The Aesthete: Alice Archer talks personal taste

The fashion designer set up her own label in 2015 and her sumptuous collections feature digital embroidery with painting and ethereal prints

Alice Archer at home in London
Alice Archer at home in London | Image: Gabby Laurent

My personal style signifiers are romantic, slightly girly dresses and impractical shoes. I’m obsessed right now with some patent-pink Dorateymur ankle boots. I’m pregnant and trying not to buy maternity clothes, but just wear things that fit – I’ve been living in a checked A-line dress with a high neck from Ganni. dorateymur.com. ganni.com.

Clockwise from left: Archer's Agent Provocateur Izzy bra. Toast kantha‑embroidered coat, £225. Chloé leather boots, £920
Clockwise from left: Archer's Agent Provocateur Izzy bra. Toast kantha‑embroidered coat, £225. Chloé leather boots, £920 | Image: Gabby Laurent

The last thing I bought and loved was a kantha-embroidered coat from Toast. It’s in gold shades and made from recycled saris. I don’t buy many clothes, but I do love things that feel like they have a story. £225; 44 Marylebone High St, London W1 (020-7486 9272; toa.st).

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And the thing I’m eyeing next is a pair of brown leather ankle boots from Chloé. They lace up the front and have a chunky Cuban heel, so they feel a bit 1970s. The recent Chloé collections have been amazing and I especially love the shoes. £920; 152-153 Sloane St, London SW1 (020-7823 5348; chloe.com).

The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall
The Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall | Image: Alamy Stock Photo

An unforgettable place I’ve travelled to in the past year is the Lost Gardens of Heligan in Cornwall. It is so stunning, with a jungle area, spectacular rhododendrons and a delightful walled garden. I like botanical gardens and this one is particularly luscious – I’ve never seen anything like it. Pentewan, St Austell PL26 6EN (01726-845 100; heligan.com).

Normal People by Sally Rooney
Normal People by Sally Rooney

The best books I’ve read in the past year are Normal People by Sally Rooney and Lullaby by Leila Slimani, though it’s probably unwise to read the latter if you’re pregnant. I love the female perspective and details of domestic life in both books, and Normal People – about a teenage relationship – is so well observed it made me nostalgic for that time in my life.

Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell
Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell

The last item of clothing I added to my wardrobe was a sage-green prairie-style Batsheva dress. It has a vintage Laura Ashley feel, with a collar, a frilled hem and a floral print. £388; matchesfashion.com.

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My favourite room in my house is the sitting room. It has large sash windows that overlook a tree-filled communal garden, which always feels quite special in London. There are bare wooden floors, lots of rugs and books, and plants from The Nunhead Gardener and Petersham Nurseries. We’ve just added an orange velvet chair from Habitat and a patchworked velvet cushion by Christina Lundsteen that I bought at Liberty. Habitat, 196-199 Tottenham Court Rd, London W1 (0344-499 1122; habitat.co.uk). Liberty, Regent St, London W1 (020-7734 1234; libertylondon.com). The Nunhead Gardener, 1A Oakdale Rd, London SE15 (020-7635 3443; thenunheadgardener.com). Petersham Nurseries, Church Lane, Off Petersham Rd, London TW10 (020-8940 5230; petershamnurseries.com). 

The last music I downloaded was Court and Spark by Joni Mitchell. I love the emotion in her songs; they remind me of my childhood, listening to her in the car with my parents.

The best gift I’ve received recently was a set of Agent Provocateur underwear that my husband, Henry, got for my birthday. It’s in an orange tulle edged with rainbows and so delicate. He loves clothes and is quite certain of his taste, so he’s very good at choosing things. 305 Westbourne Grove, London W11 (020-7243 1292; agentprovocateur.com).

My favourite app is Podcast Player – I like New York Times podcast Modern Love; The High Low with Pandora Sykes and Dolly Alderton, who give news updates from a female perspective; and Esther Perel, whose Where Should I Begin? is based on her counselling sessions with couples.

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