Annoushka Ducas: Today, I'm in the heart of Somerset, at the gorgeous home of designer, Alice
Temperley. Born into a creative Bohemian family, Alice has been called the Ralph Lauren of British
fashion. Famous for her beautiful authorial clothing, which is worn by women all over the world. She
began in her own words, as a girl from Somerset designing tea dresses. I can't wait to hear all
her life in Seven Charms.
Alice Temperley: As far as rolling my sleeves up, it definitely has helped and I probably act
tough on the outside, not so tough on the inside, but I can stand up and I keep standing up and I
done that throughout my life. And I think that my upbringing definitely enabled me to do
Annoushka Ducas: I'm Annoushka Ducas and welcome back to My Life in Seven Charms. For me, there
so few things which can evoke a memory like a tiny detailed charm. In this new series, I'll be
seven extraordinary women and hearing their stories through this very special 18 karat gold
It's so lovely to be sitting here in this sunny, sunny kitchen, in this gorgeous house in the heart
Thank you so much for letting me come and see it all.
Alice Temperley: I'm really excited to see these charms. Thank you.
Annoushka Ducas: So let's go straight into the first one, which is where you said golden
So I've seen this as a three-dimensional, but actually an apple cut in half, I think. But you
have some views about that, but only because I love the details. So I'd seen it as a ruby purvey
red apple with the stalk in yellow gold and a moving leaf. And then inside yellow gold and the
pips of the apple, the two little diamonds. But you may visualize it a different way because
very interesting to talk to a designer because your idea .
Alice Temperley: That's beautiful. Maybe you should have four diamonds instead of two
there's four siblings. But, no, the apple is really symbolic for me because I grew up on an
farm. Obviously my parents are cider and brandy makers and we grew up knowing nothing else, but
really the seasons of the apples. So harvesting, the pressing, blossom season and we were out
picking apples often as children. Still get roped into it every now and then and anything with
apple, obviously I think belongs to me because of how we were brought up.
Annoushka Ducas: Of course.
Alice Temperley: So I couldn't not have an apple charm. And I think it's beautiful and I
the ruby red and my favorite apple is actually a Spartan that is that really deep, deep, deep
And then when you bite it, it's almost white inside. So I love the fact this is a deep red
Annoushka Ducas: But just tell me a bit about your childhood. Have you got siblings, a big
Alice Temperley: Yeah, there's four of us and we grew up on the cider farm. So we were all
and bred literally there with the life of the farm people coming through it, interesting people
coming to work on the farm.
Annoushka Ducas: What do you mean interesting people? Kind of interesting-
Alice Temperley: I think with different seasons we had different staff needs. There was
travelers coming through for apple picking, creative types in the areas that were all involved
some way or the other, whether it was the festival circuit for my parents, the bodega cider bus
going off to Glastonbury, all the other festivals. My parents are very creative generally, so
there's lots of potters and weavers and withy makers and all the creatives of Somerset that were
very much coming through the farm. And we grew up with long matted hair, full of hay and straw.
we weren't picking apples, we were looking after the sheep and in charge of lambing duty. I
father would like me to be a boy and he had three of us girls before my brother was born.
Annoushka Ducas: So you're three girls, where do you sit in that?
Alice Temperley: I'm the eldest. And then my next one down is Mary. She's got a skincare
and sells homeware and has four children. The next one down, Matilda runs the farm and does
photography. And then my brother is younger than us all, obviously, a little baby at the end, 14
years younger than me and he makes films, videos and commercials.
Annoushka Ducas: So all super creative.
Alice Temperley: I think it's because we all grew up on the farm and knew nothing else
than everything happening there. It made us not go and work for other people. We felt like we
do stuff ourselves. And as my father likes to say, if he did nothing else, he just put work
into us all. So we all work hard and do as, I guess. That's the farm upbringing. We can all use
drills, drive tractors, buses and practical.
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah, hugely practical. But did you ever think... I mean, at what point did
think farming wasn't going to be for you or the apple farm wasn't going to be for you?
Alice Temperley: I think he wanted me to do science and I did science for a bit, but then I
away to London when I was 17 or 18 to go to Saint Martins Art School. And I knew that I wanted
create, so we didn't have a TV and we were -
Annoushka Ducas: You didn't have a TV?
Alice Temperley: Didn't have a TV until I was about 11 or 12. And then I discovered film war
black and white movies and the glamor of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and all of that
costumes. And I started making things which were a bit of escapism into the way that they made
feel. So cut up a lot of my mum's stuff and made and sold things from an early age. In fact, I
started making jewelry at the age of 11 and selling my earrings at 1.20 pounds.
Annoushka Ducas: Did you? What were they made of?
Alice Temperley: They used to feel so sorry for me, that they used to come back every
to buy their cider and a pair of my earrings. I used to go to the bead shop in Covent Garden and
all those silver wires and rings and doves and beads and make things. I mean, they're awful, but
that's what I did first of all. And then made screen printed mirror surrounds and then started
making fabric and patchwork things and silk painting and coating and always made. And then I
that if I sold it, I could then get some more materials and make a bit more. And somehow I ended
in fashion, but I'm now just looking forward to getting into the other areas of home and having
time to not just be fashion for fashion's sake.
Annoushka Ducas: But it did start like that. I mean, I guess.
