Friday, 30 October 2009

NOWHERE IS SOMEWHERE



Several years ago I did a book called British Artists at Work, with Italian Vogue and Assouline. I asked Sam Taylor Wood, to be part of 46 Artists I had chosen to represent their community. I asked her if I could photograph her and her studio. Luckily she said yes, and I met her and duly took photographs of her in the original White Cube. Much later I was taken by her then husband, Jay Jopling, to watch a short film she had made, about a Hare and a Peach and you can watch it on this blog. It has stuck in my memory ever since, and without giving the whole thing away, I often think about it. During this period she was in and out of hospitals, for cancer, but still she worked hard. Sam is in the enviable position that all she touches turns out to be a success.(This is Sam Taylor Wood runner up for the Turner Prize). Without thinking about it, Jay was clever, I was dubious looking back on it. I was not crazy about contemporary photographers, although I am one, and not at all sure about the point of short films. I liked the black and white photographers whose knowledge surpassed all the bright new comers from the art colleges.
My hat, however has to come off to her. With lightening speed she has climbed the difficult field of the art world and now the film world with her first film Nowhere Boy, a film about John Lennon's early life. This could have been a dodgy area to go into. Not only are the Beatles famous, but their early lives, so well documented. Sam cleverly dodged this with her very intelligent choice of giving the part of John Lennon to Aaron Johnson, who looked nothing like him. Clever because you forgot about your knowledge and allowed another story to take over. Aaron adds to the memory of John which makes you realise what a tough life he lived. It is a film for Mothers and their sons, and shows a love that surpasses anything else. Back to Sam, congratulations for ending the BFI London Film Festival and for making me understand the backbone of the Beatles, and for showing us all, to keep working at our dreams evan when we hit a brick wall.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

HAIRSPRAY THOSE LOCKS FOR ME, BELINDA CARLISLE









































Yesterday Belinda Carlisle asked me to watch her in Hairspray, a wonderful, uplifting musical in which she gave a great performance. From lying horizontal for a whole week I was taken in to the magic world of Baltimore in the early 1960's. A musical addressing the serious issues of racial segregation. Dressed in yellow and with a blonde curly wig I felt she looked like me, and wow is my pal agile. I am impressed, born the same day and year as Madonna, there is great similarity. At the beautiful Shaftesbury Theatre I was given a box. Belinda and I have many stories together, and the most fun was when she got trapped in a cage in Marrakech with me banging on a carpet man's door to let her out and then another when we went to the Hilltribes in Thailand, and watched the Grandmothers breastfeed. Go Belinda do it for me, tread those boards.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

VIDAL SASSOON


There are some people that give us all hope, hope for success, for health, style, happiness and a positive attitude. Vidal Sassoon has all these attributes. On Tuesday he received a CBE, and his friends were there to support him at a lunch. He has an incredible story and many interests. He was a Barnado Boy. When I was a little girl I loved this charity and I always wondered who went there, well both Vidal and Bruce Oldfield are successes from these homes set up for children. Vidal and Ronnie live between London and LA, and have a love of architecture owning a beautiful house by Neautres. He of course is world famous for hair, he is the master, for the cut wash and go. Elegant educated and interested in everything that goes on he is supported by the most delightful wife Ronnie. When in Los Angeles these two are the people I most wish to see. I own a house by the same architect as another house they own in Beverly Hills by Hal Levitt. Theirs of course has stunning furniture from the 60's. Nobody is more up to date than Vidal.

TOUCHED WITH DEATH


For the past four days I have been re writing my will in my head, I am sure I was near death, I could feel the rattle, the dry mouth, the hot cold feeling. I took a complete dislike to a friend who tried to help me, I am sure his pills were killing me. He was kind of creepy he gave the medicine rather like an undertaker, I am sure he was sizing me up for the right coffin. I did not dare not fall asleep in case he put pennies on my eyelids and closed my mouth, He was sinister. I know my room smells of old woman, an antique granny who wears pink cardigans in bed and pisses on a pad. My social life was on standstill, I just about managed to to get out of bed to have a very delicious dinner with Mr and Mrs Ivor Braka and their snake, who when I arrived was gorging on a pet white mouse. Apparently you can't frighten it or it will be sick. Anyway the snake reminded me of the sly man handing me out pills. He delivered them on a plate, and immediately afterwards I was unconscious. I am sure I had swine flu but in any case the pills took any of my energy. I still have to change my will, because there are people on it that I no longer like.
Getting back to Ivor he is planting some Elm Trees as there are so few left in Britain.
How I got the flu is obvious I decided to have a jab in order not to get it, instead I have been iller than ever before.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

