CWPWRDD DILLAD: Click for bigger images
Heulwen Haf is a Welsh icon that's determined to celebrate life in style.
How would you describe you wardrobe?
I love everything in my wardrobe... my shoes, socks, tights, my underwear, the clothes I'm wearing now... and if I don't love it, I don't want it! You have to love what you have. Your wardrobe is a part of you – where you've been and where you're going.
Where do you think you interest or your knack for putting together an outfit has come from?
Maybe it came from my mother because she had a great figure – like an egg timer, and she was very pretty and very fashionable. She always dressed to emphasize what she had. She had a natural, instinctive style – I have no idea where it came from because my grandmother was a very plain lady indeed! She had her hair scraped back in a bun, one handbag that contained her house keys and some Polo Mints and a big coat – and that's how she was, she never even smiled a lot. So my mother didn't get her style from her, but somehow or other it's been passed from my mother to me.
Do you think that the way you dress on the outside - elegantly and immaculately - can influence the way you feel on the inside?
I think it works in the opposite way – the mind decides how you look on the outside. For example I always wear really, really, really nice underwear because I like the feel of nice material close to my skin. The whole thing develops from the inside out then – and that's what the world around you sees. It sees someone that's completely comfortable with themselves, so if you work on yourself from the inside out, you'll also begin to feel comfortable with yourself.
Tell me about this long black coat that has a handbag attached to it.
This a Shearling coat, which is lambswool I think, and it's reversible. When I bought it was too long for me so when I got it home I took off the hem and made it into a bag to match and attached it to the coat so that I now have a bag with me everywhere I go.
You made the bag then? Are you a good seamstress?
I wouldn't like to show you the stitches, but things seem to stay in one piece as long as I need them!
I get the feeling that animal skin and fur are things that you're happy to wear, and that you like wearing them. Many people these days of course won't do it but you're comfortable wearing them?
Yes, yes I am! Maybe it's because it's like wearing a second skin. I have a long mink coat that's very cosy. And if you think about the nature of the mink; it can go through water, snow, anything and still come out the other end looking shiny; that's how I feel. The animal in this coat when it was alive... well, several animals probably, they had a great life and now they've come to live with me – and I couldn't be happier about that!
Your father was a butcher, so did you grown up with the tradition of using every part of an animal?
Absolutely. As children we used to go down to the slaughter-house to play, so it was nothing new for me to see animal skin and fur and the rest of it. I was quite a tomboy growing up so I'm not too sure where this feminine side developed from, but even then when I was young I'd sew myself little outfits.
What kind of clothes would you make yourself?
One thing I made was a sundress and I still have it. It's yellow on the inside and green with red strawberries on the outside and I also made a shawl and a handbag to match – what possessed me to make such a thing I don't know!
You have a few long woollen suits. Do you like natural materials like wool and cashmere?
I love them. They hug the body but they're also loose. They're so easy to wear and the cream one that I have has been to Venice, Paris and many other places. I also like to wear them to travel as they're smart but feel like a second skin, and of course they wash brilliantly.
Do you spend a lot of money on clothes?
I'll spend a lot on some things, but I'll also go to the other extreme and spend a little on other things. I go to a second hand shop, I won't tell you which one, and there is someone that goes there that's the same size as me and has great taste in clothes as I always leave with a lot of stuff. For example, this brown suede coat, this is second hand. I'd never have paid the full price fir a new one, but I got it for a snippet. It's a size 16 but there's a lot of wrap to it so I make it work for me. It also has a belt to go with it so I can also wear it as a dress.
This leopard coat is amazing!
This fake leopard skin coat came from a second hand shop and it's far too big for me, so what I've done is thrown the hood back and fixed two big buttons on the front so that there's fullness at the back and that it fits better on the shoulders. I still wear it today.
What about designers. When you do spend a lot of money on clothes is there one name in particular that you go for?
I think you'd be hard pushed to find anyone better than Armani. I like his cut and the way he works with the material. His clothes are cut beautifully at the waist and puffs out to give you a slimmer figure. The detailing on the cuffs and collar is also amazing.
How would you describe your style?
Most people tell me I'm glamorous. But I don't see myself like that; I'd call myself creative or chic maybe! Can I tell you something? Three weeks ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer and in three days I'll be starting chemotherapy, so who knows what I'll be wearing, what I'll be like, what jewellery I'll be wearing, which scarves, hats or whatever I'll be wearing – but I'm sure we'll still be chic won't we!
You'll be the most glamorous patient on the ward!
- CWPWRDD DILLAD