Alice Temperley: Yeah. It was always making and I started because I just loved making
Annoushka Ducas: But I mean, it's a pretty good start and to be referred to by Vogue as the
Ralph Lauren, the British Ralph Lauren, I think that's pretty good so far. We can come on to
Was your mother very, is she very artistic, creative?
Alice Temperley: Yeah. She is an incredible painter, she does etchings, she draws amazingly,
also is a silversmith. She makes log cabins, mud houses, pots. She's an amazing potter. Yes, my
is creative. But she literally-
Annoushka Ducas: All in between trying to run the cider farm.
Alice Temperley: Yeah. I don't know how. She hadn't painted for a few years and just did a
painting two days ago and it was just like, wow, really beautiful. Amazing lights through the
orchards and incredible colors. And yeah, she seems to put a hand to anything.
Annoushka Ducas: Oh, how wonderful. That brings me on actually to your second charm because
obviously this wonderful childhood that you had all based at where your second charm is, Burrow
Hill, I guess. So your second charm, you said you wanted it to be a circle of gold with Burrow
and the tree in it. So I see this absolutely as a gold disk, 2D but with the tree and the hill
raised up so that when you run your hand over it, you can feel that it's not engraved, it's
beautifully crafted and on the back written, engraved, Burrow Hill, Somerset. But tell me about
Burrow Hill specifically.
Alice Temperley: Well, Burrow Hill is overlooking our farm and part of the farm and
by orchards and it's on two lay lines. And if you are up there on a clear day, you can see
Glastonbury and it goes straight across the Somerset levels. So it's really, really incredible
views of Somerset. And my father gave it to my mum as her wedding gift. Lots of-
Annoushka Ducas: The hills specifically or the farm?
Alice Temperley: The hill.
Annoushka Ducas: Right.
Alice Temperley: And I think during the seasons and when there's egg rolling we'd throw eggs
down there, when it's snowing, we toboggan down there. If it's beautiful, sometimes we'll sleep
there in the open and it's just the place that we all feel like we're very connected to. And
amazingly Tolkien had done lots of drawings for it. So we're convinced-
Annoushka Ducas: Really?
Alice Temperley: Yeah. Burrow Hill is the inspiration of little earth, middle earth,
for Lord of the Rings and made in the Hobbit. So we're basically, it just has lots of amazing
things. We also grew up thinking, because my middle name is that King Arthur was buried under
But it's just such an amazing place and I think anybody that goes up there just feels that it's
Annoushka Ducas: Magical.
Alice Temperley: ...somewhere really, really magical. And for all of us kids, definitely
very lucky to be able to call that home.
Annoushka Ducas: So you're very close to Glastonbury from-
Alice Temperley: Half an hour.
Annoushka Ducas: So did you go on the cider bus to Glastonbury?
Alice Temperley: Yeah, I've been to every Glastonbury since I was two years old and I was
working it out the other day, the amount of weeks that was because we go for a week each time.
was the best part of our year. Yeah, we grew up there. In fact, it's really exciting. Mike is
actually coming to sing for me for my birthday, it's a treat. How nice is that?
Annoushka Ducas: That is so exciting.
Alice Temperley: I know. He has a band and I'm really, really excited that he's doing that.
was really flattered. So there was a huge family connection with there and my parents had the
ever bar at Glastonbury and then had the cider all over the site until other alcohol businesses
became involved and-
Annoushka Ducas: Oh, they must've missed the last two years or you must've missed it too.
Alice Temperley: Yeah. Definitely miss the last two years. Although, I don't think with
everything, obviously that's been going on, has probably saved a few brain cells in the last
Imagine having Glastonbury on top of it.
Annoushka Ducas: Just in terms of growing up and the things that you learned. You obviously
learned to cope and you said that you knew you can do all the really practical things. Do you
that's helped you in your business or in your life in terms of how you've coped with difficult
Alice Temperley: Oh yeah. I mean, I've certainly not coped with a few difficult times that
just because it's just been incredibly tough recessions and divorces and whatever else that's
your way over the period of time. But as far as that rolling my sleeves up and having people
aren't precious without egos and being able to not just be able to do anything and being able to
work with a team that are able and up for multitasking. It definitely has helped and I probably
quite tough on the outside, not so tough on the inside, but I can stand up and I keep standing
and I have done that throughout my life. And I think that my upbringing definitely enabled me to
Annoushka Ducas: That brings us perfectly onto your third charm.
Alice Temperley: My little Fox, yes.
Annoushka Ducas: Your little Fox. So your son is called Fox, but I mean, I can see around
house, there are lots and lots of foxes, lots of fox heads but you'll tell me, I'm dying to know
you called him Fox. But before you do that, I mean, I had seen it literally as a
yellow gold fox head with cognac diamonds for his fur, black diamond eyes and nice little
and sharp fox-like ears and will engrave Fox on the back. I thought we could put his birthday
engraved on the back of his head.
Alice Temperley: So lovely.
Annoushka Ducas: But why did you call him Fox?
Alice Temperley: Well, I didn't know what I was going to call him until literally he came
and I just said he's called Fox and I don't quite know how that name came about other than
just before I had him, or around that time, I can't remember when it was. But F-O-X was just so
simple. And I think local farmers around here were like, "Why the hell did you call your son
hate foxes around here." And foxes always take my chickens and my ducks, and they can be a pain
the ass. But I just love the way that it was written. And I wanted something that related to the
countryside and the rest of his name is so pretentious that I wanted a short name that he would
known for and not just the normal name. I don't want another normal name, there's so many out
I just thought Fox was really to the point. And his full name is Fox London Temperley von
Mackiewicz. So he can drop the rest of it and just be called Mr. Fox. And it's like that movie,
Fox, have you seen it?
