The TV presenter turned Very.co.uk designer took five minutes out to speak to Drapers following her spring 13 LFW show for the etailer.
What’s new for spring 13?
I never try and follow what everyone else is doing, I really want to go down my own route. So [there are] a lot of bold beautiful prints, and florals, but they’re not dainty or sickly, they’re kind of bright and vivid. There are a lot of sheer fabrics as well, and we’ve just kind of kept it quite ethereal, and elegant and ladylike. It was all themed around an English country garden, so that was a bit of inspiration.
What are your personal favourite looks from the collection?
The playsuit. I was really happy with how that turned out, because playsuits have been around for a while and there are loads of them out there. But I wanted to make something that was nice and fitted, still really cute with the little Peter Pan collar.
Originally I’d done more of an Aztec print in my sketch and then we found this beautiful old cloth, which is the vintage print that we used and it just fit perfectly, so we used it in a dress also. So that one I’m really happy with and also I was so chuffed to see the “wow” dress at the end that Leah [Wood] wore.
We only had the idea to do a “wow” dress about three weeks ago and I quickly scribbled it out on the back of a script with a biro and said [to the Very design team] do you understand what this is, and they were like ‘yes we can make it’, and it’s just exactly how I imagined. So I’m really happy – I loved it. It has just the right amount of soft and the right amount of kick-ass to it.
How ‘hands-on’ are you in the design process?
I like to think that I’m very hands on, because when I first started working for Very I didn’t want it to be like I was the face of a line that existed. And they’ve been amazing in letting me have all this freedom. So I basically will sit and sketch at home and make mood-boards for a few months.
I’m currently working on autumn 13 and my lovely dad who is over there [pointing], is an amazing artist, so I learnt to draw from him, and I love drawing. I draw lots of little cute pictures, and each season I make the girl in the picture have a different hairstyle, different theme to what I’m working with, and then take them to Very. They’ll draw up more technical drawings. I’ll then maybe bring in some scarves I’ve found at the market in Portobello or whatever. They’ll bring in some vintage wallpaper or tapestries and we’ll collaborate on the actual fabric we use. [We then] see the samples in a couple of months’ time, make some alterations there just whilst it’s on a fit model, and then see them for a second time just to check they’re all ok.
Then we’re on to shooting it. I’m there through the whole process. I’m yet to go out to the Far East to see where they make it and make up the samples, which I’m desperate to do. That’s next on the list, but I don’t have any time at the moment. Hopefully soon that will happen.
Why did you decide to work with Very?
It was really exciting at the time because I joined Very when it was starting, and it was really nice to be part of something that didn’t pre-exist, and something that was fresh and that no one had any pre-conceptions about. And also as from the start they were willing to give me freedom, it just felt very right. So it’s been a total dream working with them.
Who would you love to dress in one of your designs?
Definitely any of the Olympians who I’m hero-worshiping right now, like Jessica Ennis and Laura Trollop. They’ve all got these incredible bodies that can do so much and they’re strong females, so I would be totally over the moon if they wore my clothes.
Do you have a style icon?
I’ve got loads. Debbie Harry is definitely a consistent in my life, I absolutely love her. Any 70s icons like that, I love that era. But the more up to date people like Chloë Sevigny I absolutely love, and Zooey Deschanel. People who do things a bit differently.
What’s the one thing in your wardrobe that you couldn’t live without?
At the moment, I hate to say it, but it’s probably a maternity bra. I’ve had to buy new bars because the other ones don’t fit, so I couldn’t live without one right now. I didn’t even used to wear one half the time. That or I guess just a good pair of Converse or Vans for the weekend.