Category Archives: Accessories/Jewellery/Bags

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 Wingz

Party season is upon us and the shops are full of lovely Little Black Dresses to enable us to dazzle at the annual Christmas parties.  The majority of these dresses seem to be sleeveless and for various reasons there are a lot of ladies out there who avoid sleeveless dresses like the plague, opting for a dress that is not necessarily what they want but it covers the arms or they end up buying THE dress but spoiling the effect by adding a shrug or cardigan – and getting too hot in the bargain!  My guest this week is the lovely Michelle Ellis, who came up with a brilliant product – Wingz – to give ladies a trendy and alternative option!  I caught up with this busy lady to find out more – welcome Michelle:image

Hi! I’m Michelle, 36 years old, married to Steve for the last 8 years with 3 lovely children – Marshall (9), Athena (7) and Jasmine (6). We live in a village called Methley, near Leeds.

What was the inspiration behind Wingz in the first place?

I needed to solve a problem. My lipoedema had given me large arms, I was self conscious and wanted to cover them up, my friends were getting married, all my dresses were sleeveless, it was summer, it was hot, wearing a cardigan or a shrug was not a good solution (far too hot) so in the end I came up with Wingz.

After applying for a patent, you began to sell Wingz via Ebay. In 2010 you appeared on BBC’s Dragon’s Den. Although you didn’t manage to get investment you did come away with good feedback. Was it daunting to appear in front of the “dragons”? What advice did you take note of and applied to your product or to the business in general?

imageWe were told by Theo that if he were to come up with a model for a start up online business, he would be telling people to go about it exactly how we had done it. He was very complimentary but then he said ‘why do you want to ruin all that by borrowing all this money?’ He didn’t think we needed the investment or to change what we were doing. We were advised to keep at it, stick to our business model and grow organically. That is what we have done. We were also given some words of caution about selling to the big retailers. It can obviously go very well, but with the increased volumes comes risk and it can go horribly wrong very quick. We’ve built the business without going to the retailers and instead sell directly to customers or through some small distributors.

I wear quite a few tops and dresses that are sleeveless, but going sleeveless is a big problem for a lot of women which results in the wearing of cardigans, jackets or shrugs over pretty sleeveless dresses regardless of temperature! So, when picking the material, look and choice of colours did you go by your preferences, fashion trends, other people’s suggestions or a mix of all?

imageI’m very much into fashion, it’s a big passion of mine. I therefore knew what colours, designs and fabrics were needed for Wingz. I started out with the black chiffon flare, a light fabric with floaty sleeves. Then I introduced more colours in this style before bringing out new designs such as fitted sleeves, cowl sleeves, volume sleeves and split sleeves – all in a variety of colours and materials.

I really like the black stretch lace full sleeve, the purple chiffon flare wingz, and the Big Cat chiffon volume wingz. In fact with one elegant shift sleeveless dress you can create so many different looks by adding different wingz! What wingz style has been the most popular to date?

There are 4 designs that are all very popular – black chiffon flare, black fitted (3/4 or elbow length), black stretch lace and black cowl. Yes, it seems black is very popular! Probably due to the flexibility it offers.

Have you got your own favourites?

Definitely, the black fitted elbow length is the one I wear most often!

Although you are UK based, you do ship worldwide with 40% of your sales going to the export market to places such as Australia, South Africa, New Zealand, Singapore and The Netherlands. I’m impressed by your sizing system too, four sizes catering for UK sizes 6 to 28; US sizes 6 to 28; and Euro sizes 34 to 56. Which style “wingz” seem to be most popular overseas?

imageThat’s a good question and the answer depends upon the territory. Most countries will want black, the Netherlands are probably the most experimental with different colours. As for the styles, countries in Europe, USA, and Australia are similar to the UK in terms of styles. However, in countries with a large Muslim population the preference will swing towards long sleeves that offer full arm coverage – this would be the long sleeve fitted wings in black or white.

You are a sufferer of Lipoedema – a genetic condition whose symptoms include disproportionately large bottom half of the body, painful legs and swelling in legs and arms. In 2011 you founded the support group Lipoedema Ladies. How old were you when you was diagnosed with Lipoedema? What are the main benefits and aims of the support group?

imageI was 27 when I got a diagnosis but I had my ‘big blow up’ with the birth of my first child 2 years previously. The symptoms had really flared up during the pregnancy and birth so it was a big relief to get the diagnosis and understand why my body was doing what it was. Lipoedema Ladies is there to support women with the condition by sharing knowledge, offering help advice and a place to turn to in order to share our problems and feelings. Our objectives are also to raise awareness by helping women receive the diagnosis they deserve and to help doctors, GPs and nurses become fully aware.

