Claire Coles

You have a very unique way of working using paper, leather silk and embroidery to create stunning original collages. How has you technique evolved over the years?

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I began by work mainly with vintage wallpapers to create one off artworks and patterns. Over the years I have continued to use machine embroidery to bring different materials together such as silks, leather and felt. Recently I have started working with screen printing and painting within my designs. I love combining different layers of materials and textures in my work.

Your range includes fashion print, ceramics, wallpaper and interiors. What is your first love?

I started out working in ceramics and combining this medium with textiles, but I remember the first day I started playing with embroidery and collage and it felt really natural to me so I think this process was my first love.

Claire Coles Silk Scarves SS 2013

What and who inspires you?

I look at the natural world around me for inspiration, but also looking at how ornamentation and pattern is used historically in our homes is key to my ideas.I am inspired by artists and designers across different mediums. I look to fashion and fine art quite a lot as a source of colour inspiration, Christopher Kane and artist Tahnee Lonsdale have a great use of colour in there work which I am drawn to. The wallpaper artist Tracy Kendall is a big inspiration to me too,  she is always pushing boundaries with what wallpaper can be.

Claire Coles Silk Scarves SS 2013Can you describe how you build a piece of work?

It normally starts with hand drawn sketching and putting a mood board together of colours and materials, I then hand cut the pieces and start to put my designs together, finally I freehand machine embroider the design together.

Every season you create unique work for Wild & Gorgeous, is it different to you other commissions?claire coles bits blog

Working with wild and Gorgeous is different as I am working on a smaller scale than i usually do, I also have in mind that it is a children brand so I try to make my work fun and enchanting for younger audience, usually my clients are adults so its nice to work more playfully.

Have you ever used your fantastic sewing skills to make clothes?

I cannot sew in a straight line, so I have found making clothes is not my forte, I am much better and being free with the sewing machine and creating artworks and pattern!

What would be your dream job?

I love working in collaboration and seeing my designs turned into different mediums, I would love to design a collection of rugs with the Rug Company

If you were to choose one item of clothing for the Wild & Gorgeous Spring Summer 2017 collection, what would it be and why?

I have a 2 year old son, and i would love to see him in the love red and white striped shirt. The cut is really cute, I like the vintage circus theme and I am a big fan or stripes!

Visit Claire website here 

Top tips for picking the perfect flower girl and page boy outfits

It may seem cliché to say but your wedding day is one of the most important and special days of your life and Wild & Gorgeous offer an array of services to help make picking your flower girl and page boy outfits that little bit easier. This includes a swatch service where you can get a small sample of any style sent over to you so you can ensure that the colour matches the rest of the wedding party and a full refund if you are unsure or change your mind. Then to alleviate any preparation stress you can also bring your garments into either of our London stores where we can steam and hang them ready for the day.

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When it comes to selecting the right styles we have a few hints and tips that have come from over ten years of selling our beautiful classic collection:

1. With children, especially small children it is difficult to predict their height and size as they are prone to fits and starts of growing so we would suggest that any fittings be done no more than three months before the big day so that you get the perfect size

2. Ensure that all the children in the wedding party try on their outfit. Children will be very vocal if they are uncomfortable in what they are wearing and you don’t want any refusals on the big day because they find their dress too scratchy or uncomfortable

3. Remember that if you have a mixture of ages for your flower girls it is unlikely that you will get them to all wear the same dress. Especially those that are over the age of 11. The best thing to do is to try to choose styles that co-ordinate either in a matching fabric or hue. Or have the older girls in a separate colour to the younger girls and then tie them together by having the same colour in the sash and buttons

4. Take into account where you are marrying so a city wedding is usually more formal and so the dresses more dramatic whilst a country or beach wedding is more relaxed with dresses that are light and floaty

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Dinny Hall Interview + Competiton

necklace When and how did you love of jewellery originate and how did it become a business?

My enthusiasm for all things that shine started at a tender age. I would find and buy jewels with my pocket money at jumble sales even finding a 1920s Cartier brooch by the age of nine! I think from then on I was never going to do anything other than have a career in the jewellery business. Also it’s worth noting that from the moment I picked up a pencil I got the design bug.

