Category Archives: Shoes

Spotlight on East Shopping Centre

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hope to see you all there! Happy Shopping!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Puja Vedi

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An Interview With Pia Rossini

A heady mix of aquatic blues, pastels, nautical trends and bursts of bright colours are about to hit the stores heralding the start of Spring and, I for one, am looking forward to freshening up my wardrobe with a few accessories! So I couldn’t ask for a better guide to what’s hot for Spring/Summer 2015 (and a sneaky preview into what’s new for next Autumn/Winter) than chatting to the mother and daughter team that head leading accessory brand, Pia Rossini,who supply from the UK fashion accessories to boutiques and stores around the world. A big warm welcome to you, Debbie and Kirsty:

Hi! We’re Debbie Shaw (Company Director. Resort Wear Collection) and Kirsty Shaw (Head of Range Developmimageent and Accessories Buyer). We are delighted to have the second generation in the company, Kirsty joined us 4 years ago as Head Accessories Buyer.

Pia Rossini, the brand, was launched in 1999, supplying fashion accessories to boutiques and stores throughout the world. What was the inspiration behind the brand launch?

We wanted to create a collection of fashionable accessories that co-ordinate so the consumer did not have to think about what matches, and the retailer would be able to merchandise with ease. It’s a concept that has worked and we continue to develop, our retailers can now buy a fully merchandised set of products ready to hang on the wall.

imageThis Spring your fashion boards comprise of aquatic blues, pastel shades, nautical stripes and bursts of bright colours – namely, fuchsia,orange,violet, yellow, blue. Is there a marked difference between countries and their favourite fashion boards? Were certain Autumn/Winter 2014 items more popular in one country and not in another?

To be honest we have found that a great style is a great style globally and our ranges sell all over from the Caribbean to Australia. Our ranges are universal.

I gather that the Ultimate Pool Shoe Collection is a new feature for 2015. I am quite excited as the sandals look exquisite and makes me yearn for the warmer weather! Are you launching any other new collections in 2015 /2016?

We love all the faux fur that are on trend at the moment and we have really expanded this collection including some fantastic new faux fur gilets and two tone faux fur collars. . We have also added some easy to wear waistcoats in knitted fabrics, these look so casual but at the same time fashionable and easy to wear.image

Personally, I love all your Spring/Summer 2015 colour boards and can see myself having items from all 4 in my wardrobe! Have you any personal favourites from the collection that may be included in your wardrobe?

We both love the 1 print 3 bags combo, I took the Riviera set with me on holiday to Miami and I did not require any other bag – it has a tote, a cross body bag and a purse – so useful, a bag for every occasion! Plus of course our shoes, I had 3 pairs with me on holiday this year!

You have 5 distinct collections in a year: Autumn/Winter Accessories; Spring Accessories; Resortwear; Summer Accessories; and The Ultimate Pool Shoe Collection. Where does the inspiration come from that inspires each collection?

We are passionate about what we do, so we are always working and seeking out new ideas. We gather ideas when we travel, whether on holiday or with the job. It’s important to be aware of what is going on around you and often good to adapt and develop ideas you spot when travelling.

Which famous lady would you love to see as the “face” of Pia Rossini?

We would love to see Olivia Palermo wearing our product. We think she has an effortless sense of glamorous style, something we try to exhibit in our ranges.

Looking ahead to Autumn/Winter 2015 – what styles & colours will we be seeing in your collection?image

Our Autumn/Leaves palette is all about papaya orange mixed with essential navy and deep red tones. We also have forest fruits mood board which exhibits a blend of deep plum and mulberry hues. This year we expanded our styles, silhouettes and designs in various genres to suit every buyer – our latest collection includes faux fur gilets and pattern waist coats. We are really excited about this year’s collection. Our collections continue to evolve and this year is no different but we believe this is our best collection to date and can’t wait to show it.

Apart from supplying boutiques/stores, you also offer a “private label” service offering a company/boutique the opportunity to create their own collection using the expertise of your own inhouse design & production team. I think this is a fab idea. Have you had any that have took up the service that create vastly different designs to what you would class as typical “Pia Rossini” or are the designs pretty much on the same wave length?

We have produced some specific requests for companies such as Galeries Lafayette in Paris and Phase Eight in the UK, and also some group stores in Scandinavia, but our main focus is to continue to develop and expand our own brand, Pia Rossini. We are passionate about Pia Rossini and still have a lot we want to achieve.image

Personal now, what clothes/shoes dominate your wardrobe? Any favourite retailers?

My wardrobe is built around great staples  – jeans, shirts, cardigans – casual clothes that I can dress up with our accessories. There is nothing more chic than a blazer and jeans teamed with a scarf and a Fedora hat, it’s effortless..

To view the fabulous Pia Rossini accessory range:

www.piarossini.com

Thank you Debbie and Kirsty!  I am really quite looking forward to Autumn too now – I just love the thought of the Forest Fruits colour theme…and papaya orange!  So, dear reader, what do you think? What colours will tickle your fancy in 2015? I’d love to know!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Pia Rossini

 

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An Interview With Autograf New York

Buying smart, well made, comfortable and trendy shoes is a nightmare if you are a lady with an uncommon shoe size. Designer Monica Kusinska for years squeezed her feet into shoes that were too small because her size wasn’t available, resulting in foot problems that required surgery – so being a US size 12 shoe size wearer  herself and as part of her search to find comfortable, well made shoes that fit, Monica created Autograf New York.  Without further ado, please welcome onto the blog this lovely, bubbly lady …Hi Monica!image

Hi, I am Monika Kusinska, a New York Shoe Designer. I devoted my life to fashion ever since I graduated from Middlesex University in 1998. Shoes is my passion.

As a small girl, did you always want to design footwear?

My fashion dreams started at the age of 7. I adored Barbie dolls and endlessly made clothes. Then over the years I taught myself how to stitch and make my own clothes. By 18 I wanted to be a professional designer. My passion for shoes grew over the years because of my experience with shoes and not finding my size and eventually moving to the shoe industry.

Your latest shoe range is looking to cater for women who wear uncommon large shoe sizes – from US sizes 10 through to 15 (UK 8 – 15; European 41 to 49; Japanese 27-34). You yourself are a size US12 so that must have been the inspiration for starting your own brand! How difficult was it for you to find shoes to fit and how difficult is it to produce a shoe for the larger foot?

imageWhen I turned 17 my foot grew to size 41. The biggest size available in Poland in late 1980s was size 40. I tested my body and wore high heel pointy shoes for 2 or more years. This fraction of time was long enough to injure my bones permanently. I guess this painful event led my career into the footwear industry and in 2000 I attended Parson School of Design in New York to learn about shoe making.

