Wednesday, 30 September 2009

PARIS FASHION WEEK SEPTEMBER 2009




I now have a new love, Farmville, so if I have dropped you as a friend, it could be because I am very busy collecting cows and sheep, milking, shearing, choosing seeds and keeping up with the ploughing. I am amazed at my diligence - my working day starts at about six in the morning - but I seem to be making some cashy cash. I no longer watch my telephone and sms day and night, and surprisingly boyfriends have lost their appeal to this very addictive online game. I watch my pals' farms and can't believe their sophistication - but it is so annoyingly slow. And though my animals are doing well, I want a house and can't seem to afford one.

Oh come on everybody, it's fun to have this surreal, totally crazy interest in something which really means nothing. It's not intellectual and its not a fashion. It appeals to me in the way meditation does. And luckily, it is very predictable, so I can get on with my other lives, whilst the wheat grows in two days.

Anyway, dragging myself away from Farmville, I have come back to fashion. My first day in Paris was glorious. Reliving my old life on the Trocodero, I had a delicious tea at Carette, with a bun that I have been dreaming about. Carette is a tea house that is regularly used by the locals, but by few tourists. It was fun to revisit, although it has got bigger and more prosperous.

What a difference the English Channel make. Entering The Museum of Mankind, cameras flashing, it was so welcoming. I was immediately taken up to Karla Otta, who gave me great seats at Rochas, where the designer Marcos Zanini,showed mostly wearable clothes for rich ingenues and simple girls on the Riviera, I loved the floating white dresses, which inspired me to book a holiday last night in Positano. And even though it's not really the clobber I wear - as I only like black - I was taken by the short snappy clothes in soft greens, reds and whites. I hate this new passion for prints in lime greens and pinks. I always imagine them fixed on a fatso's bottom.

No, I am much more a fan of Gareth Pugh, who loves structure. And mushroom. Mushroom chiffon, mushroom faces, mushroom hair and spiky mushroom head gear: the determined look of a happy slave, set in what looks like the year after a nuclear explosion, before the dust has quite settled. You can imagine the clothes needed, and Gareth has brilliant ideas, designing shapes with unusual materials. Mushroom of course is not for me but chiffon is, and seeing it attached to trouser legs and coats left imposing, unforgettable images in my brain.. However, he is not letting us forget 2012 is on its way...

Nor is Rick Owens. He has to be the best. A Southern Californian living in Paris - how cool is that. I love his austere, funky designs for the modern woman. I would rather hang out with a man who likes Rick Owens than a man who likes clothes suitable for boarding a private aeroplane to the South of France. He has an intellectual air about him. His audience was interesting, too. Plus, he had the creme de la creme of artists from Paris. Yes, there was American Vogue - Grace Codrington, Hamish Bowles etc : funky goth types and drag queens, Carla Sozzani radiating happiness, Michael Stipe exuding cool. I liked his friends immediately. His clothes reflect a life I want to live - shaped but easy, broad shoulders, slim arms, tight minis and flapping chiffon. The girls wore beautiful make up - simple in the extreme - with stunning eyes and a slightly shaved look for the hair. Yes, it's the End of the World, but I feel happier in his version.

Meanwhile, lunch with Rushka Bergman is never dreary. She has just been given an amazing styling job for a huge pop star. (Of course she is well known as the stylist of Michael Jackson.) She sat down at the Costes Hotel, with big glasses covering her tired eyes, red lips and black straight hair. She still gorgeous in a black Balenciaga dress that I have too; from a season or two ago, it's a winner, and looks as fresh as the day she bought it. The Costes was full of fashion people. But none as chic as Rushka.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

LONG AND THE SHORT OF IT



Whoops - what do you do if you hate long dresses? Well I went along to the wonderful girl at Colette Dinnigan to get kitted out. A beautiful dress was chosen - of course black with diamante - and I thought I looked gorgeous. Anyway, every disaster happened on the way, so that I ended up in Kate Moss's hot pants from Top Shop. You see, the dress was put into storage with Cadogan Tate. Which was probably just as well - because later, when I eventually got it out and put it on, my friend forbade me ever to wear a long dress ever again, and swiftly exchanged it for a credit note. He said I looked an old frump and I couldn't possibly kill such a stunning number.

