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The indie chick turned childrenswear designer Pearl Lowe talks formula milk, fashion and Famous Five...

An interview with Pearl Lowe about her family, childhood and upbringing

Pearl Lowe came to fame during the indie scene of the 1990s, singing in the bands Powder and Lodger. After having children (her eldest is the model Daisy Lowe, and she has teenagers Alfie and Frankie, and 10-year-old Betty with Supergrass drummer Danny Goffey), she turned to design; first designing interiors, lace curtains and women’s dresses. She now designs fun, whimsical children’s clothes under the label Pearl Lowe. She tells Lisa Williams about her childhood…

My childhood was fun, adventurous and unique.

My mum’s mum died the day I was born. It was pretty traumatic and my mum doesn’t talk about it much. That’s why I was given the name Pearl, it was her name. It’s an unusual name for that year.

I was bottle-fed. My mum said, ‘They didn’t breastfeed in the Seventies'. I breastfed all my kids.

They did no sleep training with me. I let my kids cry in intervals of 10 minutes, then go in, and so on. It really worked. My kids are amazing sleepers.

They always say I was a miserable baby. The story they tell everyone is, ‘She was always a moaner’, and now Betty says, ‘You complain so much, Mummy.’ I think it’s run into my adulthood.

Pearl as a baby, with her mother

You can 100 per cent tell someone’s character from how they are as a baby. My son Alfie didn’t like many people. He was so rude to some people, so we had a bit of a reputation wherever we went, people would say, ‘don’t invite them’. He’s now 19 and he’s exactly the same. He doesn’t suffer fools. 

My earliest memory is looking at my shoes, aged about three. I had these bar shoes with a strap and a button. Rachel Riley does shoes like that now and I love them.

My parents were fashionistas. My mum would be in Missoni and Oscar De La Renta, and she would take me to Paris to dress me in Chanel. I was whipped out of school to go to Barbados or Mexico or wherever my parents would decide to take me. My mum used to have this Mercedes convertible and she would come to school in it, wearing massive glasses, and she’d pull up next to the Ford Fiestas. Everyone would say, ‘your mum is so cool’ but I never thought that at the time because I just wanted to fit in.

My early passion was clothes. I was obsessed. I liked going shopping with my mum. She would go to a shop and say, ‘I’ll have that that and that’ so I’d have my collection for winter. That experience is something that children don’t have now, because of shopping on the internet.

Music came later. I discovered music through my older brothers. One was into The Jam, the other was into Bowie. I would go into their rooms and nick their CDs.

I loved the Famous Five books, anything with adventure. I loved Roald Dahl as well. I read the Roald Dahl books to Betty and now she has read every single one herself too.

My favourite teddy was one of those giant ones. I had wanted it for ages and my dad bought me one for my birthday. I had it for a long time, until I had to say, ‘OK, I’m a bit old for this now.’

I remember my seventh birthday party because my grandmother ran a casino, and she invited all these people that I didn’t know, and she said, ‘you’ll get really good presents’. And I did not know one person at that party. All I remember is lots of smoke, and being sat down feeling really miserable, and there were piles of presents…

I hated school from day one.

My mum was quite a detective with me. She would phone all my friends to find out where I was, so I am completely the opposite with my children. I am much more hands-off with them, although I think Daisy will be strict with her children if she has them.


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