Vintage hunting can quite literally be a hit or a miss. Probably the most joyful shopping experience would be authentic vintage items carefully selected and presented in the comfort of a luxury shopping experience. We caught up with Lily Allen and her business partner and sister Sarah Allen at the launch of their new Covent Garden vintage store Lucy in Disguise.  Constant flow of cocktails, scrumptious canapés, WAH nail art, need I say any more?

Volt Café: What made you and Lily open a vintage store, and what makes it different from all the other vintage stores in London?

Sarah Allen: Lily and I have always loved vintage clothes; as children we tracked our mother’s journey from a rebellious punk to a fun and flirty 20-something in 50’s floral sundresses, with a stint of super sexy body-con in the late 80’s and 90’s. These looks both inspired us and provided us the basis of our early wardrobes as we would both borrow (and often, modernise) the clothes she had collected along the way. Lily had always had a strong, don’t give a f*** sense of style and loved dressing up on stage, whilst I had been running vintage stalls on Portobello Market and Ibiza in my spare time and had begun to build up a good little list of contacts in the industry, so we felt the obvious choice was for a family business.
Everything at Lucy in Disguise is really carefully sourced and is all very reflective of our own personal tastes. We want everything on our rails to be special, whether it is a designer couture piece, or something with no label that only costs £40, and we think this is what sets our store apart. We didn’t want Lucy to be super exclusive or expensive necessarily, but we weren’t prepared to put any crap out on the shop floor either. Sometimes I wanted the experience of vintage shopping to be a hassle free and convenient one, so I thought that others probably felt the same way.

VC: What are the concept, vision and values of Lucy in Disguise?

SA: The concept of Lucy is that is aspirational, but also attainable. You will be inspired by a beautiful 60’s Dior couture, diamante-encrusted shift dress, but walk out with an equally amazing sequinned disco cape. Then when you are a bit older perhaps, with a bit more cash, you might come back for the Dior!  Of course, we extend the idea of attainability by offering many of our clothes for hire, so if your budget doesn’t allow that cheeky, impulsive buy, you still have the chance to feel a million dollars for the night by renting your outfit.

VC: What kind of girl shops at Lucy in Disguise, who is the typical Lucy in Disguise girl?

SA: The Lucy in Disguise girl is a fun loving, free spirited girl, one   who also has a great respect for fashion and a hunger to learn more about it. She is a strong individual who is always at the best parties in town – In the 1920’s she would have been hanging out with Bright Young Things, in the 1940’s she would have been painting stockings on her legs and helping out with the war effort and in the 1970’s she was ‘with the band’.  She is turned on by the idea that each dress has a life of its own with a story to tell and she can’t wait to add another one to the list!

VC: What made you want to have WAH and Illamasqua in the store?

SA: It was always important to us to have a salon space at Lucy. Lily and I had always felt that getting ready with your mates was the best bit of going out and we wanted to recreate that experience in our store. At Lucy you can come down with your friends (book out the private room if you want to), choose an outfit, get dolled up whilst listening to great music and even having a cocktail or two. When choosing which brands to partner with in the Salon, we chose Illamasqua for their beautiful pigments and glamourous feel (perfect for a night out) and WAH nails because we didn’t want to be too predictably ‘text book’ vintage, we still wanted a bit of an edge and street appeal. Bumble and bumble were an obvious choice for hair product as it’s great for styling without washing the hair first and is the most popular brand for session stylists. Since we wanted everyone sitting in the chair to feel like they were just about to step onto a photo shoot this was perfect partnership.

Words by Maryam Asadi


bumble and bumble, Christian Dior, illamasqua, Lily Allen, Lucy in Disguise, WAH nails,