Millie Mackintosh, a former star of Made In Chelsea, has established herself as a style, beauty and fitness icon. I spoke to Millie about her latest collection - which has just landed in Voisins, her beauty routine and her plans for global domination.
Millie Mackintosh starts our conversation by apologising for her croaky voice. She has just got back from showcasing her collection at London Fashion Week Festival (LFWF), a 4 day event open to the public following Fashion Week.
I am excited to talk to Millie about her collection because while a celebrity collection might be nothing new, the way Millie has worked on her fashion collection is far from the celebrity norm. We are inundated with celebrities who are only too happy to “lend” their name to the fashion houses but then have no actual input into the design process. This was not the case for Millie, she launched her own label in 2014 and has remained very hands on. Millie prides herself on being involved in the entire process from start to finish. “I’ve worked with different brands before and what I’ve learnt along the way is that if you want to have full control of the designs and the end product, then owning the brand is the only way to achieve that. I’m a real perfectionist too so I wanted to be involved all the way through.” She openly says she “isn’t very good” at drawing but she does work with a really wonderful team including a brilliant designer who helps her get her ideas on to paper.
Expressing Ourselves Through Clothes Whilst Millie’s brand may only be a few years old, her love for fashion is far from recent. She admits to making her own clothes on her sewing machine at the age of 15 and “creating dresses to sell to friends.” The mini dresses may have been very simple and made out of “old silk scarves” but it’s clear that the passion was always there. “I’ve always had a love of clothes, fashion and dressing up,” she says “that love of transformation, you become a different character depending on what you wear, our clothes are how we express ourselves.” We joke that it’s a great feeling to look in the mirror and say to yourself “Oh yes, I have it going on today!”
People remember Millie for her incredible style on Made In Chelsea, and although hard work and dedication have played a huge part in her success, Millie can’t help but thank the show for where she is now. She told me, “It was always in the back of my mind that I wanted to do something in fashion after the show, but it was a great platform, it helped me create a brand. It gave me a huge following on social media which has been a great tool, my brand wouldn’t be where it is now if I hadn’t had that, so I am so grateful that I did the show.”
Millie’s style has definitely evolved since those days and she explains how she has a more grown up approach to dressing now, “caring about the whole outfit.” A few years ago she would have never worn a suit, openly saying that she wasn’t “interested in tailoring” or didn’t look at an outfit as a whole. “Back then it might have been a really great mini dress and that was it,” she chuckles. Now she thinks about the look as a whole, “always including accessories”. She’s always been a girly girl though and loves feminine shapes, textures and fabrics like lace.
Not Just For Girly Girls Millie might be a girly girl but her collections are not just for one type of person or one age group; they include pieces for everybody and their appeal is bound to be universal. The pre-fall collection was inspired by growing up in the countryside, “It’s like rebellious British femininity, I like to mix things up and play with textures” she explains, “I like putting delicate pieces with something a little bit tougher. A beautiful floral dress toughened up with a biker jacket or PVC leggings paired back with a jumper. I also think a military jacket looks great with a dress or with jeans. There are pieces in the collection that can be dressed up or down.”
The autumn/winter collection brings some great occasion wear as well as amazing tailoring options. This is a style that’s becoming a “bigger and bigger area” for Millie. “A lot of women are wanting to wear tailored pieces, not necessarily for work but actually for a night out. Not everyone wants to wear pink frills” she says.
A Style Chameleon Like most of us Millie likes to change her style depending on how she feels: “One day you might want to feel comfy and casual and another day you might want to dress up and feel super powerful. I go through different phases. Sometimes I’ll wear a nice dress with a really masculine boot and other times I might want to feel very girly and wear everything in pink, it just depends on my mood.”
It was clear when speaking to Millie that she understands who her customers are and she welcomed the opportunity to interact with them at LFWF. Millie spoke highly about how amazing it was to see her customers “trying things on right in front (of me)” and loved being able to “see their reactions.” People have different tastes and not everybody wants to wear things the same way. “It was great to see what they like, how and where they wanted to wear certain pieces.”
