I always wanted to be a stylist. In an earlier career as a photographer (whatever happened to Whiterose Studio of Wembley, Middlesex, with its attached advertising agency DeHavilland-Fane upstairs?) I liked nothing better than to help set up a studio shot. I'd be given money to go out and buy whichever props we needed to transform the rather utilitarian studio into something which set the imagination on fire. It required the occasional bit of ingenuity and to be honest, it was much more fun dossing my way round the shops, than standing in the dark-room processing yet another dreary film to the sound of Radio 1.
So when I was asked to provide a blog post for my latest book - it suddenly occurred to me that I was letting my latent styling talents go to waste. Which is why after breakfast this morning, I set about remedying my shockingly long absence from the world of styling.
The story has a heroine who was once a major celebrity and her fiancé is an uber-rich and amazingly gorgeous Italian - and it's about their relationship, which has hit the skids. So I needed the resulting photo to convey both glamour and extreme wealth. Hmm. Bit tricky in my untidy Winchester kitchen, but I am nothing if not intrepid.
As a backdrop, I decided to use the scarlet silk lining of a coat I bought two decades ago. At the time, the coat cost £750 (hugely expensive), which was reduced to £250 in the sales and which the kindly shop owner allowed me to purchase by instalment, at the rate of £50 a month. It is a gorgeous coat but it has seen better days. I have worn it on trains and planes, in weather for which it was not designed and it is now looking more than a little bedraggled. Still.....
What next? Well, I know it's cheesy, but a bottle of champers and two glasses is still a good visual prompt for a glamour shot. No problem there. Next, I introduced a shoe - a shoe which I have never actually worn on account of it being a) Too high and b) Too high. There was a short break while I painstakingly scraped off the label which said FINAL REDUCTION - £21.99! Unfortunately the cheap shoe made the photo look extremely....well, cheap - and so it was scrapped.
Instead, I carelessly draped a costly Falke stocking over the bottle. Tacky doesn't begin to cover it - until I had a brilliant idea. What if I put my the stocking on my foot and wiggled my toes against the champagne bottle? The only problem was positioning my foot so that the bunion was carefully hidden. Oh, and not falling flat on my face while I took the photo.
And here's the result.
You can see which photo I eventually used if you visit iheartspresents
And if you're interested in the book I'm talking about - it's called A SCANDAL, A SECRET, A BABY and it's out in the UK and US right now.