You graduated from Middlesex University in London with a BA in fashion and first class honours. In 1998 you won Best Women’s collection at the BHS Graduate Fashion Week, selling your entire collection within a week of launching. How did you feel being awarded that accolade in front of around 2000 London Fashion editors?

imageIt felt incredible and fulfilling. My education was sky-high expensive for my parents working in Poland to support me. It made all the hard efforts so worth it. I wish my father could have seen it. Unfortunately he passed away 6 weeks before I graduated and I was not able to see his face happy with pride. It was a very difficult time for me and I dedicated my graduate collection and the award to him. This also sealed my commitment to my profession. I knew from that point on that no matter what, I am married to my so dreamed-about occupation. Today even when I struggle as a mature designer, mother and a talented individual – I remember my own private vows from 1998. That surreal moment of me walking down the catwalk in front of 2000+ people, cameras, photographers cheering and clapping hands was the biggest crowning I could have received at the age of 26.

imageIn 2000, you moved to the USA doing couture beading and then in the embellishment division at Ann Taylor until 2004. You also attended the Parsons School of Design concentrating on footwear. Was it a difficult transition from fashionwear to designing shoes?

It was a natural transition for me. When you dream deeply about something and have been trained to draw and paint since the age of 16, and all your life revolved around art, composition, colors and design – you can then apply your passion into any creative venue. Education helps, but persistence and personal believe that this is our own path are the keys of a successful journey. In a way you need to train yourself, dream big then relax if you can and immerse yourself in a trade of a kind. I did that in 2004 when I accepted a lower position of Associate Designer just to break in the industry. But it has been such a fascinating journey and I am so fortunate to be able to walk my chosen path and I am acutely aware of my luck. Luck of knowing what I want to do, knowing my talents, knowing my mission. But it took all my life to be comfortable about it and to be able to call myself today  a New York Designer. I earned it dearly. I worked over 10 years in a corporate environment from New York, Dallas and all the way to El Paso, Texas. I worked in a huge office overseeing Bryant Park off Times Square, then in the middle of a factory in El Paso in a windowless office shaking from all the machines and heavy duty equipment making 700+ western boots! Ask me which one made me happy?! El Paso of course! I mean if you could just see the happy faces of the Mexican workers who after 30-40 years in the industry are artisans in their own trade.
I simply love the smell and feel of handcrafted authentic footwear.image

Since 2004 you have worked in the footwear industry, travelling to places like India, China, Brazil and Italy. Where was the most unusual place you’ve visited? Which country inspired you the most?

I think I already answered that. Definitely El Paso in Texas. I had a secret crush on Western Boots. Don’t ask me how I got it. I just wanted to design western boots ever since I can remember. My dream came true in 2009 when I was at the time working in Fossil, launching a new women’s footwear line. I was approached by a New York headhunter to move to the legendary Boot Company in El Paso. At first I was not interested but after flying in for an interview I was totally sold. For the next 3 years I would commute by plane once a week to El Paso and work in the factory in the middle of the desert.  I was also influenced by INDIA. I loved the colors and the deep heritage of the country. It is somewhat difficult to swallow the beauty surrounded by social divisions of the class system in India. It blows your mind to see homeless people wondering amongst dirt and holy cows on the streets of the big cities and then walking into 5 star hotels with food and luxury, dripping with wealth. I guess this is what is most dear to me, after working with the beading houses, knowing what goes into handcrafted beading or block-printing. It supports families and villages specializing in this rare craft. I would love to be involved in creating workshops which would provide income and education for young girls. I believe in education as the only way to change the world to be a better place. Women are also genetically equipped to protect, nurture and provide shelter. We need to get the power to protect this planet and secure a clean environment for future generations.

imagePersonally, I LOVE all your shoes and boots from your winter range but I have a soft spot for the Regina Italian Handcrafted Denim Cashmere Suede Flats. Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?

I love them all. I also wear all my collection to test and so far have not had one complaint in my head. I am very critical and having had foot surgery at age 23 it has made me acutely sensitive to shoe-related pain. I will rather take shoes off than suffer. My favorite right now is Massima and Cara. I love the SOLES. Unit soles made out of hi-tech PORON material makes these unbeatable in comfort. When you pick up the boot, your first impression is shocking. It is feather light! It looks heavy but it is super light. Comfort beyond belief! My hair stylist recently broke her ankle and can’t wear much fashion due to the pins still holding her ankle in place. I introduced her to Massima and she was literally shocked at how comfortable and light this construction was. She owns now a few pairs and is my advocate at Vidal Sassoon on 56St and 5th Avenue. I will try to win my consumers with comfort and reliability. Once your wear my shoes you will come back for more because I personally test each style and think about my consumer first before fashion. Fashion is only a tool to make an otherwise functional product more attractive.image

What shoe or boot style was the most popular this winter with your clients?

Definitely SIMONA in Cognac. Immediately this classic riding boot has became a favorite. It is very simple and effortless. Well made and durable and will last many years. I found that women are happy that the boot is plain and classic – a few complained that the boots today are overdesigned and that they have been looking for a simple riding boot that will hold the look and value. Once they saw Simona they wanted it. ZARAH also blew everyone’s expectations. It is a fully stretchy shaft boot and the secret is in the Fit-All-Calf! It hugs a skinny calf and will stretch twice its width to accommodate a wider calf. I intend to carry this boot for a few seasons. Once on the foot there is no need to market, women will fall head over heels for this style.

imageWhat famous lady would you like to see parading around in your designs?

Angelina Jolie. I appreciate her ultra classic and sublime chic style. Her effortless style enhances her natural stunning beauty. It would be such an honor to have her wear Autograf New York classic styles.

You’re launching new products for Holiday & Spring 2015 – what designs and colours look to dominate from your point of view?

I have been playing with masculine inspiration for years. I made a chukka boot in mirror GOLD – this is literally a show-stopper! I revealed a few pictures from the photo shoot via Instagram and was blown away with immediate requests and love. I think this style, SIENA and flat Mary Jane in the same Mirror metallic gold will be a hit. I also brought light turquoise and Laventini –  a color I called after my favorite drink, Lavender Martini.image

What are your goals for 2015? Any plans in the pipeline?

