Emma Willis has designer her own collection for Next (available to buy now), and it started off in the unlikeliest way: because the presenter wanted a good pair of pyjamas.
‘I just told them I’d really like to design some pyjamas. I just really love PJs, really nice ones are really expensive and hard to find. I wanted to do lovely ones we can all buy and not only have the one pair. I curated my edit with them and then it grew from there,’ she told me.
The line, which yes, does include some chic navy PJs with cream piping, also includes suits, swimwear and holiday clothes, which Emma designed right down to the buttons.
She says, ‘I was fully involved. I don’t draw so I left that to the design team but it was an equal effort between me, the design team and my stylist, we see the Next team as much as we see each others: constant meetings, fabric testing, sketches. Picking buttons, fabrics, trying on first samples.’
With such involvement, you’d think it was tricky to pick a favourite, but when I asked Emma which was her top desert island piece, she went straight to the obvious choice: PJs.
‘The PJs I think, because they’ve got shorts as well and you don’t want to wear a suit on a desert island. No hang on, maybe the linen shorts and the swimsuit, because they go together and then I could go swimming. And if you just so happen to have a heel, you could wear it to dinner, or a BBQ,’ she jokes.
When she’s not being stranded on a desert island, Emma’s go-to is a little more casual, jeans, a t-shirt and trainers. She tells me, ‘The only time I really wear a dress is at work. If I wear a dress I feel dressed up and I am dressed up at work, I get hair and makeup done.’
Knowing what she likes doesn’t mean she’s streamlined her wardrobe though, as Emma’s a self-confessed hoarder. She says, ‘I do keep everything. Even things I haven’t loved but they’ve been a moment in my life, like a skirt I wore the first time I met Matt. I won’t wear it again, it’s not fashionable and my daughter won’t want to wear it but it’s a memory. I have a suede skirt my mum used to wear in the 60s, it’s the one thing she kept. I can only get one leg in.’