Saturday, September 24


Ossie and Celia in Notting Hill in the early '70s.

My Friday afternoon : Dash across Surrey to retrieve Rusty from the kennel (traffic); dash home to pick up Madeleine and Zara for swimming (traffic); dash to South Kensington to see Sonnet interview Celia Birtwell at the V A (traffic!); then across town to Simon and Diana's new house on The Mall, in Chiswick, overlooking the Thames, for dinner which , BTW, interrupted so Diana can take a call from Barack Obama, which she puts on speaker phone.

Rusty in the coop as we finish the kitchen floors in the never-ending interior design project. The dog likely more comfortable than us.

Celia Birtwell, a CBE, meanwhile, has been in our house since the Ossie Clark exhibition in '03; she was Ossie's partner - he doing the style and she the textiles, which are known for their distinctive bold, romantic and feminine designs, which draw influences from Picasso, Matisse and from the classical world, she tells Sonnet and us.  Celia particularly famous in the '60s and '70s for prints which epitomised the glamour of the hippie era. She has been described as 'the face that launched a thousand prints' and 'the most important textile designer of her generation'. After a period away from the limelight, in the 21st century she has returned to fashion , partnering with UK retailer Top Shop in '06 and opening a new shop on Westbourne Park Rd.

Sonnet's interview praises Celia's work , and complements the museum, which owns a large collection of her designs. The audience, sold-out on a Friday evening, young and cool : one dude in orange wingtips, red trousers, orange blouse and orange beenie; another, a Jap , in black turtleneck and clunky glasses. Loves it. There are platform shoes galore and big hair styles; the afterwards q&a covers David Hockney to internships; one lady asks if women over 50 can wear her designs? Yes! says Celia. We are all beautiful. And we are.

Eitan: "Can't you just get Rusty now?"
Me: "What do I do during the day?"
Eitan: "I dunno. Work?"
Me: "Yep."
Eitan: "Well you can still do it."
Me: "What do you think I do - faff about and read books?"
Eitan: "Is that a real question?"
Me: "And money grows on trees. Do you believe that, too?"