All Eyes on the Wedding

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While all eyes were focused on “the” gown last Wednesday, at the news it was eyes down for a glimpse of the Royal brides Shoes. Though for most of the time they were concealed by the flowing, ivory satin skirt of the duchess of York’s dress, we can reveal that the shoes were made by Manolo Blahnik of 49, Old Church Street, South-West London, in ivory duchess satin, to match the dress. Embroidered-bows at the back, bees and plenty of beading, adorned the low-heeled courts, The bridesmaids’ shoes were of a less intricate nature, but none the very less very pretty, in peach silk with a half inch leather heal, leather sole and instep strap,

Baboucha of 218 high street Barnet, Hertfordshire, received the Royal order for the four pairs of shoes through their wholesalers, Glanville Sharpe,

Mrs. Lisa Sharpe was asked to provide the shoes by the designer of the dress, Lindka Cierach, and she gave the order to Baboucha, Arty Achilleos, the proprietor of Baboucha, made the shoes
with the help of stiros mina, one of the two people working at Baboucha. Stiros also helped to make the wedding shoes for the princess of Wales when he was employed at Clive Shilton.

The two page boys at the wedding wore shoes specially commissioned from start rite shoes in Norwich.

They were commissioned to make the black “Cromwell” shoes complete with gold buckles for the Royal occasion, which were worn by Sarah’s brother, Andrew and princess Anne’s and captain mark Phillips’ son peter.

Arty Steps in to Save the Day for Sophie

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When Sophie Rhys Jones married prince Edward in London yesterday evening there was one man who was keeping a very close eye on her feet – Greek Cypriot shoemaker Arty Achilleos.
London based Arty played fairy godfather to the bride by saving the day in a last minute dash to match Sophie’s shoes to her £5,000 wedding dress.

Arty (Artemis) Achilleos, who was born in Larnaca, was given the emergency task of covering the £250 shoes by Royal dress designer Samantha Shaw after she discovered her ivory/Pale creation had been match with a pair in an offending Peach Colour

With no success in locating a matching pair and with only two days to the wedding, She desperately turned to Achilleos, the owner of Baboucha shoes.

“We were given the shoes on Thursday afternoon and they went back on Friday afternoon” Achilleos told the Sunday mail yesterday from his shop in Barnet, North London.

“We had to help so we stepped in exactly like a fairy god mother so Cinderella did go to the ball with our help”

Rhys Jones did not make a personal visit to the shop and nor did arty receive an invitation to the wedding, but he said he planned to watch it on television so he could keep a close eye on his handiwork.

Hopefully the heels won’t fall off he joked.

Achilleos, a third generation shoemaker, said the entire job took around 5 – 6 hours to complete.

He said the shoes were made by a different company and with the wrong fabric and had to be literally taken apart to be covered in material matching the royal wedding gown.

The size-five plain court shoes were described as having a sweet heart toe with scalloped edges.

Arty said he chose a Matt, stretch jersey which he described as a light coffee cream or antique ivory, the same colour as the dress but a different fabric.

“we also made her a matching handbag” he said ” and of course it was all complimentary.”
Achilleos is no stranger to royal or celebrity shoemaking, his shop, which opened in 1983, provided the bridesmaid shoes for prince Andrews wedding to Sarah Ferguson. He also later employed Greek shoemaker Spiros Minas who had worked on the bridesmaid shoes for prince Charles and princess Diana’s wedding in 1981.

Achilleos also counts among his client’s actresses Uma Thurman and Nicole Kidman, wife of Tom Cruise, ” We make shoes for all sorts of celebrities he said.

Fairy Tale Order

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workshopnewsFor the man who had been thinking of moving his shop elsewhere because of he lack of demand, a fairytale commission came in the nick of time. For 33-year-old, Arty Achilleos, a Cypriot-born Greek, and his small team at Baboucha in high street, Barnet, Herts, were asked to make four pairs of bridesmaids’ shoes for the royal wedding (News, July 31,Page 4)

Arty who lives in potters bar, Hertfordshire, with his fashion designer wife and one year old son, is the fourth generation in his family to specialise in shoemaking.