2015 is super important. I realized that over the past 90 + days since I launched my website that actually my 15+ years experience in fashion is golden but I need to think outside the box. I tried to apply everything I have learned but what is different in the market today is CONNECTIVE ECONOMY. I think few people realize how it will revolutionize the way we live and think. It is a positive shift in human mentality to open up and make friendships and business with people we can’t touch. But it connects us through our passion and common hobbies and dreams. Once I realized that, I decided to improve and push my social media presence. I can only reach a handful of women today but I have been growing steady followers on Instagram and FB and Twitter. Recently I left my SHOEBOX (literally a shoe closet turned into a tiny office) and started walking the streets of New York to get my product in front of consumers. I have been welcomed by Brooklyn boutiques and I realized the power of the Indie and fashion undercurrent. I belong in the underground. I have been always striving to provide unique, original and authentic footwear and the mass department stores do not support that ideology. Williamsburg is my next home. I have placed Autograf New York products in a few boutiques and we are working on the Summer 2015 collection. I realized this unique potential. In a way I will become their private designer manicuring mini collections for their needs. The beauty of working with Italian factories is that the orders can be super small compared with Asia. I will be able to target each venue differently offering unique colors and themes. I am thrilled about this perspective of 2015!

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

I am a mother of 2 young children so my life is constantly on the run. I get up early and do some work before they get up and then run all day between schools, daycare and Williamsburg or Soho boutiques. I am also 5ft10 so I wear flats and flat boots. I have a collection of boots dating back to my days at El Paso so most likely you will find me in BOOTS of all kinds, form western to riding to traditional rain boots (Aigle not Hunter). I respect legacy and what each brand offers. I do not like to wear brands without a story behind it. I like to think that there is or was a great idea behind each company making a statement.
A friend recently called me Bootress! I think that name fits me.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?image

I have respect for Net-a-Porter and AGL. I have been following Net-a-Porter for few years now and I like that they made luxury on-line shopping accessible. I like that they keep an unique fashion profile. AGL shoes is my favorite shoe brand apart from my own. I appreciate their flair and Italian dedication to modern design. The three sisters are also branding themselves now and it is good to see real faces behind a great fashion brand. This motivated me to expose my face behind Autograf New York. After talking to a few Brooklyn boutique owners it was clear that people want to see the face and hear the story. It will make the icebreaking purchase easier and it will motivate to stay loyal supporting a local New York designer. This is what I intend to do on branding going forward.

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

Nicolas Ghesquiere Spring 15 LV bag. I have not invested any pennies in a good bag recently and I admire Nicolas so it makes sense to own one of his pieces. I like the fact that fashion is turning the spotlight on designers again. What value is it to just buy a mass-produced LV handbag without a great brain and creator behind it? Fashion became polluted with famous names scoring license deals with big houses. Luckily on a street-mass level. Not on a serious designer level. But it did open the door of all kind of wannabe-followers to buy a name on a cheaply made accessible product. I can’t identify with this mentality and I want to invest in important pieces. This collection of LV Spring 15 is important.
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Boots or Shoes? 

BOOTS! Boots have an unique history. Two main categories of boots, English and Western are both Riding Boots. Both genres have a lot in common: to protect the rider, be well made and durable and have legacy of culture and lifestyle. By default it is lifestyle of privileged classes, those who own horses. But what a boot gives you that the high stiletto shoe does not, is the SWAGGER! When a woman wears boots, she walks like a man, she is the equal. When a woman tip-toes in high heels she is vulnerable, can’t run and becomes an object of admiration and fantasy. I like to own my life and feel equal. I am not an object. I respect when the high heel wearing becomes an asset of a wise woman in power. But I disagree with the otherwise sexual attachment to high heels and how it portrays a woman in a men’s world. I like to dress to manifest my personal beliefs and boots represent my life mantra.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that my readers can learn more about Autograf New York

FB >> https://www.facebook.com/monika.kusinskapaez
Twitter >> https://twitter.com/AutografNY
Instagram >> http://instagram.com/autografny/
Google+ >> http://goo.gl/GM200d
Pinterest >> http://www.pinterest.com/AUTOGRAFNY/

Fantastic to know that you are a fellow boot lover!!  Thank you so much for chatting to us tonight and I wish you and your business continued success in 2015 and beyond.  Now, dear readers, you have no excuse if your feet are on the large size – Monica has come to the rescue!  Have you got a favourite style?  Do tell!

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Autograf New York (Monica Kusinska)

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An Interview With Kevin Garlick – Shoemaker

Talking shoes this week – but not just any shoe –  oh no! I’m chatting to a shoemaker who makes shoes for re-enactors, films, theatres, TV and museums from Madame Thaussauds to Plimoth Plantation USA, amongst others.  His skill, attention to detail and workmanship really is wow – and I bet most of us have seen on screen, at least, a pair of shoes lovingly recreated by Kevin. Without further ado, let’s meet the guy … welcome, Kevin ..image

Hi! My name is Kevin Garlick, I am a shoemaker who specialises in making historic period shoes. My all time favourite period are the shoes from the 1920s – 1940s. The age of sensible footwear.

Have you always wanted to be a shoemaker?

I worked in Engineering as a fabricator for half my working life but as manufacturing in this country declined I realised that it was time to do something else, so that is why I turned what was a hobby into a business.

What do you like best about handmaking shoes for re-enactors, films, theatres & museums?

I suppose there is a certain sense of achievement in knowing that lots of people will see your work.

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You have a background in re-enacting yourself – what characters have you portrayed? Who was your favourite?

I was once very interested in the Napoleonic period and spent many years as a re-enactor. I was never interested in being an officer and was happy to stay in the ranks as a French infantryman. I also took part in living history events as a shoemaker, teaching and demonstrating to school children different periods of shoemaking.image

You have produced footwear for many famous institutions such as BBC Television, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre, Madame Taussauds, and Plimoth Plantation USA. What was the hardest or most unusual footwear you have had to make?

I have been involved in many productions for theatre companies, television, operas, and films. I would have to say that the most interesting work was for Shakespeare’s Globe as I was often making ladies shoes in men’s sizes and some of the shoes I was asked to make by the costume designer were often very unusual and not the everyday stuff that the re-enactors were ordering.

imageThe measuring process includes asking for 2 outlines of the client’s foot. What’s the main differences between bespoke footwear and “on the shelf” shoes? What are the most important measurements or details you need when making a shoe?

The outlines and measurements of a customer’s feet are very important as a fit can only be as good as the information you are given. I ask my customers to draw around each foot with an upright pencil but you would be surprised how many of them get this wrong.

imageHave you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?

As I have said I love the shoes from the 1920s, I love the colour combinations and the different textures of leather and of course the styles.

You specialise in making pairs of ladies & men’s Swing Jive shoes. What is so special about these shoes?

