Sunday, September 25, 2011

Celia Birtwell's New Book Wows the V & A

UK cover 

If you don't buy Celia Birtwell's book (published in the UK on October 3rd and on October 11th in the USA) you will miss out, especially if you are obsessed by Beauty, Fashion, Style and Art.

Celia's scrumptiously designed book (text is supplied by style journalist Dominic Lutyens) is a picturesque historical 'scrapbook' of her 'extraordinay' life featuring her designs and rare pictures of her ex-husband Ossie Clark and many friends including David Hockney, who has drawn and painted her over the years.

USA cover 

'Celia is one of the most talented textile designers ever. She's brilliant .....' decrees cobbler Manolo Blahnik. Even fashion honcho Karl Lagerfeld has said Celia Birtwell is the best textile designer in the business.

On Friday night, Celia Birtwell who was gonged a CBE for 'services to fashion' in 2011 was interviewed by curator Sonnet Stanfill in the Victoria and Albert museum's packed out Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre.

I plonked myself in the front row with Celia's partner Andrew Palmer, her youngest son George Clark, his wife Bella (who both now run Celia's Westbourne Park Road shop) and 'Pygmalion' stage designer/ director Philip Prowse.

I was just in the middle of 'dishing' thespian Rupert Everett when to my horror I suddenly realised the cameraman perched next to me (filming the event for future streaming on Vogue) was recording the sound.

(Rupert Everett's 'Pygmalion' contract stipulated he was permitted to leave the production three weeks before the end of the show's run forcing its director Philip Prowse to audition a replacement).

Photo by Karen  Cazabon 

After the interesting talk, there were so many slobbering fashion enthusiasts lining up to buy Celia's book, she almost did her wrist in patiently signing everybody's copies. Quadrille, the book's publishers must have been ecstatic.

Let's hope Celia has recovered in time to attend her stand (no K336) at Decorex held in the Royal Hospital Chelsea from September 25th until September 28th where her unique fabrics will be displayed.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Richard de Lone Rocks Again

Bill Kirchen (photo credit: Ian Gittler)

Jimmie Dale Gilmore 
Steve Earle 

Jim Lauderdale

Ryan Bingham
Buddy Miller

Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans

Caroline de Lone
The interesting 'mugshots' above aren't decoys in a Police Lineup. They are illustrious musicians! They will all be playing their guts out at the 5th Annual Benefit for the Richard de Lone Special Housing Project, presented each year by Richard's parents Austin and rdshp President Lesley de Lone. (Their talented singer/songwriter daughter Caroline de Lone will be performing at the concert too).

The legendary Austin de Lone

This year's shindig will take place on SEPTEMBER 29 at 8p.m. at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco.

Bill Kirchen and The Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods
'Titan of the Telecaster' Bill Kirchen and his band, The Hammer of the Honky Tonk Gods, will be the hosts with the most and house band.

'Bill Kirchen, the self-proclaimed 'King of Dieselbilly' will be playing his own high flyin' hits as well as adding his steaming hot licks to an amazing array of singer/songwriters from around the country,' Austin de Lone, benefit organiser for his Prader-Willi son/my nephew told me today.

Musicians who will congregate from all over the USA to twang their instruments at this gorgeous sounding benefit are:

From Nashville, Grammy winning country/bluegrass crooner Jim Lauderdale, guitar slinger/producer-to-the-stars Buddy Miller ......and from New York City Steve Earle.

From Austin Texas, Bill Kirchen and the sagebrush soul of Flatlander and Wrongler Jimmie Dale Gilmore. From California, songwriter to the songwriters Kevin Blackie Farrell and Academy, Grammy and Golden Globe award winner Ryan Bingham.

If all that isn't Magnificent enough, the legendary Preservation Hall Jazz Band of New Orleans 'swings in to lend their funk and spice to the whole evening.'

'This will truly be a ruckus to remember!' proclaims killer keyboarder player Austin, whose party trick is to crawl up the walls when hypnotically playing his ivories.

PS. I for one, will NOT be wearing my earplugs at this concert even if it means I shall lose my hearing for months afterwards.