The Duchess of Cambridge for British Vogue

Vogue celebrates their centenary issue this month, and only went and scored HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for their cover!  This is the first time Catherine has consented to being shot for a magazine, and what a debut.  The magazine’s June issue (out now) features seven photographs of the Duchess near Anmer Hall (the Cambridge’s house in Norfolk), taken by Josh Olins, and styled by Lucinda Chambers (and I Imagine also by Kate herself) in fairly accessible, simple clothes worn to reflect her love of the countryside. 

On the cover Kate is seen wearing a Burberry trench coat and white jacquard shirt, with a vintage hat from Beyond Retro.  Other clothes worn include a striped jersey from Petit Bateau, 70’s-style flared denim dungarees from AG Jeans, Dune knee-high navy boots and a checked shirt from Cabbages & Roses.

By choosing British Vogue for her first-ever cover Kate is following in famous footsteps. Princess Diana famously graced the cover of the magazine four times (1981, 1991, 1994 & 1997).  Alexandra Shulman Editor-in-Chief of British Vogue said: “To be able to publish a photographic shoot with HRH The Duchess of Cambridge has been one of my greatest ambitions for the magazine.”  

Shop HRH The Duchess of Cambridge's Vogue Looks...

The shoot was a collaboration by Vogue and the National Portrait Gallery – of which the Duchess has been patron from 2012. Two of the pictures are now currently being displayed in the gallery’s exhibition, ‘Vogue 100: A Century of Style.’  The exhibition runs until the 22 May 2016 (BOOK TICKETS HERE).

'An Afternoon With Audrey' at Le Caprice

The National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Portraits of an Icon,’ the must-see exhibition celebrating Audrey Hepburn, teamed up with Le Caprice this Summer, and with only a few days left to go, I was thrilled to be invited to ‘An Afternoon with Audrey.’  For an amazing £35 pp, my girlfriend Kalita and I were spoiled with a delicious lunch (with a glass of bubbles, naturally) at the iconic London restaurant before heading to the gallery to enjoy over 70 images of the beautiful and elegant Audrey, taken by all the photographer greats; Richard Avedon, Cecil Beaton, Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson and Irving Penn.  


With images spanning from her chorus girl days, to being one of the world’s most famous actresses and fashion icons, to her admirable philanthropic work in Africa in her later life, Audrey truly deserves her title of 'icon.'  A stunning wall of vintage magazine covers, original film stills and truly special archival material (such as her old, pink ballet slippers worn in the 1940’s, below) add to the whole experience.

An Afternoon with Audrey’ is available Monday-Friday between 2.30pm-6.30pm until October 18th. To book call 020 7629 2239 and quote ‘Hepburn.'

First Official Portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge Unveiled

If the camera adds ten pounds, does the paintbrush add ten years?!   The first official, highly anticipated, painting of the Duchess of Cambridge was unveiled today and no, you would not be alone in thinking you just woke up in the year 2023.   The portrait, called HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and painted by the artist Paul Emsley. Despite the portrait clearly not doing the pretty thirty-one year old Duchess any justice, ageing her quite dramatically, when affronted with the painting and it’s artist Catherine graciouslyand politely praised the work as, "just amazing. Absolutely brilliant."   Someone get that canvas some eye serum pronto...! 

Lucien Freud Exhibition

With tickets being likened to gold dust, I was lucky enough to recently visit The National Portrait Gallery‘s Lucien Freud exhibition.  Showcasing more than 100 of Freud’s portraits, the vast range of paintings are divided into different time periods, allowing visitors to follow the progression of his style through the revered artist’s legendary 70 year career.

Having not been too familiar with Lucien Freud’s work before this exhibition, which was curated with the help of the artist himself before his death last year, I feel I have now had the best of introductions. 

I was really amazed at Freud’s ability to produce almost tangible portrayals of his sitters by using an enormous amount of paint to create a magnificent 3D, structured effect.  The artist’s merciless love of human flesh is also clear to see and there is, what seems to be, room after room of creamy, contorted, lifeless, and thickly applicated painted bodies. I did eventually find the enormous and iconic portraits of Leigh Bowery and Big Sue’s swirly, fleshy and mountainous naked bodies a little, for want of a better word, over-baring.

Left: Reflection (self portrait) 1985.

Below:  Lucien Freud was the father of some fourteen children and my favourite portraits displayed in the exhibition were those of his pregnant girlfriend Bernadine, Pregnant Girl, 1960-61, and of his new born baby daughter Bella Freud, Baby on a Green Sofa, 1961.

With art lovers flocking to see this show, more than aware that they are unlikely to ever see another exhibition of Lucien Freud’s portraits as good as this, a new record has been set for visitor numbers at the National Portrait Gallery.  The exhibition closes on May 27th and the gallery has just announced that the show will remain open until midnight from May 24th-27th to help cope with the demand. Tickets are on sale today only - here.

Above:  An unlikely friendship blossomed between Lucien Frued and Kate Moss after he painted a life-sized nude of the supermodel whilst pregnant with her daughter, Lila Grace, in 2003. Kate Moss later described the artist as ‘the most interesting person’ she had ever met, while Freud moaned about how the model had aaalways been late for her sittings. This photograph was taken of the two friends in 2010 by photographer David Dawson.

The First Actresses - Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons

I recently went to see The First Actresses - Nell Gwyn to Sarah Siddons at The National Portrait Gallery, where more than 50 portraits of actresses take centre stage in a vivid spectacle of femininity, fashion and theatricality in seventeenth and eighteenth-century Britain.

Women were first permitted to perform on the English stage in the early 1660’s, after the restoration of Charles II, and this exhibition reveals the many ways in which these notorious, glamorous performers became early celebrities and fashion icons, shrewdly using portraiture to enhance their reputations, deflect scandal and increase their popularity.

Portraits of everyone's favourite Restoration pin up girl, the ‘pretty witty’ Nell Gwyn (with her varying, revealing ‘wardrobe malfunctions’ on display - above, both by Simon Verelst) alongside Moll Davis, Kitty Clive, Hester Booth, Lavinia Fenton, Elizabeth Linley, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson and Dorothy Jordan are exhibited.

What makes this exhibition really fascinating is the focus on the social history of the time and the biographies of the ladies which really does keep your interest from the first painting through to the last. With some early actresses becoming mistresses of Kings and aristocrats and with Covent Garden being just as famous for its brothels as it was for its theatres, the struggle which these women were up against was profound and you really leave admiring these theatrical pioneers.

Touchingly, to complement this exhibition, in a nearby exhibition entitled The Actress Nowdisplays a cacophony of portraits featuring contemporary actresses, ranging from Dame Judi Dench to Helena Bonham Carter (left, by Trevor Leighton) and Keira Knightley, who all owe a great debt to their predecessors in the next-door room.

Exhibition on at The National Portrait Gallery
until 8 January 2012