The brainchild of singer Lily Allen and her sister Sarah Owen, Lucy in Disguise
is a culmination of the duo’s shared love of vintage fashion. Launched first as a vintage shop in London, Allen and Owen have created their own inspired collection, filled with modern riffs on retro styles. We talked with the sisters about their love of vintage, the label, and who this Lucy gal is.
Shopbop: Last year, you opened a vintage store in London’s Covent Garden. How is this collection an extension of that store?
Lily Allen: A collection of our own had not always been part of our plan. When sourcing clothes for our Covent Garden store, we came across so many pieces that inspired us but were not quite right for the shop floor—perhaps the fabric was bad, or the sizing awkward, or it just needed to be brought up to date somehow. So we were driven to improve upon these items and make them more wearable.
Sarah Owen: We believe that the magic of vintage is in the story each dress has to tell: Where has this dress been? Who’s worn it? What adventures has it had? We wanted to bring that magic across in our range, even though the pieces are brand new, so we’ve named each piece and written a little caption evoking memories of when and where “Lucy” wore it.
SB: How would you describe Lucy?
SO: Lucy is a true style queen, a time-traveling fashionista who follows her instincts, not just trends. Every girl wants to be her, and every boy wants to go out with her. Above all, she loves to dress up and explore different sides of her personality through the clothes she wears.
LA: In the ’20s she was hanging out with Gatsby, in the ’60s she was on the back of the Rolling Stones’ tour bus, and in the ’70s she was at Studio 54 with Andy Warhol and Jerry Hall.
SB: The line is heavily influenced by vintage style. What’s your favorite era?
LA: I really love the ’50s, as it’s perfect for my body shape, pinching in and accentuating my waist and giving me a full skirt to twirl in! I also love the workmanship that goes into pieces from the ’20s. They often have incredible beadwork and embroidery.
SO: My favorite eras are the ’60s by day and the ’70s by night. I’m torn between wanting to channel Jane Birkin and Bianca Jagger! I’m a sequin-loving hippie at heart!
SB: How is your personal style reflected in the collection?
SO: Pieces like The Roxy are exactly what you would be likely to find me in, dancing the night away. I love pieces that have a sexy and glamorous feel but are super comfortable (and forgiving) to wear!
LA: I would wear the Haight and Ashbury all the time with jeans, as it’s a beautiful fabric and so wearable. But I can also definitely see myself in the Speakeasy at summer festivals—it’s perfect with a pair of Wellies!
SB: The collection has some very pretty, very unique prints. What was the inspiration behind these? How do they play into the essence of the piece?
LA: Well, the prints in this first collection are all special to me, for different reasons. The bandana print on the Honky Tonk dress is inspired by my first-ever vintage purchase when I was 14, from Portobello Market!
SO: And then, of course, we had to sneak in a lily print! The Promenade features a super fun and colorful lily print, which will be repeated in future collections.
SB: Being sisters, you obviously know each other in a way that is very different from traditional business partners. How would you describe your work dynamic?
SO: We do often have to bite our lips, as it’s not always appropriate to bicker in the way we would if we were at home, but even though we can get into an argument more quickly than other business partners might, we also seem to get over it more easily.
LA: We have different strengths, which makes the division of work relatively easy, but we’re really still evolving in terms of our business relationship. It’s a very new thing for us and we’ve had to adjust, which is exciting and strange at the same time.
SO: But ultimately, when things go well, there’s no one better to share that with than your sister!