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She is best known for playing designer label-loving Patsy Stone in comedy sketch Ab Fab, but actress and former model Joanna Lumley says the only fashion tip a woman needs to know is what she looks like from behind.
Once the muse of designer Jean Muir and photographed by Patrick Lichfield and Brian Duffy, Joanna told HELLO!:
"To learn how to look in the mirror there so that you can see your back view in a mirror here; it’s terribly important.
"Your hair and clothes, your bottom especially, lengths of skirts… see what you look like from the back. Because most people see you from the back!"
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Joanna met HELLO! at London’s Fashion and Textiles Museum last week for the launch of veteran designer Zandra Rhodes’ new Digital Study Collection – an online archive of photos and sketches of over 500 of her designs.
The 66-year-old actress, who during the Swinging 60s was one of the top ten most-booked models, played down her stylish impact.
"I’m really not a fashion icon," she said. "Being an actress I just wear other people’s clothes and be other people in the shows I appear in.
"But I think that once you put your clothes on, you should wear them – they should not wear you! You should always be more important than your clothes. They should enhance you, reflect your personality, and look charming front and back!"
Zandra’s collection partners with the University of Creative Arts and Jisc as a resource to students of art and fashion, and is the first online archive of its kind.
"It’s the first time I’ve seen a collection as a digital study, so I think this is thrilling," said Joanna. "It’s going to mean so much.
"And to use Zandra as a world first is fantastic. I think it’s going to be hugely influential, both to designers and artists, because she is, as you’ve probably noticed, a work of art herself! Everything she does has her all over it. The way she paints and collects and how she appears – she’s never not looked unbelievable!"
The print designer has dressed the world’s most iconic stars over her 50-year career, including Princess Diana, Freddie Mercury, and Elizabeth Taylor.
"I’m just very pleased to know my dresses are going to be memorialised for people to see what I put into them and what they mean," Zandra told HELLO!:
"Every single person is quite different. I did costumes for Freddie Mercury and saw him waving his arms about on the stage – it’s been memorialised in gorgeous photographs by Mick Rock – Princess Diana, one of the white dresses that was just so spectacular was just sold again last week in the sale room just down the road from the museum. I find everyone is completely different, and I love their different characters."
Interviews: Michelle Johnson