Sister Sister: Rachel Zoe Interviews Savannah and Sienna Miller
Published March 12, 2009
For some, a sister-sister fashion line would be a dream come true; for others, less so. But the sisters of Twenty8Twelve, Sienna and Savannah Miller, already have quite a lot going for them. On the one hand there’s a blossoming acting career with dozens of credits to her name; on the other, a fashion career at some of the biggest international labels.Â Together, they opened a line of wearable, affordable fashion; after five seasons, they upgraded to the catwalk. We thought who better to ask them about their Autumn/Winter 2009 collection than fellow multi-tasker, entrepreneur, icon, and devoted sister Rachel Zoe, who announced the launch of her own line today. Zoe is a fan of the sisters both personally and professionally: “It would be my dream to form a business with my sister and I envy you both for doing so.” she says, describing their personal style has having “an intoxicating energy and free spirit approach.” (LEFT: Savannah and Sienna Miller at their Fall/Winter 2009 presentation in London. Photos courtesy Twenty8Twelve by s. miller.)
RACHEL ZOE: Do you have shared memories of clothing from when you were children?
SIENNA MILLER: Nothing really specific comes to mind, but our mum was very glamorous in a shimmery, 80s sort of way. She had endless dinner parties. It was very Bohemian and inspiring to grow up around creative people in that way.
RZ: What inspired you to begin the line?
SAVANNAH MILLER: I trained in womens wear and knitwear at Central St. Martins and on leaving college I did freelance knitwear design for Matthew Williamson, Anya Hindmarch, and Shanghai Tang. We were living together at the time. Sienna would always try on the samples for me and give her opinion. We were working really well together… Then in 2006 we started the line together.
SIENNA: When we were approached to do the line it felt like an organic step to take. It means we get to spend time together, and it’s a lot of fun.
RZ: What excites you most about fashion?
SAVANNAH: I really enjoy fashion when it is art. I just saw the Hussein Chalayan retrospective and I was completely blown away. I find fashion in that form so exciting.
RZ: So much of your personal style is depicted in the Fall/Winter collection, do you both share a similar aesthetic?
SAVANNAH: To an extent we do, but we both have different extremes. I tend to be a bit more Romantic and Sienna a bit edgier, but there is a middle ground where we definitely agree on everything. The show felt like a real fusion of both of our aesthetics-for the first time, really.
RZ: What are some of the challenges of being a designer, versus being an actor?
SIENNA: They are very differentâ??thank God I don’t have to learn lines for Twenty8Twelve! It’s great having both, because it keeps things interesting and diverse but obviously there aren’t enough hours in the day, and being on set means I can’t be in the studio all the time. Thankfully, Savannah oversees everything, and we Skype and email every day.
RZ: Fall/Winter 2009 was your first runway show. How did that affect the line?
Looks from Twenty8Twelve by s. miller
SIENNA: Doing the show has really helped us to focus on who the Twenty8Twelve girl is. It’s easy for things to get diluted when you are having to always consider things from commercial perspective. I think we have realized from the show that the girl is a lot gutsier than we might have originally thought. She’s not afraid to take risks, so things might go that way for Spring/Summer 2010.
RZ: Are there specific style icons or genres that influenced the foundation of the brand?
SAVANNAH: Initially we were very inspired by the Victorian era but we seem to have evolved and moved away from it, as a fundamental reference point. We still love the tiny details found in Victorian wear, like the way things were finished internally and tiny hand-stitching techniques. We like to include those things to make the garments feel a bit handmade and considered. At the moment we are feeling inspired by the early 90s, so we will see where that one takes us for Spring/Summer.
RZ: Why have your debut runway show in the UK versus New York?
SIENNA: We are a London brand and we felt London was a good place to start. The brand is still at very early stages. We are only in our fifth season, so we want to polish things before we even consider taking on New York, if at all.
RZ: What can we expect from future endeavors? Accessories?
SAVANNAH: We have been doing belts since Fall-Winter 2009 and hope to expand our bag range in the future, but it’s very difficult to produce bags of the standard we would like and keep them in the pricing structure of the ret of the clothes. We are working on it! Hopefully all that will come as the brand grow and gets more established.
RZ: What is your personal approach to style as it seems to be effortless for you both.
SIENNA: I think it is out of necessity rather than choice. We are both insanely busy most of the time, so we tend to probbly take risks we might otherwise not if we had time to stop and think about it! I think personal style is all about feeling comfortable in your own skin, and knowing what suits you and wearing clothes that are a clear reflection of who you are.
RZ: What if anything intimidates you about the fashion industry?
SIENNA: It’s been challenging staying true to who we are a a brand. It’s so easy, particularly with a show, to get swept up in the drama and fantasy of it all and to create mad peice because “That’s what London is all about.” But Twenty8Twelve isn’t about that, it never has been. We are all about making great, wearable, affordable clothes so staying true to that ethos. Putting it out there in the form of a show was quite intimidating, because we were expecting to get eaten alive.
RZ: How was the reception to the show?
SAVANNAH: Thankfully it seems the message came across and it seemed to go down well. It was a good start, and things can only get better.
RZ: What type of message do you convey through Twenty8Twelve to your customer?
SIENNA: That they can have well made clothes that are affordable and can style themselves. For us it is really important that our customer wears Twenty8Twelve in the way that they feel suits them, rather than wearing a complete look head to toe. I think you can convey so much of our personality through the way you dress, and therefore it is important that the way you dress is true to who you are.
RZ: Do you love to shop?Â SAVANNAH: Yes we love to shop! But we never have much time to do it! I love Dover St. Market, and Browns Focus in London.