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Me and my muse: Hannah Marshall & Erin O’Connor

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Hannah Marshall’s designs have made the fashion world take note. Stylist chats to her and the woman who inspired her - model, friend and muse Erin O'Connor - and films them on our exclusive cover shoot.

How did you meet?

Hannah: I was putting the final touches to my NEWGEN exhibition (a funded fashion show for talented young designers) at Topshop in 2007 when Erin glided up the rickety steps with Sarah Brown (wife of Gordon Brown) in her wake.

Erin: I saw the eyebrows before I saw anything else. It was like looking at a mirror! There was this ocean of black and I thought, “Who is this chick?”

Hannah: We kept bumping into each other after that, then, at a Rankin exhibition, we got chatting. I was telling her all about my first catwalk show and she said, “Do you want me to model for it?” I thought she was joking!

Erin: The next night we went out for a cheese panini and sealed the deal.

Erin, what is it about Hannah that made you want to work with her?

Erin: She is so humble and quiet, yet her designs are empowering with these big ballsy lines and structured pieces. I certainly don’t offer up my services often but something about that stark black simplicity spoke to me.

Why is Erin your muse?

Hannah: Erin embodies everything I want to convey with my designs. I want to empower women through the cut of the fabric, make things that are sensual and revealing while covering up parts of the body. Erin takes on the spirit of the brand; when I’m designing she’s become part of what I think about. Plus Erin’s been a great source of advice. I pick her brains all the time.

About what?

Hannah: Recently we’ve been talking a lot about how to be in charge of your realm as a business woman.

Erin: She doesn’t really need my help but I’ve just been trying to push her.

Erin, who would you like to see wearing Hannah’s clothes?

Erin: A lot of people are intimidated by the designer label but it would be so nice to see a career-minded woman going about her life rocking a Hannah

Marshall look.

Is that something you aspire to?

Hannah: Absolutely! I want all women to feel like they can wear my designs. I want women to realise the power that clothing has to communicate who you are.

Photography: John-Paul Pietrus

Words: Megan Conner, Amy Grier and Alix Walker

Watch an exclusive behind the scenes video of Hannah and Erin at Stylist's cover shoot.

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