Running until 29 September, the “My Favourite Shoe” exhibition in The Village at Westfield Shepherds Bush explores how vintage shoes inspire and influence contemporary designers. Designed to mimic the look of a designer’s desk, the exhibition asks how designers work and what inspires them. It illustrates the links between current shoe design and the extraordinary shoe collection at Northampton Museums & Art Gallery. This exhibition showcases some of the most exciting contemporary shoe designers working in the UK – Atalanta Weller, Camilla Skovgaard, Joanne Stoker, Mr Hare and Sophie Cox. Northampton Museums & Art Gallery invited them to pick their favourite shoe from the Northampton Museums & Art Gallery and pair it with a shoe from their own collection. the designers talked to them about their design process and how vintage shoes inspire them, highlighting why the Northampton Museums & Art Gallery collection is important to designers today. Well worth a visit, and tell Northampton Museums & Art Gallery what is your favourite shoe and why, tweeting them @NorthamptonShoe or pin to their Pininterest board.
When it comes to my favourite vintage style shoes then I have to say any shoe/boot with a kitten heel! Here are 10 fabulous and flirty kitten heels that I spotted online and hitting the shops this week. Purrr!!
Have fun finding your favourites!
Photo Credits: Linda Hobden; Lyst.com
A couple of months ago I came across a fashion website via one of my Twitter friends – I was looking to buy a swimsuit and this website was offering deals between 12 & 1pm - and I nabbed myself a fabulous FatFace swimming costume. I was not only impressed with my bargain, but their customer service was second to none and my costume arrived the next day as standard delivery !! So it gives me great pleasure to welcome onto the blog Ruth from that website, Room 31. Hi Ruth, please introduce yourself and Room 31:
Hi, I’m Ruth! In 2010 I took the plunge to leave a secure well paid job and become my own boss. With just a few hundred pounds I opened a market stall in Bury selling ladies discounted branded fashion. To supplement market takings I sold excess stock on eBay and quickly realised that selling online was the way forward and that you could literally ‘sell while you sleep’ waking up to orders from all over the world and not having to get cold on a market stall. So I took lease on a 3000 square foot warehouse in Culcheth and employed one member of staff with the intention of selling on eBay and setting up a ladies fashion website. Within 2 years the business has grown at a rapid rate and has gone from a one woman band taking home a few hundred pounds a week to a turnover of nearly 3M in year 2 and a passionate team of 10.
Have you always been interested in the fashion trade?
I have always bought almost every fashion magazine on the shelf and had an unhealthy(!) obsession with shoes & accessories. When I was younger I wanted to own a shoe shop called “Ruth’s Shoes” but my career took a different path as I started my career in a call centre but my passion was always for fashion and working for myself.
Congratulations on winning the WiBA 2012 Start Up Business Of The Year Award … you are now operating online and from a warehouse in Culcheth, Warrington… what are your next goals?
We can now call ourselves a multi-award winning business which is something to be really proud of. We recently won Warrington Business Awards Digitial Business of The Year and have been short-listed for 2 other awards this year and are excited to be attending the awards evenings in October to see if we’ve won! Our next big step is to integrate the wholesale and retail websites, giving our customers a better selection of discounted fashion and sportswear.
Who, in your opinion, has been the most popular designer or brand that you’ve sold in your store? What are your best selling styles?
Vans & Converse have been very popular throughout the summer.
What’s your most favourite item in your collection,past or present?
I love leopard print! and last year we had some really cute leopard print chelsea boots that I will be bringing back out this Winter. In the summer months I love maxi dresses and have a large selection of them, they can be dressed up or down and are perfect for lazy days in the garden with a glass or bottle of vino!
I love my FatFace swimsuit that I bought from you recently – apart from the fact the item was extremely cheap – I was more than impressed by your customer service and speedy delivery! It felt as though I was buying off a friendly stall rather than an anonymous website! What were the pros & cons about life in Bury Market as opposed to the pros & cons in the warehouse/online environment?
This is exactly the kind of service we want to achieve. I really believe in building relationships with our customers and we do this well throughout the various social media platforms. I want our customers to really get to know us and feel that we are their friends. We make a real effort to take on board customers opinions and feedback and react to these. I personally love face to face interaction with our customers and miss the market stall for that reason, however we do take Room31 to pop-up shops and open our warehouse up from time to time for warehouse sales/events so I still do get the face to face interaction but I still miss it. Social media though allows us to talk to our customers and get to know them. Online does mean that you can literally sell while you sleep and can sell worldwide rather than being confined to a local area. Through our wholesale site we have customers from all over the world.