Shoes for Swing Jive and Lindy Hop are normally higher in the back than normal, also the shoes have to be well balanced for ease of movement and comfort. Particular attention is paid to the pitch and heel height so that the shoe can rock to lift the heel quickly for faster steps.

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What famous person would you like to see parading around in your designs?

I have made shoes for lots of famous names but I can honestly say that although it’s good these people don’t ever think about the shoes as they are just a prop and not something personal to them. I get a lot more satisfaction making a pair for somebody who loves their shoes and appreciates the work that went into them, you never get this with actors.

imageWere you ever tempted or are you tempted, to introduce “ready made” shoes to your repertoire in future?

It would be nice to produce ready made shoes in stock sizes but then the shoes would all be the same just different sizes. By doing what I am doing I can offer customers a choice of colour and style and produce a shoe that is unique to them.

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

Normally I will be found in dirty old work clothes as I seem to be working long hours, but I still wear 1920’s shoes, although in desperate need of repair after five years of continuous wear. When I do get a chance to go out I usually wear 1930’s style clothes as I hate modern styles as everything is cheaply made and looks like a sack.

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

I plan to make a pair of 1940’s triple wedge sandals in red, white and blue. I have wanted to make these for some time but never had the time. It will happen soon as it has become a bit of an obsession.

Links:

http://www.kgarlick-shoemaker.co.uk

http://www.facebook.com/kevingarlickshoes

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Thank you Kevin … I adore the shoes and boots!  I find it interesting that some of the shoes from yesteryear are not too dissimilar to the shoes available for general wear today. I have shown photographs of my favourites out of Kevin’s collection – what era of shoe making tickles your fancy? Do drop me a line and let me know!

Linda x

Photo Credits:  All photos have been published with kind permission of Kevin Garlick

 

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An Interview With Born Bad Betty

Glamour with a capital G is what you’d experience from my guest this week – from the limited edition vintage inspired shoes, seamed stockings and those oh-so-sexy wiggle dresses and plenty more inbetween!  For those office parties, New Year soirees, vintage weddings and numerous other social events through to every day office attire with a 50s twist, Born Bad Betty has it all. So a big warm welcome BBB….image

Hi! I’m Mariam Vossough – aka Betty from Born Bad Betty. I run the company by myself, so I’m owner, designer, order packer – everything!

What inspired you to start up Born Bad Betty?

Clichéd though it may be, I fell into a mid-life crisis on turning forty. My low mood was very much focused on how I looked. My body had changed shape so dramatically I hardly recognised it any more. I didn’t want any of it on show, so I started buying baggy tops and long, shapeless dresses to cover myself. During that time, I lost my sense of style and – worst of all – my confidence. On a weekend away with Mr BBB, we wandered into a vintage-inspired clothes store where a red and black polka dot dress caught my eye. A stunning red and black polka dot wiggle dress. I gazed at it lovingly and Mr BBB urged me to try it on. But it was fitted. Really fitted. Somehow, my husband twisted my arm and I scurried off into the changing room. The minute the fabric hugged my curves I felt amazing. It was like my body shouted ‘I’m back, baby’. We were the perfect partnership – wiggle dresses need curvy girls and curvy girls need wiggle dresses. From that moment, I was on a mission. I wanted every woman to feel the way I did when I tried on that dress. For the first time in many years, I was no longer hiding my curves, I was flaunting them. Born Bad Betty was born. So, I began searching for dresses that all women could feel fabulous in and designed a collection of lust-after shoes to go with them. I now have a vintage business, a wardrobe full of wiggle and some wonderfully supportive new friends.

imageWhen choosing stock/styles/colours of shoes, bags and accessories etc for your website,do you go by popular styles, customer requests, “vintage” fashion trends, your own personal taste, their uniqueness or bits of all those?

Firstly, and most importantly, whatever I’m buying has to make me go ‘wow’. If not, I won’t get it. I think you have to trust your own instincts. If you start trying to second guess what other people might like, you’re bound to end up compromising. After all, sometimes customers don’t know themselves what they want until they see it. We’ve all been there – you say to yourself “I really don’t want another floral dress”, then you fall head over heels in love with one! In order to keep Born Bad Betty unique, I’ve started looking further afield for dresses and also asking designers for exclusive colours and designs.

Out of the current clothing & accessory range, I adore the fun Jive seamed Dotty Stockings; the bamboo clutch; and your range of wiggle dresses – so, so sexy, especially the Mistress Black & Leopard 50s Dress. What clothing & accessory items have been most popular amongst your customers this season?

Floral swing dress are always popular. Worn with a petticoat, it’s the fifties look most people aspire too. Polka dots are also a popular choice. The Isabella dress in jade has flown out this season.

imageYou do a fab range of shoes, and although I’m a real boot girl, I do like to dress up on occasions and I love, love, love kitten heels! The shoe for me this season is the lush Bad Kitty and it does live up to its description – “for the girl who wants to look feminine whilst getting up to no good”! What footwear has been the most popular this season?

In the summer, my flat shoes ‘Pump it, Cherry’ and ‘Good Kitty’ were super popular. So many flats are dull, and my customers appreciated being able to wear something comfy and gorgeous! Constantly popular are Hello Sailor and Strawberry Fox. Hello Sailor were the first pair I designed – and my signature style – and I’m so happy that people love them.

imageHave you got any personal favourites from your collection?

Ooh, you can’t ask me to pick between my shoes! That’s like asking which of my children I love the most! I have two favourite dresses at the moment. The two tone wiggle dress in teal – which is an exclusive colour to BBB – is super sexy. I haven’t seen any woman who doesn’t look drop dead in it. New in is the Estelle dress in a black lace print. It’s so lovely – such an unusual print – and cut especially to fit and flatter the fuller figure. I love it!

You’re currently running some “Bringing Sassy Back” challenges for your fans – including such challenges as wearing red lipstick every day! The challenges are a lot of fun! What has been your favourite challenge so far? What has been the most popular?

The very first one – wearing lipstick everyday – seems to have really taken off. It’s so easy for us busy woman not to bother doing things to make ourselves feel good. We’re always last on the list. Putting some lipstick on is a quick, easy way to add a touch of glamour to your day. However, my personal favourite was to wear a hair flower every day. I have some gorgeous ones and don’t wear them often enough. I have very exciting one coming up, so keep an eye on the blog!

imageLooking forward to Spring 2015 – what vintage inspired colours and styles will we be seeing on your site?

