How We Met: Danielle Proud & Jonathan Kelsey

'She had me dressed up in a lot of pink mohair, oversized pearls and too much eyeshadow'
Click to follow

Jonathan Kelsey, 36, is a shoe designer. After graduating from St Martins in 1996, he worked in womenswear before joining Jimmy Choo in 2001. Having worked freelance for brands including Cacharel and Pucci and on catwalk creations for Giles Deacon, Luella and Richard Nicoll, Kelsey launched his self-titled line in 2007. He also designs Mulberry's shoe collection. He lives in north-west London

Danielle was in the year above me at St Martins and we met properly for the first time in October 1993 on the Tube. It was a Saturday night and we were all going to a club night called Billion Dollar Babes. We were both dressed quite crazily; I had lots of black eyeshadow on and Danielle was probably one of the first people to wear one of those military drummer jackets, and she is definitely the only person to have accessorised it with ski goggles encrusted with Swarovski crystals. We clicked instantly, mainly because she had a wicked sense of humour, but in a kind way.

After that, we hung out a lot at college. Danielle did a fashion show in the West End and she had me and a couple of our friends dressed up in a lot of pink mohair, oversized pearls and, again, too much eyeshadow. It was very 1990s, so it was acceptable, but I wouldn't do it for her now.

We've been in touch constantly over the years. Back in the 1990s, we went on a lot of nights out, and when her husband opened a bar in Camden four years ago we spent most of that summer sitting outside it. I'd be working in my flat and Danielle would call and say, "It's sunny, come over!" It was quite dangerous.

Now she has children, all that has been replaced by more sedate eating and drinking. She'll call and we'll disappear for a long lunch in an Italian restaurant like the old days. It's strange: when you meet someone at 20, you don't really expect them to ever have kids. Then they do and overnight they are this perfect mum.

We shared an office for a year-and-a-half and it was lethal having all my shoes in the office with her, as she is sample size. I told her I was going to put a lock on the door, but it wasn't much of a deterrent, as quite a few pairs still went for weekends out with her. Last year I named a pair of wedges after Danielle because I know she is a massive fan of wedge shoes, and this season I named a pair after her daughter Farrah, who is also my goddaughter.

I've always liked her aesthetic as an interior designer. Everything she does is really fun and quirky, and I like the way she mixes old and new. I've asked her to help me do up the flat I've just bought, so we've been spending a lot of time looking at paint charts. She's a very useful person to know; if I want to buy curtains, I'll ring up Danielle to ask where to go.

Danielle Proud, 36, is an interior designer, writer and television presenter, and has been dubbed the 'new face of modern craft'. She lives in East Sussex and Primrose Hill with her husband and their two children

I think that when Jonathan and I first saw each other, we recognised that if we didn't already know each other, we ought to. We were on our way to this über-trendy club night that we all used to go to when we were students. We'd spend all week making our outfits to go there and Jonathan and I bonded over our equally ridiculous looks.

I just thought he was really cool and incredibly handsome – people stop in the street to look at Jonathan. He's also very sweet and kind, which is slightly atypical for the fashion industry, so he was a find.

We clicked because we are similar on a lot of levels. We can have really silly drunken nights dancing on tables, but we are also very driven about our work and have both set up our own companies, so we have a lot of grown-up conversations about serious stuff. I completely trust Jonathan's opinion and my husband is very lucky that he approved of him.

Sharing an office was a really special time for me. I'd just started doing more design on my own, and it was such a luxury to work alongside somebody like-minded. We would binge-work and then treat each other to lovely lunches at the Italian across the road. I'm not sure if Jonathan liked me being there as much as I did – I was doing quite a lot of nutty, messy design and craft work and at one point I was sculpting gargoyles in there. He is very neat, so I think I was probably a bit Blue Peter for his chic, modern look.

Even though we are quite different in our approaches to design, we appreciate each other's. I wear his shoes constantly – they're like the Camden uniform; you always see Amy Winehouse in his heels. He's also asked me to design his flat. I'll do something a bit retro gentlemen's club, incredibly sexy and in smoky colours.

These days we still meet up for nights out when I get a babysitter, but what I love about Jonathan is that he's just as much fun if we're hanging out with my children and going to the zoo. He is godfather to my daughter and is so hands-on and natural with her, I think he'd be a great dad. For someone without children, he instinctively knows what to do. I can totally imagine him being the glam godfather taking her for tea at The Wolseley when she's 22 and making sure she's wearing the most rocking shoes going. In that respect, I expect her to be totally spoilt.

For more: jonathankelsey.com; Danielle sits on the expert panel for funonthefloor.com

Comments