But do I need more black mini shorts? When I ring up my bank manager, even he starts teasing me about my collection of 435 pairs, and asks how they are getting on in storage. I tell him he will be pleased to hear that I no longer like clothes as I was nearly sick when I packed them all up. So back to the long dress...

My very good friend Mrs Barclay gave a very elegant and beautiful affair at Bridgewater House. The flowers were stunning, with swags, miniature plums, cabbage roses, pale lilac and green. Chandeliers swung gently over us. The food was delicious and Fizzy had Rory Bremner wittily imitating all the royal family whilst Princess Michael looked down at her food. I was panicking as our hostess had told me not to wear short, or black. (She also said she would provide a man.) She had clearly forgotten a visit to Valentino a year ago, where they told her that I could only wear black and I couldn't wear long or anything floral. In fact, they brought me out clothes that were very structured: a black mini dress and thigh-length boots. Not very Fizzy. Anyway, I think God heard me and made the dress disappear. I needn't have worried, as when I walked in to the party, her friends laughed and said: "Typical you are the only one allowed to wear short and black". All I needed was to bring a gate crasher and wait for Lionel Ritchie...

QUE SERA, SERA


Amongst the cardboard boxes and keys, the suitcases and fashion shows, my ex husband and I finally have our complete freedom. Good bye Chester Square and all the past, and here I am on the brink of a new life. What will it bring?, Will I be happy?, Will I cope, be able to understand all the small print etc? I suppose these are the fears that every woman goes through. I closed the door on my old life with a feeling of elation. Now I am lying in a chocolate-brown hotel bedroom at Number 11 Cadogan Gardens, in a camp bedroom with gold mirrored doors, and I can barely remember waking in my old house. I am very comfortable here, and it has only been five days. Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours with my architects Mark Guard, and now the renovation starts. I am going to disappear soon so that they can get on and leave it in the capable hands of Jane Churchill. I don't want to get any panic attacks. I feel remarkably chirpy and I put it down to my golden locks, Brigitte has put me into a brilliant mood. A lot has changed in a year.

Monday, 21 September 2009

JUICY COCKTAIL FRUITY



As I sit here with my big block shiny bow from the Luella show I am happy. Happy that fashion is back.. I love fashion here at home and despite the p.r's officious behaviour there is some brilliant talent shining through.

Kinder Aggagini has won first prize for me. His gorgeous stripes and crazy mixes, Chanel de constructed jackets, beautiful, imaginative and delicious. I went to his atelier this morning in a basement, South Audley Street.

Luella was 1940's tutti fruiti, with a net over the face and bows on the hair, ready to meet your mother in law sort of look. Think smarties crossed with war cocktail/lunch clothes.

Todd Lynn was a strictly rockstar junkie Los Angeles feel about it, better be skinny girls. This year he won Designer of the Year for GENLUX magazine.

Mathew Williamson has his usually boho look and turned his hand at suiting this is where he shown a break through.

Now off to Geordie Greig's party at the Evening Standing.

Sunday, 20 September 2009

RAISE A GLASS TO TIZER


The fashion world has no manners, that is obvious. But really, to be bossed about by bouncers and silly PR assistants brandishing clipboards certainly makes me feel like hitting someone with my mobile, so I totally understand Naomi wanting to bash people up. If this was my world too, I would be in court every week.

I had to rely on the only intelligent woman from Vivienne Westwood to understand that I wasn't just anybody. I am AMANDA ELIASCH. Thank you, Tizer, for helping me when all the other fools did their best to make me loathe the show before I even got in even though I had an invitation albeit on my blackberry. The people on the periphery are humourless and status obsessed. It would have been frankly stupid not to have let me in for many reasons. Number one: I love her clothes and buy huge quantities of her corsets. Number two: she loves music, and I could no longer talk to her if I had been turned away, nor to her divine boyfriend. Number three :I have a big mouth and a blog or two or three. Number four: I am the fashion editor for Genlux magazine, and Vivienne is up for an award in Los Angeles.

People should be better informed, and it surprises that with computers and information readily available, the PRs don't check who's who. Having been helped by Tizer, I was told to sit with the Harpers editor at large, Kim Hersov. Kim is a great friend and is behind all of us girls going to Top Shop on a regular basis. My dear friend Tracey Emin swanned straight past me, Victoria Harvey had flown in from Los Angeles, and some starlets who grace the pages of Heat, but not the circles I move in.