Annoushka Ducas: Oh, yeah. I have, yeah.
Alice Temperley: But it starts on a hill like Burrow Hill with a fox leaning against the
takes an apple, bites the apple, literally on Burrow Hill and literally, all the hair went up on
body when I watched it. And then you zoom down into the farm and there was a farm with all the
seller with all the bottles, which was like my parents' farm. And I was like, "Oh my God, Wes
Anderson has been here as well."
Annoushka Ducas: Do you think they've been here? Oh you must've been here.
Alice Temperley: Yeah. And I remember somebody wanted me to meet Wes Anderson at some point
I never got to meet him but I just thought I would just love to know because that film was just
imprint of the connection of the farms around, the hill that overlooks it and my parents there
my song called Fox and it was just-
Annoushka Ducas: There was something.
Alice Temperley: There was something there. In fact, I should track him down and try and
out whether he's ever been down here as well because it was just too close. So anything with
I love because of him. I've got fox tattooed on my wrist-
Annoushka Ducas: I can see you've got fox in the roof.
Alice Temperley: ...I've got a ring. But I love this little charm, it's beautiful.
Annoushka Ducas: So, let's just talk about, before you had Fox. So you went into business
your boyfriend at the time and then husband?
Alice Temperley: I went into business-
Annoushka Ducas: So tell me how long ago was that?
Alice Temperley: 20 years.
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah, okay. It was said quickly.
Alice Temperley: I had a pseudo name Lulu, and Lulu was the bitch from accounts who... Or
to chase everybody up in accounts. And my company seemed at least bigger and I wasn't the one
chasing them up. And then a friend of mine, Sophie, they used to come and help cut patterns. And
then not long after that, my sister Mary joined us. And then my husband's like, "Right, I'm
quit what I'm doing and we're going to do this properly." Because we lived in a flat in Notting
and there was just boxes and boxes of knitwear and samples. And we just literally went through a
corridor of cardboard boxes all around the house because it was full around the flat. And so
decided we were going to do it together and set it up together.
Annoushka Ducas: What was he doing at the time?
Alice Temperley: He was doing something to do with Asian equity for Nomura. Quit that and
we started. I mean, the first 10 years of my business were very full-on, working all hours,
days a week and quite hedonistic. So I think I probably lost quite a lot of time of that
time and the company grew so quickly and we lived quite a hard, fast pace. And if I could do it
over again and know the lessons that I learned the hard way, I would probably do it in a
way. And it was before social media, it was before a lot of things. There weren't that many
designers really in London at the time. And I think the environment now is so different that the
lessons learned, it's interesting looking back because just the whole-
Annoushka Ducas: Landscape.
Alice Temperley: ...geography and landscape. Everything has changed so much with a few
recessions and everything from I remember, SARS to now COVID to Brexit, which is just screwing
all. But it's just so interesting. I mean, and quite amazing that it's managed to, keep going
keep it strength through this whole turbulent time.
Annoushka Ducas: Just you talking about lessons, what lessons have you learned 20 years
Alice Temperley: Well, now, it's obviously restructuring to make it simple and not trying to
please everybody. But it's mainly with the changes in manufacturing and now warehousing and
distribution and learning about Brexit. I mean, nothing ever stays still. The UK manufacturing
used to use then all went off shore because all the UK manufacturing closed down. I'm now
round 20 years later, new places for manufacturing in England, finding amazing artisans down
Having to bring our Italian warehouse back. I mean, it all sounds really boring, but it was
literally you just have to navigate yourself through, I guess it's a, what do you call it? A
bit of this design, but the rest of it is all-
Annoushka Ducas: Practical.
Alice Temperley: Very, very practical and logistics. I mean, logistics of manufacturing
different things. And then obviously with Brexit and COVID, the wholesale business changes. And
when the recession hits, Russian clients go first and then the beginning of the
Annoushka Ducas: You're talking about 2000 and-
Alice Temperley: ...European. That was 2008.
Annoushka Ducas: Eight, yeah.
Alice Temperley: And then again now, with the whole of all of COVID and things, obviously it
moves, it's just an assessment every day.
Annoushka Ducas: Where you just got to be so ready to maneuver, haven't you?
Alice Temperley: Yeah, you have to be agile, which I think we proved that we could be over
last year, but yeah, what a year.
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah, what a year. And then as you mentioned earlier, you and your husband
separated. God, you've had... I mean, it must've been really tough. So you're a single mum.
Alice Temperley: Yup.
Annoushka Ducas: I'm interested how that's been as coming from a big family with lots of
siblings to have one child. That's the absolute reverse to how you were brought up, I
Alice Temperley: Yeah. I think I would have had more, but the circumstances where the
became a massive, big baby that needed loads of attention. And especially when you're having to
manage the business side of things and you're a single mum and you sell marital home and then
literally then working out where you're going to be. And-
Annoushka Ducas: Physically.
Alice Temperley: Physically, and then also just you as a mother, you just go into survival
Like, let's keep the lights on, keep going because my other tattoo on my other wrist is
Annoushka Ducas: Fox.