Where do you find your inspiration?

All around I’m looking all the time. But things that most interest me are Architecture, Nature, Film, Travel, Art, Mythology  and Universal Symbols with a nod to fashion.

 What do you think are the jewellery essentials and how should they work with what you are wearing. Or not?

Every girl should have some Hoops there is no end to reinterpretation of the design of them- Essentials are day rings you can stack and play with and dress up evening cocktail rings to be a little showy. Some fine gold chainy necklaces that you can layer or a simple circular solid silver pendant. Jewellery should be comfortable and suit your mood.

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If you were to choose a favourite historical piece of jewellery – what would it be and why?

It’s the Sancy Diamond I rather fancy a magnificent Mogul cut diamond in the Louvre with an extraordinary history but if it has to be jewellery then I’d have Queen Alexandra’s coronation Parure circa 1902.

Do you like to see jewellery on children and if yes what nature?

Little girls love jewellery and little jewellery loves little girls so I fully approve.

 If you were to choose one favourite outfit from the Wild & Gorgeous collection what would it be?

The prettiest party dress for a little girl to feel incredibly special when wearing is The Marie Antoinette dress.

Enter our DINNY HALL X Wild & Gorgeous Competition NOW 

Magic Lantern Festival

 If you are looking for a way to celebrate the Chinese New Year this week end with the children I would recommend the Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens.

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Last week end I took my two young god daughters to the Magic Lantern Festival at Chiswick House and Gardens.

It is a fabulous way to mark the Chinese New Year. The theme this year is the SILK ROAD and the giant illuminations illustrating scenes of culture and commerce along the ancient route light up the inky night sky.

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The trail takes you winding around the gardens past a vast gleaming ship that is also reflected in the river flowing below it. Past giant flower, camel and panda lanterns with depictions of eastern traders with piles of silk and even a radiant Eiffel Tower surrounded by giant skinny catwalk models. The children were enchanted and we kept warm as we wandered with toasted marshmallows and steaming dim sum. lantern3

There are also festivals taking place in Yorkshire and Birmingham.

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Our Wild & Gorgeous Autumn Winter 2017 collection drew plenty of inspiration from the rich designs, embroideries and emblems of the Far East. From our beautiful peony print Empress and Shanghai Dresses to our Brave as aTiger Jumper and embroidered dragons and tigers emblazoned on this season’s collection. lantern5

 

Sophie’s Sale Picks

As we head into sale here are some of the stories that I would be buying into from the Wild & Gorgeous collection in order to stock up my children’s wardrobes for the winter months to come.

Exotic Embroidery
This season we delved deep into some fabulously intricate embroidery for both boys and girls styles. I love the leaping tiger and Chinese dragon details, and think they really lift a basic item of clothing from wardrobe staple to out-of-the-ordinary. We have emblazoned cord jackets, twill trousers, cotton shirts and denim styles as well as adding oriental sequin and intarsia details to our iconic children’s knitwear. My particular favourite this season include the Bam Top and Field Skirt in denim with discrete embroidered flowering bamboo detail and the uber cool, stand out form the crowd Dragon Trousers which have been equally popular with girls as well as boys.

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Tartan Tales
Our Tartan styles have been super popular this season so if they are sold out, I would stock up quick in any available sizes. It is an enduring look that never goes out of fashion and somehow always seems cool. I particularly love the Roller Dungaree Dress styled with the girls Black and White Stripe Sweatshirt which adds a little 80’s punky edge to the look and red Chelsea Boots. I also love the charcoal grey Marley Jumper worn with the monochrome City Skirt. A great girls outfit for everyday wear.

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Charcoal Chic
I think it is lovely in the depths of winter to wear chic and subtle coloured clothes so I especially love our charcoal cord styles especially when lifted with a bit of blue – although it is a wonderful versatile colour that works well with almost any colour you can throw at it. I especially love the Stork Dress for younger girls and the Cord Dungarees worn with chunky boots and a blue Wild and Gorgeous denim coloured Butterfly Jumper. Accessorise with our super soft scarf, gloves and hat set and chunky boots, and you are ready to go. Pop a charcoal and grey Hector Jumper on your boy and they are a wildly chic effortlessly matching duo!