I’m always on the lookout for killer wiggle dresses and cute swing dresses. I never set out with pre-conceptions about what I’m going to buy. Although, I do make sure I have a good mixture of styles. One thing I’ve started to do, and will definitely continue, is to buy more plus size clothing. The latest dresses in all go up to a size 20.

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

I love to wear comfortable day dresses like the Edie Rose Sailor dress teamed with a pair of BBB pumps. It has to be practical (and gorgeous) for when I’m working. If I’m not in a dress, I’ll be found in Freddies jeans and tops. They are fabulous and very flattering for us curvy girls. This time of year, I would wear them with some chunky motorcycle boots or my trusty DM’s.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I’m rather partial to Etsy. I love buying up-cycled vintage items. I’m also slightly addicted to vintage-inspired jewellery (which Mr BBB will confirm!) so spend far too much time gazing at Luxulite and Bow and Crossbones.

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

Don’t tempt me! But, seeing as you’re asking, I got my eye on a cute vintage snood hat. I also wouldn’t say no to a new pair of motorcycle boots

Boots or Shoes?

If I could only choose one it would have to be shoes. Like a lot of women, I have an emotional attachment to shoes in a way that I don’t with boots. Some shoes are so beautiful, you could place them in a glass cabinet on the mantlepiece. I can’t see myself ever doing that with a pair of boots!

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

www.bornbadbetty.com
www.facebook.com/bornbadbetty
Twitter: bornbadbetty
Instagram: bornbadbetty
Pinterest: Born Bad Betty
blog: http://bornbadbetty.com/blog/

Thanks Mariam for chatting to us – your shoes are an absolute delight!  The question this week ladies is, what has tickled your vintage inspired fancy? Kitten heels, wiggle dress, pencil skirt or the total Fifties skirt & petticoat combo?  Do tell! 🙂

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission of Born Bad Betty (Mariam Vossough)

 

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An Interview With Gothic Angel Clothing

imageIt’s that time of year again…Halloween….when things go bump in the night, pumpkins light the way, kids fill their pockets with treats, shopkeepers hide the eggs and flour from the shelves…and out of the shadows emerges the seductive gothic vamp….

There’s something uniquely sexy about the vintage goth vamp/temptress…. gothic literature written in the 18th and 19th centuries talk of hauntingly beautiful ladies, whose white ghostly skins contrasted spectacularly with the colours of their dresses…in black,purple,forest green and deep red. Their hair tumbled down onto their shoulders, dark or blonde makes no difference, but they all had pearly white teeth and voluptuous ruby red lips. Although in the novels, such as Bram Stoker’s 1897 bestseller Dracula, only the facial features and the colours were described in detail of the three vampire temptresses …. the style of clothing worn was left to the imagination of designers when vampire films hit the screens in the 20th century.

In 2014, alongside the traditional goth colours of black, purple and red … we have the sumptuous midnight blue making a comeback … check out the deadly gorgeous lace tops, dresses and skirts …and team with black fishnets ..

imageThis week I’m interviewing one of the internet’s fab gothic online boutiques that showcase the very best of gothic fashions and footwear that not only grace the wardrobes of goths but also the wardrobes of many other ladies who appreciate the uniqueness, style, material and  quality that the gothic fashion designers provide. I am a big fan so, a big warm welcome to John of Gothic Angel Clothing:

Hi, my name is John co owner of Gothic Angel Clothing

What inspired you start up Gothic Angel Clothing?

Two main reasons.
1) I hate working for other people and have always wanted to start something for myself and my partner.
2) I love fashion although I’m not a Goth or a girl, the Gothic scene has a lot more character to it than mainstream fashion. My partner persuaded me to sell women’s clothing.

imageWhen choosing stock/styles/colours of shoes, bags and accessories etc for your website,do you go by popular styles, customer requests, fashion trends, your own personal taste, their uniqueness or bits of all those?

All of the above with the exception of my own personal taste. If I chose items based on what I thought would sell I’m not sure we would be very successful. Trends are important because if you don’t stock what people want then they will go elsewhere. In terms of the precise items I leave that to the guys we have working for us who know the scene much better than I do. As we get bigger I would love to start stocking smaller more individual designs that you might find on etsy.

imageThe brands you stock include established gothic brands such as New Rock, Demonia, Spin Doctor, Hell Bunny and Iron Fist; as well as new up-and-coming gothic designers. What brand has been most popular amongst your customers this season?

We mainly stock boots and shoes. The most successful brand by far is Demonia.

You do a fab range of boots, and I’m a real boot girl- I love the “New Rock” range of boots, although with my skinny jeans/trousers the Demonia Gravel boots are my constant companions! On my Facebook group (Boots, Shoes et Al), Iron Fist shoes are a definite favourite amongst members. What footwear has been the most popular this season?

imageWe don’t stock the full range of Iron Fist footwear currently but when we do put them on the website they tend to sell fast. Because of our range in store, Demonia have always been our biggest sellers.

Apart from selling very swanky shoes – I love your range of dresses especially the Zebra Print Wiggle Dress and if I was a lot younger, the Iron Fist Manslayer Slash Back Dress would’ve definitely had a place in my wardrobe! What dresses or tops have proved popular so far?

imageWe are better known for footwear and we don’t get many visitors looking for clothing at the moment. Therefore we dont stock too many items of clothing. However Hell Bunny dresses go quick and I think the biggest seller of all time was the Hell Bunny Tartan Dress (sorry sold out I’m afraid!)

You love finding up and coming gothic brands – have you plans to introduce any new brands to your website in 2015? What brand should we be looking out for this season?

We are approached everyday by new designers and well known brands but we simply dont have time to decide what to buy and list all items on the site. We don’t have plans to expand the brands just yet but of course as we get bigger there are many brands on our radar such as Spin Doctor and Lip Service.

imageI love the fact that UK goths don’t just wear black – I’m thinking of the Iron Fist range of clothes and footwear with snatches of red and purple, for example. What colour, apart from black, seem to be popular with your customers?

Bright colours and patterns are very popular. Iron fist leggings are normally very artistic in their design which are usually a success.

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

I’m afraid I would be considered very boring compared to most of our customer base. I am mostly found in pyjamas (I mostly work at home) but if I do happen to be going out I am partial to some skinny jeans.

imageDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Yes. Although they are competitors, I love Blue Banana.

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

Same as my christmas list – pyjamas! 🙂

Boots or Shoes?