I WILL I WILL NOT, I JUST WANT TO HEAR THE WORD YES


I have a new thing I am telling everybody that I am getting married to see their reactions. Of course I am not, it would be a very stupid idea, for a start I haven't found anybody yet, that could put up with me. The hectic life, the passion, the obsession with being tidy, the total need for freedom, a man who has a no more than a thirty two inch waist. It isn't exactly a lie because of course I have been asked, it's just that the person in question didn't think it through. When you know the beginning the middle and the end, how can you be in love the same way. He is a true romantic. I am not anymore, I was once. I don't want to be in any cage, let alone a golden one, with coffee brought to me in bed. Of course I might get dumped, that is fine too, I am not good at feeling bored and yet sometimes, like everyone,I enjoy being very boring. As I still search for the meaning of life, it is hardly the right moment to have a ring clamped on my finger. In fact last week I had two proposals, which considering I am not having a public affair is an amazing thing. I thank god that at nearly half a century people can still consider the very long walk up the aisle. In any case I think I have done my duty to marriage, altogether I did about 25 years ,which for a butterfly like me is a miracle. Originally I said yes because I wanted to have a party and a white dress, but later there were screaming matches, and I was throwing my first husbands clothes out of the window, my dress became so unimportant. I remember going to Tatters in the Fulham Road for a very pretty dress in pale cream chiffon, I went on a diet and lost one stone. By the wedding day I was so thin that I was unrecognizable and that was a problem. My first husband liked fatsos and here he was marrying a skinny fatso. What a boo boo I made.
The second time I got married I should have stayed married, as really I like him. I did throw the air conditioning unit on his head when I went to his office and saw a picture of his new girlfriend on his desk. Oh dear, will I ever be a good wife? I think I shall cut off my hair and become a Bride of Christ, then all my sins will hopefully be forgiven.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

BRIGHTSTAR KEATS


To open the film we had the pleasure of Boris Johnson, whose humour and knowledge of Keats was impressive but then he is well educated. So there is good education in small pockets of the British Isles, evan if they are very very exclusive. Back to Keats, the problem is not his talent but the shortness of his life. A life when you die in your 20's his hardly fulfilling although he wrote some of the most beautiful words in the English Language. Of course Byron's life was far more raunchy. In any case they the producers chose Keats, which was The Centrepiece Gala for BFI, London Film Festival, Bright star was directed my one of the best directors on the planet Jane Campion, born in New Zealand. The Piano was one of the most interesting films I have ever seen, if not gloomiest. Michael Nyman's score still goes round and round in my head. Bright star looked truly British, but we are so much more than a Jane Austen set or Yobos from the East End. The fact is that British Cinema nowadays seems to like cliche's. However this film has much to offer, it will bring back into our focus one of the best romantic poets, prove to us that we have the best costume department on the planet, and that we once ruled the world. We should also remember we love the pain of desire, unrequited love, to sing, clap and dance in the afternoons. Oh I forgot it has one of the most beautiful pieces of music Mozart's grand partita 3rd movement.

Monday, 19 October 2009

THE 44INCH COOL CROWD


The whole crowd was out for 44 inch Chest, part of the 53rd London Film Festival, starring Ray Winstone, Directed by Malcolm Venville, about a marriage left in violent tatters, John Hurt and Ian Mcshane, who stole the show, gave stoical performances. Of course the rough guys are not entirely my scene, but some of the dialogue is great, it should be on the stage. It had a Tarantino feel to it, and the early scenes are intriguing. Of course being a fan of Jane Austen, a film of this nature is in parts difficult for me, but great script and some interesting directing. I was happy to go and support Malcolm who is married to Daisy Baits, we were wearing identical clothes from Ann Demeulemeester, so as Daisy has immaculate taste I felt very trendy. Tim Noble and Sue Webster, Tracey Emin accompanied by her boyfriend Scott Douglas, the after party was as you can imagine very east end groovy, the actors and the artists.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

