boats against the current: my fashion forward crystal ball

'So much for your global warming', says my husband, Mr. Dot.

He was a good sport about driving to Surrey to swim at the outdoor heated pool, but when we got there, at 11:00 (having had a lovely chat with one of my closest friends, Natayla, editor of 'it's fashion week'), it was really cold. I mean, I could have done it like on Saturday, but then I paid the price on Sunday. We just turned around, went for a drive, found a BRILLIANT pub for lunch (The Old Bear, in Cobham), as good or better than the one on Saturday (called, coincidentally, The Bear - more like the New Bear, in Oxshott).

Then we drove home, sleepy as Dorothy in the Poppy Fields. We are determined, in principle, not to turn the heat on in August, so stayed alive instead via hot cups of P.G. Tips. And as I almost dozed in front of the TV, shivering under my first birthday present from the future Mr. Dot (a thick white terry robe from Abercrombie & Fitch), I stumbled on a fabulously naff British film from 1960, The Time Machine, based on an H.G. Wells story. When it got to the part where they were in the 'future' - 1966 - what got me, besides the hilarious 'special effects' as the world ended with a lot of paint and model cars and screaming, was how they envisioned the future, style wise.

I mean, it hit me: they had no concept, in 1960, of the Beatles with their little suits and ties. No Twiggy, or Courreges, or Mary Quant, no mini skirts, or Biba.. NOTHING. The people were dressed just like they were in 1960, men in suits and hats and women in shirtwaist dresses to their knees, running and screaming. Oh and of course, the obligatory man in a tin foil jumpsuit.

So I pose to you: how do you see the future, fashion wise, in 2020? Or for that matter, simply this fall?

I've been trying to console myself this week, letting go of summer and trying to look forward to fall. Pulling from my past, from the clothes I've already got, honing my style, composing combinations in my head in the same way I like to play around with foods I love. The magazines are no help: the Sunday Times Style section tell us it's Fifties - or is Eighties? And we've got the Boho (Seventies) to look forward to - which is actually backwards. Other experts tell us it's Sixties again! (Hooray. I've always loved the Sixties). I'm sure we'd be channeling the Nineties, if anyone could figure out what people actually wore that decade.

It almost makes me wonder if The Industry, this season, hasn't a clue, and is looking to us to tell us what the trends will be.

I mean, let's see, we've got lace, especially in unexpected combination with more masculine materials. And boots, we've got boots. We've got black: how new! And aviator leather jackets lined with shearling, as every designer AND high street have their version. Chris Bailey @ Burberry has already moved on to pea jackets (which I love, too) and of course, everything will be in camel, the Colour Formerly Known as Tan. (I must say, I love the 'rebranding' of a colour: when beige became nude, we somehow saw it in a new light. I've always worn tan, so calling it camel works for me! And while some insiders swear camel will feel 'new' with red, I keep remembering Natalie in camel and hot pink last fashion week, a combo I've always worn anyway, and will, in the future. Apart from shoes, I'm just wondering: is anything in the fashion world new these days?

Self portraits shot in Joshua Tree, California, before many of you were born. Rust suede jacket, my father's, which I still have, and love, and will continue to wear, shot on David, my ex's, ranch in New Mexico (he's still a friend to both of us). That black fine ribbed knit mini dress, I have no idea who made it, but I still have it.

So, how do you see the future? I keep thinking of that magnificent last paragraph in The Great Gatsby: about being ceaselessly borne back into the past. Or something like that. Ah! Here it is, in my dusty old vintage copy, with the rose pink cover:

'Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter- tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther... And one fine morning ---

So we beat on, boats against the current, born back ceaselessly into the past.'

See you at fashion week. What are you wearing?


the story of max

What I am about to tell you is in a way, a fairy tale. It is also a true story.

I was meaning to do this post since before I left for holiday, in early July, which is when I started getting comments on a post from last JANUARY where someone said 'this is my boyfriend'.

Turns out, last January, when I was doing a favour for a friend way across town, during the worst (or best) snow London has seen since we moved here, I met this guy @ the Belsize Park Tube station ('I'm a lumber jack, and I'm okay'). (Best to just click on the story, rather than repeat it).

What I didn't know at the time, was why 'Jack' was acting so pissy: he was waiting for his friend, who was late, to go play in the snow on Hampstead Heath. Turned out to be a lucky thing, cause that meant that his arrival on the Heath coincided with when Catrin, and her friends, also turning up to play in the snow. In her words:

"..I threw snowballs at him because I thought he was dressed nicely and I liked it! I was looking through his wallet today and found your card and persuaded him to have a look. Unfortunately it was not love at first sight, and we only got together a month or so later, but the story of a random woman who took his photo was definitely a useful conversation starter, so thanks for that!"