He trained at cordwainers Technical College in Hackney, East London, and set up Baboucha (which means shoes in Greek) just over 2 years ago.

Since then, his list of clients has included Ava Gardner, Cyd Charisse and the exiled Queen of Greece, Queen Anne-Marie.

Sophie Turn Cinderella for Shoes to Wed Her Prince

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No wedding is complete without a last minute panic, for Sophie Rhys Jones yesterday it was her shoes, the £5,000 bridal dress is a delicate shade lying in that hard to describe recognition between ivory and pale coffee. The £250 accompanying shoes were, strangely peach. They just would not do. Samantha Shaw, the dress designer, threw a bit of a fit for her; today is almost as big an occasion as it is for the bride.

Like Cinderella, the hunt was on to match the bride with the correct footwear, but in this case the happy ending was reached by altering the shoes. Yesterday Arty Achilleous, who runs Baboucha shoes in Barnet, North London was given the emergency job of changing the shoes to match the dress, after a desperate Ms Shaw had arrived on his doorstep with the offending pair.

“The shoes were made by a different company. They were made in the wrong fabric and didn’t match” Mr. Achilleos said last night. “The heels need to come off and the soles need to come off, we literally have to take the shoes apart and cover every section with the new fabric which is not a traditional fabric for the wedding shoes. “It’s a Matt, stretchy jersey. I would describe it as a very light coffee cream of an antique ivory. It’s the same colour as the dress but I’m not sure if the actual fabric is the same.”

The size five plain court shoes, with sweetheart toe, scalloped edges and slender three inch flute bottom heels, should be back at royal lodge Windsor, by this morning in good time for the bride to drive from Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother’s weekend retreat in Windsor Park Home to her 5pm wedding in St George’s Chapel. Police erected crowd barriers in Windsor yesterday in anticipation of many thousands of sightseers eager to see the newlyweds on their 15-minute carriage drive around the town. Windsor is already bedecked with flags but they are there for the state visit next week of the President of Hungary.


At this time of year Windsor is already thronged with tourists and yesterday those sightseeing in the castle had the added bonus of glimpsing Prince Edward and Miss Rhys Jones arriving for their final rehearsal in St George’s’ Chapel with the Right Rev Peter Nott, Bishop of Norwich, who will marry them.

In Common with the wedding the atmosphere on the streets will be low-key with even Windsor’s’ leading souvenir sellers taking the day off. Generations of Toomeys have made a living selling royal souvenirs from their stall. James and his brother David, who have been in the family business for nearly 30 years, are the only street traders licensed for the town centre. Today James will not be flogging merchandise. He will be at home watching the wedding on television.

James Toomey said, “We haven’t got any Edward and Sophie Souvenirs. There has been no build up to this wedding and the importers did not want to spend money-producing things that might not sell. “Perhaps because of the dearth of cheaper souvenirs, official memorabilia is selling well, according to Buckingham palace, Royal collection enterprises has produced a seven item set which is available at two shops in Windsor. The cheapest and most popular item is a £7 bone-china coaster.

Prince Edward spoke of his love for his royal bride yesterday in an ITV interview. “We manage to have a good laugh about things most of the time and we happen.

Sophie’s Shoes Saved in Barnet

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This Saturdays’ royal wedding could have been a disaster if a Barnet shoemaker had not stepped in at the last minute.

When Sophie’s shoes, made by Gina shoes in east London arrived shortly before the wedding, dress designer Samantha Shaw was shocked to find they had been made in peach material-even thought the dress was ivory.

It was a potential disaster-but luckily Arty Achilleos of high street Barnet shoe repairers Baboucha was on hand to help.

At 24 hours notice he received a frantic phone call from Ms Shaw.
“She was very exasperated and was just running around saying ‘help, help’.” Said Mr Achilleos.

