Dress like a star: Lily Allen's latest collection
Lily Allen and sister Sarah Owen have launched a new ready-to-wear collection that ripples with vintage nostalgia, says Fashion Editor Bairbre Power
For a woman getting married in seven days’ time, pop singer Lily Allen is remarkably chilled as we discuss her latest fashion collection, Lucy in Disguise.
No, Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel is not doing the dress, the bride-to-be insists. “Where did you get that idea?” she scolds. She’s keeping schtum about the wedding. The only clue she offers is that the mood for the day will be “a fun party”.
The celebrations have already begun with the launch of Lily’s ready-to-wear, pre-Fall collection, which arrives today at Brown Thomas, Grafton Street and BT2, Dundrum. Dipping her toe into the fashion world with a collection for New Look in 2007, Lily (26) is now designing with her sister Sarah Owen and their collaboration ripples with vintage nostalgia.
The sisters opened a vintage rental store together in Covent Garden’s King Street last year and the project was chronicled on the TV show, ‘From Riches to Rags’. Their new clothing line has pieces named after significant places and people. The ‘Claret’, dip-dyed maxi dress is a real show-stopper, with a deep V-back. At €355, it is one of the most expensive of the 18 looks from the collection.
Prices start at €130 for the nautically themed ‘Antibes’ playsuit, which was inspired by one of Sarah’s sailor-collared dresses. The most expensive piece is the heavily embellished flapper dress in pale green (€475). Now that we’ve thankfully parked our lust for orange limbs, this is a super colour on ‘virginal’ tan-free skin. Lily admits to having a few favourites. “I love the ‘Honky Tonk’ red bandana dress and the ‘Regatta’ green prom dress with polka dots.
And I really like the ‘Gold Rush’ dress, which has the cowgirl illustrations.” Lily’s pal Simon did the humorous, kitschy illustrations of the glam, bikini-clad cowgirl after watching Lily’s video ‘Not Fair’ for inspiration. The eye-catching prints were no accident. “I’m drawn to colour and I love print,” she says. “I went through a shamrock trend a while ago and I’ve got quite a collection of vintage pieces with shamrocks, and all the floral prints are different lilies.” The pink tiger lilies on a blue background make for a great dress, while the ‘Fortnum’s’ tea dress has tiny sprigs on a black background. Lily’s reputation as a style icon has grown after some wow red-carpet gowns and stage apparel. She likes versatility in the wardrobe and what she describes as that “laid-back feeling: being able to wear something in the daytime and then chuck on a pair of heels and wear it again in the evening.
“There are day and evening dresses in the collection, but the daytime looks can be worn in the evening and vice versa, apart from the ‘Radio City’ and ‘Claret’ dresses, which are dressing-up pieces.” Her love affair with clothes started with her mum. “She was a punk, but her style was not studded leather jackets. She wore prom dresses with Doc Martens and she had green hair. I was fascinated by pictures of her and the way she put outfits together.”
Now living in Stroud, Gloucestershire, Lily has extended her shopping to vintage fairs in Cheltenham. “I also go to Bristol. I can keep under the radar in those places. It's probably not a good idea for me to go rummaging in markets in London.
People crowd around and prices seem to go up.” Meet Lily Allen and Sarah Owen today as they celebrate the arrival of their collection on Level 2 in Brown Thomas, Dublin, between 12.30pm and 2.30pm