Turns out his name is not Jack, but MAX. And this is them: Max and Catrin.

Max was the name of our childhood car: the Blue Max. He was a 1964 Ford Fairline station wagon, 'the colour of sky', pale perfect blue, and I loved him like the family pet. I wrote and illustrated a children's story about him, titled 'The Story of Max', and he's been in my life in one form or another all my life. I have done endless stories, conceptual art projects, ideas for films.. it has just become like a recurring dream in my life. I see 'signs' everywhere that Max Lives (even this summer, several times, but that's for another post).

In fact, while we were in Tranquility, my brother - who didn't know we were in New Jersey - also drove there for the day, to see a breeder of a rare breed of cat, like the one he had, to surprise his daughter, Scarlett. This cat is the bluest kitten I've ever seen. She didn't know about my story (or maybe, because we are so connected, on some level, she did), but she decided to name him Max. Short for Maximum. The idea being, that he'd start out as Minimum. Altho we're already calling him Max. (She took this shot of me with him @ the summer house).

What does this have to do with the two people in these photos, you might ask. Well, the girls name is CATRIN (my family name is CARIN). The boy's name is MAX. So it's Max, and Cat. Altho, in my story, MAX was a CAR.

I found this out just before I left for a month of holidays, and Catrin and I were in touch. I wanted to do a photo shoot, maybe with her wearing Max's hoodie and jacket, a kind of fashion street shoot. We made a plan to talk when I was back, and I asked her to hound me in case I forgot. She assured me she's definitely the hounding type. (She sounds delightful, by the way).

Then, in the last 24 hours I started thinking, hey, I forgot to do that post about Max. Then woke this morning and just like in the fairy tale, when Rumplestilskin comes to claim the newborn child (or whatever), sure enough, there was an email from Catrin, asking if I could send her the shot.

And then, tonight, I went to net-a-porter to see what's new, and what should I see on the first page, but this:

By Alice + Olivia: the Ryan checked mohair-blend coat, for £475. I've already asked Catrin to do a shoot wearing Max's layered ensemble: the checked jacket over the hoodie. I mean, I asked her BEFORE I saw these shots on net-a-porter. I thought it would be the quintessential 'boyfriend jacket'. Literally.

Oh and by the way, this is the original shot from last January. Max, the Lumber Jack, waiting for his friend. Who was late. Which made it possible to cross the path of his future love, Catrin. Who threw snowballs at him. And now they are living happily ever after.

Don't you just love a happy ending?


sun's out

Going swimming!


private eye

Ever since I took this shot of my friend Maria on Monday, I've been thinking a lot about what I want to say in this post, on the subject of privacy. Having just finished an interesting article in today's Evening Standard section ('Blog and be damned' - it's not online yet) I'm compelled to write. Even if it's not succinct. Even if everyone is away and no one will read it.

I've been friends with Maria and her lovely sister, Lizzy, for a while now. I had met with them that morning in Knightsbridge, and after saying goodbye, had walked home, passed Joseph, took these shots, and was passing South Ken Tube station when I saw a free newspaper discarded on the ground. I was just picking it up, checking there wasn't anything yucky on it, laughing to myself at what a bag lady I am, when who should I hear calling out 'Jill! Jill!' in their lilting Parisian accents, but my sweet friends.

You might remember my brother's a musician. My mom commended me for not saying who he works with. I wish I could post some really beautiful shots of my mother, brother, sister, nieces, but they'd rather I don't. (Actually, one of my nieces would LOVE if I posted on her - the other, my sister's daughter.. I bet she would, too. Even tho, like my sister, she's quite modest by nature. Of course, as neither of my siblings read my blog, there's little chance they'd find out - but my mother reads it, and I'm so grateful for the way she shows her support, by taking the time to read it. I love her so much, and miss her so much it hurts).

The thing is, some people I love very much choose to be private. (Mr. Dot, for example). It's ironic that my brother's work means performing in front of huge crowds and yet his isn't a household name, but he told me long ago that's the way he likes it. It gives him more creative freedom. It gives him freedom, period. He compared, at the time, Peter Gabriel to Michael Jackson. He said that Peter can do what he likes musically because he's got less fans, less people making money off him. At the time, MJ was alive and well and still young, but even then, his life was not his own. Fame, for some sensitive, creative souls, can be fatal.

