A Behind the Handbag Chat with Helen Rochfort

To end the week we have something a little bit different … a guest blog post from Handbag Designer, Helen Rochfort; a lovely insight into the inspiration behind her unique range of handbags, and her recent collaboration with Author Carole Matthews, which has resulted in a book – ‘Summer Dreams’ – inspired by Helen’s real-life journey to becoming a Handbag Designer.

About Helen Rochfort

Inspiration for my designs comes from nostalgia: 1940’s to 1980’s art, film, design, fashion and food, but I add in modern new and fresh elements.Films including Mary Poppins, the 1970’s Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory, and Alice in Wonderland are a great inspiration for my designs. Anything froma vintage piece of fabric, sweet shops, a delicious scent, ice-cream vans, Pop Art or old music footage of the 1960’s can inspire a handbag. I love the mix of old and new, and fresh and bright designs with a twist of  vintage. Graffiti designs from artist Fafi are amazing! I have a great love for fairy tales especially the darker side of them, including Red Riding Hood and Hansel and Gretel. Humour and twists are added to many of my designs – as fashion should be fun and not taken too seriously.

Carole and I had become friends after initially meeting over Facebook. My status picture was a picture of Barbara Cartland and Carole thought I was a romance writer – but it was just my sense of humour. She fell in love with my handbags and, over the months we kept in touch through the internet. Carole then asked me to create a limited edition handbag for one of her novels, The Chocolate Lovers’ Club. When we got chatting about life in general over a few glasses of wine, Carole picked up on the fact that I’d had quite a lot of colourful experiences – perfect for a novel. Sometimes, life really is a lot stranger and more crazy than fiction!

The last ten years have been incredibly tough – we’ve had a lot of ups and downs along the way and the book is a fantastic mirror of our experiences but on a much shorter timescale. It’s great that something so wonderful and positive has come out of it. Thank you, Summer Daydreams!

Summer Daydreams by Carole Matthews (Sphere, £6.99) is available from all good bookshops, and to see more or purchase one of Helen’s handbags please visit the Helen Rochfort website.