Ahead of the launch of Michelle Keegan’s new Very range, Katie Wright meets the actress to talk about catwalks, clothes and fashion.
Upstairs at a trendy London events space, it’s all go as black-clad staff bustle about a flower-festooned catwalk and gleaming champagne glasses are lined up ready for the evening’s VIP guests.
But downstairs in a private dressing room, all is calm as Michelle Keegan’s team put the finishing touches to her hair and make-up, ready for her impending runway appearance.
“It’s been quite a chilled day for me,” the actress says with a laugh.
“I just sat there eating lunch and drinking coffee.”
But the 30-year-old, who rose to fame playing Tina in Coronation Street until 2014, admits she finds this fashion show — to unveil her latest collection with online retailer Very.co.uk — more nerve-wracking than shooting scenes for hit BBC series Our Girl, in which she stars as army medic Lance Corporal Georgie Lane.
“I’ve never done stage before, so I feel like this is something quite similar to that, where I feel very exposed, especially walking in heels,” she says.
“At least with TV, you can mess up and then redo it.
“I’m just going to try and enjoy myself and listen to the music.
“A few of my friends are coming as well, so I’ll have to keep my eye on them. It’s something that makes you very happy when you walk out.”
Will Keegan’s husband, former The Only Way Is Essex star Mark Wright, also be watching proudly?
“No, he’s in LA,” she explains — the pair have been in a long-distance relationship since he made the move Stateside for a TV presenting job.
“I did speak to him this morning. He did really wish he could be here, but I said I was going to film it on my phone and send it over to him,” she says.
Here, the brunette beauty tells us more about the new Very collection, plus her biggest style regret and her future fashion ambitions.
Did you choose what you’re wearing on the catwalk today?
“Yes. There are so many outfits in my collection that I love, but I think my favourite piece is the polka-dot bodycon dress, so I had to wear it for the finale.”
What was your inspiration for the spring/summer collection?
“Summer, that’s the main thing for me. And a lot of floral prints — especially as summer is coming up and holiday season is coming up as well.
“Also, I love the feminine fit, for example the bodycon dress with a little kick at the bottom of it, to accentuate the female body.”
Could you ever see yourself doing a Victoria Beckham and launching your own fashion brand?
“Oh, I would love to. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have that at some point in the future, but at the minute I’m concentrating on each collection as it comes, and I feel like I’m in a very lucky position.”
Your husband is very fashion-conscious. Are there certain things he likes to see you in?
“Not really, but I will ask Mark for his opinion if I’ve got an outfit on. When I’m working on the collection, I always say, ‘What do you think of this print?’, or, ‘What do you think of this shirt?’, and he will give me his opinion.”
Looking back, do you have any fashion regrets or things you wish you hadn’t worn?
“Oh yes, I certainly do. In the early Noughties especially, I would wear an outfit purely because it was on-trend. I didn’t even think about whether it suited me or not. I wore a dress once to the National Television Awards — the colour was a bit wrong for me and the shape was a bit wrong, so it cut my body off and I wore feather eyelashes with it. Too much! What I say now is that simplicity is key.”
What’s the best fashion advice you’ve ever received?
“My mum said it to me years ago, ‘As long as you feel comfortable and confident with what you’re wearing, it always shows’. No matter what you’re wearing, if you own it, then it shows.”
Do you prefer online shopping or browsing in stores?
“Browsing in stores. I like going in stores and looking around and trying outfits on rather than seeing them on a computer screen — and then if they don’t fit, sending them back... I find it a bit of a hassle.”
Heels or trainers?
“Trainers. I wear them all day, and sometimes I will also wear them on nights out. I just feel more comfortable in trainers.”
Denim or leather?
“I was going say denim, but I have got some staple leather trousers that I constantly wear and I’ve had them for two years, so I have to say leather.”
Athleisure or tailoring?
“Tailoring. I like a really nice matching suit, whether it’s jacket and shorts or jacket and trousers.”
Skinny jeans or boyfriend jeans?
“Skinny jeans. I do like boyfriend jeans, but if I have to choose it is skinny.”