CQ Interviews Lily Allen and Sarah Owen at Lucy in Disguise Launch
Last week, we were lucky enough to catch up with Lily Allen and sister Sarah Owen, at the London launch of their new Lucy in Disguise clothing line hosted by Elle and Harvey Nichols. With getting married, her big announcement this weekend and a new collection launch, there's no doubt Lily has got her hands full at the moment. Interviewed by Elle's Acting Editor Jenny Dickinson & Senior Fashion Editor Natalie Wansbrough-Jones, read on to discover Lily's styling advice, her thoughts on dressing for your body shape and what it's really like to design your own clothing line from scratch...
So what made you decide to introduce your own collection to Lucy in Disguise?
Lily: We just found that when we were sourcing all of our vintage we were having lots of problems. There were so many weird little things that were wrong with them, whether they were made out of a horrible fabric or even sizing issues. Once we had accumulated this massive pile of clothes that we couldn't do anything with, we decided to do our own collection and to use them as our inspiration pieces.
Click below the jump to read the rest of the interview
You can check out the new Lucy in Disguise collection online here.
Are these pieces something that you would see yourself in?
Sarah:I wouldn't wear any of them [laughs]!
Lily:I think from having the shop we've learnt a lot about our customer. It's quite hard sourcing vintage clothing and there does tend to be only one of each thing. So we had an idea of what people liked and incorporated this when we were designing the collection. So you've got your tea dresses and fuller 50's skirts and cinched in waists.
Does reinventing vintage in this way overcome the reservations some people have with vintage clothing?
Lily:Yeah I think so. There has been such a big story about vintage clothing in the fashion press over the past few years and people do want to get involved. Some people don't feel like they want to go the whole hog and sit there rummaging through stuff for hours on end. They might not like the musky smell they come across or a sweat stain somewhere. You do find these things when your shopping for vintage. Luckily all of our pieces haven't got any of that! [laughs]
Did you have a girl in mind for each dress?
Sarah: The starting point was the customer in our store which is really varied. We have girls of fifteen coming in after school and there's the crazy old cat ladies [laughs]. But it's really for everybody and we tried to apply that when designing the range.
Lily:And also Lucy the character. This is an introduction into hopefully more things to come and we really wanted to show people what we are about with our brand. We invented this character Lucy, and this is a collection of what we think are her favourite pieces through out the eras.
What is the character?
Lily: She's crazy [laughs]! We've got a blurb that says she's a time travelling fashionista, she's sexy, fun, all girls want to be her friend and all boys want to be a little bit more! But she changes; in the roaring twenties she was hanging out with aristocrats having cream teas at The Ritz and in the seventies she's trying to f**k Mick Jagger on the back of a tour bus. She changes, she's having fun and she likes dressing up.
Sarah: I think it's key to the character not to have limitations in your own personal style, being adventurous and courageous. That's what I love about fashion; being able to reflect the mood you're in or the event you're going to.
Did you have body shapes in mind?
Lily: I'm always quite mindful of that as my body weight fluctuates all the time. I definitely feel that pressure when I do shoots and you turn up and everything thing is in sample size. It's really nice to go shopping and ask for something in a size 12 and it actually fits. I did put my foot down a lot of the time when we are doing our design sessions, I'm being told "make it more sheer, make it more sheer" and I'm like "No! Don't!"
Sarah: I never appreciated before how hard it was source bigger sized vintage clothes and you don't want to have to put everyone in a kaftan who's over a size six. We feel that this enables people that really want to buy in to that style to do so.
So what is your favourite era for vintage?
Lily: For me personally it would be fifties Hollywood, that's what I love. I just need tits to go with it [laughs] one day!
Sarah : I'm a Jane Berkin by day and a Bianca Jagger by night!
How did you find the process of designing?
Sarah: It's challenging, keeping the price point at a level we wanted to be, the shipping, the logistics of it all - but that's the exhilarating thing - I have to pinch myself some days when we're doing it.
Lily: Yeah I have to say it's the fabric sourcing that's the fun bit. It's like looking in a whole box of glittery things!
As you've been doing each collection, what has the learning process been?
Sarah: We've done every collection a bit different so far. There are stories within the collections, rather than each piece being a story.
Lily: I think with this collection it's been more about being a collective and establishing Lucy the character and ourselves as a brand. The next collection is a lot more concentrated in terms of colour and era so you see a lot of continuity throughout the collection. Our cruise resort collection for Spring / Summer 2012 has got even more stories, so it's definitely increasing - it's good, it's really good!
Which are your favourite pieces from this collection?
Sarah: My favourite pieces are the Roxy which is a red jumpsuit and I really love the Speakeasy little sequin mini dress.
Lily: I love this one [points to Sarah's red dress]. This is actually a recreation of my first ever vintage dress I bought when I was fourteen on Portobello Market and it got taken in and taken out about a million times.
How would you wear your favourite pieces?
Lily: What I love about this red dress is that it's a really great in the day time, and then you can dress it up for the evening like Sarah in her YSL heels! I'd wear it with flats in the day time with slightly more conservative jewellery and dress it up with loads of make up for the evening.
Sarah: With the Speakeasy dress, although it's really heavily embellished, it's great for festivals. It's a good way to stand out especially teamed with wellies.
What are your own most treasured pieces of clothing?
Sarah: My first ever vintage purchase which I bought from Liberty's for my 16th birthday as a special treat. It was a tiered party dress, with flecks of neon!
Lily: At an auction I once bought a load of Biba stuff; my two favourite things are a swing leopard print coat and also a Biba dressing gown with wizard sleeves [laughs]! Which I wear around my house all the time, and my husband is always laughing at me!
What's your best piece of styling advice?
Sarah: I'd say you don't want to be too text book vintage. You want to mix and match with other looks, other hairstyles and modernise it.
Lily: I would say the thing that really catches me when girls walk into a room is confidence. You're only really confident if you're really happy in what you're wearing and not trying to be something that you're not. So I would say just wear what you know and wear it with confidence.
What is the Lucy philosophy? What do you want to do with the business?
Lily: We want to build an empire, we want to have an airline, credit cards... [laughs]! No, I think we're just taking every day as it comes really and we're excited to be where we are now. We're really happy to be sat alongside other brands in a shop like Harvey Nichols, it's just such an honour. Two years ago if someone had said this is where you're going to be we wouldn't have believed them. We're just over the moon, we're really happy.