off to see orla!

Just in case anyone's reading this in time: I'm heading to Oxford Street to meet Orla Kiely at UNIQLO for an exclusive interview. I'm the only blogger doing this apparently - got friends in from California, trying to keep things simple while juggling everyone's schedules - it's all good.

Typing this in haste but I wanted to give you a head's up: you can meet her from 12:30 - 1:00, UNIQLO, flagship shop, 311 Oxford Street: customers will receive a posy of flowers when they buy two items from the collection. Which comes packaged in limited edition Orla Kiely tote bags. I can't wait: I'm a huge fan.

I caught this shot of her the first time I met her - LFW Sept 2009. Enough chit chat, sorry, must dash.



Yesterday I had the privilege to be invited to a press preview of the British Design 1948-2012 show, opening this Saturday at the V&A. If you click below, you can have the full experience, as this section of the show played music from that time:

All set? Great.

This is just one of several HUNDRED items in the show - at this rate, I will be devoting my blog to it all year (provided I post once a day). This was one of David Bowie's stage costumes, designed by the Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto (whose recent show I also had the privilege of seeing - at the V&A!). Bowie had commissioned Kansai to create the wardrobe for his Ziggy Stardust character. Kansai had - admiringly - described Bowie at the time as 'neither man nor woman.'

He was, in fact, such an icon, that when I saw his first show - in college, with a group of friends - I remember some cute guys from school driving us in a van across the border to Canada, very thrilling! - and so psyched we were - in the mid/late 70s, this was - to be seeing Bowie live, that even I had my most glittery glam outfit on (always the Virgo, it was a simple, fitted, long sleeved plain glitter tee: as minimalist as you could get back then).

But that's the thing about being an icon: you've always got to be moving forward. David Jones, aka Bowie, played that night to an audience of kids all glam rocked to the hilt - in a soft, grey, vintage suit. Ziggy Stardust was gone. It was the dawn of the Thin White Duke.

Some other versions of the song, for your viewing pleasure. And a rare find of the original video of Space Oddity.

BRITISH DESIGN 1948-2012: INNOVATION IN THE MODERN AGE at the V&A opens this Saturday, March 31. Thank you, Charlotte, for inviting me: it's a wonderful show, and I can't wait to come back.


the cat's pyjamas

First: it is glorious here in London. Unbelievable. We went SWIMMING - outdoors - this weekend, in Surrey. Or rather, I did. He lounged in the sun, like a cat.

Sod's law: lately when I'm out, deliberately not bringing my camera, just enjoying real life, but the sunshine, and the way people are dressing.. it's really hard to shut fashion off. Don't you find? Like last Monday - week before last - I was walking home from Jak's (Walton St: it's like Ground Zero for style - I've been meeting friends there a lot again lately - it's ridiculous, the ratio of great looks beats fashion week, because they're not trying so hard) and I passed Joseph. My favourite shop. I love the staff, and they've got the best of everything, in a clean, easily accessible environment.

And there in the window: these pyjamas.

I shot them with my phone, and thought that would be the end of it. But, no: all week it's been nagging at me. Who made them? Will we really see them on the street? (I gather there were a bunch at fashion week - but that's like Halloween. That doesn't count). And then I started thinking of my own white on white stripey pyjamas. Made by The White Company. Cameron Diaz wore them several seasons ago, in the film Holiday - at the start, in LA, when she storms out of her house being all cute and breaking up with her boyfriend (and, incongruously, wearing a bra under them. As if 'I'm gonna break up with you, honey, and storm outside, but first, hold on, let me put on my bra'). At that moment, I became obsessed. I had to have them, but the White Company had stopped making them. But - bizarre twist of fate!- I found the perfect pair, on eBay. This was pre-blog, of course, and I hadn't used eBay before, and I blew it. I bid too soon, and someone named Mr. Millionaire outbid me.

But then in a SECOND twist of fate, a few days later, the same pair were re-released. By Mr. Millionaire himself! I had a whole story in my head: he bought them as a gift for his girlfriend, but they were the wrong size... no, they broke up.. and he put them back on. And I got them! At a lower price than he bought them at.

So yesterday, I was passing Joseph again, and I stopped inside. Took a look around, loved everything I saw. Asked after the PJ's in the window - because I didn't see them on the racks. 'It's Celine,' smiled the lovely saleswoman. (Of course: EVERYONE knows that. This just shows you how consciously out of the fashion loop I've been for the past months - perhaps always.) I've since quickly got up to speed, and I'm very impressed with how Phoebe Philo oozed quiet confidence in Paris this season. But then again: I've been impressed with everything Phoebe has done, from the start - when she first teamed with Stella. 'They're sold out,' she said, 'but we can take them down for you, if you'd like to try them on.'

I thanked her, but declined. I've got my own, in white on white. I'm daring myself to wear them out on the street. I guess the secret is, you have to wear them with great heels, otherwise people will assume you're breaking up with your boyfriend. Incidentally, I found a similar pair on eBay - Saville Row, in blue and white stripes - sixteen days to go. I mean - I hate trends, I really do - it annoys me, in fact, when things I always wear become trendy - like pastels, my wardrobe year round is pastels, and now I feel I have to justify and apologise - but that's for another post. What I'm wondering now is, is anyone out there, in the real world, wearing their PJs on the street?



The sincerest form of flattery.

When I did this series, in January 2009, I hadn't heard of the Sartorialist, didn't follow blogs, just knew Bill Cunningham's series in the Sunday New York Times Style section, which I'd been following all my life, it felt. I didn't know anything about him - I didn't even realise that it was one person doing this - that it was his own unique vision. It wasn't about his personality: he was not a star.