Alice Temperley: ...and my company on the other one. And when I was going through one of
mid-life like, "Shit, what am I going to do?" I was like, "Right team, I'm going to go out and
going to do this. I'm going to go and get my tattoo, the company thing tattooed on my wrist."
then one of my CEO at the time says, "We're going to change the logo." And I was like, "What?
Annoushka Ducas: Have you changed it?
Alice Temperley: No, of course not.
Annoushka Ducas: For the tattoo?
Alice Temperley: No, the CEO went.
Annoushka Ducas: The CEO went.
Alice Temperley: And it was really hard. And now I have a really good CEO, but my God, it
just a challenge losing the relationship, which ended up not working and then being in England
the ex-husband, who's living the other side of the planet. And it's really, really hard. But I
as a woman, you make it work somehow and-
Annoushka Ducas: It's just juggling.
Alice Temperley: And you juggle and you juggle. And somehow, I don't know whether it's how I
grew up, but I would always spend hours and hours locked away making things. Somehow I could
just switch into work and just, no matter how in pieces I was, I could still do that.
Annoushka Ducas: And was that kind of-
Alice Temperley: And it was an escape. And maybe that's a good thing or maybe that's, I
has to be a good thing because it makes you keep going.
Annoushka Ducas: And also, it's good-
Alice Temperley: [inaudible ].
Annoushka Ducas: ....for Fox to see the true work ethic and how things have to be, isn't it?
Alice Temperley: Oh my God. I said to him, "Right, Fox, if you're going to be into fashion,
you're going to have to sit down, let's watch this Halston-
Annoushka Ducas: Halston.
Alice Temperley: ...film. And I sat him down and within two seconds, that bang into the most
graphic sex scene with Ewan McGregor and, very graphic.
Annoushka Ducas: Very graphic.
Alice Temperley: And I was just, "I am so sorry Fox." He goes, "Mom, can I please go next
and play computer games?" "All right. I'm so sorry." I was devastated and he was like, "If this
what fashion is..."
Annoushka Ducas: Had you thought he wanted to be in fashion first?
Alice Temperley: No, not really. He said no, but now he writes these little things where
designing all these puffer jackets and hoodies, which I'm trying to encourage. And then he
"I think mommy you should do things that are cheaper and I think you should focus on this, and I
think you should do this." And all these little ideas. So he's obviously thinking about it. And
writes me lists on my whiteboards upstairs. It's very sweet.
Annoushka Ducas: How absolutely fantastic. But how do you, I know everybody wants to know
you combine being a mummy and a very full-time, many seasons, fashion business.
Alice Temperley: I've had an amazing woman called Consuelo live with me since Fox. He was a
old. And I met her in when I was off tubes. Fox was two weeks old and we went to Paris Fashion
and I got sick with the flu, ended up in with a friend's house saying, "I just need just to
off for a few weeks because I literally went back to work two days after he was born." And then
just had a fashion show five days before that. So you can imagine how knackered I was. And after
having him, I was out near Hyde Park two hours after he was born pushing the pram around. So
too psycho. Anyway, I met this woman there and we've always worked together and she's helped me
Annoushka Ducas: Are you bringing him up in the same way that you were brought up or have
got a different approach?
Alice Temperley: I think I'm a lot more tactile and softer. We were farm kids and often I
trouble and I was naughty, but I was often more in trouble than probably I should have been. And
Annoushka Ducas: Than you should have been.
Alice Temperley: I mean, difference is that, obviously he's gaming, he's got a phone, he's
whatever. We were always outside and farmy. I have him down here and I'm trying to get him to do
jobs outside as blackmail for gadgets, whether it was mowing or something-
Annoushka Ducas: And?
Alice Temperley: Sort of works but not in a convincing manner. But I'm very tactile and
Yeah, he's just wonderful.
Annoushka Ducas: So the next charm, I'm fascinated by this charm. So it's going to be an
absolutely perfect replica, miniature replica of a pistol. I think they'll have little diamond
handle. And the barrel will definitely spin and I think it should have one little diamondin it,
like Russian roulette.
Alice Temperley: Lovely.
Annoushka Ducas: And I thought it would be nice to have A written on the other side of the
handle, but talk me through the gun.
Alice Temperley: The gun's a pistol and I mean, I don't shoot and I don't... Obviously guns
a bad topic, but it's like a protector charm, I guess. I've always had a gold charm that was a
that hung around my neck and-
Annoushka Ducas: Who gave you that? Or did you collect it?
Alice Temperley: My sister actually made it for me. She cast it out of her little thing and
it for me, but it was just a gold garment. It was about two inches long. And it was just that
of thing of strength. Maybe it's that sort of tomboy, countryside thing. It's not meant to go
cause mass damage, but it's very pretty to look at. And if you need to protect yourself, you
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah. It looks so good. I mean, I wonder whether it's a feeling of
and just going back to the beginning, when you first started, did you have a vision for it or
you just design for the season and wait and see what happened?
Alice Temperley: I designed what I wanted to make. And when I started, I didn't really
understand the whole seasons and cycles and how that whole, you put yourself onto a world stage
you do a catwalk and didn't really understand about reviews, nothing. I just went in blind
literally, because I liked making things and I like the way clothes made you feel. And
the company and the brand grew very, very quickly. And when we had the stores in New York and LA
Annoushka Ducas: And they were your own stores?
