Rosie Fortescue became known to the British TV Viewing public -in the US now on Style- for her role in the TV series Made In Chelsea. The series debuted on E4, it described the show as a chance to “peek behind the designer curtains of South West London and meet London’s young socially elite… See the real-life rivalries and relationships that set tongues wagging and phones beeping behind closed doors on the Kings Road. The series is now in its fifth season.
Fortescue attended the private all-girls Downe House Boarding School were former pupils of Downe House include model Sophie Dahl, funny-ish lady Miranda Hart, and the Duchess of Cambridge. She studied at Goldsmiths in London alongside Princess Beatrice and gained a degree in History of Arts degree, and now has launched her own blog At Fashion Forte.
Having arranged our rendezvous at the Landmark Hotel for an interview and shoot, I was pleasantly surprised that she had arrived a few minutes before me with her publicist. Often celebs and personalities frequently arrive late with monotonous regularity. It’s a blessing when they are on time. Rosie seemed a little preoccupied when we greeted and was on the phone often soon after.
The clothes for the shoot were delayed, dear readers. Big stress. It so is. Don’t really care what the Islamists are doing in Mali if the clothes are late for my shoot. Despite this temporary aggravation, Sophie still managed to look cool with a hat, grey fur jacket, and tight leather leggings. I knew we’d be OK even if the other outfits never made it.
How did it all start?
“The TV show and blog started at the same time. I was approached during my final year at University, Goldsmiths, where I was studying the history of art, and I’d been asked to do a couple of similar things before and always said no. This time it was with a close group of friends of mine and it just felt right. I’d always wanted to start a fashion blog and, as I was finishing my dissertation, I kind of found the time to really start thinking about it. I thought it would be a great way to launch the blog with the show, and for viewers to be able to access my outfits”
We began the shoot eventually after Rosie emerged from the obligatory hour and a half in makeup, -during which I pace up and down seemingly forever whilst thinking of innovative ways of pulling my hair out to help past the time- and thankfully after a few phone calls by her publicist Flora the rest of the outfits finally arrived, much to our relief. Rosie looked comfortable posing for me although she is not a model.
Every pose I asked her to do she dutifully carried out with much calmness, clearly used to it. I liked the professionalism she showed. Shoots can be as much fun as trudging through thick mud in flip-flops at Glastonbury festival if the model is clueless. Thankfully, I had no such problem this time. We looked through some of her clothes and there was plenty of choices, finally opting for a black skirt and leatherette top for this particular set.
So you’ve always had an eye for fashion?
“Yeah, I’ve always had an eye for fashion, but I did a history of art degree, my father is in the art world art is in the family as such. I’m really interested in contemporary art but also kind of visual images, fashion photography, so it all molds well together. I then started my fashion blog, and I realised that I’ve always watched so many shows, like Gossip Girl, 90210, so every TV show that I watched at the time I always wanted to know where something -outfits- was from, so it sort of developed from there. So it kind of spiraled out of control -she says laughing- how it got from a little hobby to a full-time job”.
With the TV series, were you nervous at all with the impending attention?
“I did think long and hard about that side of things as I wasn’t a trained actress or a dramatic person, never looked for attention and wondered how I would cope with the publicity and whether was it something I could get used to”.
Are you happy where you are now?
“Definitely, everyone has their highs and lows within the show, and I am past that now. Sometimes you think God, should I be doing this? But if you use the show in the right kind of way, with a career in mind it’s beneficial. You can’t really do a TV show like this and just want fame”. -Shame the Big Brother lot don’t know this, Ed.- “You should be intelligent with it and use it as a platform for other things”.
Do you see yourself involved in fashion? Would you like your own label?
“Absolutely, I mean, to be honest, I don’t see myself ever working in an office for anyone else”. Amen sister, Ed. “I’ve known that from a young age. I’m so particular in my ways, so set in my ways. I do want to work for myself. I do hope it’s in fashion. See what happens this next year, a few potential collaborations, that sort of thing. Hopefully, it should be a good year, I take each week as it comes”.
I know you’ve been to London Fashion Week, have you been to the Paris or Milan shows yet?
“I haven’t been to those shows yet, I’d love to, the problem is having commitments. To know in advance when you’ll be filming is very difficult. So I need to be available. I can go ahead and book it, but if I was needed on the day, I would lose money on flights. It’s not easy to plan. Unless I had to go out and do something substantial, then I would try and get time off filming. If it was just for my blog or personal reasons, I couldn’t do that with filming at the same time”.
Do you get on with the rest of the cast?
“Yeah, its really good fun filming. It doesn’t feel like “Oh God I’ve got to go and do this today”. I mean, we all get on, though I’m not as close with some of the cast, but we can all sit in the same room and not want to kill each other”.
Did your parents influence you on the fashion side?
“My mum dresses really well, but I wouldn’t say she influenced me as such. I think it was art that got me interested, the visual image yeah, just developing my own personal style and what I like to see”.
Who are the designers that have influenced you the most?
“With jewellery, Maria Francesca Pepe, for clothes Peter Pilotto, Jonathan Saunders. I love the prints but I’m not good at wearing colour, so with Pilotto’s prints it encourages me to wear colours. Same with Phillip Lim, combining silk, leather and other materials and textures”.
Handbags? Which wouldn’t you leave home without?
“At the moment is Celine” she picks up her handbag and shows me “Bought it in Miami” she says proudly. If you had the chance to see any London Fashion Week show, which would it be? “I would say Burberry for the experience, and definitely Peter Pilotto, I love him”.
Rosie came across as a focused yet stylish woman who has a clear vision as to where her future lies. Unlike many others who sadly meander through life with the bafflement of a blind lesbian in a fish market.
Hair and makeup by Jolita Krisciuniene and Aniko Vadasz.