Ironically, when I tried to find the piece to show you, I found this piece in the Guardian instead, and it's still an important read. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this subject.

The piece in the Evening Standard gave a guide to the players in the blog world. I've met many of them. I am not on the list, and I am glad. Bryan Boy said 'you just have to make your voice heard and from there it's those who have a point of view that will stand out'. For one thing, I don't have a point of view: it changes all the time.

And I don't want to stand out. Altho I'm quite chatty, I'm actually rather shy. I do the self style shots mainly to encourage others not to worry about their imperfections. That's why I've posted myself in a swimsuit. I hope it will help us get past those unrealistic goals of being more thin, more perfect, less wrinkled, more curvy, whatever. I suppose I post the self style shots to challenge myself to overcome my inherent shyness. It's like I'm saying to myself, 'I dare you.' Every time.

My friendships with Maria and Lizzy grew out of admiration and identity and being drawn to their warmth, gentleness, intelligence, and something beautiful that shines from within. At some point, Lizzy and I realised we both had a blog. Hers is on Finch's Quarterly, and it's wonderful, and it's called The Princess Diaries. I thought that was cute because, like her sister, she is SO unprincessy. Who knew: turns out, she is. They both are.

We never talk about it. It has nothing to do with why I like them. Lizzy writes beautifully, and Maria has just done a degree in painting, and I"m looking forward to going to her private view and seeing her work. I grew up on Long Island, I've known my share of 'princesses'. These two are nothing like that.

This is definitely the longest post I've written, and it might sound all over the shop, but I there's a certain freedom in knowing that no one is reading this because you're all away somewhere. I guess what I've come to realise is, thanks to facebook, twitter, and blogs, we can all give away as much privacy as we want. We can all be stars in the film we call our lives. Some of us can post shots of ourselves every day. Other brilliant bloggers, like The Photodiarist.. I don't even know her real name, altho we've been known to email each other privately. I just call her PD, and I've never seen her face. We can reveal as much, or as little, as we want about ourselves.

I feel that as long as we respect each others' varying, individual needs for privacy, we'll be fine. Often the people the most in the public eye - people like Jacqueline Kennedy - are the most private people.

Minutes after I took this shot - that's Lizzy reflected in Maria's glasses - we kissed goodbye, and off they went. Not in a carriage, or even a pumpkin. They took the Tube.

are you forgetting the ruby slippers?

First, thank you for your sweet comments. I just finished The Help last night and I'm on a roll about amazing women and the strength we get from our friendships (and, conversely, how painful when we're friends with the wrong women). I just can't get over how supportive everyone is with each other. We have our real lives, and sometimes, if it works geographically, our blog friends are also our real friends, but also to have this rich inner life.. I love it. I also love this scene:

We all need more friends like Glenda, the Good Witch. And less of the Wicked Witch.

So I met a new lovely woman the other day - Andrea. Short blond hair, cute, great style - and then I saw her shoes! They're an Italian brand. I'm so glad - as is she - that the classic pump is back in business. For me, it never left. You can make it the accent, the jewel, like Andrea did, with a pair of skinny jeans.. there is nothing better, in terms of power, than a woman showing up to a business meeting in these kind of heels. Whenever Kate Hepburn had to go head to head with studio execs, she wore her highest heels and towered above them. More like head to chest. It's a highly effective power play.

You have probably noticed, I'm not keen on red EXCEPT for these kind of iconic red shoes. I have a pair, they're patent, I bought them in an East Village vintage shop right after college when I lived in NY. Wore them once, to a club, couldn't dance in them, kicked them off, danced barefoot, met my then boyfriend, and later, when it was time to leave, had kind of a Cinderella moment (eventually found them UNDER a couple, snogging on a pile of coats, like the Princess and the Pea. My shoes being the peas. Oh never mind).

That was the only time I wore them. They then became an entity in their own right: I started carrying them on trips to exotic places, shooting them in various settings.. started writing a film about them.. (and yet, I've never seen the Red Shoes, how weird is that).

Thank you also - you know who you are - for sending images and stories of 'home'. I'll be posting on that soon, too. Oh speaking of home away from home: Andrea is going to my other virtual home, Italy - Rome and Sardinia, to be specific - for holiday. If anyone has any tips for either place, please let me know and I'll pass it onto her.

It's funny, when I looked for something on the Ruby Slippers, I forgot all about this scene:

Have a lovely Bank Holiday Weekend, dear friends, and remember, there's no place like home.


pale indigo & p.g. tips

It is really cold here in London, cold and dark and wintry and raining. We were going to go camping to a really beautiful part of Cornwall, near St. Ives, but we're scrapping that plan. My Old Man, Mr. D, just said 'there's nothing better than drinking a cup of tea when it's raining' and I realised, he really, really doesn't feel about swimming and summer like I do.