Alice Temperley: Yeah. And then you grow and you make, and you grow and you make and all of
sudden you become in a hamster wheel quite quickly in the industry where you're producing too
there are too many seasons, it's a very critical judgmental industry and luckily we've always
amazing clients, we've always had press support, but it has been really grueling at times
you're trying to please wholesale accounts and then all of a sudden you feel like designing for
them. And then somehow wholesale accounts often will ask for things in different colors or
things and then the Middle East will want different than the Asian market or different to the
American market and everybody's so different. And now it's like, "I'm going to please do what I
to do. And I'm going to focus on that and I'm going to make more locally because I don't want to
in that rat race anymore."
Annoushka Ducas: No, I get that totally. But does that mean that your business now will
from being wholesale to something more direct?
Alice Temperley: Yeah, definitely more direct to consumers. The price points will be better,
we'll have two seasons a year, we will do flash products every month. So if I feel like making a
rainbow jumper, or if I feel like making a beautiful quilted military grade outerwear coat, then
doesn't matter whether it's in seasons, it will be quicker to produce. I just did these
love potion drinks with three hip flasks in them-
Annoushka Ducas: You're going to tell me about that in a bit.
Alice Temperley: Yeah. And that's really nice. I can make it with a local supply, but it
means that I don't have to wait a whole year and means that it gives me more flexibility to be
to say, "Right, I'm going to go and find that and I'm going to make that, I'm going to make a
of pink droppers, I'm going to make, whatever."
Annoushka Ducas: [inaudible ].
Alice Temperley: And that makes me feel like I get my creativity back and whether it's the
carpets that I'm doing or the scent that I'm working on, I need to be able to have that freedom.
Otherwise, the industry, I don't want to be designing to a commercial plan.
Annoushka Ducas: That's very exciting, but just when did you make the decision to move
everything and come to Somerset? Pre-pandemic?
Alice Temperley: Pre-pandemic, I was looking and then in the pandemic I was outside the
chemist and I'd done loads of weird thinking, "Right. Okay. What's going to happen? Pandemic,
I'm going to lose my name, I'm going to lose my company, I'm going to lose my house. Right. Got
survive, got to do something quick, got to be agile." And I did loads of, what do you call it?
you ask you to loads of projecting, bringing things in, asking, channeling. And I was talking to
friends of mine, like Charlotte Tilbury and various other people about it and they're always
all the healers and channelists and whatever. And I was like, "Right, okay. I'm going to need
the help I can get and to talk to her about it." She approached and said, just lots of quiet
out in the garden, in the field, under the trees thinking, "Right. Okay. I've got to do
What is it? I've got to know what I'm going to do and I've got to go for it."
And then I was outside a local chemist and I was waiting to get my son some pink hair dye,
over the road and there was an empty building and I saw the local name, found out the company
said, "Is it for rent or for sale?" And they said, "Yeah." And so the property person phoned me
and said, "Did you know, it used to be a clothing factory?" And I was like, "No." Did you know
it's... I said, "I don't know whether it's big enough." He goes, "Well, it's 22,000 square
Annoushka Ducas: Oh my God.
Alice Temperley: And I said, "Well, I can only see the front of the building, not the back."
we were looking for 11,000 square foot to move everything too. And then I asked them questions
it. And then it been derelict for 15 years, asked them the price and it was the same price as
year's rent in the London office.
Annoushka Ducas: Okay. It's a done deal.
Alice Temperley: I was like, "Can I see it tomorrow morning?" So we went to see it and
hours, put an offer in. And within two weeks I had the keys and me and my partner basically had
team of five Colombians move into the basement here. And then we just worked literally for five
months, night and day, turning it around and somehow managed to do it. That's the farm girl, she
came out. I was literally covered in plaster and paint and just dirt for five months.
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah, but how cathartic as well. As well as I mean
Alice Temperley: Yeah. I was like, in COVID, what do you do? Do you hang around at home and
or do you try and make something happen? So you'll see down the road all the before and after
pictures and you won't believe what it was like when we got it.
Annoushka Ducas: Am I right in thinking it's called Phoenix Studios?
Alice Temperley: Yeah. We called it Phoenix Studios because that's obviously Phoenix
Annoushka Ducas: From the ashes. I wondered if that was what it was or rather that
Alice Temperley: Well, we should have called it Fox Studios because Phoenix Studios, we
moved out of The Phoenix brewery in London, which was a very expensive place. So I was like,
we need to call it something different." But my partner, maybe rightly said Phoenix is right
it was the rising.
Annoushka Ducas: Rising. So that brings us perfectly onto your next charm, which is a
glass. I mean, I love the idea of this looking glass. So I designed it as a-
Alice Temperley: Beautiful.
Annoushka Ducas: ...quite a Victorian feeling looking glass. Yellow gold, quite embellished
quite decorative around the actual, what will be the mirror, little diamonds and just a highly
polished white gold mirror. I think it should open, I think it should be a locket but tell me
you've chosen a looking glass, Alice.
Alice Temperley: A through looking glass.
Annoushka Ducas: Yes.
Alice Temperley: And why even my Instagram social handle is behind the looking glass. Many
I've just thought, maybe all of our campaigns should be shot through the looking glass. There's
something about it. But I think now, because this means a lot to me just because it's like going
back and it's almost like coming back home, coming back to Somerset and really looking at what
doing, keeping everything local, keeping everything within that glass, that story-
Annoushka Ducas: Frame.
