Incredible bespoke fashion and costume accessories maker Clea Broad’s roots as a florist, sculptor and costume designer have certainly served her well in contributing to her one-of-a-kind and distinctive style. Her Gods of Olympia collection exudes an ethereal quality, breathing new life into and reinventing scenes of Antiquity for the modern viewer.
An explorer of different visual and narrative themes at heart, Broad has reinterpreted traditional viewpoints of beauty and transformed materials in novel ways to craft stunningly detailed and theatrical works of art. She has collaborated with clients and collaborators of many backgrounds, including her close friend and stylist Andie Redman.
Nee Hao Magazine’s Yinsey Wang talks to the enlightening Broad about her life and journey in accessories design.
Your pieces are stunning works of art. When did you get into making accessories?
Thank you! I started making accessories for shoots in 2010. My good friend, and talented stylist Andie Redman, was talking so passionately about a shoot that she wanted to do in the forest with a pagan theme, so I was inspired to make her something. I found some fallen bark and transformed it into a headpiece in the shape of an animal skull.
If you could choose someone to model your work, who and which piece?
There are so many beautiful, interesting people I’d love to work with including models, singers, artists and actors. However if I had to choose my ultimate dream team to work on a shoot with it would have to be Kate Moss wearing Alexander McQueen couture, styled by Andie Redman and shot by Tim Walker for Vogue. For a shoot this epic, I would create something new and bespoke, and pull out all the stops.
Tell us your story, how did you get where you are?
I studied sculpture at St Martins College and then costume design at Central School of Speech and Drama. After working in wardrobe in the Theatre for a year (including dressing the very lovely Emily Blunt), I fell into floristry. Flowers are a beautiful medium to work with and the company I worked for, In Water, has a very sculptural, theatrical style, so it was a brilliant experience. I gave up my job to start a family and now fit my growing business around raising two wonderful children. My business is still very new and I’m finding my feet but the passion is there and I’m lucky to have a very supportive husband.
(Demeter) Wheat, Hydrangega & Nigella Crown by Clea Broad
(Athena) Butterfly Book Hat by Clea Broad
How do you get inspiration from your pieces? Is there a particular artist or designer that has had a big impact on your development as a creator?
I am inspired by anything and everything, from nature, to art, to architecture, to popular culture, to fashion. I am also very influenced by materials I find, I play with things until I discover a way to bring it to life.
I have been most inspired creatively by my family as I grew up in a very happy and creative household. There was a photography studio and darkroom for my dad in a spare room, a ceramics workshop for my mum in the back garden and a ballet barre in the living room as my grandmother and mother were dancers. My grandfather Ivor Beddoes was a painter, storyboard artist, costume and set designer. He was best known for his film work including The Red Shoes, Star Wars and Superman and my house is now filled with his beautiful paintings. Between nature and nurture, I can’t see how I wouldn’t end up going down one creative route or another, or in my case, lots of creative routes.
Can you tell us about your Gods of Olympia collection?
Andie Redman conceived the project and then we discussed how she would style and art direct it and what I could make that would enhance it. I had already made The Butterfly Book Hat as a personal project which fitted in nicely for Athena, but the rest of the pieces were made bespoke for the project based on Andie’s vision and my own creative input. She is brilliant to collaborate with as we share such a similar aesthetic.
What do you think about sustainable fashion?
A couple of years ago, I contributed to the book ‘Naked Fashion’ by Safia Minney, which is all about sustainable fashion. I collaborated with Andie Redman on a fashion shoot to highlight the cause. I think it’s a wonderful when I can up-cycle things to create beautiful pieces, whether things found in nature or that have been thrown out, or even vintage pieces.
To find out more about Clea Broad’s stunning pieces, please visit www.cleacreative.com.
Note that all photography included in this article are copyright Reman & Rose. Styling by Andie Redman.