This week, HuffPost UK launch the third episode of their new digital entertainment series 'Fearne on Fashion' featuring 'Queen of Shops' Mary Portas, hosted by Broadcaster and fashionista, Fearne Cotton.
The 10-part series features some of the UK’s biggest fashion designers including Henry Holland, Julien Macdonald, Matthew Williamson and Pam Hogg, as well as tastemakers in fashion including singers Mollie King and Ella Eyre, diving into the fast paced world of fashion.
We caught up with Fearne to talk about the new series and where her love of clothes began.
Please can you tell us a little bit about your new digital entertainment series ‘Fearne on Fashion’?
It’s a ten part series where I basically go and explore all the behind the scenes chaos, fun, the glamorous and the not so glamorous sides of what the industry is like.
We cover everything from London Fashion Week, to new designers like Molly Goddard and veterans of the industry like Matthew Williamson. We cover vintage with Matthew, vintage high street with Molly King. We just get a nice look at the different elements that go into the wonderful world of fashion.
When did your passion for fashion begin?
I guess I have always loved it in some form- whether I was getting it right or in any way knowledgeable about the subject is another matter.
I certainly always loved playing dress up- even as a kid. My mum is massively into fashion and always has been. I have kind of grown up seeing how women can transform themselves with clothes and really change their own mood that day or their feelings by dressing up. I have always had that passion just from watching my mum be super glam. Even when she was just taking me to my local dance club she would always look amazing. Even if she comes around to babysit she will wear big heels or a faux fur coat. She would never dress down ever and I kind of love that.
How has your fashion changed since becoming a mum and how did it alter while you were pregnant?
It was definitely a lot different when I was pregnant because your whole body changes from the start. I just wanted to be comfortable when I was pregnant. I still wanted to be able to dress up and have fun but any pregnant woman would agree in the last months it’s really hard to know what to wear. You can’t really avoid the legging which is not always the best but you just want to be comfortable. I was pregnant with Rex in the freezing pits of winter so there was lots of baggy jumpers and leggings, then I was pregnant with Honey right in the middle of the summer when there was a heatwave, so I was absolutely boiling! A lot of loose kaftans came in very handy.
I think since becoming a mum- the way I dress is probably the only thing that hasn’t changed about me. Everything else has changed; how I think about the world, how I think about work, how I balance my time but my clothing is the one thing that has remained the same. I think you still want to feel like you in the complete fog of parenting and the logistics of family life. I think just to have a few things that stay the same is really comforting and doesn’t make you feel like you’ve lost all elements of the old you before you had kids.
Do you think there is one piece of clothing that stands the test of time and will always be fashionable?
It hasn’t got to be expensive but if you buy a classic shape or cut, a really great handbag that will go with most outfits or a really amazing pair of black boots. I have got a pair of lace up black boots that I have had for like 15 years maybe and I still wear them more than any other pair I’ve got. I think if you buy something like that- something you know is going to be versatile and stand the test of time. Or if you are up for splashing a bit of cash and buying one really amazing designer piece that you know you will pass through to friends or your daughter is actually really nice. I have got a couple of handbags and some lovely shoes that my step daughter and daughter will definitely get some day.
Where do you shop the most and why is this your favourite place to go on a shopping spree?
For a little treat buy I love to go on Vestiaire which is the second hand high end website. You get the most amazing bargains. I got some incredible little Isabel Marant sandals the other day for probably half the price of what they are sold at retail because they are all second hand. I love that website for getting amazing designer bargains. You might find an old vintage pair of Chanel pumps or something that has been worn before but you are getting them for a really decent price. I love that website.
I love Zara for high street and online shopping. You can always get a good classic in Zara I think.
I love a lot of great designers. I am a huge fan of Vivienne Westwood and everything she stands for and does. I love Stella McCartney, I think she is incredible. I love Molly Goddard for party dresses and Matthew Williamson for glamorous outfits. So I hop about from anywhere from a charity shop to Net A Porter. I am always scouring shops and the internet.
Can you describe a piece of clothing you have at home that you couldn’t live without?
I have got quite a few bits that I adore. There is this really amazing Varsity bomber jacket that my husband got me for Christmas this year. He got it from a second hand shop in Glastonbury and it’s one of his favourite places to go and find little gems for me because he works down there quite a lot. I have worn it every day since he bought it for me. That is definitely one of my new favourites and I will never let go of that one. I have got some really nice evening shoes that go with everything that I always have stored away in a box ready for when I leave the house. I have got some really beautiful Louboutins and a couple of pairs of Cecelia Webster shoes. They are my got to shoes if I am ever dressing up. I have just got a couple of pairs of jeans for Zara that I wear nearly every day and a couple of pairs for J Brand that have stood the test of time. I have got some good classics that I always go back to.