A WORLD WITHOUT SENTIMENT IS NOT A WORLD I WANT TO LIVE IN






Last Saturday, Issis Monteverdi and her husband opened up The Wellington Club for a party where we were under strict instructions to be ‘Villains’. The food was good and Issis looked exotic in a dress slashed up to her waist. But since then, what a week it has been: Fergie's birthday bash and Tatler’s 300th anniversary squeezed deliciously between Frieze, Zoo, and The London Film Festival – including the premiere of The Fantastic Mr Fox. Of course, one could bullshit and try to sound intellectual, but I want to make everything in my life as enjoyable as possible. So…

Frieze was a little disappointing. I went at the wrong time and the whole place was deserted. Morning people are just not as amusing and night people - especially rich girls in expensive dresses pretending they know a lot. I plan to go tomorrow, to get some feeling of what it should be. I want to see the rough and tumble of organized criminals, artists and galleristes, gossiping about the prices obtained in the latest sales. At Claridge’s, you can guarantee those sort of conversations. Just sit quietly and speak five languages, and between the laughter and nudges, you’ll get the truth.

Be careful however. When things become too establishment, they become sort of ordinary. Not so that naughty devil Damien Hirst, who showed his paintings at Wallace Collection, and brought out the true characteristics of the dealers. ("Dreadful paintings. Why show his art there?") But the truth is, he is so clever, he can do what he likes. I liked his blue series actually the best, I know

I am in the minority, he is slightly cheeky, comparing his blue period to Picasso’s, but so like him. Apparently, he managed to sell every one of the paintings for a million quid each - so again said "f...you" to the art establishment.

In another gallery, his wife Maia Norman sold me some hot pants with prints of butterflies by Matt Collishaw on their behind, and a shirt or two. And in yet another was a group exhibition starring Paul Fryer and Polly Morgan. Polly's work has gone huge now. She shows stuffed baby birds in coffins, and a flock of birds circling a cage suspended from a ceiling. Included in the exhibition was a ‘shrine’ to John the Baptist and Salome, Jesus Christ on an electric chair and a crucified great ape, so One Marylebone proved to be a great escape from the white washed corporate world. Meanwhile, round the corner in Portland Street was a small show for newcomers. The charming half-Balinese, half-English painter Karim Rabik, a great old friend, was finishing a painting ready for the opening that evening.

Next, I skipped off for the premiere of The Fantastic Mr Fox, an adaptation of the book by Roald Dahl, shown for the first time at the opening of the London Film Festival. Directed by Wes Anderson - with voices by Bill Murray, George Clooney and Meryl Streep – it had some charming moments, with music by Alexandre Desplat winner of many Globes and Bears.

At dinner beforehand, I had great seating opposite the saviour of Film Four, Tessa Ross. I knew she was clever, I could see it. If I tell you that she is the producer of Slumdog Millionaire, there is nothing more to say. An honour, Miss Ross.

Then - wow - today was the first showing of A Single Man, adapted from a book by Christopher Isherwood and directed by Tom Ford. This man is so very talented, and he's done it again. Colin Firth's portrayal was very realistic and meaningful, with some powerful insights into the gay life. It was very well directed, beautifully shot and also featured a great performance by Julianne Moore. (I want my hair done like that.)

So that brings me up to date in a rather flash way. It doesn't mention my diet or my new house. They are being dealt with. And me? I am off to Claridge’s to have drinks with some charming rebels…

