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A Somerset vision

PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 January 2014

Alice Temperley

Alice Temperley

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Alice Temperley has drawn inspiration from her home county

WORDS: Charlotte Skidmore

Alice Temperley grew up on her parent’s farm in Somerset and has since gone on to become one of the most sought-after fashion designers in the industry.

Her award portfolio is growing all the time and in the 2011 New Year Honours, Alice was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) by Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace, for services to the fashion industry.

The designer has just released the third collection in her Somerset range.

So Somerset Life caught up with Alice to see what the latest collection is all about.

Q. Was a third Somerset collection always a given?

A. Yes, Somerset is an ongoing collaboration with John Lewis. We have worked with John Lewis to create a brand that speaks both to their customer but is still infused with a Temperley spirit, which is proving incredibly popular with customers.

Q. What stimulated the expansion of the Somerset brand into lingerie/nightwear and girlswear?

A. A year down the line, Somerset has gone from strength to strength and it felt completely natural to expand into lingerie – my next love after clothing - and also girlswear.

Both collections represent a new step in the evolution of the Somerset brand, as this will be the first time I have designed lingerie and childrenswear, which I have always wanted to do.

Q. What is your favourite piece from each of the Autumn/Winter collections?

A. My favourite piece from Somerset womenswear is the navy and black houndstooth tweed cape coat, which combines an iconic feminine shape with a classic British fabric and looks great with everything.

From the first Somerset lingerie collection I love the black tuxedo jumpsuit - a sleeveless silk, black one-piece with ivory piping on the tuxedo lapels – beautiful and timeless.

From Somerset girlswear, I love the bright pink tweed coat with faux-fur collar, it is so sweet.

Q. How does the AW13 womenswear collection differ from the previous two collections?

A. Somerset AW13 offers even more accessories than previous seasons– we have almost doubled the entire collection. For Autumn/Winter we have drawn on a range of heritage style fabrics, including tweed and Donegal wool, as well as classic English staples, such as the brogue shoe or the Crombie coat. The collection has a real feel of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, with strong tailoring and quintessential English details, such as equestrian embossing on leather accessories.

We have a range of brogue shoes, a chunky lace up boot, as well as a front strap monk shoe. This is also the first time we have included fine cashmere, with a beautiful long line jumper in electric blue, cream and marl grey, and a great grey cashmere travel wrap.

Q. Do any of the pieces in the AW13 collections replicate any of the previous bestsellers?

A. Yes, this Autumn/Winter 13, we have created a new version of the bestselling high waist trouser, which will come in a heritage-style tweed. It’s a really flattering style that suits everyone.

We have followed themes from previous seasons, with embellishment, beading and lace also playing a large part in the Autumn/Winter womenswear collection.

Q. Will you be expanding the range even further?

A. In its first season, Somerset became John Lewis’ fastest selling brand ever and during its first day on sale, the collection took 11 times the sales usually seen for a brand launch in just one day, which was very exciting.

Given the success of the collection to date, the evolution of the Somerset range into girlswear, lingerie and nightwear felt completely natural. As for future expansion, you’ll have to watch this space...

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