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From Team GB to top model: Zara Phillips in Hello! magazine

Zara Phillips riding high as she shows her designer flair

She is usually found on the equestrian field, honing her skills while dressed down in jodhpurs and muddy riding boots. So it was quite a change of environment for Olympic silver medallist Zara Phillips when she turned model to launch a new clothing range at London landmark Somerset House.’

‘Looking entirely natural in front of the camera, Zara smiled easily alongside England rugby union player James Haskell as they joined other sports stars to show the new MUSTO¬†collection.

The Queen’s granddaughter, 31, has fronted the sports brand’s equestrian wear since 2010 and has blossomed into an elegant ambassador for the company – rather like fellow royal Charlotte Casiraghi, daughter of Princess Caroline of Monaco, who has a similar role for Gucci.

As the new collection was debuted, there was much horseplay as Zara provided a lively commentary while the assembled athletes modelled the latest collections for disciplines including shooting, sailing, rugby and horse riding.

It was a far cry from the formality of international fashion shows, with friendly banter running freely between the young royal and James, who is a friend of Zara’s rugby star husband Mike Tindall. The 27-year-old forward dwarfed Zara and the diminutive Olympic silver medallist sailors Hannah Mills and Luke Patience.

MUSTO has been supplying Zara with equestrian clothes¬†since childhood. She began collaborating as a brand ambassador and co-designer in 2009 and a year later her high-performance ZP176 collection (named after her first international competitors’ number) was launched.

Zara is involved in choosing the high-tech fabrics, colour and fit for every item, before rigorously testing them herself on horseback.

“Zara and her whole riding team put the samples through a punishing trial before they are approved,” says Louise Clinton, who runs the equestrian design studio.

“Zara gives us a lot of performance input. She is used to needing clothes for necessity, but she has a lot of style and wants the clothes to look flattering and feminine as well.”

“I tried and tested everything,” the royal Olympian confirms. “With design, the products were already there – I just tweaked a few things, like put in a longer cut for the riding jackets, so it won’t expose your back if you’re riding in the elements. The cut is nice for the girls, so they feel nice in it but can work in it.”

She adds, however, that she is not a designer – these clothes first and foremost have to be functional.

“It is less to do with mainstream fashion and more about practicality and engineering – something that works in training, but which you wouldn’t be embarrassed to be seen in in public.”

Zara is sponsored by MUSTO and has created her own collection, ZP176, for the company. For more information visit musto.com.’

(Originally published in Hello! magazine)

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