Welcome to the latest highly exciting installment of Who What Wear UK’s Best Wardrobes in Britain. It’s where we do exactly what it says on the tin: delve into the most fantastical, awe-inspiring and downright influential wardrobes in Britain. We’re honing in on the women who cause the street style photographers to press their shutters as much as the characters you don’t yet know—the ones who fly under the radar with secretly incredible clothing collections.
When it comes to a new generation of Brit girls representing the country’s impeccable style credentials across the globe, one name instantly comes to mind: Anaïs Gallagher. The 19-year-old budding photographer and model is the offspring of Noel Gallagher and Meg Matthews and has a suitably—perhaps equally—laissez-faire attitude toward being in the public eye.
This has resulted in her wardrobe being inscrutably, utterly “her”—no bending or shaping to fit her place in the spotlight or playing up to the current body-con–and-heels uniform so many of today’s stars follow. She’s a jeans-and-sneakers girl at heart, and we were lucky enough to see her extensive collection when we explored her closet in her London home. Keep scrolling to see what Anaïs loves to wear and read our exclusive interview.
Do you have any early fashion memories?
When I was younger, in the first house I ever lived in, my mum had two bedrooms as walk-in wardrobes, so I spent a lot of my early years trying on all of her clothes. And she had the most amazing clothes [when I was] growing up. (Clothes that now I would die for but that she got rid of.) I remember she used to have these mules that had a bullseye sign in blue, white and red, and I used to try those on and walk around in them all the time.
I always loved clothes. My mum will admit that she wanted a child purely to dress them up! So from when I was born, I also had a walk-in wardrobe of clothes, and my mum would dress me up in outfits. I think I always had a big understanding of fashion because I would go to play with my friends and they’d all be in sweaters and jeans and little sneakers and my mum would have me in cowboy boots, leg warmers, and a tutu, and I’d be like Oh, I’m dressed so differently from the other kids. But I knew my mum dressed differently from the other mums at school, too, so fashion has always been at the forefront of my mind.
How has your style has evolved from that era?
I think I take a lot of inspiration from my mum. I always have. My mum doesn’t realize it, and she’ll be like “What are you wearing?” and then she’ll look at photos of herself when she was a teenager or in the early ’90s and see we’re dressed the exact same [way]. Me and my mum are also the same height and have the same body shape, so we always fit in each other’s clothes. I’ve always taken inspiration from her to a certain point (she’s a bit more adventurous than I am). But I think I’ve always been a massive fan of comfort. I’ve never been one of those people who’s like “No pain, no gain.” If it’s not comfortable, I’m not going to wear it.
How would you describe your personal style now?
Without being too self-deprecating: lazy, adventurous and—really, as an oxymoron—safe. I think I’m not opposed to trying out different things and trying out things I don’t think any of my friends would try, but I have my own sort of limitations. So I would try any sort of adventurous pair of jeans, but I would stay in the jeans realm.
Does being in the public eye have any influence on what you choose to wear?
It should, because there are some awful photos of me coming back from college wearing tracksuits and awful sneakers that I wish I wasn’t wearing, but I don’t think it does, because I’ve always been someone who doesn’t change what they wear. Everything I have I like and is nice, and I don’t think I really care that much about what people think. […] I definitely do try and be a bit more adventurous being in the public eye. I don’t want to bore people, and [I want to] sort of utilize the platform I have to be able to wear some great things, but I don’t think I wake up in the morning like, Fuck, what am I going wear? I need to impress!
So what do you always wear on repeat?
Jeans, jackets… I’m a massive hoarder of suede jackets, leather jackets, patent jackets, and denim jackets. I love jackets with writing or painting on the back. My favorite jacket—which isn’t here [for the shoot] but I wish it was—is a denim jacket with a portrait of David Bowie on the back. My dog is named Ziggy Stardust, and I’ve got a David Bowie lightning bolt tattoo, so I’m obsessed. Jackets, sneakers, and jeans. I think at one point, I had 57 pairs of sneakers, and they were all the same in different variations. When I find something I like, I go ham at it. I have to have as many options as possible.
What about when it comes to fancy events?
I’ve made a rule now, which is going to sound really pretentious, but I don’t wear heels unless I’m getting paid. Because I hate high heels with a passion; I almost despise them. I say this to all my agents and my mum: I will only go to an event and wear high heels if I’m getting paid to wear heels. Otherwise, I will wear a dress, but I will wear sneakers with it.
I feel very vulnerable when I dress up. I’m so afraid of overdressing—it’s one of my biggest fears. Everyone else is going to parties and wearing dresses, and I’ll wear a suit or trousers or a sweater because I would rather get laughed at for not caring than laughed at for caring too much. I think it’s probably an insecurity of mine where I don’t want people to think I’m trying too hard.
I feel like that’s a real London fashion-girl trait as well.
Definitely. I think people in London are used to the cold weather. We’re used to more of a grungy scene here—leather jackets, jeans, and oversize knit sweaters. I think we all feel safer layering; wearing little strappy dresses and heels isn’t really our thing.
What are your shopping habits? Do you shop often? Alone or with people?
When I want to spend a lot of money, I go with my mum. Because she’s like, “Treat yourself—hype yourself up!” So I’ll find a pair of sneakers that are really expensive, and if I’m with my friends, they’ll say, “Oh my god, no, $750 for a pair of sneakers? You’re mad!” My mum will be like “You’ve done really well this week; treat yourself.” So if I want to go and spend money on designer clothes, I’ll take my mum because she’s my hype man. My boyfriend would tell me I’m being ridiculous and I go could go and buy them from JD Sports.