Someone actually sent me an Anonymous comment - I've just come across it - a few weeks ago, she (or he, more likely a she) was pissed off that google had sent her to my blog for street style, and I'd let her down. I'd have offered her money back except I didn't know how to reach her.

The truth is: I'm just not feeling it on the streets at the moment. EVERYONE is away and if they're not, they're just trying not to catch pneumonia. I was actually stranded in a Cafe Nero today, Mr. D, bless his cotton socks, arrived with a waterproof hooded mac. Now THAT's love.

Actually, why I am writing all this? There's no one to read it - you're all off, no doubt, in sunny climes. This is one of the few shots I got since I'm back, when we were going to see a GREAT French film (Heartbreaker: seriously, don't miss it). She was outside Sophie's on Fulham Road, I didn't ask this girl's name or where she got her top, I just like that blue. I love those kind of colours against lush dark backgrounds. That's really all I've got to say, I promise there will be more style WHEN I FIND SOME. Meanwhile, it's back to my P.G Tips.


jenny jen, in the zone

Or, JJ, my friend. Jenny Jen, who is so much younger than me, and yet, oh so wise. She got the name cause she calls me Jilly Jill.

Jenny Jen, aka the Style Crusader, is one person who is not lounging round a pool at the moment, sipping pink drinks. She is working on her Dissertation, and she (& her husband, Dr. Crusader), can't go anywhere til she's done.

She's just finished part one. Please click here for her blog and wish her congratulations from me. I know she told me where she got the clothes in this shot but it was in July and I'm totally blanking. There's more to this story but I'll save it for the morning.

Stay in the Zone, JJ! You're nearly there!! xo


deep greens and blues are the colours i choose

Found this amazing lush place, in the rain, on the grounds of Cowdry Castle, in West Sussex, on Sunday. We were planning to give Shini a hand bringing her clothes to the blogger's car boot sale, and her phone went dead on Saturday and meanwhile we thought we were doing a favour for our friend's new younger wife, while he was in Norway lecturing for a month. Shini was completely gracious about having to switch gears and lug it all onto the Tube. So we took off @ 9:30 a.m. only to find out, just as we neared Brighton, she cancelled on us.

Hence us stumbling on this amazing place.

Shot myself in the window of Joseph, yesterday, in an old dress I've saved that was my mother's. I never wear it but I love the fabric. Wore it with my old black brogues from Barney's, NY, some black cotton ankle socks, one shoulder bag (brown leather) is Coach, the cotton turquoise bag which I carry everywhere (it's perfect for my camera, long as I keep it in a zip lock bag so I don't spill water on it) is from Accessorise. Oh and the cardigan is Massimo Dutti.

Was going to ask Mr. Dude to do a proper photo shoot, not just a quick shot in the middle of the street while being run over by black taxi cabs, but he said 'I didn't want to hurt your feelings, but I don't think it's your best look, Jill.' Felt this was too big & baggy, prefers me in cleaner, more fitted stuff. What do you think? I like both, these days.

For those of my blog friends like Roz, or Jazmine, I don't expect you to get the reference to this post's title. The song was recorded well before you were a twinkling in your mama and your papa's eyes. It's the cover song to the all time great album, Sweet Baby James, by James Taylor. My own sweet friend in NY, Lisa, or the original Polka Dot, reminded me of this line in her comment for the last post. I haven't got the song out of my head, since.

What I didn't realise at the time - which he mentions in another lesser known, earlier version, shown here - is that he wrote it as a lullabye for his nephew, who was also called James. Now it all makes sense.

"There's a song that they sing when they take to the highway, a song that they sing when they take to the sea. A song that they sing of their home in the sky, maybe you can believe it if it helps you to sleep, but you know singing seems to work fine for me."

I mean, beat THOSE lyrics with a stick!


still waters run deep

You know those tests that used to go around in emails, or somewhere.. you know what I mean, the type where you have to choose 'beach' or 'lake'? I'd have the hardest time deciding. I love them both, and both produce such different colours.

But I must say, there is an aspect of summer that pulls at me even more than the beach, and that's that deep, deep mystery of places that have lakes, rivers, deep forests.. memories of summer camp, of that heady mix of nature, the unknown, unknowable world of boys: cute boys, those wild, untamed creatures, so unlike us, who played sports well and moved with such swagger, and lived in the bunks way across the lake. During the day, they pretended they didn't know us, but at night, in the dark, they'd steal across campus and 'raid' the girls' bunks, waking us in the night with a kiss. Then steal back to the other side of the lake.