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

I normally go for pyjamas as house wear if I’m completely honest (can I say that!? I sleep in the nude – so I think that still counts as getting dressed! Casual wear is NYD Jeans (which I have 18 pairs of as I love the fit) with a top that suits my mood; summer is maxi dress time which I have over 150 of. My style/look is somewhere between lonesome cowgirl and smart/clean boho (is that too contradictory?) On the flip side I absolutely LOVE getting ‘dolled up’ and slipping into full length evening gowns and heels and at 6ft2 in heels I like to make an entrance. I love to play with my clothes and they really are an extension of my personality and my mood.

imageDo you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Long Tall Sally is great for my beloved pyjamas and fluffy robes. Kiyonna and Not Your Daughters Jeans are two of my favourite online stores – both are USA based so I do get hit with the import duties, but they are worth it. Debenhams is top for underwear, they have improved their styles and range so much in the last half a dozen years, my only issue is stopping myself from buying too much, my underwear drawer is almost an underwear chest of drawers, it’s getting silly. One moan – I have a real problem getting shoes as I have big feet – a UK 10 and a wide fit, a few years ago Evans shoes would have been on my ‘fab List’, but unfortunately the sizing and quality has really gone downhill, and recently from bad to worse – I would love to get my hands on their shoes buying department. On a lighter note, the Debenhams jewellery department is my absolute favourite and cannot be beaten come January sales time…I arrive home with carrier bags full of earrings and necklaces bought with my Xmas gift cards much to Steve’s dismay.

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

A perfect fitting pair of outrageous cowboy boots in finest leather and a high quality white cotton fitted shirt.

Boots or Shoes?

BOOTS! Every time…I wear compression socks/stockings through necessity, and these do not look good with shoes! Lol They suit my personality more anyway – sturdy and ready for anything – no matter what the weather or terrain.

imageLinks you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter
etc so that my readers can follow your company (and also to find
out about Lipoedema)

Thank you for the opportunity to share my sites and what I am doing, everything I do is for a good reason – I have never just done anything for money alone – I truly believe we are put here to be useful in some way, no matter what that reason may be.

I must give credit to Sarah Clark for all the Social Media we do. Sarah is amazing. She is a published author with a mean sense of humour; efficient and organised I am blessed to have her work with a tangent lover like me. Thank You Sarah X

www.fatphrocks.com is my Tall Plus Size website and I am moving towards specialising in dresses only. FatPhRocks has an amazing blogger called Eloise, she has more spunk than even me, I adore her and always have a giggle when reading her posts.

www.wingzfashion.com is my Wingz website, simple and easy to use with links to our social media. We give a 50% discount code to customers that post a photo of themselves wearing Wingz with their outfits on Facebook. We hope this gives other ladies ideas about how to wear their own Wingz and add sleeves to what they wish.

www.lipoedemaladies.com is my website about Lipoedema, it is lifestyle focussed and I hope it is and positive place for those with Lipoedema. All links to Lipoedema Ladies facebook pages and twitter can be found on there, there is also a ‘Hub’ page on this website that has live posts from our social media, so those that do not want to be a part of the ‘Social Media World’ can still read the latest news without having to be members of these sites.

Thank you very much for sharing with us Wingz and the work you are doing to bring awareness about Lipoedema.  I wish you continued success in both ventures. So ladies, have you got a favourite “Wingz” style? Do share !

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Michelle Ellis.

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An Interview With Bootights

Readers of my blog and those who know me, will know that three of my passions are boots, hosiery and talking …. so you can imagine my excitement at meeting the gorgeous Shelby Mason and her fab creation, “Bootights”….these are tights (and socks) specifically made for wearing with boots.  I just had to have a chat….welcome Shelby:image

Hi! My name is Shelby Mason and I am the founder and CEO of Leg Up, LLC and creator of the legwear lifestyle brand called Bootights®. I created Bootights® because I was tired of being uncomfortable in my boots when wearing traditional thin hosiery. My feet would slip and slide in the boots which caused blisters and snags and runs in my tights. My boots also didn’t fit quite right so I had to layer a separate sock over my tights so I had extra cushion and warmth. This make-do solution wasn’t ideal either because I could never find the right sock – my running socks would bunch down under my heel so I was forced to “borrow” ugly white “man” socks from my Dad or boyfriend. It was always a bit of a pain and inconvenience.

What inspired you to invent the idea of bootights?

As a former road warrior in my previous career in syndication TV sales, I imagespent a lot of time in and out of airports and consequently airport security lines. One winter day I was heading Fargo (I lead a very glamorous life!), chatting with a fellow traveller standing behind me. I was forced to take off my boots and reveal my ugly, white tube socks that I had layered over my tights and needless to say, I was beyond embarrassed. On my flight I wondered why there wasn’t a hosiery product that combined the look of a tight and the comfort of a sock – all-in-one. The idea for Bootights® was taking off. Eventually, I created what I thought was a need in the marketplace after doing research to support my time and effort, I realized that I wasn’t the only gal who was forced to layer a separate sock over my tights when I wear boots. In fact, over 50% of the 500 women polled nationally said that they also layer to sock for comfort and they would buy a product that combined the two.

Coming from a background in the American TV industry, and having worked your way up to Vice President of Television Sales – West Coast Division for Disney … then to leave your comfortable career to embark upon this venture of entrepreneurship in an industry you knew little about, must have been a trying time for you. I applaud you for such a brilliant idea and your determination to get your idea realised. As a young girl though living in Washington State, what were your career dreams at the time? Did you have a love of fashion at a young age?

