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Poppy Delevingne on style, the Spice Girls and the power of sisterhood

The multi-hyphenate Londoner reveals all about fearlessness, family and forging a path for her own brand

Poppy Delevingne is one of those rare creatures who can turn her hand to almost anything and make it look effortless. She is a style influencer and highly successful model; she’s an actor, with major new projects this year including The Chelsea Cowboy with Alex Pettyfer. What’s more, her prosecco brand Della Vite, which she co-founded with her sisters Chloe and Cara Delevingne, is going from strength to strength, marking her out as an entrepreneur to watch. Here, in our exclusive cover interview, Poppy opens up about everything from her Spice Girls obsession to how self-care and sisterhood has helped her through her 30s.

Just over a week ago, Poppy Delevingne came to the crashing realisation that she needed to take a break. After a hectic year of non-stop work – acting, running a business, modelling to name but a few of her many hyphenates – she had finally hit a wall. So she got out the Smythson diary she swears by, crossed through and rearranged anything important in her schedule, skipped her usual spot at Vanity Fair’s Oscar party (which featured Della Vite, the brand of prosecco that she co-founded with her sisters Chloe and Cara Delevingne, as its pour of choice) and got on a plane to the Bahamas to “float in the sea, eat lobster quesadillas, drink pina coladas” and find some calm. And yet, five days into her week-long trip with friends, she finds herself on the phone, to me, talking about… work.

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
GIAMBATTISTA VALLI Midi Dress in Golden Lurex Macrame and Sequined Braids, €3,900; giambattistavalli.com
TIFFANY Link Earrings, £5,950
Lock Bangle in Yellow Gold with Diamond Accents, £9,300
Lock Bangle in White Gold with Full Pavé Diamonds, £33,500; tiffany.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45
Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 12 – Gold Ashes, £30
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“I know!” She laughs, uproariously, in her disarmingly charming way. “This is the point. I can never really say no. I’m someone who gets a real kick out of being busy, so much so that I ran myself into the ground. In the weeks running up to this trip, I wasn’t getting more than four hours sleep a night. By the time I got out here, my eye bags were deep and huge, like icebergs, you could have sailed the seas on them. I needed to step out and recharge so I can feel like I’m back in my power.” 

It would be easy to dismiss Poppy Delevingne, 36, as a child of privilege. Her father Charles, is a property magnate, her mother, Pandora, an 80s socialite turned personal shopper (whose heroin addiction and bipolar disorder framed much of the girls’ childhood), her late maternal grandfather, Sir Jocelyn Stevens, owned and published Queen magazine (which went on to become Harper’s Bazaar), and her late grandmother, Janie Sheffield, was a lady-in-waiting to Princess Margaret. She’s privately educated and friends with royalty, so yes, there is no real avoiding that she is a child of privilege (if you count having to grow up witnessing your mother battle addiction as privilege, I suppose), but listening to her talk, there is also no avoiding that everything she has achieved in her multifaceted career, she has fought her damn hardest to make work. 

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
STELLA McCARTNEY Diamanté Lace Bodysuit, £2,900
Stella Fishnet Heels, £695; stellamccartney.com
BULGARI (on left hand) Divas’ Dream Ring in 18kt Rose Gold, set with a Central Pink Sapphire and Pavé Diamonds, £10,300
(On right hand) Serpenti Seduttori 18kt Rose Gold Double Head Ring set with Rubellite Eyes and Pavé Diamonds; £9,450; bulgari.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 12 – Gold Ashes, £30
Eyes To Kill Stellar Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power Lipstick in 113, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk

“When we were teenagers, we always had this mad idea that we wanted to do business together,” she tells me of her sisters, supermodel Cara, now 30 and Chloe, 37, co-founder of women’s cancer organisation Lady Garden (Poppy also has a paternal half-brother, Alexander). “We just didn’t know exactly what. And then one night, one of my best friends said to us, ‘whenever I see you, you’re always either drinking prosecco or talking about prosecco. How about a prosecco brand?” We all thought, ‘My God, we are really good at that!’ It’s always been part of our family life, there in the good moments, celebrating exam results, and the bad moments, breaking up with someone.”

