‘My only clothing advice is to be comfortable’

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It’s funny seeing your name on a label or shopping bag. Sometimes I’ll see it on someone’s tote bag on the tube and that’s a surprise, though I’m very glad they’re using our bags. I always hope they don’t see me because it’s guaranteed I’ll be looking shabbier than them.

My dad told me that if a job’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. I hate a job half done. Even if it’s housework, you have to do a thorough job. I don’t have a dishwasher because I prefer to do it myself.

I don’t mind old age apart from the aches and stiffness creeping up. But I still surprise myself by getting the giggles.

Even though I live on my own, I cook myself a proper meal every night because I’m always ravenous. I love Japanese rice with salmon and vegetables. I love the purity of steamed vegetables; I can’t understand recipes that adulterate them with spice and flavouring.

Our company has grown very big, from starting out of our kitchen, but the business still has a nice atmosphere. There’s a feeling of friendship and loyalty. I still get letters from people we employed in the very early days and that’s so nice.

I’ve never felt comfortable at big parties. I’ve not really met the celebrities who’ve worn my clothes. One of my first breaks was making a top for Elizabeth Taylor and I went to see her at Elstree where she was filming and shook Richard Burton’s hand, but I was terribly nervous.

Giving birth to both of my children without painkillers was euphoric. You’re all prepared to really go through it, and then it turns out to be so special.

I love children. The bond with my grandchildren is wonderful – I couldn’t bear not to have them around. I love holding their hands and walking and talking with them – you have to get into their little worlds, the surprises they come out with.

The beauty of nature and music makes me sad after the loss of my son. He was a musician, so music reminds me of him, but also other things. When I see a beautiful new moon it makes me sad because he should be here. I want him to be here to experience these things with me.

It took me a long time to learn to go with my gut feeling, which is really your own advice to yourself. I’m shy and I still have a lot of self-doubt.

I don’t like technology. I feel guilty that I can’t work on a computer – though I can email from an iPad. My mobile drives me up the wall – it keeps changing and there’s lots I can’t do on it. I’ve never played Candy Crush, though my friends forced me to have WhatsApp. I don’t have gadgets, I have a pot of rubber bands. I use them a lot.

My only clothing advice is to be comfortable. I never think people look so good when they’re all dressed up with a hat on and shoes that hurt. They look better in their everyday clothes.

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