Erin O'Connor

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VQ&A: Erin O’Connor

What is your favourite V&A object?

I don’t think I have a favourite object in the museum. I sort of feel like I’m exploring it still. However I think the unique thing that the V&A has to offer is that it really embraces the past and the present. Both hold equal importance you know, from say the Armory room which I’m obsessed with. I am, I just am. I’ve got this Joan of Arc fetish. I supposed I’ve always played quite strong female characters in my work. Believe it or not I’ve worn quite a lot of armour and worn lots of swords and military gear so it’s quite nice to go back and relive the memories actually.

What is your definition of good design?

My definition of good design is that form should follow function, like a great pair of stilettos.

What is the most important piece of design in your daily life?

It would have to be my Siemens coffee machine, because I think it literally brings me to life every morning. A bit of a necessity. I mean, it’s a really sexy piece of equipment, it’s slick and it’s simple.  I don’t know if coffee machines can be sexy but it’s a necessity, but it’s also a joy to use. It’s rather powerful.

What is your favourite colour?

My favourite colour should be green given my Irish roots. Now I did go through a very bizarre stage in my childhood of having to have everything green. Green leotards, green plates, green cutlery. It was a bit of an obsession. But I think black is actually a great colour because it is so universally accepted in many guises from religion to design to art and it kind of never goes out of fashion, it never dates.

If you weren’t a model what would you be?

If I hadn’t accidentally become a model – one day on a school trip I was ‘discovered’, that was thirteen years ago – I would have been a schoolteacher. A very happy one actually I think. I probably would have been the tallest schoolteacher in the world.

What is your motto?

My motto is, or rather should be, ‘to be humble is to stay sane’.

What V&A exhibition are you looking forward to most?

I am very much looking forward to my friend Stephen Jones’ exhibition next year, next February. He is the man. I think any milliner that can make hats sexy and hold a whole exhibition entirely to himself at the V&A has really done OK in his life. And actually I’m going to be opening that, so that’ll be a good night I reckon.

What are you wearing today?

The clothes I’m wearing today are my favourite designers. The jacket, the smoking jacket is by Moschino and the silk dress is by Dries Van Noten an amazing Belgian designer, and I think he’s best known for his use of textiles and colour. The way he puts colours together, it sort of shouldn’t be allowed, but it just kind of works. It’s gorgeous. Boots, freebee today, Rupert Sanderson, very current designer known for his graphic approach.

What size are your feet?

I’m about a size seventeen… no, they’re a seven, a very modest seven I think for a frame of a hundred and eighty three centimetres don’t you?

I’m six foot and a bit. Very annoying for sleeve lengths actually, you have to do weird things like roll them up constantly so people think you fit into your clothes.

Don’t laugh! I’m not used to not seeing it on autocue. I think that’s what it is. Is that weird?

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One of Erin O'Connor's early modelling assignments was for Philip Treacy at the V&A. She has since grown to love the museum, which she now helps to support through her position as a V&A trustee. In this question-and-answer session, shot in the cast courts, she explains how she got to know the museum and why she has a soft spot for armour.

Erin O'Connor explains how she got to know the museum and why she has a soft spot for armour...