I am loving the over-size coats & capes for A/W in particular Victoria Beckham’s collection that a lot of High Street stores have copied allowing us all to be able to afford this cover-up. I’m also loving the feminine and flattering pink tones that we will be seeing a lot of this A/W and lots of texture.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
My role within the business is varied and changes from day to day; I can go from a meeting with a potential investor to packing orders in the warehouse within a few hours! So my wardrobe has to be practical and smart at the same time.
Do you have any favourite designers?
I shop a lot on ASOS as you can find everything under one roof so to speak from designers to high street brands to up and coming designers.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
It definitely has to be new winter boots & a winter coat. I love leopard print and am pleased to see that leopard print boots & winter shoes are here to stay for another season. I love a good parka too and this is on my wish list for winter.
Boots or Shoes?
That’s a difficult one – I love both! I would have to say shoes if I had to pick one or the other….I love ballerinas and have just purchased some slipper style flats with tassels on that I am loving right now.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can learn more about Room 31.
www.facebook.com/room31bury ;twitter – @room31fashion ;@room31wholesale
website : www.room31wholesale.co.uk - Look out for our new clearance/retail section coming soon.
We have taken the decision to merge our fashion retail site www.room31.co.uk with our wholesale site www.room31wholesale.co.uk giving customers a wider choice of sportswear and fashion and opening it up to men and children rather than just women’s fashion.
Thank you Ruth for chatting with me tonight and I wish you and your company continuing success, you deserve it!
Photos published with kind permission from Room 31.
This season the word on the street is “TEXTURED” – clothing, footwear, accessories and even beauty products including nails! This touch of the rugged glam sits well day and night – a bit of sparkle with your office suit, traditional tweed mixed with lace & mesh – and the footwear will blow you away!
Office wear is looking ever so glam this Autumn. Invest in a lace blouse, such as the gorgeous white lace blouse from Dolce & Gabbana (see photo) – this blouse is so versatile and looks equally good with power suits, trousers, pencil skirts, even jeans! I particularly like the new Nina Ricci range of separates – textured boucle trimmed silk trousers (see photo); the boucle trimmed silk jacket; and the boucle stretch silk skirt.
For weekends, cosy pub nights, and dog walking/ rambling through the leafy lanes, nothing is as good as a chunky jumper to wear with your favourite jeans…. again, from Nina Ricci, I adore this great baggy black jumper (see photo) and if you’re looking for some stylish designer jeans, then take a look at Victoria Beckham’s skinny jeans in dark indigo.
Party Season will soon be here (yay!) and I’ve noticed some gorgeous “Little Black Dresses” around already to whet our appetites – the Erdem Livvie Sheer Tweed Dress is a sheer delight but will set you back over £1200; cheaper designer dresses worth considering include the Diane von Furstenberg lace sleeve knit dress and the Nina Ricci (yet again!) Lace Trimmed Radzmir Dress. TopShop have a great range of affordable party dresses – check out the stunning Ceryn dress (see photo). If you’re looking for party outfits that are more colourful, then I’ve spotted some just for you – French Connection’s Fauna Fantasy Dress; Free People Textured Knit Dress (header photo); TFNC multi sequin fit & flare dress; and for something for those leggy lovelies, the uber glamourous Isabel Marant lame fabric shorts (see photo) – great teamed with a plain black vest top and chunky gold jewellery.
Of course, you’ll need some hosiery for the season…. my vote goes to the pretty Jonathan Aston Starburst Sequinned Tights, sheer black tights with a subtle spray of delicate sequins (see photo). These are just the ticket to compliment this season’s textured style.
Nails next. I am impressed this week with the Sally Hansen Fuzzy Coat Nail Enamel – the “hundreds & thousands” style strands create a striking 3D feathered effect that’s just right for this season’s texture trend styles.
Finally, here’s 10 gobsmackingly divine textured footwear that I’ve spotted this week….I love them all…
Enjoy the texture, texture, baby!
Photo Credits: Lyst; Essexy Legs
Knitting and craft work in general has been making a big comeback over the last year or two and it is great to see a whole new generation picking up those knitting needles – the styles, ideas and enthusiasm just blows me away. So I’m really excited to welcome onto the blog tonight the uber funky Rachael from wool shop emporium Prick Your Finger…but it’s not just a wool shop…. as Rachael will reveal… prepare to be as awe struck as I was!! Hi, Rachael, welcome…
Hi, I am Rachael Matthews and I run an independent yarn shop and textile school in Bethnal Green. I love fashion and art and making things. I have made clothes and knitted from a very early age. Growing up in the Lake District, there were no fashion stores so I created my own looks from my grandmother’s old sheets, curtains etc. This was my greatest education. I went to art school in London, did a degree in textiles, and a teacher training course, but it was making stuff in my bedroom which taught me the most. These days, I run the shop, show works in galleries, and write about textiles.