Ah, yes, the lake. All the mystery in the world can be found in a summer lake.

I've been wanting to do this post for a while, even before I saw Jen's lush shots of her husband & photographer, Dr. Crusader, aka Freddy ('the man behind the camera'). I know this is going to have to be part of a series of posts, because I am obsessed not just with a colour scheme right now, but textures: forest green, soft brown leather and fur, purples and clarets and all kinds of blues, indigo and deepest midnight and the bright pop of a little neon green and even turquoise. Maybe it's just because it's so cold and wet, that I can't even think of wearing the shades of white and palest faded pastels that I was wearing on holiday. Or maybe it's just the memory of the one consolation to summer ending: that back-to-school frisson of excitement about winter clothes. Burgundy jumpers. Dark green corduroy.

Whatever the reasons, I'm starting to wear those colours now. I find myself making combinations in my head: I'm in a world of clarets and navys and deep, deep greens. I was flipping thru old photos to try to find examples of what I mean, but I haven't seen much in the past year that looks like what I plan to wear, what I expect to see (I just read today something about Stella McCartney and a forest green blouse: that's the girl!)

These from my first photo shoot, last October, with Georgie and Estelle, in Regent's Park. The other photos are from our wonderful friends' Jim and Maryann's mill house, in Tranquility, NJ, and some - like Annie's shoulder in the rain- from the Dominican Republic.

Which are you today: deep dark lake, or sunny sandy sea?


handle with care

While looking for photos of Barcelona, I stumbled upon this shot of my brother, Jon, taken a lifetime ago.

I don't remember why we were in a studio. I think we took it with my camera, on timer. He might be out @ my mom's beach house this weekend, with my BFF and niece, Scarlett. Talk about hotel rooms: he's a musician and spends much of his life on tour, in gorgeous hotels. He's also a great photographer. I wish he could do a book, call it Airports I Have Known (he's been around the world countless times, but mostly sees backstage or is up in the air), but because he works with some pretty high profile people, he respects their privacy. And I respect his.

Looking back at this shot.. I remember that belt so well. The most buttery soft leather, with a silver buckle like a piece of jewelry. It was a real Fendi, that I bought full price with my own money, in the Fendi shop in Florence, or perhaps, Rome. The logo was stamped in the silver. I loved that belt. It's been driving me mad, at times: I can't find it anywhere in London. I know I wouldn't have given it away. I always wonder if it's in that storage unit that was moved to some remote part of England, that we haven't cracked into in 13 years. I wonder if it feels abandoned, sitting there with assorted stuff, day after lonely day. I wonder if it's given up all hope. I hope it knows how much I love it. Someday, I believe in my heart, we will be reunited.

home is where you hang your hat

Thank you for yesterday ('the blues'). I really do feel better. It's amazing. (Shini & I had the most lovely lunch/chat yesterday, at a wonderful cafe, Hurwundekii in Bethnal Green, and she said exactly what I feel: the response we get from posting is the reason we do it).

Anyone who's reading this, please take a moment to read the comments, they're so wonderful and beautifully written. Can I ask those who commented, or even if you didn't - if you have any photos of the places you miss, can you email them to me? (jill@haybooks.com). I'd love to do a post - or perhaps, a series on it.

Because I've realised what I've always known: home really is where you hang your hat.

I can get homesick for so many places. Sabine mentioned missing Italy. I long for Italy, for the places I've been there, the friends who I've been with. I've read somewhere that, because she travels so much, Kate Moss (according to her friends) will bring her own scented candles, start lighting them, fling a scarf over a chair.. that's just what I do. Not that I'm fanatically neat. I just like the colour accents to echo my mood that day. It's quick, innate, but it's important to me.

And then, when it's time to go, having made that room my own, I miss it. One more place to be homesick for.

Whew. I really am mouthing off. And this has really nothing to do with the post. I saw this girl the day we were back in London, in Marylebone, outside the original branch of Daunt, a wonderful wonderful bookshop (they've also got one now closer to us, on Fulham Road). The moment I saw her I thought 'See, that's what I love about London. They've got such great style.'

So when I introduced myself, asked to shoot her in her original pose ('No, more like that, that's right. No, a bit more to the left. That's it. Pretend you're reading the titles') it suddenly occurred to me: she's AMERICAN. From NY. So much for that, then. She - and her friend who joined her while we chatted - were on a work study thing, and returning home to NY the next day.

