Samantha Cameron has launched a new fashion label, designed for “a woman who’s busy, juggling lots of things, [and] loves fashion”.
The wife of former Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron tells the Sunday Times Style magazine that she sought the input of American Vogue editor Anna Wintour when preparing designs for new brand Cefinn.
“She gave me great advice,” Cameron says. “She was very good. She was very much, don’t be scared to make it your own, put your stamp of individuality on it.
“She really liked the fact it was about real women, and she was very much, stick with that.”
A look at Cefinn’s website, which launched on Monday, suggests that Cameron’s 35-piece line is looking to share ground with sophisticated, workwear-leaning brands such as Whistles and Hobbs.
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Prices range from £150 to £450, and there’s nothing in the collection that would raise eyebrows at the office: think block colours (mainly black, navy, khaki and red), high necks and sensible hemlines.
The range is also full of “easy-care” fabrics – wool, satin, cotton – because, says Cameron, working women “know you're not going to get through breakfast without getting a bit of baby sick or whatever on your outfit”.
Cameron’s move into fashion, while unusual for a British prime minister’s wife, isn’t entirely unexpected. The fine art graduate was creative director of luxury leather goods brand Smythson until her husband was elected Prime Minister in 2010, at which point she scaled back her role at the brand to a part-time consultancy role.
While in No 10, Cameron was frequently recognised as a significant figure in British fashion. Like her one-time US counterpart Michelle Obama – who was renowned for her support of modern American designers – Cameron used her position in the political spotlight to champion her favourite British brands, and she was appointed an ambassador to the British Fashion Council in 2011.
That she was firmly a member of the Conservative establishment made Cameron’s taste in clothes all the more interesting. Rather than playing it safe in traditional skirt suits, she favoured bright colours, bold prints and simple shapes from the likes of ‘cool’ designers such as Roksanda Ilincic, Christopher Kane, Jonathan Saunders and Erdem, as well as mixing up high street brands from L.K. Bennet to Zara.
Cameron, who says she took up sewing lessons while pregnant with her daughter Florence in 2010, says that she was determined to try her hand at running a fashion brand, despite being “terrified” at the public reaction.
“I don't want to look back on my life and think, ‘You've always wanted to do this and you never did it’,” she says.
“It was really lovely to be able to take time out and spend more time with the children for almost six years. But I was definitely ready to get back to the nitty-gritty.”
She adds that her husband has been “unbelievably supportive”.
“He’s like, you know, ‘I did my thing; your turn to do your thing’.”
Images: Rex Features