Thank you. Yes, it was very difficult and extremely scary. I was armed with a unique solution-based product and a lot of passion and luckily, the press followed. Getting Bootights® featured on the Oprah show as a Must Have Fashion Item in 2011 made it a little easier to walk away from the Mouse House. I knew I was on to something. Plus, I didn’t know what I didn’t know so in way, it was eaiser because of that as well.

imageComing from Bremerton, WA, a blue-collar, navy town, I had always dreamed of moving away from the rainy, sleepy town and “make it big” in NYC. I always wanted to be in advertising and eventually received an internship at a big Ad Agency in Seattle. After working in that environment, I realized that it wasn’t my true calling and ended up working at the local Fox Affiliate, KCPQ-TV in programming and I loved it. I quickly moved up the ladder and found myself in NYC and working for Universal Television then Warner Bros hired me and moved me to Chicago and then I worked for Disney after that and was promoted and eventually landed myself in LA to work at the Disney studios in Burbank.

Looking back, I did always love fashion. At a young age I dreamed of being a fashion designer and would draw models with my clothing creations. Being a child of the 80’s, I was always very coordinated and remember enjoying putting together outfits but I wasn’t really that creative or artsy. Just loved clothes.

IMG_0553.JPGAre your bootights colours & designs dictated by your personal tastes, popular customer requests, hosiery trends, or bits of all three?

All three. I always look at color trends and boot and legwear trends. I always take into account my customer’s feedback as well. I’m a bit more classic in my styling so many of the designs reflect that. I want the styles to be really wearable because they are so durable, the patterns should be relevant season after season. Of course, I will throw in some fun patterns to mix it up and Fusion Flame Stitch is an example of that. The Lacy Darby is an example of a design that is not personally my esthetic but it is my best seller. 

My favourite bootights designs currently are the Lincoln Park Open Knit and the Fusion Zig-Zag. What’s your favourite design out of your collection?

IMG_0560.JPGI love my new Ellevator™ over-the-knee boot socks. They mix a cable knit and classic rib pattern and can be worn in different ways depending on your look that day. They can be worn as a thigh-hi, knee-hi or over-the-knee or even folded over your boot as a boot cuff. Of course, the bottom has our signature comfort sock attached so your feet always stay comfy in those boots.

What are the differences between bootights and “darby’s”, that you’ve also designed?

Darbys® is my name for our knee-hi boot socks. I didn’t want to call them boot socks because you think of something kinda chunky and ugly. I didn’t want to call them a trouser sock because they are traditionally thin. Darbys® are a compression, nylon, spandex knee-hi and a cushioned, moisture-wicking performance sock attached. They come in fun and classic patterns and our best seller has a pretty lace embellishment on the top. Bootights® is what started it all – our tights/pantyhose with the socks attached.

IMG_0551.JPGWhat design(s) from the latest collection have been the most popular amongst your customers so far?

In our Bootights® line the Madison, sheer rib has been popular because of it’s so wearable and figure flattering – the vertical rib design create long, leaner looking leg. The Lillith Filligree design is also getting a great response. Our Chelan Shaper is a favorite because who doesn’t want to feel and look sleeker.

The Ellevator™ versatile over-the-knee has been a big hit and our collegiate game day colors of our Darby Lacie has taken off.

If it was possible, who would you like to see being the “legs” of Bootights?

Great question – I wouldn’t turn down Heidi Klum if she wanted to wear the Bootights® that’s for sure. I’d also love to see them on Princess Kate, Sandra Bullock, Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston. Love to see the Darbys on Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift because they have a western/country appeal. But I really see my customer as every busy, on-the-go gal who appreciates style and will pay a little more for comfort, quality and convenience.

IMG_0552.JPGAs we approach the Autumn/Winter season – what colour trends/styles of bootights do you think will be popular?

Our stone color has been really hot – it is an updated take on Taupe and we offer it in our Lillith style Bootights®, Ellevator™ and Darbys®. It’s very wearable and can go with any outfit and boots. Plum and Deep Burgundy are also very pretty on legs this fall.

Your bootights are available via your website and at retailers across the USA. Have you any plans to expand overseas in the future to feature in retailers globally? Do you ship outside of the USA at all?

Bootights are currently available in Canada and Australia. I’m planning to expand in Germany and Japan next season.

IMG_0559.JPGPersonal now – what outfits and shoes would you normally be found wearing?

I love wearing dresses with my boots and skinny jeans or leggings. My clothing is usually neutrals (beige, black, brown, grey) and I pop my outfit with accessories. Of course, Bootights® and I love wearing fun and colorful scarves and jewelry. This allows me to change my accessories for each season depending on trends without spending a fortune. I do love my boots though – Big fan of Frye and Ariat.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

I love Akira in Chicago, Urban Outfitters and shopbop.com.

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

Momma needs a new pair of boots so I have my eye on some new Frye embellished beauties.

Boots or Shoes?   (I have a sneaky feeling I already know that answer!)

Yep! How did you guess?

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

www.bootights.com
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Bootights/420407940200
http://www.pinterest.com/Bootights
http://instagram.com/bootights
https://twitter.com/bootights

It’s been absolutely fabulous talking to you Shelby and I really hope that you’ll bring Bootights to the UK soon too… 

Linda x

All photos have been published with kind permission from Shelby Mason.

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An Interview With Essex’ee Legs

Way back in November 2012 I interviewed Anne Tyler from Essex’ee Legs (to read the original interview, click HERE) – my favourite hosiery shop – and since then Anne’s business has continued to grow and this year the website has had a revamp, her daughter Victoria has joined the business, but I’m much more excited to announce that Essex’ee Legs have now launched their own brand range of hosiery.  I caught up with Anne and Victoria to find out more …. image

Welcome ladies…what made you want to introduce your own hosiery brand?