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GIRLS WILL BE BOYS

At Wild & Gorgeous we have always loved a swirl of net, a scattered sequin and a dash of pink. And it seems to go down very well with our feminine customers who love to party and know how to dress for it. However since the launch of our first boys range this Autumn we have noticed a growing number of tomboys coming into the shops looking to buy into the boys range.goirls will be boysThe most popular styles among our tomboy fan base include the boys T shirts, the Sid Trousers and the black and white Striped Skinny Trousers. We have also had girls shopping and looking achingly cool in the Leaping Tiger Trouser and the Dragon trouser. 

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A lot of children’s brands design unisex clothes and whilst we haven’t intentionally done that this season it does seem that our gorgeous girls are getting a little more wild in their sartorial choices.

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However, we have yet to see a boy walk out in a sparkly dress…

The Good Life Experience Interview

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What was the inspiration behind The Good Life?

Following boom and bust, mindless consumption and enforced austerity, interesting things have come out of that austerity; a retreat to values and fashions that seem to encapsulate simpler times, the good old days. We’ve found ourselves yearning for the more honest and straightforward world enjoyed by our parents and grandparents. Superficially, this has meant that bicycles and baking, beards and tweed, vintage style and gardening are now more popular than ever; on a deeper level it has meant that millions of people are returning to craft as a source of solace and comfort, that more people than ever want to get outdoors, to discover and consume things that are made with passion by small business. And that people are trying to discover what makes them truly happy. At its core this movement can best be defined, perhaps, as The Search for The Good Life; a life that’s fulfilled and considered, yes, but is also fun and values the things that matter…. family, friends, a real connection with The Great Outdoors, books, proper food and drink, discovery, music that comes from the soul, great books, craft. All the things that don’t cost a great deal but that make life richer, more rewarding and better fun.

When, where and who started it?

The festival was started back in 2014, and it was an ongoing discussion about the aforementioned Search for the Good Life that led four friends -broadcaster, musician and writer Cerys Matthews, record industry and arts consultant Steve Abbott and retailers, farmers and authors Charlie and Caroline Gladstone- to create a festival with a difference, The Good Life Experience.

Are the families who attend generally urban or city based?

Our festival goers come from all over, this year from the highlands of Scotland to Cornwall, Devon and even Portland, Oregon and Cuba. The Good Life Experience does attract city dwellers in search of a weekend off grid, but many come from rural areas across North Wales and the Lake District too.

Axe And Paddle 02 PaulWilliamsonWhat do you aim for them to get out of the experience?

And the aim is for guests to engage in making something, learning, trying new things – be it music, food, axe throwing or tree climbing. Many of the guests described The Good Life Experience as a huge private party, something to replenish hearts and souls before the onset of winter.

What aged children do you aim to appeal to?

This year we welcomed children all ages, from new-borns to teenagers. For the younger children particularly it’s a chance for them to run wild in a safe place. We have a beautiful 1930s vintage fairground, and all rides are free, but it’s the hay bales and pumpkins that prove to be most popular, not many of which survive the weekend!

paul-sherratt-tgle-2016-5What would make your perfect Christmas?

Family, friends, great food, The Pogues, Love Actually, a fire and a new axe.

What do you have in store for The Good Life 2017?

Plans for 2017 are already afoot. Confirmed acts include former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen, King of the Notting Hill Carnival DJ Norman Jay and author and journalist India Knight, and we are soon to announce our first makers and craftspeople. In 2016 there were more than 40 expert craftspeople giving workshops and demonstrations, and in 2017 we are aiming for even more. Tickets are already selling fast, which is a great sign that we are doing something right.

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WIN …

Mariella Wyse Interview

Stripes from Wyse

1. When did you start Wyse London and what was the impetus that got you going? 

I started in December 2014.  I was fed up with paying too much for the more fashion end of cashmere.  I felt there was a gap for affordable cashmere with detailing.  Easy to wear but not high street and plain and not top end and designer. Also the shapes, designs and colours were never quite right.  So I designed my own.

blog wyse22. How would you describe your own style?

