‘We wanted this collection to be quite retrospective and show where we were coming from. All these dresses are the foundation of Lucy in Disguise’s wardrobe. Each one has a story,’ Owen said.
They based the swing dress, for instance, on the first vintage garment that Allen ever bought, acquired on a trip to the US when she was 14 years old. ‘I wore it to death; I’ve had it taken out, taken in again and taken back out. Sarah used to pinch it from my wardrobe and we both wore it with little denim jackets and big gold hoops. Now I’m still wearing it but with leopard print cardigans and sky high Givenchy heels.’
Not that she ever stopped searching for the next perfect dress. ‘By the time I was 15, I had to fork out for a storage unit.’
Allen came to her musical career with a signature style already in place, and the prom dresses that formed her wardrobe staples in her early days onstage make an appearance in the new collection.
‘Years ago, I would have worn this with stacks of silver jewellery and trainers,’ she said of a black silk prom dress with a tiered skirt. ‘I guess my fans do still associate me with that phase but it feels like a different era of me now, I’ve moved on from that chapter.’
Owen’s favourite dress, meanwhile, is the disco mini, a sage-green silk dress with lavender and teal sequins. ‘I insisted it went in the collection! I have never been more jealous of a dress than when I saw Lily wearing it at Glastonbury,’ Owen said. That would be the year that Allen wore the original 1920s version of the dress to the music festival with wellies and a platinum wig. Another big night out with the frock ended in dress disaster.
‘I actually cried when I woke up the morning after,’ she said, ‘in my bed and wearing the dress. I peeled back the duvet and there were beads everywhere. I’ve spent more on getting that dress repaired than I did on it originally, so we made ours safer to wear.’
Revisiting so many fashion memories yielded a rich and whimsical collection. But did the fashion entrepreneurs leave anything for next season?
Of course, Allen said. ‘We keep a notebook of details that we like so we can work them back into the collection.
‘It’s a labour of love.’