Our own brand is something we wanted to introduce from day 1. We wanted to see the Essexee Legs name on our own hosiery that we were proud to sell, and is of an excellent quality, and to see it finally happen is great. To see our Essexee Legs branded bags, in pink of course, is amazing.

Was it difficult to decide what hosiery styles to include in the brand family?

No not at all. This is something we will build on. Hosiery essentials was a good start, with a few fashion items, and fuller figure, as there is limited choice out there for larger ladies.

imageWere your choices dictated by your personal tastes, popular customer requests, hosiery trends, or bits of all three?

A bit of all 3. What the customer wants, was priority.

What is your favourite pair?

We love them all. If I had to pick from present styles I would say from regular range: Essexee Legs Footless Tights with Lace Cuff, and from Large-Plus range definitely the Essexee Legs Open Toe Tights

If it was possible, who would you like to see being the “legs” of Essex’ee Legs?

Abbey Clancy and Rebel Wilson if they want to give us a call 😉

imageYour own brand has only just been launched, but has there been one style that has begun to create a stir already?

The Essexee Legs Open Toe Tights for large-XXL are selling fast. Due to a gap in the market, and the high quality. Ladies are coming back for more.

Are there plans to add to your own brand any new styles in the future?

Yes, we want to grow the brand and will be adding lots of new styles in the future.

imageLooking ahead to the Autumn/Winter season – what hosiery styles do you think will be hitting the headlines?

Bold statement tights with very striking patterns are on the horizon, plus lot’s more choices for fuller figure ladies. Lots to look forward too.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook etc

http://www.essexeelegs.co.uk

imagehttps://www.facebook.com/tightsandstockings
http://essexeelegs.blogspot.co.uk/
https://twitter.com/EssexeeLegs

http://www.pinterest.com/essexeelegs/essex-ee-legs-tights-and-stockings/
http://essexeelegs.tumblr.com/

https://plus.google.com/111792881149222095036/posts

imageThank you ladies for telling us about your exciting new range – I am already a big fan but any readers who haven’t yet checked out this online hosiery site you should do so as they also stock major brands and swimwear too, fabulous customer service and speedy delivery…. the real service with a smile  🙂

Linda x

All photographs have been published with the kind permission of Essex’ee Legs

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An Interview With Mel Boteri

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

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

What inspired you start up your business? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites? 

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

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

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

Boots or Shoes?

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

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

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

Website – www.MelBoteri.com

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

Facebook – www.facebook.com/melboteri

Twitter – www.twitter.com/melboteri

Instagram – www.instagram.com/melboteri

Pinterest – www.pinterest.com/melboteri

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

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

Linda x

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

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An Interview With Petra Jewellery

Tonight I’m really pleased to welcome onto the blog the delightful Mitch from Petra Jewellery. Hi Mitch, please introduce yourself and Petra Jewellery:Mitch

Hello, I’m Mitch! I am a local Hampshire girl, happily married with one gorgeous daughter. Look out for her as she sometimes models for us! I took over from my Mum, Petra who started the business, about 8 years ago.  I’m a mechanical engineer grad, ex Royal Engineer officer, investment banker and construction project manager – actually all proven to be perfect training to become one of the best jewellers in Hampshire!

What’s the background to your business?

My Mum started the business when she met my dad (on a ski slope in the Alps – he was an Army Officer, she spoke no English) and he’d left the Army. They arrived in Basingstoke needing her to make some money.  She did not speak any English, so had to do something with her hands! The only thing she could do was make jewellery (trained with a Master Goldsmith in Germany).  My Mum has always insisted we keep her high German standards in terms of product offering and also customer services – we take huge pride in both of these!

Capture_00018The company description is the “Not So Traditional Traditional Jewellers”…the Champagne Design Experience for engagement couples and the Engagement Offer in association with Tylney Hall .. are just two examples of the little extra you offer. What’s the inspiration behind these ideas to highlight the engagement of couples?

Our official description is the “Not So Traditional Traditional Jewellers” And we’re sticking with that! We take such time in getting to know our customers and understanding exactly what they want and need.

The recently launched, Champagne Design Experience for engagement couples at our workshop that really helps make the moment even more special! And the Engagement offer in association with the local, beautiful Tylney Hall are just two examples the little extra special bits you get with Petra!

We always Mystery Shop at other jewellers – including some big names in London and were shocked at how little enthusiasm and compassion the retail assistants demonstrated as we posed as customers looking for engagement rings.  So we’ve decided to blow our customers away with the most amazing engagement experience ever, that they will remember for ever with tons of expert design advice thrown in as well. So you come away with a unique experience rather than just hearing the tills ringing as you leave!

As well as offering a comprehensive range of jewellery services and you have your own exquisite jewellery range too – where do you get your inspiration from?

Anything and everything: I’m constantly taking photos of things that inspire me, I’m a magazine junkie, I always ask to look at people’s jewellery even if I’m not in the shop, trade fairs… but the underlying emphasis is creating beautiful jewellery that lasts a lifetime.  Not many designers seems to care that much about how their designs are actually going to suit the lifestyle of the wearer.Unbenannt-1

What’s the most unusual item of jewellery you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?

