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MISS L-FIRE SETS THE WORLD ALIGHT

Meet Lynsey Hand: straight-talking Derbyshire lass, retro shoe designer extraordinaire and 1965 Ford Ranchero-driving vintage queen. She’s truckin’ marvellous – and a super-stylish woman with a lifelong passion for all things vintage. Add in foresight, determination and sharp business mind, not to mention years of hard work, and the result is her unique and highly successful international footwear business Miss L-Fire.

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Pic: Matthew Howell

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Pic: Matthew Howell

A long-time friend of Planet Sputnik, Ms Hand sells her stunning retro shoes and accessories around the world. She is marketing the retro dream – and this is reflected strongly in her own personal style. “I’ve always loved the glamour of 1940s and ‘50s America, and women such as Bettie Page and Carmen Miranda have really influenced me,” she explains. “I started wearing vintage clothes in my teens and have dressed pretty full-on ever since!”

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Pic: Elke Bock Hair & make-up: Lipstick & Curls

At university, Lynsey studied fashion with a footwear specialism, yet she recalls her surprise at being advised by her tutor to tone down her fabulous retro look when she set out into the fashion industry in the mid-1990s. Amazingly, she was told that her distinctive style might put off potential employers! Fortunately she followed her instincts and ignored that well-meaning, if misguided, advice – and sticking to her guns has proven to have quite the opposite effect. “Colleagues and customers always comment on what I am wearing, and I’m well known in the shoe business as ‘the girl with the flower in her hair’!” she laughs.

Lynsey Hand, founder of shoe designer company Miss L Fire, London-Hollywood

Pic: Elke Bock Hair & make-up: Lipstick & Curls

After nine years designing and buying for leading high street footwear names, London-based Lynsey finally set up Miss L-Fire in 2005. Her unique retro shoes and accessories such as Lucite handbags are among the most innovative on the market: “There are no limits on creativity when it’s your own brand, and I have trained myself to design collections that appeal to both the retro and the mainstream markets,” she says.

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Miss L-Fire is now a highly successful company with retail and wholesale customers the world over, and despite the recession business has been so brisk that Lynsey has just opened a brand new shop at 4675 Hollywood Blvd, Los Angeles, California, 90027. She plans to split her time between the UK and America, on top of visiting clients around the globe and supervising her manufacturing facility in China. “You never rest when you work for yourself, but I adore what I do,” she says.

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Miss L-Fire used Planet Sputnik‘s 1950s location for a recent promotional campaign. Pic: Elke Bock Model: Miss Turnstiles

Lynsey’s love of vintage runs so deep that it extends to classic American cars; her red and white 1965 Ford Ranchero pick-up truck is perfect for transporting shoe samples and always causes a stir among clients. With its rustic charm and cool hillbilly looks, the Ranchero also has serious youth appeal – essential in the style market – and complements the Miss L-Fire label perfectly. “Unlike in much of the fashion industry the Ford is the genuine article, not contrived – just like me!” Lynsey smiles.

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Pic: Matthew Howell
Photography: copyright © Elke Bock and copyright © Matthew Howell All words © copyright Planet Sputnik 2015.
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