Alice Temperley: ...and within that frame. Yeah. And obviously, I love mirrors because
just lots of mirrors around the house as far as the reflection and the looking through and
behind and I just think that it's just a very symbolic charm to not just my name, but what we're
doing at the moment.
Annoushka Ducas: No, no. It's something so romantic about it. Have you always thought of
yourself as Alice in Wonderland in this gorgeous place that you were brought up?
Alice Temperley: No, but maybe it's just... I didn't for a while but then after traveling
everywhere and always coming back to Somerset and obviously what Somerset stands for, there is
definitely a fantasy fairytale element to Somerset.
Annoushka Ducas: And when you talk about Burrow Hill, it's like, oh my God, it's-
Alice Temperley: And Burrow Hill. My second coffee table book was called Myths and Legends.
that was all about storytelling. And I think designing is not just about semi-fashion brands
are cut and paste and cut and sow and quite generic. Or, you can story tell with themes and
and different elements from different places and combining them and living life through stories.
I think in some way that Alice in Wonderland fairytale is just how you keep going to escape
a story when you're designing and you go into another world and you're researching other things
all of it tells a story. And I want to tell more of the story about the people that help us and
things and document more about the factories around here. And I do think, yeah, the Alice in
Wonderland element. Yeah, there's lots of things that I guess-
Annoushka Ducas: Now, I assume-
Alice Temperley: ...growing up here makes you feel like, I just don't want to fall down that
rabbit hole anymore and it's easy to come out and be at that amazing table with lots of
interesting people and lots of different stories.
Annoushka Ducas: The Mad Hatters tea party.
Alice Temperley: The Mad Hatters and be surrounded by mad eccentric people, which outside
is and got the whole array of animals. So sometimes, I guess it feels quite magical.
Annoushka Ducas: Wonderful. Oh, God. It's interesting that when you're designing because a
like you were talking about the storytelling in clothes because I think jewelry is all about
Hence, your life in seven charms-
Alice Temperley: Lovely.
Annoushka Ducas: ...it's so much about that. But when you're designing clothes, what do you
think about? What's the most important thing in terms of the process?
Alice Temperley: The spirit. So the process, it's not just sort of, as I say, cut and sow.
about a female form and how to flatter that and not wearing things that scream trend. They need
be really comfortable and wearable. It's the way that we cut that's very effortless, not over
complex and then how that pattern or color will tell a story but also enhance the body. So a lot
the placement prints or how the embroideries are done and the process behind it. So it's not
printing a fabric, cutting it up and sewing it, it's getting all the panels and then engineering
pattern onto the body. And each dress needs to tell a story as far as how it's made and the
behind what went into the print or it's just-
Annoushka Ducas: And how it makes you feel, presumably. I mean-
Alice Temperley: And also how it makes you feel. A suit needs to make you feel cut in a
way and our velvet suits definitely make you feel, all the suits actually. And then the dresses,
different dresses for different occasions and our mirabal dresses obviously make you feel like
Annoushka Ducas: A princess.
Alice Temperley: ...explosive princess mirabal type person. And yeah, it's just the way that
makes you feel, effortless.
Annoushka Ducas: Do you design for yourself? When you're designing, who is the person? Who's
Alice Temperley: She is the inspiration for the theme. Chic, for example, if it's all sort
Positano, who are you in Positano? Where are you going in Positano? What are the elements that
have that create the print? What do you need when you're getting up and going through day into
evening in this sort of fantasy world.
Annoushka Ducas: But is it you in Positano?
Alice Temperley: Me and my fantasy head, and my muses. Yes. It's the girl that I create to
lost in. Clearly it's not me because I'm more than likely going to be found in my office. But if
was, and I was living that fairy tale of that, then that's how I do the collections.
Annoushka Ducas: Because that's such a thing about clothes, if you've got the right clothes
it's just all about the confidence it gives you.
Alice Temperley: Yeah, absolutely.
Annoushka Ducas: When you look like shit in the morning, you feel like shit.
Alice Temperley: And the clothes, what we do, should be easy enough that you put them on and
don't really need everything else to go with it and you don't need to work out everything. I
just imagine that with us, the evening dresses, you can just step them up and run through the
field and there's that effortless, which I really like.
Annoushka Ducas: And that's like-
Alice Temperley: I mean, you put them on and they transform you.
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah. I mean, that's like jewelry. For me, jewelry should be, you put it on
you're not worrying about how quickly I can take these earrings off. You've got to be just
Alice Temperley: Comfy.
Annoushka Ducas: Comfy. Yeah, exactly. Okay, so charm number six. Sitting here, I completely
why you've chosen this. It's a disco ball.
Alice Temperley: Yes.
Annoushka Ducas: Well, that's, I mean, we all know what a disco ball but this is going to be
perfect miniature disco ball locket. I think it's got to open and it's got to have some
message inside. So diamond encrusted, disco ball with all the facets and all the light that,
diamonds do so beautifully that I think probably disco ball is trying to emulate that. So yeah,
white-gold and just gorgeous and when you hold it up to the light-
Alice Temperley: Gorgeous.
Annoushka Ducas: ...that'll be just divine. But I have seen everything here from pizza oven,
disco balls to many, many others. Just tell me about the disco ball. Why?
Alice Temperley: I don't know where it really started, but my nickname was always Magpie.
because I was collecting things and had a sort of sparkly things or sequent things, or jewelry
or charms, or disco balls. But disco balls obviously in nightclubs can be come across as a bit
but not when you hang them in trees and the dappled light in the morning.