Loads of unusual and wonderful requests: a vial for someone’s dog’s ashes, a child’s tooth made into a pendant, copies of crazy costume jewellery designs, a major’s badge, wedding rings for a pilot mum who met in the cock pit of a plane (yes, up in the sky), banana cufflinks, snooker cue brooch and diamond set ball triangle pendant for a snooker World Champion…BUT – for me, these creations are amazing in their own way, they are truly individual and the recipients have been beyond excited at the end result.

To date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your website/ shop?

Hard to say as we don’t do any one design en masse – our new Angel Whisperer Collection is really, really popular. I think because it is so beautiful and different and again, it can be personalised and changed immediately, depending on where your mood takes you!

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?

That’s an easy one! My 30th birthday present from my Mum: an 18ct gold bangle immaculately set with 30 diamonds.  It is stunning and is so me! So many customers have seen it and asked us to re-create it for them – that’s an honour.

You do a “your gold” service – using old gold provided by the customer melted down to make a new piece of jewellery – what a lovely idea!  What’s the most popular recycled jewellery piece?

It’s all about memories again and making something special and unique. Our solid gold handmade bangles that will last forever – we normally use the customer’s old gold and they talk to us about how they would like it ‘recycled’. Every single customer who has used this service, has been over the moon with the final result – that’s a pretty satisfying thing at the end of the working day.

DSR11.jpg (white)When it comes to wedding rings, you can make rings out of platinum; 9ct, 14ct, & 18ct white, rose, & yellow gold; palladium and titanium.  My own engagement & wedding ring are platinum (I’m a lucky girl :)) …what metal is the most popular with your customers?

You are a lucky lady – platinum is still the best!  I’m also big fan of palladium – it is a good alternative to platinum although our goldsmith moans like crazy about making anything bespoke from it as it’s not easy to work with!  Our best-selling metal however is our 18ct white gold – it’s ‘palladium rich’ so naturally much whiter than normal 18ct white gold so we can guarantee it will never will look yellow like most High Street white gold will – this is a huge selling point and our customers trust that we are right (we always are!)  Lots of people are disappointed with their white gold as once the rhodium plating wears off their rings take on a ‘straw white colour’, not a nice experience!

You do offer branded jewellery from other designers that you’ve picked for their creativity and flair – what brand seems to be of interest this season amongst your customers? Any favourites yourself?

Both from Germany: unrivalled quality and finishes:

My iMenso – interchangeable pendants –

Angels Whisperer

Festina and Candino watches (new brand to UK – swiss mech and sapphire crystal face but only £200- £300)

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

Calvin Klein style but sometimes from charity shops, Primark – anything plain which works well as it shows off the jewellery I’m wearing.

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Oh dear, I discovered LK Bennet dresses: perfect for Saturdays in the shop – makes me feel like a lady!  Off duty I’m on ‘Wiggle’ buying cycling kit!  Always on the look out for sexy sports clothing!

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

Our brand colours ,sports kit that I can brand as Petra Jewellery and advertise as I run and cycle round the Hampshire countryside!  And then a new time trial bike in Petra colours and I might even add some diamantes!

Boots or Shoes?

Now – boots ‘n’ skinny jeans – so I don’t get wet feet!

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

 

https://www.facebook.com/PetraJewellery

www.petrajewellery.com

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission from Petra Jewellery

 

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An Interview With Crystal Bridal Accessories

Summer is well underway here in the UK and weddings are in the air…my interview this week is with a fabulous bridal company that are definitely worth looking up if you have a wedding coming up later in the year or are planning your nuptials  beyond! I’ve been chatting to Amy of Crystal Bridal Accessories…Hi Amy! Please introduce us to yourself and your company:Amy_Karim

I’m the MD for Crystal Bridal Accessories, a mum of three girls aged 10 and 5 year old twins and I love shoes!

What made you start up your business?

I was working as an e-learning tutor on a local schools project and discovered I was having twins…I decided that I wanted to take a career break but as I am such a workaholic…I thought perhaps I would need a ‘hobby’ whilst on my break. I love jewellery and I adore shoes – the bridal industry is full of sparkle and glamour and all things beautiful…so this all combined to create Crystal Bridal Accessories. The aim was to create a one-stop shop for the best bridal accessories on the market so that brides can easily find everything they need to accessorize their bridal look!

Swirl_Pearl_Comb£45_model_shot_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukWhen choosing stock for your shop & website, do you have a set criteria or do you go with what grabs you at the time or a bit of both?

A bit of both really! I won’t put anything on my website which I wouldn’t wear myself…I really do believe in choosing only the best, most beautiful things and putting them all in one place together. Some of the criteria is based on current bridal dress trends and quality of the items – everything  has to be manufactured to a high quality otherwise I won’t even consider it.

You have your own exquisite jewellery range too – where do you get your inspiration from?

Ava crystal bridal belt mood shot_£249_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukThe inspiration for my Signature Collection comes quite simply from a mixture of gaps I’ve seen in the jewellery market over the years combined with vintage design! The backdrop necklace was my very first idea for my own piece because I noticed that there simply wasn’t anything so glamorous for brides as a back piece…all the other pieces in the collection are designed to mix and match so that brides can choose one piece – such as the Ava Studs – or add the Ava Necklace and Ava Belt depending on how much glamour they want to create!

