Tuesday, 16 October 2007

A Girl for all Seasons

Serious fashionista, Camilla Morton received critical acclaim two years ago when she released her first book, How to Walk in High Heels: The Girls Guide to Everything. Dubbed an encyclopedic guide to a lady, this title advised you on everything from setting up your PC, how to take a great photo and of course how to walk in high heels. Her follow up book, A Girl for all Seasons guides you through the months with ideas on culture, fashion and goals. There is plenty of input from fashion icons such as Diane Von Furstenberg, Erin O'Connor and Mathew Williamson. Life is pretty hectic for Camilla as she divides her time between London and Paris but she took some time out to answer a few questions.

A Girl for all Seasons is an interesting concept and very different from How to Walk in High Heels. What was the inspiration behind the concept?
I didn’t want to simply continue where How to Walk in High Heels finished – to just copy the same formula. It would have been dull to read and even duller to write, and since writing How to Walk in High Heels there are quite a lot of versions on the market. A Girl for All Seasons is meant to be a month by month round the world guide so that as well as the 'how tos' there is a bit of culture, a bit of history and a bit of trivia. With all the postcards, contributors, book clubs and muses each month the year would pass in a flash if you followed all this! This was a year to finding your own Utopia – the paradise the original Man for All Seasons so sought. I think that this book is a really interesting weave of different nuggets of information – a real dip in and out of book. I wanted to have a book that you could flick to the date of the day and see if anything around those pages inspired you.

You launched 'A Girl for all Seasons' at London Fashion Week as you did for your last book. Did you get to see any of the shows? If so which ones did you like the most?
I was lucky enough to launch the new book at Browns and so many of my friends from the fashion world came. I didn’t really go to that many shows this season as I was really hectic with the book and running back and forth to Paris. I did see Paul Smith, with it's Vanessa Bell vibe as well as going to Luella, Stella and Matthew’s shows – I only did friends this season, and of course went to the amazing V&A Gala opening with Galliano.

A Girl for all Seasons features quotes from fashionistas such as Gisele, Paul Smith and Antonio Berardi. Quite an illustrious list, how did you go about selecting people to be in the book?
When you work on magazines you get to meet many designers – and I have been covering the fashion shows for about ten years now. But as this was a book and not a magazine article I was very spoiled – it was not ruled by advertisers, I was the boss, so I just asked my friends and people I admire to contribute. A book is a labour of love, and a bit like planning a dinner party you only want to have people at the table that you genuinely adore and find inspiring.

How do you get into writing?
I am not really sure. I went to St Martins (of course!) to do Fashion – and I changed from design to journalism as I was so hopeless with the sewing machines and then from styling to writing as I had no time for the egos and drama that happens on a shoot. I then went to assist John Galliano and he makes you feel invincible and he actually helped me come up with the initial concept for How to Walk In High Heels and backed me off to do this.

Which other authors do you admire and why?
So many – I like nothing more than to rummage and get lost in a library or a bookstore, some of my favourite authors and books are actually the bookclub suggestions in the new book. I love biographies as I like to know how real characters lived as well as the make believe.

What advice would you give to budding authors out there?
Give it a go – you only live once so do what you want to do – live with no regrets and don’t give up till you give it a go… but take heed, as the very great writer Truman Capote said ‘writing is hard, and you get depressed’. Maybe start with a blog and see where this takes you?

The life of a writer must be a busy one. Can you describe a typical day?
There is no such thing as a typical day, there is no such thing as impossible. If this is what you really decide you want to do try it. I don’t know where I am from one day to the next, I haven’t worked in an office for over seven years. You have to be disciplined and organized – you are your own boss and you are the only one that is going to meet that deadline. You can leave it till panic sets in (its amazing how much faster you can type!) but its best to try and pace yourself and research things thoroughly. Books need much more research than articles – remember newspapers are tomorrows chip wrappers – books have a longer shelf life. Always have a notebook or laptop with you, whichever you prefer. Be ready to write when inspiration strikes.

Where do you do most of your writing; desk, garden, coffee shop?
I write anywhere, but mostly hotels and on the Eurostar – which is where we are now!

A Girl for all Seasons is out now!

2 cool comments:

Chic and Charming said...

Fabulous! I'll have to start looking for A Girl for all Seasons, I just found How to Walk in High Heels in the US about 6 months ago.

Erica Bartle (nee Holburn) said...

Brillaint interview - thank you for the insights into Camilla's working life. Very inspirational, indeed!
Erica x