Rebecca Willis


    Applied Fashion: touch, taste, smell, even soundclose your eyes, and clothes sense is at your fingertips. Rebecca Willis explains 

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, September 18th 2014If I worked in marketing, I'd probably describe "Constable: The Making of a Master" at the V&A as a repositioning exercise.

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, September 16th 2014

    When I stepped into the Victoria and Albert museum in London this week, on my way to see the Horst exhibition, I came across a man dusting a Rodin sculpture of a naked woman. How fitting. Posterity has shown that it is almost impossible to talk about Horst P. Horst's photography without using the word "sculptural". The erstwhile art director of French Vogue, where Horst made his name shooting fashion in the 1930s, said that his pictures gave the impression that, if you were able to walk around them, the models would look equally good from all sides, like a sculpture. Carmen Dell'Orifice, who first modelled for him in 1946 aged 15, later said: "Horst understood how light falls on an object. He saw me as a living sculpture to be projected through his photographs."

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    Applied Fashion Special: sick of searching for the boot to end all boots, Rebecca Willis went to the top: shoe designer Tracey Neuls. Together they created the perfect answerwell, almost

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, August 8th 2014

    Forty-five years ago today, four young men walked across a zebra crossing in north-west London, the shutter of a camera clicked, and history was made. The cover of the Beatles' 11th studio album immortalised the Abbey Road crossingand everything else in the picture, too. (Apparently the number plate of the white VW Beetle parked half on the pavement in the background was repeatedly stolen.)

    Paul McCartney, who still lives around the corner, had the idea for the image and sketched it out. The creative director decided not to put the name of the band or the album on the covereven though EMI wanted itbecause "they were the most famous band in the world". And so, thanks to the contagion of celebrity, it's now the most famous zebra crossing in the world.

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, August 5th 2014

    When you see an old friend after a couple of decades, it’s the changes that you notice first: the wrinkles and the greying hair. It’s the same with places, as I was reminded when I recently went back to Bali, 21 years after I first lost my heart to the island. The wrinkles are the urban sprawl and the new developments in the south of the island. The greying hair is the nose-to-tail traffic in the capital, Denpasar, and all the way from there to Ubud, the island’s self-proclaimed cultural capital.

    In the centre of Ubud there is now a Starbucks a stone’s throw from the royal palace, and the streets are clogged with people-movers shuttling tourists to and from the luxury hotels nearby. One of the first of these, and probably the most famous, is the Amandari hotel, which used to overlook a secluded valley of rice terraces and tropical vegetation—an uninterrupted palette of greens. Today, as you stand on the terrace, an ugly grey scar spoils the bottom right-hand corner of the view, where building work for a new Ritz-Carlton hotel scours the valley floor.

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    Applied Fashion: the time is right, Rebecca Willis believes, for the most useful summer garment of all—a simple rectangle of cloth

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, May 13th 2014 

    Why is it so hard to get rid of books? Our shelves are loaded with good intentions, expressing the hope of all the free time that we'll one day have and implying that life will go on forever. Throwing them out, then, is a little death. But this time, in order to accommodate the tottering piles of books by my bedside, I swore I would be ruthless.

    First to gothe easy partare the books that I didn't like first time round. Why have I kept them until now, when I'm not going to lend them to anyone or reread them? Onto the charity pile go Will Self's "How The Dead Live", Siri Hustvedt's "What I Loved" and others that left me feeling hollow (who cares if that was the author's intention?). I feel a certain lightness come over me.

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, April 30th 2014

    People often wonder how siblings can be so unalike when they have the same parents, butas Oliver James puts it in his book "They F*** You Up"the fact is that "siblings DON'T have the same parents". That's because "parents are at different stages in their lives when their different children are born, and very often so is the state of their marriage". It struck me, at the National Gallery's Veronese exhibition the other day, that the same thing applies to the way we view art: we are not the same viewer every time we look at a painting.

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    ~ Posted by Rebecca Willis, April 28th 2014

    I had forgotten, when writing my latest Applied Fashion column—but was glad to be remindedthat our word for the middle of the eye comes from a glimpsed version of ourselves in someone else's. "And don't forget the tiny reflection of oneself seen in another's pupil!" wrote Anna Blennow on our Facebook page, "From the Latin pupilla, little doll." It seems to be a symbol of our eagerness as a species for both self-knowledge and for human contactyou have to be up close and personal, after all, to see this miniature reflection of yourself.

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