What’s the most unusual item of jewellery you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?

The most unusual accessory I’ve designed is the Ava bridal belt…it is completely unique as it’s made entirely of crystals and a refreshing change to the other types of bridal sashes you can buy which are all set on ribbon or satin. The brooch with tassels and navette crystals gives it a distinct vintage edge which is all the trend nowadays!

To date, what has been your most popular item ordered from your website/ shop?

This would have to be our rose crystal trailing flower bridal brooch! 

What’s your most favourite item in your collection?Grace_Forehead_Band_model_shot_£55_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.uk

My favourite item is our own Grace Forehead band – I love the simplicity of it but it is still such a glamorous fashion statement!

You do a shoe dyeing service for the blushing brides & for other special occasions, so what has been the most popular colour in recent seasons?

Cadbury Purple and Fuchsia are always the most popular colours – but we have seen a trend for more peach / blush nude shades as well recently.

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

Marina_exclusive_Harriet_Wilde_for_crystal_bridal_accessories_£419_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukI love my High Street brands…Zara, Mango, Aldo and Warehouse…but most of my shopping is done online…of course!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites?

Asos…of course, Zara, Mango… and as I’m a mum, I love the French site Vertbaudet for their pretty kidswear!

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

Hmmm…very practical…but I’ve got my eye on a Knomo laptop trolley for my trips away 

Model_shot_Charlize_shoes_£299_www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.ukBoots or Shoes?

OMG…shoes all the way! I’m not really a boots person…a pair of peep toe heels transform your look instantly!

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

Our website www.crystalbridalaccessories.co.uk

Join us on Facebook at Facebook.com/CrystalBridalAccessoriesLtdSheffield

Follow us on twitter @wedding_queen

It’s been a real pleasure to chat to you Amy and your accessories are certainly exquisite…thank you for joining us.

Linda x

Photos published with kind permission of Crystal Bridal Accessories.

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An Interview with Councillor Brandon Eldred & Northampton Shoe Museum

I adore Northampton Shoe Museum – it is a place worth visiting for both its shoe collection (2nd largest collection in the world, the largest being in Canada) and the attached art gallery is just as fine!  So, this week I’m delighted to be chatting to Councillor Brandon Eldred who is not only the councillor responsible for this gorgeous place, but an avid fan of the Museum too …so, welcome Brandon, please introduce yourself:Cllr Brandon Eldred

I am Brandon Eldred, Northampton Borough Council cabinet member for community engagement.  Optimising the reach and appeal of the museum service falls within my remit.

Northampton Shoe Museum is totally awesome – I was blown away when I visited – caring for the largest collection of objects charting the history of shoes in the world is a big responsibility! Your staff have oodles of enthusiasm for their job. What was the inspiration behind the creation of the Shoe Collection?

The museum staff do indeed have oodles of enthusiasm and a real pride in what they do.  Northampton Museum and Art Gallery was founded on in 1865. The footwear collection was started in 1873 by Moses Philip Manfield, a Northampton shoe manufacturer, so that local workers could see specimens of boots and shoes made elsewhere in the world. Since then the collection has grown to include many examples of Northamptonshire’s shoe industry. We are still collecting today from all over the world.  The collection also represents the best of British.  The best of British includes current footwear manufactured in Northampton and the county, which we are immensely proud of.Union Jack boot, Shellys, 1978

What exhibition or showcase has been the most popular?

Our exhibitions appeal to a wide audience and there is always something going on to suit all tastes and interests. One of our most recent popular exhibitions was ‘If We Could Be Heroes’, which celebrated the 25th anniversary of the iconic Northampton based company Jeffery-West.  Jeffery-West is creating some of the most exciting men’s footwear today, and the exhibition featured a selection of their shoes alongside quirky and beautiful objects from the museum’s social history, archaeology, geology and art collections – all chosen and arranged by the designer half of Jeffery-West, Guy West.  It was a visual feast for the eyes.Jeffery-West boot

I caught the Jeffery-West exhibition too and my husband started a love affair with Jeffery-West shoes ever since!! Have you got a favourite out of all the exhibitions/showcases?

I have to say I have real interest in the sports shoes. Through the generosity of external funding we have built up our sports footwear and sneaker collection over the last three years.  Today we have over 800 examples, which make the Northampton sneaker collection the finest in the public domain.  My particular favourites are a pair of signed David Beckham boots from early on in his career, a pair of motor racing shoes worn by Emerson Fittipaldi and the running spikes worn by Christopher Chataway. He wore these spikes when taking part in the four minute mile at Iffley Road in Oxford on 6 May 1954. The race included Chris Brasher, Roger Bannister and Chris Chataway and it was during this race that Bannister became the first athlete to break the four-minute barrier for the mile in a time of three minutes 59.4 seconds.Emerson Fittipaldi motor racing shoe

The facilities at the Museum are fantastic – it’s a valuable source of reference for budding shoe designers, a great place for modern shoe designers to showcase their talents, a history lesson for Northampton’s schoolchildren and it is a shrine for those who have a deep love for footwear – what do you feel is the Museum’s main purpose?