Moving Into Makeup Always looking for a new challenge, Millie’s love for fashion has also extended to beauty and skincare. Before Made In Chelsea, Millie was a makeup artist and she’s recently launched her own beauty range in Boots. Just like her clothing line, she was involved in every process “from the name, to designing the packaging and coming up with the formulations”. The range is “basically a curated edit” of Millie’s essential products and includes a neutral shades eyeshadow palette, a brow kit, a cheek and lip pencil and a lipstick in Millie’s trademark “perfect pinky nude”, all encased in sleek metallic pink packaging.
The soft, muted tones of the range are very reflective of Millie, who is known for her signature glowy, natural makeup. What about when she feels like a change though? She does like to add a “red lip or a quick smoky eye” to her evening look and mix up her hair style from her natural waves for a night out: “I like a ponytail or a low bun, I quite like it with a few bits pulled out at the front so it’s a little bit messy but I also like the slicked back look. I think it depends what you’re wearing.”
Feeling Good Inside and Out Makeup aside, Millie puts her flawless skin down to “plenty of sleep and water.” Apart from facials every couple of months, she swears her daily routine is simple. “I literally use a face wash and a moisturiser and in the evening I’ll do a double cleanse and wear a different moisturiser. It’s very quick as I’m quite short on time in the morning, most of the time I’m in a hurry and want to spend more time in bed,” she says, laughing.
Millie is not only a firm believer of looking good on the outside, but also of feeling good on the inside. She often shares snaps of her exercise routines with her 1.3 million Instagram followers. “I work out 3 to 5 times a week, depending what I’ve got going on. I like to do different workouts that are generally a mixture of Pilates, yoga, spinning and TRX - all things that challenge your core.”
Millie says that yoga helps her stay feeling chilled, which helps balance her busy lifestyle. “It’s one of my favourite things to do, just spend an hour stretching. It’s very calming and is good if my muscles are a bit sore or tight. I always feel really good after yoga.”
Chef Millie However, it’s not just her workouts that keep her looking so well, as Millie says she follows a healthy, but not strict, diet. “I like to cook things that don’t take too long” she explains. “I eat protein with every meal, I have eggs for breakfast with some toast or avocado. Lunch would be a salad with chicken or fish and dinner might be something like stir fried vegetables with chopped up herbs or spices served with fish, chicken or steak - whatever I feel like! On the weekend I like to cook things like a casserole that you can leave for a couple of hours and it just gets better with time.”
And when it comes to dinner with friends, Millie has a favourite crowd pleasing dish. “I had a dinner party recently and I’d done a Nigella Lawson pork belly recipe, that’s a winner every time! It’s easy, it cooks for a couple of hours while you prepare all the other bits and a nice gravy. I like things that aren’t too complicated. I like following Nigella Lawson or Jamie Oliver recipes – they’re not too hard to follow.”
A Girl After Our Own Heart However, there are times when Millie needs more than cooking and yoga to help her unwind from her busy schedule, for which she suggests a simple solution: “light some candles…. I love getting into a really good box set too, I’ve just started watching Ozark which is really good on Netflix. I love a nice relaxing bath, a pamper before bed.” Candles, pampering and Netflix? Millie is a girl after our own hearts.
Global Domination Finally, when I ask Millie what the future holds, she wittily replies “global domination!” “I’m just starting to design pre-fall 18,” she elaborates “I just want to keep expanding and growing the brand and keep on improving and making more people aware of the brand. I want to grow at a manageable pace, I think that’s important for a young business. I don’t want to expand too quickly as I want to keep the quality and control. I’m just very focused on the now. I don’t think fashion ever stops, it’s never as good as it gets, there’s always room to improve.”
It’s clear that with Millie’s warmth, knowledge and dedication, her future is set to soar in whatever she puts her mind to. Millie Mackintosh is available on the first floor at Voisins.