Ah to be an Emilia Wickstead woman. To saunter into a room in a romantic floor-skimming silk dress - all effortless elegance with a distinctly sensual edge.
This is femininity done a different way. Demure yet daring, sexy without trying too hard, sweetly pretty but with a hint of down-to-earth-cool. Herein lies the magic formula behind the London-based designer’s covetable collections. And why interior designer Fran Hickman is the perfect muse…
Tell us about your shoot with Fran – why did you decide to work with her on this project?
Fran embodies the brand so beautifully. She is just naturally very beautiful, but she's also got that no-nonsense approach that I like. She's very fresh, and very relaxed, and very put-together, and that's what I really love about Fran, her personal style.
How did you meet Fran? Have you worked together before?
I first met Fran when she designed my salon; we wanted to create a world where people could walk into store, well, walk into the brand essentially. It was important to find someone who I could work well with; obviously, as a designer, you have an incredibly clear vision of what you want, but also it's wonderful to have someone else's take on what your vision is. With Fran, I felt an instant connection to her and it's been really lovely working with her on this project.
And how would you describe the typical Emilia Wickstead woman?
I think that the typical Emilia Wickstead women is very effortless, very sophisticated, she's got alluring style and she's always taking on fashion. I always describe her as 'imaginative with her own taste'.
And do you see that in your customer?
I like to think that people are buying Emilia Wickstead because they want to keep it in their wardrobe as an investment piece; she's not just buying it because it's of-the-moment or what's “currently in season.” I think that we cater for the woman that wants to be fashion-forward but also wants to purchase an investment piece that she'll have in her wardrobe forever.
How do you feel that will translate for the Browns customer?
I think that Browns is the most influential store of our time. The first people that ever came to see my collection were from Browns, so now that I'm stocked there it's a real seal of approval. It's great for us to be at Browns, and I think it's going to be really successful. There are a lot of really fun pieces in the collection – like the pink striped skirt with the embroidered eyes – so I think those more fanciful pieces will do really well for the Browns customer.
Can you talk us through your inspirations behind the SS16 collection?
The collection is inspired by women from the 1950s, and their ability to procure comfort and happiness while exploring their own identity. I focused on personalities, and it was very much linked in with George Cukor's The Women, which is a film that only has women in it, and ones with very strong personalities. In the film, there are lots of links to sports apparel, so I played with that this season, which you can see in the cut-out shapes, but it's still a very modern and fresh, fun collection.
How do you think your brand complements the London fashion scene?
I feel like British designers are having a real moment; there's a lot of freedom to be different and I think that that's what so unique. There's no expectation of what you're going to see at London Fashion Week and I think that's why you get such a mixed bag of sweets.
You've become such a favourite for so many celebrities. Is there anyone who you would love to see wearing your pieces?
Cate Blanchett, Alicia Vikander and Lily James.
All Bazaar cover stars!
Yes, of course!
What's the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
'Learn by listening' – it's a piece of advice that's helped me in a huge way, especially with growing my own business.
What do you see as your greatest achievement to date?
My family. Definitely.
Photography - Rahel Weiss @Saint Luke, Styling - Natalie Wansbrough-Jones @Saint Luke,
Hair Stylist - Mirka Hajdova @Saint Luke,
Make-Up Artist - Rebecca Wordingham @Saint Luke, Photographer’s Assistant - Alex Board, Digital Operative - Phillip Papadis, Stylist’s Assistant - Arndt Stobba