23 June 2009

The Beth Ditto Files

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Here are exclusive pictures of Beth Ditto tearing up the design rooms at London's Arcadia Group, where she's come over all Kate Moss to design her own collection. In a bold move by Sir Philip Green - no doubt with encouragement from la Moss herself, who is great mates with Beth - he has hired The Gossip's front-woman for his plus-size chain, Evans! So when we first heard about the collaboration, we were straight on the phone securing these pictures of Beth hard at work. And then we bumped into her at Paris fashion week, where she told us she was "totally into it" and loving the whole process, saying, "Designing this line is a dream come true." So what was she like to work with? We grilled Lisa Marie Peacock, head of design at Evans, on the whole Beth Ditto experience...

How involved did Beth get with the design process?
She totally owned it. It wasn't really collaboration, as it was Beth's ideas that really drove this project.

So how did it all start?
Well, Beth came to a brain-storming meeting last November and we expected her to have some great ideas, as she has often spoken out about how hard it is for her to find designer fashion for her size. But what amazed us was that she already had an amazing sketch book full of ideas.

Ooh, and what was in the sketch book?
She had pictures of Blondie, Grace Jones, The Slits, and examples of the Bauhaus art movement - a punky and eclectic set of influences. And then after the initial meeting she came back with "the suitcase".

The suitcase?
Yeah. It was full of clothes that totally became the template for the collection. She had swatches of amazing 1980's prints, 1980's knitwear - one sweater with a domino print that we used; another with a kitten print. There were art deco prints and mod photographs as well as photos of Mama Cass of the Mamas and the Papas. Beth also had shoes, belts, knitwear - it was all there!

So are you all pleased with the final product?
Beth has made a 22-piece collection with us, and we love it because it has a bit of everything. Beth really wanted to get a good selection of coloured leggings in there, and there are great wider-fitting shoes, sweater dresses, cocktail dresses. Beth kept saying that it's all about making must-haves for a night out.

Was Beth the fittings model?
Officially, no. But Beth was there for the majority of the fittings. She doesn't mind stripping off so she didn't mind getting her kit off to try things on!

- Melanie Rickey

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The Beth Ditto for Evans collection launches in stores nationwide and online at www.bethdittoatevans.co.uk from 9 July 2009. The clothing range is available in sizes 14-32 and footwear from a size 4-10, with prices ranging from £18 - £65.


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