5 Questions with Penelope Chilvers
You're well known for your footwear creations that are worn from celebrities and royals alike, so please tell us: What inspires you?
Inspiration comes to me each time I return to the source of where our footwear is made, in southern Spain. The artisans we work with always amaze me with their archives and knowledge. That, coupled with our customer's lifestyle and their appreciation for long lasting products - HRH Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge has been wearing our boots for over a decade!
I listen hard to our customer's requests and admire our customer's style - it's what drives my inspiration everyday.
Travel and adventure, a healthy outdoor lifestyle, a respect for natural materials and for footwear's function, are all the elements that are brought to life through good design.
What are your favourite pieces from the by Iris collection and which PC shoes would you style them with?
I love to wear boots with dresses, and a maxi dress is always such a feminine pretty thing to wear.
I never have enough shirts in my wardrobe. I could say it’s my uniform to wear a shirt every day so really loved discovering these black and white blouses with frills on the collar and shoulder line. They seem to frame the face and make one feel petite inside.
I was surprised at how much I’ve enjoyed wearing the top and bottom together as one. I’ve worn it several times with our Queen Elizabeth embroidered Dandy Slippers for summer evenings.
Your brand is all about ‘Go Anywhere and Do Anything’. What’s next for Penelope Chilvers?
I’ve just come back from a trip to Spain where I invited some adventurous girlfriends to ride through marshlands and visit my artisans. In the evening we sat by a roaring fire, eating cheese, and drinking wine in a country cortijo in the middle of a vast nature reserve.
This trip was a double celebration for me, to celebrate our 20 years anniversary this year, and preparation for an exciting collaboration with the designer India Hicks, who’s personal style I’ve admired for many years. Our joint collection will be launching in September in our stores and online. Look out for 4 very wearable items for your wardrobe that amazingly span every occasion.
Your shops and your home both have a very special, unique feel to them. Would you say that your style in interiors carries through to how you dress?
We are a brand that’s not precious, with a certain practicality. Our footwear is made for wearing, not for keeping in a cupboard for special occasions. Our boots are to be kept by the back door, ready for use, to become “old friends”.
Our stores in Notting Hill and Mayfair represent a pleasant and calm retreat off the busy streets of London that aim to evoke the feeling of walking under a canopy of oakleaves in sunlight, an interior made of natural materials and rustic style inspired by a country boot room or a stable yard.
Our shops are about to be refreshed with new interiors, by the interior designer, Isabella Worsley. The design brief is the same though, to keep the same bucolic charm throughout.
Although I spend every week in London, where I launched my business 20 years ago, I spend the rest of my time between Gloucestershire and Spain. Natural materials, vintage furniture and fabrics are elements I love to use at home too.
Do I dress in a similar way to how I dress my interiors? I’ve never thought of that, but perhaps I do – natural fabrics, texture, vintage prints, is what my wardrobe contains, and my favourite colour is green! So the answer must be “Yes”!
And finally: What would be your perfect day?
A perfect day for me could be an ordinary day in my studio drawing, playing some Bossa Nova or Jazz, and enjoying my creativity, and wandering round the garden thinking about colour and a new collection. Like today for instance!
Alternatively it could be an early morning energetic dog walk with a delicious breakfast at the end of it. We have just made the most amazing boots for walks in the park or countryside – a hybrid of a sneaker (for comfort and bounce) and a boot (for style and ease) that is entirely waterproof. It’s called The Jump Boot, and its coming in September.
I’ll be wearing mine all winter long!