Erin O'Connor, the British supermodel, environmentalist and mentor talks to us about her style icon, collecting Victorian nighties and the importance of sustainable fashion – all from the comfort of her bed.
Describe the best outfit you've ever worn.
Vivienne Westwood's atelier designed a vermilion red silk Marie Antoinette number, complete with corset, bustle and a 'playing cards' fan, for my 30th 'love' themed birthday party on Valentine's Day. I didn't take it off for 24 hours.
What look do you love but doubt you could pull off?
I can't do trends full stop. Ironic I know given my job description; if there was an exam on wearing clogs, bodycon dresses and gladiators, I'd fail miserably. I like to hint at passing trends but I'm much better at staying on the periphery.
What's one piece of clothing every woman needs in her wardrobe?
Every woman needs something vintage, whether it's a family hand-me-down or a treasured find in a charity shop. Clothes should sustain a full life cycle and there's something quite liberating about passing something on for another generation.
Which designers do you most admire?
The labels that are starting out and are hell bent on remaining independent as traders. I'm particularly smitten with Hannah Marshall's black on black uncompromising, structured designs and I'm also a longstanding fan of Margaret Howell's classics. I also love Peopletree for their stylish and conscience attitude and Christopher Kane - for just being Christopher Kane.
What do you wear when nobody's looking?
I love both wearing and collecting Victorian starch cotton nighties. I know that this is a little weird, but I do love to waft around the house in them – it's my mother's fault for introducing me to Helena Bonham Carter period dramas at such a tender age.
What was your last fashion faux pas?
I was persuaded by a stylist friend to wear a dramatic Balenciaga mini dress – though I'm fortunate enough to have long legs, I can't help laughing whenever I see them as I have unfortunately inherited my dad's strong, sturdy Celtic knee-caps!
What is your most treasured piece of clothing or jewellery?
The Versace dress I bought with my first paycheque in Milan – it was quite a surreal moment as I'd worn it on the catwalk the season before.
How and where do you do your best work?
I work best from my bed, especially when I'm writing or organising my work schedule. And yep, I'm writing this in bed.
Describe your style in five words.
If I'm at work I'm structured and elongated, and if I'm being myself whimsical, colourful and clashing.
What are you working on at the moment?
I'm furiously preparing for London Fashion Week, which includes organising the new Model Sanctuary venue [a secret refuge that offers counselling and a square meal to models during fashion week]. I'm also planning an exciting event to mark the one-year anniversary of All Walks Beyond the Catwalk with my co-founders Debra Bourne and Caryn Franklin.
Erin is currently supporting Velvet tissue's Campaign for Trees. For every tree used, Velvet grows three more. Visit www.velvettissue.com for more information.
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