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

TATLER IS TRULY BRITISH


The busiest week in London, I love October. Frieze, Fiac, Paris Fashion week and now TATLER's 300's Birthday. Last night we had dinner with Charles and Sidney Finch who are the owners of Finch's Quarterly. Earlier this year I mentioned that I loved their rag, but no more than I love Tatler. Tatler is an historical work of art. When I mentioned to Italian Casa Vogue's Editor, Carlo Ducci, some years ago, he said to me that it was Britain's greatest magazine. I feel the same. It gives us a comprehensive insight into the way the upper and middle classes have lived their lives for 300 years, and is better than any census. It shows the characters, the intellects, the politicians, the socialites through the ages, with humour and sensitivity. The editors have all been interesting too: Mark Boxer, Tina Brown, Jane Procter, Geordie Greig and now Catherine Ostler. With different ideas, making a marked presence on the coffee table. This magazine is read in hairdresser's, dentist's surgeries, on trains, the Eurostar, and in a rather Beano-like way we love it. Nobody admits its true impact on society, but I run to check who is in and out each month, not with a heaviness, but with a lightness. Come on, don't lie, we love to check and see if there is a good picture of us each month. The articles are equally fascinating and compete with anything in Vanity Fair; in fact they might be more fun. It is truly British, and that is why I love it - and even when I am not part of the scene, it still gives me the feeling I am. With newspapers going broke, and most magazines finding it difficult to find advertising, I congratulate all the past editors for keeping a coffee house gossip rag alive with style and a future.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

I realise now
I don't have to sleep
with someone in order
to own them or be
owned
Look at me
Do I make you want to
touch me
Then take me as I am
if you love me
Funny I cling on
to people who
don't love me
I am frightened by
certainties
and live in shadows
I am not lazy if I hurt
I carry on walking

SLOANE STREET IS MY CHARITY TOO.

How am I ever going to stop shopping? I love it. I adore clothes. Even when my cupboards are bursting and I have no more room, I get an idea into my head to have another black jacket, another pair of shorts, or a shirt or two or three. I just love everything I see, provided it's black. This week I fell in love with a long Chanel coat I bought four years ago. Then a friend said, 'You look so good in Chanel', out I go, and in three minutes I have bought a fabulous jacket with white ruffs, one of this season's passions. I also love Ann Demeulemeester, who is meant to dress intellectual women (Well, I have to like her, then.)
Heaven knows why I get these crushes, but I do. What is more, it takes seconds. I am very busy, but still - as we all do - I find a second to try on clothes. Last year, I decided to stop buying, so I imagined what happens to all the clothes if they were not bought: the huge recycle train, the plastic bags, the greed, the nouveau riche attitude to have have have and grab. So I wrote a diary, and was good for three months - until my friend Trinny said, 'You haven't bought anything for a while' - and off I went, worse than ever.
Yes, I am a shopaholic and I love it. I try to feel bad about it. I see all the poisons coming out of the fabrics, and then quickly justify to myself that I will look so much better in another pair of shorts. Last night was funny. Wearing yet again my velvet Top Shop Kate Moss hot pants, I was sitting next door to Andrea Delall who said that she was wearing a dress from there too and that I must ask their stylists to help. Yikes! I had already been there. I just love it.
I love culture too - the LSO, the BFI, The Woodland Trust - but Sloane Street is my main charity. My bank manager even teases me by saying how difficult must have been to leave Chester Square and be apart from my complete collection of shorts. My friends tease me and still it doesn't work.
Food, however, is another matter. Tomorrow I am going to try and diet on my own, but that is another problem area because I like a bun in the morning from Baker and Spice. It has to be the right one, so - in order to be healthy and ready for an operation on my gall bladder - I have to eat apples again. I did it two weeks ago but I was moving and made a huge mess of it. The pretty girls came and went and I sort of got thinner - six pounds thinner - so of course I went shopping again. Oh hell's bells, where is a meeting a shopaholic meeting? I need one immediately.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

KARL's PEARLs

"You have to be able to adapt in this modern world, to change, not the world to change for you, this would be too difficult". Karl Largerfeld has many pearls of wisdom

Thursday, 8 October 2009

UNDER THE GREENWOOD TREE, all for the sake of the WOODLAND TRUST





 I desperately need some sleep. However, the fact that England has fewer trees than almost anywhere in Europe, is disturbing enough for me to go to the Globe Theatre and socialise with the Woodland Trust. Last year, I went to Prince Charles' house and walked round his magical garden. This year I talked to Princess Beatrice who truly believes in this wonderful British charity. It costs very little to plant them and it is essential for many reasons that we do. The beauty of a tree is the least important and yet so important. The wild life it brings, the balance of eco systems and so on. For the sake of my children's children, our forests must be cherished. The Woodland Trust organised a stunning evening with Clive Anderson wittily keeping the whole thing alive, whilst Robert Bathurst created fun by asking us to thump the table in time to Shakespeare's "Under the Greenwood Tree". And lets not forget the brooding glamour of Sean Bean, voted the third sexiest man in England two years ago. How fortunate we all were, and let's pray that The Woodland Trust's aims are achieved. Thanks to the very generous support of Disney, Credit Suisse and others, the food was delicious, the decoration looked good, and we all had a ball.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