Poppy’s not being flippant when she says that the sisters really are good at prosecco. Della Vite was developed meticulously over two years, and launched in 2020. It is vegan, sustainably made and solar powered, and stocked everywhere, garnering rave reviews and winning multiple accolades. It’s a smart move, delving into the prosecco business, when the UK alone consumes 131 million bottles of the stuff each year, just behind the US at 134 million. They are, of course, not the first celebrities to go into wine production, there’s Kylie’s brand of rosé, Jay Z’s Ace of Spades champagne – even Gary Barlow and Graham Norton are in on the game. But it’s not just the sisters’ name that is being used to back this venture. All three of them are deeply involved in the business side of Della Vite.

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
BULGARI Serpenti Earrings in 18kt White Gold, set with Pavé Diamonds, £49,000; bulgari.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 12 – Gold Ashes and 99M – Ebony, £30 each
Eyes To Kill Stellar Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power Lipstick 108 – In Love, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk
“I’m proud of my work ethic, that I love working hard. But a lot of my thirties have been about building up relationships with healers and working on self-care. I could never really stop my brain, or calm down, in my twenties. I didn’t feel like I was in control
Poppy Delevingne
The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
PACO RABANNE Vintage Chainmail Dress; foundandvision.com
TIFFANY Lock Bangle in White Gold with Full Pavé Diamonds, £33,500; tiffany.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in Matte Beige, £30
Eyes To Kill Classico Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power in 104 – Selfless, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk

“It is such a male-led industry, but we’re going to try and change that,” she says. “We’re speaking up for the ladies – if you have the three of us in the room, you don’t get a word in edgeways. I’ve always enjoyed making myself scared. I’m a Taurus, so by nature I like to be home and cosy, but I have a little bit of Leo rising in me, so there is also this other element that loves nothing more than putting myself on the line.” 

It was a lack of fear, in fact, towards the latter years of her modelling career that led to her seeking out a place in the acting world. Ever since being spotted aged 15 by Storm models founder (and Kate Moss discoverer) Sarah Doukas at Cara’s school speech day, Poppy hit the ground running. She’s done campaigns for Roger Vivier, Chopard, Aquazurra, Burberry, been on every front row (Michael Kors in New York, Miu Miu in Paris, Christopher Kane in London to name but a few of her AW23 excursions), partnered with brands like Fendi and Etro as an influencer and covered a multitude of magazine covers.

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
EMILIO PUCCI Vintage 1960s Tights; foundandvision.com
TIFFANY Link Earrings, £5,950; Knot Double Row Hinged Bangle in Yellow Gold with Diamonds, £22,300; tiffany.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 12 – Gold Ashes, £30
Eyes To Kill Classico Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power in 108 – In Love, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk
“I’ve always just worn things that make me intrinsically happy. One day I’ll want to be Jacqueline Bisset, the next day, Twiggy, the next Zendaya. I dress to suit my mood
Poppy Delevingne

“But modelling had started to feel too cosy,” she explains. “I’d say, ‘Ok one more year living in New York modelling and then I’ll go into acting’, and suddenly I was 28 and I’d been doing it for 10 years.” Did she enjoy it? “I loved the people I met, the clothes I got to wear, the places I got to travel to. I worked really hard at it, but it never felt like it was what I was meant to do, it didn’t feel like home in the way that acting does.”

That’s not to say she doesn’t love fashion, she really does. Her style awakening came in her tweenage years thanks to a Spice Girls obsession, when she admits she went full Geri. She had the Union Jack dress and even dyed her then dog Molly’s beard ginger. “The Spice Girls were a revelation for me. They were the biggest girl band on the planet and got me thinking – what do I want to wear, how do I want to make an impression? It was girl power.” These days, rather than the Spice Girls inspiring her, it’s Miu Miu and Prada (made even better by her friendship with Miuccia Prada – “one of my ultimate icons”), Giambattista Valli if she needs “something phenomenal”, Christopher Kane, Erdem, the list goes on. 

