When Topshop announced plans to collaborate with Louise Gray, fans of the designer’s vibrant, sparkly aesthetic rejoiced.
The new collection, available from 23 August, embraces Gray’s fashion with a series of sequin-smothered tops, jackets and trousers, and extends to her second love: makeup.
We asked the designer how to wear pieces from the collection, how she extended the one-off quality of her mainline to the high street, and why she loves make-up. Read what she had to say below, and learn more about Gray’s collection in the September 2012 issue of ELLE, on newsstands now.
ELLE: Hi Louise. What were you thinking about when you designed the fashion collection?
LOUISE GRAY: ‘The make-up was all based on the make-up I wear already—electric-blue eyeliner, bright red and pink lipstick, and lots of colour. When Topshop approached me about the collection and we started designing I really thought about what kind of things I’d want in my make-up bag and went from there. The main thing I wanted was for it to be super-fun.
The clothes were really an extension of the make-up—we were talking about the Louise Gray/Topshop girl and what she would wear with her fun make-up look to go dancing in.
Designs in your catwalk collections are often so detailed that they’re like one-offs or art pieces. How did you capture that spirit of uniqueness in a high-street collaboration?
I've captured the woman I emulate in the show—the focus is on the make-up and the beauty—and the idea that individualism and expressing yourself through fashion is cool.
How do you hope to see customers wear pieces from this collaboration?
Don’t be shy with it! I imagine how they might switch to a blue liner instead of their usual black or style things as they choose—I am all about free expression. I always style things up my own way and it’s the same with my make-up—sometimes I do a multi-coloured cheek and bright pink lip, and the next day it’s a blue eye and a giant red beauty spot. I wanted all the product to be really versatile so girls can use it for different things on different days and really create their own look.
What would you say to people who are hesitant to wear bold, bright colours and patterns? Why does a colourful outfit always beat a little black dress?
I think then it’s about the percentage of colour or pattern if you’re nervous of it—buy into bright bold accessories first. You have to feel comfortable—then you can build up your patterned and coloured pieces in your wardrobe until it becomes more mix-and-match.
What do you love most about makeup?
The instant hit you get just by applying a punchy lipstick—or doing a face for a total look—I like that I can have fun with it.
What’s your favourite single item in the collection, from either the makeup or fashion side?
From the make-up, the electric-blue eyeliner, definitely. I haven’t seen anything like it and I love wearing it every day to brighten my look. It makes me feel happy. You can use it paint on a beauty spot as well—be it a love heart or circle.
From the clothes, I love the smiley face dress t-shirt with the smiley stripe pants together—a full sequin look.
How do you get dressed in the morning? Do you plan your outfits the night before, just pile on pieces until you’re done, or have a few ensembles that you know will always work? And what do you wear when you’re relaxed at home?
I never plan, but I know how I dress and put things together. At the moment I’m very into a certain style of print dress, so I made three of them up and wear them all the time.
When I’m at home I like bloomers—I have many pairs, from cotton to embroidered silk—Nike Air Max and some kind of t-shirt, and a strong eyebrow.
Click through the gallery above to see more images. Shop Louise Gray for Topshop in store and online from 23 August. Read more about the makeup collection and see Gray at work at the Port Eliot Festival here.