London-born Bella Freud studied fashion in Rome and quickly paved her way as one of Britain’s leading designers. Her playful style expounds immaculate tailoring with a coquettish edge, ensuring her a cult following both in Britain and abroad. Bella’s much-loved knitwear pieces, all limited editions, are much sought after and are continually met with a surge of press excitement.
After training with Vivienne Westwood where she worked for three years, she launched her eponymous women’s wear label in 1990 comprising sexy knitted dresses and mini knit suits, high heeled shoes and bags. Her AW 1991 collection won her Most Innovative Designer at London Fashion Week for which she produced a short Super 8 film directed by James Lebon showing a group of models wearing the collection at Newbury race track.
Seasonal catwalk shows followed and then from 1994 Bella decided to look at other methods of showcasing her collections. In 1999 she collaborated with John Malkovich on the first of three short fashion films called Strap-hanging. It was such an enjoyable experience that they followed this with Lady Behave in 2000, then Hideous Man in 2002.
In 2001 Bella collaborated with rock icon Anita Pallenberg on a limited edition magazine ‘Memo’ which was inspired by the film Performance and with its limited edition CD, represented a meeting of fashion, music and free thought.
In March 2000 British fashion house Jaeger approached Bella to rejuvenate the brand. She created a high end line with a hip, young attitude, successfully repositioning the Jaeger label and opening it up to a new clientele.
Between 2004 and 2006 Bella consulted for Miss Selfridge, designing two capsule collections, most notably for the 40th anniversary.
Bella was guest editor of the document section of Another Magazine volume 8. She regularly contributes journalism to Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and PonyStep. She also produced a weekly beauty column for the Sunday Telegraph’s Stella Magazine.
In 2006 Bella was appointed head designer at Biba, creating the clothes for the much heralded relaunch of that legendary British label. The Biba line achieved sales of £1.5 million after only two seasons.
Bella continues to create her own label capsule knitwear collections and her ‘Ginsberg is God’ sweater has become a collectors item. Fans of Bella’s knitwear include Liberty Ross, Laura Bailey, Kate Moss and Fearne Cotton.
In A/W 2010 Bella joined forces with long time friend and muse Susie Bick producing a 12 piece collection of jumpers, mini dresses and knitted accessories inspired by Susie’s ingenious way of dressing. ‘English Boy’ in S/S 2011 was influenced by David Bowie’s and 1970′s English boys and the girls who loved them.
For A/W 2011 Bella’s ‘Fetish’ collection featured drawings of shoes made especially by Christian Louboutin. Bella also collaborated with film director Martina Amati on the mini film ‘Submission’, sponsored by Jo Malone. Set in the world of JiuJitsu, where you learn to use your opponent’s strength to vanquish them, ‘Submission’ is a portrait of a group of unique women rolling on the mat in Bella’s exclusive costumes.
For S/S 2012, Bella has teamed up with Barbour to create four exclusive T-shirts for their Heritage Originals collection. Renowned for her signature caricatures, each depicts a country animal motif: a sheep, chicken, dog and horse. Timelessly feminine pieces all with playful appeal and quirky charm, they encapsulate a sense of country fun.
Bella continues to be one of British Vogue’s blog contributors and be present in the pages of top fashion publications here and abroad.
Bella’s enduring success is a testament to her talent for creating timelessly feminine pieces with a characteristically playful appeal. Her strong fashion sense and charming idiosyncratic attitude to life are mirrored in every one of her designs.