HomeFashionBritain’s New First Lady, Victoria Starmer, Loves Fashion – and Doesn’t Mind...

Britain’s New First Lady, Victoria Starmer, Loves Fashion – and Doesn’t Mind Borrowing It

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LONDON Two British fashion labels, Me+Em and Edeline Lee, have emerged as winners in the U.K. general election thanks to Victoria Starmer, whose husband Sir Keir Starmer became U.K. prime minister on Friday following Labour’s victory in the polls.

Until recently, Victoria Starmer, a lawyer-turned-occupational therapist who works for the National Health Service, has kept a low profile. But when she does step out in public, she generally makes a statement in chic, understated silhouettes in bold monochromes.

On Friday, for her Downing Street debut, she chose a midi dress by Me+Em in bright red, Labour’s signature color. She paired the dress, with its fitted bodice and slashed, draped sleeves, with a pair of silvery slingback kitten heels. 

The look was joyful, romantic and added a blast of warmth to a dark, drizzly day.

Victoria Starmer in Me+Em at No. 10 Downing Street on Friday, July 5.

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On July 4, election night, she picked Me+Em once again, donning a boxy cream jacket with elbow-length sleeves, and paired it with dark, wide-leg trousers and white sneakers.

Starmer is one of many working women who’ve been turning to Me+Em for day-to-day dressing at contemporary price points.

Founded in 2009 by Clare Hornby, the label opened three stores in New York this year, and is looking to expand further in the U.S. Hornby has described the brand’s approach as “fashion Lego,” meaning that pieces should be able to multitask, layer and work together season after season.

The brand counts the Princess of Wales, Helen Mirren, Amal Clooney, Olivia Colman and Margot Robbie as customers.

While she’s been wearing Me+Em by day, Starmer has been opting for Edeline Lee for evening and more formal events.

In October Starmer borrowed clothing from Lee for the Labour Party conference and for a theater performance in London.

For the conference she donned Lee’s Dada dress in red. At the press night performance of “Dear England” at The Prince Edward Theatre, she donned a full look that included Lee’s Weimar coat, Oracle top and Delphine trousers. 

In an interview on Friday, Lee described Starmer as “a gorgeous lady, loyal, warm and graceful. We’re happy — and lucky — to work with her.” 

LONDON, ENGLAND - OCTOBER 19: Victoria Starmer (L) and Keir Starmer attend the press night performance of

Victoria Starmer wearing an Edeline Lee ensemble at The Prince Edward Theatre in October.

Alan Chapman/Dave Benett/Getty I

Lee, who dresses an arty, intellectual, and celebrity crowd, said women often choose her pieces when they step into the spotlight and “when their voices are being heard.”

In 2022, the designer dressed the Princess of Wales (then the Duchess of Cambridge) in a forest green dress that sent the internet into overdrive. Kate Middleton wore the dress to present the Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design to designer Saul Nash.

Lee’s designs have also been worn by Gemma Chan, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Alicia Vikander, Taylor Swift, Ellie Goulding and Solange Knowles. Edeline Lee sells at Harrods, among other stores.

Lee, who graduated from Central Saint Martins and founded her own label in 2014, said she works with fabrics that resist wrinkling so that women “can function at a high level” in the clothes, while all of her production is in the U.K.

LONDON, ENGLAND - JULY 05: Labour Leader Keir Starmer and wife Victoria Starmer celebrate winning the 2024 General Election at Tate Modern on July 05, 2024 in London, England. Labour is on course to win a landslide victory in the 2024 General Election. Starmer addresses the nation promising Country first, Party second. (Photo by Ricky Vigil/Getty Images)

Victoria Starmer wearing a Me+Em jacket on election night.

Getty Images

In a past interview with WWD, Lee said she designs with a “future lady” in mind.

“Female identity is in flux in our generation: modern women live hectic, collaged lives. Women now are more beautiful, more powerful, more free, stronger, more aware, more capable than any other time in history,” said Lee, adding that she is always asking herself the question: “What is it to dress with true power, grace, beauty and dignity in today’s world?”

Now Lee is dressing that “future lady,” and Britain’s new first lady, too.

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