As we commence the final countdown to Vogue World: London—meet you here for the livestream tomorrow at 3:00p.m. EST—designers, actors, singers, and more from the United Kingdom and beyond are preparing to have the night of their lives at the West End’s Theatre Royal Drury Lane.
Among them is 28-year-old Bridgerton and Sex Education star Simone Ashley. When we find her in North London, the actor is picking up coffee and a cardamom bun to enjoy while she strolls along Regent’s Canal, waxing poetic about her dog, Myla. From there, it’s off to a fitting at Stella McCartney’s tony flagship on Old Bond Street. Aided by manager Claire Mertens, Ashley eyes a rack crowded with appealing possibilities—both frocks and separates—and decides to try a bunch on for size.
The first look is a fetching double-breasted dress—almost like a deconstructed trench coat—which Ashley styles with kicky heeled boots. “I think it’s just a proper London girl kind of look,” she remarks approvingly. “It’s cute but understated. It’s not too showy.” As someone who got her start as a model (and from the way that she wears clothes, you can tell!), she has had to adapt to dressing for a front row. “If you’re attending a show and you’re not walking, you wanna look cool, effortless,” she notes. “You’re going to an event—and I guess for Vogue World, it’s going to be a big one, so maybe a bit extra effort than usual?” When she isn’t wearing a major designer like Stella, Ashley likes to work with smaller, up-and-coming labels like Marco Capaldo’s 16Arlington or Conner Ives. “When I get to wear a look and wear someone’s work, it’s such an honor,” she says. “I’m so grateful that my work allows me to do stuff like that.”
Then, Ashley meets her friend Roxy for lunch at Darjeeling Express, chef Asma Khan’s cozy Indian restaurant in Kingly Court. As they sample Khan’s delicious offerings, Ashley fondly remembers her own mother’s cooking—the pea fried rice, the chicken curry, the appalam on the side—and how tidy she was in the kitchen. But here, it’s not long before Ashley’s rings come off, and she starts going after the spread with her hands. She needs her strength for Thursday night, after all.
Originally published in Vogue.com