Saturday 3 March 2012

Interview with Adina Bodana, the creative mind behind fans' favourite a-england

Last week I met Adina, the reigning queen of indie nail polish, and her gorgeous cat Tristam at their London home and I've been dying to tell you all about it!

I was welcomed by a genuinely nice, warm and down-to-earth lady, who treated me as if I was a long-time friend and made me feel at ease from the moment I stepped into her home. We got on really well and I loved being part of the world of a-england for a little while, getting to know her and what she and the brand are all about.

I'm sure many of you are familiar with Tristam: I think it's worth mentioning that, much like Adina herself, he is such a friendly, sweet and gentle creature! He is really lovely and even struck a few poses for me.

Hello kitty!
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So, put the kettle on, make yourself a cuppa and take a few minutes to immerse yourself in the magical world of a-england...


I am aware that most avid bloggers will know a little about you, but for those who are new to the world of a-england, can you please tell us something about yourself... 

I was born and raised in Milan, Italy, one of the style capitals of the world. With an innate inclination for creativity and beauty, it was quite natural for me to end up working in fashion.  

My first working experience, which lasted many years, was with Gianni Versace. As his principal assistant, I designed almost everything from clothes, accessories, even tiles.... Because of his projects I even crowned my dream to work in costumes for ballet and opera. My best memory of that period will always be the day of my birthday (2nd January) spent behind the scenes at Teatro LaScala to follow the rehearsals for Salome, an opera by Richard Strauss. 

After a following spell as a free-lance designer, I eventually moved to London permanently, where I felt I belonged since my first short stay for a study holiday at 16. 

It was a hard decision to make because of all the security and the appealing career I was leaving behind, but my heart and my instinct won at last when, in my 30s, I came to the beautiful English land and towards the uncertain reality. I had the chance to work for a while in fashion for various International companies and especially for a couture house in Dubai designing amazing evening frocks. 

How did you develop your aesthetic? 

I don’t know who or what influenced me most. A personal aesthetic is like a gene born within us. Experiences and surroundings are integrated and transformed by what we already are

When did you discover your love for nail varnish? 

“A little girl painting her nails with watercolours was the start of a life long passion”. This is always my answer to this question. I would look with awe at all the painted nails on magazines and in the street.

Through all the various stages in my life, painting my nails represented a constant moment of joy, a therapy for feeling better and a way of connecting with people. This was confirmed also when my interest and inspiration for fashion eventually faded away. 

How would you describe a-england’s style? (I’d say it’s classical and regal, with a modern twist) 

I like your definition! 

Have you always been an anglophile? 

I believe, yes, in my subconscious. I never received any hint about English culture when I was a small child, but started naturally, instinctively leaning towards it. 

On Being Creative... 

What inspires you? 

My sources of inspiration are also my main interests: reading and arts in general. I am attracted and deeply fascinated by the English art movements of late 19th Century: literature, Neo Gothic architecture, Pre-Raphaelite painting. And by the fascinating English light. 

What is the creative process behind each shade? Do you come up with the colour/type or the name/character behind it first? 

I start from the theme that intrigues me and I know quite well and develop a sequence of colours. 

We know you admire the works of Edward Burne-Jones, do you paint yourself? 

I don’t paint and don’t own any paintings. I like being surrounded by plain walls. 

Which nail varnish was your biggest source of pride when finished? Was one harder to develop than the rest? Do you have a personal favourite? 

Princess Sabra/Tristam Eyes. When I took home my kitten Tristam nine months ago (he’ll be one year old on 2nd April) I fell in love with the colour of his eyes and decided to have a matching polish. My personal favourite is Camelot the blackest black. Elegant and deeply mysterious. 

The Business of Being Social 

Independent nail varnish producers are finding success at the moment, do you think women were looking for something different from what the big companies provide? (Asked by my blogger friend Julie)

There is always a sector of people interested in what’s alternative and not shouting out, whatever the product or the object. Indie styles make us feel more unique and belonging to a clan. 

How big a role does social media play in the success of a-england?

The development of a-england, as it happened, wouldn’t have been achieved without it. The power of social media is immense. The interest and the affection of bloggers first, followed by customers and fans couldn’t have been possible from the very first day of the launch without the help of the Internet. 

It amazes me every day to be able to communicate, find affinities and exchange passions with all the world just through a screen! 

I believe in human contact and it is my purpose to keep in touch with the world out there, offer a heart and not just a product. How cold would an online business be without the warmth of a human touch! 

Many nail bloggers are based in the US, do you think a-england would have been so well received had it not had the added element of luxury, magic and Britishness? 

All these elements together intertwined with my constant presence play their role. 

