It wasn’t quite clear what Victoria “Little Boots” Hesketh would come back with but, having listened to her newly released album Nocturnes, we can assure you it’s something that you’ll love. Sparkling electro-pop that balances her signature disco with a little bit of darkness. This girl just knows how to write a catchy, stuck-in-our-head chorus like our fav Swedish pop-queen Robyn. Little Boots’s new tunes are moody but heartfelt, a bit mainstream but with more mystery than your average club tracks and what’s most important. A step away from commercial into truly original. Keeping up with how Victoria found her inner Little Boots we had a little chat covering her musical inspirations to which hair products save her life on tour.
When did you know that you wanted to go into music?
Ever since I can remember. My mum has a cassette of me singing when I was 2 years old, I started playing the piano aged 5 after quickly realising ballet was not for me.
How did growing up in the UK inspire you?
I grew up in Blackpool in the north and that’s a big part of who I am still, I think I have a very northern English down to earth sensibility. A lot of my favourite classic artists are British and I think its important when so much of pop music is from America to not feel pressured to conform to that sound and keep your own personality and background in there.
What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?
Coachella in 2010 – all our crew, equipment and costumes got stuck in the UK because of the volcanic ash cloud. Fortunately my band and I had come out a few days early but had to play possibly our biggest gig to date headlining our stage without any of it! Somehow it all came together and made it the best gig ever.
What have you been listening to recently?
I love Jessie Ware and can’t stop listening to her debut album. I was actually really surprised by the new James Blake album I didn’t think it would be my thing but it’s great. I’ve been listening to a lot of old classic disco like Chic which is making me even more excited for the return of Daft Punk. I’ve also had Maya Jane Coles‘ EP on repeat.
What is it about the new album that excites you?
That I know I haven’t made any creative compromises or done anything on it because I felt obliged to, it’s totally representative of me as an artist right now.
If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?
I always think the best collaborations happen organically or are happy accidents so I never really like to say. Although actually I was thinking how amazing it would be to make a big dance pop record with someone like Stuart Price although I think the Pet Shop Boys have that one down.
How would you describe your style?
Totally intertwined with my music and what I’m listening to, the new record has a lot of old disco influences so I’ve been hunting down some classic studio 54 jumpsuits and big earrings for stage, I think its important to be a visually representation of your music especially when you’re performing. Off stage I like things that are classic but still with a glamorous or fun twist, nothing trying too hard or over the top more simple and stylish.
What are your touring must-haves?
Dry shampoo! My Terry di Havilland heels, they’re the only ones that fit right for gigs. Lots of moisturiser as my skin gets drained from all the flying and make up, I love Jurlique and Guinot. Bumble and Bumble hair products save my life. Oh and slippers, the best thing for making you feel at home when you’re miles away.
Watch the latest music video from Little Boots opening track, Motorway, and browse around here gif-funfilled, flashy website.
The current zeitgeist for amazing food is going nowhere! It’s no longer cool to order a measly salad and as far as us foodies at Topshop HQ are concerned going for dinner is the best girls’ night around right now. At the moment, it’s all about dribbling gourmet burgers, zingy Vietnamese pork buns and pizzas Naples would be proud of. Topshop gal Jourdun Dunn has a cookery show on Jay Z’s website, Karlie Kloss is making goodies for New York food mecca Momofuku and we’re seeing Instagram’s from every hip new London restaurant to open from luxe French bistro Balthazar to slurping ramen heaven Bone Daddies.
Cue our latest obsession with foodie personalities and one in particular, the lovely Gizzi Erskine. Gizzi is anything but a stereotypical chef. She dresses like someone working in fashion and her opinion of food is refreshingly non-haughty. Alongside all the precise French baking skills Gizzi has a real love for sticky ribs and hearty roasts that we just adore.
The bee-hived beauty started out as a punk and a piercer in Camden market before finding her real love – for food of course – and headed to Leiths School of Food and Wine to hone her craft. With a strong sense of her own style – she’s all figure hugging dresses and liquid eyeliner – Gizzi was the perfect fit for TV and has since graced our screens on the likes of Channel4’s Cook Yourself Thin before launching her latest book, Skinny Weeks and Weekend Feasts.
