Alice Temperley has been making her feminine and gorgeous clothes for ten years now. To celebrate this milestone anniversary, which is quite an accomplishment in the fickle world of fashion, she released a new book last week, called True British: Alice Temperley (Rizzoli New York, 2011). The book includes a foreword from Lucy Yeomans, Editor of Harper’s Bazaar UK, and images from international fashion magazines, Temperley campaigns and events. In addition to all these pretty pictures, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at her fabrics and design process, too.
We were wowed by Temperley’s spring 2012 show in London a few weeks ago (and also admittedly by the fact that Pippa Middleton was sitting front and center at the show) and got to have a chat with the Brit designer via email about her thoughts on London style and London fashion week, those comments she made about New York Fashion Week being too commercial, and Pippa Middleton.
How do you think London fashion and specifically London fashion week has changed in the last 10 years?
British fashion has definitely evolved and London Fashion Week is getting stronger and stronger. It doesn’t have the backing that Paris, New York, and Milan have, but London has a lot more focus on supporting British designers and there is a huge amount of raw talent in London that is very exciting. (Ed.note: Alice declined to answer questions about all the recent scheduling drama happening for the spring 2013 shows.)
Can you elaborate some more on the reasons you think London fashion week is better than New York fashion week? You mentioned that New York fashion week is more commercial…other differences?
London does need more days but the quote was taken out of context; New York is more commercial than London and there should be more space for it. I love New York Fashion Week and showed there for many seasons and will be there next month for my book tour.
Can you give us an idea of what Pippa Middleton looks for in a dress?
She is a delight to work with and knows exactly what she likes.
How would you describe “typical” London style? What makes it unique and stand out from other cities?
Individuality. The best place to see unique British style is out and about and on the streets of London, where people are experimental rather than safe. The eccentricity of British style is something I love. For me British style is about being able to think out of the box and to be truly individual and not follow trends for the sake of it.
Can you name some other women that you’d love to dress?
I think Audrey Tautou and Marion Cotillard are brilliant.
London women have a reputation lately for loving a fake tan. Do you think this is true of many Londoners, and do you use any tanning products?
I did not know that London women have a specific reputation for fake tan! In summer before going on holiday, I sometimes go for a very natural looking fake tan. I don’t like to sit in the sun and damage my skin.
How has your own style (and your line) changed in the last 10 years?
The Temperley woman has always paid attention to detail and appreciated investment pieces. However, as we grow, the collections do too. This year, being our tenth anniversary, we are returning to our signature design heritage, focusing more than ever on luxury fabrics, sophisticated design and special detailing resulting in a focused and polished collection. After ten years you really understand what your customer wants. Creating our book True British was a very rewarding experience; it was nice to see the full cycle of everything. The book is the story of the last ten years, looking into the world of Temperley from the very beginning. I wanted to gather all the information from over the years into one document to show how we had grown and took the 10 year anniversary as a time to reflect.