Boots….eeer ….and shoes. Help!  I can’t decide –  they are both important to me 🙂

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

Our Store – http://www.gothicangelclothing.co.uk/
Our Blog – http://www.blog.gothicangelclothing.co.uk/
Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Gothic-Angel-Clothing/122747081138167

imageThanks John!  So lovely ladies (and gentlemen) have I persuaded you to let out the inner goth in you?!  With the party season fast approaching the “gothic” look is certainly a style that shouldn’t be dismissed.  I’d love to know what secret “goth” buys you’ve made this year…

Linda x

 

 

All photos have been published with kind permission from Gothic Angel Clothing Ltd.

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Doing The Blog Hop

imageThis week I’m talking “blog hopping”!  Blog Hopping? I hear you ask!  Let me tell you, it was a question on my lips when the lovely Eve from the Feel Better Every Day Consultancy nominated me to take part.  I’ve never done this kind of thing before, but I was willing to have go!   The idea is pretty simple : I have to answer 4 questions on my blog, then pass the “baton” to two other writers.  So, here goes… bear with as I step up to the mastermind chair….

1. What Am I Working On?

Currently I’m preparing interviews to appear on my blog in the next couple of months …I won’t say the “C” word but it is looming!  I have a great line up already in place this Autumn – I’ve interviewed models, authors, bag designers, shoe designers, start ups, jewellers, beauty product companies, fashion houses, TV psychics….

2. How Does My Work Differ From Others In This Genre?

Probably the interview style blogposts I would say, as I don’t do an awful lot of photographing myself in various outfits! I try to concentrate more on interviewing interesting and inspirational people and companies from all corners of the globe, some connected with the fashion industry , others not – but all linked with personal fashion and footwear tastes at the end of the interview.  Another factor is that I’m a lot older than the average fashion blogger.

3. Why Do I Write What I Do?

I enjoy it.  I enjoy chatting to different people and I have a wide variety of interests and I have a passion for writing and reading that matches my passion for fashion and boots!  As I’m a bit older (just a tad!) than your average fashion and shoe blogger I hope, through my blog, to pass on the message that as you get older you can continue to dress fashionably without looking like “mutton dressed as lamb” or resorting to looking like a frump! As mum to a trendy and glam 21 year old daughter, I am pretty much kept in check if something I wear is OTT or frumpy!

4. How Does My Writing Process Work?

My blogposts differ each week and I enjoy chatting and getting to know the people I’m about to interview. Most interviewees I either know personally or have got to know and followed via social media for a long time. Others have been introduced to me at events, via PR agents, others approach me direct and some I email direct asking to interview them.Some interviews are done in person but most are online. I do a lot of research before I do an interview so as I can really understand and get interested in the person or company. I tend to work in advance, so “interviews” are often held about 6 weeks prior to the publishing date.

Thank you Eve for nominating me, it was fun!  I’m passing the baton onto two completely different but equally as fab writers…. author Carol E Wyer who has just published her 7th humorous book, Three Little Birds ( read Carol’s interview with me HERE) imageand to fellow blogger, Hosiery For Men, whose knowledge about hosiery has no limits and regardless of gender, his hosiery reviews and opinions are most highly regarded….image I look forward to reading their blog hops…..

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos published with kind permission of Carol E Wyer; Hosiery For Men; Linda Hobden

STOP PRESS …. the lovely people at Wear Eponymous have awarded me their blogger award and I now proudly display the award badge on my blog!  I interviewed Wear Eponymous last year and I’m pleased to say that their stylish outfits are continuing to wow!  To read my interview with Wear Eponymous, press HERE.

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An Interview With La Redoute

imageI had my first “catalogue” shopping experience in the mid 1980s when a friend of mine was an agent for  Freemans or Grattans – I enjoyed looking at the book and I remember buying a skirt.  However, my mum wasn’t (and still isn’t) a fan of catalogues and I carried on accompanying my mum to Walthamstow market to buy my attire for the weekend disco nights!  In the mid 1990s,  a catalogue advert appeared in a magazine and I sent off for it.  It seemed exciting, different … and I was a mum of 2 … and the little girls clothes were divine and so so chic .. that catalogue was the first winter edition of  La Redoute.  From that day onwards I have been a loyal customer, buying clothes for my children (the 2 eventually became 5) and for myself. Every season fills me with desire as I would love to buy most of the items in the book…. and don’t get me started on their shoes! So I’m really thrilled to interview La Redoute on my blog this week….so welcome…

imageMy favourites from your collection this season include the Soft Grey set of 5 beaded bracelets;the Shopping Prix Softly draping printed vest top with cowl neckline; and the La Redoute Creation high-heeled ankle strap sandals. What outfits are proving popular in the UK amongst your customers so far this season?

Our top 3 best selling products in the Spring Summer 2014 season were Flowing Asymmetric Vest Top with Polka Dots and Back Bow, Printed Softly Draping Short-Sleeved Belted Dress and Fitted Long-Sleeved Printed Cotton Voile Shirt.

imageGuest designers have appeared in La Redoute collections since 1969 and include names such as Terence Conran(1993); Karl Lagerfeld (1994); Azzedine Alaia (1995); Yves Saint Laurent (1996); Jean-Paul Gautier (2005); Christian La Croix (2008); Antik Batik (2012)… to name but a few. What designer(s) collection for La Redoute have been a runaway success with customers in the UK?

The most popular designer collection in Spring-Summer 2014 has been Paul & Joe Sister. From smart suits to cat print T-shirts this collection has proven a success with La Redoute customers. This was closely followed by our summer designer collaboration Brigitte Bardot which embraces the must have bohemian trend.

imageI only discovered fairly recently that the word “Denim” came from the French town of Nimes, where the famous fabric originates. So, it was no surprise that the French wardrobe style staples include jeans, often paired with a crisp white shirt. Personally, I’m favouring my skinnies at the moment which I wear with high leg lace up boots. What jean style is proving the trend this season?

La Redoute UK customers have really embraced the slim fit jean this season. Since these can be teamed with almost anything it’s no surprise this style is the most popular with our customers.

Simplicity is the key to effortless French chic style – from the Little Black Dress to the cobalt blue maxi dress … with pastels, florals, metallics, and a splash of brightness inbetween. What colour(s) are you personally leaning towards this season?

imageOur colour picks for the Autumn-Winter season are Aurora Reds, Royal Blue and Moss Green.

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

Our new Autumn-Winter collection includes some of the hottest trends seen on the catwalk. These include prints, collarless coats, 50’s glam, leopard print and of course embellishments which are a must have in the Autumn-Winter season.