So I've got two huge ones from an old hotel outside my front door, and that light hits that in
morning and comes all through the house. And then I have, I mean, they're all over the place,
then my bath is also decorated in disco ball tiles. In the morning, in one window, it lights up
then by four o'clock when the sun comes through the other window, it lights up and that's the
perfect time to have a bath because the whole room has got that just moving dappled light that
somehow I find I love. So really-
Annoushka Ducas: Do you often have a bath at four o'clock in the afternoon?
Alice Temperley: No, unfortunately not. Sometimes the weekend, if I'm lucky. But it is
just that dappled moving light. I have a thing about the right lighting and the right color of
lighting and whether that's reflecting in mirrors or soft lighting or candle lighting. And I
my friend, I had a Dutch friend who just said that the Dutch have so many other words for
and there is no word in English that can explain what candle light is. And I just don't think
people just focus on that lighting and the ambiance and the way that that makes you feel
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah absolutely.
Alice Temperley: And there's something that a disco ball does. I love it.
Annoushka Ducas: Well, it's so wonderful seeing it because actually most people think of
ball and nighttime, but you're so right because the sun and that light is just absolutely
But I mean, you are well-known for giving parties. So my assumption was, is it about that?
Alice Temperley: They look really with good lasers obviously on them. So I have big ones in
trees outside and then we light them up with lasers. Those are good as long as they're lit up
Annoushka Ducas: Absolutely. Did your parents give lots of parties?
Alice Temperley: Yeah. Obviously, we were at the festivals and they had lots of fancy dress
parties and always had fun. And then from the age of 18, I was always throwing big summer
that grew and grew and grew. And obviously, I haven't had one for a few years. But it's just
nice to get local people together, family together, kids, everybody having new kids. It's just
of kids there now. People coming in from London or flying in to see everybody from different
of the world. So you just get a real mixture of local creatives, families and more glamorous
that might fly in, but just absolutely love the Britsiness of it all. And everybody just
just totally just there's no-
Annoushka Ducas: Grace.
Alice Temperley: Graces and everybody just has the most fabulous of wild time. There's
lots of stories to be told. And I think everybody just leaves whatever, anything at the gate and
then in the common, they're always really magical.
Annoushka Ducas: And am I right in thinking that you orchestrated a beautiful film for
Net-A-Porter I think?
Alice Temperley: Yeah, I did a film White Magic, it was called, and we filmed a few girls
through the day and the buildup and then part of the party. And it was all a shoppable film that
did with a click and buy on the screen as the-
Annoushka Ducas: Absolutely-
Alice Temperley: ...as you were playing it.
Annoushka Ducas: ...genius idea.
Alice Temperley: So it was a new bit of technology and that was really fun to do.
Annoushka Ducas: And what's been your favorite theme for your party, for a party?
Alice Temperley: I don't know. There's been sequence to sunrise as being leather laced
debauchery and grace. That was a funny one. They're all good but I always choose one that sort
escapist, rather than when people can't turn it onto a, I've gone to a joke shop and dressed up,
still needs to be very beautiful-
Annoushka Ducas: Glamorous.
Alice Temperley: ...and glamorous with no twists. Just still escapist and beautiful, yeah.
the white one, White Magic was very, very beautiful. Partly the sky was so gold for so long and
at nighttime, we had so many disco balls lit up that it was just incredibly dappled. It was
Annoushka Ducas: So what do you think is the best, best, best party wear? Party clothes,
Alice Temperley: I think it's just a dress that you can wear and zip up and you can have
feet and not think about anything else. And just the dress that you feel comfortable off in bare
feet to jump around and swing around all night.
Annoushka Ducas: Well, I've seen a couple of those hanging up next door.
Alice Temperley: [inaudible 00:43:36] you should basically feel like you're naked but you're
definitely not naked, you're wearing something just fabulous and those ones that I've got two,
haven't I? In my dining room that just light up and just get really comfortable and literally
feel like you're not wearing anything.
Annoushka Ducas: So Alice, your final charm. The love potion. I mean, you're going to tell
about this particular design, but I looked it up and I just think it's a perfect little bottle
love written on the label. Slightly not that Union Jack. I think it's going to be too small to
the whole Union Jack situation. Yeah.
Alice Temperley: Yes, that all right.
Annoushka Ducas: But I think we could do it. And we'll make it in pink sapphires or possibly
ruby's all pavis set in a white gold bottle to look like it's see through, the bottle, and love
engraved on the label. But why love portion?
Alice Temperley: Love potion, I remember when we were having parties there was this guy who
always used to make us all tonics to drink and that was always horny goat weed, and guarana and
various other things in it, that were supposed to give you a feeling of euphoria and I never
convinced whether they worked or not, but we all drank them. And it was combining three things
my parents' farm into a drink that was in this beautiful bottle. Then I could serve my brides,
because love. Could serve people having their fittings and it's mixing Amarena cherries, Eau De
and an aperitif altogether in this beautiful pink liquid. And then the bottle I wanted because
obviously, British. That sort of storytelling of that proper British, gorgeous, romantic wedding
love potion combined. So the idea is that brides can have these little love bottles, but they're
full of horny goat weed from the-
Annoushka Ducas: Maybe they should be.
Alice Temperley: ...local hippies from down the road. They're made by us in a beautiful way.
