t appeared!
In the 1970s both men and women wore platform wedges – in outrageous designs. Once again it was the illusion of height that made the shoes popular. Wedges help to give the illusion of longer legs and give a slimming effect body silhouette.
Wedges provide stability. Like the stiletto heel, weight distribution in the wedge heel is still primarily on the balls of the feet and toes. The higher the heel, the more weight the wearer carries on the front of the foot. However, with the soles in 2016 being stacked too, the weight is distributed more evenly – making the shoe easier to walk in, especially when encountering uneven surfaces or grass. If you are a bride, walking down the aisle in wedges, may give you the height and confidence you need!
Wedges come in a variety of heel heights and encompass all age groups. In the 1990s wedge sneakers made an appearance, being the preferred footwear of the iconic girl band of the day, the Spice Girls. Designers like Natacha Marro have created “heel-less” shoes which work along the same principal as traditional wedges. Lower heeled espadrilles wedges are ideal for holidays; as well as boot companies such as Fly London making the most of a lower wedge for their range of biker style boots.
Ah, the humble wedge. Make sure you have a pair or two in your shoe closet (or 6 like me!) – they’ll be your best friends this year.