A candid evening with designer Alice Temperley in NYC

Alice Temperley at Parsons, NYC – November 8, 2011

A well known designer rarely takes the time to do a candid one on one. Alice Temperley graced “Parsons: The New School for Design” with her presence for an in depth interview with Simon Collins, the Dean of the School of Fashion.

The audience remained thoroughly patient during the delay in commencing the event, which all too closely resembled a typical fashion show scenario. Ironically enough, the introduction consisted of past runway show clips, which showcased the breathtaking and opulent designs of Alice Temperley.

The British-born designer quickly captivated the audience during the interview with her down-to-earth attitude and soft charm, not to mention her beautiful outfit. Throughout the interview, there was scattered mentioning of her new book True British by Alice Temperley, dominated by visuals that provide an “all-encompassing story” of her journey in building the brand over the last 10 years.

She described her childhood artisanship ventures, which continued well into her college years—helping her pay for the never-ending student expenses—and, today, serve her well as a well-established fashion designer with global operations.

Alice greatly stressed: the importance of investment into learning, a compatible and capable business partner (who just so happens to be her husband, sitting in front row but a few feet away), quick decision-making capabilities, and staying true to oneself. She also generously shared her weakness with delegation given her dynamic hands on approach and “control freak” tendencies. However, we cannot hold it against her, she is much too likable! Alternatively, who can mess a designer whom Her Majesty the Queen at Buckingham Palace recently appointed as Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE). A true honor for Alice and the fashion world; an honor well deserved.

Her impeccable attention to detail and patterns serve as her distinctive signatures. She shared her passion for detailing, which adds personality and richness to her designs. Alice strives to make the clothes feel full of life and for the wearer to feel empowered. Her print specialization is very evident and she is cognizant of providing a “highly feminine product”, one that is cut and created for women’s curves. She steers away from male stylists stressing that only a woman knows what it mean to have such assets (though, Alice’s terminology was considerably more colloquial in the interview).

While the current focus for the company is the London flagship store and the Los Angeles locations, Alice assured the audience that NYC was in the pipeline.

It is through these types of dialogue that the fashion public gains an understanding into what makes a designer “tick”, what excites them, motivates design to become reality. We thank Ms. Temperley for her candid and insightful dialogue this evening.

–Ana Pavlovic