Annoushka Ducas: Maybe they should be.
Alice Temperley: Yeah. So this is an elegant twist on that and they're going to be sold
exclusively from our bar.
Annoushka Ducas: Yeah, absolutely. Did I see lots and lots of bottles ready too in the
Alice Temperley: Yeah. I've been labeling them and bottling them on my dining table.
Annoushka Ducas: Okay. In your spare time, you've been doing that.
Alice Temperley: The first lot. The second lot... Yeah, in my spare time. My son doesn't do
But the second lot, we will get it professionally done at the farm, but the first lot. I
Annoushka Ducas: It's a testing.
Alice Temperley: ...I've printed about 5,000 labels, so the next lot will be done
Annoushka Ducas: So can people buy it as well as come and drink at the bar there?
Alice Temperley: It's going to be live on our website for the new space.
Annoushka Ducas: Oh, fantastic. But I mean, I guess love's been a big part, I guess, of your
life. Love of here, family. So is it all wrapped up with all of that too, family?
Alice Temperley: Yeah. Complicated love lives-
Annoushka Ducas: Creative.
Alice Temperley: ...but love of making, love of freedom of spirit, love of family, love of
fantasy. And then, yeah. I mean, it's what you have to spin, isn't it? To keep everything going.
Otherwise, life can be dull or boring and I think I'm somehow escapist probably living in the
Annoushka Ducas: But if there was one, I just want to know, if there's one piece that you've
designed, what's the one you love the most, most proud?
Alice Temperley: That's too hard. I mean, there's different kinds of... I mean, I have a
honeycomb jumper that I made when I was at college and I made it at Saint Martins on the
machine and then over the years they produced thousands of those. I've just brought that one
made a Scottish wall, beautiful. So I was really proud of that because I made that at college
Annoushka Ducas: First thing, yeah.
Alice Temperley: ...it was always selling and now we brought it back and it's just a really
seller. And then there are other things like, I love that disco ball dress just because it's
ridiculous and just amazing. So I made that for one of my summer parties for me and then had
ask for it. So then I put it in the bridal collection and it's just so amazing seeing people
actually get married in it and having the confidence, not just as the typical bride or they're
coming to buy something fabulous like that. And then another one-
Annoushka Ducas: That's what's so important about your bridal, isn't it?
Alice Temperley: Yeah.
Annoushka Ducas: It's not just for that particular day, it's you designed to be.
Alice Temperley: Yeah and dresses like that, you can hang them on the wall and they'll light
a room too. And then they're the ones, a dream catcher dress where it was based on dream
traveling in Mexico. And it was all the dream catchers and circular skirt, and it's all
incredible stitching and embroidery, but it's like you are and wearing incredibly ornate dream
catcher. And there's one of them in my archive down in-
Annoushka Ducas: Oh, will you show me that? Because I've got a whole dream catcher
Alice Temperley: Have you?
Annoushka Ducas: ...jewelry collection, which I did years ago, which is very much signature
me. So it'd be interesting. It's been so lovely to chat to you because we're going to do this
collaboration together. Andso from a work perspective, that's one thing, but it's so lovely to
to know you a bit and understand-
Alice Temperley: Yeah, like wise. Where the madness comes from.
Annoushka Ducas: Where it all comes from, exactly. But Alice, as you know, I'd like to make
one of these charms. So maybe when Fox has children and he were to find your life in seven
well, first of all, what would you like your legacy to be? What would they think of granny
Alice Temperley: Granny, God.
Annoushka Ducas: God forbid, you can't think of granny. But it will tell your story.
Alice Temperley: Well, I'm planning on becoming a lot more eccentric, wacky, out there,
opinionated. And I just keep saying, "I'm going to become really eccentric and just do what I
to do, do it when I want to do it." So crazy Alice but with the zest for life, I guess, is I
how they already think of me as a bit batty, which I don't mind. I think they're all really
that they're just going to be left loads of dresses. There's only one girl in all the
Annoushka Ducas: All the cousins.
Alice Temperley: ...cousins so far.
Annoushka Ducas: Okay. Lucky girl.
Alice Temperley: But my legacy, I guess it's just a lover of life and creativity and
now building this new chapter where it's helping to revive and create something down here that
heritage brand, really using local suppliers and this amazing place that we've built down the
which hopefully will be here for a long time after me, making amazing things.
Annoushka Ducas: I think if they look at your charms looking glass, disco ball, I think that
of those things, they will think.
Alice Temperley: No, definitely. They're bang on charms. So well done. They're really
very, very nice. I actually want them all.
Annoushka Ducas: But we can only have one.
Alice Temperley: Oh right. Okay. God.
Annoushka Ducas: Sorry. You can only have one. So which one?
Alice Temperley: I mean, the disco ball obviously.
Annoushka Ducas: I knew you were going to say that.
Alice Temperley: But I love the apple and I love the hill, I don't know.
Annoushka Ducas: You can change your mind but you got to tell me.
Alice Temperley: It's going to have to be the fox, isn't it really?
Annoushka Ducas: The fox.
Alice Temperley: It's going to have to be the fox. Well, I like them all.
Alice Temperley: That's so beautiful. It's really hard to chose.
Annoushka Ducas: Thank you so much for listening to My Life in Seven Charms with me,
Ducas. Please do like, review and subscribe to hear our latest episodes. Thank you to Fairly
for our audio production.