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
BALMAIN Leather Cut Out Dress, £7,905; balmain.com
TIFFANY (On left hand) Lock Bangle in Yellow Gold with Diamond Accents, £9,300;
(On right hand) Knot Double Row Hinged Bangle in Yellow Gold with Diamonds, £22,300; tiffany.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 12 – Gold Ashes, £30
Eyes To Kill Stellar Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power Lipstick in 113, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk

“I’ve never been anyone that’s studied trends,” she says. “I’ve always just worn things that make me intrinsically happy. One day I’ll want to be Jacqueline Bisset, the next day, Twiggy, the next Zendaya. I dress to suit my mood. I love brands like Reformation or Realisation, dresses that you can layer on with anything and everything. And I love vintage, I bought an amazing Rick Owens vintage dress the other day. I have to wear something that makes me smile, because then I’m confident and I can end up dancing on the table, which is how I always want my night to end.” Indeed, if she had to pick one favourite fashion era, it would be the 90s with its simple slip dresses, slicked back hair and minimum makeup, a la Kate Moss or the late Carolyn Bessette-Kennedy. “I devour Carolyn’s style.”

Going from being a model to an actress was neither an easy, nor a quick transition for Poppy. She made her acting debut in Perfect, a short film alongside Tom Hardy and Gemma Arterton in 2010, but it wasn’t until 2017 that she got a proper break, starring in King Arthur: Legend of the Sword and Kingsman: The Golden Circle back to back. 

“Initially, when I started acting, I thought it would go hand in hand with modelling – boy was I wrong,” she says. “I had to put so much work and energy into getting my foot in the door, and to be taken seriously by casting directors, directors and producers. It took so much perseverance to get there. I had some awful auditions, but there was always this part of me, keeping me up at night going, no, you can do this and you are good at it, so you’ve got to keep pushing yourself.”

Her biggest role so far came in Sky’s Riviera, in which she played Daphne Eltham from 2017 to 2020, with Juliet Stevenson as her mother (“watching her was the biggest acting masterclass”.) Next up is The Chelsea Cowboy, which she filmed last summer and is due out later this year; the biopic is set in the 1960s and tells the story of actor / gangster John Bindon (played by Alex Pettyfer), with Poppy playing Bindon’s girlfriend, Victoria Hodge. Then, in a couple of months, she’s heading to Tennessee, to start filming on The Gun on Second Street, which, other than the title and the location, she’s pretty much sworn to secrecy on. “It’s a role that I have never done before – multifaceted and gritty and I’m really excited about it.”

“Family is everything for me. If any of us go through a tough time, we all feel it. All I can say is that there is not a day that goes by where I’m not endlessly proud of [Cara] … She has a huge part of my heart, as do my older sister, and older brother, too”
Poppy Delevingne

Poppy quite likes that the roles aren’t back to back. Firstly, it gives her the opportunity to be truly involved with Della Vite, secondly, it gives her time to regroup in between shoots. “Liv Tyler is a wonderful friend of mine and she’s great at advice,” she says. “She’s always talked about giving yourself time to decompress and ask yourself who you are. You put so much into filming and when it’s finished, there’s this moment you wake up and all these people that you’ve been with every single day, who have become like your family and this character you’ve built, suddenly it’s all gone. You have to grieve that process.”

She’s much better at allowing herself the notion of time and space these days. In her 20s, she describes herself as a ‘pocket rocket’, never being in a city for more than a couple of days before heading off again. “I’m proud of my work ethic, that I love working hard,” she says. “But a lot of my thirties have been about building up relationships with healers and working on self-care. I could never really stop my brain, or calm down, in my twenties. I didn’t feel like I was in control. Then I met Fiona Arrigo, who is a healer, therapist and mentor and she changed my life. I used to run myself ragged, not necessarily for myself, but a lot of the time for other people. She taught me about setting boundaries, and the power of saying no. I couldn’t have done my thirties without her. I’ve learned how to be present, focused and empowered. I also discovered yoga in lockdown – I literally never did any exercise and now I’m ten times stronger than I was in my 20s.”

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
PACO RABANNE Vintage Chainmail Dress; foundandvision.com
TIFFANY Lock Bangle in White Gold with Full Pavé Diamonds, £33,500; tiffany.com
ARMANI BEAUTY Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in Matte Beige, £30
Eyes To Kill Classico Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power in 104 – Selfless, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk

She also swears by Shane Cooper for facials (whose endless client list includes Phoebe Dynevor, Lily Allen and Maya Jama), Sarah Bradden for acupuncture and Sienna Miller’s favourite, Jessica Appleby, for reflexology – “all people who set me straight when I come back from travelling.” 