The museum’s vision is to generate and increase cultural awareness and aspiration in Northampton. Its mission is to provide the lead and be the principal focus for heritage, artistic and cultural interest for all citizens and visitors to Northampton. The overall purpose of the museum service is to provide high quality museum facilities, activities and opportunities that meet the needs of our diverse communities now and in the future.  Caring for the town’s many fine collections, including the boot and shoe collection, engaging with communities through education and hosting an ever-changing array of exhibition and events are our three main drivers.  We promote participation, innovation and life-long learning through the direct provision of services and by working in partnership with others.  The museum is also one of Northampton’s key cultural attractions that draws visitors from far and wide

When I visited, I was drawn mostly to the footwear of the 70s/80s – shoes of my “growing up” era!  What section do you tend to linger over?Elephant Boot, 1959

When my children were young they always wanted to look at the elephant boot whenever we visited the museum.  Even now I never resist the opportunity to see it when I pop in.  A boot for an elephant is quite something to see.  The Elephant Boot is one of four boots made by Lotus for the British Alpine Hannibal Expedition. The expedition aimed to recreate and track Hannibal’s route during his invasion of Italy in the 3rd Century BC. Although often disputed by historians, chroniclers reported that Hannibal crossed the Alps with 37 surviving elephants to take into battle.

The British Alpine Hannibal Exhibition asked the question: Can an elephant cross the Alps? Turin Zoo was generous enough to provide the non-geological materials.  Her name was Jumbo. Jumbo traveled 150 miles in 10 days from France to Susa in Italy. The result of the expedition’s experiment suggested that elephants can indeed cross the Alps. To protect Jumbo from the weather she had a canvas coat and trunk cover and made and a set of canvas and leather boots to protect her feet. These boots were made by craftsmen at Lotus Ltd using the patterns supplied. To find out the size of her feet the elephant stood on a large sheet of paper and someone drew round her feet. Unfortunately Jumbo was unable to finish the last eight kilometres of the expedition, as the track was considered unsafe.

Is there any footwear missing from the Shoe Collection that the Museum would love to add?

 The shoe collection is extensive and consists of:

  • Footwear – more than 12,000 items ranging from ancient Egyptian to contemporary design
  • Accessories – including buckles, laces, shoe horns, trees, spats, leggings and polish
  • Shoemaking tools, machines and components – including lasts
  • Retail trade material – including shop furniture, fittings and advertising material
  • Archive material – including trade journals, company catalogues, books and photographs
  • Fine and decorative art – including paintings and prints depicting shoes and shoemaking
  • Index of shoemakers and shoemaking firms – from the Roman period onwards
  • Index of concealed shoes – hidden in buildings to bring good luck
  • Specialist reference library

As you can see the collection is really extensive, but having spoken to the museum staff, I can tell you that we still have gaps we would like to fill.  We are particularly keen to hear from anyone who would like to gift or donate the following:

  • Shoes with stories – shoes that you worked in, met the love of your life in, wore on a holiday or took part in an extraordinary challenge in. The shoes might reflect exceptional or everyday stories
  • Designer shoes – in particular Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Chanel, Alexander McQueen, Jimmy Choo, Roger Vivier, André Courrèges or early Salvatore Ferragamo
  • Celebrity shoes – shoes that have belonged to famous or significant people
  • Shoe catalogues, non-designer contemporary footwear, footwear from South America and items relating to shoe retailVivienne Westwood’s Super Elevated Ghillie shoes, 1998

Are the shoes/footwear donations or are they bought for the purpose of adding to the shoe collection or a bit of both?

We acquire items in many different ways, including donations, purchases and bequests. Not a week goes by without a member of the public bringing something into the museum or contacting us to offer an item or items for the shoe collection. We have also benefited from the generosity of local shoe manufacturers and national designers in donating examples of their current designs. Recent donations include footwear from Jeffery-West, Hotter and Prada.

 So what showcases/exhibitions at Northampton Shoe Museum for 2013 can we look forward to visiting?Nike Aloha trainer

We have a varied and interesting choice of future exhibitions for visitors to come and see this year. Our main gallery and shoe lounge are devoted to showcasing an ever-changing array of shoe exhibitions.   We have an exciting exhibition on at the moment that features Norman Walsh English Sports Footwear. Norman Walsh started out as an apprentice shoemaker in 1945 for J.W Foster & Sons. His outstanding shoemaking skills were soon recognised and he made the running spikes for the British Athletics team at the 1948 London Olympics including those worn by the winner of the 100m Alistair McCorquedale. In 1961 Norman founded the Walsh business on his own and became a specialist in making footwear for Rugby League and fell running.  Coming up in July we have an exhibition on Mod culture that explores all things Mod – the history, music and style. The exhibition ties neatly in with a concert by Paul Weller in July staged in the beautiful grounds of Delapre Abbey in Northampton. In October we will be presenting Strictly Northampton, which will look at all things dance orientated in the town.

Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook

www.northampton.gov.uk/museums

Facebook /northamptonmuseum

Twitter @northamptonShoe

Flickr

Thank you for the interesting insight into the Museum … I can’t wait to revisit very soon!!!

