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Royal dress designer hits the High Street

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: September 07, 2012

  • The Duchess of Cambridge, pictured at the War Horse premiere, is a big fan of Alice Temperley's designs

  • Part of the John Lewis autumn-winter 2012 collection, 'Somerset by Alice Temperley', which will be sold in 29 stores, including the Exeter branch which opens later this year

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The Somerset countryside is her constant inspiration, so when fashion designer to young royals Alice Temperley created a new collection exclusively for John Lewis department store, there was only one name for the new label.

"Somerset by Alice Temperley", her first ever collection for the UK high street, was revealed this week, supported by a multi-million pound advertising campaign.

The autumn-winter collection has arrived at 29 John Lewis stores and online, with a second phase dedicated mainly to partywear launching in early October.

Speaking at the London launch, Alice said the Duchess of Cambridge and her sister Pippa Middleton are "wonderful girls to dress and wonderful girls to be around".

The designer, who has also dressed stars such as Jennifer Lopez, Gwyneth Paltrow and Demi Moore, said it was flattering to see the Middleton sisters in her creations. "Awareness is good for any brand... I think it's all flattering. It's just as flattering though to see somebody walking down the street in something as well."

She designed the decadent gown the Duchess of Cambridge wore to the premiere of the War Horse film earlier this year.

Pictures of the elegant Duchess were beamed around the world. She also designed the emerald green gown that Pippa wore to the evening reception at the Royal wedding.

Alice grew up on her parents' cider farm at Burrow Hill, near Kingsbury Episcopi, where, as a child, she chopped up antique lampshades to make accessories.

Her distinctive mixture of femininity and English eccentricity has become synonymous with "Cool Britannia".

The new collection, comprises 60 pieces of womenswear and a further 60 accessories, drawing inspiration from established Temperley signatures, with accents including Victoriana, lace, military, embellishment, monochrome, chiffon, animal print and leather.

From pony skin slippers to snakeskin effect belts, studded nappa leather handbags to animal print scarves, beaded Indian evening gowns to sheer panelled two-tone dresses, the collection includes some of her favourite pieces.

Prices range from £29 for a scarf, and £99 for a day dress to £1,000 for a luxurious thick sheepskin coat in seal grey, marking the collection out as accessible whilst retaining high-end detail and design.

Alice said: "We have spent the last 10 years building our lines and Somerset will complement our existing collections; it is a very accessible product that will take our aesthetic to a wider audience.

"John Lewis is a great partner as it stands for quality and is a trusted staple in everyone's lifestyle. As an independent British brand, we are thrilled to work with a trusted British retailer." Peter Ruis, brand and buying director, John Lewis said: "This collection marks a new chapter in fashion for John Lewis. It will be one of the most iconic collaborations the UK has seen."

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