Louise Gray Dishes On Designing For Female Jockeys PLUS Her Secret Show-Jumping Past!

10 August 2012 by

Lovely Scottish designer and queen of colour, pattern and texture, Louise Gray has been busy all summer so far, glittering people up in her teepee at Port Eliot festival, posing for the lookbook of her Topshop collaboration (out in a week and a bit), designing her hotly anticipated Spring Summer 2012 – 13 collection, which will be unveiled in September... but there’s no rest - as mums say - for the wicked. And that proved truer than ever before today when Grazia Daily trooped down to the Dorchester Spa to view a brilliant dress created by Louise for a very particular gang of models.

Ha! Despite being extremely beautiful, in fact they’re not from the catwalk, they are professional jockeys Brit girl Hayley Turner, Chantal Sunderland of the USA and from Canada, Emma Jayne Wilson. Together they are the equestrian equivalent of the Spice Girls, a new riding team set to compete at Ascot this weekend in the Dubai Duty Free Shergar Cup. Good luck ladies!

And now to the lady herself top London designer Louise. We wanted to know how she got involved in the project. We suspected she might have some amazing horsey tales herself, and we weren’t disappointed...

Grazia Daily: You’ve been busy haven’t you?

Louise Gray: yep I’ve been up to all sorts! I’m excited about this project, because a) it’s an all-girl team and we think they’re going to beat the boys! [at the races] and because jockeys are just quite cool aren’t they?

GD: Absolutely. The whole aesthetic of jockeys, with their colourful silks is pretty much on your wave-length anyway, isn’t it?

LG: Oh definitely, they have to be identified by their silks, so they’re all different. Checker boards, stripes, spots, hearts – I love it. For the girls I wanted to make them something with quite a lot of freedom of movement so I’ve gone for an A-line skirt with a bit of a swing to it. The fuschia and black are their team colours.

GD: Love it. What other experience have you had with horses?

LG: I used to have my own horse.

GD: Tell us more, immediately!

LG: I used to have my own horse, on my Grandad’s farm. The horse’s name was Amber. I used to do showjumping, and my showjumping name was Ready To Go. Like red, amber, green - ready to go, geddit? We had some really happy times together, I’d plait her hair and stick these really cool stickers to the horse’s bum, you brush the hair one way, and then take the sticker off, it comes out in a pattern. Then you paint the horses’ hooves to make them more shiny. You get points for being Best In Show.

GD: Wow, Louise! If things had gone differently, you could have been starring in the Olympic dressage right now, weighed down by gold medals!

LG: Well, when I got to about 14 I discovered boys and things like that and gave it all up.

It’s just as well really - show jumping’s loss is very much the fashion world’s gain. See you in the queue for TOPSHOP on 20th August!



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