It’s hard to have this conversation about self-care without immediately thinking of Poppy’s younger sister, Cara, whose own battles with mental health and addiction have been so documented lately. “Family is everything for me,” she says, when I bring her sister into the conversation. “If any of us go through a tough time, we all feel it. All I can say is that there is not a day that goes by where I’m not endlessly proud of her.

“I saw pictures of her at the Oscars, and I was just so overwhelmed and so proud of her and her journey. I replayed the video of her presenting about 17 times like a crazed person thinking, how did I hold this person in my arms when she was born? How did this little creature that came out looking like a potato end up here, with these bright, fiery eyes and blooming skin, this confidence and power? She has a huge part of my heart, as do my older sister, and older brother, too.” 

The sister role seems to be one she plays in friendships too. Her friendship group is ever expansive, and although she won’t name names for fear she’ll leave someone out and offend them, the list ranges from music (Rita Ora); fashion (Alexa Chung, Derek Blasberg, Charlotte Tilbury); society (Mary Charteris, Princess Beatrice, Violet von Westenholz); acting (Sienna, Cush Jumbo, Gala Gordon)… The connector, again, bringing people together and looking after them.

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin

“If I have a friend that’s going through something,” she says. “I’ll always say to them, I’m leaving my phone on all night and the ring is on loud. It will be three in the morning and I will get out of bed, go downstairs in my dressing gown, make tea and chat to them. I think that’s my thing to offer, either light with laughter or the fact that I will always be there. I would do anything in the world for my friends.”

Weekends – when she’s not working – heavily feature her friends and family (and ten godchildren – “I’m always surrounded by children!”), particularly, you would assume, since the rumoured split from her husband of 8 years, businessman James Cook, last year. London, where she lives in a house she spent two years lovingly refurbishing with the interior designer Joanna Plant, is home, and, after a flirtation with New York in her 20s, always will be. “My heart skips a beat, when I touch down after being away. I immediately get tummy flutters.” She loves wandering around the Serpentine, Holland Park, going up to Camden or Portobello markets. “I love the hustle and bustle,” she says. “Even though it’s wild and intoxicating, in a weird way, it calms me.”

The Delightful Poppy Delevingne On Style And SisterhoodPin
MIU MIU Jersey T-Shirt, £580; Jersey Embroidered Skirt, £4,200; Cedro Boots, £1,550; miumiu.com
TIFFANY Link Earrings, £5,950; (On right hand) Lock Bangle in Yellow Gold with Diamond Accents, £9,300
Lock Bangle in White Gold with Full Pavé Diamonds, £33,500; Lock Bangle in Yellow Gold, £6,425
(On left hand) Knot Double Row Hinged Bangle in Yellow Gold with Diamonds, £22,300; tiffany.com
Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer, £37
Luminous Silk Foundation, £45; Luminous Silk Concealer, £37
Eye Tint Liquid Eyeshadow in 18M – Beige, £30
Eyes To Kill Stellar Mascara in Black, £32
Lip Power Lipstick in 113, £35; armanibeauty.co.uk

The house itself is pretty indicative of Poppy as a person. Filled with colour and contrast – golds, royal blues and emerald green, pinks and palm prints against velvet and dragon’s blood lacquered walls. “It’s me as a house,” she laughs. “My neighbours probably hated me for those two years of building, but the outcome was wondrous. I managed to win them over with endless bottles of prosecco, which is what I always do. ‘Oh, sorry, the music was a bit loud last night. Here’s a bottle of prosecco!’” 

There’s that prosecco again, woven, as she says, into the fabric of her life, and a perfect note on which to end our time together. The sun is setting, the sea is calling, and who am I to stand in the way of Poppy’s search for a bit of well-deserved R&R?

 
PHOTOGRAPHY Matt Easton
STYLING Karen Clarkson
MAKE UP by Sandra Cooke using ARMANI BEAUTY
HAIR by Daniel Martin
NAILS by Emily Rose Lansley
PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT: Harry Burner
STYLIST’S ASSISTANT: Molly Ellison
SHOT at SPRING STUDIOS; springstudios.com

 

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