Designer Alice Temperley is quintessentially English: she’s just opened a new store in London’s Mayfair and is very much attached to her idyllic birthplace, the countryside county of Somerset — but this in-touch designer knows how to appeal to her many fans in the Middle East. Case in point: This weekend she was wandering the rusty sand dunes of Ras Al Khaimah’s Banyan Tree Resort and on Sunday hosted an afternoon tea party at her brand new boutique in Doha, Qatar.
Temperley — known for dressing the Middleton sisters Pippa and Kate (now the Duchess of Cambridge) — shot her latest fashion campaign at the desert resort, doing the styling herself and with her sister Matilda on photographer duty.
“It was wonderful to be in the desert,” said Temperley on Saturday, perched on a couch in her Dubai Mall boutique wearing a blue-and-white embroidered dress from her summer collection. “We were opening in Qatar, and wanted to come into Dubai and see the store and see everybody, and thought how fantastic, we can be here for a couple of extra days... and shoot here from 4am unti late at night,” she said with a wink before remarking on the special morning light in the desert. “We shot some super images, they are really beautiful.”
“We had a beautiful villa and had our own music and were up and out on the sand dunes at 4am. We were back in the hotel by 9am and chilled out. I stayed inside and learned to use an app on my iphone called 8mil, and I made a movie which I am really pleased with for our website.”
But one thing she did miss out on was catching her friend Florence Welch performing in Dubai on Friday.
“I wanted to,” Temperley says, with a groan. “We went to meet a client and on the way I found out she was playing. I was gutted, because that would have been amazing. Had I known in advance I would have sorted that out. She is amazing and obviously wears us a lot and she’s beautiful.”
Lined up for the shoot were pieces from her popular bridal collection, scarves and her mainline winter collection (she also designs Alice, a sister line, and Somerset, a range for UK department store John Lewis). She describes the winter range as the birds collection — “as it’s all based on birds of prey — hawks and stuff — all flapping their wings. It was a very ethereal, our version of ‘The Birds’. Although they weren’t attacking anybody.”
Her Doha store is recognition of the popularity of her pretty range in the region, and Temperley intends to reply her clients dedication with more items for our climate.
“Our clients seem to love what we do, it seems to be a good fit because of all the occasion wear. It’s for events around the lifestyle over here. Gowns, tunics, kaftans, anything sort of colourful and light. We’re now making sure that our pre-fall winter collections we have climate appropriate things, it’s not so seasonal. Lots of people that we sell to around the world don’t buy coats and don’t want tailoring — they want softer and romantic. The Middle East has been a strong market throughout the whole financial situation and it continues to grow.”