Without sounding like an idiot – the French influence (I’m half French) has really rubbed off on me.  So its the understated look, the nod to fashion not slave to fashion, I’ll try something new like a pleated skirt but only wear it if I feel comfortable.  Theres nothing worse than feeling insecure in what you are wearing.  Its obvious in your body language.  So I love a pop of colour, and understated necklace, cool shoes and a big bag full of all my rubbish!

blog wyse33. Do you design for yourself or your customer?

Firstly for myself.  There is nothing in the collection I wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing. But I have learnt to expand the collection to cater for more shapes and sizes.  I listen to all the concerns of customers and try and find a ways to design for real body shapes.

4. Why cashmere?

Thats a silly question!! Its just so lovely to wear and much easier to care for than you think.  You can easily put in a wool wash in the machine.  I hand out washing instructions with every purchase.

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5. What do your children think of your success?

Thats a good question…. I think they are very proud of me and love it when they see people wearing my designs.  My daughter is very fashion minded and has her own style so I am sure she would want to do something similar one day.  They do however get a bit frustrated when I can’t finish a sentence with them as the phone is constantly ringing…

6. Do they wear your designs?

Every day.

7. What will you be giving your children this Christmas?

Please don’t ask me that… I have even given it a thought.  I ask them to send me links to what they want and I just press the pay now button…

Terrible mum?  Probably!!

SLEEPOVER ESSENTIALS

This week we are giving away a set of his and hers pyjama’s along with a Melt hot chocolate stick and a copy of the iconic children’s book The Snowman. So as well as a pair of pristine Wild & Gorgeous kids pyjama’s, some non toxic nail nail varnish and temporary tattoo’s to apply, a glittery hair tie and a fluffy back back to pack it all in, what else do you need to create the perfect sleepover?

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Slumber Scrap

Take digital pictures during the slumber party and make scrapbook pages later in the evening.  Provide everyone with a small scrapbook, pretty paper, fun cut-outs and scissors.

Karaoke
Let everyone have a turn at singing.  Play you own version of X Factor and set up judges to vote on the best performance.

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Talent Show
Everyone performs their best (or worst) talent.  Have judges and award small prizes.

Fashion Show

Dress up and give away small prizes for best walk, best pose, most attitude and best over all.

Dance, dance …. dance

Then play freeze dance.  Have someone turn down the volume and everyone must freeze and not laugh until the music starts again.  Whoever laughs has to turn down the volume next.

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Paint nails and toenails

Decorate with dots, stripes and flowers

Test Your Taste buds 

Have one person make something from ingredients in the kitchen and then other person has to put on a blindfold and eats the food. The person with the blindfold on then makes a guess at what the food is or what ingredients are in it.

Decorate pillowcases 

Use permanent markers (you are able to sleep on them that night) or fabric pens and have guests sign each others’ pillowcases during the slumber party.  Decorate and doodle to create a masterpiece. You’ll remember how much fun you had with your friends every time you go to sleep.

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FINALLY…Pillow fight!!

Wild & Gorgeous + Kalendarhaus Christmas Party Notting Hill

This week end we invited the unbelievably talented Clever Gretel creator Nicola Holbroke along to our Primrose Hill Shop to help mini Wild and Gorgeous customers decorate gingerbread men (and women!).

DSC_0035.jpeg copy We advertised the event to our customers by e flyer and it was sold out in 12 hours!

Nicola had created beautiful rice paper cut outs of AW16 Wild and Gorgeous girls and boys party wear for the children to dress the gingerbread characters in.

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Everyone got stuck in and sticky as icing was applied to rice paper and outfits selected and pasted onto the gingerbread biscuits. Once completed the gingerbread figures were placed in a decorative box along with a decorative toadstool or squirrel biscuit and finished with pretty string and a Father Christmas figurine. All fabulously festive.

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Nicola also creates the most beautiful gingerbread KalanderHaus. It really is a work of biscuit art as you build a little bit of the house each day of advent to create the most stunning, imaginative gingerbread house. To read more about Clever Gretel or buy your own KalanderHaus  click here 

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Our next event on Saturday 25th at Ledbury road is also now sold out but I am sure we will be revisiting Nicola’s magical world next year!