We spoke to the cats-eyed, chicken wing-loving foodie to talk tastebuds, eating out in London and what to cook for those who can’t.
When did you know you wanted to be a chef?
When I was 22, so quite late. I already had a career as a body-piercer but I knew that was coming to the end. I had always cooked and was obsessed with food, so when it came to retraining it was a given that I was going to go into it. I tested the water by doing a stint in a restaurant for 2 months before I fully committed to it, but within a day I was hooked
What’s your favourite dish to cook when you’re having a night in?
I’m very indecisive, and change my mind all the time. I do love a slow roast or braise, so maybe the Korean lamb shoulder from ‘Skinny Weeks And Weekend Feasts’. I like to listen to some rock and roll, with a glass of red wine whilst I marinade and slow roast some lamb.
Where are some of your favourite places to eat out in London?
It’s a book of two halves. The first half is about being really good and eating a diet of low calorie but super tasty dishes, that can be made with easily accessible ingredients, and go from fridge to table in 30 minutes. But the second half is about having a day of eating really lovely indulgent food and enjoying the whole cooking and entertaining process a lot more. It’s a cool new diet plan. I lost about a stone following it last year.
What easy recipe would you recommend trying for those who dislike or struggle to cook?
I think the pork and chorizo meatballs are really fun and easy to make. They are so delicious and spiked with chili and fennel.
How would you encourage any youngsters wanting to get into the food world?
Train. Training is essential. You can go to catering school or learn on the job but be really committed and work really hard to be the best. Good restaurants will teach you this anyway.
You have such a strong style – what are you inspired by and how would you describe it?
I love the 60s but I also love punk. My style is an amalgamation of both of these things. As I get older I get more ’60s though. I love people like Anna Karina, the 60s model, who is effortlessly chic, but still had a bit of edge to her look.
What clothes shops do you love visiting in London?
Trying to navigate the mass of festivals in the UK is completely mind blowing. More than ever the little island on which Topshop was born (yes that’s Great Britain) has so many incredible festivals popping up across its shores that it’s hard to see which ones we should be considering for our precious weekends away. Foodie? Raver? Poetry-lover? Regardless of your festival preference we’ve done a little research (with the help of some festival-fans around the office) and picked some of the most exciting events happening this summer. So get ready and start booking those tickets!
THE OMG-EVERYONE-AWESOME-IS-PLAYING ONE: FIELD DAY
25 May @ Victoria Park, London
Solange. Animal Collective. Daughter. Kurt Vile. Basically everyone achingly hip in music right now (bar Frank Ocean) is playing. Plus it’s a mere £50 and a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station. London hipsters unite for this might be the most exciting line up that has yet to grace Victoria Park. Make sure not to miss a good dance out to Egyptian Hip Hop and the cooler than cool, King Krule. As for style, watch out for some serious fashion lovers here with kimonos and wide brim hats galore and more high tops than you can shake a stick at. Also, there really is a beauty to a festival in which you can probably get the last tube home!
30 August – 1 September
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset
We won’t lie to you but here at Topshop HQ most of our Monday morning blues are washed away by a few plays of Talking Heads’s Take Me To The River so we were naturally overcome with excitement when it was announced David Byrne himself would be playing this year’s End of the Road festival. Our obsession with this musical-champion aside, End of the Road festival is worth a look. It’s less about raving it up and more about chilling it out with some glorious bands on the roster. The lovely Belle and Sebastian take a headline spot alongside Sigur Ros and there’s a little bit of new in the form of California cool kids Warpaint who are back with a vengeance. Set in the lovely Larmer Tree Gardens of Dorset we’re thinking maxi skirts and embellished gilets will be the style must-haves for this set of festival goers and we’ve already looked into a camper van for our journey south!
