My beautiful friend Anna posted this photo on Facebook today. I got a beep on my phone at lunch and squawked with amazement. That’s me in my early 20s running along the Croisette at the Cannes Film Festival in 2000. It was right at the start of my career, and I was there with a group of friends, perhaps ten of us dossing down in a rental house in Antibes that should have slept maybe four people. They were pushing their film-related dotcom, and I was covering the festival for FashionWireDaily.com (Yup, I really have been involved in digital on and off for thirteen years. Blimey.)
I’ve never seen this photo before and goodness it brought things flooding back to me. I wish I had realised how great my figure was back then for a start. But this was in the days of film cameras: we didn’t get to see pics of ourselves on a regular basis, so we weren’t nearly so self-regarding.
And that stretch shirtdress! From Oasis, it was the dress of the season amongst assistants and junior editors at Vogue House (I was working there three days a week): I had it in black and in bottle green, and wore them everywhere. (I’ve still got it: languishing in a madras check bag in Clare’s attic, with all my other old clothes. I think, until I realised today that it was 13 years ago, that I always thought I might fit back into it again. HA.)
It’s also the dress I wore for my very first ever television presenting gig: for Channel Five, presenting the fashion segment for their Cannes coverage. I had met a producer at a Film Four party at a villa in the hills high above Cannes, that my current digital film producing partner and close friend Rollo (the Ross of Wilkins & Ross) had taken me to.
Next morning the producer rang and asked if I’d like to do a fashion spot. I said yes and, jamming on my Ray Ban Wayfarers (no make up budget), spent the morning doing vox pops on the Croisette and talking trends to the camera. (This was in the days, if you can believe it, before Red Carpet Fashion was a thing. No one covered the looks from the festival at all: I was the only fashion reporter in town.)
Within a year I was regularly appearing on BBC Radio Five Live as a fashion commentator, because a friend at BBC radio had seen the clip and asked if I wanted to go on the BBC’s expert list. Funny old world.