Monday, 23 March 2009


I am back in London now.
There was a minor hiccup on my return, in that, I missed my flight.
By 1 week.

Yes, as it turns out I got the wrong Monday.

I have tried to keep up my 'artist' ways since my return.
However within 10 minutes of tree sketching in Camden square some demented South African girl sat down next to me and proceeded to tell me that she also loved art, but it makes her want to kill herself, which she already tried twice this month .......etc

It is at times like these where I wish I was French not British. Instead of politely listening to her insane rants for half an hour to just cock an eyebrow and huff, 'boff' before getting up and walking away.

It is an art mastered by the Parisians in particular, I have noticed. Monosyllabic insults/responses (the two are generally synonymous).

For example:

I tried it in English but it just isn't as effective. Perhaps even more irritating is that when the Parisians do take it upon themselves to utter English words/insults, it somehow sounds so French, so effective.

Working in New York one season for a French stylist, who could not seem to grasp the concept that most New York Cabbies don't know where Time Square is, let alone Brooklyn. Also, anyone who has ever visited New York and for what ever reason desired to get to Brooklyn via a cab will know that most, don't 'do' Brooklyn.

On the 4th morning, already 1 hour late for the shoot, a bead of sweat sparkled on her forehead and she turned to me and calmly, clearly in her most delicate of French accented English, said;


This was shortly followed by a barrage of hysteric latin tears and wails. How could I do this to her?
Did I have no brain?
My job is a monkeys job, yet I cannot get a fucking cab....etc

Despite the impressive magazines she styles for, I handed the job over to my friend.
Who had a nervous breakdown one month later.

Now on a Friday night when I serve some toothless Camden Local his 25th pint of Guinness and he compliments my figure in some delightfully imaginative way, I compose myself by reminiscing of times with Mary Chair.

Friday, 13 March 2009


It is of course typical that as soon as I remove myself from London, Fashion, the desperate scrabble for work. That I am flooded with calls for job offers, in particular a L'oreal job.
Then again, fate and all that.

I mean, the school of stylists I come from often get irritated by unnecessary extras such as limbs, hair, fingers and models vital organs, that you know, 'Make things stick out more than they need to, which is such a dreadful shame when they went to all that effort to have zero body fat'

The stylist that offered me the job is famous for, 'If in doubt, make the model wear absolutely everything on the rail over a triple X extra high leg leotard that has impressive camel toe effect for shock factor'

It would have ended in tears I'm sure.

Any how. I am enjoying my seclution the the French mountains pretending to be an artist again.
As far as I can see (or remember from Art College) this entails, seeing no one, talking to no one, drinking many bottles of wine with no one and eating cheese (this last part is something I added myself. It is an excellent way to justify new layer of back fat I have gained since my arrival......
I put it there in the name of Art)

The fact that all I have managed to paint is some mangled pink flowers which I then scribbled, 'I fucking hate painting flowers' all over, is perhaps not the most fruitful of results nor does it reflect the inspired visions I had when I came here with the intention to paint.

However, it has provided much time to philosophise.

I mean. I really do need to work out how to rid myself of the back fat.

I am still traumatised from a job I did in Montenegro last summer.

It was scorching hot and we were shoot on a beach, with sparkly blue water etc. Swimming was unavoidable.
Even though it would have to be with two swimwear models.

As I had not packed with the idea of having any time off let alone to swim. I had not brought my own swim wear.

Sample size bikini it was then.

On me. The result was soft porn.
Even the sweet (gay) producer that helped manoeuvre me in to the bloody thing shuddered at the result.

At the time, I was certain it was worth it.

Later at dinner I found out, that, at the time; my boss had likened me to a, 'St Bernard Dog'.

Needless to say, this was shortly followed by the diet coke diet and the back fat (amongst other fats) melted away.

Healthy. No.
Smug in a bikini one month later.
I am planning a similar diet strategy, but shall replace diet coke with Rose wine....

Thursday, 12 March 2009

Va va doom

So my European dream of single girl alone, hair flapping in the wind zooming round the Cote d'Azure in a Twingo (for excellent ref please see chic dark french beauty in Cleo ad avec thierry Henri)
Was smashed. Pretty much.
It was never a good start that, I suppose that I am not 'dark' but the whole package blond, blue eyes, hair, translusent skin etc. Or that when I stepped in to the car I simply could not remember which pedal was which or how the fuck to make the stupid thing reverse.
Anyway. I did make it reverse.
Into a man on the street.

Lucky me, this he found hilarious and called for his mates to come and watch me finish attempt this manouvre.
Two wing mirrors and 45 minutes later. I had turned the car around.
The men seemed reluctant to let me go and wanted to know which country I was from.
Once I had convinced them that I wasn't Russian, didn't want to sleep with them and was infact English.
They took pity on me, told me they were mechnics for the garage and fixed both wing mirrors.

I would have been pleased except for the harsh reality that even French car mechanics are turned off at the prospect of touching an English girl.

I quote, 'Non, to eeeasi, egh?'

Our reputation proceeds us.

I decided that driving in France alone, for the first time, would be a fine because when I worked in South Africa on a shoot I drove everywhere.
In hindsight, driving in a country with no specific road laws, quite often with no roads and policemen with 'flexable' opinions on the highway code, isn't quite the same.

Funnily enough, the team I was with in South Africa was entirley Russian. After driving the Fashion Director back to her hotel after dinner one night she shook her toothpick-esque arm at me declared she felt like vomitting her (2) oysters she'd had for dinner and took the car away.

Which is fine because I was able to spend the rest of the trip getting hammered in the evening and being driven everywhere.

