Prue Leith: ‘I’m bold for an oldie’
There are certain things that are sure to happen during every episode of The Great British Bake Off.
Paul Hollywood will disapprove of a new twist on a classic cake. One of the contestants will suffer an unfortunate slip-up in the kitchen. And someone will make a double entendre involving a pastry case.
Also guaranteed? Prue Leith will be sporting some seriously snazzy jewellery while sampling the bakers’ offerings and deciding who gets to stay in the celebrated tent for another week.
Now, at the age of 79, the Bake Off judge has turned her hand from food to fashion, collaborating on a jewellery collection with Lola Rose founder Nikki Gewirtz.
The range features statement necklaces, bold bracelets and colourful earrings inspired by Leith’s love of all things bright and beautiful.
The mark the launch, we caught up with the famous foodie to chat style and shopping.
You’re known for your statement jewellery, where did your love of bright and bold pieces start?
“I think it’s my South African origins. I grew up with gardens full of wonderfully bright orange and red flowers, with the blue jacaranda trees and bougainvillea scrambling over everything.”
How do you decide which necklace to pair with an outfit?
“I have a shamefully huge collection so once I’m dressed, I just go to the wall on which they all hang and grab what goes with the outfit.
“Very occasionally I start with the necklace – especially if it’s new and I love it! – and then match the outfit to it.”
Did you enjoy collaborating on the Lola Rose collection? What was the design process like?
“I loved working on the collaboration and especially with Nikki! She’s been designing great jewellery for years.
“She was really open to me asking for even more colour, bigger and bolder designs than ever before. She was great to work with and enjoyed the challenge.”
If you had to choose a favourite piece from the collection what would it be and why?
“My favourite pieces are the Jo Anne and Marden necklaces.”
You appeared on QVC to talk about the collection, how did you find the experience?
“It was huge fun and went like a flash. I was nervous at first, I’ve never directly sold anything on TV before.
“But Nikki and Miceal Murphy were fun and very friendly, and of course I got caught up in the excitement.
“We sold everything long before the program was due to stop, and QVC closed the program early.
“I was disappointed because by then I was enjoying it and wished we’d have more stock to sell.”
How would you describe your personal style?
“Bold for an oldie! I like colour, comfort and a bit of drama.”
Are there any fashion ‘rules’ you subscribe to?
“There are no rules except to please yourself. The best advice I’ve ever received was from my mama who said you should take trouble to look good when getting dressed, then forget about it.
“Don’t be always fiddling with your hair or make-up or looking in mirrors!”
Do you have any fashion regrets from your past, any trends you look back on and laugh?
“Lots of them, but at the time it was what I liked, miniskirts or flares or hippy sequinned jackets, so no regrets.”
What are some of your favourite clothing brands or places to shop?
“On the posh side I love Issey Miyake, especially the cheaper range Pleats Please which are simple comfy shapes, and also the painter-designer Carole Waller whose fabrics are amazing.
“On the affordable end I like COS, Joules, Seasalt, Boden and Lola Rose, of course!”
Prue x Lola Rose collection is available now.
The Press Association
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