Alice Temperley made a virtue of lockdown, decamping from her London base to her home county of Somerset, and taking the design and production studio with her. Her new headquarters is located in an historic Victorian property in the main square of Ilminster, southwest England, and Temperley is planning to use it for work, fittings and hosting clients and parties — the building comes with a big bar.
She’s also taking advantage of local sourcing and manufacturing — a cost-effective and low-carbon opportunity for any British designer, post-Brexit. Temperley’s latest collection features robust waterproof jackets made locally, with quilting from upcycled water bottles, while the designer said she’s free to do short runs or smaller capsules with factories close by.
“It feels like I’m back to the old days when I started, and the collection feels like a part of me again,” Temperley said in a Zoom interview from her Somerset studio with its wooden floors and soaring ceilings.
Temperley channeled that upbeat attitude into her fall collection, which she said was all about “rock ‘n’ roll swagger, getting out and having fun.” With a massive vaccine program in full swing, the Brits are optimistic that life can return to some sort of normal by spring.
Swagger came in the shape of leather jackets embroidered with studs and firework designs; 1970s suits with flared trousers, and lots of denim. During a Zoom call, the designer herself was wearing a double denim suit — dark jeans and a shirt jacket nipped at the waist and dotted with shiny gold buttons.
Dresses were free-and-easy: there were long, flower-print halter-top styles, and others with pouf shoulders and high necks. For evening dresses with cutouts, patterns and statement sleeves glistened with a thousand sequins. Outerwear ranged from slick leather trenches to those sturdy jackets built for life in sometimes sunny, often rainy Somerset.