Fashion / Style

British Designer Alice Temperley Gives Up the Posh London Life to Embrace the Wild West and Texas

Retreating to the Countryside With Style

BY // 04.03.22
photography Priscilla Dickson

When British designer Alice Temperley said goodbye to the posh life of London in favor of her roots in bucolic Somerset, a new world of inspiration emerged. Her fall/winter 2022 Wild West collection is based, she tells PaperCity, on the influences of horseback riding through the rolling hills of southwest England. While her imaging might not exactly harmonize with a Texan’s concept of Wild West fashions (and that is for the better), the collection received loads of Lone Star love when she shared it with Elizabeth Anthony customers in Houston.

Likewise, when models in Temperley’s latest designs sashayed down the runway at the Children’s Assessment Center Luncheon, the reception was entirely positive. The creativity, the freshness and the fun of Temperley’s oeuvre captivated the audience.

Trained as a textiles designer, Temperley brings that talent to play in her fashions which are punctuated with color, texture and pattern. Embroidered flowers float across both day and evening wear. Painterly fabrics featuring cactus and palmetto speak to her Wild West motif. Think leather chap skirts, ponchos, blanket knits and prairie dresses.

“I’ve always loved riding boots and hats and I’ve got a beautiful big horse and I love Peruvian and Mexican kind of big blankets and things,” Temperley says. “So I said, why don’t we just do Wild West and then weirdly it coincided with my visit to Texas. Brilliant.”

In anticipation of the two-day trunk show in Houston, Temperley picked up a pair of golden ankle-length cowboy boots during her Soho House trunk show in Los Angeles. She wore them in the store with one of her signature silken floaty frocks the day following the fashion show.

Temperley departed London two years ago, moving her design studio and production facilities to a behemoth Victorian in the English countryside.

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Nicole Dillon Blaylock, Alice Temperley, Julie Roberts, Charlotte Lepre-Slater, Jennifer Mohler_Photo by Priscilla Dickson

“Moving out from London completely and not being based in Mayfield any longer made me approach the daywear in a different way and for that theme (Wild West) it was quite exciting for evening wear,” she says, “putting on lots of cactuses and gold and shimmer that you’d image in a cowboy desert.”

Temperley founded her eponymous brand Temperley London in 2000 and by 2011 her talent and success had earned her an MBE, which was presented by Queen Elizabeth in ceremonies at Buckingham Palace. Her designs are in fact adored by the Duchess of Cambridge (aka Kate Middleton) and her sister Pippa Middleton. Yet, 22 years later she is looking for another creative outlet.

“Sometimes I think I’m crazy for still continuing to do it,” Temperley says. “I mean when you go through a recession and you go through Brexit and you go through COVID and go like how much more difficult can this industry become?”

Her solution is expanding her brand to include home and lifestyle.

Temperley Fashion Show at CAC_Photo by Priscilla Dickson (3)

“It’s something that doesn’t have the seasons for fashion which frustrates me the most,” Temperley says. “Going into interiors that would be around for a really, really long time and no boobs and bottoms and things like that.

Temperley laughs. “It should be really nice. Like a chair,” she continues.

Temperley notes that she will be back in the states this time next year with her lifestyle collection in addition to fashions. For the interiors she is developing three moods: “Boudoire-y,” something British, “our very own vision of William Morris” and then a “decadent French mood with leopard prints and dark colors.” Her line will be featured in 15 showrooms around the world with one of those in Texas. But she is not sure which Texas city her showroom will be in yet.

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