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Rapid Fire Q & A with Frances Costelloe - My Favourite Things

I sat down over a cup of tea with London-based artist Frances Costelloe. We've collaborated with Frances on Hesper Fox's most recent collection - we share a love of colour and print - and a need for coffee and a kiss from our kids to start the day. 

Read on to find out Frances' dance floor fave, her prized vintage finds and her favourite place to shop. I've thrown my two pennies worth in too. 

 

 

 

Early bird or night owl?
Night Owl - actually, neither at the moment - my baby isn't sleeping that well.
Ahhhhh know that feeling. Like a hangover without the fun!


What's your go-to comfort food?
Tomato pasta with cheddar and a green and avo salad with super vinegary dressing.
Mine is most definitely a cheese toastie. 
 
Coffee or tea? 
Both - one coffee for the morning and millions of cups of tea for the day.
Coffee. Coffee. Coffee. 


Gin or wine?
Wine - preferably red.
For me, nothing beats a G & T with a fat squeeze of fresh lime. It's a drink you can almost feel working its magic. 

The song that gets you on the dance floor?
We Are Family by Sister Sledge
Good choice! I'm a closet Whitney fan - you know the tune. Don't make me say it. 
 
Before bed – book or boxset? 
Both - one episode of something on the tv and then a book in bed.
Pretty much the same but I think we've all fallen victim to the "just one more episode" trap and had to go extra hard on the Touche Eclat the next morning 😬 
 
What are you reading right now? 
Clothes Clothes Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys Boys Boys by Viv Albertine. I accidentally read the second book first.
I've just finished Hamnet by Maggie O'Farrell which I know you loved too. 
 
Guilty pleasure?
Coldplay - reminds me of being a teenager - only the acoustic tracks from their first and second album though.
For me? See above. Whitney. 
 
I can’t start the day without….
Coffee and a kiss from my kids.
The BEST start to any day.  
 
I can’t end the day without….
A cup of decaf tea / herbal and good PJs.
Us too! Good PJs are a must ;)
 
Go-to outfit when all else fails?
Uniform for everyday - jeans and a navy jumper with some form of crew neck T-shirt. Going out - mary janes and a short dress - if in doubt look to the 60s.
Ohhhh love 60s inspo! For me - it's high waisted trousers and a prefect white shirt. 
 
Most prized possession?
My collection of gold rings given to me by my mum.
Mine is a silk patchwork quilt made over a period of 25 years by my Mum, Grandmother and Great Aunt whenever they were together. It's one of the most beautiful things I own. My Mum gave it to me when my son was born. I'm not crying, you're crying. 
 

 
Your best vintage find?
An original 60s leopard print jacket, a handmade liberty print smocked dress and a banging low and long bamboo style cream lacquer chest of drawers for my bedroom. 
My most treasured vintage find is a tiny drawstring Lanvin snakeskin handbag with gold braid handles bought at a vintage fair in New York and a 1980s Diane Freis dress with most amazing smocked waistband which was a hotly contended ebay auction I fought hard for!
 
Where do you go to find inspiration for your work?
Galleries, the V&A, colour combinations in nature or on old signage.
I can't beat travel for inspiration. And books. And galleries everywhere. In London I can easily spend a few hours at The Royal Academy or The Courtauld (it's in Somerset House so there's ample meandering and beautiful lunch opportunities) but I also love some of the smaller ones like The Photographer's Gallery, the Lisson Gallery and the Gagosian Gallery.  
 
Your favourite artist?
Van Gogh, Peter Doig, Tracy Emin.
I love Van Gogh also (I'm still hopeful that watercolour I showed you is his.....) but my favourite of all time is Helen Frankenthaler for her incredible use of colour. 
 
Someone you admire?
My husband - so dedicated to painting - he also used to be a pro skater - whatever he works on he does with all his might. 
Mutual husband admiration. I admire mine for his laser focus and his incredible ability to slay a to-do list. 
  
Your favourite flower?
Cornflowers, followed by tulips. 
I love Dhalias. Especially the giant café au lait coloured ones. And bluebells - they represent constancy, truth and everlasting love. 

 


 
Your favourite fictional character?
Ifemelu from Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. I learnt a lot from her and from the book in general.
I love the feisty little protagonist from Matilda by Roald Dahl.  I loved the idea that she overcame adversity through reading and that she was as smart as can be. Most importantly, she was a self-taught telekinesis master, messing with people in hilariously dastardly ways if they deserved it.

 
Your most-used emoji?
Pink heart.
Mine's the eye roll emoji (no one that knows me will be surprised by this) 🙄 
 
The piece of work you are most proud of?
I am very proud of what we have achieved together - these prints and ideas have been in my head for a while. I couldn't have imagined them realised in a more beautiful way.
I love our collab too! 
 
If you could spend three months at any time in history, when would it be?
Tudors - I love ruffs and a pearl accessory.
I would head straight for the late 20s/early 30s. Long bias-cut gowns and good tailoring!


Favourite place to explore? 
The sea.
Me too - for the Australian in me who grew up on a beach, the sea will always win. 


Favourite place to shop?
Princess May car boot at the Princess May School in Stoke Newington, London. 
Ohhh, this is one I will have to check out. My favourite is Alfie's Antique Market just off Lisson Grove in London. It's massive and an absolute treasure trove. 


And finally the most important piece of advice you'll give your kids?
Just be kind.
Excellent advice. I'm going to tell mine that not everyone in life will like him and that's just fine. Let other people worry about what they think of you - it's none of your business.  

 

 
 
 
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