hatwalk: look up

What a wonderful way to start the morning. To start off my week.

Up with the roosters, husband bringing me my cup of tea and saying 'get up, Jill, you've got that thing, remember?' The thing was an invitation from the Mayor of London's people to a surprise. Photo call, 7:00, Trafalgar Square. Be there or be.. so I get there, the Square is empty, I see a lovely girl in a purple shirt who is an 'Ambassadress' (gotta love that word) for London 2012 Olympics. 'I'm here for the surprise' I say, smiling. She smiles back. 'What surprise?' 'At, you know, the Trafalgar Cafe... it's for Grazia..' No recognition. She wants to help, she really wants to help. She starts looking up Trafalgar Cafe on her phone. Meanwhile I call the PR company - a cell phone for someone named Rachel, listed on the invitation. Rachel answers and is cheerfully trying to explain where they are ('It's across from the National Gallery'.. which is where I was..) and two bobbies, in hats, get into the act. They're directing me to the same place Rachel is on the phone.. a little cafe in the Square.. it was hilarious, cinematic: everyone trying to help. 

And next thing I know, I'm alone in a small room, being offered coffee and yummy pastries, when who should walk in but Paula Reed, Style Director of Grazia. (And, as of last month, she'll be taking up a new position as Style Director for Harvey Nichols: how ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS is that).

She is now my favourite style editor: more than Carine Roitfeld, who I've got to admit was really cool to meet. More than the enigmatic Kate Lamphear, who barely speaks but radiates calm. More than eternally effervescent Anna Della Russo, who bizarrely, I dreamt about recently: we were good friends, apparently. Paula just exudes such warmth, is delightfully accessible. And meeting her, I was just so buzzed the rest of the day.

And THEN I went outside, and they explained the Hatwalk concept. In two words: Look Up.

There it was: on the very top of Nelson's column: Nelson himself, wearing a hat. A newly made British Flag hat, with gold feather. The original, iconic hat he wore was made by Lock & Co, so it only stands to reason that they got to design this one, by Sylvia Fletcher.

It's brilliant, and it's everything that I love about London, about the delicious Boris Johnson, about art and fashion mixing in the most whimsically English way. Twenty iconic sculptures, around London, being decorated with... hats. Stephen Jones and Philip Treacy are behind it, of course, but each of the twenty sculptures are designed by different artists and designers: such a rich, rich collaboration of talent, tied in with the Olympic games.

I've got more shots from this morning in posts coming up - the light was amazing, it felt very Norman Parkinson, American in Paris - but also, I am personally making a vow: I've got the map. I'm going to try to see, and photograph, as many of the sculptures as I possibly can. Life is so what you make of it, and frankly, I'm so glad I got out of bed early, for a change.

Read more about it on Grazia Daily, of course, but I also think the Telegraph did a pretty good job of explaining it ('The Hatwalk Comes to Town'). And if you get there first, please take some photos: I'm planning to make a whole series from this, so let's collaborate. For the map,  go to Mayor of London: Hatwalk.


O D Y S S E Y said...

She is lovely and elegant.
I forget to look up sometimes, too. Glad for the reminder!

jill said...

Yes - thanks Odyssey - reminder to Self, as well!