A few weeks ago, I was sitting quietly in my favourite spot: on the floor, in the aisle between front rows, (with permission, of course), waiting for a catwalk show to begin. Who should sit down next to me, in her front row seat, but Hilary Alexander. I'd seen her before, even approached her shyly (she was in a rush that time) and as the lights went up and the show began, I was really afraid I'd piss her off with my snapping. I was trying to snap QUIETLY. I was as fascinated by her as the show: Hilary, following the show with her keen mind, while taking notes, sketching away..
At one point I even tried to snap her sketchbook - just because what was going on there was so interesting, the way she was capturing the essence of the show - and she turned the page. Call me paranoid, but I'm pretty sure it was the equivalent of a star putting their hand to face when they don't want to be papp'd. I felt like this irritating little gnat, buzzing around with my click click click and just annoying her. I was actually worried I might smell bad, kicking myself I hadn't dosed myself with more Jo Malone French Lime Blossom.
So after the show I spoke to her, like Eve in All About. Babbled something about how I looked forward to reading her review of the show. And to my surprise, she softened. Took my hand, for a brief moment: that very same hand. Gave it a little squeeze, and said something kind, like 'good luck' and then, she was gone.
I'm not putting myself down, or belittling what I do as a blogger. The process of posting, combining photography and writing.. it's fun, and it's hard work. But it's a different skill set. And what I do is nowhere near, and never will be, what Hilary Alexander has built and achieved and continues to achieve. I don't possess the experience and knowledge of the fashion industry, and I never will. But that day, I saw firsthand how tirelessly and professionally this woman works. And while I can't speak with Hilary Alexander's wisdom, I can still say how I feel.
I did read her piece. And although I wish I could say this was from the Chanel show - I wish this is the kind of direction Chanel was headed. But this is JOHN ROCHA, a private man, who, as Hilary's article explains, was influenced this season by his love of salmon fishing. (Note to self: must tell Mr. Dot).
I loved that show - these are just a few examples - and I have such admiration for John Rocha, who has quietly created out of the spotlight's glare. Like so many talented designers around the world, I feel he doesn't get the attention he deserves. On the other hand, he probably doesn't get the drama, and the level of criticism, that more high profile houses would get. He just quietly, modestly, creates. Which is in keeping with a man who loves to fish. There is something admirable, noble, in humility. In not trying to stand on the tallest pedestal. Actually, wasn't it also a fisherman who first said the meek shall inherit the earth?
If you haven't already seen it, here is her piece on Sarah Burton's first show in Paris, as the new head of Alexander McQueen. Hilary, it was an honour to kneel at the sequin hem of your garments, if only for a few moments in time.