Sunday, 21 March 2010
INTERVIEW - Jewellery Maker Melissa Leon
Next up in the hot-seat for a style Q&A is Melissa Leon whose quirky collection Candy Shop Couture made her name. Inspired by a cuff she created 2 years ago, her playfully elegant collection is unique, but very affordable. it's been popular too since its launch last year and sold out on ASOS.com within a few weeks...
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I am North London based costume jewellery designer/maker and tutor. I teach jewellery making to children, young people and adults at various venues across London and I really enjoy it! I love being creative and besides jewellery making I love customising clothes and trying out other crafts.
How did you get started creating jewellery?
One day in March 2007, I was having a really bad week when I was checking my emails and saw something about a one-day jewellery making class. Straight away I thought, I deserve a treat! So, I booked onto it for that weekend. At the class I picked up the techniques quickly and found that I really enjoyed it, so when I went home I ordered all of the necessary tools and equipment. and started taking it up as a hobby. Word of mouth eventually got around and... here I am today with my own business!
If you had to wear just one fashion designer's clothes for life, who would it be?
I would have to say Chanel. Chanel has a classical elegance to it. Very chic - I absolutely love that.
What has been your biggest ever bargain?
A few years ago I was in Manchester with some friends and we went to a large TK Maxx store. I was rooting through the accessories when I found a gorgeous pink bag with heavy, diamante charms on it - I cannot remember the designer's name (I have given it away as a gift now) but it was beautiful - I had never seen anything like it! Anyway, I bought it for £25.00 - £30.00. I was on the tram and my friends and I were admiring the bag, still in disbelief that such blatant quality could have cost just £25.00. Another passenger and her friend were watching and came up to us and said "Can you believe, we were just in Selfridges admiring that exact handbag - it cost £250.00!" needless to say after hearing that, I was even more chuffed with my bargain!
And what has been your biggest ever splurge?
I like to buy unique things, but have most of the time considered the things I have bought as "good value for money" whatever the cost has been - I guess my most "extravagant" spend was purchasing a leather and crystal pen from Fortnum & Mason for £50.00 - I say "extravagant" because you wouldn't usually spend £50.00 on a pen! I also once bought a small hair clip for around the same price in Oxford Street, but could not resist the way it sparkled!
What inspires you?
I get inspired by many things, it could be a memory, an occasion, a time of year. With my first collection, Candy Shop Couture, I was inspired by the playfulness of childhood. The Westnic collection is inspired by my personal definition of Black History month
What is your beauty routine?
I cleanse, tone and moisturise every day. I also do a full body scrub every fortnight. I use full body moisturiser just before I get into bed, so my skin is feels lovely and soft when I wake up!
What do you collect?
Vintage brooches - I get them from various boutiques or from Vintage fairs.
Which celebrity would you love to wear your jewellery and why?
I would say Alesha Dixon, because she is not only very attractive, but has a young, fresh look about her and I believe she would pull off the jewellery nicely. Also, she has a good image, she is not too provocative and intoxicating with her lyrics and performances like soooo many other female artists nowadays.
Which celebrity do you think has the best style?
It would have to be Sarah Jessica Parker - she really knows how to "wear" various looks and is not a follower but a leader in personal style, that's what I like about her!
What is your favourite trend of the moment?
I am loving the "statement heel" at the moment!
How do you turn around a bad hair day?
With a beret or a blingy Alice band - I've had quite of few bad hair days!
What would you wear on a first date?
OK, we would be going to a nice restaurant, so I'd wear a dress or skirt with a satin bow around the waist, heels and a simple clutch purse, with a pair of my very own statement hoop earrings! I'd probably do my hair Farah Fawcett style!
What piece of jewellery do you never take off?
Being a jewellery designer I have to wear different pieces of my creations all the time, but a definite fave that I always wear has to be my freshwater pearl and crystal structured bracelet with ribbon fastening (attached) it is simple, but so cute and elegant and always attracts attention.
Shop Melissa's jewellery online