McQUEEN'S IN DEEP WATER




Back to Alexander McQueen. There are few people with as much imagination as this son of a taxi driver. I met a cabbie the other day, and as he drove me round, he told me the whole trade was very proud of him. My son Charles, who loved McQueen from an early age, would beg to help Guido with the hair in order to see what was going on behind the scenes. He did five shows, all wonderful, The Alien and The Chess Set among them.

Last night was no exception: deep water became the new earth, peopled by aliens, drowning and being drowned by more aliens. Greens, seaweeds, gold and jewels continued the theme of the mini, this time with outrageous platforms in snakeskin. Then there were puffball dresses, skinny leggings, fitted tops, and broad shoulders at least one foot taller than you are.

The models walked with dignity, slowly over the stage, in great magnificence - gone is the pony walk - and WOW!, I take my hat off to the workers who stayed up for several days crafting their fins. The makeup artists created pearl like skin, almost making the models look ill - yet the effect was successful, as Guido and his team proved once again that they are the best. I hope they snitched a fin or two for me.

Guido’s friends, too, are loyal beyond belief. Daphne Guinness looks more and more like an alien herself, with fake blue eyes and a huge stripe in her black hair, styled in a high bun. Forget pretty, it’s not in fashion. Here is the high priestess of clothes, telling us to be freaky, and I love it. (I shall not, however, be following her around to find where you buy fake eyes; the shoes - see previous blogs - were bad enough.) Meanwhile, Pam Hogg's hair was literally yellow, making me feel I should have taken my look further. In fact, the whole of McQueen’s inner circle has an alien aspect. How wonderful is that? Perhaps I shall get some pointy ears.

THE DUMB BLONDE HICK...Without LAGERFELD, GALLIANO and MCQUEEN The fashion world would be dead boring








Chanel this morning looked like being a struggle. First Snowden forgot his case full of magic to do my hair with, then it was pouring with rain; plus I was exhausted and wanted to curl up in bed for another hour. By now, everyone needs to be amused and, boy, did Karl understand that. The fashion world would be a sad, sorry place.without heroes like him, Galliano and McQueen. For a week I have been hearing from Snowden about the aliens, fish and water creatures being made for McQueen's show, so I will not be missing that.

But back to Chanel, whose PRs have excellent manners. (I was in the first row, so thank you.) Not so the mob. All those photographers and journalists, haggling and pushing, reminded me of a souk. Look, it's Julian Lennon! The love of celebrity is becoming a bore, but the readers cannot get enough. Swallow swallow, gulp.

So here are my impressions: superstars, cameras, mad models coming out of a haystack to the sound of a kitsch 'Chopsticks', puffed skirts, black lace on cream, cutie pie , summer pie, talking on mobiles, rock chicks, hicksville party boom boom boom, beautiful girls in high waisted jeans, narrow legs, long chiffon dresses over short like Dior, mini skirts, pretty pretty, and Lily Allen singing her number one hit, in a stunning silver and black dress, with sparkly shoes.

The show finished with a modern story of love gone wrong: an abandoned girl in a puffed white mini dress ,with a simple scarf on her head, returned to the haystack and her broken dream. And me? I wanted everything. Everything.

Then in the evening we went to Alexander Mcqueen, the best of the best, in impossible shoes he created a hit collection, creations swimming aliens, robots, with the use of videos, exotic hair pieces and very clever make up. Guido's team out did themselves proving that Alexander pushes himself to the limits. WOW more tomorrow.

