Shoe designer Cleo Barbour: my design London

Shoe and accessories designer Cleo Barbour reveals her favourite London shops, restaurants and museums - and uncovers secret gardens on her BMX.
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Cleo Barbour
Cleo Barbour at home with her egret painting, a 21st birthday present from her parents, which has influenced her love of bright colour
London-based designer Cleo Barbour, 27, has a flair for funky colour combinations. Her vibrant footwear and accessories merge luxury and playful design and are favourites of stars such as Jessie J and Paloma Faith.

Trained by Nicholas Kirkwood and Salvatore Ferragamo, she seeks inspiration from the capital's shops, restaurants and museums and uncovers secret gardens on her BMX…

Where i live

I recently bought a property in Westbourne Park where I will live with my dachshund, Honey B. It is a two-bedroom loft apartment in a converted warehouse and is a five-minute walk from tranquil Little Venice. It's two minutes from my CLEO B studio in Great Western Studios.

My home

Industrial warehouse conversions are common in east London but very rare in the west. As soon as I entered the hallway, which has exposed RSJ beams, cement walls and an old warehouse lift, I knew this was the one.

The property was once a print factory but it was converted to look and feel more domestic. I am going to change it back into a truly industrial space. It will definitely be colourful and eclectic, reflecting both my brand and my character.

Treasured memorabilia

My favourite painting is of a jungle scene with an egret by James Aldridge and was a 21st birthday present from my parents. A few of my paintings were hand-me-downs from my parents, who collected modern art, but I have collected many of my own pieces, too. These are the foundation of my interior design as they are all large, colourful and bold.

Little Miss Chatterbox
Cleo has the full set of Little Miss books, including Little Miss Chatterbox
I love my antique French bed, which I re-covered in turquoise material. It was the first thing I bought when I moved to London, using money left to me by my grandmother.

I also have lots of little trinkets on my shelves such as mini robots, Japanese characters, tea cups, toys and my favourite childhood books including the whole Little Miss series. I have picked them up in the most random places and been given them as gifts or brought them out from my mum's storage. I love my Polly Pockets, little dream worlds in a rainbow of colours.

Secret shop

My new favourite place is the Old Cinema in Chiswick ( You can find retro furniture, art, games, lighting and much more. They have a constant flow of new items every week so there is always something exciting to discover.

The Old Cinema, Chiswick
© Alamy
The Old Cinema in Chiswick is a favourite treasure trove

Best market

Nine Elms market in Battersea on Sundays ( If you're a magpie like me, you'll be sure to sniff out a bargain among the most random stuff. It hasn't yet been discovered by the trendies. Basically, it is a glorified car boot sale. I love Lassco ( for antiques, which is a short walk away.

Inspiring venues

If you're into themed interiors, visit Mexican bar/restaurant Crazy Homies ( and Lucky 7 ( next door to each other on Westbourne Park Road. The designs are super-cool and very inspiring. Both venues are owned by the same company, Tom Conran Restaurants. They also own Toms ( on Westbourne Grove.

Must-visit museum

One of my favourite museums is the Geffrye Museum in Hoxton ( It shows how homes have been furnished over the past 400 years.

Rooms typical of every decade have been created, reflecting 17th-century oak furniture and panelling, Georgian elegance, Victorian style and 20th-century modernity. They display the latest inventions of the periods, including telephones and other famous memorabilia.

Most coveted object

I would like one of those automatic robot vacuum cleaners that circulate round the floor when you leave the house. However, I have heard they do not mix well with naughty dogs.

Instant escpape

On a sunny day, I like to ride my BMX from Westbourne Park along Regent's Canal to Camden with friends, explore the market, eat and bike back. It is amazing how much hidden stuff you can see along the canal. There is a mini barge village near Paddington, where the residents have expanded their gardens on to the side of the canal.

Regent's Canal in Little Venice
Regent's Canal in Little Venice, a five-minute walk from Cleo's industrial warehouse conversion
You literally bike through their garden path. Massive speed bumps have been laid, which means you have to get off your bike and walk. The pristine back gardens of grand houses belonging to diplomats in Regent's Park are insane. They are even smarter than the gardens in Buckingham Palace and you would never know they were there.

Fabric finds

I am very specific when it comes to finding fabrics and prints that I like. Therefore, I mostly stick to simple designs or plain brightly coloured fabrics to go alongside my paintings.

Designer's Guild do the best colours ( Sometimes I visit Brick Lane's stalls to find trimmings and fabrics, too.

How to change a room

Rather than stick to boring white or grey walls, bring a room to life with vibrant paint shades. Be bold and break the rules. If you have an inexpensive dining table and chairs, why not strip and paint them? Have your own cushions made up in fabulous fabrics and start a collection of something you love.

Retro board games or toys, Thirties ceramics, vintage fashion magazines, old school posters and adverts make great accessories. They bring life and character to a space.

Cleo Barbour shoes
The bright colours of computer game Tetris, inspired a range of shoes

My latest projects

I am really excited to be launching my seventh collection this July. The AW13 collection was inspired by retro video games, specifically Tetris, vintage tin robots and luxe sportswear. Think bold colour blocking, playful textures and chunky metal detailing.

Alongside the main shoe range, I am also introducing a new shoe clip concept, giving customers complete freedom of customisation.

We have a great partnership with the Andaz hotel in Liverpool Street coming up, too, which will incorporate an amazing launch event and three-day pop-up shop in Andaz's Masonic Temple from July 5 (

Another exciting project in the pipeline is WOOF! — a dog collar brand we are launching next month in collaboration with British leather accessories brand, Beauchamp's.

* Find Cleo B online at

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