Nancy Dell'Olio launches new lingerie at London Fashion Week

Nancy Dell'Olio: 'Sometimes I think I am too sensitive for my own good. But I am also strong… strong and intelligent'

Nancy Dell'Olio: 'Sometimes I think I am too sensitive for my own good. But I am also strong… strong and intelligent'

Men of Britain, Nancy Dell'Olio is single and looking for love. She tells John Preston about life with and without Sven, her new career as a writer and why she'll be showing the world her underwear at London Fashion Week

When Nancy Dell'Olio first came to England in 2001, the tabloid press greeted her arrival by falling into a state of collective ecstasy. It was partly that the contrast with her then-boyfriend, Sven-Goran Eriksson, was so marked. Whereas Sven looked as if he would barely raise an eyebrow if a fire extinguisher went off in his trousers, everything about Nancy was lavishly, determinedly upfront. She had big hair, big lips and a big personality to match. She would have stood out in any surroundings, but in grey, overcast London she was like a visitor from another, infinitely more exotic planet.

Over the past seven years we have become used to her ways, to her fondness for eye-catching outfits and to her eagerness to be noticed. In the flesh, however, she still comes as a surprise. For a start, she's much smaller than expected; even in high heels she's not much more than 5ft. She's also better looking. Her skin is brown, but not the gravy-brown colour familiar to readers of Hello! magazine. Her cleavage is untouched by any hint of a wrinkle, her bare legs are flawless, while her tiny sandalled feet are twin monuments to the pedicurist's art.

Although Dell'Olio's real age remains a mystery - anywhere between 44 and 50 - what's not in dispute is the wondrous state of her self-preservation. She insists that she has never had any cosmetic surgery, and says that it's all the result of exercise and lots of water. Her English, however, is in less pristine shape. She talks in a hectic chatterboxy way, paying little heed to grammar and running her words into one another so that they come out in a gushingly unbroken stream. After an hour in her company you start to wonder if the reason Sven was so silent was simply because he could never get a word in edgeways.


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