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Foundation

Gorgeous Foot Adornments crack

As soon as you walk into fashion store Foundation you feel welcome. From the turquoise exterior nestling amongst the handsome Montpellier architecture to the sophisticated decor and shelves and rails awash with so many lovely things, I don’t know where to look first. There are clothes, bags, scarves, belts, perfumes and body lotions, cushions and even cards and stationery. But the excitement is too much – upstairs there are shoes! It just gets better and better.

Manageress Dawn introduces me to Gemma Wiseman, the co-owner. Foundation is the brainchild of 39 year old Gemma and her husband James, who live in Chipping Camden. We decide to chat upstairs in the brand new department aptly named Upstairs at Cheltenham – in sight of the ‘dedicated shoe area’. It’s hard to concentrate surrounded by all these gorgeous foot adornments, but I manage! Gemma tells me that Foundation creates ‘the whole total look’. The shop has exclusivity on its brands in Cheltenham but I didn’t feel overawed by this. ‘Shopping for clothes,’ she continues,’ should be a relaxed and honest experience’.

Gemma has been in the fashion trade since she left school, Ribston Hall in Gloucester. She studied fashion at Kingston University and was awarded a job at Mulberry before she had even completed her degree show. She then worked in Paris for four years, which she tells me, influenced the type of items she buys. She also worked for the Arcadia Group, which owns Top Shop and Burtons. There is little resemblance to either here.

Foundation is a stylish boutique which sells ‘clothing and accessories for modern living’. It is aimed at women who want to wear contemporary pieces, rather than allowing the latest trends ‘to wear them’. Clothes should flatter your silhouette and make you feel good, says Gemma and her target market is the discerning woman of 27 and up, mostly career women and mums, women who love clothes more than fashion.

Amongst the designers Gemma and James stock are Paul Smith, Vivienne Westwood, Ally Capellino and Nicole Fahri. However, many of the outfits are at High Street prices allowing you to mix and match.

Gemma and James opened the first Foundation in Stow-on-the-Wold seven years ago and the Montpellier branch quickly followed 18 months later.

This year Foundation was shortlisted by fashion trade magazine, Drapers, in the 20th Anniversary Drapers Awards as Womenswear Retailer of the Year. The awards recognise the achievements of businesses as diverse as independent boutiques, high street chains, innovative etailers, best-selling brands and inspirational collections. Originally making the top eight, Foundation was then shortlisted in the final two and on 17 November at Grosvenor House, London, they were announced as the winners. The event was attended by key industry figures and celebrates the best in fashion retail.

Almost from the start, Foundation has been featured in several magazine articles, in periodicals including Vogue, Condé Nast Traveller and Homes & Gardens, as well as the pilot episode of a BBC series on Shopping. In 2008, Channel 4 even showed Foundation on TV as their ‘hot tip’ for where to shop for the Cheltenham Gold Cup!

Gemma and James are in the process of launching a new transactional website so you can enjoy the range online.

Foundation is located at 22 Montpellier Walk (next to O’Neill’s), Cheltenham, GL50 1SD.

Tel: 01242 232777 and the website is at: www.shopfoundation.com