Edinburgh-born designer Holly Fulton is known for her vibrant more-is-more aesthetic, often drawing on her love of Pop Art, Art Deco, graphic colour, print and surface texture. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, she lives and works in East London. Her latest SS14 collection was an ode to Laura Ashley florals and ’70s American denim. We caught up with her for the latest LDNfashion Q&A…
1. When did fashion/a sense of personal style first become important to you?
I remember a benchmark school disco when I was 12 and creating a checkerboard black and white outfit for it – literally half black, half white. Looking back, that was probably a sign of what was to come. I also had a mini walking stick that my dad painted like a barber’s pole when I was about 5. I didn’t need one, I just saw my granddad with one and I didn’t want to miss out on the accessories. It used to be repainted every few weeks into a different colourway! I became aware of the fact my own style might be fractionally different from everyone else’s when I was a teenager.
2. Who is your style icon (living or dead)?
Elizabeth I – I was always obsessed with her when I was young, I expect it’s the decadent use of jewellery and the whole attention to detail in dressing up that I love. I’ve always wanted to be a red head myself!
3. How would you describe London style?
London style is individual, exciting and diverse. I love living and working in London as it is open to anything, all kind of looks are accepted here and it makes for a diverse and colourful place to be.
4. If you could live anywhere else in the world where would it be (and why)?
I would like to spend my time between Scotland, London and somewhere hot and laid back. I adore Scotland and can imagine myself back there at some point, rambling around in the Highlands, head to toe in tartan and dripping with jewels. I have to be in London for work and for excitement – I couldn’t get too chilled out or else I’d lose touch with what was happening and wile away my days reading and doodling. Somewhere hot and chilled out would be good for my soul – it’s hard to relax in this industry but if I was far removed enough and it was easy to do nothing… that’s would be a different story!
5. Limited to just a suitcase, which items from your wardrobe would you have to take with you?
Lots of my own dresses (I like wearing highly patterned giant T-shirt dresses), my Chanel suit because I get treated more seriously when I wear it, NIKE trainers, Chanel trainers, Moschino shirts and goose-print jacket, vintage embroidered kimono for old school glamour, SS14 embroidered sweatshirts which I’m currently obsessed with and my builders tool box of jewellery (if I’m not allowed the whole thing then my necklaces by Courrèges, Marni and several vintage Scandinavian ones my boyfriend gave me).
6. What are your most used grooming/beauty products?
Elizabeth Arden eight hour cream and moisturiser, L’eau D’issey eau de toilette, Mason Pearson hairbrush, Vaseline hand cream and MAC Lady Danger is my signature red.
7. When and where did you look your best?
I liked my look on my 34th birthday when I was away for the night with my boyfriend and I wore a full-length Nina Ricci dress from the late ‘60s. I felt so happy that day and when I look back at some cheeky selfies we took, you can tell. I think everyone looks their best when they are truly happy, no matter what they are wearing.
8. Which is your favourite season of the year (and why)?
Autumn. I prefer layers and being Scottis, the cold doesn’t faze me at all. I think it’s more mystical and romantic too – when the nights draw in, anything could happen!
9. Who in your own family most influenced your sense of style?
My mum. She is well known for only wearing blue but it was her collection of clothes from the ‘60s and her Nova magazines which kick started my interest. She bought Vogue from around 1965 until I took over in the 90s and having access to them was an inspiration at an early age. My granny, mum’s mum, also had great style – she was quite tall and appreciated jewellery quite a lot. Dhe always looked statuesque and I love to remember her that way with all her opal rings on.
10. If life was a movie, which film would you most like to live in?
Yellow Submarine – the animated film of the Beatles in the ‘60s. I’d like to see what it is like to live your life in glorious psychedelic technicolour.
11. Which grooming or fashion mistakes most irk you in others?
I am very open minded but I am not a fan of people wearing clothes that are too small for them because they don’t want to admit they need the next size up. Everything looks better with a bit of room to breathe.
12. Cat or dog?
Cat. 100%. I’m crossing my fingers my boyfriend lets me get a blue Russian…
13. What lesson would you pass on to younger people following in your shoes?
Take criticism on the chin and use it to strengthen your resolve rather than dispirit you. And always treat others as you wish to be treated yourself, that is the absolutely most important thing (bad manners are my pet hate).
14. What motivates you in your career?
I feel so lucky to have got where I am just now, I have had so much help since I began my label and it really amazes me how giving and supportive people have been. I never imagined it would be like that when I started out and the backing of my team, family, friends – anyone who believes in me – really motivates me to try and do better every time and show them their faith in me has paid off. Fashion is quite an addictive industry – getting to realise your vision is such a privileged position, I have no desire for that to stop.
15. If you could trade looks with anyone who would that person be?
Jeanne Moreau in the mid ‘60s. She has the most incredibly sexy, dirty, French beatnik style look that I always wish I could embody, but sadly I doubt I ever will!
16. What category of clothing are you most drawn to/are most likely to overspend on?
Jewellery or shoes. I am a sucker for accessories and they are always my weakness. I love a good flat but also a jazzy pair of heels never goes amiss and with jewellery, the bigger the better!
17.Which is your most treasured sense?
Sight. Not being able to see what I love anymore is my biggest fear.
18.Name three elements of a perfect holiday
Sancerre, steak, sunsets.
19. If you could change a single aspect of your appearance what would it be?
I wish I had good legs – that’s one thing that can never be long enough.
20. Your ideal lunch venue and guest
Hotel Il Pellicano with Joan Collins. Now that’s glamour.
Holly Fulton has partnered with LG Electronics, the Official Garment Care Supplier to London Fashion Week to create a customisable Holly Fulton for LG limited edition washing machine, available exclusively online at AO.com