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West Country Girl: It's A Family Affair

The Temperleys are a talented bunch. Alice, boho designer du jour and the new Designer of the Year at last week's Hollywood Style Awards, has just published True British, a wonderful collection of photos, mood boards and memories which documents 10 years of building the Temperley London brand.  Her sister Matilda was the chief photographer and picture editor for the book and the whole archive is imbued with the mystical, whimsical, West Country spirit that seems to be part and parcel of the Temperley clan.

Country Calling recently caught up with them at Apple Day hosted by Julian on his Burrow Hill farm. It was, as to be expected, a stylish, cider-soaked event. The thing about the Temperleys – and this is true for both Alice’s fashion business and the family’s Somerset Cider brand – is that they evoke an almost fantastical lifestyle that people want to be part of. Mark Hix, the chef, was guest speaker, Damian Hirst designed spectacular labels for the 20 year old cider brandy and Alex James turned up to picnic with his entire family. Designer of the moment, Alice Temperley is most definitely a West Country girl.  Brought up in Somerset on her parents’ cider farm, her life style reads, bucolic and free growing up with her  siblings. A local Somerset school led onto Yeovil College before heading to London to set up her business. Interested in making beautiful things as a child, there are stories of Alice cutting up her mother Diana’s prized lampshades to create an outfit. Alice still returns to Somerset every weekend to a stunning house she shares with her husband Lars von Bennigsen and two year old son Fox. At Apple Day Alice described True British as “a scrapbook”. It’s much more than that with stunning photographs documenting the growth of her business into the huge global success it is now -  four collections a year and on sale in over 300 outlets.  It mixes pictures of her renowned summer fancy dress parties - beautiful people wafting around the cider farm - with personal childhood images and her exquisite finished designs with mood boards revealing how she creates them. Alice is pictured in the book as a child, modelling seaweed on her sister Mary in one of her “first designs”. As a young girl she also persuaded a friend whose father was a gamekeeper to help skin a rabbit so she could make a fur collar. That’s dedication for you. Temperley has a huge following including celebrities such as Demi Moore, Jacquetta Wheeler and of course the Middleton sisters. Pippa wore her stunning emerald dress at the royal wedding evening party and recently attended Alice’s show at London Fashion Week in a Temperley dress. Kate has also worn various pieces – including a cowboy shirt she wore on her American tour. The allure of Temperley is not only the beautiful, whimsical feel to her clothes but the whole life style that goes with wearing them. Effortless chic with attitude stamped on it – the clothes, you feel, work just as well in a muddy Somerset orchard as in a crowded London party. True British is an inspiring, uplifting book and just like her designs, it's something you’ll be pretty keen to get your hands on. She’s also recently collaborated on her third collection with Barbour to produce some amazing designs for her Barbour Gold Label.  We’re particularly sold on her Somerset coat…roll on those cool evenings. Not your average child, then – but there’s nothing average about any of the Temperley family.


Alice with friends and family during a Somerset dying weekend. Credit: Venetia Deardon

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