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Designer Q&A: Bella Freud

A London-based designer with quintessentially British style, Bella Freud knows a thing or two about staying chic in the city. Her irreverent designs have garnered cult status, having been sported by style-barometers such as Alexa Chung and Kate Moss, and this week, we talk fashion, fragrance and keeping a sense of humour with the 'Queen of Cool' herself.


Bella Freud

Bella Freud. Photo credit: Mary McCartney


In fragrance and fashion, there is a focus on characters throughout your work - Jane, Ginsberg and the 1970s punk scene – what is the significance of creating an identity?

Identity is everything, it is the barometer to guide you - especially with taste. Each perfume is based around a different character and that character's identity, which I invent but which then becomes real and defines the perfume. Jane would never be bourgeois but she is still a homemaker, albeit in a pair of tiny shorts rather than a housecoat.


There is a definite sense of wit and playfulness about your perfumes, logos and illustrations – how important is keeping a sense of humour in design?
I like to amuse myself with the words and what they mean to me. I like finding words that evoke feelings about things I care about.


Bella Freud candles, available at The Conran Shop

Bella Freud candles, available at The Conran Shop


What should be our main considerations when choosing a fragrance?
I think the consideration should be to find something in a fragrance that reflects your deepest, hidden self, while also compounding your identity. It should make you slightly fall in love - with yourself.


What is your earliest fashion memory?

When I was 11 I remember an older girl in the house we lived in going to London and coming back with clothes I actually longed for - they were from Biba.


What is your favourite fashion moment or era?
I like the Edwardian era, I find that tight, buttoned up look very sexy; the smallest disarray is like a striptease.


Are there any up-and-coming designers you are excited about?
I love Molly Goddard's work, she is brilliant and so effortless. Also Grace Wales Bonner is great, I love her influences.



Bella's complete range of candles and fragrance is available online from The Conran Shop, and a capsule collection of Bella Freud jumpers is available in store.