£ GBP British Pound
United Kingdom



Family Portrait | An Interview With Sarah Harris

Our families shape us, and at Childrensalon, family is at the heart of everything we do. In our new series, Family Portrait, we step inside the world of parents and children around the globe to share in their stories of parenthood, childhood, work and life, and to discover what family means for them.


Our first instalment of Family Portrait takes us on a picturesque journey to the Cotswolds in south-west England, where mother of one and British Vogue deputy editor Sarah Harris and her daughter Dree, five, often spend weekends away from London. We caught up with Sarah to find out more.

 Photographs by Kate Martin. Words by Ivy Storvik.

20 Sep 2022


“We come here quite often,” says Sarah, of the country home owned by a friend that is the backdrop to our shoot. “We’ve spent Christmases and lots of weekends here. Dree is very outdoorsy so she loves roaming around. And it’s a nice escape from the city.” With its green acres and room for a pony or three, it’s a calm retreat from the buzzy west London neighbourhood of Notting Hill that Sarah, her husband Alfe Hollingsworth and Dree call home.


In her role as deputy editor and fashion features director at British Vogue, Sarah is used to setting the tone, style-wise. As well as being a respected fashion authority, her pared-back, easy take on androgynous dressing (denim is a running theme) has earned her a devoted fanbase.

Stella McCartney Kids - Girls White Cotton T-Shirt | ChildrensalonStella McCartney Kids



Angel's Face - Girls Yellow Cotton Knit Skirt | ChildrensalonAngel's Face



On Dressing Dree

Sarah’s credentials hold little sway with young Dree, however, who is not one to take style tips from her mum. “She’s very decisive, very adamant,” laughs Sarah. “Maybe she gets it from me. I have set ideas about what I will and won't wear and she is the same. She wants to wear tutus, princess dresses, anything pink and sequinned. Nothing will make her wear something she doesn’t want to.”


But, she says, it was not always so. “Before, when I used to be able to put her in anything – before she could say no! – I used to have her in little denim dungarees and tracksuit trousers,” she remembers. “She had this great khaki green bomber jacket. She looked amazing in that.” Sarah tails off, wistfully: “But I don’t think I could ever get her in that colour now.”


When it comes to choosing clothing for their Childrensalon shoot, however, it is very much a team effort. Although one of Sarah’s favourites (a tulle dress) didn’t make the cut – in Dree’s words, “too itchy” – “Dree loved the [Angel’s Face] rainbow dress and the [Joules] unicorn wellington boots. The silver Stella McCartney Kids boots were another favourite,” Sarah reveals.

Chosen with all aspects of family life in mind, their fun yet functional edit includes everything from beautiful occasionwear and casual tops-with-leggings to cheery rain gear and colourful dresses.

The Great Outdoors

Stella McCartney Kids - Girls Colourful Tie-Dye Dress | ChildrensalonStella McCartney Kids



The Animals Observatory - Yellow & Pink Cotton Socks | ChildrensalonThe Animals Observatory



Stella McCartney Kids - Girls Red Mushroom Bag (19cm) | ChildrensalonStella McCartney Kids




On Family Life

Challenging outfit choices aside, what’s the youngest member of the Hollingsworth family like, in her mother’s words? “She’s non-stop. She’s very energetic. She can go on all day. She never gets tired. She can be stubborn. She knows her own mind. She can’t be persuaded to do anything she doesn’t want to do. She loves sports,” says Sarah thoughtfully, pausing briefly before continuing. “She’s a bit of a night owl. She loves staying up late. She’s the life and soul of the party. She’s really kind and caring. Her nursery teacher once said that whenever she’d noticed someone not playing with anyone, Dree was the first to go up and invite them over to play, which I loved.”


