Betty Jackson, the “grande Dame” of English fashion

To celebrate the start of London Fashion Week (18-23 Sept) and its 25th Anniversary this year, Chic-Londres has chosen to interview Betty Jackson (59), one of the true original British designers. The English Dame, who received a CBE from the Queen in 2007 for Services to Fashion, was one of the first to show her collection when London Fashion Week was launched in 1984, and has remained faithful to it ever since. Here, she explains why she loves London so much.

What is your earliest London memory and what were your first impressions of the city?

I came for the first time in London when I was nine on a school trip and I don’t think I was impressed at all. I remember going to Buckingham Palace and to the House of Parliament, but I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about. But then, as a teenager, I couldn’t wait to live here, as I realised what a special place London was.

Where do you live?

In Shepherd’s Bush. I love its streets, its market and its mix of people, that combines every social scale. I feel happy here, and wouldn’t want to live anywhere too posh.

What do you miss most when you are not here?

I miss London’s street life, its spectacular arts and theatre, its atmosphere and the fact that anything seems possible. London has a freshness and energy that I don’t think you can find anywhere else in the world. Why would you ever want to be somewhere else?

How would you describe London in three words?

Big, beautiful and cool.

Which is your favourite area of London?

The part of South Kensington which is around the Victoria and Albert Museum.

What is your favourite shopping destination?

Selfridges shoe department.

What is your favourite park?

Hyde Park.

Do you have a favourite restaurant?

I love St. John in Clerkenwell, which offers the best traditional British food ever, like suckling pigs. Everything there is just superb.

What is the best place to party in London?

At my friends’ houses.

Where do you go when you want to relax?

Shoreditch House, where I love to play board games with my husband and children.

Which part of London is the most underrated?

The River: a walk by the Hayward in the Southbank is a bit touristy but still really lovely.

What has been your most memorable night?

I suppose my wedding reception in Searcy’s. We had 240 friends for dinner and it was snowing outside- just fantastic! We arrived in our Honeymoon suite at The Dorchester at 4.30 in the morning and left at nine to go to work, as we got married on a Monday, which was rather silly!


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Betty Jackson’s Address Book

Shepherd’s Bush Market: Goldhawk Road W12 (Shepherd’s Bush, Goldhawk Road)

Victoria & Albert Museum: Cromwell Road SW7 (South Kensington)

The Hayward Gallery: Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 (Westminster, Embankment, Waterloo)

Selfridges & Co: 400 Oxford Street W1 (Bond Street, Marble Arch)

St. John Restaurant: 26 St. John Street EC1 (Farringdon, Barbican)

Shoreditch House: Ebor Street E1 (Liverpool Street, Old Street)

Searcy’s: 30 Pavilion Road SW1 (Knightsbridge)