Archive for November, 2011

Catherine Marche Interview - French Elegance in London

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

UK based Jewellery designer Catherine Marche, talks to about bringing French playfulness to design.
How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

Catherine Marche

Bonjour ! My jewellery speaks to the stylish women and men who want to wear something elegant fun and versatile, with a "certain Je ne sais quoi" French twist. My creations are handcrafted by "moi" in London with sterling silver, 18 carat gold enhanced by luscious gemstones and shimmering pearls. I am a fashion chameleon and live to sail the trends and eras according to my clients' mood.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

My favourite comment is of course "I want one!” I am told my jewellery is desirable because of the use of simple and organic lines, resulting in chic and glamorous French elegance style. People even tend to recognize my illustrative story telling in some of my pieces.

What is your background?
My first job was as a high school mathematics teacher, followed by many years as an IT consultant. I have also attended ecole des Beaux Arts and art schools like Central St Martin’s and London College of Fashion where I learnt fashion illustration, etching and printmaking. My paintings, prints and illustrations have been used in magazines, advertising, on garments, graced London's underground stations and are in several private and public collections.

Elegant, rings, necklaces, pendants, earrings and bracelets available on Independent Boutique

Why did you start doing what you do?
After the birth of my children, I gave into my love of sparkly gems and jewels and trained as a jeweller. Being freelance allows me to tailor my days to the little ones' needs and to indulge in my jewellery and fashion addictions. Amongst my addiction stand fresh Belgium chocolate and macaroons. You will agree that jewellery is much more reasonable.
I love being able to make jewellery as I like combining styles and collections to create my own identity. I do not hesitate to mix vintage and new creations, like simple lines that enhance your own being. I also enjoy being able to create "fashionable" goodies in precious metals, that will last much more than a season to become a classic staple to be transferred to the next generation.

Catherine Marche featured in This is London's ES magazine 2011

Which designers do you rate highly and why?
I like the extravagance of Jean-Paul Gautier, the sexyness of Azzadine Alaia's tailored creations and the dresses from Tara Jarmon for every day wear I also like the creativity of Lolita de Lempicka's couture, perfume bottles and ads.

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves...
I can be inspired by antiquity, a gemstone, a music, a word, feelings... I work in 2 ways, either playing with the metal until something I like happens or sketching ideas and developing something from the initial sketches. I quite like making models, experimenting along the way with different combinations of materials and layouts.

Designs start out as sketches

The production process can last from 3-6 weeks. I tend to make everything from scratch, even multiples, in order to keep each piece more individual. I will be looking into casting some pieces to speed up the making process; although I will still have to clean up, finish and polish the jewels which have been casted.

How do you think your brand has developed?
I am adding new pieces and collections from the initial few pieces I started with, which all belonged to the knitted and the Blum Blum Collections. I am developing the Volutes range at present to add necklaces and more earrings.

What do you hate most about your job?
Nothing really. I would say that you have to be very Health and Safety aware as you will use dangerous substances most days. I also find the constantly rising prices of gold and silver, not to mention platinum can be tricky.

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now?
I have been thrilled to see my jewellery in books like 1000 Jewelry inspirations and the Encyclopedia of jewellery techniques where my Volutes cuffs were used as an example for the technique of Photo etching, which I use.

I was also very happy to have one of my gold chain necklaces selected for the launch of London Jewellery Week on the catwalk at the Royal Exchange with the likes of Boodles and David Bachet and being in the evening standard.

I have also been delighted to be shortlisted for the Holts academy of Jewellery awards, a finalist at the Precious award, and being awarded a getting started award by the worshipful Company of Goldsmiths.

I also received a nice compliment on one of my Cuffs from a very fashion savvy celebrity (who was in Sex and The City), and cannot wait to see many more people wearing my creations. My best compliment is when someone likes what I do enough to desire a bespoke commission. I really enjoy the interaction with the customers to make their dream come to life.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in jewellery?

Believe in YOUR vision, be confident, go for it and eat lots of dark chocolate. Working in the studio can be a lonely experience, you might want to look for partners or to share a workshop.

Why do you think British design stands out on the global stage?

Only in the UK will you find such a variety of street styles and eccentricity. There is a love story going one between the public and the designers, each inspiring the other. There are also great schools which create daring people eager to push boundaries.

Shop The Catherine Marche Collection....

Jan Constantine Adds a Hand Embroided Future Heirloom to the Prize Fund!

