There is a chaotic charm around illustrator and author Clare Grove, but at the centre of that is a chick who lives for fashion. Editor Trudi Brewer stole an hour from her crazy, busy life and discovered she has a girl crush. Meet the brilliant, super funny, enormously talented creator of the brand My Mummy Loves - Clare Grove.
Spending just five minutes in the company of Grove is life-changing. She is the walking embodiment of a woman that oozes style and true beauty both as a career and leisure pursuit. As a fine illustrator and author of children's books, My Mummy Loves Shoes, and My Mummy Loves Bags, Grove is working on other titles in this series including My Mummy Love Hats and potentially My Mummy Loves Makeup (watch this space). Editor Trudi Brewer steps into her shoe-obsessed bedroom, meets her pet, a white rabbit named Nicky (who is currently in the bad books for nibbling the cord on Grove's vintage lamp), and understand how this woman manages to juggle three kids, a busy career, her lawyer husband and large villa in Auckland's inner city suburbs with ease. Meet My Mummy Loves, Clare Grove at home.
Tell us how you got into the fashion industry?
I’ve always been mad about clothing and shoes from a very early age and spent hours as a five-year-old sketching shoe designs. My first job was as a Saturday girl at British shoe retailer, Russel & Bromley. I later worked at the Matches flagship store in Wimbledon Village, London. I learned a huge amount about the cut and fabrics that go into creating luxury garments from the owner Ruth Chapman, and consequently, I’m in awe of how well she has done building her empire.
Where did the idea come from with your books?
I was gifted a fashion book, “This Little Piggy Went to Prada” when my eldest daughter Sienna was born. I loved the high-quality look and feel of the book and the beautiful watercolour illustrations so thought, I’d love to do one of these myself one day - and the rest is history.
How has your career influenced your style?
I am constantly surrounded by such inspirational people in the fashion and beauty industry; it’s very easy to become influenced by those women.
What’s a typical working day for you?
I manage my working hours around my three children, so typically try and fit in as much work as possible between school hours, 9 am until 2.45pm. My day revolves around managing book and stationery orders to collaborations and private commissions. If I have an evening work meeting, I’ll enlist the help of our treasured babysitter.
What do you love most about your career?
Meeting likeminded fashion and interior loving folk, that are just as obsessed with clothes, shoes, makeup, and home interiors as I am.
What lessons have you learned on your way to the top?
To try and remain as positive as possible even though things may not always go your way. One of my favourite quotes is: “As I look back on my life, I realize that every time I thought I was being rejected from something good, I was being re-directed to something better.”
What has been your career high to date?
There have been many. British Vogue ordering a copy of My Mummy Loves Shoes for a staff member was an extraordinary moment. Receiving reviews from iconic designers such as Nicholas Kirkwood, DVF, Charlotte Olympia and Anya Hindmarch are also top on that list. Contributing to NZ House & Garden each month and most recently collaborating with Kathryn Wilson have all been highlights.
Who is your fashion icon?
No one does it better than style icon Iris Apfel. It makes me happy just looking at the way she puts her outfits together.
How would your friends describe your style?
I’d like to think they see me as classic, chic, but a little bit daring.
Who are your favourite local and international designers?
Kathryn Wilson, Andrea Moore, Zoe & Morgan, Karen Walker for local NZ designers. And internationals include Victoria Beckham, Tibi, Theory, Alice McCall and of course for fun, fast fashion Zara.
What handbag will you carry this summer?
I love the unpretentious style of straw market bags. So I’ll be carrying my monogrammed basket bag by The Paradise Catcher.
Espadrilles for the day wear and a strappy gold tie-up heel for the evening.
What is your fashion weakness?
Shoes, shoes and more shoes!
What would you never compromise on when it comes to your look?
I don’t think I could live without one of my classic Equipment white silk shirts.
What does beauty mean to you?
My grannies and my mum have always been very careful about looking after their skin, so I’ve picked up a few tips over the years. We have to be extra careful with the ageing process, as we all have typical fair English complexions. My grannies both had beautiful skin right into their nineties. And ageing gracefully is something I admire.
What is your one beauty indulgence?
I’ve been using Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair for 15 years. I’d like to think all those years of splurging on that serum have paid off.
What would we always find in your beauty bag?
MAC Lipstick in Twig. Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay in Place Concealer, and Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder compact.
What's your desert island beauty product?
St Tropez Self Tan.
Bottega Veneta. I discovered this fragrance in London a couple of years ago, and it is now my signature scent. Now the amazing Smith & Caughey’s stock it with the shower gel and moisturizer, which has been fab.
What is the one product you are never without?
In New York, I was given the most gorgeous ‘Makeup Forever’ classic red lipstick by makeup artist Patrick Eichler. It comes everywhere with me.
How would you describe your home?
An eclectic mix of Hollywood, Regency, French and Asian styles combined.
Where do you look for inspiration when styling your home?
Interior and fashion magazines. I’m forever ripping out pages that inspire me for future work and home projects.
What makes a great interior?
A great piece of furniture, a beautiful piece of art, and a scented candle all help to create that homely atmosphere in any house.
What do you always have on your bedside table?
A little book one of my best friends gave me that I love, ’Fashion Miscellany’ “An elegant collection of stories, quotations, tips and trivia from the world of style.” Silver antique frames with photos of the kids and Lumity face oil.
What is your favourite room?
My formal sitting room I’ve named “the quiet room.” It has all my precious objects in it, and the children are supposed to be banned, but they always manage to sneak in.
What are your most treasured possessions?
Pictures of my children and notes, drawings, and objects that they have given me over the years.
What’s your best interior advice?
There’s no need to spend a fortune on decking out the entire house with designer pieces. Some of my best and most treasured pieces in my home I have found on TradeMe. One of my fave quotes is ”good taste and design are by no means dependant on money.”