The show was interesting not for its new content, thank goodness. Vivienne, like Alaia, knows what suits a woman, and unlike other fashion designers likes real women. Her dresses were flattering, as were her harem pants, checks, waistcoats, shirts with ties, vests and a very small dog. What else? Two or three cute black dresses and the rest in pastels, plus flat shoes with dresses. After twenty minutes, we zoomed off to Sothebys for a show on African Art, where the Gettys had put on a small drinks party.

Brazil was calling, I had to go to check out Issa, I had heard so much about the designer and had lunch with her too. She is a great friend of my ex's new amore, Ana Paola. What a difference a continent makes. The PRs were polite, I went in without an invitation and sat in the first row. The audience was attractive, thin, elegant, and as Naomi walked on the catwalk huge whistles applauded her. Issa is completely different from the rest of the designers. She makes wearable clothes for her European and South American clientele. Think big boats, parties, beaches, Club 55, Rio, Sao Paolo, jungle prints, lipstick, red. Her generous goody bag deserves a huge thank you. I love cup cakes, delicious scents, little presents from Links, and a pretty T-shirt. Naomi looked divine in a beautiful shimmering silver swimsuit. No wonder my son Charlie loves her.

Later on, I bumped into her , where again a mobile should have been at hand. Bryan Ferry was singing for Phillip Green at the Ivy. The crowd talked and laughed all the way through. Wow! How did Naomi ever keep her cool?

BEETROOT BEATS THE SCALES


Trying to like green vegetables in all their purity again is proving a nightmare, my pretty Brazilian dietician, who is with me, tried to humour me by dying them red with a little beetroot - which sort of worked, and made eating pumpkin - the most evil of veggies in my mind - just about palatable. She decorated it so beautifully with chopped up mushrooms. This week I have coped because I have started to love pineapple. Anyway, this morning I jumped on the scales to find a little movement in the right direction. Yippee! But I still felt the need to hold on to the bathroom ledge.
Back to the fashion world this week, and with 25 years under its belt, London has something to celebrate. It is innovative. Quality is not always our plus, however, and as I walk through the halls, sometimes I want to cringe. Is this all we can muster with the super duper creative brains we have here in this country? There are exceptions, the tried and tested for example and - news spreading fast - the collection by Maia Norman (Damien Hirst's spouse). Then there was the brilliant Kinder show - according to Trinny Woodall - which I wanted to see but got stuck in traffic. Luckily, we have fabulous accessories which makes up for some of the more lacklustre exhbitors. Stephen Jones and Erickson and Beamon have been given centre stage this season. The room to the left at Somerset House, has their collections and as usual I want to buy everything of Vicki's. Stephen has a wonderful small top hat in black mesh. Hatter extraordinaire and wonderful cosy person, I always want to know him better. I looked through all my hats while I was preparing to move and hadn't realised how many I had of his. He always adds a twist and humour to his collection. His 25th year in the business means he is twins with Fashion Week. Vicky at Erickson and Beamon is the love of my life: after all, my assistant carefully packed up all of her collection thinking it was real, ready to put into Harrods safe deposit, as she thought it was so valuable. She is right. I do have emotional ties with E and B pieces, I love the way she matches and makes fashion, she is so very now. As I was leaving the first day, my eye was caught by some shoes by Beatrix Ong, a name often banded about. I tried to take a picture but they said no. She was keen on my magazine (Genlux) and had tried to get in it - well I will do my best. Her shoes are crazy in a comfortable walkable way. Unfortunately for me, they are mostly in beige, not a colour that is allowed in my wardrobe.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

TO DYE FOR


I am clearly on the B-list, as I only had five events to attend last night - so it was no trouble to take my friend to all of them. But boys, dye your hair black! Don't look grey, and like him, you'll get in everywhere. People think he's some groovy old rock star, but it's just Tim Willis. Which is okay by me, as he is the only person who can keep up with me. Actually, I have to say thank you to him, as he helped me move house - carrying 155 boxes of shoes down six flights of stairs and sorting out the massive collection of books that belonged to my late grandfather. Without Tim, these volumes would have ended up in the Sussex House School Fair and I wouldn't have known the exciting adventures my grandfather had. There were 150 on murder and 255 on the railways, plus an amazing collection about some people called Boswell and Johnson, who Tim says are very interesting, but mean nothing to me.