Monday, 5 October 2009

THE STALKER

I must be so chic chic. Everywhere I go, I see Grace Codrington. How cool, the star of September Issue with her wonderful red hair, still loving fashion and food. Thank goodness. Anyway, she will soon think I am a stalker, as I have just spotted her again in Colette. I love the way they style everything in there, and if it wasn't so hot and they had larger sizes, I would be penniless.
It must sound like I am a terrible social climber. Wherever I go at the moment there is another "star", But at the Hemingway Bar at the Ritz, I only went for a late night mini burger and I saw Kate Moss. (Luckily, I was wearing the hot pants she had designed for Top Shop, covered with a Gucci Coat.) She was so elegant in a black bustier, taking snaps with an instant camera. Actually, the best thing of all today was watching a famous editor use a throwaway camera. I was wondering what she was going to do with the pictures - go down to Snappy Snaps? Everyone else's pictures are already out on the web.
But back to the Ritz. With Cate Blanchett and Stella McCartney there, how could I feel out of place? Easily. I bumped into the divine Elizabeth Saltzman, who asked me if I was going to Mario's. Mario's? I replied. Yes Mario, Mario Testino. I said I didn't know him, and Elizabeth smiled charmingly. Clearly no one one could possibly not have met him.

P.S

BE DIFFERENT BE BRAVE



Some shows you need to see are off the beaten track, and sometimes in any case I prefer this, it takes you through pretty courtyards, up unusual staircases, so because I didn't get an invitation to YSL, it left me time to rush off and see some smaller designers. Michel Klein I think is one of the best cutters in the business. So with a little time, I discover three or four adorable dresses. It was so relaxing eating a bun and choosing next years collection with a giggle and a cuddle, I advise you all to search for the smaller designers. At least not everybody will be wearing their dresses and you won't be a clone.

THE WIND OF GIVENCHY


GIVENCHY last night rushing through the streets of Paris after a huge lunch at my favourite Brasserie Lipp with one of the people I most love. David Collins brings a smile to my lips every time I see him. Architect, designer, and creator of the atmosphere of so many restaurants in London. I love his taste so much, and his quick wit is unsurpassed. So he has everything in fact. Talent wit and humour and he is evan brilliant at cards wow. I hate to name drop, but as no one else does, he is friends with Madonna, well almost everybody. I have never heard a bad word against him. Irish to the bone, he adores his family. I met him with another of my big loves, Alek Kershishian who did the famous documentary of Madonna " In bed with Madonna".

Now back to Givenchy. It was made all the more fun because of the commentary by Rushka Bergman. Of course she got to the front row, and I got a text, thanks to Karla Otta, but never mind. We both saw, I loved the chiffon over harem pants. Rushka thinks it will make me look fat. Okay okay they are not for me. There were pretty tops Russian hats, music girls and plenty of long thin legs. I suppose I am a Galliano/Mcqueen girl but there is a definite style here. Roughly fourty two gorgeous women and a lot of men in black suits looking like bouncers. Black painted hats, patent shiny leggings, fitted jackets over billowing shirts, in black and white. Nothing really new but I liked it. Of course you can go to my pal, Sir Phillip Green and buy the look for a tenth of the price, but think quality and I have a passion for expensive fabrics against my skin.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

SOME BOOKS DON'T NEED TO BE RE READ




Whilst walking through the Marais for a little culture on a Nuit Blanche, a flash of pink caught my eye,and I stumbled on Kinder Aggagini's showroom There he was, and I was so happy to see him, the British flag laid out on a table displaying copies of Hello! and The Herald Tribune, featuring photographs of Trinny Woodall looking elegant. I love his clothes and asked if I could buy them all. He was teasing me, saying that I owed the great seats at his London show to him and not his PRs. Still, he was busy and I had to dash to check out video art from Tel Aviv. It was a mixed bag, although I loved seeing one by Eyal Magnus, where a man was undressing himself over and over again. My friend, the very talented writer Tilla Rudell was doing the public relations for them, and it was a relief to talk to her about art instead of dresses; sometimes it is all too much. I needed dinner badly so met up with Jean Louis Sebagh at Brasserie Lipp. He was in a sparkly suit, suitable for Liberace, and we were in good company: next to Grace Codrington, and opposite my friends Josephine Hart and Maurice Saatchi who were on their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. I thought I might be a little tearful as Jean Louis had been a big love, and here he was introducing me to his new girlfriend. But I was okay. If love is like a book, then some don't need re-reading.

KINDER WAKES UP PARIS





K