Introducing the latest segment to pop up in the Rabbit Hole, nestled amongst the growing number of fashion categories but deserving of its own spot... it's time you made a new BFF! But just wait one second honey, before you go marking your current bestie to 'acquaintance' status on FB, let me enlighten you.
This BFF is your Brand Fashion Fix and poses no competition to your existing people posse. It's about finding new fashion friends for the existing fav's in your wardrobe. Profiling the old with the new, or maybe just new to you, as in the world of fashion, you can never have too many BFF's!
First to feature, the amazing creative world of Helen Rochfort. Established in September, 2007, the UK brand creates frame box clasped handbags and accessories that are described as "a wonderland of Pop Art, quirky vintage styling and delicious eccentricity". Each bag has its own unique twist of retro vintage sprinkled with enchantment and a dash of kitsch humour.
The brand and bags have attracted global attention with stockists all over the world, features in numerous press and stars such as Katy Perry, Sienna Miller and Kate Winslet spotted with the signature designs. Helen has also knocked up her fair share of exciting collaborations and industry recognition, and her journey into the world of fashion has even inspired Sunday Times bestselling author Carole Matthews, to base her novel Summer Daydreams on Helen's own personal story.
If you're anything like me you will browse through the entire array available on the Helen Rochfort website and be swooning constantly, as competition for a favourite bag increases with every click of a button!
Below is just a snapshot of some of the delightful designs, several based on themes I absolutely adore including Alice in Wonderland (which you might have noticed I rather fancy, given my blog is called the Rabbit Hole), ice cream and candy. In fact, if I absolutely had to choose, I couldn't possibly choose one, but the classic Alice in Wonderland would be nearing the top of the list, followed by other stars such as the Flamingo and Gingerbread Men bags. Helen Rochfort bags are fun, playful, creatively inspiring, and the perfect arm candy for anyone looking for a splash of whimsical in their wardrobe!
Not only are her bags divine, but equally delightful is Helen herself who was kind enough to have a chat about her journey to establish the Helen Rochfort brand, her fabulous range of bags and accessories, and where she fits into the big world of fashion!
Have you always been into fashion? When did you start to think of it as a career path?
I have always loved fashion, art and design from an early age. My Dad is an Architect so I have grown up around creativity. I went to Art college at 18 and then onto study a Degree in Fashion and Textile design. I knew I wanted to create my own job early on and got help from the Princes Trust to start up.
How hard was it starting out? Any advice for fellow fashionistas trying to make it?
Very!!! (: It's still extremley difficult now especially juggling it with two cheeky imp girls age 9 and 3! It's hard work and as far removed from any glamour you can think! The key is to be passionate, be unique, stick with it, be stubborn, inventive in all aspects and never....ever give up!Expect long hours, stress but also it gives you a huge sense of achievement that you have created something of your own that will support your family in the future.
After discovering you share a love of handbags on Facebook, Sunday Times Bestselling Author Carole Matthews based her novel Summer Daydreams on you, your story and your bags. How closely does the novel follow your story and represent you through the main character, Nell?
The novel is virtually autobiographical about 75% true. Names have been changed as well as the timeline - which is much shorter and mixed around. Tiny details as well as the major storylines are all based on the truth! A very humbling and extremely unique experience and great for Poppy and Alice to have for the future!
Your style is described as quirky vintage and deliciously eccentric, with handbags based on pop art, sweet treats and fairytales. What inspires you about these themes and what are the challenges balancing creativity and commerce?
These themes have always interested me - over the years I have really been able to home in on what it is creatively important to me! Nostalgia is a huge inspiration but also mixing it with design led and directional elements is very important. There is a fine line of the balance of creativity and commerce - I always make sure the products designed are commercial enough but with a very stong unique and individual edge. I do sometimes create designs that are a little too out there - my husband and business partner will reign me in (:
What was the first bag you designed and which is your favourite amongst the collection?
The first design was a tiny square vintage style silver box bag - I was experimenting with food, art and fashion - some of the key elements that run through today! I took a photo of a sundae glass filled with peaches and cream and printed the image onto a peach damask fabric - a total one off experement which triggered the Brand!
Do you have any style icons and what celebrity would you love to see sporting one of your bags?
I dont really have any style icons as such! Only fictional characters like Mary Poppins, Veruca salt and Amelie! We are lucky to have such a selection of celebrities that own our handbags - Katy Perry, Lauren Laverne, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Sienna Miller... I would love to see Zooey Deschanel with one of our designs I do leove her style!
What's next? Will you continue in the accessories space or are there plans to branch out further?
I have recently designed a clothing line and wanting to develop and get it to sample stage as soon as I can! I am ultimately aiming to expand the Brand and create a whole lifestyle.
Can you tell us anything about when and what the theme might be of the next collection?
I am playing with alot of kitsch and vintage themes but mixing with modern illustration and fresh simple colours.
Favourite Fashion Accessory (this one might be kind of obvious!): It has to be a handbag (: Although I do love statement jewellery pieces!
Favourite Fashion Designer: Meadham Kirchoff
Favourite Colour: Pink
Three words that best describe your style: Quirky, Kitsch, simple
Favourite item in your wardrobe: My sausage dog print dress with peter pan collar and looks great with bright tights and my gold cardigan!
Celebrity you would most like to play you in a movie of your life: Zooey Deschanel (whats funny is that there is a possibility that Summer Daydreams could be made into a film!)
Your biggest fashion faux pas: When I was 15/16 (early 90's) thinking I was all cool and arty ha ha and would wear dungarees with one shoulder strap undone
One trend you love or hate: Love - individual style and looks, quirky prints. Dislike - (hate is too strong (: )- the OTT overdone look 'a la' Only way is Essex etc.
To check out the full range of Helen Rochfort bags and accessories, visit the Helen Rochfort website! Also, get an extra dose of lustworthy looks by checking out some HR campaign images below!