For any family, school is a huge milestone in a child’s life and brings with it bittersweet feelings of babyhood left behind and new possibilities in life beginning. This transition is fresh in Sarah’s mind as Dree started school earlier in September. With school and work schedules to juggle, what do weekdays look like now? “I have to get Dree up at 7.30am – she loves to sleep, probably until 8.30am or 9am if left to her own devices – and then I make her breakfast, get her ready, get myself ready, and then we leave the house at about 8.15am. Luckily her school is only about a minute’s walk from our door, which is great, because I’m usually running late!”


With Dree safely in school, work then calls. “I’m in the office three days a week – as is everyone since COVID. Then our after-school nanny collects Dree at 3pm and is with her until 6.30pm. Dree has ballet, she’s started fencing, and she does Little Gym – so a few activities! I tend to bath her and get her dinner ready. We'll do that all together – and then it's bedtime.”  


Ah, bedtime. At the mention of it, Sarah stops and reflects. “I need to improve on the bedtime routine, honestly,” she muses. “All through summer there wasn't much of a routine and she was going to sleep around 9pm, so I've been making an effort to get that back on track again. She has a really long, full day, she should be exhausted but she’s just not – she's still raring to go. Right now she falls asleep by 8.30pm but it still needs to be earlier ideally.” As the mum of an 11-year-old boy with life-long FOMO and an aversion to early nights, I feel her pain.


Evenings are spent catching up on work and emails before finally enjoying some precious downtime. “Alfe, my husband, cooks most evenings, or we order in. Then we’ll watch an episode of something – I’ve just finished Tehran, which was great – and then to bed around 11pm or 11.30pm.”


Princess For A Day

Childrensalon Occasions - Pink & Blue Ombré Sequin Dress | ChildrensalonChildrensalon Occasions



Angel's Face - Pastel Stripes Tulle Dress | ChildrensalonAngel's Face




On Early Motherhood

Family life tends to settle into its own unique rhythm after a while, but what about the first days of parenthood? Sarah explains that she was lucky to have a maternity nurse for the first couple of months. “Dree was pretty easy as a baby. She slept through the night from about three months old and took to a routine really easily. I didn't realise how important that was until once she missed a nap and it was like, ‘Oh, my God. I'm never doing that again.’”


Leaving work to go on maternity leave and her subsequent return could have been a daunting prospect, but Sarah is quick to praise British Vogue editor-in-chief Edward Enninful’s approach. “There was a change of editorship when I was pregnant. In my first meeting with Edward, I told him that I was four months pregnant. By the time he started, I was with him for about two weeks, and then I went on my maternity leave. But I stayed in touch with him the whole time,” she remembers. “He was so great, so supportive. He said, ‘Take as long as you need.’”

The pull of parenthood versus the pull of the workplace is a familiar feeling to many working parents, and Sarah is no stranger to that. Recalling her own experience of preparing to return after Dree’s birth, she says: "I think Dree was eight or nine months old when I returned. I asked to have Fridays working from home and Edward very kindly agreed."


What advice would Sarah give to new and prospective parents navigating this journey for the first time? She stops to think. “It’s a bit cliché, but they’re not babies for long,” she says. “All those moments when you're stressed and overthinking things – I just think every part of their development is such a short phase. You think you're going to be in that moment forever, like when they're toddlers and you're bent over, following them around every second, when you're in the middle of it, you think that phase is going to last forever, but it doesn't. It goes by so quickly. When they’re so small, maybe we should relish those moments a bit more and just enjoy it - but I'm sure I'm looking back through a lens of nostalgia!”

A Walk in The Woods

Töastie - Pink Waterproof Rain Suit | ChildrensalonTöastie
Joha - Beige Merino Wool Leggings | ChildrensalonJoha
CeLaVi - Blue Rubber Rain Boots | ChildrensalonCeLaVi

The Bedtime Hour

Marie-Chantal - White Pima Cotton Nightdress | ChildrensalonMarie-Chantal



Chloé - Girls Ivory Fluffy Socks | ChildrensalonChloé



Rainbow Designs - Flopsy Bunny Toy (33cm) | ChildrensalonRainbow Designs
My Account My Settings