Lulu Guinness, she of the quirky, embellished bags, is finally hitting the high street. Later this month, the designer will officially launch LULU by Lulu Guinness, a diffusion line exclusively sold at JC Penney.
The collection, which includes a variety of bags and accessories that all sell for under $65, reportedly had JCP shoppers stalking the store’s stock rooms at its soft launch in November. The small kiss-lock clutches, polka-dotted satchels, and cheeky scarves all recall Guinness’s design signatures–except at a drastically reduced price. (To put this into perspective, some of the bags from her main line sell for upwards of $600.)
In advance of LULU’s February 22 launch, we sat down with Guinness to chat about her new ventures, English fashion’s evolution, and her take on Kate Middleton.
Fashionista: How did this whole collection come about?
Lulu Guinness: Well, I was in Hong Kong to visit a manufacturing company and people were talking about all of these amazing designers at JCP that they were getting together through [manufacturing conglomerate] Li & Fung. The more I heard about it, and how people like Nanette Lepore, Charlotte Ronson, Jonathan Adler, and Sephora were going there, the more I became interested.
Fashionista: What do you hope people take away from the collection?
I love for everyone to be able to buy my bags–the prices are phenomenal. [Shows a bag] It’s beautifully made and has all of the things you’d expect from a proper bag.
Fashionista: How do you think English fashion has changed since you’ve started designing?
I think we are far better respected and it’s such a relief. I think we gathered a lot of respect with great designers like Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney, Christopher Kane…
Fashionista: Yeah, what do you think about Christopher Kane’s new investment from PPR?
I think he deserves it big time. He really does deserve it—he is more than talented and is a very nice person. He will do it well. I’m really proud of British fashion at the moment, it’s cool.
Fashionista: Speaking of British fashion, what do you think of Kate Middleton?
I think she looks perfect for what she is doing–she’s the perfect princess. She looks very English, she doesn’t have that sort of chic quotient that maybe a French equivalent would have, but I like that she wears clothes that are affordable and that she’s a real person. If I’ve learned one thing, it’s that Americans are much more interested in our royal family than we are. I feel sorry for her, I think she is a really nice person trying to do that best that she can. I think she dresses well for what she does.
Fashionista: Nicholas Kirkwood won the BFC/ Vogue Fund the other day, do you think a fund like that would have helped you when you had started out?
All things like that didn’t exist when I started. There was no help. I’m so keen on my generation of people to help as many students and young talent as possible. I’m delighted for [Nicholas]; he’s just at that stage where he’s really got a name and he sells to all of the best places.