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Lily blossoms

Lily Allen on adding more strings to her bow

Published on May 17th 2007.

Lily blossoms

She’s the gob on a prom dress, whose sharp tongue and no-nonsense attitude has earned her as many celebrity enemies as it has hit records. And now the elfin singer has launched herself as a fashion designer for New Look with her collection Lily Loves.

Before even meeting Lily, you know that you’re not going to be greeted by a shrinking violet primly holding a fairy cake and sipping Earl Grey, (more of a Stella and kebab gal) but Lily Allen is certainly not the chav she’s portrayed herself as since blinding us on screen with her gold creoles.

In fact there’s nothing scally about her. She’s a true delight. Hardly Grace Kelly or Shilpa Shetty in terms of sobriety and virtue, but she’s thoroughly endearing, fun and feminine. And it’s this side of Lily that breathes through the cheeky jewellery, loud shoes and patterned prints of the six dresses in her collection.

“My idea behind it was that we knew it was going to be a summer range and fits quite well with people finishing school and university. There’s that one dress you have that you would wear to a summer party. And I think all of them are appropriate for that. None of them are too tight or uncomfortable. There’s so much movement in the dresses. I just think they’re really fun.”

It was New Look who approached Lily to work in collaboration. Although she was initially reticent, worrying she wouldn’t be given a free rein to trample (in diamond shape trainers) her own identity over the collection, she says: “I felt like I could do something quite positive with it – making clothes for real women rather than stick thin models so that was my main reason for doing it.”

It’s hard to tell if that was a direct dig at Kate Moss, whose own collection has been criticised for only accommodating those of doll proportions. But throughout the interview Lily can’t resist throwing a few mischievous jibes her way, sarcastically suggesting that Moss, “inspired” Lily’s collection and that she’ll be, “sending one of her dresses to her in the post.”

Lily is quite honest in the fact that having her own fashion label is probably not a route she would have taken. Although she has her own unique style, fashion is not something she follows as closely as music, unlike other musician come designers Kylie, Madonna and erm Victoria Beckham.

“I’m not really a hardcore business woman. I know people like Gwen Stefani have their own fashion range. I think that people like that are bang on doing the product thing but that’s not what I’m really about. I can’t really rule out my own fashion label though because I might suddenly become a really bankable celebrity,” she teases.

The dresses themselves are certainly fresh, vibrant and youthful, the material is a little questionable, cheap even on some of them, but you’re hardly going to find couture fabric in New Look. As Lily points out: “It would be silly to sign up for something for New Look and sell it for £700.”

In terms of her own fashion style, she keeps things relatively accessible in vintage shops, markets and charity shops around London. But then she slips out that she has, “A weakness for very expensive handbags.” And you realise that even this rebellious, earthy young madam is not immune to the glamour of celebrity status.

So off Lily trots for a fag. And her ‘people’ collapse with relief that she’s managed to get through an interview without resorting to slander.

Vanessa Lees

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