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Diane Hassall is Stepping it Up

We caught up with Diane Hassall to find out about her stunning new collection, and the future of her brand

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Selection of Diane Hassall shoes
Selection of Diane Hassall shoes

Without generalising too much, it’s not hard to find a girl who is crazy about shoes. So it’s no surprise that after the dress, many brides cite shoes as the most important part of their outfit for their big day. And if brides are after something extra special, then they will simply fall in love with the new styles from Diane Hassall’s new collection.

We met the designer at White Gallery 2018, where she showed us her gorgeous footwear. Elegant, chic and ultra-pretty - and in a huge variety of styles to suit a whole wealth of dresses; you can see the collection was created by a master craftsperson.

How did you come to launch your own brand?

“I’ve been in the bridal industry forever! It’s what I know and love, and I simply live and breathe shoes. I’ve had my own brand in the past making shoes for individual brides and then worked in the manufacturing industry for many years, but I really felt the need for change and wanted to be totally in charge of the creative process again.”

“Manufacturing can stifle you creatively, so a couple of years ago I started working on my new Di by Diane Hassall collection, which I launched at White Gallery in 2017. I wanted to create a collection that was both bridal and wearable after the big day, so that brides could wear them again, hence the choice of nude/blush tones.”

Tell us about your latest collection.

“Where are the materials sourced and the shoes made? I’m lucky to have found a lovely small artisan factory in Portugal, they are specialists in quality; the craftsmanship of the shoes is so important to me. I’d love to make my shoes in the UK, but sadly it’s just not possible. My suedes come from Spain, my silks from Italy and my laces from France. I go where the quality is, I do work with many British suppliers, too, wherever possible in fact.”

“I’m continuing to work with my lovely soft colour palette of nudes and blush hues, they’re so flattering to most skin tones and look beautiful with ivory, blush and champagne tones. I’ve also introduced a beautiful blue and a soft grey, these are shoes to wear again and again.”

How many stockists do you have in the UK?

“We only have a small number of stockists at present, we are less than a year old so we are building gradually. We picked up a few new accounts at White Gallery, which was nice, though we are still looking for more.”

“We did have a lot of interest from overseas buyers but we are concentrating on our own market first and will look to Europe when we are totally happy with where we’re at in the UK.”

How do you work with your retailers?

“We like to give our suppliers a personal service and supply them with our ‘Shoe Artistry’ box, which is like a lovely ‘chocolate box’ full of goodies, ranging from cute 50s bows to blousy silk blooms, which can be added to the shoes, so that brides can get creative and style their own look. We’re just launching a collection of shoe charms to add to the straps, which we’re also helping our retailers promote.”

“We like to think we can offer something a little different and we’re always open to suggestion. At Christmas one of our retailers invited us to take part in a Christmas evening and we created our own special Shoe Artistry Christmas tree! I’m very happy to do events like this, it’s always great to meet up with brides and get some genuine feedback.”

How are you hoping to promote the brand?

“We have Look Books that we supply to our retailers, and we advertise in retail magazines. We also work hard on our social media, finding Facebook and Instagram work best for us.”

“Social media is a full time job in itself though! It’s so hard finding time for everything and I do confess to sharing pics of my gin and tonic sometimes! Instagram is a great tool for sharing!”

We know you worked on a collaboration recently - can you tell us any more about it?

“I’ve recently collaborated with the lovely Bowen Dryden, we produced a collection of shoes under the brand name ‘Kookychu’ to work alongside Bowen Dryden’s first fashion collection, which was launched during London Fashion Week. The shoes are great (if I say so myself) with lots of colour, embroidery and beautiful embellishment, and as much as I love bridal it was so exciting to work with so much colour.”

Finally, what does the future hold for you?

“Hopefully the next couple of years will see us get really established with a range of great stockists throughout the UK, and potentially worldwide. I’d also love to develop the colour side of the brand, increasing our range of colours and working with some niche fashion footwear stores, too.”

“I’m hoping that there is a future for the Kookychu brand with Bowen Dryden, too, we’ve both loved working together and see a real future for this quirky, ‘Kooky’ shoe collection. We have so much in common, particularly a love of embroidery and embellishment, so I’d love to further that. We also have another idea we’re talking about, which we hope to start work on soon, so watch this space! There just aren’t enough hours are there!?”

 

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