We reveal Laura Bailey’s new collection for LK Bennett

No stranger to fashion - model, writer, designer and Vogue contributing editor Laura Bailey has collaborated with one of our favourite shoe brands, LK Bennett. After friends Rosamund Pike and fashion editor Caroline Issa previously partnered with the brand, the project proved too tempting even juggling six jobs and two children. Featuring five shoes and a clutch bag, the collection is inspired by the dolce vita of the Amalfi Coast in the Sixties - in Bailey's words, shoes "made to dance on London pavements or Capri sands". We can't wait for the collection to hit stores from March 25 so we caught up with Bailey to talk about her inspiration and get an exclusive glimpse of her new campaign.

Tell us about the capsule range...

I wanted the collection to genuinely evoke travel. I wanted the prints and colours to reflect my inspiration of the Amalfi Coast - to evoke an Italian spirit, a joyous spirit an Italian dolce vita. I also wanted them to have a slightly nostalgic nod to the iconic Italian actresses I love from the Sixties and Seventies. I wanted them to stand out and be original from the other shoes in my wardrobe, for myself and for my girlfriends, which is why I created a variety heels and shapes to suit different women.

Do you have a favourite style?

I do change my mind – the white flat open-toe sandal is the one I have been wearing the most. I designed the collection to be hard working and go with anything. In LA I wore them with denim and summer dresses – as you do in LA (I was there for myself and for the Oscars, supporting my boyfriend [producer Eric Fellner] in his film) but I am not somebody with strict styling rules. The whole ethos behind the collection is to be carefree, bohemian and to create my dream shoes for travel and for summer.

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Laura behind the scenes at LK Bennett

What do you love about Amalfi?

I discovered it in my twenties when I went there for shoots and road (Vespa) trips. In the last ten years I have returned with friends and family. I love the coast, the landscape, the colours, the Dolce Vita the true sense of living well. I love to be in the water and on the water. It is somewhere I can share with my extended gang of friends and family, that has become a tradition.

Is Dolce Vita a favourite film from that period?

I love it. I don’t know if it’s a favourite. I like Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Eclisse, La Notte and Monica Vitti, his muse and star of those films. Of course Fellini’s vision encapsulates the area and the time that I was inspired by, but I love different aspects of different films. 

Shoes range from £195 to £295; clutch, £275.

Are you particular about shoes?

Like most women I am passionate about shoes in that I know what I love. I have my favourites, not just for a season, but that remind me of trips, special nights or romance. I have very clear ideas of what I want and like, and it is not necessarily the hot, new thing. I am someone who wears a favourite thing for years and years. It’s more of an instinct for what I love - about a mood or memory than an obsession for a particular style.

How do you feel about mid-height heels?

I love them. I designed them, but then I don't have a type. I love old mannish brogues and party shoes. I am as attached to Nike high tops as to Alaia heels which I bought long ago on a trip to Paris and have worn for ten years to every big party. I wore my friend Charlotte Olympia’s glitter heels to the Oscars and they are real Cinderella shoes. I also have my chunky brogues from Stella McCartney and I was on stage at my children's school for Comic Relief dressed as a Seventies mum wearing Birkenstocks. So I have quite a diverse mix. I also happen to be an expert in running in extremely high heels, but I really wanted the collection to be accessible and practical for busy working women like me. I’m in the unusual position of wearing sky-scraper heels for work but that’s not the norm.

Did you find it easy to marry your aesthetic to LK Bennett's?

Yes we were very in synch. I obviously needed and relied on their technical expertise, on the flip side they let my desires run wild. I am drawn to the classic and the timeless as well as something more edgy so it was very harmonious.

Was there anything you put your foot down over?

The only struggle was in the edit - we drew and sampled too many and the tricky point was choosing what to let go, but obviously the edit is crucial in a capsule collection - less is more.

Aside from being a mum what is your favourite role?

It is hard to choose - I love fashion but I also love the solitude of writing and I love the team spirit of collaborating. One of the luckiest things in my life is that I can cross-pollinate my creative paths. My writing supports my love of travel, which is often thanks to my modelling. It’s a very lucky full circle for me at the moment. I am addicted to every day being different and every week bringing new challenges. So I am thriving in the mix rather than trying to refine it.

Would you like to write a book?

Every journalist or writer would say they are thinking about it. I have got a few ideas - I would love to one day - but definitely not this year.

What was the last book you read?

I just started The First Bad Man by Miranda July and I just finished the Improbability Of Love by my friend Hannah Rothschild but I am very excited by The First Bad Man but I seem to be carrying it around a lot.

Is it important to switch off from work?

Yes I force myself to with my children. I am the sort of person who would rather be at my son’s football match and then work late into the night.

Does your daughter want to follow in mummy’s footsteps? Does she love your shoes?

I have no idea - she is only six! She will definitely notice if something is new and she might, for comedy effect, try on a pair of heels but she is not a girly-girl at all – she mostly wears her football strip - and that’s fine with me.

 

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Laura's moodboard of inspiration featuring the zigzag-effect Sixties and Seventies swimsuits that she found on eBay that inspired the bold prints. 

What did you want to be when you were younger?

I wanted to be an athlete. I’m very sporty. I was a long distance runner. My heroes were Olympic athletes. I never seriously thought I’d be an athlete but that was my passion, that’s what drove me.

Do you still run?

Not competitively or seriously, more with my dog and my kids in the park.

How do you stay looking young?

My life is pretty hyperactive and I cycle everywhere in London. I love to play tennis. I don’t do very much ‘organised’ exercise - I am more about action. If I cycle it’s because I like a sense of getting somewhere and being outside. I think in terms of youth it is very much a state of mind. If you are lucky enough to love what you do and stay curious, then that’s reflected, not necessarily in how you look, but definitely in how you feel. I’m not perfect, I could definitely do with a bit more sleep and a little less coffee but I have good days and bad days. There is something about an ever-evolving life and curiosity that keeps you young in spirit.

Did you feel differently about style when you turned 40?

No the opposite actually. I loved turning 40 and most of my best friends are all within a couple of years of each other. It’s an exciting time for a woman and it has been for me. I know who I am, I want to waste less time, I am certainly not a proponent of changing your style at 40, I think it is all personal and emotional.

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Did you ever think about cutting your hair short?

No it makes me want to do the opposite - I now have the longest hair I ever had in my life – it’s down to my waist. I like extremes. I like being a little bit against the grain.

What does your role as British Fashion Council ambassador entail?

To celebrate and tell the story of British design especially around London Fashion Week that filters all through my fashion life. It is a patriotic support of what I consider to be the best design talent in the world.

And which designers do you love?

I love Roksanda Ilincic, Christopher Kane, and smaller brands like Sister by Sibling and Shrimps.

Finally, sunglasses are one of your favourite accessories - who makes the best ones?

Yes I love my shades. My favourites are Chanel and a small new label called Zanzan.

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By Claire Brayford