Anyway, back to the social whirl, Herve Leger was a five-minute affair, due to the bright lighting. (I am horrified by the illumination in shops, I really don't want to be seen.) Some dolly bird called Mischa was giving the party, in a gold clingy number, and good luck to her. In any case, I had to dash to meet Max Wigram for a show about paper, I think, or was it about video? (Again, the lights were too bright. Have I got to see everybody's pores and wrinkles?) Max was looking good, and success is written all over him, I think. Then off to my favoured galleriste David Gill, where the highlights included a sofa by Fredikson Stallard depicting the Pyrenees - its dramatic uneven surface being perfect for party lounging - and some fabulous jewellery by Luigi Scialanga, friend of the designer Giambattista Valle, glamourous as ever in his signature pearls.

Next, Top Shop. Wow! Sir Phillip Green actually said hello. His clothes are incredible, and incredibly good value. I especially loved the platforms by Christopher Kane, and can only recommend that you get down there, girls, and steer clear of Sloane Street. Finally, to the Blue bar, in Charlotte Street, to drink young blood. Naturally, we were nodded straight in, while the juveniles queued round the block. But then, it's all in the hair.

Monday, 14 September 2009

ANYTHING BELOW A COUNTESS IS FRIGHTFULLY COMMON


I forgot to tell you about the other night with Rick Owens, who had a party given by the glamourous Oscar Humphries (looking dashing, as if pursued by God). Oscar gave the genius designer, well known normally for his creations in wool and leather, his first furniture exhibition. I am easily impressed and would have bought his whole show had it not been for Nicky Haslam who diverted me with his glittering repartee. Who can ignore him? Flamboyantly dressed, magnificent, he makes old age the new youth. (Anyway, I am tired of youth they leave wet towels in he bathroom and stub cigarettes out in my orchids.) We got onto what was in and what was out, what was common and what was not. My son Charlie has busily been making charts of fantasy genealogy, of which Nicky is very much in favour. Giving yourself a title, he says, is not common- except in Belgium. Of course he is right.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

LIFE IN VENICE





Do you believe in ghosts and circles? Well I do.

I had wanted to go and somehow relive last September in Venice, and touch the past. You see, last year, while I was here, my mother had been rushed to hospital and had later died. As I entered the Cipriani I said to myself: 'Please show me somehow, Mummy, that there is somewhere else.' So I got to my room and - guess what - it was number 317, this was my mother's telephone number all her life - Woodborough 317. There are coincidences, of course. Nevertheless weird.

Anyway, tonight was a little mad, as I went round the whole of Venice by water taxi, starting with the exhibition at the Palazzo Fortuny. It was apparently the only thing worth seeing in the Biennale - and although it was put together creatively, I am a bit fed up with the meaning of life. I just try and live it. I have a fascination with the black hole, death etc, but I want to see some beautiful, well painted pictures. I am a trifle tired of contemporary art and the importance it is given. However, at least this show holds your interest. Well, sort of. It looks like the decorators' page in Casa Vogue. Of course it's pretty - but somehow empty. The public graves are a bore, too honest and too ordinary. I don't give a hoot who they are by.

Thank goodness artists before us created architectual beauty, because floating through the canals cannot be beaten. So I was happy to visit the Jewish Quarter, and later the Excelsior where the Film Festival Awards were taking place. I bumped into Michael Nyman, which is always a witty affair, and then caught up with Colin Firth who has brilliant reviews for his passionate portrayal in Tom Ford's A Single Man. Tom was as charming and attractive as ever, taking compliments graciously. Colin brushed up nicely. I am a member of his official fan club.

The evening was rounded off with a delicious dinner at Harry's Bar. My diet begins tomorrow.

