Arriving, I find her briefing three press assistants on her upcoming catwalk show while simultaneously rifling through her closet — a dressing-up box filled with animal print and lacy confections — to choose her outfit for our shoot, while Desert Island Discs plays in the background.
Tucked at the end of a row of terraced houses close to London’s Portobello Road, Temperley discovered the six-bedroom property was on the market two years ago through her close friend, the designer Jasmine Guinness. The unique two-storey villa has a studio-style extension on the back of the property designed by the Victorian architect, Richard Norman Shaw.
She moved in 18 months ago with her son, Fox, 7, and her boyfriend, Greg Williams, 43, a portrait photographer, along with his two children from a previous relationship. ‘I’ve always been a Notting Hill girl at heart. I love that it’s so green, I love the market and my offices are around the corner.’
Temperley cites the interior designer Rose Uniacke (the creative genius behind the Beckham’s Holland Park home) as inspiration for fashioning her own interiors: ‘Rose has beautiful taste, sleek, clean but still really soft.’
The house’s all-white interior provides the perfect backdrop for Temperley to hang her beloved antique cut-crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling mirrors sourced from Golborne Road’s Les Couilles du Chien — famous for its historic bric-a-brac — and the Clignancourt flea market in Paris. The most striking of these is an intricately etched diptych of French brasserie mirrors that sits proudly over her living room sofa.
For colourful accents, she looked to her archive of textiles, which ranges from heirlooms from her great-grandmother’s travels around the Orient to remnants of past fashion collections: ‘I have big haberdashery drawers, which are used for storing my collection in a warehouse in Greenford,’ she says. Having such a vast collection gives her the chance to indulge in some serious upcycling; a Mexican rainbow throw livens up a plain cream sofa while a wedding cloak from Turkmenistan makes a quirky wall-hanging.
Despite the global influences, the Union Jack is a recurrent motif: ‘When I worked in New York [in the mid-Noughties] I was called ‘Little Miss English’. I loved using materials such as lace and lots of references to Victoriana — all very British.’ Look closely, and you’ll find red, white and blue accents everywhere — on teacups, Roberts radios and on silk cushions.
‘To me, being British represents being able to be individual, eccentric and not taking yourself too seriously.’
Temperley was born and grew up in Somerset on her family’s cider farm in Martock, before moving to London aged 18 to study fine art at the Royal College of Art. The countryside has an ineluctable pull for Temperley and she carves her time between her office — ‘probably 80 per cent of the time, 10 per cent of the time here, 5 per cent in Somerset at the moment, and 5 per cent everywhere else’.
But if her west London home is all breathy shades of Farrow and Ball, Temperley’s country pile — a sublime 5.6-acre regency property called Cricket Court that was once the media magnate Lord Beaverbrook’s home — is the opposite: ‘In Somerset my sitting room is dark burgundy, we’ve got black bedrooms and an ochre-coloured library.’
To bring a little of the country back to the capital, Temperley peppers her house with beautiful bunches of wild flowers, sourced from florist Juliet Glaves, who grows her own blooms in Shropshire: ‘I always loved The Secret Garden and as a child I spent hours collecting flowers and drying rose petals on every surface. I am a hopeless romantic at heart and I love British country gardens and their flowers.’
Another great passion of Temperley’s is reading and no corner, staircase or table in the house is complete without stacks of books and fashion magazines: ‘Sally Tuffin [the British fashion designer-turned-ceramicist] has got an incredible fashion library at her home in Somerset and my dream one day is to have a room lined in books.’
As for the rest of the London house? It’s very much a work in progress, ‘especially being a working mum. It’s more collecting things and putting them together in a very relaxed way. Like in fashion design, when it comes to interiors things either work together or they don’t. I have a good eye and don’t like to be constricted to just doing clothes — I’d like to go into interiors. That’s the next chapter’.Read more at:www.marieaustralia.com/red-formal-dresses | www.marieaustralia.com/black-formal-dresses