Her stripes reminded me of a shot of Norris, in the Dominican Republic, which made me homesick for THAT lovely house, and for Norris, who cried when we left. Especially saying goodbye to Annie. I was only a guest for a week, Annie and the boys lived with her for a month. I could see why her heart was breaking when she had to say goodbye to them. They had become family.

There are so many places I've been that I long to return to. Room 23 at the Hurricane Hotel in Andalusia, for example. The OMM Hotel, in Barcelona, where I only went for the weekend (shown here) and shared a room with my childhood friend Sheila while her husband, a lawyer, was on 'a boat with 1000 law partners'- actually a cruise ship going to Cannes. His idea, as he told me cheerfully after, of hell. (Hedvig, who has, by popular demand, just started her own lovely blog, Northern Light, is going there tomorrow, at my recommendation. I hope she loves it as much as I do: I'm longing to take Mr. Dot there someday soon).

I want to show you more shots from Barcelona, but for now, just this one, in keeping with my black and white theme. Across from the rooftop of the OMM, you can see the Gaudi museum. We happened - by sheer luck - to catch their first friday night Jazz night - champagne and a wonderful crowd. But more about that another time.

Oh one last rambling thought: speaking of bookshops, in a recent post when I asked what you'd pack to take to a desert island, several of you said a good book. I wanted to thank those of you who took the time to recommend favourite books ('what's black and white and read all over') - I actually took your list to my mom's library. I've read some great books this summer, The Secret Life of Bees, and now I'm reading The Help, and some great novels by Joan Didion, Democracy, and The Last Thing He Wanted.

I'd love to do a virtual book club post from time to time, maybe monthly. Or quarterly: 3 months notice to read a book & talk about it. Anyone game?

Is it just me? When I finish a great book, I can even get homesick for that world. I guess I just hate saying goodbye to places or people I love. I guess I just never can say goodbye.

And by the way, I haven't forgotten the agony aunt idea. I've got my first customer. We are in touch. Watch this space.


the blues

I've got to be honest with you: I am homesick.

I mean: I'm home - we're home - my Man, Cat, Self. In London. But in my heart, in my head, I'm still on the beach below my parents' summer home. We'd have finished dinner on the deck - something I made - Mother, Man, Self. And I'd have gone down with him after dinner, while my Mom stayed up on the deck, and I'd ask her after: Did you see that sunset? Wasn't it amazing? (Because, of course, she'd see the same sun set from the deck).

We'd walk past the other condo units, on the bluffs overlooking the Sound, and each night, the same various couples would call out: 'Catch any fish yet?' and we'd say 'Not yet!'. We'd pass the same couple having dinner on their deck, candles, wine, and ask what they were eating tonight (lobster, usually, or some other sea food, and then they'd ask: 'Did you catch any fish yet?') and then we'd walk down the 106 steps to the beach that was all our own, apart from the same faces we'd see from time to time, the couple who I posted about last year, say, or the teenagers, or a few guys fishing. Or the group that would come in by boat. But most of the time, it was just us, alone with the sea and the setting sun.

We went earlier, this summer, than past summers, and in many ways, it was more perfect than any visit to the North Fork since my father died. All our family were together: my sister and family, my brother and my niece, all together for my mom's birthday. My husband didn't catch any fish this year, because it was too early for the Blues to come in (or, perhaps, because this was such a warm summer). But he still fished, every night, and I joined him, sometimes swimming in the Sound. Sometimes sitting on the sand, crossed legged, watching the sun go down.

I'm not interested in fashion tonight. I'd happily trade my Burberry Shearling Aviator jacket (if I had one) for another week of those nights. The Blues, I am sure, are at our beach by now, we're just not there to see them.

There will probably be less people coming to my blog, if they're expecting street style. That's okay: there are lots of other blogs to visit. Besides, I'm not going to stop it forever. But just tonight... I want it to be summer, still. It's too cold here. We're hoping to go camping in St. Ives, in Cornwall, but it will only be a night or two at most. I don't want to sound like a petulant teenager, but that's how I feel. I want to go home. I feel so close to that childhood feeling, when it stays light late, past your bedtime, and Mommy and Daddy know everything there is to know, and summer seems like it will last forever, and all is safe with the world.

Earlier today, I said I was feeling blue, so he took me to see the French rom com 'Heartbreaker' again, altho we just saw it two days ago. We both agreed: it's even better the second time around. If you haven't seen it yet: go. Now. Even if for the moment, your heart is broken, go anyway: you will laugh and you will cry, but you'll feel full of hope and glad to be alive. I promise.