I adore your idea of a knitting shop with a difference – selling yarns, having artists in residence, teaching knitting techniques and your website & blog are very informative too – where did you get your inspiration from?
The ideas come from my day to day life, the people I meet, the books I read, things that are happening all around me.
As a child our knitting shop in the village which was very old fashioned with hilarious window displays under that funny 1950′s orange cellophane, which stopped things fading. I would dream up designs for jumpers I wanted to knit, based on what I had seen on telly or in magazines, and my mum would take me to the knitting shop. I would try to explain to the lady what I wanted, but the yarns and patterns were never quite right, and I was scared to ask for help. Prick Your Finger is my teenage fantasy yarn shop. A place where you might meet great knitters, and be able to discuss your ideas, ask for help, and find a way to knit the ideas you have in your head, or copy a designer garment you can’t afford or even be invited to a party to meet other knitters. The shop is a very organic place. The artists help form the character of the place, and the customers bring new energies and ideas.
I love to teach people to knit, because it is actually quite easy once you understand what is happening, and very good for you. I have never failed to teach anyone yet! I have successfully taught men with huge workman’s hands, ladies with long nail extensions, and people who describe themselves as Kak-handed.
What’s the most unusual item you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?
In the early days of teaching knitting in pubs, the men I taught would often joke that they were making a willy warmer. This went on and on, until one day I thought I would write a pattern for an anatomically correct willy warmer called ‘Penis in Cable’. I sold it as a kit, and it went down very well with hen nights and groups of older ladies.
To date, what has been your most popular yarn, type or colour or both?
We have a range called Knit by Numbers, which is a Double Knit Merino yarn, in 7 colours, but over 70 shades. It is great for designing in bold blocks of colour, or you can create subtle shades accross your knitting. We also sell a chunky hand dyed ‘Slub’ which is a lumpy, felty, soft and mottled yarn, which is great for the beginner knitter scarf, as the lumpy effect hides the mistakes, and looks very chic.
What’s your most favourite item that you have ever made?
It’s a difficult question because I have made so many different things. When I was 16 I made a multi-coloured stripey jumper, and I have just started wearing it again. It’s special because it was the first piece I made without a pattern, and at the time I was delighted with it. Rainbow is quite in at the moment, so it’s back out of the loft and I am proud to say I made it when I was 16.
Your teaching workshops offer an array of subjects to cover all abilities – from macrame to making socks before Christmas – do you enjoy the buzz of teaching? What came first – the shop or the teaching workshops?
I have been a teacher for much longer than the shop. I started off teaching people with learning difficulties which was a great experience. Teaching in the shop is easier and more intimate. I love the buzz of teaching because I love giving people the opportunity to make things. I keep the classes small so that my students learn deeply and thoroughly.
You have some impressive talented international artists in residence – and your shop, website and workshops offer a chance for everyone to admire their talents – whose work should we not miss an opportunity of seeing?
Our current show by Lisa Anne Auerbach from California, shows us how we can write or draw anything in our knitting. Lisa’s ‘Sweaters’ are publications with protests and riddles and quirky symbols, knitted into them so you can wear your opinion on your sleeve.
Our next show will be with East London Textile Art’s work with the Down Syndrome stitchers. The pieces are beautiful and very abstract, but what is interesting is that what ever kind of person you are, if you spend time putting stitches and colours together repeatedly, in a calm and loving environment, the soul shines through and out comes beautiful work.
Knitting, and craftwork in general, is becoming popular once again – even in my small village we have 2 craft/knitting groups circulating – what do you think will be the knitting trends for the next season?
Great you have a knitting group in your village!
This next season is exciting in that you can mix pattern and colour in quite a wild way. I have seen a trend of people buying an ecclectic selection of yarns, to knit simple garment shapes in a collage effect. We all have a favourite ball of wool in the stash, which is not enough to create a garment, but you can bring it in and choose it a selection of complimentary colours and textures, and then stripe a jumper or knit blocks to stitch together. The idea is to go wild with the fabric and thrown it on. In the same way we also have a double denim selection of yarns which a great to mix.
Personal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?
I try to do glamourous workwear. I am simultaneously serving in the shop and dying yarns out back. I like to wear something I have made everyday, so usually tights, hotpants and a sweater, topped with Tatty Devine or a bernstock spears hat. OR I wear a plain dress or jumpsuit, with a multicoloured knitted hat.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Tatty Devine, Bernstock Spiers, Ebay, Style Bubble.