Why are clothes such a powerful way to express ourselves?
Well, it’s the most instant visual you get when meeting someone. I think when you come face to face with someone you’re meeting for the first time, or even if you are seeing a friend or a loved one that you see regularly, looking at what they are wearing tells you so much about who they are and where they are at. It’s never going to be the full story but you will get a look into what they are into in life and how they are feeling that day. I think that is really exciting. And also how you can change yourself and how your day runs. If you go from being at work and having to dress a certain way to being able to show your true colours when you go out for the night. You are able to express yourself visually. Clothing on a night out is so much fun. I think that is one of the absolute joys of being a woman- that we can change up how we look in an instant just with clothes and accessories.
Why do you find not only the clothes but the creative genius behind the items so fascinating?
I think it’s like another form of art. I am massively into art, cinema and music and all of those escapisms. I think they are all the things that add magic to life; that extra sparkle. They all speak the same language, they are all able to unlock something deeply emotional that we sometimes don’t face up to in everyday life. Being able to do that as a job and a skill is quite remarkable.
I find designers so interesting and fascinating knowing that they can tap into something the rest of us want to say with clothing but don’t know how. Designers know that and they will find the print, the cuts, the shapes and follow trends or not and make their own fantasy dream world with their collections, I just find that really fascinating.
You seemed star struck when you met the editor of Vogue so why do people in the fashion industry affect you this way when you’ve interviewed so many people in your career?
I think it’s exciting. I still get like that when I interview certain musicians when I respect the job that they do. There is something very powerful about meeting the editor of Vogue. She practically runs fashion in the UK and it’s that kind of Devil Wears Prada character that you imagine but she’s absolutely lovely. I really enjoyed having a chat with her. I think what she does is amazing. To have such an incredibly powerful job. She is able to distil all that information that’s scattered around at London Fashion week- around the world- and make it into a magazine that millions of people read and go by- it’s really exciting. Anyone that is at the top of their game- I will be pretty excited about meeting. There is something quite magical about someone who has thought- ‘I am going to be the best of the best I can be’ and they have done it. I find that really thrilling and really inspiring. It was wonderful to meet her.
What are your thoughts on having real women on catwalks?
I love it! I guess it’s always that distinction between ‘a model’ and ‘a real woman’ but of course we are all human. The world of fashion has elements to it that are sheer fantasy and a lot of women, myself included, can’t relate to those parts of it. I’m a working mum and a lot of the time I look like a bedraggled, tired hedgehog! I don’t look anywhere near like those models do on the catwalk. I think the broader that fashion can be, the more accessible and reachable it can be, as well as mixing in the fantasy element- that’s really healthy.
To have woman out there who are confident and know who they are and who don’t have to fit into any particular stereotype or realm is really positive thing for younger woman to look to. To feel like you don’t have to look a certain way and just be you. To remain confident and feel really good about yourself- the more moments like that- which can be reflected in the industry the better. I think there is room for it all.
What was your best moment of the series?
There are so many! It was really fun hanging out with Matthew because he is a friend anyway. That was just a riot. I had never been to his place before and it was just exceptional walking into this giant wardrobe with all the archives he has- it was just heavenly.
And also trying on all the exceptional vintage pieces that William has collected over the years was like playing dress up all day- a dream come true.
Going to Paris was really great too. We had a lot of fun at Paris Fashion Week. It’s obviously the fashion capital of the world still- certainly in a more classic way. That was fun- getting to dissect that Parisian ‘thing’ and why so many Parisian women look so chic and to really understand it. It was very interesting- it was a whole attitude rather than just being the clothes that you wear on your back.
What is next for you?
We are actually still filming and we have a nice surprise right at the end of the series which will come into fruition shortly on screen. We have got some really cool plans so when people find out what we’re doing they are going to be really excited about it.
My book- ‘Happy’ will be out in a few weeks so I’m just getting ready for that to be released into the wild.
Celebrity Juice comes back soon too. All sorts of bits and bobs sort of rumbling away at the start of the year and cleaning pooey bums in between. All go!
Fearne On Fashion is a new digital entertainment series from The Huffington Post UK. Hosted by Fearne Cotton and featuring some of the UK’s biggest fashion designers, the series takes a look behind the curtain of the fashion industry. You can catch the latest episode now.