Exclusive - Lily Cole

Sitting in the grandeur of London's St Pancras hotel awaiting the arrival of one of the most famous faces in fashion is exciting. We're talking about a girl who has graced the catwalks of everyone from Alexander McQueen, Chanel and Louis Vuitton to Marc Jacobs, not to mention a campaign with Rimmel London and acting roles in St Trinian's, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and There Be Dragons. Lily is set apart by her fierce intelligence (she was awarded a Double First in History of Art at Cambridge University) and is a tireless campaigner when it comes to environmental awareness and charitable work. It's fair to say we have an enormous urge to sit down and grill her on, well - everything.

Lily is wearing a cream crepe MarnI dress and is smothered underneath a tangerine Stella McCartney coat. A Chanel double ?C? emblazoned baseball cap balances on her knee and she's make-up free. She's smiley and every bit as regal as you'd expect; perfectly poised and very graceful. From behind her messy mass of red hair peer tiny features - a perfect nose and small, bright eyes. ?I love flowers,? she enthuses ?especially wild ones. And daisy chains - I love the process of making them, pressing a nail through and linking them and wearing that as an accessory," she says softly before drifting off into a daydream.

She's here as part of Kildare Village's latest project, in association with the Botanical Conservation society, to adorn the retail shopping mecca in beautiful flowers. I quiz her, for all her environmental concerns, what drew her to the campaign? "I love flowers and besides the great cause of the Botanical Conservation, this really feels like a celebration. I've spent my Monday discussing beautiful flowers. How wonderful is that?" When I pry further, there's a little more to it. "I have a real love and nostalgia for sales. When I was young, I remember going with my family and being so excited to be able to purchase something really beautiful that you couldn't normally afford ... So this project feels as though I'm going back to that. The ethos of selling clothes that would otherwise go to waste is a brilliant idea." So who does she love to bargain shop? "Oh, all my favourites - Stella McCartney, Marni, Celine - ?

With an international life, what's her travel essential? "Passport. Is that a bit cheeky? But it's true!" And in flight, what does she do to keep occupied? "I love to jot and write things down. I have my phone and that's handy ok but I love to write and scribble." Is she a shoe or a bag girl? "Neither really - shoes at a push. Right now, I'm all about the clash - clashing prints, florals and graphics ... Clash, clash, clash! I'm not afraid of being bold."

Her favourite thing to receive when a friend calls? "Flowers, definitely. They linger long after someone has come and gone - their scent, their colour ... I suppose I would say Water Lilies are some of my favourites .... "

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We get the feeling this day is all about fun - flowers, fashion and shopping with a place that offers beautifully crafted things at an affordable price. And with that she's gone, a wisp of red and orange, Chanel cap firmly in place, a smile and a wave.

Kildare Village is open seven days a week. For more details, log on to?www.KildareVillage.com Facebook and follow them on Twitter @KildareVillage for the latest updates.

Jo Linehan

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