Friday, 11 September 2009

GRANNY's WELCOME


Here I sit at the Cipriani in Venice, lapping up the sun and drinking virgin Bellini' by the lagoon, listening to the river boats chugging past. I am happy, why wouldn't I be? Late last night I received a heart rending tale of Trinny Woodall's life in some Leeds council estate, where she is helping some poor old dear turn her life around with the help of a new wardrobe from Primark. Hell's bells, what would I do in the same predicament? Can't we add some glamour to this woman's life and bring her out here, to lap up the luxury and see the Eurotrash? Surely she would be just happy if she could spend a day and a half with me, going to Tom Ford's film at night and hanging with Rick and Michele Owens and The Single Man's leading man Colin Firth? I would like a Granny with me - mine was terrific, but she unfortunately died in 1981. She was an incredible character, and taught me everything there was to know about the sybaritic life. Her name was Squirrel but she should have been called Mink (and she called me her funeral gnome, as I only wear black). She had a love of all things beautiful and over-the-top, but at the same time taught me that to have talent was of no use unless you were prepared to work hard at it. Beryl Gilliat was born in Bath on October 31st, Halloween, sometime around 1910. She was a formidable pianist, not pretty but possessed of incredible legs. My grandfather, Sidney Gilliat, said that although she looked like a horse, she looked like a nice horse. Stylish, she went to couturiers for her dresses - Jo Mattli, celebrated by Vogue, was her particular favourite - and one day, when asked where somebody in the family could buy something, she said: 'You can buy it everywhere, Harrods, Selfridges, Fortnums, everywhere.' Squirrel taught me how to lay a table, cook, play the piano, ppreciate music and clothes, and decorate. Fabulous flowers were everywhere, her garden then was one of the best I have ever seen. She could even have dared telling my lovely friend Trinny what not to wear.

Friday, 4 September 2009

LET ME SNIFF


I was having lunch one day in San Lorenzo's when Mara came up to me and said: "You know when you love somebody because you love their smell" I had never thought about it before, but realised that perhaps I had made a huge mistake. Unfortunately these alarming and clever words have stayed in my mind ever since. I now continually hunt for a man whose smell overwhelms me and throws me into a turmoil of passion. If they catch me sniffing and I like it they will know they are in trouble.
Last night was the launch party for Daphne Guinness' scent "Daphne" which, as I covered myself with this glorious bottom of the drawer of an aristocrat rose powder puff smell, reminded me of my childhood, when I snooped through my glamorous grandmother's silk pyjamas.
Daphne was here taking me on a different journey, she is a style instigator. This week she has already driven me to Paris, without her having a clue what influence she creates, solely for the purpose of buying wedgie ankle boots that I had seen in March on the catwalk of Olivier Theyskens, his brilliant last show for Nina Ricci. Boy, did they get that wrong when they hired him. He is much too hip and trendy for such an established and old world couture house. I love his clothes and own some of his first trousers still after ten years. After all he made the same ones for Madonna. Anyway I dashed of to buy a pair only to find there were just safety versions. Your hopes will be dashed if you want to buy any of his clothes, they looked very ordinary when Oliviers' show was extraordinary. Back to the ankle boots, Daphne was casually wearing them on an aeroplane journey from Los Angeles to London, and I had to buy them too. But sadly they are nowhere to be found.
So I will have to make do with her delicious scent, that I can still smell on me after a night on razzle.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

P.S THE LETTERS SAID I WAS A GOOD COOK, I DON'T REMEMBER


I have give the horrible task of throwing away letters to Charlie, my son. I would keep everything, and everything is important. Thousands came downstairs for me to check, and although I have no memory for anything useful, I recognized my friends hand writing immediately. Its funny we used to work so hard at perfecting a beautiful hand and I used to be congratulated on my writing. Nowadays I pick up a fountain pen and hardly recognize the scrawl I produce. I think I last wrote a letter two years ago. It is now the age of email and I am as prolific now as I was then. The only thing is the filing system is less messy and my heart doesn't jump as I pick up an old scented billet doux. I said to Charlie I would keep everything until I died, and that he would only have to do it then, so he quickly rushed upstairs and has emptied three trunks full of memories. Oh I feel so clean. The funny thing is that people were so good at writing, my friends told me everything in these letters. The gossip was hardly breath taking, it was all so banal. I was hardly the rebel I remember being. I wrote about flowers, food and horses. Those were the days. There was my ex with hair, and my ex with no hair, he gets better looking every day. There was my previous ex too, letters regarding his stag night. Newspaper articles, my Mother kissing me when I was a baby. Diaries full of writing. recipes, curtains bills, and bank statements all were thrown out. There were notes telling me I was a brilliant cook, good god, now that is a lie.