Ballerina Shoes are a French wardrobe staple that are so practical and yet oozes the smartness that the French insist upon… I still have in my wardrobe a pair of Mellow Yellow ballerinas in grey/yellow that I bought from La Redoute in the late 1990s. They still look good! What shoe colours are proving popular this year?
image
The top 3 most popular shoe colours in Spring-Summer were Black, Beige and Silver.

I am a fan of bright colours and I love the way La Redoute’s own mini prix and Soft Grey collections offer such an array of basics in such a variety of colours for you to mix & match. I also like the sandals in the same tempting array of colours to co ordinate with the rest of the outfits. I discovered the lure of wearing dusky pink with olive/khaki; turquoise with navy; coral with gold… What has been the colour palettes that have created a storm with customers in the UK?

imageWith our relaxed French style the two most popular colour palettes in SS14 have been the classic Black and White. La Redoute customers have also fully embraced prints this season.

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

http://www.laredoute.co.uk/

 

 

 

 

https://www.facebook.com/LaRedouteUK

https://twitter.com/LaRedouteUK

https://twitter.com/LaRedouteUK

http://fashionfamily.laredoute.co.uk/

imageMy tip for Autumn/winter…. I’ve spotted some fabulous burgundy brogue ankle boots… and some fab black biker ankle boots too! Decisions, decisions!

LInda x

Photo Credits: Linda Hobden.

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An Interview With Taschka Shoes

This week I’m talking shoes with the gorgeous Natascha of shoe company Taschka who has created stylish luxury leather flats that capture the spirit of wanderlust … a wonderful fusion of her background in both the fashion and luxury travel sector. A big warm welcome Natascha….image

Hello, I am Natascha, Creative Director of Taschka, based ‘Up North’, lover of all things tea related and obsessive wearer of oversized sunglasses.

As a small girl, did you always want to design footwear?

I had a strong passion for design from a very early age and I come from a family where the two generations before me were firmly established within the clothing industry, so I was surrounded by literature and imagery that inspired and encouraged my interests. Accessories have always had my heart. I just love, however much of a cliche it is, the joy of putting on a brand, spanking pair of new shoes!

What do you like best about being a shoe designer?

I love the versatility that having my own label brings, the freedom to create my vision and the perk of an ever expanding shoe-drobe! 

imageYou have a background in both fashion & luxury travel, hence your shoe collection has been inspired by some of the world’s most iconic destinations.  Which is your favourite destination? Which destination inspired your shoe collection the most?

Italy is one of my favourite places and the Taschka label was actually developed whilst I was living in beautiful Florence, fuelled by copious amounts of Italian coffee and gelato.  Each shoe is named using the airport code of a particular destination, for example, ORY is inspired by the romance of Paris and JAI, after the majestic city of Jaipur. I love the nostalgia of travel from a bygone era and wanted to incorporate this into the brand, the dreamy notion of journeys with vintage luggage and the thrill of arriving to your chosen retreat.

imageWhere in the world would you love to visit next and what inspiration for your shoes would you hope to find there?

I have recently returned from an epic Californian road trip, which started with Coachella festival, followed by a drive along the scenic Route from San Diego to San Francisco – so you can expect some coastal/beach influences for Spring/Summer 15.

imagePersonally, I LOVE all your shoes but I have a soft spot for the ORY in nude/coral/cheetah! Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?

Thank you! At the moment, you will mostly find me wearing FLO in Navy as I currently have a love of all things blue . But I am also a huge ORY fan, as I love the fun and playful aspect that they add to any outfit.

What shoe style seems to be the most popular this season with your clients?

ORY in nude and JAI in cream and gold are currently proving very popular, due to the sunshine we have been enjoying recently. FLO is our biggest seller, loafers are just so effortless and versatile.

imageYour luxury leather flats are handcrafted by artisans in your Portuguese workshop, and I adore your attention to detail, eg the cushioned leather lining and hand-etched Taschka signature sole. They are extremely stylish, comfortable and practical – were you ever tempted or are you tempted, to introduce heels/wedges to your collection in future?

I am keen to focus on flats for the time being. I am adding velvet slippers, brogues and ankle boots to the collection over the course of the coming year. Fit is of great importance to me when designing, I think a flat shoe should be instantly comfortable. The hand-etched soles feature the Taschka signature, henna inspired pattern, a detail which acknowledges my Indian heritage.

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

I am a flats kind of a lady for the majority of the time, of course. You will very rarely find me without a statement scarf, big earrings and a bright lipstick – I have a huge collection of all and feel incomplete without! I love to keep my clothing simple and classic, a pair of cigarette trousers or jeans teamed with a splash of colourful accessories.

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

I am a big fan of SilkFred.com, as I love the new designers they feature and the unique treasures to be found.

What’s next on your shopping wish list?

I will be in New York for a few days very soon, so I have been saving up all of my shopping desires in anticipation. I am hoping to find some treasures in the downtown independent boutiques, which will no doubt include more sunglasses!

Boots or Shoes?

Shoes. Being petite, I tend to avoid boots and go for the shoe option. I like to wear heels too, but always have a pair of Taschka flats in my bag, just in case!

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc so that my readers can learn more about Taschka Shoes 

www.taschka.co.uk – online boutique
www.facebook.com/taschka
www.twitter.com/taschkashoes

Thank you for chatting to us Nataschka – they certainly are beautiful shoes and just proves that flat shoes are just as scrummy as heels too! So which shoe destination will you go for, dear reader?

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photographs are published with kind permission of Taschka Shoes

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An Interview With Chanii B

I’m talking shoes this week with my guest, the vivacious Chantal Pilon, whose shoe collection has been wonderfully inspired by architecture, movies and clothing; as well as being born and raised into the shoe industry, with 3 generations of shoe retailers in Canada…. welcome Chantal…image

Hi! I’m Chantal Pilon aka Chanii B. Full of energy, I never stop. Slightly crazy too… you have to be – it’s part of being artistic and a designer. I need to be to keep the inspiration flowing!

You were born and raised into the shoe industry, with 3 generations of shoe retailers in Canada, having studied at Cordwainer’s College and having worked for over 11 years at Clarks, England and Kenneth Cole in New York; there’s a passion for shoes in your blood. However, as a young child did you have the same desire to enter the shoe industry or did you have other ambitions?

I always wanted to be a biologist or an archaeologist and studied towards this as I grew up, but my creative side was overwhelming; I wanted to create and invent something. I was working with my family in their shoe shops as a teen and tried hard to separate from the shoe business and explore other areas. Until one day I met another designer at a trade show and we talked about how I had a love for art and design and loved shoes. He told me I must go to London and study footwear design. It was like a light switched in my head and I’ve never looked back, I knew I would be able to fulfil my creative mind with something I knew and loved. So off I was as soon as possible to study at Cordwainers!

imageWhat do you like best about being a shoe designer?

