The British designer Alice Temperley talks to Nicole Smallwood about list-keeping, fresh mangos and dressing up to feel good during the coronavirus crisis
My Style: Q&A with Alice Temperley
What was your inspiration or theme behind your current S/S ’20 collection?
Italian escapes filled with byzantine tilework, Venetian palazzos and beautifully curated gardens inspire the latest collection. Travel and escapism to warm new climes, from hotel rooms to the French riviera, from Peggy Guggenheim’s Venice to botanical retreats – these all perfectly illustrate our new vision for summer 2020.
What are your favourite pieces from the collection and why?
There are increased daywear pieces in crisp cottons, linens and cotton silk checks in shorter styles, which provide a cool and relaxed summer offering, along with long, billowing, off-shoulder summer dresses.
What can we expect to see from you for A/W ‘20?
The Autumn/Winter collection encapsulates the vibrant energy of the Golden Age of jazz, tap and swing. Through diaphanous fabrics, vivid colours, and striking silhouettes, the collection echoes the movement of the dancers themselves. My favourite masculine silhouettes are inspired by Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire, in the form of tailoring in soft nappas and Italian checked wool. The new accessories collection will be available in-store, six classic bags crafted in the finest calf leather skin quality and finishings, which sit consistently alongside the ready-to-wear collection.
Whose style do you really admire?
I have been privileged enough to work with so many actors and artists. Some of my muses have great style that I admire, and they wear the collections so well: Helena Christensen, Laura Bailey, Poppy Delevingne, Caroline Issa and Olga Kurylenko, my mother and sisters – all the women that surround me and, of course, my team.
As you’re working from home, what is your daily uniform?
I alternate between dressing up and dressing down in my gardening overalls – countryside and London confusion! I have to say, it always feels better and more optimistic if I make an effort.
Do you have any words of wisdom for working from home?
Finding the right balance for the company, my son and myself. It’s very strange not being with my team, so we have been using Zoom to make sure we try to make the best out of this terrible situation. I find keeping a list and to a schedule are important. Time for work focus and home focus, with clear boundaries.
What outfit is making you feel your best self at the moment?
A bit of sparkle. We have launched #DressUpWednesday, where we are encouraging everyone to change from their loungewear to something more dressy. It’s important to find new ways to make you feel good, and I find dressing up is one of them. Dress up alone or with loved ones. We will be sharing the winners on our Instagram account.
What are you wearing for any Zoom/Skype meetings?
I let me team see me how they find me… So it’s dress up or down, but always clothed!
What have you rediscovered in your wardrobe?
Everything! It’s now completely in order. The kids also dress up every other night and I am learning a lot from them and their combinations. It’s very funny.
Power dressing: what outfit makes you feel like you can conquer the world?
I love a three-piece suit and flats – it’s empowering and looks great! Good tailoring always makes me feel good. I often wore a men’s vintage three-piece pinstripe suit with Converse when I was a student at Central Saint Martins, and it made me feel a certain way – a bit tomboyish, smart and I guess kind of cool, as it was effortless. I remembered that feeling and a few years ago I made myself a Temperley three-piece suit. I explore fabrications using velvets or jacquards and make a few which are bolder and looser, as every suit makes you feel different and the cut is so important for your shape. I love them so much.
Has being at home made you think about the way you buy or consume products?
Being in Somerset we have a great friend up the road who sells organic meats and food. I like really clean foods and lots of vegetables; I want to grow 90 per cent of my own food at home before this summer. My vegetable patch is not very good at the moment, but I want to someday grow lots of greens. I only eat meat when I know where it comes from.
Three items that would really pick you up if they were delivered to your door?
Great wine, fresh mangos and right now a masseuse for my frozen neck, which will be the first thing I’ll be getting once we are allowed out.
What are you wearing for your daily exercise? What are your tips for getting motivated?
Sign up for virtual classes so you feel involved, engaged and less likely not to show up. Get up and get straight into gym gear – we have no excuse right now.
What are you most enjoying about working from home?
Somerset is my safe place; it’s where I grew up and where I can reconnect. It is so important to recharge your batteries, clear your head and, most importantly, spend more time with my son.
When you are able to go on your next holiday where will you go and name three items you never go on holiday without?
I’ve always wanted to visit Mongolia, Cuba, Iceland and Columbia and go riding in Argentina… I would love to spend a lot of time in South America. I’d pack my Leica camera, a notepad for sketching and writing and headphones to listen to music.
What will you be wearing for the party when we’re all allowed outside again?
Long line smoking jackets worn with matching jumpsuits, perfect for evenings spent al fresco.
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