ugg boots sale uk Pretty Special
KATHERINE MACALISTER talks to the beautiful Irene Forte, student and daughter of hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, about her forthcoming debut as the face of Oxford Fashion Week.
Hiding under a baggy jumper and Ugg boots, a woolly scarf wound around her neck, you might miss Irene Forte if you walked passed her on Oxford’s busy streets. But as soon as she fixes you with those piercing blue eyes, her wonderful olive skin lighting up when she smiles to reveal pearly white teeth, you know this is no ordinary Oxford student. And you’d be right because Irene (pronounced Areeney) Forte is the youngest daughter of hotelier Sir Rocco Forte, of Trusthouse Forte fame. And, more importantly, she is also the face of Oxford Fashion Week and about to cast off her student garb for designer dresses and the catwalk. It was a friend in her Italian class who suggested that Irene would be perfect for OFW and the organisers agreed as soon as they set eyes on her. But Irene remains oblivious to her natural beauty and until now has always shunned the public spotlight. So what changed the 20 year old’s mind? “I like the anonymity of Oxford,” the first year St Catherine’s student said, “but this really interested me. And we work so hard that it’s nice to do something a bit different, something more light hearted. “It’s always hard to keep a balance between my work and social life, and I thought it would be a bit of a laugh. “And Oxford has this image of being cliquey, and the people being too brainy and not beautiful or pretty or bothered about what they wear, so it will be good to do something different to balance the intellectual side.” And if anyone can do it Irene can. The publicity shots alone are like something out of Vogue. But now it’s all getting a bit close, with the launch show opening on Sunday at The Bridge, how does Irene feel about strutting her stuff on the catwalk? “I’m quite apprehensive about it,” she says, “but I’m sure it will be fun and I doubt I’ll ever do it again. Besides, I won’t be the only one out there and there will be all sorts of shapes and sizes in the shows,” she says, “because I’m not exactly 6ft tall.” ‘How tall are you?’ I ask,
eyeing her tiny frame curled up in a chair in the Corner Club. “5ft 3 and a size 6,” she says breezily. So does she work hard to look that good? “No, my mother is Italian so we all eat lots of food, lots of pasta,” she laughs, “but I’ve always been sporty and exercised hard, and I never seem to put on weight.” The reality is that Irene’s mind is firmly focused on her books and her future. “Well, I did an internship at Vogue and Tatler during my year off,” she grins. “And choosing what to wear every day was scary.” So what did she do? “I just borrowed my mother’s shoes and they only noticed those. But yes, I can relate to The Devil Wears Prada,” she laughs. “I don’t want to bad mouth them but it was an eye opener. It was such a different world.” “I also worked for my father for three months in sales and marketing in Florence and Paris and got very involved. I don’t feel that I need to prove myself because I’ve always been a hard worker and we are all involved. “But yes I am very proud of my father and there is room for us all in the family business,” she shrugs. In the meantime, Irene’s got to choose her outfits for the catwalk and has settled on a “cool metal corset” so far. “I like the weirder, whackier pieces,” she admits. “But I’ve never even been to a fashion show before which makes it even more exciting.” So what is Irene looking forward to most at OFW? “I’m going to all of it. There are so many up and coming designers, as well as the couture collections and the High Street show. If we pull it off the organisers want to do it every year. Let’s just hope it works.”
THE MUST SEES: THE week kicks off with the Launch Show at The Bridge, on Sunday at 9pm hosted by Channel 4’s Pete Nottage. l The Exhibition on Monday at 7pm at The Jam Factory will include art, illustration and photography contributions exploring organic themes in fashion. The Concept Show on Tuesday at Freud’s, 8.30pm, features a line up of the hottest new names to watch. The Swimwear and Lingerie show at Malmaison, 8.30pm,will celebrate the human form featuring models casted directly by the OFW Modelling Director, Anthony Parham.