Recognising the seriousness of the situation, he stepped into the breach and agreed to do the alteration for free – even though he would usually charge £75

“The heels and the soles had to come off” he said ” we had to take the shoes apart and cover every section with the new fabric, which is not a traditional fabric for wedding shoes.

“The fabric I used was the same colour as the dress but I’m not sure if the actual fabric was the same. In the end they looked great”

He said the countess of Wessex would have found the shoes more comfortable after the recovering than before, because they would have been as rigid and therefore easier to break in.

The size five plain court shoes with sweet heart toe, scalloped edges and slender three-inch flute bottom heels arrived in Windsor on Saturday morning, just hours before the wedding.

Mr Achilleous said he also made her a bag in the same material, but as of yesterday he had not received a thank-you from the countess.
“Either she’s busy or is on the royal families bad books for giving the story to the papers on the day of the wedding” he said.

Both the palace and Gina shoes declined to comment.

Sophie’s Shoe Shuffle

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It was the pre wedding hitch that should never happen to a royal bride- Sophie Rhys Jones’ fashion advisers realised her £250 shoes did not go with her £5,000 dress

On the eve of her big day. Miss Rhys Jone’s delicate bridal shoes were laying in pieces on the floor of a lesser known shoemaker in Barnet, The drama started yesterday when Samantha Shaw, the year old private designer commissioned to make Sophie’s wedding dress, to her horror realised that the peach bridal shoes looked all wrong with the gown. The evening standard can reveal that Sophie, unlike Princess Diana will not wear white but a “very Light, coffee coloured” dress for her marriage to Prince Edward in St Georges Chapel, Windsor.

In a desperate attempt to correct the fashion faux pas, the shoes were biked by courier to royal wedding veteran Baboucha shoes in Barnet to be re-covered in a matching fabric to the dress.

Arty Achilleos, who runs the business with wife Lilia said: “the shoes were made by a different company. They were made in the wrong fabric and didn’t match.

Mrs Achilleos said: “Samantha Shaw came at 1pm yesterday. She sounded desperate. She said the shoes didn’t look right with the outfit. We are frantically trying to get them ready and back to the dressmakers. “The heels need to come off and the soles need to come off and the sides need to come off. We literally have to take the shoes apart and cover every section with the new fabric, which is not a traditional fabric for wedding shoes. It’s a matt, stretchy, jersey. I would describe it as a very light coffee cream or an antique ivory.

“It’s in the same colour as the dress but I’m not sure if the actual fabric is the same.” Mr Achilleos said the size five shoes are plain court shoes with a sweetheart toe, scalloped edges and slender, three inch, flute bottom heels.

Mr Achilleos, who was involved in making the bridesmaid shoes for the weddings of the Prince and Princess of Wales and the Duke and Duchess of York. Said: “I have always been the bridesmaid and never the bride until now.”

Bridesmaid Wedding Shoes

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Champagne was flowing at shoe shop, Baboucha, in the high street, Barnet, On Wednesday, when proprietor, Arty Achilleos and his staff, celebrated the Royal Wedding.

Mr Achilleos had a special interest in the event, as he was the person responsible for making the bridesmaid’ shoes.

As the bridesmaids’ dresses, were ankle length, the staffs at Baboucha were able to get a good look at the shoes, which were made of the same silk as the Peach dresses.

They noticed that a bow had been added to each shoe, which, said Mr Achilleos was probably the work of dress designer, Lindka Clerach.

Although it was a normal working day for Baboucha, Mr Achilleos brought in a television and a few bottles of bubbly to celebrate the event, and invited the neighbours in for a glass or two!
I thought the bride’s dress was stunning” said Mr Achilleos.
“Many long standing customers have already been in the shop to congratulate us on our work, and its been a great day”


Pictured, left to right, is Bambos Charalambous, who stitched the shoes, Dino Ioannou, Arty Achilleos, shoe designer and Spiros Mina, Who put the finished article’s together and was also responsible for making Princess Diana’s shoes on her wedding day.