“I don’t know how much vintage I’ve got here, babe,” she says, staring blankly at the insides of her wardrobe. (Sophia calls me ‘babe’. Even in her e-mails and texts. In fact, I can almost with certainty say that everyone’s a babe. And she says it in this smutty British accent too, which makes it all the more acceptable a title. Trust me, you want to be a babe.) “I wish I had more of my mum’s stuff but it’s all in storage…” she sighs. See that’s the problem with people who have storage spaces, and country homes. They have storage spaces and country homes. And they keep things in there. And when they need those things, it’s just too damn far to get them… Anyways, it’s not Sophia’s fault but it’s a shame. She just got back from Paris where she was assisting stylist George Cortina – literally an hour before I rang the door bell – and didn’t have time to get the prized, yet stored family possessions.
Sophia Hesketh – phonetically the I in Sophia is pronounced as a I, not an E – grew up one hour North of London, in a house that was called Easton Neston, designed by the famous architect Nicholas Hawskmoor. Her full name is in fact Honourable Sophia Christian Fermor-Hesketh. (But I’m not calling her Lady if she keeps calling me Babe… Just kidding.) Her father is a Baron and a UK Independent Party politician who owned a Formula 1 race car team in the seventies! At the age of nine she went to boarding school and spent much of her time in London and NewYork, where I eventually met her. According to wikipedia the estate was sold a few years ago. “Google it and you will see how pretty it was,” Sophia motions. Today I visit Sophia at her new home in Westbourne Park, a basement apartment she bought a couple of years ago. “My grandmother left my sister and I her house in Chelsea. And when we sold it, I bought this one for half that!” she says proudly. “And when I sell this one, I’ll have made a profit too!” Because the neighborhood is booming. “Alex Dellal and Elisa Sednaoui just bought the house next door to me. And Josephine de la Baume and Mark Ronson are moving in across the street.”
But here’s why I’m sad… Sophia’s mom used to own a vintage store inside the Antiquarius on Kings Road. “It was this big emporium that housed loads of vintage clothes dealers, art nouveau furniture, luggage, silver and stuff!” she raves. “It was amazing! Sadly it closed down a few years ago and now it’s an Anthropologie…” I’m not sad because of Anthropologie – though there’s a million things wrong with mass-produced, disposable clothes – nor because I actually remember this place and start to get all nostalgic – I used to spend many a sundays here when I lived in London – but because of all the incredible inventory I imagine trapped inside that damned storage!
“Wait, I do have an Ossie Clark!” she yells victoriously as she starts inspecting every piece of clothing. “And this old McQueen skirt! And my old floral dress! It used to belong to my mom, and it was already vintage when she bought it. I think this will be the last summer I can wear it. It’s hanging by a thread…” There’s also a black monkey fur and a beautiful black Dior coat – “a few designer friends of mine have wanted to copy it” – and a dotted jump suit and a Pucci gown, “that’s not vintage but could be…” I start to cheer up. We chat about old friends, her pending solo styling career and the weekend she’s about to go spend with her family, in the country house… “Next time you come to London, let me know and stay here. I don’t know how much longer I want to live with a room mate. I need the extra space.” Aha! My prayers have been answered… For storage??