My friend Ellie is a writer for magazines as glorious as Lula and Elle. She recently gave birth to Doris Donne and true Cockney, and like me (and Natasha) a Scorpio. See below for her recent interview with me for her gorgeous blog, which allows her free-rein for any uncommissioned musings and is a glorious read.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 3, 2010
This was going to be a short visual post; a few questions to Tamara on dressing Bat for Lashes lady-lark Natasha Khan for the Brit Awards, but I took a u-turn when Tamara, an eternal piece of passion cake, sent over a feast festooned with references. I love references, the short summaries of what gets people going. As I’ve said before, anyone with a passionality is interesting to uncover. So instead of cutting out anything ‘non-Natasha,’ I wanted more of Tamara’s take on anything. Her gypsies, 1960’s acid trips and Anne Boleyn. Some more boxes to tick soon. I’ll leave you to do the same.
Tamara’s take on …
I wanted it to feel and look like tarnished Hollywood. Natasha [left] had a book about the Hollywood designer Valentina [above] who would go to premieres in the 1940’s looking amazing; so utterly glamorous! I wanted Natasha to look like her own version of this: beyond any trends, dancing to her own rhythm and not at all looking like a generic pop star.
Natasha is very strong on accessories and knows what she likes: she wanted to have the gold sequin bow hat made, which I thought looked adorable and slightly off – which is always cool! And she loves Pamela Love’s jewellery, so we called that in and to be honest that was her choice, but I thought it was totally gorgeous and through pawing over Pamela’s jewellery it is clear she was right!
Jackie Tyson created the rainbow eyelash Natasha wore for the Brits and does her make-up for lots of red carpet events. However Natasha is amazing at make-up and lots of photos you see of her on TV or at festivals, she has created the looks herself.
… enhancing an existing stylish ‘flair’ rather than controlling it
It’s vital to work with Natasha in a collaborative dialogue. Image and style are intrinsic to her, as is how she feels – you can hear in her music that she works from an emotional, uncompromising place and she constantly works at this on all level. We send references back-and-forth and discuss ideas and images and then hone these into a total look design. I’ve recently worked on her tour outfits (she is currently in South America with Coldplay) and for this, I sent her a whole ream of designs and ideas and then we edited them and added her ideas in to create a bunch of looks for her to wear on stage.
Natasha has great ideas about how to dress and what to wear, she is very clear about how she likes to look and feel. For me, her style is more individual and quirkily iconic, rather than following fashion trends religiously and I celebrate that. Working with me as her stylist allows me to oversee that side of things for her more easily; she can trust my judgement and I always make sure she is involved and updated. I can access the labels, tailors or pr’s as of course I already know so many people through my other styling work, so in a way I can feed ideas and information through and then we can collaborate without her being bogged down with the admin-side.
It’s vital: the world is so media-savvy that unless someone is the new Neil Diamond or Seasick Steve, I think it is kind of key.
… her life ambitions
I always thought I would grow up and become a gypsy, and travel about with my hair catching warmth in it’s curls and wearing broderie anglaise on tanned olive skin, barefoot. Then I did that. Or I thought I would live in Paris with a talented artist. Then I did that too. Then I decided it was time to grow up and become a serious careerist, so now I spend my day playing with clothes, and my summers growing vegetables at our allotment and my evenings reading Tudor history in the bath for hours, trying to work out why Henry V111 seems to have murdered everyone he loved. I find the fashion farce hard to take seriously and the regime of work and self-discipline hard to commit to after years of wriggling out of any form of control. [Tamara, above, on her 'festival of love'-themed wedding day. No wriggling out of that one.]
… her life guru
Ram Dass is a spiritual teacher from the States who harks back to the time of Ken Keseyand Timothy Leary. He was an academic who took acid in those early Ivy League tests in the 1960’s and the trip totally changed his life: he dropped out of his professorship and began working with the counter-culture leaders of the era. From this he went to India and renounced his material life and lived with his guru for many years, before coming back to the west to teach.
He became one of the first westerners to go to India and try to reason with his life in a non-materialistic way, so his message is totally approachable and yet intelligent, marrying these worlds, yet there is something very Californian-meets-Woody Allen about his delivery, which I enjoy. Totally mesmerised by The Merry Pranksters as a teenager, I did all I could to recreate that life: going to India at 19, falling in love with a San Franciscan biker who taught Tibetan monks English while his mother read tarot back in Berkeley, and later being a huge part of the squat rave scene here and in Goa. Although there is the potential for his work to sound like the naffest kind of psychobabble, he is so intelligent that somehow brilliantly in the ease, there is genius.
… her inspiration
Stylist Karen Binns has this way of engaging with the world and her work which I find utterly captivating: she was a part of 1980’s New York and there is this, combined with 1920’s black cultural glamour-meet- classic Hollywood fantasia and I love it. Through her work you see how fashion is an escape and a message.
Princess Tamara [above] with her own prince in their own ‘Pink Tower.’