THE SOMETHING FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE ONE: LATITUDE
18th – 21st July
Henham Park, Suffolk
Mad about German electro? Adore the ballet? Enjoy a bit of spoken word? Interested in cabaret? That’s right, you can rave it up with Kraftwerk, be mesmerized by the Ballet Boyz, hear Carol Ann Duffy get all poetic as well as rocking out to some naughty dance skills from Soho’s finest burlesque dancers all in one festival. (I know, our minds are blown too). Suffolk’s Henham Park is probably the most unique combination of artists in one spot, Latitude festival really covers all the bases. There’s glam camping for those who need a shower and something a little more substantial than a yoga mat to sleep on and there’s even a gourmet restaurant on site from the folks at Giant Robot. Oh, and did we mention there’s multi-coloured sheep?
Well, we couldn’t not mention it right? As usual their line-up is comprehensive to say the least. See into the early hours with Crystal Castles and Hurts, throw your hands up and sway into summer with Haim and Laura Mvula or get right into the front for a serious throwback with legends The Rolling Stones. Everyone says you have to do it once and with a relentlessly amazing line-up year after year there’s no way of regretting nabbing a ticket. Yes, walking from field to field may be a bit of a schlep and yes, there’s probably very little chance you’ll get a good view of the The Rolling Stones but it’s Glastonbury! And that means seriously good times.
Okay, so it’s not just food but Wilderness Festival has a special place in our hearts for it’s amazing roster of chefs and restaurateurs that offer talks and tasters dedicated to their lives in eating. Think Ottolenghi and his rose water specialities; Russel Norman waxing lyrical on the beauty of Polpo; Mark Hix on his fascination with oysters – our mouths are watering as we write – The Wilderness Festival has filled a gap in the festival market that we didn’t even know was there. It’s our festival wild card! Taste buds aside there’ll be blissed out tunes from Empire of the Sun and Martha Wainwright as well as performances from the talented bunch at Shakespeare’s Globe and talks from the mind-expanding folk at Intelligence Squared. Culturalistas, take a breath, this is the festival your dreams are made of.
Yes we know, the dates brutally co-incide with London Fashion Week so there’s no chance we’re getting any time off work (weep!) but if we did we’d be signing up to this beautiful little festival in a flash. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Portmerion in North Wales which it’s pretty much a fairy tale village come true. There’s even a castle to stay in for accommodation. (YES, a castle!) This is a festival for those of you wanting to completely escape the real world and head somewhere far away from anything “ordinary”. And with a musical and arts program that would make any festival-goer overjoyed, what’s not to love? There’s the haunting vocals of James Blake, the renaissance of Chic ft. Nile Rodgers (is that a Daft Punk Get Lucky inspired comeback we see?) and some of our favourite songstresses of the moment taking the stage… hello Laura Mvula and Lianne La Havas! This one is definitely worth the journey.
Who better than Kate Bosworth – the style Queen of the chic Palm Spring’s festival Coachella – to star in our summer campaign film dedicated to the season of festivals? Kate brought her nonchalant and effortless style to our summer short filmed in California’s beautiful Mono Lake by director (and fiancée) Michael Polish.
Working her fashion magic, Kate worked with our in house design team on our Festival Edit which she wears so well in the film and are now set to be firm festival favourites with girls around the world for the summer ahead. (Don’t forget to check the full shoppable version of the film over on Topshop.com!)
We chatted with Kate to find out music influences, and her essential festival kit.
How was it working with your fiancée Michael?
I adore working with Michael. I am such a fan of his work, of his artistic process. His mind fascinates me and I learn from him daily. We live an incredibly harmonious artistic life. For this particular project, I worked with the Topshop design team on the festival pieces from concept to final product. Michael then creates the vision for the campaign based off the look and feel of the pieces.
What was it like filming in Mono Lake?
I had never experienced Mono Lake before. Shooting in Mono Lake was like traveling through time. The entire place is desolate, serene, with large crystallized salt stalagmites jutting from the earth. We traveled in a little crew on a large bus over a three day shoot. It was a true American road trip, crossing huge expanses of land every day.
