Last week I showed you some shots from a photoshoot I did for Tallulah & Hope, so I thought I'd also ask the designers, Lisa & Zoe a few questions about their brand. They are both so lovely, they really deserve the attention!
Lisa & Zoe
Introduce yourselves & tell me a bit more about your background
Lisa - I was as a fashion PR working with brands like Versace. After 8 years I had had enough of fashion! I became freelance when my husband opened his restaurant Canteen and design studio Very Good & Proper. I did the press.
Zoe - I was a costume designer and stylist and worked on commercials, TV and private clients. When I had my daughter I wanted to travel less so I set-up Lady Sew & Sew, a local sewing club. I took the club to festivals, events and private parties.
How did you meet?
Lisa - Through my husband Patrick who is one of Zoe's oldest friends. They met when they both lived in Bath.
Where did the idea for Tallulah & Hope come from?
We were together with friends on holiday in the Dordogne and one afternoon after too much white wine we started talking about the kaftan and the perfect holiday wardrobe. We believed that with a fresh, new approach we could transform the kaftan into something that the modern women would want to wear.
Where does the name come from?
They are classic sounding names and felt very British which was important to us. We love the idea of Tallulah & Hope being two different women. They could be friends, mother/daughter, daughter /granddaughter, anything and they would wear the kaftans in their own way. Age is irrelevant.
What are your inspirations?
We spent a summer in Devon in a friend's house and we were surrounded by the very green, lush British countryside, stones, rivers, moss, rabbits, otters and we wanted our colour palette and signature prints (Starling and Sandgrouse) to reflect a more refined and sophisticated approach to beachwear.
Starling and Sandgrouse prints
Could you describe your creative process?
We started with many, many ideas and kept refining until we had 4 kaftan styles that we thought would deliver perfect wearability, luxury detail (pin hems and French seams), flattering cuts and classic, easy elegance.
Who would you love to see wearing your designs?
Angelica Houston, Susan Sarandon (in Chiton in Africa) and Vanessa Paradis.
Favourite holiday destination?
Lisa - Italy my family are Italian and I have spent many great holidays all over Italy. Also, the food is incredible!
Zoe - Wales with friends and family.
Beach or Countryside?
Beach! We both love the sea and sun!
When working as a stylist, I spend a lot of time helping people look at their own clothes differently, and teaching them how to keep everything organised. It can be a very emotional process as we are all pretty set in our ways when it comes to style and clothes storage.
I thought it'd be interesting to go and nose around a selected few well stocked wardrobes to see what makes personal style. The first installment is Fleurtini from Sweet Tooth.
Fleur describes her style as Modern Vintage as she likes to mix a lot of vintage pieces with designer and high-street ones. She doesn't like to feel like she is wearing a costume, which is why she keeps things grounded with modern clothing.
Fleur's favourite Winter outfit
I was surprised by the size of Fleur's closet, I expected way, way more clothes as she is always impeccably turned out and looks like she is never wearing the same thing. Not at all. She has a limited supply of clothes, they are just all very well curated and most of all, they are all extremely accessible. Her accessories are on display and almost everything is hanging rather than being folded away in drawers.
Fleur shops a lot on eBay, in local second hand shops and also owns quite a few family hand me downs that have become real treasures. She still owns a coat her mum had made at her sewing class, and a beautiful Nina Ricci scarf her aunt received as an airline bought present in the 60s.
Fleur with the Nina Ricci scarf
The Marilyn dress
When it comes to stage outfits, Fleur goes all out and embraces old Hollywood glamour with sequins, slinky dresses and amazing shoes.
She is an accomplished seamstress and often alters her clothes to make them fit better or to make them more to her taste. Like me, she has a habit of shortening vintage skirts to show off her pins.
Fleur's favourite Summer outfit
Vintage Aquascutum coat found in Portobello Market
If for some reason you haven't already heard Sweet Tooth's music, please have a look at the video below
For an enhanced stalking experience, you can also follow Sweet Tooth on Twitter, Facebook or Myspace.
Do you have a closet worth looking at? Do you know someone who should be featured here? Drop me an email!
Lisa & Zoe, the wonderful ladies behind Tallulah & Hope have literally just left my flat and I couldn't wait to show you the results of our little photoshoot. The main pictures will be on their site, with a little interview, but I am so in love with their kaftans I just had to show them to you RIGHT NOW.
Hero Umbel Pink - Shoes by Feud
The idea behind this shoot was for them to come over with a selection of kaftans from their collection that I could style and inject my personality in. I wasn't sure how easy it would be, especially as kaftans are normally beach cover-ups and I am not exactly a beach bunny.
Tallulah & Hope kaftans have just blown my mind and totally changed my mind about this particular piece of clothing. I am wearing mine as I type and I feel both comfortable and sexy which is always a great combo. I love the naughtiness of wearing beach wear in the city as well.
Classic Short Starlings - Skirt Vintage - Shoes by Swedish Hasbeens
While they were here, I experimented with more looks and I decided I could easily spend a whole week wearing only kaftans!
I don't really have style icons. There are a few ladies whose style consistently impresses and inspires me, but I still wouldn't call them icons. What I do have is a list of girl crushes that goes on and on. High up on that list is Catherine Keener.
