Posted by Bethan Holt

Yesterday morning the Fashion Editor at Large entrusted me with my first solo mission as her Intern. When I heard that this would involve the opportunity to design my own Timberland deck shoes, a double-whammy of excitement ensued as a long time devotee of all items shoe-related. Just two weeks ago, I was curled up in my pyjamas revising for the final exam of my English degree and now I was a shoe designer (kind of!). So, I rocked up to Fournier Street where Timberland had transformed their store into a showcase for their AW11 collection and a hub for breakfast and boat shoe design.

The Timberland Store in E1

First up, I was talked through the new collection by Isabella Colombo, Timberland's Merchandise Director. It's an interesting moment for the brand as they try to add a more feminine touch to their women's offer. There were certainly some great winter shoe contenders including some very cosy looking shearling lined boots and some super pretty dusky pink peep toe boots with scallop detail. Isabella told me that the inspiration behind the line comes from the plight of women in the two world wars- an era when women were doing men's work but still wanted to stay true to their femininity. This a very logical path for a brand like Timberland to go down as well as (perhaps inadvertently) tapping into the 40s trend which you should be prepared to see a lot more of next season.

After lots of yummy breakfast, it was shoe design time. I was under strict instructions from Fashion Editor at Large to make sure my design had an unmistakably fashiony edge. After much deliberation, I decided that my ideal boat shoes should probably match my ideal boating outfit. Now, when I say boating, I mean cocktails at dusk on a super yacht in St. Tropez (we can all fantasise can't we?!) and for such an occasion the look below from Celine's SS11 collection would do just the trick.

My Perfect Boating Look courtesy of Celine SS1 (Image from

My Boat Shoes
With this in mind, I created a pair of deck shoes in navy, emerald green and white with ivory laces and, la pièce de résistance, my own initials in gold on the inside, just to remind me of my one and only design moment. I must say I'm rather proud and I think my customised boat shoes will put my Dad's 'vintage' M and S versions to shame. I certainly won't be waiting until my invitation for cocktails in St Tropez arrives to wear them! When my shoes arrive next week, I will post a photo of them.


With their boat shoes Timberland are definitely having a fashion moment. Teenagers and early 20-somethings have colonised them over the last two years and given them a new lease of fashion life. I couldn't go to the launch this morning as I was on deadline for Grazia, but I am very jealous that Bethan was so clever with her design. As soon as I have a minute, I will be going to  to design my own, hopefully in time for this years greek holiday. (Prices from £105 - £210.)

Also here are my favourite two boots from their A/W collection.