Tuesday 7 March 2017

The Fairytale Adornments of CLARA FRANCIS

Once upon a time, in a city far far away (called London), there lived a beautiful enchantress named Clara. Clara spent her time metamorphosing butterfly-like into other people on stage, and conjuring woodland creatures from tiny Japanese glass beads with just her own two fair hands. Welcome to the fairytale world of CLARA FRANCIS and her fantastical adornments.

Hand woven British butterflies, playful stars, delicate flowers and magical birds are exquisitely fashioned into hairpieces, necklaces, rings... From elegantly positioned motifs to overflowing organic arrangements, Clara Francis's ethereal jewellery is a softly sparkling statement, glittering with bewitching femininity. Perfect for the princess bride who wants to feel like a storybook heroine on her big day without the pomp and fluff of a meringue-like ensemble, Clara Francis's work is contemporary with a nod to the ancient.

With a new collection brewing; which will be officially launched at our fair later this month; and a twinkling array of ready-to-buy pieces, Clara also offers a bespoke service starting at £200. If you love her otherworldly vibes, but would like to request a piece to your unique requirements, Clara would love to hear from you. Imagine your own favourite butterfly sitting pretty about your d├ęcolletage or your daughter's favourite animal nestled in her hair as she scatters rose petals at your feet as you walk down the aisle...magical!

We are so excited to welcome the wonderful Clara Francis back to our London Most Curious Wedding Fair at the Old Truman Brewey later this month, and she will be showcasing a rather special feathery piece! 

We caught up with her in the run up the the fair to talk Beauty and the Beast, Danish princesses and London Zoo...

Why did you decide to set up your own business?

I decided to set up my business to compliment my career in acting….I was never very good at being an unemployed actress and needed to keep myself busy and pay my rent each month!! Coming from a family of jewellers and being drawn to anything that sparkles, it seemed a natural fit for me to teach myself the traditional art of bead weaving. This was all pre “You Tube Tutorials” so, instead I took any beading book I could find out of my local library and painstakingly taught myself each technique and made up many of my own in the process…I loved the challenge of taking such an ancient craft and infusing it with my own contemporary aesthetic. 

My first collection was bought by Harvey Nichols and the rest is history…I have sold to some of the most beautiful and exclusive boutiques around the World. I was particularly proud when Anthropologie contacted me and put in a huge order which took me months to complete. When I was preparing for my own wedding I couldn’t find the headpiece that I had imagined in my minds eye….i wanted a halo of golden stars… so I sat down and worked out how to make them….that’s when I decided that I wanted to open a bridal wing of my business. Working one to one with each Bride on her own unique headpiece for the most special day of her life is such a special way to work….

What's been the coolest/best moment of your career so far?

There have been many incredible moments for my business so far…..one was being approached by The Crown Princess of Norway, Mette-Marit, to design and create a bespoke tiara for her to wear to a State event last year….an incredible honour for me being a teeny tiny business…I asked where she had seen my work. Apparently she follows me on Instagram!!!! Made me laugh!!

Another great moment was only last week when I found out that one of my pieces had made the final edit of the new Disney “Beauty and the Beast” movie. I was approached by the costume designer Jacqueline Durran to make a giant beaded plume for the character of “Plumette” the Feather Duster (played by Gugu Mbatha-Raw) It took me hundreds of hours to design and create and I wasn’t even sure they were going to use it so I’m absolutely over the moon that they actually did…it is worn in her hair and  apparently has its own close up. Joy!! I am recreating the beaded feather in a smaller version in my new  bridal collection which I will be debuting at this years “A Most Curious Wedding Fair” so look out for that.

Another great moment was being asked to exhibit at London Fashion Week by The British Fashion Council I showed for 6 seasons there until I was absolutely burnt out by producing and making two collections a year. Didn’t work for me….i like to do things slower.

Another great moment was when the V&A approached me to create a piece for their “Cherry on the Cake” exhibition…..i had to find one piece within the museum I was drawn to and make a piece of jewellery inspired by that object…such choice…I went for an incredible Huguenots embroidered sampler and the piece I made has been permanently archived, so a huge honour.

But I absolutely feel that my favourite moments in my business are ALWAYS when one of my brides sends me images through of her on her wedding day…looking so happy and resplendent in her beaded creation. I love seeing those images.  It is an absolute honour to make each of my Brides unique headpieces. To know that that special piece of jewellery will be treasured and loved forever, physically, in images and above all, in memories is a beautiful thing. I find very humbling and I never take it for granted.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m predominantly inspired by fairytales, childhood secret memories relived in a special and different way. I find the illustrations of Cicely Mary Barker, Arthur Rackham and contemporary illustrator David Lupton hugely inspiring. I love to go to the British Museum and the V&A and  just wander around with a sketch pad but also LOVE fashion…love the work of the fashion house Chlo├ź particularly in the 70’s. I am also obsessing over what Valentino are doing currently, their beadwork is sublime, my dream would be to create some jewellery for them. 

I can't write about my inspirations without mentioning Butterflies…I’m a butterfly obsessive.I have them all over my home, have London Zoo membership so I can regularly visit the butterfly house and recently bred my own Hawk Moths from caterpillar to Moth they were dancing round my kitchen!!

We girls here at Most Curious HQ cannot wait to see Clara Francis' feathered headpiece and her new collection for ourselves! If you want to come visit her at our fair we still have a few TICKETS left. Quick quick before they get snapped up!


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