Penelope originally trained as an artist at the Byam Shaw School of Art in London and won a scholarship to complete an MA at Complutense University in Madrid.
Whilst riding with friends in Spain, she wore a pair of traditional Spanish riding boots and recognised their potential to be worn not only on horseback, but also as a fashion boot.
She continued to pursue the idea of bringing the Spanish Riding boot to England, unearthing a small number of traditional artisans in the hills of Spain and commissioned them to make the perfect equestrian boot, to her own specifications, that is now the staple of her range. The collection has since grown to include beautifully intricate and detailed bags, sandals, colourful hand made clogs and leather espadrilles.
THE CONCEPT – LEATHER FOREVER
Embracing fashion but not conforming to the idea of a throwaway wardrobe, Penelope Chilvers designs accessories to fall in love – and stay in love - with. Combining a modern, fashionable edge with lasting style, these are timeless pieces, made to last, that work seamlessly with this season’s trends.
Penelope insists on using 100% natural materials of the highest quality – her shoeboxes are handmade, and hand printed for her and she endeavours to keep all her packaging poly bag free and bio-degradable; making the brand an ethical fashion choice. The brand has an avid following of sophisticated women who know instinctively how to make fashion work for them; Cate Blanchett, Elle Macpherson, Jemima Khan, Sherezerade Goldsmith, Sophie Winkleman, Trudie Styler to name but a few.
Penelope Chilvers pieces feature regularly in Vogue, Grazia, Harpers Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Marie Claire, The Times, How to Spend it (FT) the Independent, Lucky (US) etc.
Penelope’s ethos is to work closely with the artisans and manufacturers in Spain. Traditional techniques in leather are nurtured and continue to inspire. “It’s about going with the grain and not against it," she says, “and when it comes to leather, I like to enhance its natural texture, and imperfections - nothing is uniform - each piece is unique and only improves with age."