Wednesday, 20 February 2013


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.  

Terrible, isn't it?

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.

I know I'm biased, but it's a sizzler.....


  1. I have to agree... the photo leaves a little to be desired, but it may be because I'm not the biggest fan of feet!

    Sounds like your career as a studio stylist was perfect for you. Can you remember being asked to do any really tricky sets?

    I looked on iheartpresents but couldn't see the final photo. Maybe it will be posted soon?


    1. Yes, Celia - I have been a bit *previous*, as they say! The ihearts blog is done from Canada - so it will go up later today.

  2. Fascinating - have you ever seen The September Issue? I found the stylist Sarah Brown and her role the most compelling part of it.

    J x

    ps Was your breakfast reflection inspired perhaps by watching Alex Polizzi's The Fixer last evening?! Poor old PeachyPics ... they really didn't have a clue.

  3. Sharon you made me LOL with the high shoe thing! How many pairs do I have sitting in my closet that just a)kill my feet or b)I will kill myself wearing? I also looked for the final photo but think it may not be up yet? Will check back. And yes, a sizzling cover :) Love it!

  4. Sharon I love your ingenuity! The foot picture is good, but the stocking picture, on iheartpresents is better.

  5. Rachael - I know!
    Just shows that suggestion often much more tantalising than the obvious (particularly when you have a foot that looks like mine!) :-)

  6. Thanks, Jen. The amazing thing about this particular cover is that it represents so well the *picture* I had in my head.


  7. Hilarious! That is a shockingly long absence from styling right enough. I can't imagine why you ended up a best-selling author instead!
    Love the title and can't wait to read! :)

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