An Interview with Savannah Miller
THE MILLER’S TALE
Wife, mother, sister and designer. Just how does Savannah Miller find time to leave one luxury label to start another? She reveals all to Paige Holloway
London’s Fitzroy Square unveiled Savannah Miller’s debut solo project. The room was filled with crisp leaves and a mix of media swallows, nesting in a house of love.
Vogue’s Francesca Burns, model Irina Lazareneau and stylist Martha Ward were among the list of guests to celebrate the designers new journey forming independent fashion label, Savannah.
Savannah Miller, the pretty English rose, is still only 33-years-old and has already established her self by creating not one, but two successful fashion labels, hailing the flag for British designers. Miller, co founder of Twenty8Twelve by S.Miller, announced her departure from the brand last year as creative director and decided to venture out on her own. The new brand, with the black silhouette of a swallow as its appointed motif, has already showcased its first collection, selling on site Nelly.com, and has proved to be a roaring success. Savannah’s currently working on her SS13 range, which she explains, “is very bohemian. Filled with sunshine and love as all our summers should be!”
For those who need a reminder, Savannah is sister of actress and Vogue cover girl Sienna Miller and the pair joined forces in 2007 revealing their quirky English style to create Twenty8Twelve. Her work experience previous to this was unlike other budding designers. During her time studying for a BA in Fashion and Knitwear at the prestigious Central Saint Martins, she was fortunate enough to work for Alexander McQueen. “It was mind blowing being in that environment,” says Savannah. “I was still at college and it was my first insight in to what it was really like on the other side of the college doors.”
McQueen certainly helped set the young Savannah up into the notoriously competitive industry and it’s clear she holds great admiration for the designer whom helped kick start her fashion career. However Savannah also regards ‘Lee’ (she calls him) as one of the most prominent designers of our time. “My experience there shaped me as a designer,” she says. “All our major fashion designers are responsible for shaping fashion evolution from Alexander McQueen to Alexander Wang.”
In an interview with the Miller sisters during LFW, she enthused that one of her greatest fashion highlights was her first show working for McQueen. “It was probably the most amazing experience of my life,” she confessed “that was my defining fashion moment without a doubt.”
The British designer certainly became a legend in his short life. Most notably were his theatrical shows that demonstrated his innovation and creativity within fashion, guaranteeing he shall never be forgotten by the nation and especially not by Savannah Miller.
Savannah’s stints at working for McQueen and then Matthew Williamson helped inspire her to eventually start Twenty8Twelve. Just two years after creating the brand, Management Today named her as one of the top 35 women in business under the age of 35. The label helped establish her reputation as a talented designer and so forth after six years she felt it was time to leave to partake in other ventures. “I felt like my time at Twenty8Twelve had come to a natural conclusion, there was no where else it could go,” she admits. “There were a lot of people there and it was hard to have a voice, there were so many people contributing to a conversation from commercial to design.”
The wife and mother of three immediately took to designing in her sisters flat to launch the new eponymous range in time for autumn/winter last year. “Starting out on my own has been really fun and exciting,” she goes on. “I’m not going to lie, I miss working with expensive cloth but it feels really good to be designing a range that is affordable and honest.”
Savannah’s first collection epitomized the free spirited nature that the designer’s renowned for. “She is someone who dresses in a way to reflect her personality, she is fun loving,” say’s Miller of the Savannah woman. Already she’s ascertained the brands identity by using model and actress Dree Hemingway to front its look book. “Dree embodies everything I am trying to say about the brand,” she says excitedly. “She is so effortlessly cool and kind. I love her.”
Dree, great-granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, has already walked for Givenchy, Calvin Klein, Karl Lagerfeld and Shiatzy Chen, and is to appear alongside Sienna Miller in a film set for release later this year. Her natural beauty and chic style certainly fits the quintessence of the brand that prides itself on being: “a covetable and spirited take on the modern day separates every girl needs for survival in the Western world.”
The brand maintained a bohemian element including it’s fringed waistcoat and Jerry knit jumper but also nodded towards the sixties with the Anita and Pamela dresses. Sienna’s style influence is certainly evident in the first collection. Though they parted ways in the business world, it seems neither sisters can escape the boho effect. “I make clothes for real women to walk about the street in,” Miller continues. “Sienna has an effortless cool about the way she dresses that a lot of women really aspire to and I find very inspiring.”
Sienna has already been spotted wearing a pair of Gus jeans from the label and excitedly admitted whilst Savannah was away designing last year, “I just can’t wait to wear all the new pieces.” Sienna’s avant-garde image has been updated from those hippie days making disc belts and gypsy skirts popular circa ’03, and today opts for elegant and tailored pieces to guarantee her style legacy. “She has a lot of ideas,” says close friend Matthew Williamson. “She’s not controlled by what she thinks she should wear.”
The sisters made a successful fashion duo but with Savannah working independently she’s able to dress the new workingwoman using her own creative vision. “Invariably I end up thinking, “is this something I am going to want to order,’” Miller continues. “It is important things aren’t so complicated that people get put off.”
And the style icon, who often features in Vogue’s best dressed awards, that Savannah would love to see in her designs, is Alexa Chung. With a similar aesthetic to Savannah, Alexa refuses to be dictated by trends and dresses to her own personal taste. “I think a true fashion icon has a unique point of view and dresses every day in a way that is true to themselves and themselves alone,” she reveals. “I tend to only wear things that feel like ‘me.’” And Savannah’s own classic style combined with an English quirkiness that she translates in her pieces, captures the essence of British fashion today.