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

Future heirloom Jan Constantine's "Love" cushion

Jan Constantine, an exquisite textiles and home accessories brand based in Cheshire, have added their Wool "Love" Cushion (which normally retails at £66.50) to the Great British Competition prize fund. All of Jan Constantine's British collections are made using "ancient hands-on, embroidery skills of local artisans", and continue the use of traditional textile methods. Her designs have found their way into Harrods, Selfridges and Liberty's.

To be in with a chance of winning Jan Constantine's "Love" cushion and many other Great British Prizes enter the competition at:

British Company Runaway Coast kindly donate to our Great British Christmas Competition

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Runaway Coast was launched in May 2009.
We support British Industry.
We design and make the majority of our products in the UK.
All our designs are exclusive to Runaway Coast.

We are happy to donate our original giant cushion  to The Great British Christmas Competition, now with the beautiful Union Jack, it has quickly become the must-have accessory for the home.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning – there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

Original Giant Cushion From Runaway Coast

Royal weddings, Olympics and the Queens Golden Jubilee, it seems there has never been a better time to support British industry. As the majority of our products are hand made in England, we are proud to say this product is 100% British made, from the inner pad, its design heritage, hand made in British factories, and then hand wrapped and hand delivered to you.

Each cushion measures 150 x 150cm, has a zip removable cover made from 100% cotton drill and with its solid navy base, it makes it ideal for use outdoors as well as in.

We also have lots of other fabulous items for the home please visit to see our full range.


Joan Collins Selects a Heidi Mottram Bag for her Macmillan Celebrity Christmas Stocking

Monday, November 28th, 2011

The Macmillan Celebrity Christmas Stocking Auction is one of the most glamorous events in the London Special Events calendar. Each year Macmillan ask fifteen celebrities to tell them what they would like to find in their dream Christmas stocking, which are then auctioned off to an exclusive audience to raise funds for the vital work of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Joan Collins has created her dream stocking for the event this year and included a Heidi Mottram bag in her wish list.

Heidi Mottram is renowned for her covetable bags and purses which are designed in London and made out of luxurious, exotic, eco eel and salmon skin leathers. Importantly Heidi Mottram only uses skins that are a bi-product, ensuring that the fish are not harmed for their skin and as no two skins are alike each bag is unique. Heidi Mottram has an ever increasing reputation for designing colourful, exclusive and luxurious bags, which are always a favourite with celebrities and press around the world.

The celebrities’ stockings include an outstanding assortment of gifts ranging from luxury holidays to fabulous designer handbags, diamond jewellery and the latest in hi-tech gadgets and mobile phones.

For Joan Collins a Heidi Mottram bag makes the most perfect gift for Christmas! So ladies there is still time to put a Heidi Mottram bag on your wish list and drop hints to your loved one to purchase a bag from the website

Elliot Rhodes opens their third store and talks to Independent Boutique

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

How do you describe to people what you do and your design style?

I tell them that I am a custom belt and buckle designer...then when they look at me quizzically I explain the whole Elliot Rhodes concept! My design style is one based around presenting a palette of different colours, textures and concepts that can be played with, mixed and matched to create a style that is individual to each consumer. I do not want to tell people what to wear, I want them to help them discover their own individuality and to express this through their belt.

I see no limitation as to where we can take belt and buckle design – each day brings the opportunity to experiment and redefine traditional ideas.

What sort of comments do you get about your designs?

We’re often described as a candy shop for grown-ups. When people discover our brand they are usually fascinated by the fact that we make belts - and only belts!  They do love the quality and the choice and the fact that the designs they’re wearing are pretty unique. I think above all customers see that although we may be pushing the envelope we are not doing so in a forceful manner, but rather in a suggestive way...gradually taking them on a journey. Everybody has a limit and it is vital never to make someone uncomfortable with what they are wearing.

Sparkly Moon Belt

What is your background?

I have been involved in fashion and design since graduating from university – as it happens the most useful skills from my studies are my languages...nothing is more important than being able to communicate with suppliers! But fashion is pretty broad and I started at the bottom learning how garments are created, made, sourced and sold...invaluable skills that I have used every day since creating Elliot Rhodes. I always knew I would move towards the luxury sector as in the end I just love making things that I feel proud of.

Why did you start doing what you do?

I was a frustrated shopper... the more I was looking for belts the less I could find any! Black, brown, sometimes tan... that’s it! Belts have always been treated as an afterthought and used as a brand vehicle...nobody has ever paid them due care and attention! I believed there could be more to it, that this was a product that could be reinvented and glamorised, and that consumers with the right guidance could start to learn how important a belt could be in creating their own individual style. I am also very anti brand – not that I do not like brands – but I like brands that produce great products rather than just sell a logo. I think society has been moving away from this for some time now which is where specialists come to the fore.

Which designers do you rate highly and why?