He was not a blogger. And neither was I.

Having the privilege to see a sneak preview of Bill Cunningham New York, the film of his life, made me realise that I had, when I embarked on my own personal journey three years ago, stepped into his shoes, his world. It feels profoundly spiritual, and sad, for me, because I can't be Bill. I threw myself into this with a passion that I can't sustain. The director and producer of the segment of the Culture Show (BBC) told me - when she called to ask about my experience - that he 'lives like a monk.' I am in awe of someone who can devote their life to their passion. And it was a passion for me, for a while. And then it became something else: it became about friendships - and frenemies, and fashion weeks and press days, and all the dark side that came with the blind ambition of some of the bloggers I came to know. And that's not what I set out to do.

So I tip my hat to Bill Cunningham, for rising above, and continuing to rise, weightless.

Bill Cunningham New York: click here for film screenings and information.



On this, the day of the UK launch for the brilliant documentary on Bill Cunningham: Bill Cunningham New York - I thought I'd go back to my blog's infancy. On three years ago today, just around the Ides of March (another great film, btw), I posted this shot ('it's a bird'). I remember she didn't speak English - possibly French, she was very shy - so I didn't eve catch her name. And then this pigeon flew into the shot! That's when I was shooting in film, and only took one or two shots: I loved the serendipity of the moment. The accidents that happen.

I'm interested in seeing what holds up, over time. That's the distinction, for me, between following a trend and simply having a good sense of style. And I know that, like Bill, I am not an arbitrator of style (??), nor am I an industry insider, thank God! I'm just reporting the facts, ma'am, so please don't shoot the messenger.

There is so much in the film that I love, but especially, the idea that Bill knows he can't go out to chase a trend: the street talks to him, the trends reveal themselves. That's exactly my experience. It's a question of keeping one's eyes open, stilling one's mind, and carrying a camera. It's that simple. No, I take that back: it's simple, but it's also all consuming, and even doing it for a few years.. to spend a lifetime doing this, with the energy he does, is awe inspiring.

Those of you who know me know that Bill is the reason I started my blog. So I will be doing an homage to him over the next few weeks. I realise this is only a big deal in the UK: apparently America saw the film - was it a year ago? More? - and I don't know about other countries. But if you want to see cinema listings, go to: BILL CUNNINGHAM NEW YORK. Very moving film: I'm tearing up just thinking about it.


somewhere in connecticut

I forget that my friend Daniel was once, in another life, my boss. I was a freelance graphic designer in NY, and he was an art director. This was back before cell phones. One Monday morning, the phone rang in the ad agency in which we worked. 'Hi Darling,' Daniel said in his melodious voice, looking at the clock because it was like, 10:45 a.m., and we had deadlines looming. 'Where are you?'

'Uh, somewhere in Connecticut,' I replied, from a pay phone on the side of the road. I forget the reason that we couldn't get down to the city in time for work, but you see, we had been at Mike's house for the weekend.. this might have been that weekend. We did a series on his pond: me and my beautiful friend Joseph Keller: it was his vision, this series. And over time, that became an expression, for Daniel and I: to be 'somewhere in Connecticut' means one could be.. ANYWHERE.

We've found each other again, and besides still being such a gorgeous specimen of a human being, he's also an incredibly talented photographer. When he called while we were in Florida, HIS voice - also delightfully melodious, with essences of corn fed Mid West blonde and high notes of smiles - brought me right back to that time in my life. We have a lot to catch up on. Keep an eye out for his site: Joseph Keller Photography.


axis of light

Home from Florida, where it was so lovely for a few weeks of swimming, sunshine, and, on the one overcast slightly rainy day, with husband and mother, a walk through Green Cay (where I took these photos).

Sleepy still, and probably jet lagged, and trying to nip a bug in the bud, but I keep thinking about my good dear friend Pia Getty, and her film, AXIS OF LIGHT. And how surreal her life is, and her world, and how she doesn't have to do this: make films about artists around the world (her first takes place in China, and Axis of Light focuses on eight middle eastern artists).

It is such a beautiful film. I want to help her to get it seen by as many people as possible. It is an important film. Especially now, as I think of the good people of Syria, and pray that the forces of good in this world can save them. As I think of Maria Colvin, and late last night, watching her colleague and friend, Paul Conroy, speak of her courage and her humanity. And how irrelevant it feels, fashion weeks (I chose this season to skip out on the whole thing, and I don't regret my choice) and how my friend Pia could spend all her time flying around to fashion weeks, or buying shoes, (altho she does, let's face it, have some great shoes), and instead - besides being a wonderful mother of four, and having such a rich, full social life - she chooses to focus on WHAT MATTERS.

And I can't really speak what I feel, what's in my heart - my brain doesn't seem to work - but I feel so grateful, so so grateful: for my life, for the love and friendship of my friends and family. I had the privilege of riding with Pia to her London premiere of the film, at Christies, and it will have its world premiere at the end of the month.

It seems that most of my time these past few weeks, swimming, quieting my mind, has been caught up in images of water, of nature, reflections of light. This isn't even what I meant to say, or show - I seem to have lost the ability to articulate, and the more I type, the more inarticulate I feel - but I guess I have the rest of my life to strive for better ways to express what I see and what I feel. What I mostly feel now is love, and light. And an overwhelming sense that we are all connected. And what we do, or don't do, MATTERS.

More about Axis of Light: www.piagettyfilms.com