Kathryn Bishop talks jewellery and swimsuits with Kerri-Anne Payne.
Earlier this week I slicked on a bit of lipstick and headed down to Links of London’s head offices in Victoria to meet some of the faces of their Olympic Games collection, most notably swimmer Kerri-Anne Payne (though I couldn’t help noticing the handsome duo that was Tom Aggar and Christian Malcolm!)
The dedicated collection by Links of London is now for sale through the brand’s website and stores. Of note is the Entwine collection in silver – the big bangle is especially lovely – and the little charms which include everything from a silver crest and pink enamelled swimsuit to a rather fun shuttlecock which reminds me of some rather amusing school PE lessons.
It was great to be down at the Links of London offices again. I love it there because there’s always something going on, and visiting the Olympic ambassadors at Links HQ meant things were as buzzing as ever. With the Olympians assembled in one room ready to face the press (I can’t be the only one who’s thinking of muscular Roman men in togas… right?), I was guided through the 2012 Collection by the lovely Links PR Gemma, as a refresher since my last sneak peek a few months ago.
There are some fab new additions, including miniature versions of the classic Sweetie bracelet, and new heart-shaped charm beads in silver and yellow and rose gold plate. Very pretty. The collections had also developed to make the Union Jack a central theme, all very patriotic and fitting for what is going to be a very British affair indeed.
Sitting down to have a chat with Kerri-Anne Payne I have to admit I was bit unsure of where to start. Swimming and jewellery? Not the most obvious match, but for Kerri-Anne it was nice to have a change. “For once it’s not a sports drink, and it’s nice not to be asked only about my swimming”, she commented as we got onto the conversation of dressing up and throwing on lashings of jewellery. So I tried not to ask too much about the swimming, but did enquire about those rather fetching all-in-ones that open water swimmers such as Keri-anne wear. I’ve now been informed they’re very comfortable indeed. Think I might pack one in my suitcase for this year’s trip to Spain…
Anyway, back to jewellery. Kerri-Anne talked with enthusiasm about not only the Links 2012 jewellery but also her own. “I’ve only just started wearing more jewellery. So far, I have a ring which means a lot to me but I can’t wear it all the time and especially not when I’m doing my open water swimming. That’s a bit dangerous!” she laughed.
The great thing about chatting with Keri-anne was her lovely, jokey demeanour. Interestingly, she described how even as an Olympian, as someone who has won awards, been interviewed and seen her far share of the limelight – albeit mostly in the sporting realm – it was still hard to get her personality across. Not at all, I thought. But it seems her partnership with Links is bringing Kerri-Anne’s inner jewellery lover to the fore. “Being involved with Links is great. When I first heard about the potential to be involved, I pushed for it because I wanted to be able to show that other side of me”, she said.
Kerri-Anne is thoroughly looking forward to the goings on of the Olympics and sitting and while chatting we both began to feel a little bit patriotic. “Most of the time the Olympics will mean travelling overseas but being on home soil is great. Everyone is going to be involved, the union jacks are going to be hanging up everywhere, people will be having a great time. It’s a bit like a festival; I really think it will have that feel.”
Even for the royal wedding (of which Links of London saw a boost from Kate Middleton wearing Links jewellery in the official royal wedding photos and thereafter Cat Deeley, another ambassador of the brand, wearing the jewellery during her reportage for CNN), Kerri-Anne got involved, throwing a party, baking cupcakes and generally feeling very British.
So while Kerri-Anne might be ploughing her way through the open water races in the Serpentine in London’s Hyde Park next year, the rest of us can stand and cheer her on, perhaps with a piece from 2012 Collection, wellies on (well, she did say festival), champagne in a teacup and union jack tied around as a cape. Well, why not!
Kerri-Anne’s picks from the new 2012 Collection.
I asked Kerri-Anne what she’d go for from the Links of London 2012 collection if she were buying for…
Mum? "I’d definitely go for the Entwine collection for Mum. It’s my favourite, I wish I could wear the silver pieces all the time, but for her I’d choose the 18ct gold ones. The colours are classic."
Niece? "Definitely the little Sweetie bracelets for girls, they’re so timeless. They can dress them up, mix and match the colours, swap beads with their friends."
Brother? "Ahh, the cufflinks with the running track. They’re so subtle, it looks like a quirky design but you look up close and see the little running track enamelled on it. The same with the dumbbell cufflinks and the men’s Union Jack cord bracelet."