Here is the latest in my series of Quick Q&As with boutique owners and bloggers. My interviewee has plenty of words of wisdom to share and prides herself on satisfying a real shopping need for women out there. She's a sucker for a designer handbag and loves to splurge on jewellery from time to time too. Read on for some style inspiration...
Tell us a bit about yourself?
I'm Jean Queen Donna Ida Thornton, the founder of designer denim boutique Donna Ida. We stock the top denim labels including J Brand, MiH Jeans, Goldsign, Citizens of Humanity, Current/Elliott and James Jeans with tops and accessories to go with them from Wildfox, Markus Lupfer and Tucker plus many more!
Why did you open your shop?
I opened Donna Ida because I couldn't find anywhere to buy jeans that I felt truly comfortable in. Department stores have a great selection but I couldn't get the service I needed and I was paranoid I wouldn't be able to get them up over my thighs and would have to get dressed and go out looking for more sizes myself. Which usually did happen. We now have a great service in store and online www.donnaida.com called the Denim Clinic for anyone who is not sure which jeans to buy.
What inspires you?
God - everything! Talking to friends, movies, fashion magazines, customers in the shop. I like passion and energy - for anything. My boss once told me there are two kinds of people in life, drains and radiators, and you do NOT want to be a drain.
If you had to wear just one fashion designer's clothes for life, who would it be?
That is such a tough call. Elizabeth and James I guess, as they jeans and tees all the way through to evening. I have a lot of bases to cover!
What are your top 3 high street stores and why?
I can't honestly say I buy high street often but when I do it's M&S for socks, Topshop for the odd bikini, H&M and Forever 21 for bits of fun jewellery. Zara I walk through a lot and like to check out what they're doing but I haven't bought anything from Zara for years now.
What has been your biggest ever bargain?
I don't know if I've ever really bagged a bargain, I seem to pay full price plus a bit more because they saw me coming. I did get a great bag in the Miu Miu sale once though. I lost out to a speedier shopper in Westfield Miu Miu but they told me there was still one in Bond Street. My friend high tailed it to Bond Street for me and had to beat off another contender but we got it in the end. It was still £700 - something I didn't notice in the chase. It gets a lot of comments though and I've had it for years now.
Donna Ida has stores in Belgravia, Chelsea, Guildford and Westfield London.
And what has been your biggest ever splurge?
I bought a pair of earrings in Paris once for £4,000. I saw them but had spent so much on net-a-porter I didn't have room on my credit card to get them. So I had to go back to London, wait for some room to be freed up on the card to squeeze the earrings on, then buy them over the phone. They then hung about in the safe in Paris for months till I could go back and get them. They're 1920s Indian earrings with pearls and brown diamonds. At the time I felt like I couldn't live without them. Now I realise I probably would have survived, but I'm really glad I got them.
I try to drink as much water as possible - that's really key. Keep flushing! I use an oily eye makeup remover and cleanse, tone and moisturise morning and night. I try not to put too much water on my face - water is so drying. I also use a lot more E45 cream on my face, neck and decolletage then I used to. At least once or twice a week at night as it's so rich but very calming. I love Sarah Chapman's Overnight Facial - it's an amazing product - and I love Dr Brandt's eye cream. I'm not a slave to any one product though, I do tend to mix it up quite a lot. If you're on a budget definitely get yourself a big pot of E45 cream though, it's great.
What do you collect?
Jewellery, handbags, shoes, and coffee table books.
Which celebrity would you love to dress and why?
I'd love to help the Kardashians with jeans. They should all wear clean, simple styles.
Which celebrity do you think has the best style?
I think Kate Moss and Nicole Richie always look good and true to themselves no matter what. They make subtle changes to their look to keep it fresh but you always know it's them - they haven't just been dressed by someone and pushed out the door.
What is your favourite trend of the moment?
Colour and print. It's exactly what we needed for SS12. Everyone's so excited about it - the girls love having it in the boutiques and the customers light up when they see it.
How do you turn around a bad hair day?
With dry shampoo and as little fiddling as possible. When it's bad, don't make it worse!
What would you wear on a first date?
Jeans, heels, a soft tee, a great structured blazer and a big smile (I'm married, it must have worked).
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