August 2013

  / September 4, 2013

The day the new baby, Prince George, was born, we met up with our dear friends Toyah Willcox and Robert Fripp for lunch at a central London hotel. We drove past Buckingham Palace down the Mall after lunch, and saw all the tents for the world’s press and the flags flying in the wind.

P1000277[Toyah Willcox & Robert Fripp]

P1000247[Toyah Willcox]

P1000248[Beautiful London Hotel’s Lobby]

P1000267 [The Mall with Union Jack Flags]

Then our family and friends were off to Provence for a couple of weeks. Leaving my studio in Kings Cross you can get all the way to Avignon or Aix by train in 6 to 7 hours! We stayed in a lovely old farmhouse, near a very attractive village, where, like many villages in the area, they do bull running. Unlike in Spain, the bull is not hurt at all, locals just hold him by the horns for a while, so it’s macho but not deadly.

P1000454[Lighting showing a horse, a bull and a provencal symbol]

P1000677[The village filling up to watch the bull running]

P1000658[A woman and child in traditional Provencal clothes]

P1000656[A horse and cart]

P1000648[A smoke bomb goes off to signal the start of the bull running]

P1000660[Local horsemen and a little bull charge through the street]

Using the village as our base, we visited lots of nearby towns and really got a feel for the local culture, both traditional and contemporary.

IMG_0428[Helen in the kitchen in Provence wearing a “shopping list” skirt with red onions, lemons and flowers]

P1000317[Colourful stripes in a Provencal shop window]

P1000526[Stripy woven baskets in the village market]

Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a beautiful little town where you can still see water wheels on the river. We had lunch at the famous Café De France featured in a famous photo by Willy Ronis from 1979.

P1000494[Isle Sur La Sorgue]


[Cafe De France]

Screen Shot 2013-09-03 at 17.15.08[Cafe De France as it was]

P1000500[A lovely shop front in Isle Sur La Sorgue]

Marseille was this year’s European capital of culture 2013, and the city is really getting its act together. There are some very good museums and delicious food from all over the Mediterranean, especially north Africa. We thought Marseille looked lovely, even though there is still so much building work going on, and rubbish was blowing along the streets. It was such a windy day that as we crossed the walkway to get to the beautiful new Mucem gallery, the Mistral nearly blew us off the bridge.

P1000633[Marseille Town Hall]

P1000569[Trompe L’oeil painting over a construction site in Marseille]

P1000575[A classic view of the port at Marseille]

P1000597[Windy walkway to the museum in Marseille]

P1000583[The Museum building on the sea]

P1000585[Close up of the “lace” around the museum]

P1000587[Lacey shadows provide a break from the sun]

P1000593[Lacey facade over the sea]

P1000600[Gender show at the Museum]

P1000603[Gender show at the museum]

P1000612[Gender show at the museum]

P1000627[Gender show at the museum]

P1000637[Marseille camel]

P1000547[Marseille design museum ceramic]

P1000553[Marseille design museum fashion]

P1000555[Marseille design museum bed chamber]

P1000556[Marseille design museum contemporary ceramics]

Aix-en-Provence is apparently also known as Sex-en-Vacances, or so our friend Simon tells me……it is also a beautiful town with some fantastic buildings. While we visited there was an outdoor classical concert, it was really lovely.

We also saw a charming show of work by Suzanne Lalique whose oeuvre included glass, ceramics, textiles and paintings.  Also in Aix a show by a contemporary Moroccan artist in the Pavillon Vendome, a beautiful and grand old house from 1660.

P1000463[Aix – a central square]

P1000461[Aix – old wall painted advert]

P1000458[Aix – old advert with Madonna and child]

P1000487[Aix – the old clock]

P1000493[Aix – the outside concert]

P1000483[Exterior Pavillon Vendome]

P1000473[The caryatids at the Pavillon Vendome]

P1000469[A Suzanne Lalique painting]

P1000477[Contemporary art in the Pavillon Vendome]

P1000481[Garden of Pavillon Vendome]

In St Remy De Provence Judy, Claire and I met Hamish Bowles at the bric-a-brac market! I was gasping with relief that I had some lipstick on and a fairly decent dress. Despite it being 34 degrees in the shade, Hamish looked cool as a cucumber.

I almost bought a beautiful wedding memorabilia piece in a glass dome, but getting it home on the train would have been too mad.

P1000403[Wedding memorabilia in dome, in St Remy market]

P1000400[The inside of an antique jacket in St Remy Market]

Arles is the town where Van Gogh and Gauguin lived in the famous yellow house and created some of their best work. When you get there you can see the colour of the azure sky, violet shadows and golden fields nearby, and you realize how incredibly exciting this must have been to the colourist in Van Gogh.

Now the city hosts the annual photography show. This takes place all over the town, and in particular in some disused industrial buildings. Some of the photographers we saw were Lartigue and a small selection of Sarah Moon whose work influenced a young photographer, also displayed there.

P1000328[Helen & Colin David silhouetted against a still from a Guy Bourdin fashion film]

P1000337[The impressive church where the Lartigue photos were displayed]

P1000368[Nuns photo by Lartigue]

P1000318[Serpentine pillars in Arles]

P1000348[Clouds of plastic billow from a window in Arles]

P1000364[Entry to the main photo show in Arles]

P1000371[Sarah Moon photos]

P1000372[Sarah Moon photos]

Walking along the bank of the Rhone in Arles, we came face to face with an Englishman wearing a “Hands” shirt from 1985. Colin surprised him by telling him what he was wearing and who designed it, and that a print in the same fabric is currently in the V and A club to Catwalk show. It is a great honour as a designer to find people wearing your things 30 years later. Professionally, nothing could be more pleasurable for me. I hate the ugliness of the throw away idea of high street fashion that changes every 6 weeks- it is so wasteful and so un-ecologically sound.

P1000351[Mr Peter Hitchin in Arles in an English Eccentrics shirt from 1985]