The photos show a range of outfits worn to the Vogue offices and out and about in London - all from the usual range of second hand sources. The last was a quick iPhone snap that my dad took one morning. See Fashionistable Dvora's fabulous blog for more photos of the blue denim dress.
I've been visiting London since I was little. My grandma’s home is there: a wonderland-esque time warp of a flat, complete with Saarinen furniture and original sixties bubble lamps that have been there since my dad was young. My early memories revolve around grazed shins and tree climbing; the panoramic view from the top of Primrose Hill; the occasional roar and heat of the tube. These moments reflect a much smaller London – one that I only knew in snatches. To me the city was the children's playground, the canal, the parks.
London is now much larger and more present in my life. I visit pretty regularly, and have just returned from my longest period of time spent there. As many already know, last year I won the Vogue Talent Contest, with part of the prize being a month’s work experience at the magazine’s offices in Hanover Square. I am now back home, several hours away from the vibrant hum of the city.
While I was there, the general idea was one of needing to pack in as much as possible – of reaching out with two hands to grab everything that London could offer. Of course, it was impossible to take it all in. There’s a sense of there always being something else to do, to see, to take part in. When this feeling is harnessed, it’s exhilarating – the sheer scale of possibility contrasting with the sedate pace of my rural home, where the highlight of the day might be a visit to a car boot sale or a blustery walk past the lakes. In London there are films, restaurants, cafes, exhibitions, gigs, plays, museums – the list continues ad infinitum. And yet, the flipside of all this potential is the worry that you are somehow missing out if you're not out doing something all the time. If one is staying in the capital only temporarily then this feeling is exacerbated, with every spare moment and snatched hour spent experiencing something new, or spent feeling that one should be.
The memories that will remain, however, are the many moments of exploration and discovery – some of them shared, others alone. This was the first trip where I spent more time walking around than catching the tube. There’s nothing better than the underground for easy transport – whether the destination is Aldgate East for Brick Lane, Waterloo for the South Bank or the Royal Albert for David Bailey’s exhibition (technically the DLR, but still part of the vast network webbing London). And yet, the tube is a little like a rabbit warren – it’s easy to pop up and down stations with no real sense of where one is in the city. I had little idea that Covent Garden was so close to Trafalgar Square until I walked from one to the other with friends. With help from my A-Z, the handy maps on street corners and my phone, I managed to fill in and flesh out vast sections of London geography. I finally realised where these previously isolated places were in relation to each other, joining the dots as I paced.
There was plenty of incredible food along the way - whether it was visiting cafes on my dad’s recommendation (in pursuit of the perfect coffee) or sharing the best brunch ever with Stella in Workshop Coffee. In fact, Stella became a kind of unofficial foodie guide, introducing me to the delights of Vapiano’s pasta, Hawksmoor’s burgers and Scoop’s icecream, along with extended wanderings around the many streets, squares and corners of central London. The best meals during the month were those enjoyed with others: Peruvian food with Jennifer, shared pizzas with Merlin, outings to Lemonia with family friends, a dinner at Odette’s with my fairy godmother, dinners cooked at home for various people. A particularly special occasion though was me taking my eleven-year-old brother out to Marine Ices – a famed, family-owned Italian restaurant in Camden. It was a delight to play the role of big sister, particularly as I had hardly seen him in the preceding few weeks. He’s reached that age when conversation is a new delight, and I hope that it was the first of many sibling adventures we’ll have.
The entire trip was one of ‘firsts’: first ridiculously extravagant ice cream sundae 'lunch' at Fortnum & Mason’s; first time I stayed in my grandma’s flat by myself - with friends; first experience of proper nine-to-five work. My time at Vogue was interesting, insightful and informative, and it feels quite extraordinary at seventeen to be able to say that I was a features intern there. It was a month of real independence – another whiff of being truly grown up. I’m not quite ready to up sticks and move to London yet though. I’m enjoying the prospect of several weeks revolving around reading, writing, photography shoots, excursions, friends and family. It feels mellow after the busy pace of the capital. I’m just glad that I seized and made the most of London while I was there, and left knowing that there was plenty to return to.
A final note - in the course of the month, alongside contributing to the Vogue blog, I was very excited to have various articles published elsewhere. I had my first piece on the Guardian website, some musings on ethical fashion published on Eco-Age and two articles on my all-time favourite feminist blog The Vagenda. They can be seen here and here. For other recent work, you can see the new writing page on my blog.