I would look no further than Armani – this is a man who continually creates timeless collections that cross generational barriers, allowing people to be fashionable but comfortably and unostentatiously so. Philippe Starck also simply because he has been able to bring beautiful design to formerly dull utilitarian products.

Casual Leopard Belt

Tell us about your design process from concept, production and to the shelves...

I find inspiration in all sorts of odd places – sometimes it is visual, sometimes tactile, sometimes verbal. Simply looking at the world around us whether that be nature, architecture, people, art and taking a grain of an idea and then trying to understand how this might be interpreted through leather or metalwork. Nothing is more important to me than colour and knowing when a new colour is relevant is just a gut feeling. I have to take these ideas then source raw materials that can help interpret them...or sometimes it works backwards and you find a wonderful material that you just have to find a way to use! Once these two bits of the puzzle are figure out it is down to the practical and technical – getting items produced to the correct design and quality standard. Standing in a factory fiddling with samples, watching someone stitch or polish...I work constantly with my makers to try new techniques. But in the end products have to arrive on time and hopefully on budget too.

The best part of our business is that we work on small quantities. Individuality works with exclusivity and we want our customers to know that the belt they bought is special and not one of thousands. We work only with small factories where the craftsmen still create belts and buckles using traditional techniques and make and finish them by hand.

How do you think your brand has developed?

Pretty well! For the past seven years, we’ve converted people to belts and we’ve elevated the status of the belt from being an afterthought to being a key to dressing with taste, elegance, style and individuality. I think we’ve proved that there is a demand for a specialist brand such as ours but most importantly we have shown that through passion, education and specialisation you can inspire people to look at a product in a whole different light. The fact that many of our customers ‘collect’ our belts and buckles bears testament to their potential importance. Above all I am proud to be doing something different and to have taken some very important steps in getting Elliot Rhodes to be considered the pre eminent brand in its sector.

Croc Coda Farkhan Belt

What do you hate most about your job?

The sale. Sorry...I know customers love it but not only is it a huge amount of work it can sometimes be a bit demoralising too...seeing products you have loved and created being sold for less than you feel they are worth!

What are your main achievements and what do you aim to achieve now? Past present and future

Well, creating Elliot Rhodes, establishing the brand and changing perceptions are things I am very proud of. Everybody told me in the beginning I was crazy and no one ever believed a belt brand would survive – even a year! We’ve proved them wrong and now it is all about seeing how far we can take things...both in terms of retail expansion (I reckon there is room for about 50 stores around the world)  but also in terms of design. If one day we can be recognized as being a market innovator and the leader in our field then I will be happy.

What advice would you have for anyone starting out in (your field)?

Have a very clear vision of what you want to do, research it every which way, leave nothing to chance and have unerring faith in what you are doing. On top of that be prepared to work extremely hard! is proud to work with British designers, why do you think British design stands out?

We are lucky to have a long heritage of design to draw from and to live in a permissive society that allows people to experiment with their ideas. British design tends to harness the past and reinvent it for the present very effectively, it is not scared to shock and even though at its extremes it is far from commercial once carefully interpreted good British design allows consumers to express their sense of individuality and quirkiness.

Elliot Rhodes newest store is at St Christopher’s Place 14 Gees Court,London W1- So pop in and take a look!

Artist Simon Peplow donates two fantastic prints to our Great British Christmas Competition

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Here at we like to say a massive thank you to the amazing Visual Tinkerer Simon Peplow for donating two of his incredible prints to our Great British Christmas Competition!

Simon Peplow- Be Kind Remind

The print is a single edition 1/1.

Simon Peplow originally hails from England's rugged second city Birmingham;  where he spent his formative years pushin' around the labyrinthian back streets on his trusty stunt stick - which eventually took him to the USA in 2001.

Upon his return, Simon went on to study a BA Hons in Visual Communication, where he obtained First Class Honours. He currently resides on the South West Coast of England in the historic city of Exeter with his two Burmese prowlers Bandit & Sylvester.  Where he enjoys razzing around on his sprocket rocket, skimming pebbles, playing ping pong and slurping ale on a daily basis to help nurture the creative process.

Ed.25 Simon Peplow

The print is not available in this specific colour. It's available in a more festive Red, Blue & White (edtn 25).

His whimsical characters have adorned various facets of the creative realm including:  Advertising, Education, Print and Animation for the likes of Carhartt Streetwear, Nike SB, SOYJOY, Arts Council England, The New York Times, The Washington Post,  Anorak Magazine, The Ride Journal, The Illustrated Ape, Stranger Magazine, Pennsylvania Gazette, Suburban Bliss Clothing, The Poetry Society, Analogue Books and Origin Coffee.  His Artworks have been exhibited in London at the V&A and internationally in New York, Boston and Amsterdam.