(I am wearing, incidentally, a men's thermal tee by Hanes, from K Mart. He's is wearing linen drawstring trousers from Barney's, I think, many years ago, and a white tee from the Gap. And my mom's old blue 'fanny pack' from aerobics class, to hold his lures.)



I've been having the strangest dreams. I've been dreaming of the sea, homesick for the view from my parents' summer home deck, and having images of dresses in shades of vague, turquoise, pale mint, lime green.

When I arrived in the Dominican Republic, at the wonderful house on the sea that my friend Annie was renting (where I took this stormy shot), she said that it was strange sleeping there, at first: our bedrooms, facing the sea, felt like we were on the bow of a ship. More so: at times, in the night, under the graceful mosquito net on the big white bed in the big creamy, dream-like room with a view.. it felt at times like I was falling into the sea.

So I've been playing around with images (this, from one of my catwalk shots at Graduate Fashion Week in June), and here's the spooky part: Nathalie Tunna was one of my favourites, if not top favourite, of the whole show. I was sure I'd been doing posts on galore. And yet.. I can't find a single one. Very strange.

Speaking of dreams: Has anyone seen Inception? My Man saw it while I was dreaming in the DR. He said we must see it together. We just did. It's wonderful.

sheep in wolf's clothing

Am I a sheep? I ask myself that question on this grey and listless morning. (Morning? Who am I kidding? As of typing this, in two minutes it shall be NOON, my dear fashionistas. I am a lazy, lazy cow).

Here's the thing: I didn't start this blog because I had any particular interest in the fashion world (I'd never been to a fashion week and assumed they were vile things filled with vile creatures: having only been to two so far, both in London, I can absolutely say hand on heart that is SO NOT TRUE, thanks mostly to the beautiful people at the BFC). I didn't 'want', 'need', of 'die for' any particular item of clothing.

I wasn't 'jealous' of someone's shoes.

Most of what I wore was either cheap, used, occasionally custom made (I found a great dress-maker years ago, in the Herefordshire countryside, and I'd design the Jackie O type dresses), or handed down. Sometimes, like in the case of my ex It Girl friend Nicole in NY, she'd literally borrow $100 from me and 'repay' me in discarded designer goods I did not want. I've probably posted about this before but this is one of the things she gave me (the others, I gave away, like a pair of never worn navy blue leather heeled Mary Janes by someone her mum was friends with named Manolo Blahnik). This jacket, which was so totally naff and dated at the time, with its big 70s collar and studs and bright purple leather, was designed by Claude Montana, before he was famous, from his first collection.

Why am I bringing this up today? Because it seems that all 'everyone' wants is a shearling aviator jacket (and by 'everyone' I even include stylish friends who I love and respect - I'm sure there are people around the world whose wants are more basic: freedom, for example, or food, clothing - any clothing - shelter. Good health. Their life.).

But as for the rest: they want a Shearling leather aviator jacket. The Burberry one, of course (specifically, the Burberry Prorsum Shearling leather jacket, shown above, left: £1895.00, or $2,961.58, but tough toodles, girls: it's already sold out. You can add it to your 'wish list' to 'see if more stock becomes available'.

Even 'wish list' is a phrase that makes me cringe.

Please don't get me wrong. I have nothing against Burberry - god knows, I love the brand and feel Christopher Bailey is a genius. But I bet even he is starting to feel a bit like 'hey, Dude, I'm not the Messiah. I put a girl in a lace dress and, on a whim, because I love that casual 'dress it up, dress it down' feel, I threw a Shearling and leather aviator jacket over her. I was bored with trenches, OKAY? I could just as easily have thrown a gas station attendant's greasy cotton poplar zippered windbreaker - you know the type, with the name embroidered on the breast pocket - over her delicate shoulders, and it would have worked just as well.' Actually.. not a bad idea. Are you reading this, Chris? I'm thinking, dunno, S/S 2011.. over a nice lime green silk and lace tea dress..

And yet: I love the look. What is not to like about a masculine, tough boy's leather shearling jacket, especially over a flirty feminine dress? And I've even dug out my purple leather motorcycle jacket and thought, hmm, if I added some cotton wool dipped in tea and attached with gaffer's tape, would that achieve the same look?

I'm just throwing it out there: I might, just might, be a slave to fashion. I'm not saying I can't live without it, but let's put it this way: I wouldn't kick a Burberry Shearling Leather Aviator Jacket out of bed.

I might, just might, be a Sheep, after all. I'm just saying.

