In a transient place such as London, it can be hard to meet people and maintain relationships, but I have met some of my closest friends in this City, and mostly because of this blog. On a warm summers evening a couple of years ago, I met Kate at a bar in Soho – I’d photographed a couple of bedrooms for a book she was publishing. Her chat lived up to her look, and I knew then that I wanted to know more about her. Fast forward 2 years, and after many moments involving food, drink and laughs, we are belly laughing in her Shoreditch bedroom – as she sachayed around in a kaftan, she talked me through what makes her tick.
“I moved out of home at 17, and since then, I have moved a lot – I used to live in Japan. I’m used to starting again with things. I have been in this flat for 10 years and collected a lot of stuff along the way. I could literally fill land with this shit.”
What does your bedroom mean to you?
I come in here to relax and switch off. I don’t want a TV or phone in my bedroom. I read in here. I really like clothes – this is where my wardrobe is and all my jewellery and accessories are. This is where I make myself into me everyday.
Tell me about something that means something special to you?
My parents, me, my sister and my half brother, moved to Australia when I was 11. My father is from Gloucester and my mums family are from Jersey in the British Isles – I have a lot of family in Jersey. I go back quite a lot. When my Gran died a couple of years ago, we cleared out her house. My Gran was a hoarder and she had stuff in the house from when my Mum was at school. The clay head, was made by mum when she was at school age 15 or 16. She then went on to get a job painting at Jersey Pottery. But then she moved over to England when she was 18 and became a Nanny. It’s nice to see where my my Mum grew up, she is 1 of 8 siblings, and it means a lot to have something of hers from her childhood, especially as when she moved to Australia, she chucked loads of stuff out. My Mum is creative – when I was growing up, she used to paint and my dad was a builder – I guess that has some sort of creativity. That picture there is of my dad, when he lived in South Africa.
What influences your flamboyant personal style?
I guess I like colour and pattern. I couldn’t be in a room that is really minimal, it’s just not me. For my job I am constantly looking for inspiration and I think I’m a bit of magpie, I am someone who likes to pick things up and be surrounded by interesting colours and things that don’t even have to mean something. I love going to junk shops as much as I like going to expensive stores, and picking stuff up for like a couple of quid. Even though I love clothes, and jewellery and stuff, I don’t subscribe to the idea that I have to buy designer. If I buy designer it’s because I like it not because it’s a label. I just like getting dressed up, even from being a kid. I have so many shoes with metallic details.
My mum was saying when I was about 4 years old, I was in Debenhams department store, and I saw this gold clutch bag, the woman behind the counter said “That’s made from real kid leather” and at that point, my little hand reached for my mum – I was convinced there was a Debenham’s factory making bags out of children.
As a kid I was really taken by 1980’s style – it has stayed with me today. I like bright colours. I quite like clutter. I like things that look interesting. Minimal is not for me. I like to use my jewellery for decoration. I don’t feel dressed without jewellery. I won’t answer the door without wearing make-up. I’m not religious, but I love religious iconography, and I love the Queen – I think it’s all the pomp and ceremony – the outfit, and the getting dressed up. I don’t want to look the same everyday. I don’t have a uniform. I sometimes go to bed and have an outfit ready for the next day, and wake-up and not feel like that person anymore, and want to wear something else. So, I don’t have stuff that I chuck on. I dress for my mood. I think about it each morning. Some days I want to wear black, or other days loads of colour. I go with the flow.
What are your favourite things you like to wear?
It depends how I put things together really. I bought most of the things I’m wearing today on a recent trip to Australia, from MaxMara. I don’t dress for seasons. I wear things I’ve had for ages. As I get older, I look more for quality. I’d rather spend money on good quality items and have less, than crap. I’m into texture and the cut. There’s so much good stuff in charity shops, particularly in Australia. Older stuff is better made and a better fit. But I do only wear designer shoes now.
The banana cushion is an Andy Warhol banana. My mate Damien gave it to me – it has a nice pink interior – a bit like a penis. The other stuff on the shelf above my bed, is stuff I have collected when I have been away, and mostly from Mexico. I loved Mexico, they loved me – but maybe that’s because I was rocking my Frida Carlo outfit. I was like a pig in shit at all the markets.
Who’s your favourite shoe designer?
I love Marni shoes, Prada, Miu Miu and Westwood. You can see a theme here. I like this particular style. I’ve got 2 pairs of the Marni shoe. The Miu Miu ones are very similar.
What job do you do?
I publish books for Hardie Grant. All the stuff I work on is illustrated. I am always looking for the next look. It takes a year to pull a book together, so I’m always looking to produce something that when I publish the book a year after I have had the idea, it still feels current and exciting for people – it will still be ahead of the curve. I look online at trends and visit lots of exhibitions. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel, but create the wheel in the way it looks different. I see the book as an object as opposed to something that people just read. Books can be an interior accessory. Books are a lifestyle choice and part of the home – interior design. I Art Direct, I come up with the people that pull the book together. I don’t think there’s another job out there for me. I feel lucky. It is busy, but great, and I meet lots of interesting creative people.
Tell me about the jewellery you are wearing today?
This ring is from URiBE and the vintage, art deco ring is from a vintage jewellery stall in Jersey – when I look at it, it reminds me of where I am from. The bracelet is from Marni and the other is from Barcelona.
Tell me about something else, close to your heart?
The two pictures here are of me and my very good friend, Gill, we used to live together. When she moved back to Melbourne she lived with an illustrator, Leo Greenfield. She had lots of pictures of us both from when we went on holiday to Mexico, so he painted the both of us. He later moved to London and I commissioned him to illustrate a book for me.
The pictures on my window ledge mean a lot to me. My granny, when she was at school – my Dads mum. And that’s me with Antonio Carluccio, taken whilst on a shoot for one of his cook books. And at the end, that’s me with the Queen – it was the Jubilee on that day – one of my authors used to be Prince Charles PA, and randomly invited me – I only went because I heard Tinie Tempah was going to be there – I was gobsmacked when I met her – she had a Yoda vibe – learned and calm. I have so much respect for her.
How do you sleep, naked or bedclothes?
I am always cold, so I always wear lots of clothes. And I sleep facing the wall, with the blanket right up.
Do you have reaccurring dreams?
Deadline related work-mares. Anxiety. Or that I owe loads of money.
If your bedroom were on fire, what would you save?
Oh that’s a tough one. I’d probably go down with it, in a blaze of glory. Everything is replaceable and there have been times when I have thought about putting a match to it all. But, if it did happen, I’d probably be wearing something with a wide sleeve, it would get caught on the door, I’d get stuck and pass out from asphyxiation, until a hot fireman came to the rescue. Although, I did get trapped in the lift once in this apartment block, and a hot fire man didn’t turn up, just a bunch of kids.
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