Travelling around the world for inspiration then drawing what is in my head, then amending it, then seeing my final creation come to life. Every shoe, boot, handbag or accessory is a piece of my passion and love for what I do. All my passion and hard work goes into everything I make. I tell my customers every style I make has a story, so they are all close to me. Some styles I have worked on for 2 years until they were just right. So once I see them in the shop and sell them to my customer I am proud of the journey they took to make someone happy. I also love seeing my customers come look in awe and excitement when they see the collection… I bring smiles to people.

imageWhere do you get your inspiration for your shoe collections?

Everywhere… I travel the world and see all kinds of architecture, furniture, clothes, people on the streets, vintage… I get a real buzz and can’t wait to put pen to paper to get the idea in motion.

When designing your shoe collections, do you go for on trend colours/styles; your favourite colours/designs; colours/designs requested or that have proved popular in the past with your clientele; or a bit of each?

It’s a bit of each; what trends are happening and what I feel would be really new- but I also think of a few customers that each have a fit or style I follow…so really I think they are my muse.

imageNot only do you sell your shoes online but you have a fab shoe shop in Bath where you showcase all your designs as well as having your shoes sold in over 35 shops worldwide. Which shoes are currently proving popular with customers visiting your shop in Bath? Your website?

Best shoes are the Tresor and Coco as they’re very iconic Chanii B. The pony handbags (called Deux Visione) are huge sellers as well as they are part of the limited editions, where only a very select amount are made.

As your shoes are stocked worldwide, is there a marked difference between what is popular in UK and what is popular with your worldwide stockists?

No the client is the same all over. The Chanii B customer, whether she is from the UK or overseas, wants to find something different but also likes the idea of buying something you will not find everywhere, and has a real person behind the brand. This is why I have customers emailing me from all over the world asking for shoes that are sold out in the shops where they are…

imagePersonally, I love all your shoes but I have a soft spot for the Bebe heels in both fuchsia and royal blue ( I think it’s the stripy heel that first caught my attention!) And, being a boots addict, I couldn’t ignore the gorgeous zipp boot – I adore all 3 colours in that style too! Have you got a favourite out of all the shoes you’ve designed?

I have the Bebe in green and wear them a lot as they are really comfortable. I just introduced this season the royal blue which is amazing, teamed with all white and natural colours, and especially jeans. Plus I have the Zipp boot in grey, which are hot with all my new spring clothes. But my most favourite shoes as my customers know is my Coco pony hair shoes in fuchsia. The most comfortable shoe I have ever owned, with a heel! It is like wearing nothing on your feet. I have a regular customer that owns 8 pairs in different colours! I do have many other favourites though, as when I design them I get very excited and when they arrive, it’s as if I have given life to a new creation.

imageYour range also includes some delightful shoes ideal for weddings – I particularly adore the chablis shoe in ivory – it is so pretty and elegant and with a heel just the right size to elongate the leg but sturdy and comfortable to boot! Just what you need when you are on your feet all day and all night! What shoe style seems to be the most popular this season with your bridal clients?

The most popular is the Tresor for all weddings with the ruffle on the back; it is elegant and creative looking on the foot. You know you will not bump into anyone wearing this piece of art… with a comfortable heel height. The other best sellers are the Soliel t-strap, which is very vintage looking but has a flexible cork foot bed. I made them in many colours this year with weddings in mind. You could dance all night in them after a long day and still be comfortable.

imageWhich famous lady would you like to see parading around in your designs?

Any woman with style and a sense of individuality of course! Like Katy Perry, Holly Willoughby, Patty Boyd, Lily Allen, Emma Bunting, Rachael Bilson…

You wanted to achieve a brand that expresses the individual in all of us by incorporating limited editions, wearable heights, colour and creative pieces of art – I think you’ve achieved that aim! So, what can we look forward to this summer and what have you got up your sleeve for autumn/winter too?

imageThis spring was all about soft colours or monochrome. Mirror heels are very Italian and in vogue, so I have the highest quality Italian units with the mirror heels in shop. Like the Valour zebra pony hair wedges, Aloof snake print wedges, and the Voici low wedge in natural or white snake print. Very chic and very comfortable with a raised elevation while not being very high. But for dress wear I am really excited about the high platform rainbow unicorn heels – Mag, my limited editions for this season with only 18 pairs made globally. And I have a pair! My plan is to make a low flatter version of this pony as it is incredible and so individual. AW line is of course finished and I’m already looking forward to them coming in (but let’s not push summer away too soon!) I am feeling teal, red, and black with gold. I have some amazing flat boots with velvet trim and mini studs coming and I can’t wait to have a pair! Also coming in are my new cork foot bed dress shoes, which are cushioned foot beds with textured leather prints and mirror trims… fashionable and practical with comfort. Plus my new flat, up the knee boots in distressed suede and also in patent with mirror trims, will be arriving. These flew off shelves overseas as they were so unique from all other brands trending them for next season.

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

I love Custo Barcelona, well until it becomes too mainstream, I’m a fan. Shoes are always my fuchsia coco they are my favourite Chanii B. I’m also super excited to be the first to be showcase a new line of clothing made from 100% alpaca wool from local designer Lucy Cox in my shop in Milsom Place, Bath.

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

Custo, but I must go to the shop to try everything on… I am in heaven…online ASOS for that impulse buy, but with all my travels I prefer to buy in shop and be part of the moment and experience of being in a shop and feeling the product.

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

A colourful summer dress, I’m always in need of a new one. Plus the perfect leather jacket and maybe even a leather dress to wear in the fall!

imageBoots or shoes?

Hmm that’s hard… I love my dress shoes as I like to not lose the identity of being a woman. But boots are for when I need to throw some attitude around and not be so dressy and feminine. But being feminine is always important to my mantra!

Links you would like to share e.g. Website/facebook etc. So that my readers can learn more about Chanii b shoes

www.chaniibshoes.com
www.facebook.com/shoesbychaniib
www.twitter.com/chaniibshoes @chaniibshoes
www.pinterest.com/chaniibshoes

You’ve got a fabulous collection of shoes, Chantal, and I’m looking forward to seeing your Autumn collection too ! Thank you for stopping by for a chat and I expect many readers in the south west will be popping along to Bath and your shop to experience the shoe collection at first hand… if so, let me know what you buy !

Linda x

Photo Credits: All photos have been published with kind permission of Chantal Pilon & Chanii B Shoes.

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