Focusing on the emotions fashion can evoke rather than keeping up with trends has allowed Ashley to experiment. This skill came in handy once fashion months started. “We were in the middle of filming for Bridgerton when I went to my first show, so I felt like I was accustomed to the madness of fashion week,” says Ashley. “Going to Milan for Prada was a great experience, and I loved my outfit for the show; a sparkly black mini-skirt, crop top, and combat boots. I didn’t grow up in a house where we wore designer clothing or would go shop at luxury fashion houses, so it’s been fun for me to try out things I hadn’t considered or never thought I could wear.”
The atmosphere of the front rows was equally exciting, especially at the globe-traversing Prada show which saw Miuccia Prada and Raf Simons’ collection debuting simultaneously in Milan and Shanghai. “Just seeing the way fashion and technology can bring us together as a community was exciting was fascinating,” says Ashley. “It’s a miracle that we’re still able to come together amidst a pandemic and celebrate fashion.” Chanel’s ’90s-inspired runway show this season, meanwhile, provided exquisite clothes and a few killer tracks. “I’m a massive music [fan], so I absolutely loved the soundtrack,” says Ashley. “There was a lot of George Michael, and [watching] was a liberating experience. The models were encouraged to strut down the catwalk and perform, to pose and smile, and just be themselves.”
Some of the finery Ashley viewed on the runway has carried its way into her wardrobe. The looks she and Corbin-Murray have selected for some of her latest events seem more Parisienne chic than Cali-cool. Take the custom AZ Factory top and skirt she wore for the Fashion Awards in London, a sleek combination that took the star out of her comfort zone. “That was the first time I’d attended the ceremony and the first time I’d ever had a look custom made for me,” says Ashley. “Norman [René Devera, AZ Factory design director] came in from Paris for my fitting, and he was just so wonderful to work with.”
Armed with a select series of references, Ashley had a specific mood in mind. “We wanted something that had an almost liquid texture when the light hit it to create that mermaid vibe,” she says. “During our conversations, a lot of the references that we pulled up were Cher looks [when she had] the super long hair. One, in particular, was a gown with asymmetrical cuts throughout that wrapped around her torso almost like a sari.” Worn with flowing curls by hair stylist Peter Lux and a bronzed beauty look by Alex Babsky, the final piece captured that spirit perfectly, its stomach-baring silhouette and minimalist design a breath of fresh air on a red carpet filled with glitter and print.
Off-duty, Ashley keeps things fairly simple, but she’s serious about her footwear. “I have so many boots it’s a bit of an obsession,” she says. “Doc Martens, Prada, Paris Texas—they make me feel like I can do anything. I love sneakers and flip-flops for comfort, but boots give me that boost. I walk into the room feeling proud and strong whenever I have them on.”
And though she’s still in the early stages of her fashion journey, Ashley fully understands the power clothing can have. “On set, the moment you put on a corset, it changes your posture,” she says. “You start to understand the way it shaped women’s behavior and lifestyle in the 18th century and hold yourself differently.” Of course, the impact of style isn’t limited to period attire, either. “We don’t always articulate the way wearing a certain nail color or accessory makes us feel, how it can change the way you carry yourself,” says Ashley. “My girlfriends and I always say that once you put on a little lipgloss and some hoops, you’re a different person; all of a sudden, you feel like you can get away with something.”