We had nearly two weeks to shoot a mens swimwear story.
After one day in the desert with a 'forward thinking' photographer and his boyfriend watching poor teenage boys in lame speedos being asked to play the spoons on the sand......
my job was pretty much done.

I just had to follow the Russians about in 40 degree heat with big black jumpers and factor 100 sunscreen.
How the fuck you can be brought up in Siberia and find South African desert heat chilly is beyond me.

Actually, it transpired, the Fashion Director was not from Russia. At dinner on the last night I attempted conversation about origin, home town etc... and she announced, 'Agh, eeenfact, it ish, nowt that I am froms Russia, but Kazakhstan'
Foolishly I spend the rest of the evening peeing myself with laughter even after her request to stop, was i 'deesrespectings her couuuntry!?
Needless to say. I was not re- employed.

Saturday, 7 March 2009


I went to the Bally Event on Thursday night with some friends.
Friends mostly involved in menswear.
Given the sudden closure of Arena this week it had left the atmosphere amongst us similar to what i'd imagine (this part had to be deleted due to the fact I had complaints about my lapse of PC'ness. My original metaphor was to indicate impending doom)

Fashion parties no longer seem to buzz with, 'My God can someone get a mathmatician to calculate the exact angle Daisy Lowes tits face north in that i-D shoot', to the words, 'Redundancy', and '50-25% across the board'.

Moving on, literally. I decided to remove myself from London for the time being.
Lucky me, I happen to have family in Nice where the conversation goes more along the lines of,

'Darrrrling, seriously, Mrs H number 5 is perfectly fine, I'm like Mrs T number 10 and, it's like the other ex wives are totally my best friends'

No surprise I ended up working in fashion then, all things considering.

I havn't been back to the Cote D'Azure since my first real life paid fashion job working for the fabulous 'Il Divo' in San Tropez four years ago.

Of which I shall not elaborate on for now.

Except to say the old Spanish bloke makes Jordans face paint look as clean and simplistic as a Margiela store.

Actually. Now I reminis. Seriously. You are looking after four men that would do a madame Tussauds wax work proud because of the layers of orange foundation manage to attach to their face in 40 degree heat. They insist upon the whitest of white designer shirts. Which, I sit in a small laundry room,
(again, the no windows theme is prominant in any building/abode/room a fashion assistant resides in)
with no air con from 6am until midnight. Steaming. So they can pose in an infinity pool and melt orange shit on to and bring back to me to iron and clean and then start the fun game all over again.
( This is a game of two ways. The way it runs when you are working for say, the Steriophonics is wonderful because you clean the shirt whilst it is still on the singers body by rubbing vigorously)

Otherwise all I can say is. If a garment is soaked with Yellow sweat, amber foundation and man BO and you apply steam to it in an enclosed space. The experience is similar to sticking your head in a sauna filled with rotting pig offal marinated in sulphur.

This topic perhaps, inspires to many bad memorys and invigorates feelings of great anger.
Which makes for shoddy and dull writing.

I shall call it a night.

Thursday, 5 March 2009

Working backwards

Given that the most exciting jobs I am offered at the moment involve adverts with Claudia Schiffer swishing her hair, air brushed in to little more than a fuzzy blond German pencil. I have decided to write in retrospect of what has happened in conjunction with what is happening.

This morning I wrote a letter to Big Sky Studios demanding they give me a job as studio assistant.
In the past I have often patted studio assistants on the back and given them my most sincerely pitying look, when at 1am you have just finished a shoot that started at 7am and they remain behind to clean up your crap and paint the whole studio white again before the next shoot at 7am the next morning.

Tables and turning spring to mind.

Then again, I assisted on the Topshop campaign at Big Sky in January. It seems a fun place with adequate access to plenty of photography assistants (which I have given up for lent and will do me a world of good I'm sure)

After the Christmas break and having had a stint dating a man from the 'real' world I had forgotten the perils of the photography assistant.
This particular photographer had about 8 assistants on set with nothing to do.
They almost remind me of the stray dogs I saw in vast packs in South America. Roaming about all day pestering anything they can hump.

The famous, 'smooth George' was there. One of Testino's ex assistants. Need I say more.
He had a new look, with long shaggy locks of blond hair and one eye brow permanently raised.

He spend a good 45 minutes talking to the lovely Lithuanian teenager we had as a model that day.
I knew her English extended to, 'yes', 'No', 'Cigarette'. But enjoyed so much watching him spend all that time trying seduce a girl who's face had, 'Go away strange English boy' written all over it before she finally shrugged at him mid sentence and pointed to the earphones she had had on all along.

I suppose I should not mock. I spend 4 days in courtship with some be freckled boy.
'Test shooting' in fashion/photographic assistant language is code for 'sex' as far as I've gathered so far.
At the end of the shoot and my efforts to be charming I was not amused to learn he had a girlfriend.

I eminently became to busy to test.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

The rants of a fashion assistant during Recession

Five years of cupboards with no windows, Flooded basements an Italian fashion house with no visitors except chancing Italian electricians/plumbers/gardeners/Advertising directors and demented french women addressing you only as, 'Cunt'

To spend the afternoon handing my CV round local Camden pubs.

Then again, it is perhaps better than my othe option of becoming some city boys, 'PA'

I am crap on a computer and very obviously don't give a shit in interviews.
Hmm, wonder where that one's going then.

I often wonder if they really do expect you to come in to the office at weekend dressed only in baby oil and have jelly fights on the desk with their collegues PA's.

I digress.

I have been coerced into writing this blog spot by others because activities of the humble fashion assistant often go unnoticed.

I'm pretty sure quite a few really have had jelly fights in order to get the H&M ad job with whichever stylist might be doing it.

Exciting stuff.......