Last night I was very lucky to be invited to a VIP preview of the Bella Sorella pop up shop at Cabot Circus. Bristol is so on point with shopping at the moment; not only can you grab some great discounts with the Bristol Summer in the City Facebook offers, it's a real hub that seems to be attracting a lot of outside attention.
One such visitor, to Cabot Circus at least, is the Bella Sorella pop up store. Fresh from her fame on TOWIE but not wishing to be left typecast, Lydia Bright has forged ahead with her plans for her own boutique, which she runs with her sister Georgia. She's now also just released her own range that she designed herself and which caused her website to crash upon launch!
Bella Sorella is a one stop shop for all things pretty, vintage and girlie. I asked Lydia where her inspiration comes from and she was quick to mention her heritage; her mum (the effervescent Debbie on the show) and grandmother have both worked in the fashion industry and she was keen to maintain her family's fashion traditions. I noted that her style, and the products that she has for sale in the shop, are very much an antithesis to all things 'Essex', was this her intention? "Obviously I was so lucky to have an amazing platform in TOWIE" she smiles "but this is very much more my style, classic, elegant, timeless."
Fashion is clearly Lydia's passion as she lights up when talking about it. We spoke of our mutual love for vintage shopping ("I could spend all day doing that!") but I also got the impression that she is an astute businesswoman with an eye for what will work and the forethought to capitalise on her best asset-herself. Whilst Georgia, who didn't appear in TOWIE, is very much involved in Bella Sorella, it's Lydia who propels herself forwards as the face of the brand and really puts her name to the business. Georgia is heavily involved with buying as well as Lydia, though, and you do get the impression that this is a joint venture by two sisters who are clearly very close.
The pieces for sale in the pop up shop are a selection from the range available in their Essex flagship as well as on their website (click here.) Cutesy dresses and shorts nestle next to Burberry-esq studded trench coats and peter pan collar blouses sit with breton striped sweaters. There are no clear concepts but the vintage mish mash works well to create a homely and interesting shopping environment. Products are mainly grouped by colour but there is an easy outfitting vibe to the collection that allows outfits to be pulled together easily; no mean feat in a pop up shop!
There was also a small selection of jewellery and homewares on offer, everything from simple silver rings to sleek picture frames and ditsy knicknacks for the home. There were a large selection of scented candles which, on opening one of the tins, I found to be glitter-encrusted....well, there had to be a bit of Essex in there!
Lydia was absolutely wonderful with the invited guests, self deprecating, friendly and polite, as well as being absolutely stunning! She's tiny in the flesh and very charming. I introduced myself and she said, 'Hello Amie, I'm Lydia' as if I wouldn't know! I really wanted to broach the subject of a certain 'Arg' but bottled out!
The pop up shop is located on the top floor of Bristol's Cabot Circus complex and will be there until Sunday. It's definitely worth a visit if you have the chance!