Simon's Illustration work has been acknowledged by prestigious publications Creative Review, Dazed & Confused, 3X3 and American Illustration.  In 2004, Simon co-founded the Outcrowd Collective as a means to collaborate with other like-minded thing makers, and exhibit their personal outpourings.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning Simon's prints along with tonnes of other prizes – there are also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

If you'd like to find out more about Simon Peplow and his work have a click on the links below.


Uig Lodge Donate Delicious Smoked Salmon to the Great British Christmas Competiton

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

We'd like to say a big thank you to Uig Lodge for their very kind donation of delicious Scottish Atlantic smoked salmon to our Great British Christmas Competition.

Hand sliced smoked salmon pack - 230g

Winner of 3 gold stars in the Guild of Fine Food's Great Taste Awards 2011. Shortlisted for 'Best Scottish Speciality' this smoked salmon is the perfect starter for  your Christmas morning.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning – there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

Artist Ben Javens adds to the Great British Christmas Competition!

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

Here at Independent Boutique we want to say a great big thank you to the very talented Ben Javens for donating a delightful screenprint to our Great British Christmas Competition.

Ben Javens-The Forest

The Forest-Ben Javens

Printed with three overlapping colours, limited edition of 30, hand pulled silkscreen print on 300g/m² Somerset Satin White paper. Dimensions are 280mm x 250mm (dimensions for printed area are 237mm x 207mm). All prints are signed and numbered.

Ben's artistic talents have been used by companies such as Warburtons, 8th Continent, Hugo Boss, The Guardian, Timeout Magazine, Static Caravan, Capsule and he is also a proud member of the UNSEEN agency family.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning – there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes – it is a growing prize draw….

Silk & Sawdust featured in Heat Magazine

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The brilliant London/Bangkok based brand Silk and Sawdust has been featured in Heat magazine this week, you can find more from this amazing brand right here on Independent Boutique.

Silk and Sawdust Ellen Dress

Silk and Sawdust, Ellen Dress

The stunning Ellen dress has intricate lace detail over a stretch-cotton body with V-neck and sheer sleeves. It has a wide waistband and diagonal skirt pleats which gives you a fabulous hour-glass silhouette.

This fab dress was included in Heat's party dresses to suit every pocket feature, which got us thinking about all things festive, so here are some more beautiful frocks to get you into the party mood.


Klue by Kelly Ann - Jessi

Jessi-Klue by Kelly Ann

This Jessi dress from Klue by Kelly Ann is the perfect cocktail party dress for any fancy partys you have lined up for the holiday season. It's deep red wine colour is THE shade to be seen in this Christmas and the exposed back adds a super-sexy edge without showing too much skin.

Lily Dress, Minna

Lily Dress, Minna

If you fancy something a little more retro, why not try this Lily Dress by Minna? With a nod to the 1930's this elegant design makes this dress a chic and timeless piece. Made from 100% silk and hand dyed you can be sure that this dress will last you for many a party season! Whats more all of the Minna clothing is made using enviromentally friendly techniques such as local manufacturing and zero waste pattern cutting techniques.

Evening Jacket, Melabelle

Evening Jacket, Melabelle

Of course you'll need a good cover-up for those chilly occasions and this Evening Jacket from Melabelle is ideal. With bronze embellishment on both the sleeves and the shoulders this evening jacket is guaranteed to make you dazzle at any event. The waterfall front means you can either leave it as a flowing garment or alternatively tie it up to nip in your waist.


So what are you waiting for, get your glad rags on! Take a look at all our fabulous partywear here.




Introducing the Land Rover Experience

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

Here at we want to thanks the British heritage company Land Rover for giving half a days off road driving to the Great British Christmas Competition.

Land Rover Experience is your opportunity to get behind the wheel of a Land Rover and Range Rover for a unique, adrenaline-fuelled driving session.

The sure-footed control, renowned handling and impressive agility


of our vehicles have to be experienced from inside the cabin to be believed. World-class instructors will be on hand to share tips and techniques, and show you how to tackle almost any terrain with confidence.
With eight centres across the UK offering a half-day, total exhilaration is nearer than you might think.

During this action-packed half-day, you'll get to tackle steep inclines, deep water, rutted tracks and ditches, with each centre offering a different combination. A great experience for newcomers to off-road driving.

Guess how many buttons are in the jar to be in with a chance of winning - there also lots of other gifts for friends and family

Winner takes all!! see our facebook page for current list of prizes - it is a growing prize draw....