Designer Interview | Jessika Allen Meets Selfridges
With summer just around the corner, Selfridges caught up with our design director, Jessika Allen, to talk all thinks summer, inspiration, the art of packing, Beyoncé and more. With Jessika’s outstanding eye for design teamed with her style expertise, we can only expect that her getaway go-to items are the must haves for perfecting summer dressing.
You’re sitting down to start a new collection – where do you start?
The starting point of each collection is colour and print. We spend a lot of time season to season creating our palette, prints and textures. From choosing the family of warm and cool hues, to the neutrals, and tonal pairing; it’s all very well thought out! This season’s Pure Instinct Collection 2016/17 is inspired by a new, confident woman. Think worldly influences and exotic patterns that mix-up print, and texture.
How do you factor in all women’s sizes and shapes when designing your collections?
The JETS by Jessika Allen design philosophy is based around fashion, fit, fabric and functionality. With this in mind, it has become second nature to understand how a garment fits a woman’s body, while holding her in and creating the most flattering of silhouettes. I am extremely lucky to work with such a wonderful team of women who don’t mind me calling on them to trial new shapes. I personally take home new styles to test so I can gauge exactly how they feel and flatter the body.
We can only fit one swimsuit or bikini into our hand luggage for our trip – what style should we pick?
The one-piece has my vote, time-and-time again! With low-cut backs, lace-up necklines and eyelets, cut-outs and flashes of skin in all the right places, the allure is that it can be just as sexy as a bikini. Both functional and fashionable, I predict it to be summer’s one and only.
What’s your best beachwear styling tip?
Team your one-piece or bikini with a tailored pair of resort pants or stylish culottes for the ultimate pool-to-bar staple. Or if you prefer something a bit more feminine, nothing beats a maxi dress or sexy kaftan with a plunged neckline.
What’s your method when it comes to packing light for a beach break?
My packing mantra is “less is more”. However, let’s be honest, it is much easier said than done! I always start with the swimwear; choose no more than five and include a selection of both one-pieces and bikinis so you can mix and match. Next is the resort wear; choose easy-to-wear staples that can transition from day to night. Comfort is key. As for the feet, I have a bit of a shoe obsession. I pack a handful of embellished, strappy sandals that don’t take up too much space, and then a couple of pairs of wedges or heels.
What’s the biggest mistake we can make when buying swimwear, and how do we avoid it?
When shopping for the perfect swimsuit it’s important not to rush the selection process. Having an idea of what you want before starting also helps, as does remaining open-minded and trying on a range of different shapes, styles, colours and prints. You may be surprised!
Another important factor is confidence. I always ensure I am in a good mood and am feeling my best before I spend time in the changing room.
A second opinion and advice on fit is always valuable too, asking a swimwear specialist will assist in finding a piece you feel most comfortable in. However, the most important advice I can give is to ensure you feel beautiful in the swimming costume - you are the one who will be wearing it all summer long!
How should we accessorise our swimwear on the beach?
I believe there are five must-have essentials when it comes to accessorising your swimwear. Sunglasses to protect your eyes, a gorgeous wide-brimmed, floppy hat or visor for shade, a stylish sarong or cover-up, a hit of lip gloss and most importantly, sunscreen! The higher SPF the better.
What advice would you give to ladies who like to mix and match their swimwear?
Mastering the art of the contrast is key to mixing and matching your swimwear. My advice is to colour block and match different tones in your bikini. Remember to stick to either warm or cool tones as opposed to mixing the two together. As for prints, as long as the colour palettes are similar it can look quite fashion-forward to pair patterns together.
What’s your summer holiday soundtrack?
One word: Beyoncé.