Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Interview: Caroline Issa for L.K.Bennett

Regular readers of this blog will be familiar with my love of fashion editor Caroline Issa's style so you can imagine my joy when she announced a collaboration with UK based shoe brand L.K. Bennett. The result is a vibrant and playful capsule collection of shoes and bags featuring Thai inspired embroidery and neon pom-poms! I caught up with Caroline to discuss the collection and her style secrets.

Where are you and what are you doing right now? Sitting at my desk at Tank HQ in Central London - loving it, as have been travelling for the past month and it's great to have some roots for a while!

Tell us about the inspiration behind your collection for L.K.Bennett. I went to the Film on the Rocks inaugural festival curated by Tilda Swinton in Yao Noi, Thailand last March. I picked up an amazing bag in a local market which inspired the collection

How did you come to collaborate with L.K.Bennett? They approached me about creating a capsule collection, and as I had recently been in their stores and was really impressed with the product, the quality and the price point, I decided to work with them on this fun collaboration.

I’m in love with the loafers! Do you have a favourite piece in the collection? I couldn’t possibly choose! The collection is all classic, simple shaped underpinned with fabulous embellishment, the Parrot court and Bamboo slipper have pop poms too, why don’t more shoes have pom poms!

How would you describe your personal style and how does that manifest itself in your designs? It's so clichéd, but my style is classic with a twist - I'll use colour, or texture to standout from a simple outfit - hence what I loved about conveying in my shoe collection was that you could be wearing a simple pair of jeans and white shirt and let your shoes do all the heavy lifting when it came to style and effort. They are a nice conversation starter, and it's always good to have something to talk about :)

What drew you to accessories specifically? My style philosophy has always been about letting your shoes do the talking - so I tend to dress with shoes as the starting point. My love of talking point shoes is well documented!

Talk us through the design process. I had so much fun sketching out the shoes, and working with Kim Saint, L.K.Bennett’s amazing head of production when it came to sampling the shoes and bags - we wanted to get it just right, and agonized over things like the pompoms, the fit, the contrast heel tip in pink, etc. I was 100% involved and the L.K.Bennett team were incredibly supportive and passionate in getting it right on.

Did you design with someone in mind? The L.K.Bennett collaboration was an opportunity that came about from a conversation…I don’t have any formal design training and would never claim to be a shoe designer, but I certainly have a point of view and it came together when I thought about what I’d want to wear come Spring! I did draw the collection myself, but it’s a skill, and let me tell you: I spent hours and hours on my drawings.

What should a good pair of shoes do for someone? They should make you feel fabulous, confident and ready to take on the world!

How would you describe your aesthetic in three words? It’s clichéd I know but- its best described as classic with a twist (am I allowed 4 words?) I love tailoring and effortlessness-I’m not into fussy dressing- so I’ll choose a pieces or outfits that are easy to pull together, like a suit or a dress that only requires a belt to give it a great silhouette.

If you could steal anyone's wardrobe - past or present - whose would it be and why? Diana Vreeland, Gloria Vanderbilt and Elizabeth Taylor's jewels! They were all so fabulous!

What are your 5 wardrobe essentials? Equipment shirts, Paul Smith suits, YSL tuxedo and Prada shoes and my L.K.Bennett collection of course!

Any beauty rituals? Red lipstick – It will salvage any outfit or tired face. At the moment I love Shu Umura Sensual Red.

What’s coming up next for you? Are you planning a collection for autumn/winter 2013?After a fun fashion month of seeing all the fall fashions, working on my new issues of Tank and becauselondon.com
Describe your perfect day. Reading magazines on my balcony on a warm London day with a cup of tea.

For more of Caroline's work, visit Tank and Because.com
To see the collection, visit L.K. Bennett


  1. I love her view on shoes. They SHOULD make us feel confident and fabulous. Thanks for this interview.

    Kate from Clear the Way

  2. What a lovely interview! Thank you for putting this together. Caroline is such an inspiration- I love how she transitioned her career from management consulting to what she does today.