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An Inspirational Trip to Italy

It has come to that time again to start planning the next season’s collection. It doesn’t feel like 5 minutes since I made my first trip to meet the factory in Italy to get the ball rolling with creating Little Lulu’s. But here we are 6 months on, the brand is launched, the website is live and another season is upon us, pulling on our trousers, begging to be designed. What better way to get inspiration than another trip to beautiful Milan, Italy?

Every six months there is a trade fair in Milan called Linea Pelle. It is a specialist trade fair focusing on all the materials, components and machinery needed in the footwear and accessories industry. The main bulk of suppliers are tanneries showing the new colours and finishes they have developed for the upcoming season, Autumn/Winter 16-17. But there are also loads of other suppliers showcasing all kinds of things, such as lasts (the moulds that create the shoe shape), sole units, studs, rivets, rings, the inner components within the shoes such as shanks (these are embedded into the in-sole to give it more stability), decorative elements such as broaches and handles for handbags, diamantes, just all sorts! There is also a great trend prediction area where they suggest what colours and themes will be in fashion for the coming season. It’s a huge venue and a three day event. We only went for two days and had a day to ourselves mooching around Milan. Luay, my husband came with me. He was fascinated by it all to begin with but soon lost interest and went to sit in the sunshine and people watch. Somehow he doesn’t share my love of all the many aspects of shoe design. The weather was stunning, though, so it suited him down to the ground.

I had a shopping list of leathers and fabrics I had in mind for the coming season plus I also wanted to check out the different sole units out there for first walker shoes. This is a plan for the future, so watch this space. There is so much to see there you could easily get lost in it all.

It was so nice to have the company of Luay because although it was a working trip we got to have some welcome time, just the two of us. We went to the Duomo in Milan, which is huge! Sampled some of the delicious gelatari (ice cream) and enjoyed eating lots of pizza and pasta! It was our longest time away from our daughter Layla, who was staying with her Grandmother back in Sheffield. We knew she’d be having a whale of a time being spoiled by her Nanny Moira but we missed her dreadfully. I was thrilled to see her on our return and couldn’t stop hugging and kissing her, the poor girl!

So here I am with loads of gorgeous new leathers to choose from for the AW16 collection. Can’t wait to show you the new designs, when they’re ready!







  • Christine Hewitt

    4th October 2015 at 3:58 pm Reply

    Enjoyed reading your blog! Unforgettable memories of visits to Milan – last one was Jo’s farewell gig with the Swingle Singers in La Scala, when we had a breathtaking walk around the roof of the Duomo – it is like being inside the top of a wedding cake! Try it next time you visit! Love to all. Chris xx

    • Catriona Alfaham

      4th October 2015 at 7:30 pm Reply

      Ah glad you enjoyed it Chris! That sounds amazing going around the top of the Duomo! I will definitely do that next time! I didn’t realise Jo had her farewell gig in Milan! How amazing?! Hope you are all well. Lots of love xxx

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