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
One of my students, Kay Davis, is painting an old pair of shoes for me, so I am excited to see what she does! They will be quite wild. I am also waiting for a Navy blue hat from Noel Stewart, which I ordered for after fashion week…it will top the double denim slouchy jumper I am knitting. Then jeans is a problem – they are at their best when they have totally fallen apart, but not quite fallen apart, and they are all dangerous close to completely falling apart. This is a big job to find a new old pair!
Boots or Shoes?
Oh and I need a new pair of sandals to wear with knitted socks in winter, which I know is a fashion faux pas, but it’s fun if I can find the right pair…
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about you and your products.
Facebook:Prick Your Finger
Thanks Rachael …. your ideas are fab, I love your shop and I wish you continued success…
All photographs are published with kind permission of Rachael Matthews. Photo Credit also to Harriet Vine and Antranig Basman.
Whether you live in London, work in London or visiting London …there’s one place I urge you to visit …Selfridges… or more specifically Selfridges New Denim Studio! For a jeans fanatic like myself this place is denim heaven, literally! The studio covers an astonishing 26,000 square feet, stocking 60 brands of jeans and staffed by no less than 50 denim experts. They have jeans for every shape and budget, from £11 to £11,000. Don’t despair though if you can’t get to London, check out Selfridges awesome website instead – www.selfridges.com
Denim on denim? What’s your view? Me? I love wearing my bleached denim shirt with my indigo denim jeggings… I think wearing different shades of denim together can look pretty cool. So does that apply to denim footwear too? I think so! Here’s some lovely denim footwear that I’ve recently spotted that wouldn’t look naff worn with your jeans or cut off shorts:
Whilst I’m talking denim, check out these two natty denim jackets : the Modcloth Talking In Memphis Jacket (see photo) and the fab alternative to the biker jacket, the Nasty Gal Outsider Denim Jacket (see header Picture).
I, for one, am going to wear my denim with pride this Autumn… anyone joining me?!!!
Photo credits: Lyst.com
Tonight I’m really pleased to welcome onto the blog, journalist and author Tiffany Wright, who has written for some of the top fashion magazines including Cosmopolitan, Marie Claire, Company, Elle … and has a novel out called “Somebody Else’s Shoes”… so,without further ado, welcome Tiffany:
Hello, I’m Tiffany – journalist, author and Proposal planner (WHAT? I hear you say? Don’t worry- I’ll tell you more about that later!) So, how did I become a writer? Well, I suppose it all started when I was doing work experience for Marie Claire magazine. I was surrounded by clothes, accessories and shoes (ahh, the shoes!)and I felt like I had discovered my spiritual home. I ended up working at Elle for nearly a year, before landing a job at Company magazine where I became their Senior Writer. I lived out my magazine days writing about relationships, interviewing celebs and spending hours in the fashion cupboard lusting over every pair of shoes that came in. I eventually left Company and headed ‘down under’ to write for Cosmopolitan magazine in Sydney where I became their ‘Sex and the Cosmo girl’ columnist. Ooh, that was fun! Whilst in Sydney, I decided to write a blog where she wore a different pair of shoes every day for a year. I did it, and has the blisters to show for it! The blog swiftly turned into an idea for my first novel “Somebody Else’s Shoes.”
So,spending time in Sydney, writing for Cosmopolitan mag, and being their “Sex and the Cosmo Girl” columnist for nearly 2 years, what city would you say is for the single woman, Sydney or London?!
Depends on the sort of men you are after!! If you’re after the sporty surfer types with freckled skin, sandy hair and muscles galore then I’d definitely head for Sydney. However my husband would kill me if I didn’t say that the best sorts of men are from Ireland (Yup, I bagged myself a handsome irish man – how lucky am I?)
Thanks Tiffany for chatting to me tonight – I look forward to reading your new jet setting novel and I wish all your ventures every success!
All photographs published with kind permission from Tiffany Wright.
A couple of weeks ago I received an email from one of my blog readers, Angela, asking whether I thought pointy toe boots would come back into fashion this season. I was so pleased to reply enthusiastically that, this year pointy toed footwear is definitely making a comeback and that I, too, am a big fan of pointy toe ankle boots. So, for pointy toe fans here is my collection of the best 20 pointy toe footwear to hit the shelves this Autumn…..