I first discovered her in "Living in Oblivion" by Tom DiCillo. My love for Steve Buscemi had carried me all the way to my nearest cinema and I remember clearly being so impressed by Keener's innate coolness and naturalness that I left with a brand new crush.
Catherine Keener "Living in Oblivion"
I then tried to see more films with her, and that included "Walking and Talking" by Nicole Holofcener only a year later. By then I had already decided she was the coolest lady on Earth anyway, but I must say her film choices have been consistently good.
On Saturday, I went to see "Please Give" which happens to be the latest of Holofcener's films, starring - you guessed it - Catherine Keener.
The film, set in New York and centered around an antique dealer (Keener) ridden with guilt because of aspects of her job (house clearances) trying to manage her career, family life while juggling with her burden. It is a bit Woody Allen, it is a bit 1990 and I urge you to go and see it...
... it is also a big Keener fest, where she appears even more effortless than ever, wearing extremely simple outfits accessorised only with her tousled mane and almost no make-up.
When I was introduced to Black Eyewear, I was very curious about their creator, Robert Roope and his passion for Jazz. So I wanted to ask him a few questions about eyewear icons and the relationship between his designs and jazz.
Tell me about your career.
At 14 trained as a Navigation Officer in the Merchant Navy. At 16, in 1959, I sailed from Liverpool on my first voyage to the West Indies and South America. We traded with countries along the Pacific coast, Ecuador, Columbia, Peru and Chile. It was awakening and fun.
My first job as an optician was in a Dollond & Aitchison practice on the Seven Sisters Road, Holloway in 1962. Here I dispensed hundreds of NHS glasses including those round gold frames that were later to be made famous by John Lennon, Ozzy Osbourne and many others. I was stunned to discover the variety of beautifully made spectacles that were arriving at the shop.
The attitudes towards spectacles in the 60s were changing. Specs were becoming fashion accessories instead of badges of disability.
In 1967 I went to work in an optical company in Copenhagen, Denmark to distribute eyewear from Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA. The best brands were from manufacturers like Carl Zeiss, Metzler, Marwitz, Rodenstock, Indo, American Optical etc.
In the early seventies I was sent by the American Optical Company to South East Asia to install optical factories and teach local people how to make spectacle lenses and fit them to frames and sunglasses in Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Hong Kong and Jakarta.
I returned to UK in 1975 and decided to set up my own opticians practice in St Albans in 1979, 31 years ago.
In 1998 I started selling my collection of vintage eyewear through the shop website and in 1999 through Retrospecs.co.uk. My large vintage collection of frames and sunglasses had been gathered from my travels abroad, particularly n Europe and Scandinavia.
How did you get into eyewear design?
My passion for eyewear design came out of a wish to rescue the bold simple iconic eyewear styles of the 50s. They had been replaced in the 80s by wall to wall unisex metal oblong frames in gunmetal and bronze. It was clone Britain, sameness, monotonous, characterless. I launched the Black Eyewear range in 2005 to put 50s designs back on the map.
Tell me about your relationship with jazz
I've been a jazz fan since I was 14. I got hooked on the first Jazz LP I could afford called 'Gone with the Wind' by the Dave Brubeck Quartet.
I loved the bebop era of jazz in the late 50s with Jazz greats like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Charlie Mingus, Theolonius Monk, Sonny Rollins, Max Roach and many many more. I went to see them whenever I could in London, paticularly at Ronnie Scotts Jazz Club. The music was so exciting, liberating and empowering.The spirit of improvisation was key to this, a great feeling of freedom welling from the music.
Theolonius Monk (source The Selvedge Yard)
In Copenhagen 1969, I was a member of the Monmartre Jazz Club and one late evening after a few Carlsbergs I played a very short duet with Count Basie on the piano. This was probably the height of my musical career. Dexter Gordon was a regular at the club and I also met Ben Webster, Coleman Hawkins and Phil Woods.
Jazz has kept me together during difficult times in my life. Miles Davis' 'Porgy and Bess’ and 'Kind of Blue' were often godsends during these times.
Favourite Jazz musicians
Charlie Parker, Miles Davis, Bud Powell, Dave Brubeck, Cannonball Aderley, Chet Baker, Paul Desmond, Duke Ellington, Stan Getz, Art Blakey.
What makes an iconic pair of sunglasses?
Sunglasses are iconic if they transform the face and add character and mystery to it.
What inspires you?
Every year in spring an elderly lady customer comes to my Opticians shop and says "Mr. Roope, I want you to make me look like a movie star”.
"Which one this year?" I ask her. We choose one and by the time she leaves the shop she has almost become the Movie star she wants to be.
What's your creation process?
Sometimes I visualize a face from the past. A look, a style, a character then emerges in my mind and I begin framing the face with a shape to suit him or her. I search around for the style shape for this face and begin to create something new if a suitable shape does not exist already in my collection.
I'm constantly scanning passers-by and observing the glasses they are wearing, I visualize more suitable eyewear for them. I am very conscious of the geometry of the face and aware that face shape and character can be seriously altered by the shapes and colours you add to the face.
From Bruce Weber's 'Let's get Lost'
When were you the happiest?
Walking in the woods.
What were you like as a little boy?
Hyperactive playful troublemaker.
What was your dream job growing up?
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