Wednesday, 20 April 2011

An Afternoon with Ben de Lisi

I had the pleasure of meeting the wonderful Ben de Lisi yesterday afternoon. Famed for his timeless and elegant dresses, the afternoon was set in an equally elegant setting in London's The Ivy. I was invited as Ben was showcasing his fourth collection for Principles as relaunched by Debenhams a year ago.

The collection for high summer has been designed using a neutral and monochrome colour palette and then infused with bold purple and orange accents. As well as key weekend-wear pieces, the collection has some classic smart day-wear...the type of staples that will complete your summer wardrobe and that will allow you to accessorise perfectly. However, don't think of accessorising to much...well, not according to the fashion connoisseur himself. Ben and I talked fashion tips, trends and even Kate Middleton's wedding dress. Here's what he had to say...

Exsoteric: You originally studied sculpture at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn. What made you decide to make the transition into fashion?

Ben: For me it was just switching the medium. Whether you're sculpting in stone or fabric, its a similar sensibility but with fashion I sculpt using the female form as opposed to alabaster.

Exsoteric: What are your top three tips for a woman getting ready to go out?

Ben: Never over accessorise, don't buy anything with mediocre detail - instead buy something that has one focal, flawless piece of detail and don't underestimate the power of looking simple and effortless

Exsoteric: Which highstreet brands do you hold in high esteem and which are translating key trends most successfully?

Ben: Principles by Ben de Lisi of course as the range is elegant and classic whilst being designed for the modern woman. I think highstreet brands should focus on key pieces with a twist as opposed to following trends. Cos and Banana Republic do this so well and I don't even consider them as highstreet brands as such.

Exsoteric: Are there any celebrities you have yet to work with and who you would love to dress?

Ben: Absolutely - Julianne Moore, Kristen Scott Thomas and Sandra Bullock

Exsoteric: You've just listed three very timeless beauties. Does that encapsulate your whole design ethos?

Ben: Exactly

Exsoteric: And finally - if you were (or indeed are) to design a dress for Kate Middleton, what would it look like and why?

Ben: I did actually sketch for Kate but the designs weren't published. The dress was modern but also celebrated the pageantry of the day. A fitted bodice to accentuate her long figure. The bodice was covered in French ribbon which was frayed and knotted to give it a really modern but classic twist

View the whole Principles by Ben de Lisi collection here 


  1. I think every designer's top tips include 'don't over accessorize'...not sure i agree

  2. Great interview. Would love to see his sketches of Kate's dress! Can you post them?