How did the collection with Topshop come about?
I have worn Topshop for years. The brand has their finger on the pulse of creating relevant fashion at an affordable price point. When the Topshop team and I worked together on the “Winter Wonderland” holiday project, it was an effortless fit all around. In the midst of that creative process, we all started to think about the next phase… How could we expand upon our collaborative relationship.
What inspired the collection?
The exterior expression is such an intuitive, emotional one. For the “Festival” collection, I channeled sunlight… freedom… joy… youth… rebellion. I’m attracted to a counterbalanced feminine / masculinity. To me, this is the most sexy. A faded cropped t-shirt with loose distressed boyfriend jeans, slung low and a plaid shirt tied round the waist. The choice of a suede material on the laser cut pieces was critical because it gave them a tougher edge, like the chaps on a girl in the Wild West.
Did you have any music references for the collection?
Neko Case is a huge influence in my life. Her song, “Favorite” plays to our film for this collection. I love country music, the best and most heartfelt stories are born within these melodies.
What does festival mean to you?
Music, freedom, sunlight, energy.
Can you talk us through some of your favourite pieces?
The dove grey suede laser cut separates I wore to Coachella. This design also comes in a burnt orange & in a mini dress version. To me, these pieces represent a modern take on western design. The laser cut out is inspired by a piece of Victorian lace I found with the design team in Portobello market. This feminine touch matched with the rawness of suede is a nice, balanced representation of my aesthetic.
The cream shearling vest (also worn to Coachella). I wanted to push the idea of Bohemia with this piece. It feels quite special, as if found in a market someplace far away.
Perfect denim shorts! It’s no secret I love denim… They are a staple in my wardrobe. I wanted to create the perfect denim short. Something a bit tomboyish, but quite sexy. Again, playing with the idea of feminine masculinity.
Boyfriend plaid shirt – oversized, soft, a mix of earthy colors with a hint of turquoise on the back panel. A nod to 90′s grunge. In fact, this shirt is very similar to one I wore back then.
What is Topshop for you?
The brand has their finger on the pulse of creating exciting, relevant fashion at an affordable price point.
What makes a festival for you?
This year, the highlight at Coachella was mad dancing with Michael to New Order.
What is in your essential festival kit?
Band aids, Chapstick, sunscreen, sunglasses..
What are your key wardrobe pieces at a festival?
Important to layer as most festivals are battling the elements!
What bands would play at your dream festival?
Dwight Yoakam, Neko case, The Cure, New Order, Other Lives
Kate at Coachella in April wearing pieces from our Festival Edit.
There’s a place where dinosaurs rule at night, where swan-shaped paddleboats lay stranded and overgrown plants wrap their leaves around anything and everything! It goes by the name Spreepark and is one of the coolest abandoned venues in Berlin. So it was no surprise to hear that one of our all-time favourite bands, The XX, had chosen it for their Day + Nightfestival taking place this weekend.
The electro-indie-pop heroes are planning to bring this disused funfair back to life with a line-up that had us booking tickets the minute they were released. This Saturday, The XX and their friends will be strutting their musical stuff for Berlin’s coolest kids. Set to take to the stage are Jessie Ware, Chromatics, Mount Kimbie, Kindness and Mykki Blanco who are we know will fill this out of this world space with a new lease of life.
Here’s what the band the whole of Topshop HQ is obsessed with had to say about their new musical endeavour: “Night + Day is a series of events, curated by us, to start in the summer of 2013. We searched high and low for unique and beautiful locations to stage these shows and picked the artists that we most respect and admire to join us. The events will run from early afternoon, with some of our favourite music and food to take you from day into night.”
With such an amazing aim, it’s no shock that a crowd of around 10 000 kids are expected at the Spreepark this weekend. Just imagine raving in-between a vintage Ferris wheel and some giant dinosaur statues! Sounds like the perfect festival right?
If you can’t make it, there’s no need to be sad! The XXs next stop is a country house in Hertfordshire.