In i-D’s Wise Up Issue, fashion critic extraordinaire Sarah Mower and her first-ever assistant Hannah Lambert speak to Anders Christian Madsen about gaining wisdom, keeping it, and passing it on. Commemorating the interview, i-D online profile Sarah and Hannah in their own interviews featuring outtakes from their sessions and shoot for the issue.
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Hannah Lambert first stepped onto the radars of the fashion industry in 2011 when Sarah Mower chose her as her first-ever assistant. After meeting at the wrecking party for the Central Saint Martins building on Charing Cross, Sarah asked Hannah to send her an essay on why she liked fashion. A year on, Hannah is on the way to her own fashion stardom having gained the industry’s attention with an effervescent style – involving Prada and Meadham Kirchhoff in abundance – which attracts more than just a few fashion paparazzi when she accompanies Sarah to the shows. A third-year Fashion Design and Marketing student at CSM, Hannah was raised in Derbyshire and moved to London in 2008, where she got a job organising dead bugs at The National History Museum. She lives in East London.
Did you know who Sarah was when she came up to you? No. And I don’t think she knows that. But I did recognise the name and then I realised from reading Style.com that she reviewed loads of my favourite shows. Then I met her and showed her my portfolio, she read my piece, and I started helping her. It’s gone from there, really.
It was a good party. I had pink hair at the time and I was wearing this big orange scalloped Christopher Kane skirt and we were all rolling around on this big mattress in one of the rooms. I didn’t know Christopher at the time, but I do now and he told me how he said in an interview that the first time he knew he’d made it was when he saw a girl rolling around on a dirty mattress in a £2,000 skirt. That was really funny.
What do you do for Sarah? At the shows I manage her schedule, but I also think she just likes my company. Because, you know, when you’re writing you’re so busy and it’s so stressful.
What’s it like working with her? I know when people meet Sarah they’re a bit intimidated, but she’s actually really, really cool. I don’t think people realise how fun she is.
What has Sarah taught you? I’ve learnt what makes a good fashion show from Sarah. I’ve seen how Meadham Kirchhoff work and how Louise Gray works, and I’ve seen Sarah’s opinions of their shows. Put together, it’s given me an idea of what works and what doesn’t work, and why.
How do you feel about the attention from photographers outside the shows? The first time I went to Paris, I cried. There’s a picture of it in 10 Magazine – of me and Sarah walking down the street with all the photographers around us. I really don’t like it. I really, really, really don’t like it. And it’s the first time I experienced that, and it’s so terrifying. I had my face buried, crying.
Are they rude to you? There’s one photographer who’s always really rude to me. The last time he asked me if he could take a picture of me. I said, “No.” He said, “Why not?” I said, “I’m working.” And he got really rude. It was like it shocked him that some people actually work at fashion week. They can be really aggressive.
Please explain Sarah’s expression ‘Hannah-nomics’. It’s how I afford something. Like, this fashion week I bought the Prada skirt and trousers, because I thought I needed them. But I’m not going to wear those trousers enough to justify spending £600 on them so I’d rather sell them for, say, £400 – which I think I’ll get if I sell them before everyone’s got them – and buy something new. I think it’s a lot healthier to recycle a wardrobe and make room and money.
You’re not sentimental about keeping things? It’s funny because all my treasured clothes are the ones that cost the least, like vintage finds and jumpers my mum knitted… oh, except for my Prada stole. That I’m being buried in! But it’s the high-end pieces that come and go.
But how do you afford it in the first place? I don’t think you have to buy anything full-price. I’ve recently started being invited to personal order days. I’m really lucky, though, because I get all my Meadham Kirchhoff and Louise Gray given. I get a lot of Christopher Kane from Sarah. We’re the same size so Sarah gives me a lot of stuff. Every so often, I’ll splurge and buy a season piece. I know I have to have that Prada coat with the flowers on this season.
Did you always dress like this? Once on a non-uniform day in school when I was fourteen, I wore motorcycle leather trousers and a cream polo and a big GAP jumper. I remember everyone saying things about me. I’ve always worn really odd stuff. I used to get hackled in the cafeteria about what I wore. Someone said to me, “Don’t worry Hannah, when you move to London someone will appreciate you.”
Text: Anders Christian Madsen
Photography: Damien Fry
Hair: James Langan (top picture) and Charlie Le Mindu using L’Oréal Professionnel (bottom picture)
Makeup: Kim Kiefer using NARS Cosmetics
Photography assistant: Stella Consonni
Hair assistant: Shiori Takahashi (bottom picture)
Hannah Lambert wears Meadham Kirchhoff. Sarah Mower wears suit, coat and blouse by Prada; bespoke shoes by Manolo Blahnik.