From Purdey to Patsy, Joanna Lumley is one of the UK’s most recognisable faces. A former model who’s as famous for picketing No. 10 with The Gurkhas as she is for her thrifty attitude to fashion (who can forget the invention of bra shoes on Girl Friday), when it comes to Lumley and style, as long as you’re getting the most out of your wardrobe, anything goes.
I’m afraid people aren’t doing stuff to their clothes, I mean adapting them rather than thinking ‘oh well I would have bought that skirt but it’s too long,’” she confides.
I don’t give a fig about labels – I cut them out, even if it’s Chanel or Prada. And it doesn’t matter what size it is – some of my clothes are a size 8 and some are a size 16, I couldn’t care less what it says.
Lumley admits that she once went to an event attended by Christian Louboutin wearing a pair of M&S boots she’d re-soled with a coat of red nail varnish. A fashion faux pas to some but refreshingly normal to most, it’s Lumley’s affinity for recycling and reusing that makes her the perfect partner for Shwopping – an initiative that turns
used pieces into raw materials or donates them to Oxfam. That, and her fondness for M&S.
If you had something from M&S it would last you, and those were the important things when I was growing up in the Fifties and Sixties. My M&S basics have lasted me forever.
So how does Lumley describe her personal style? “Oh I have none!” she says. “I love long layers of things – what I call striding clothes – and I hate very high heels. When I go to premieres I wear stuff that nobody will remember – someone will shout ‘what’re you wearing Joanna’ and I just go ‘umm…’”
One thing Lumley is sure about though is her contribution to charitable causes. “I’m always amazed that people think I do a lot. I just see it as part of living – you do what you can for other people otherwise I think life would be quite dull.”