I have just finished shooting the ‘look-book’ for my Summer 2014 Collection London, using as my model a beautiful head by sculptor and garden designer Charlie Day. Perhaps one reason it is so alluring - and perfect for my hats – is that the model is his Charlie’s wife, my friend Victoria Naylor-Leland.
Violet is extremely busy dressing up most times of the year but at this time of year – the run up to Halloween – she is especially in demand as as she runs my favourite super-decadent fancy dress costume hire boutique, called Violet’s Box. Normally, Violet’s Box is based in Fulham but so many people love her wacky and quirky costumes – which she models herself on her website – she has been given a pop-up boutique in the window of Austique on the King’s road.
I’ve just hired my own costume for a Zombie/Medical Halloween Party which promises to be a monster; and I’m just glad I hired it early this week as I expect there will be queues of Londoners pacing around her window in the King’s Road which is completely arresting and beautifully dressed, just like the set of a teen horror film. Violet is definitely THE place to go for anybody who likes to dress up in a sexy, decadent and quirky way without being totally tacky or tasteless.
I always use rising young artist sculpture heads for modelling the look-book of my hats. Although I’m excited about using fashion photography with the actress Georgie Rylance to model my Summer Collection later this winter, I do love using sculpture. For a start, no sculpture head is going to be moody after the tenth take when the lighting doesn’t work properly.
Ever since I went around the Rodin Museum garden in Paris earlier this year, I’ve really tried to find some of the best young sculptors to work with and Charlie Day is definitely a rising star. He studied for his diploma in garden design at Guildford College and then worked extensively for private gardens around Wiltshire, Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire. Landscape and place – and a sense of the physical - is obvious in his work, and it was one of the very easiest shoots we’ve ever done. Violet was impeccably professional and the results speak for themselves.
I love the fact that Charlie is a designer of anything that can be made beautiful – from kitchen and walled gardens, to boathouses, water gardens and tennis courts. Somebody who can see beauty everywhere understands why I love making hats – as hats are a way of making each day unique.
I also love the fact he has designed exotic tree houses – that might very well be my next project commission from him as we are thinking of one for our medieval wood in the country. In the meantime, working with such a talented sculptor has made me vow that I must not miss the final week of the Rodin/Henry Moore show in the gardens of Henry Moore’s private house and artist’s studio at Perry Green in Hertfordshire.
The last day is Sunday – the day after my all-nighter of a Halloween party – which could mean that I may have to crawl around the garden to see the show.
Or perhaps if I can persuade my future husband to keep wearing his white doctor’s coat from his Halloween outfit, he can wheel me around the Henry Moore gardens in a hospital wheelchair…..