7. Diane Von Furstenberg Brett Pointy Toe Stretch Bootie8. Dolce & Gabbana Red Lace Pointy Toe Pump9. Alice & Olivia Pointy Toe Wedge Bootie10. Cole Haan Chelsea Matte Patent Pointy Toe Wedge11. Alexander McQueen Toe-Cap Pointy Stiletto12. Manolo Blahnik Grey Campari Mary Jane Pointy Toe Pump13. Versace Ankle Strap Pointy Toe Pumps14. Alejandro Ingelmo Pointy Toe Pump15. Le Silla Suede Pointy Toe High Heel Boots 16. Giuseppe Zanotti Ester Crystallized Pointy Toe Pump17. Casadei Suede Pointy Toe Cut Out Shoe Boot18. Zara Shiny Pointy Ballerina19. See By Chloe Studded Point Toe Booties20. Delman Belle Pointed Toe Pump
Tonight we are talking beauty services with my blog guest, the delightful Gemma of the Essex Beauty Group, a website that covers beauty services across Essex so whether you are a resident or a visitor, if you want your nails done, your teeth whitened, a spray tan, hair styling, etc, the Essex Beauty Group can help you to locate the services in the area of Essex you’re in. Not only that, the website has plenty of exclusive offers and discounts from the participating salons, there’s a job board and a Mystery Shopper service…. so without further ado, I’ll let Gemma reveal all…welcome Gemma!
Your website has amongst its features a job board, business directory, gift voucher scheme, mystery shopping service and lots of group promotions, so what feature on your website has been the most popular?
Our Directory is the core of the business, followed by our jobs board
Kellie K Apparel started one evening when my wife was lamenting her lack of clothing options. She wanted to wear a particular top that bared her shoulders, but didn’t want to wear the strapless bra that went under it. When I asked her what was wrong with her current bra, she said she didn’t feel like having to deal with pulling up the bra all night. When I said she should get a new one, she said it wouldn’t matter because she can never find a bra that is both supportive and stays up.
I set about making a crude prototype that consisted of me super-gluing the very first iteration of GeckTeck to one of the strapless bras my wife said wouldn’t stay put. She tried it on and said it fixed the problem. However, I knew I had truly struck gold when one night we were going out, and she once again wanted to wear that top which required her to wear a strapless bra. Instead of using one of her store-bought bras, she grabbed the prototype I built and enjoyed a night of not having to worry about her bra once. At that moment I realized I truly had a great idea for a business.”
It was actually, it was the other way around. I had been aware of the gecko-inspired, wall climbing robots for years. The eureka moment came when I realized my wife had a problem of never being able to find a bra that stayed in place. Once I realized my wife preferred my crude first prototype over her store bought strapless bras, I knew this idea was a winner.
Thanks! A bit of both. Our team at Kellie K is made up of highly trained individuals who have come together to create a cooperative bra that feels good and is functional with a variety of clothes. We’ve explored LA’s fashion district to the get the right fabrics. We’ve worked pattern makers with decades of experience, and gone through tons of trial-and-error to make sure the fit was perfect. For the colors Kellie and Tara separately stated their preferences, then several potential customers were polled.
Currently, we’re focused on creating the best strapless bra on the market. Of course, we’re always bouncing around other ideas.
Yes, during the Kickstarter the bras will be available for purchase and shipped globally.
Dr Roy, what would you like to try to make that you haven’t tried as yet?
Dr. Roy- Shorts or blue jeans, and a t-shirt or casual button. However, my favorite shirt is one made for my former softball team, Base Invaders. It’s a great shirt!
Tara- Most of the time I’m in NY and Company Jeans, Banana Republic shirts and Naturalizers shoes. Since I have a toddler, if it’s not machine washable it’s not in my wardrobe.
Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?
Tara- I buy almost everything online. The delivery guy and I are on a first name basis.
Dr. Roy- I honestly don’t buy many clothes online! In fact, I haven’t bought clothes myself in a long time. Somehow, my wife took control of my wardrobe!
Tara- And she does a great job with it!
What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?
Tara- Either An incredible pair of shoes to wear to my friend’s outdoor wedding this fall. Or a pair of gray ankle boots.
Dr. Roy- Ask Kellie K!
Boots or Shoes?
Dr. Roy- Shoes. I live in LA and it never snows or hardly rains here, so there no reason for me to wear boots.
Tara- Can I pick both? All boots are shoes, but not all shoes are boots, so shoes I guess.
Fun Fact- The cowboy boots our actress Kamala wears in the Kicstarter video are her own. She wore them to the shoot and we loved them so much we included them in the video.
Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that my readers can follow the progress of Kellie K Apparel and start wearing comfortable strapless bras!
Get 10% sitewide when you shop at Access Tattoo. Valid until October 2013!