All photos by K- with whom I spent a bubbly, champagne fizz weekend bonding over how much we both loved Paris
I've spent the morning trawling through Twitter, feverishly messaging my friends who live in the city, in a state of shock reading about the attacks in Paris on the night of Friday the 13th. I'm in a state of shock - I'm not sure what to say - but I'm also in a state of grief. I'm grieving for Paris: my city, my always city, my beautiful, magnificent, sublime city, the one that belongs to me and to the whole world.
So I'm boring everyone I know with my obsession with Alicia Vikander but - I don't toss this phrase around lightly - she is seriously the next big thing. The Danish Girl, her film with Eddie Redmayne about the world's first transgender woman, is set to storm awards season, and after that she'll have three more films out next year. Greg Williams, who has a gorgeous instagram account that takes you behind the scenes at some of the world's most glamorous film festivals, captured her in a moment of calm before the storm: staring out the window of a water taxi in Venice. Beautiful.
These days, when I get excited about a fashion editorial there are a few common denominators, a common thread, if you will, running throughout. 70s fashion is preferable (though not completely invading my wardrobe, I like to look at pictures of flares and turtlenecks for now). Gals on road trips are always a plus. And if it features Andreea Diaconu, I'm in. One of the better editorias in Porter this year was this one, lensed by Cass Bird, starring a be-freckled, frizzy-haired Diaconu, smiling in a series of one pieces on a boat somewhere sunny. She cracked me up - all dressed up as Elaine from Seinfeld - for Vogue. And this editorial is just lovely. Relaxed and carefree. Golden. Rhubarb pie and popcorn buckets for props.
There's something about a road trip that seems very appealing right about now. Something about packing it all in, jumping in a car and just going for a drive that makes me pretty excited. There's not much point in planning, to be honest. It's the spontaneous road trips that are cause for the most celebration. They're the ones that bring the most bliss - the road trips where you end up somewhere you hadn't planned, speaking to people you might never see again, toes in the sand. I've been working hard the last month or so. Maybe I just need a holiday. (and a slice of pie, and a big milkshake and fleece-lined jacket)
It's not easy being it. But the sisters Hadid make it look so damn good. I'm a late converter to the cause, but I can't get enough of nice-girl Gigi and her tawny, golden hair and bad-gal Bella, the one who brings the party. People have loved the zeitgeist always, and there'll always be a new crop of champagne-bubble girls about town flitting their way from party to party, magazine cover to magazine cover. But I think there's some staying power here - this horse has got legs - and these Hadids have what it takes to go from now to always. Who cares, right? There's more important things going on in the world. But the point about it is that it's a nice break, a pause, from all that. And that's why we love it.
Sundays are for sleeping off the weekend. You've got shit to do? Well, forget about it. The world has shit to do. But today is the day of rest. Stop feeling bad and revel in it just a little bit. Feeling sorry for yourself is one of life's most underrated guilty pleasures.
When I was 14 I read a book that I instantly fell in love with. I think you can guess where this is going. The book was Atonement. The writer, Ian McEwan. I didn't pick it up at random. Back then I already had an obsession with the 30s and 40s, with World War II, with England and yes, with large country homes and the drama that seems to inevitably go with them in the canon of their national literature. This was, really, the first modern 'grown up' book I read. Jane Austen doesn't count. There are things in it - words in particular - that were pretty exciting for a 14 year old, even though now they seem much, much less shocking. You know what I'm talking about. What was it about 14? I think I also saw Closer that year as well, dragged my mother to the cinema to take me because it was 15+, and bombarded her with questions afterwards. So it was all very thrilling, and then the movie came out. I remember so clearly - I was 16, going on 17 - and I wanted to know everything about it, I watched the trailer over and over again, I tried to find a pirated copy of the script, I forced my whole family to see it with me on my birthday, I cried, I fell in love all over again, I took the book with me when we went to New York and talked about it endlessly with my new friends there, who loved the same things that I did, were kindred spirits of the like I had never met before. They say you never love things again quite like you love them when you're a teenager. It's just all so important: it's a matter of life and death, it's a question of stamping your mark on something, it's a question of claiming it. I wanted to claim Atonement, I wanted to make it mine.
The point is: I love this movie. I had a version of Cecilia's first outfit that I wore pretty much non stop throughout 2008. It was a checked midi skirt, with a little slit - sadly, since lost, because I'd quite like to resurrect this skirt if I could - a sheer floral shirt with a silk slip underneath, tan sandals, self-cut (very, very poorly) bobbed hair. Flowers optional. I thought that first outfit was perfect. And, to a teenager who loved England and the 30s and Brideshead Revisited and flowers can you imagine how powerful those lush, watercolour-hazy Joe Wright production values are? Cecilia in her bedroom, painting her nails, ash trays simply everywhere and half drunk glasses of ice tea littering every surface... That to adolescent, dreamer me, were some serious life goals. Still are, really. Okay, the green dress was pretty special. And later on, the great coats and sensible sweaters and a-line skirts of the 'Keep Calm And Carry On' era were just lovely. But it was that first outfit that made the biggest impression on me.
Looking back now, it's a silhouette that I haven't strayed from in, oh, seven or so years. That look: the midi skirt, with something light and silky and semi-sheer on top, is probably my favourite thing to wear. In summer with sandals, in winter with a huge, oversized cardigan. It's evolved as I've grown up: the tops are ELLERY now, the feel is more relaxed than tucked in, turned out. Strangely, it's more Cecilia Tallis - Keira Knightley, luminously beautiful, aristocratically bored - than it was in the first place, now that's it's all a bit more unconcerned, degage. You find something you love, you stick with it.
Still crushing hard - like a blushing schoolgirl, like a tween 1D fan - on Raf Simons at Dior. I mean, seriously, in the immortal words that paragon of musical virtue (ABBA, who else?): A grown up woman should never fall so easily. I can't remember the last time I obsessed like this over a designer... It must be Phoebe Philo at Celine - the first collection - and before that, when I was a teenager, Marc Jacobs everything (Oh, how I loved MBMJ). There's something about Dior now that is so right for now, it's the way young women really want to dress, and - much like Philo before him - Simons is reinvigorating and rejuvenating a dusty old house beset by the ghost of creative directors past. There's something light and fresh, a sleight of hand, a femininity that is very, very cool. And it's so marketable. I was just in Hong Kong and the Dior stores there are on another level, space age and futuristic, all chrome fittings and marble: the way you think a space ship would look like if it was designed by a fashionista. I mean, this is couture! But it's so wearable! It's couture that would not look out of place at the brunch table, at the club, at the - yes, I'm being sincere here - at the supermarket. That is an achievement. In a week where the outlandish and the outrageous are par for the course, and the gowns that we see on the runway rarely make it past the red carpets, this is refreshing. Alright, okay, I admit it. I can't wait to see J.Law in that little cut-out midi. Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 2 premiere, anyone? Go out with a bang.
It's a mood: flowy and flirty, with lace up things, and flared things, and big bell sleeve things, and tight little knit things, and delicate little gold things, and things that make you feel good. Sure, it helps to be long and lean when you're wearing this kind of stuff, but hey, I don't abide by rules like that. I do what I want.