After the excellent reviews that The Mythicals received online, did you take bloggers’ wishes into account when coming up with The Legend

Yes. I received requests from bloggers and fans everywhere to do greens. I did it my own way, but my purpose when I started was to take on board their suggestions. Bloggers are extremely knowledgeable, sensitive and creative people. They are an inspiration to me. 

The latest collection is mostly holos, is that your favourite type of nail varnish? 

I find holos very elegant and subtle but alluring and attractive at the same time. And I like the créme finish, especially in dark colours. 

The Future

Order of the Garter is your first flakie polish. Are you planning to release more shades in the same finish in future collections? 

Holos are now a trademark for a-england but I will always add other finishes. I always want to see a shade of my choice in different finishes and decide which one makes it more interesting. 

Will all the shades in The Mythicals and The Legend be part of your permanent collection? Do you have any limited edition products in mind? 

I would like to build up a wide range of permanent collections and colours. 

Most nail fanatics have a soft spot for beauty products in general, are you planning to develop a line with co-ordinating lip colours or eyeshadows? How about your own “scent of a-england”? 

I don’t wear any makeup and never thought about developing a line. I would be more  interested in hand and nail care products. Oh! An a-england scent would be another dream come true! 

Do you plan to open your own salon or nail bars? Will you be stocking your products in major retailers/department stores? 

All nice and big projects are welcome but I’ve started very recently. I am a dreamer but also quite grounded. I would like to expand in some way and display a-england on shelves but I take one step at a time.

What does the future hold for a-england? 

A new small collection with a new theme and a new set of shades to complement the existing range of colours. 

How will you celebrate St George’s Day (23rd April)? Will there be an a-england party? If so, can we come? 

Mmm... possibly a cyber party! 

Thank you Adina for graciously accepting my humble invitation! We wish you continued success and look forward to continuing to enjoy the fruits of your creative mind!

Adina and her beloved kitten Tristam
Click to enlarge
Adina can be found on:
a-england    Facebook    Twitter 

It was an honour and a pleasure to spend an afternoon talking about life and nail varnish with Adina - I hope it will be the first of many!

I've decided that my first interview calls for a celebration, so this week I will only be reviewing a-england's products! While we anxiously wait for the new a-england collection, I have come up with a small selection for you all:

L to R: Galahad, Tristam, Elaine, Lady of the Lake, Guinevere, Ascalon & Bridal Veil
Click to enlarge
The holos
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The crémes
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Stay tuned for reviews, more photos and Adina's England!

© Nailipedia 2012
 All photos were taken by me and are used with Adina's permission. 
Please email me if you would like to use them.


  1. Tuve la suerte de estar al tanto de los entretelones de esta entrevista y me da mucha alegría verla finalmente plasmada acá. Admiro tu originalidad, iniciativa y estilo de redacción, fue una excelente idea animarse a esta entrevista y el resultado no podria ser mejor: me sorprendió lo de su necesidad de vivir entre paredes blancas, a pesar de ser una amante del arte, me enternecí con Tristam (amo los gatos de toda raza y color y este es una belleza), me reí con tu pregunta sobre el día de Saint George, me encantó!
    Supiste trasmitir todo lo que sentiste y viviste junto a Adina, gracias por compartirlo con nosotras! FELICITACIONES!!!!!!!!

    1. Fue un verdadero placer y, como habrás visto, algunas de tus preguntas también eran las mías :-) Hay más, pero la mayor parte está acá (y es larga!). Gracias por aguantarme!

  2. Que linda entrevista... realmente me encantó leerla y me cae muy bien Adina !!!
    Además ni que hablar que todos los esmaltes son geniales... no veo la hora te tener algunos!!!

    1. Me alegro de que te haya gustado! Es larga, pero creo que vale la pena (modestamente!) :-)

  3. Que buena onda haberte dado la oportunidad de una entrevista!
    Mcuho de los a england no se, pero de a poco me voy enterando, y obviamente algun dia quiero tener algun esmalte!

    1. Tenés razón, yo mandé la invitación pero la verdad es que fue muy amable de aceptarla y darme la bienvenida así. Un verdadero placer, Adina es una persona especial que se merece todo el éxito que le está tocando! :-)

  4. Lovely interview with wonderful Adina and the handsome Tristam! A scent, Adina....ohhhh that would be so exciting!!!

    1. Thanks! I know, wouldn't that be great? I should probably add that Adina smells great (I recognised her perfume but forgot to ask which one it was)! I wonder what scent she could come up with... "English roses", maybe? ;-)

  5. I love this interview! So wonderful to read, very inspiring. The picture of Adina with Tristam is so beautiful! :)