Five minutes with model-come-designer Caprice

She’s made her mark as one of Britain’s most prolific lingerie models since her move from California to the UK fourteen years ago. Now, as she enters her second season as designer for the all-new online shopping site Very.co.uk, we took the chance to catch up with Caprice to hear all about her new collection, her inspirations, and her role as designer.

This isn’t your first delve into design; can you tell us how you came to your role as designer in the first place?

It kind of started with my lingerie at Debenhams and I saw how rich I was getting so I thought, ‘I can do this myself’. So I bought back my license with a quarter of a million pounds to open the doors, and that started four years ago; but of course with designing you’re always working ahead so it probably went on shop floors about three years ago. And we’re doing really well, we don’t have any debt or anything like that so I’m really happy.

What is it about the Very brand that appeals to you?

I think it’s modern, young, very accessible, and it’s one of my best clients , I have a really loyal customer base through Very.

It’s at a great price point, too; is that something you’re conscious of as a designer , making your collections accessible?

There are two reasons for that: First is I have to look at my target market and that, for me, is mass market. I wanted to create a product that looks expensive but is very affordable. Especially in the current economic climate; people just aren’t compulsive buying any more, that’s been done.

So let’s talk about your new collection , what can we expect?

It’s very bright, summery, sexy, feminine; there’s lots of fuschia, white , really feminine colours , and I mean if you look at my other collections you’ll know I love bright colours, it’s reflective of me, it’s my signature look.

Do you have any favourite pieces?

I love the jeans because they’re a bit more casual, but then there’s quite glamorous maxidresses , the purple maxi dress is just gorgeous. I love everything about it, including the shape , it accentuates the bust line and gives support, and on the bottom half where sometimes more women can have problem areas, it’s more full. It’s very feminine and full on the bottom and it just makes every shape look amazing , that one’s been doing really really well. Oh, and then you have to see the purple mesh panel jumpsuit! I had it last season in black and it sold out so I bought it back in purple and now it’s selling even better. You can wear it with stockings and heels at night, in the summer on holiday; it’s just so gorgeous! Oh, and then there’s the black dress with the fringing, too , I love it.

What has been your inspiration behind the collection?

I often look around vintage shops, but I really studied my market, what my customers like. It’s really important that all body types can wear it. And to begin with it was very glamorous but now that we’re starting to go more casual it’s really selling more. And that’s probably because glamour is more occasionwear but casualwear is all year round.

Tell us a bit about the design process , some celebrities just put their name to a label without knowing much about the product, but it strikes us that you are involved every step of the way in the creative process.

When you’re paying for it you have to pay attention to your customers. They’re becoming more and more aware now; they think, they know, and you have to give them something they want.

Do your designs reflect your own style at all or do you broaden your designs to appeal to a wider audience?

You have to. I mean, I don’t just have one model, I have four , four different size models for fits. It’s part of my job, I want to make everyone look fabulous. And I’m constantly learning more and more.

How would you describe your own style?

I’ve evolved so much. What you see in my collections now is what I was wearing five or six years ago. Now I have a lot of suits, lots of Ralph Lauren. I’m very conservative now, it’s changed a lot.

What would you say is your fashion fail-safe? Do you have one item that you can always turn to if in doubt?

Black! Anything black. It makes you look skinny or voluptuous, it makes you look and feel fabulous, and it’s never out of fashion, it’s always there.

As a designer, what is your first priority? Do you opt for comfort and functionality or is it full style ahead?

It’s a conglomerate of things, there’s never one. My moto is an affordable price, a very good fit, and something that’s quite original , people want to see new things. And presentation is key, too. If something’s not presented well then it’s not going to sell.

Is that why it’s important to you to model your own designs?

Trust me , I’m over it! I’ve tried using other models but it just doesn’t work. Even with my other clients, I’ve looked before and seen someone else modelling my designs and I think, ‘What is going on?’ I have to say it’s not going out without my image, and I mean, it is my brand, so why not? And it sells. When it stops selling then I’ll get another model to do it.

You’ve obviously had a hugely successful career as a model, but what with your lingerie lines and various collections you’ve established yourself as a successful designer, too , which do you prefer?

Modelling I’m bored of. It doesn’t exactly take much. What I’m doing at the moment is what I’m most proud of , this is my future, I’m creating my own business which will go on forever; eventually when I’m older I’ll pass it down to my daughters and it’ll become their business and then they’ll pass it down.

Where do you see yourself going from here? What’s next for you?

To start expanding. We’re now seeing the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of the economic climate, so I’ll be looking to expand the lines. But aside from that I really want to get back into entertainment again , I’d love to do the West End again, I really want to find a project.

Check out Caprice’s new collection for Very.co.uk for yourself , it’s online now. Oh, and you heard it here first: Caprice might well be coming to a West End near* you soon.

*If you’re in London. Near the West End.

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