You all know I am such a huge fan of Todd Selby, and that he paid us a visit in the summer of 2012 when we first moved to England. Some of his photos ran in The Guardian last year and I posted them here. This week he posted his own edit of the pictures on his website. I loved seeing the additional pictures of our kids living out their farm life dreams, and Christopher was delighted that he included the more real, messier parts of the farm like the abandoned barns, the storage sheds and the compost pile...
Coco is my twelve year old. It was always her dream to live on our farm in England – to spend her free time outside and be surrounded by horses. Fulfilling that dream in the last year and a half has arguably been the highlight of her life so far. The paternal side of Coco’s family is known for their dedication to horses and Coco clearly inherited that gene. When she was just a year and a half old, we spent Christmas here in England and every morning she ran to the window pointing at the horses in the field and yelling “hotchy!..
I am a huge fan of all that Todd Selby does – his photographs, his watercolors, his sense of design, the people and places he is attracted to, and his so-goofy-it’s-cool personality. He is creative and talented, and his style – as well as that of the people he photographs – is highly personal. A few years ago, after religiously reading his blog and combing every page of his first book, I found a business excuse to cold call Todd. But what I was really hoping when I called him was that we’d chat on the phone and become friends. Which is exactly what has happened. Towards the end of our long phone call, he said. “Hey, what’s your house like?” I told him that I was moving to England and that I would send him some photos. Six months later, in July of 2012, a month after we had settled into our cottage, Todd was here on the farm paying us a visit. So here he was, running around the farm with a camera taking pictures of the barns, the garden, the treehouse, the cottage, the kids, us and all the animals. I was fascinated to watch him work. As a lover of photography myself I was amazed to see how shooting style differs so much from my own. He is spontaneous, quick, unselfconscious with his camera whereas I am always looking for the right angle and calculating in my composition. We have since kept in touch, calling each other occasionally for ideas or advice, and I am so glad to have such an inspiring new friend.
If I wasn’t so enjoying the “farm version” of my dream life here in England, I would be pining over the “creative California hippie” version that Hannah Henderson and John Moore live in Venice Beach, CA. Well, I’m pining anyway. Their home, their store, their kids, their art, their clothes, their lifestyle all make me swoon. It’s all so personal to who they are and what they like. But what I notice above all is how well Hannah does denim. She and her husband seem to be experts on denim both new and old, and they both instagram about it regularly. She is hannahmas and he is bonfirebeachkids. These are my favorite of their denim posts. ..
This past weekend I returned home from a busy month filled with travel. Waiting for me on the kitchen table upon my arrival was the November J.Crew style guide with Christopher and Coco on the cover! I just couldn’t believe it. I knew they’d be in it, and that most of the pictures had been shot at the farm, but on the cover? Holy shit.
Here’s how it happened: Last June, Jenna Lyons – who is my friend as well as J. Crew president and creative director – wrote to me saying how much she loved my instagrams of life on our farm, and she wanted to know if J.Crew could shoot their autumn catalogue here. There would be lots of models, and she also hoped to casually include my family and me in a few shots. Sounded good to me. But then I got the dates. Zach and I would be in New York – I had a week full of publisher’s meetings lined up in the hope of selling my book, and Zach was signed up for camp. He had been looking forward to this time in our home city for months. I thought for just a minute and then decided I wouldn’t torture either one of us with a tough decision. We had made a commitment. We were going. I couldn’t imagine asking Zach to stay home for a photo shoot. So off we went. And what a time we had. ..
Gucci Westman is a rockstar. As the Creative Director of Revlon, as Grace Coddington’s first choice for making up the girls in Vogue, and for Cameron Diaz’s go-to girl for red carpet glamour, Gucci is one of the most talented and well-know makeup artists in the world. But that’s not it. She is the mother of two gorgeous children, and she’s married to super handsome David Neville, co-designer of Rag and Bone. She also has great style. She mostly wears slightly tomboy classics like Olatz piped silk shirts, Rag and Bone jeans and t’s, and Isabel Marant tweed jackets. Occasionally she branches out with a Celine or Balenciaga statement piece while still staying true to her own look. I also love Gucci’s jewellery – a gold link necklace and gold watch by Cartier, a monogrammed signet ring, and her diamond wedding bands. Simple, classic chic. ..
We all have this idea that fashion is ephemeral. And in some regards it absolutely is. We buy something that catches our eye in a magazine, in a store, on style.com, we wear it a few times, and then it goes into fashion purgatory never to be worn again. Or never to be worn until it gains some vintage cred or stages a comeback a decade later.
But when I was working at Barneys I knew I would be spending a large proportion of my disposable income on clothes, and I wanted to be smart about it. If I was going to splurge, it had to be on things I would wear for a long time, not just a season. And so I trained my eyes to look for classic pieces. And suddenly I saw them everywhere – a perfect army green safari jacket at Givenchy, a navy crew neck sweater at Celine, a black wool a-line skirt at Alaia, brown leather jodhpur boots at Balenciaga. Eighteen months later, I still wear nearly every single piece of clothing I bought during that time, despite living on a farm in the middle of the English countryside.
In fact, this method of buying great quality classic pieces made by the world’s best designers has stuck with me. When I look at runway shows, or fashion magazines, or racks of clothes in boutiques now, my eye starts scanning right away for the timeless pieces in the collection. I tend to skip right over the prints and the ruffles, and look for that perfectly simple piece that will last a lifetime.
While I’m on the subject of weddings, can we all just take a moment to be obsessed with Rachel Chandler Guinness? I first saw her about three years ago at a fashion show. It was Tara Subkoff’s second Imitation of Christ show after attempting to take back the label she founded, and all the cool girls were there – Chloe Sevigny, Jen Brill, Liz Goldwyn – but it was Rachel I noticed most. What caught my eye were her Belgian shoes...