Well, here's a comfort: ASOS is selling a very similar look, above right. Using real leather, but fake fur (okay, so a cow died to make the jacket, but at least the sheep was spared). And, at £120.00, it's not just one tenth the cost, but about one SIXTEENTH the cost.

OR, I simply could wait six months, and snap up one of those BAAAd babies on eBay. Because by then, Mr. Bailey will have moved on, and so, one assumes, will we. Ah, the fickle finger of fashion.

Are you a Sheep? In the meadow of life, which side of the Shearling fence to YOU stand?


what would you take to a desert island?

First in a series.

I've just unpacked from a month o' holidays. I feel I did pretty well, considering. Considering I knew I wouldn't wear at least half the stuff, but since I didn't know which half.. you know what I mean.

There are, however, a few essentials I will not go on a tropical holiday without:

1. White Brooks Brothers' shirt, which once belonged to my husband (I choose from three, but love them all).

2. Black one piece swimsuit, plain as possible (I also wear bikinis, but the one piece is my base of operations: all my wardrobe ends up layering up above that

3. Swim goggles (because I'm so neurotic about going without, I usually pack three, but have one favourite: on this trip it was a white pair by Speedo)

4. My white Havaiana flip flops. I found them, literally, on the street, near the cinema on Fulham Road in London, one wintry morning, the day after I'd trekked to Notting Hill to buy my first pair in hot pink. This was years ago. I'd read about them and the Notting Hill shop was the only place I knew that sold them. I have no clue why someone left those two shoes in the middle of the street: it looked like some fashionista from a tropical climate had literally skipped out of her shoes, like Cinderella, into a waiting pumpkin. Someday, I am sure I will get contacted by someone who will say 'THOSE ARE MY FLIP FLOPS!' and then tell me the crazy story. It was in about 2006, perhaps sooner.

Okay, enough chit chat from me. These were all shot on the same day, in the DR: we had gone to this lovely beach that Annie had been to before, and because of the storms, the water was polluted from the town of Cabrera, and we couldn't swim. I love love love the colours there, and the island is still informing how I choose to dress here in London: my colour palate has become richer, deeper.

But it always starts, for me, with black and white. And ends, hopefully happily ever after, in a body of water of some description.

What would YOU take to a desert island?

the chase

Sunday, late morning. We're lounging around in bed: cat, husband (the artist formerly known as Mr. Dot), self, Times.

As I go thru holiday snaps, I'm thinking about love, and romance, and romantic comedies, and I'm thinking, it's all about the chase. There's the chase in the early days, of course, and the hide and seek as a couple (same sex, opposite sex, whatever) do that dance around each other, until that moment when both sides admit, they're smitten.

And then it doesn't end there.

I love a line I read in a book by Zoe Heller, Notes on a Scandal. The character said (and I paraphrase) 'In every good marriage, I think you kind of take turns being more into the other one.' I feel that's true. You take turns chasing each other. The worse kind of marriages, or relationships, are where two people are stuck together - for the kids, for financial reasons, whatever - and one person is clearly being 'careful' because they're afraid to set the other person off. And no one's chasing anyone, but rather, one is looking for escape. There is nothing more lonely, I believe, than being with the wrong person.

The best type of love, I feel, is the kind where you're attracted to their mind, where he/she makes you laugh, where the other person challenges you, makes you a better person. Where, at core, despite your differences, you're friends.

I mean, please don't get me wrong: we have had the most hilarious journey so far, and I hope it hasn't ended here: two people with a cat reading the sunday papers on an overcast cold summer's day. We are certainly no walking billboard for a perfect marriage. We have, at times, made Brad and Angelina look... stable. (We tell people we're staying together for the sake of the cat). But I was thinking about how friends over the years have asked my advice in love, and I'm thinking about something that the big D said on vacation, that I should add some agony Aunt, Ann Landers type stuff to this blog.

And it got me thinking: why not? I mean, not all the time. I'll still shoot street style, of course: I simply can't stop myself. But also, hey, if anyone wants to ask my advice, send me an email: jill@haybooks.com. We'll give you a fake name and no link to your blog or anything (unless of course you want the publicity). I bet no one does, but you never know. Anything is possible, in this crazy world.

No fashion this post, sorry girls (& boys). Lots more style shots coming up, promise. Hope wherever you are this Sunday, whether you are alone, with your love, or with family and friends, or simply with a pet, you are not lonely, and you are feeling at one with the world, and in love with someone. At the very least, hope it's yourself. Cause that's where it starts.

Shown here: Nina the kitten and Lola the dog, shot in the lovely house above the sea, Cabrera, Dominican Republic, July 2010.