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Seeing Red

EastEnders' slimline Wendy Richard opts for the colour of the season . . .

Actress Wendy Richard couldn't be more different from the long-suffering Pauline Fowler she plays in EastEnders.  But when it comes to fashion sense there is a definite simpatico between the two personalities.  "No frills . . . down to earth," is how Wendy, very matter of factly, sums up her style.

It will undoubtedly come as a surprise to most EastEnders fans to learn that Wendy Richard, 42 [sic], actually started her career on the fringes of the glamourous world of fashion.  "My first real job was working in the fashion department at Fortnum & Mason for £3 8s 4d a week," she says.  Like most women, Wendy -- who lost a lot of weight last year and is now a trim size 14 -- takes an interest in fashion, but keeps it in perspective.  "I know what I like and what does or doesn't suit me.  If it looks good and feels good, I'll buy it regardless of what name may be on the label.  That's really not important.  I am definitely not a slave to fashion, that's for sure."  And since much of her time is spent in damp, uncomfortable rehearsal rooms, choosing clothes practicality is important.

"When you have to be at rehearsal by 7.30 in the morning most days, there just isn't the time to dress-up even if you wanted to.  I'll probably wear a tracksuit or maybe jeans with an nice shirt, but nothing really fancy," she says.  And the chances are, like Pauline, Wendy will probably be wearing a big, comfy cardigan over her tracksuit or jeans . . . perhaps a cardigan borrowed from her 6ft 2in fianceť, Paul Glorney.

However, Wendy is not always as casual in her dress as she is in the rehearsal room.  The public Wendy does dress-up with lashings of pure, unadulterated style.  "When I make a personal appearance, I have to look smart but I don't like things to be too fussy.  I would hate it if some said, 'Oh, look at 'er!  She looks like a bloomin' Christmas tree.'  Also, no mutton-dressed-as-lamb nonsense for me either.  I like neatness and simplicity."

Essentially Wendy Richard is a classic dresser and not swayed by the fads and foibles of fashion.  "When I buy something, I want it to last.  I think it's ridiculous to spend £1,000 on a frock that you can only wear a few times.  I don't mind putting out quite a bit of money for something if I feel I am going to get all my money's worth, though."

Wendy's latest acquisition is a classic double-breasted camel coat bought from that bastion of sensible classicism, Aquascutum"It was quite expensive, but it's beautifully made and goes with just about everything.  It's simple, classic, and I'll wear it forever."

Wendy also admits that she has recently bought the ultimate Yuppie insignia -- a Barbour"Everybody keeps winding me up, saying, 'Oh, Wendy has gone Yuppie!'  I don't care though . . . it keeps the cold out.  And it certainly won't fall to bits in six months' time."

Wendy's one self-confessed undoing is accessories of every kind.  "I do pay an awful lot of attention to accessories, especially when I dress-up," she confesses.  "I adore hats, all kinds of hat.  Herbert Johnson is my favourite shop and I've bought lots of hats from them.  I also have a thing about shoes and handbags.  They're my real downfall.  I just can't resist them."

Wendy also admits she's something of a sock addict!  "Whatever I wear, I always like to be colour co-ordinated top-to-toe.  I have bought literally hundreds of argyle socks in just about every colour under the sun.  I'm mad about them!"

Colour figures strongly in Wendy's wardrobe and she's especially keen on strong, basic bright hues.  "I do tend to go for the primary brights, especially scarlet and reds.  I also wear lots of blue shades, then black, beige and different shades of brown.  I won't go near green though!  I am just about the most superstitious person in the world and green is just bad news."

It's just as well that Wendy is mad about red, as it is definitely the colour to be seen in this season.  And when it came to modelling for us, she chose red every time.  Pauline Fowler would never opt for such a bold colour, but Wendy just loves to be seen wearing it!

Thom O'Dwyer

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