Linda x

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Get Skulled – An Interview With Bedhead Boutique

This week I’m absolutely delighted to welcome on to the blog the bubbly Tink from Bedhead Boutique – I was lucky enough to receive one of her fabulous vinyl record clutches for my birthday from my darling daughter  (Love it !)- and just this weekend Tink has started making the vinyl record bags with a handle as an option too! So without further ado, Tink, welcome and please introduce yourself:12

Hi there, I’m Tink,  Owner and designer at Rockin’ Rockette’s Bedhead Boutique! I created Bedhead Boutique almost by accident! I had got so fed up of not being able to find any fun and quirky accessories in my local area that I started to make them for myself instead. It wasn’t long before people were constantly asking me where I’d got things from and as if by magic Bedhead Boutique was born! I initially started making headscarves as, for me, they are a Godsend for my phenomenal bed hair (hence the name!) and at the same time help me to achieve that pinup/50s look I strive for. It wasn’t long until my creative juices started flowing though and before long I started branching out into all kinds of pinup accessories. I found my passion for pinup and 50s fashion in my early twenties when I’d finally reached the age where I’d stopped worrying so much about fitting in and started to think about how I wanted to look and what kind of things would make the best of my, erm, voluptuous figure! Once I started down this route there was no going back as I finally felt like I’d found my true style. I now take great pleasure in designing and making things for others to help them achieve the style they strive for. I particularly love taking on custom orders as I love anything that’s a bit unique.

Bed HairI adore your vinyl record bags – where did you get your inspiration from?

 Initially my inspiration came from seeing the vinyl record bowls people make by melting the records then shaping them over a bowl. I thought it was such a fab idea and a great way to recycle old records which would otherwise just gather dust. From then I tried to think of other things that could be made from them. I looked online at other items people had made from records and saw that someone had made a large handbag from two records. Although I loved the idea of a vinyl record handbag I wasn’t impressed with the design as the record was covered in rivets and it looked somewhat bulky and mechanical! That’s when I decided that a clutch bag would be a great idea and be the perfect finishing touch to pretty much all of my favourite outfits! From there I spent about 3 months trying out different ideas and perfecting my design (not to mention testing about 12 different glues!) before I was finally happy with the finished product you see today.3

What’s the most unusual item you’ve designed or have you had any strange design requests?

My most unusual request was from a lady who asked if I could make my baby bandana dribble bibs in adult sizes. Initially I thought nothing of it as I’ve made larger ones in the past for teenagers with disabilities who don’t want a childish bib. However, she then told me it was for her husband who constantly spills his dinner all down him and she wanted to wrap them up for him for his birthday as a joke… but then actually make him wear them!

To date, what has been your most popular item?

5My most popular item to date is definitely my vinyl record clutch bags. I think it’s because they can be made in any fabric and with a record that’s special to the customer, should they wish to provide it. One of my proudest moments was when I was asked to make one for a lady to carry on her wedding day. The record was hers and her fiancé’s song together and it was made with red and white polka dot fabric to go with the 50s polka dot theme of her wedding. It’s so lovely to think that one of my items will be part of someone’s special day.

What’s your most favourite item in your collection or have ever made?

My favourite item I’ve made so far is probably the dogtooth shoe bows because I made them for my mum who was struggling to find any dogtooth shoes anywhere to match her handbag! My mum has had a hip replacement and a knee replacement and suffers a great deal with arthritis so finds it very difficult to get shoes to fit her that are comfortable to wear. She’s always saying that all the pretty shoes have such high heels and she wishes she could wear them. Now she can just clip the bows onto her comfy shoes and hey presto – they’re transformed!10

 Any new additions to your collection in the pipeline?

I have loads of new products coming up soon. I will shortly be making more fascinators and introducing some bags with handles and some purses. I’ll also soon be making alternative children’s clothes and possible some adult dresses too!

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

During the day I will almost always be wearing a headscarf to cover up my messy mop of hair! I’ll usually be wearing some coloured jeans and a pretty cardi with motifs on – either skulls or swallows or anchors or something similar. If the weather is nice I’ll most likely be in a pretty summer dress or maxi dress. I almost always wear cute pumps during the day as they’re easy to slip on and off when going in and out of the house and just so comfortable to wear! On a night out you’ll find me in a rockabilly swing dress or a sleek and sexy pencil dress. Almost always a halterneck with a sweetheart neckline as I find them the most flattering. Oh and of course it has to be some killer heels for a night out – at least for most of the night anyway!

Do you have any favourite shops or online sites ?

Pretty much all of my favourite shops are online. I love Hell Bunny clothing and pinup girl clothing. On the high street I love Dorothy Perkins as they are one of the few shops who do bigger sizes in things that aren’t just basically a tent with a hole for your head! I also love Office for shoes.

What’s next on your clothes/shoe wish list?4

Next on my wish list is a dress made of the Marvel fabric I use to make some of my accessories! I just need to find the time to make it now!

Boots or Shoes?

Definitely shoes – I have tiny ankles but chunky calves so it’s a nightmare to get boots to fit me properly! Besides, shoes are just sexier!

7Links you would like to share e.g. website/facebook/twitter etc so that readers can find out more about you and your products:

www.facebook.com/bedheadboutique

rockinrockette@thebedheadboutique.co.uk

Thanks for a fab interview Tink…. I wish you continued success, you deserve it!2

Linda x

Photo Credit: Photos published with kind permission of Bedhead Boutique

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



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