I tend to go in to buy outfits, which is something I’ve always done. I’ll have an idea in my head, and go out on the day and buy those things. I’m not much of a spontaneous buyer. I know what I’m going to look for. I can online shop at places that I know fit me. I’m really short (5’3”), so jeans never fit me, and I find that difficult. I’ve also got a really athletic body shape and only have a 23-inch waist, so I’m all out of proportion. I have to know certain shops. That’s why all my jeans are from Reformation; they’re the only jeans in the world that I don’t have to alter. They’re the right length, and they fit my waist.
What’s the last thing you bought?
I bought a beaded handbag from Zara. And before that, I bought an American Vintage bumbag.
And is there anything on your wish list for 2019?
Veja sneakers. I really want to buy a pair of those. I saw a pair that’s white with green, red and blue accents.
Do you have any favorite brands?
Reformation for basics. I buy lots of jeans and T-shirts and that sort of thing from there. Dr. Martens are my favorite shoes of all time. My mum dressed me in them as a baby, and all my school shoes were Dr. Martens. Then I went through a stage of being like, Yuck—Dr. Martens… I always thought I had really short legs, so I used to think they’d make my legs look short. [But] after actually trying them on and noticing [that they didn’t], I was like, I fucking love these. I can wear them with dresses and jeans and shorts. So I’ve been into them for a while, and when they brought the platform ones out, I was like, Brilliant! I’m now two inches taller, and I don’t have to wear heels. They’re my heels!
I love Bella Freud sweaters—they’re my favorite. I’ve got a million because they’re such great sweaters. I don’t really have a lot of designer clothes, but I have designer bags and shoes I love. I think it’s always been my thing. Clothes go out of fashion so easily, but shoes and bags don’t, so they’re safe to spend your money on. I think that’s always my tip for people when they want to buy something expensive or buy someone else something expensive. Go for accessories; they never go out of fashion.
Can you recall a particularly big purchase that meant something to you?
I think the first thing I ever bought when I was first paid. I was (and I don’t know if I even want to mention this) on a TV show when I was younger on CBBC for a number of years. I used to also do the “Coming up next…” [voiceover] on CBBC as well. I worked three days a week, saved up, and had my first big bit of money. I was in Paris and bought a Givenchy handbag.
I remember buying it and not really using it that much. Now it’s my mum’s favorite bag, five years later. But I remember that and feeling almost sick when I looked at my bank account. I was only 13. All my money had gone into one bag, so I thought, I better use this every single day for the rest of my life. And then, of course, you get the anxiety of [being] a 13-year-old girl. “I can’t wear a handbag to school!” So then I wasn’t really using it but just putting it on my desk every day and looking at it.
My mum uses it all the time, so I see it and think, At least somebody got lots of use out of it. But we do that a lot: My mum buys lots of clothes that she doesn’t really like, and I buy lots of clothes that I don’t really like, and she really likes mine and I end up really liking her clothes. I think we try emulating each other’s looks and realize that we don’t actually like them, so we take each other’s clothes.
What are you most sentimental about in your closet?
I have a pair of white suit trousers that my mum wore on her wedding day, so I think they’re definitely my favorite that I would save. I don’t know why she lets me wear them. I just needed some white trousers one day and I was in my room freaking out and my mum just chucked these at me—and I was like these are nice, why have you never given them to me before? “Because they were my wedding trousers!” Now she just lets me wear them. I guess they’re not going to any use now!
Me and mum share a tweed jacket that Stella McCartney made for her graduate show at Central Saint Martins. She made it and then didn’t want it. It hasn’t got a lining or tag in it—she just gave it to my mum. She asks for it back all the time. My mum says she’s lost it, but she hasn’t! I have it! That’s great, and it’s a bit of history. I have some stuff from Baby Dior because my godfather is John Galliano and he used to design for Dior. Also, I have some stuff that he used to dress me in.
I’ve got lots of different sentimental pieces I’ve kept over the years. But probably my favorite is a pair of white leather dungarees with a leather picture of Noddy on from when I was 3. I still have them and think they’re just the coolest fucking thing ever. I mean, white leather dungarees. I can’t believe you dressed me in these, mum! Of course, she did. I’m a very sentimental person when it comes to clothes. Clothes and memories go hand in hand.
Do you have any fashion regrets?
One hundred percent. I’ve made a lot of style mistakes. I used to have pink highlights in my hair and go for this kind of K-pop look before it was K-pop. I used to wear vinyl leggings with pink tutus and leather jackets with pink Dr. Martens with light-up soles. I used to have a pair of Dr. Martens that were Hello Kitty (they had a red bow and ears on them).
I wore light-up sneakers until the age of 15 because I thought it was ironic (it wasn’t ironic—it was awful). I’ve always had small feet, so I’d wear really shit light-up sneakers and think it was amazing, but really, it was giving people headaches when they were just trying to study for their GCSEs. I’d stamp my feet in class and it’d be like a rave under the table!
So has being at university changed how you feel about fashion at all?
Going to college is probably one of the best experiences of fashion that I’ve ever had because growing up, I didn’t want to attract too much attention to myself. Obviously, I came from a really interesting family to other people, so [I’d imagine] people would look at me and think, She’s really spoilt or She must be such a brat, so I never wanted to be that out there with my clothes.
I didn’t want people to think, She only wears nice clothes because her parents bought them for her kind of thing, so I’d always dull it down with my jeans and a white T-shirt and a pair of sneakers. When going to uni, I’m at a school where people are studying fashion, and they’re so out there, so it’s given me the freedom to wear clothes that are a bit more me and a bit more out there. It’s very liberating for people to not judge you.
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