the ‘aha!’ moment

I love these moments and at the weekend, I had one so beautiful that I may marry it (low key ceremony, Marchesa gown, cello & harp down the aisle, profiterole tower, honeymoon in Aruba. Or Goa. Both? Oh go on, it *is* my extended parenthetical fantasy after all).

You know that drawer where all the Really Nice Supplies I Love Obsessively But Just Can’t Find A Use For/ Just Can’t Bear To Use Unless The Resulting Thing Is Perfection Itself? (My former English teacher, Mrs S, is preparing her sniper rifle for that egregious capitalisation.) Oh yes, you know it. Well, I have one such drawer. Every so often, I rummage through, finding those Paris beads I can’t bear to use, or that beautiful length of ribbon.. and this weekend, I managed to use three– count ’em- types of beads from the drawer in various pieces.

When in doubt, simplicity is everything. Oh, I love those moments of “Aha!”..


interview with Fi Fi Le Rue founder, Fiona Archibald

This is the first installment of a feature where I interview some artists and craftyfolk I really admire. Today I’m starting with the evil genius behind the wonderful Fi Fi Le Rue label, Fiona Archibald. She creates dresses and corsages that are adorned with beautiful embroidery, beading and other gorgeous flourishes. One of the elements that really lifts the Fi Fi Le Rue line above the norm is the amount of care and attention in the work- Fiona is meticulous in creating her designs and it shows.

I’ll start by suckering you with the two questions everyone dreads: how did you get started and where does your inspiration come from?
I’ve been working on FiFi Le Rue since 2006 and have been developing the label ever since. I specialised in Textile Design while at Art School and it really went from there, slowly but surely getting my head round my next steps. My inspirations come from pretty much everywhere, from old-school Hollywood starlets like Grace Kelly to the pin up models of the 50s. I love the idea of vintage inspired pieces with a modern twist. Growing up watching Dynasty gave me a taste for OTT cocktail wear- Crystal Carrington had some foxy outfits, never mind Alexis Colby and her slinky sequin numbers!

Just a tiny peek at the Fi Fi Le Rue range
Just a tiny peek at the Fi Fi Le Rue range



What other artists do you admire and why?
I love Vivienne Westwood. Her whole rebellion and refusal to conform to conventional fashion really inspires me- her stuff can be really edgy but still wearable at the same time. I often find myself drooling over Christian Lacroix beadwork, wow! Just that over the top embellishment and immaculate silhouette is jaw dropping to me as a designer. I look to a lot of fine artists when it comes to colour, I particularly like Ken Curries’ (Scottish painter) use of pale tones next to dark backgrounds and pop art can be so inspiring when it comes to funky eye-catching colour pallettes.

What’s your poison? Take that one however you will..
Hmmm, beads beads beads, vintage fabric and general bits and bobs. I am a terrible hoarder for little pieces of sparkly embellishment and have a  spare room dedicated to my findings and impulse buys. I get so precious about some things, like fancy buttons and it takes me all my willpower to actually use them as opposed to keeping them in a wee bag and bringing them out every so often to merely stroke and admire them. I am well aware that I sound mad, however I know a certain jewellery designer who is exactly the same, I wonder who that could be??? Ha ha ha. 
*cough cough* Oh indeed, who could that be? So, what can we expect to see from Fifi Le Rue in 2009?
You’ll probably see a very exhausted me standing in the cold at Cows Lane! In terms of the collection I am heading towards more funky party and cocktail wear. I feel that people are looking for a very individual style, especially with summer weddings and functions etc, they want to stand out from the crowd but not have to pay a huge amount to do so. I aim to create very affordable high fashion.
Thanks for being such a sport. Tell us, oh Patient One, where can we lay our hands on your wares?
At Cow’s Lane Designer Mart, every Saturday from 14th March 10 til 5 come rain or shine!! My website is being developed as we speak and I hope to have the Fi Fi Le Rue website launched very soon. Watch this space!
We certainly will. Thanks much!