Saturday, 20 March 2010

Barbara Hulanicki, Chau Har Lee & Ben Westwood

Yesterday I ventured into the depths and bredths of London for a jam-packed day full of interviews...first on the agenda was the one and only Barbara Hulanicki.

It was an amazing experience meeting such an icon, and was so refreshing to meet someone that is so easy-going, fun to chat with and just an all round top lady! Her laughter was infectious as we chatted for over an hour at her friend's London home, and felt sad that it had to end! She has to be one of the nicest and most genuine people I have ever met and am throughly looking forward to seeing what she will come up with next... having designed fashion, founded Biba with her late husband Fitz, turned a hand to interior decorating, collaberated with Italian handbag brand Coccinelle... I wonder what will be on the cards next!?

Pics: Barbara Hulanicki being photographed for 3rd Floor, Me and Barbara, The mirror that hung in Biba (Barbara has given many of the old pieces from the store to her friend, who was her first assistant)

After leaving Barbara, we made our way to visit the breakthrough footwear designer Chau Har Lee at her studio near Shoreditch. She was once again, so lovely and helpful and you could tell she has such passion for what she does... which is great to see in someone who is obviously very intellectual as well, given that she trained herself to use complex computer programs to create 3D models of her collection of mixed material footwear.

Finally, we made it to Ben Westwood's place... unfortunately we got so lost around Battersea that we were quite a bit late, and not being from London doesnt help either! After profuse apologies when we arrived, we chatted away for over an hour about how he likes to escape to the countryside - the unpredictable landscape, it offers something completely different from the 'shithole' he calls London (and i'm sure many would agree!), though despite the bad points of the big smoke he does have an incredible view from his 12th floor flat... spanning almost all of the London skyline. We identified Big Ben, Crystal Palace, the London Eye, and many other key points. We also touched on subjects like the misconception everyone has had about him launching a clothing line, and how everyone expects him to just design fashion because his mother, Vivienne does. Soon it was time to go, and he offered both myself and Pippa to take one of his homemade 'porn badges' as a souvenir... deciding to choose the least raunchy I could see, I opted for a cheeky Bettie Page number, whereas Pippa got given two with a models legs spread in knee high pvc boots and leopard panties.

All in all, quite an interesting and eventful day! Also learning that I would be adding the legendary Phillip Treacy and Jackie Dixon to my list of interviews for next week, came as rather a fantastic surprise when I got home... now to draft up more questions for next week and transcribe these 3 interviews!

Be sure to watch out for them in Issue 3 of 3rd Floor - launch date June 2010.