A cut above the rest

Fal Blake is one half of Gresham Blake, the famous menswear store in Bond Street, Brighton, where the design has a strong signature - lots of use of colour and edgy design - and the clothes come ready to wear or made to measure. Each month Fal introduces us to one of the many fascinating people to come through the store’s doors…

This month I want you to meet the truly delectable Sharon Honey. I was introduced to Sharon by her husband, Stephen, for whom we have been designing suits for a number of years. It’s when I got to know them as a couple that I was truly blown away with their magic. These two have a lot of fun!

SHARON HONEY
Sharon is a 46 year old pharmaceutical sales leader, with an incredible passion for life. She often comes in for fittings so one day I sat down and quizzed her about her life…

Honey-Wedding_45

Sharon Honey, Stephen and The King

How would you describe yourself?
Quirky, outgoing and fun.

Why bespoke?
In a nutshell, I want to wear clothes that are different, not mainstream, be an individual, and be able to express myself.

You have had a number of garments commissioned by us, but your wedding dress was really quite something, what inspired you to make a 1950’s style dress in tweed for your special day? Because I love the 1950s style and it suits my body shape. Plus, when you’re being married by Elvis Presley in Las Vegas, what other style are you going to wear?!

Why tweed?
Tweed is quintessentially British and it was really important to me to include a healthy dollop of ‘Britishness’ in our ceremony, especially as our wedding was taking place away from home. I like to do things differently too and by that I mean, there are many people who consider tweed to be a ‘country gentleman’s’ fabric, but why not use it to make a wedding dress?! There are no rules!

As for my particular tweed, I adore the striking blue colour and the pattern of the fabric. I knew it was the one as soon as I saw it! People always put things in boxes. I like doing just the opposite. This was a tweed design concept that truly blows out tradition of the window.

What other designers to you admire?
If money was no object, I would wear Alexander McQueen. A few years ago, I finally gave in and bought a pair of AM shoes that I had been drooling over for months! They are stunningly beautiful to look at and almost impossible to walk in, but when I stand still, the shoes and I look amazing.

I have no idea how the models strut up and down the catwalk in them. I used to wear an orange AM skull Goodwood-Revival-2015scarf, and one day I was walking along Piccadilly in London and Yoko Ono was walking towards me wearing the same scarf in a different colour. She raised her eyebrows over her sunglasses and gave me a little smile! I also love searching out young upcoming designers wherever I go.

I regularly go up to London and hunt around the boutiques; pop-ups and markets of Spitalfields and Shoreditch for interesting pieces I know I won’t find anywhere else or on anyone else. I do the same when I’m on holiday and always try to bring something back with me from wherever I visit.

We often talk about your love of food. You seek out some amazing places to eat, and travel far and wide in search. Can you share some of these amazing finds?
Fäviken Restaurant in Jämtland, Northern Sweden. Head chef Magnus Nilsson believes passionately in working with the produce available in the environment around him, and he creates a seasonal cycle of menus based on them. His ‘environment’ is a 24,000 acre hunting estate in Jämtland, Sweden, some 400 miles north of Stockholm.

We took a flight to Stockholm; spent the night in the airport; then in the morning, we took a flight to Östersund; then picked up a car and drove a further 50 miles to the most beautiful ‘middle of nowhere’ I have ever seen. We thought it would be a grand adventure… and it was. We ate astonishing food that night, and I will never forget sitting outside on the deck after dinner in the midnight sun. It was very special.

Faviken food

Faviken food

Also Inver Restaurant in Strathlachlan, Scotland; Steve and I read a review of this restaurant by Marina O’Loughlin in The Guardian one Saturday, and knew immediately that we wanted to visit it. It is situated in a very old, restored croft on the shore of Loch Fyne, serving the most beautiful locally sourced food, with the most jaw-dropping views.

Marina concluded her article with the words, ‘So go. Go by car or boat or bloody helicopter.’ So we did. We flew to Glasgow, then drove for one and a half hours, booked into our little B&B (the only place to stay nearby), walked two and a half miles to the restaurant, ate the most wonderful dinner, and walked back in the pitch blackness. In fact, all our holiday itineraries are structured around eating experiences.

Vietnam last year was all about the food, which was extremely simple. I remember the wonderful bowl of noodles which cost roughly 50p, cooked by an elderly lady who set up every evening on the corner of the street and cooked until she had sold everything (which never took very long).

So what about something more local to Brighton… Where would you recommend to eat?
Silo on Upper Gardener Street in Brighton not only serves the most stunning food, it is also the UK’s first ‘zero waste’ restaurant. They have their own composter on-site; they grow their own mushrooms from discarded coffee grounds; they mill their own flour; churn their own butter; roll their own oats and they have a brewery in the cellar. Head Chef Doug McMaster serves some of the very best plates of food you can get in Brighton right now. Try their tasting menu for dinner and I promise you will not be disappointed.

What about books….favourite author?
It is very difficult for me to choose a favourite author, so I thought about some of the books I have enjoyed reading this year, which are The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins; A Man Called Ove by Fredrik Backman; We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride; Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander; Gin Glorious Gin by Olivia James and The Son by Jo Nesbo.

And wine?
English sparkling wines… mostly with recommendations from the wonderful Henry Butler and his crew at Butler’s Wine Stores in Brighton.

For me, it is a delight to know Sharon Honey. Her zest for life is incredibly infectious and she typifies my gresh-book16672favourite type of Brightonian. One with no boundaries, a super open outlook to life and with a hunger to have fun. I love hearing about her latest adventures or finds, giving me so much food for thought.

Super cliché – but so true – we have only have one life, and we really need to live it. It’s not a dress rehearsal after all. For the Honeys it’s all about experience. “We are not going to be rich, but will have lots of stories to smile and tell.” Every time I meet her I just want to bottle some of her energy up and sell in my store. I salute you Mrs Honey!


Fal Blake

www.greshamblake.com

Profile shots of Fal by Kenny McCracken

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