Duncan and the Big Dog

Everything falling: today’s theme.  The unusual sound of rain falling over Hollywood, Luna falling off of the bed at 3am and having to be helped back up.  The little dog burrowed beside me. I think his dewclaw has fallen off.  He looks more comfortable.  As for claws or nails or rain or cats and dogs falling-the little fingernail that fell off after my Big Dog was killed has finally grown back.  A full seven months it took.

My therapy session yesterday with Jill cleared my muddy mind.

People ask all the time about the clothes I wear on the show Sex Rehab.   The sunglasses I wear are either Paul Smith  ($65 on sale) or Tom Ford ($350 not on sale).  Let me put your minds at ease:  I usually spend NOTHING on clothes and keep them forever (I still wear a Romeo Gigli suit I bought 25 years ago) wearing them well after the moths have eaten them.  The secret, of course, is buying beautiful pieces and developing a specific style.  I love the cut of my Dior pants, the theatrical kick of a Vivienne Westwood jacket..and her accessories-my favorite sweater full of moth holes is a Westwood classic.  I used to wear tons of Helmet Lang before Gucci fired him.  I bring out the Lang for special occasions.  I have a beautiful Helmut bondage cardigan that I am going to wear today.

I love talking to you because you remind me..

Duncan and Clare

My favorite designer is Rei Kawakubo for Commes des Garcons.  Oh Rei, how I worship you-I worship Japanese designers:  Issey Miyake, Yohji Yamamoto, Rei.  REI!  Every time I wear the navy cardigan I bought in Paris from your hidden store on the Rue Saint-Honore people jump out at me!  They notice the elegant detail, they want to know where..who..how.

Well people, the secret is in the search and the timing.  I never buy anything unless I LOVE it.  Every season I buy just one item at the full price to enjoy the experience, having it served properly, having it wrapped beautifully.  Then for delicious bargains, getting to Barney’s or Fred Segal at just that moment when sale items crash from 40% off to 70% off.

If you arrive in Hollywood with a suitcase and a dream then you have come for one thing and one thing only…the film industry.  The most handsome boys and the most beautiful girls from all over the USA.  The prom kings and queens who sparkled in their High School musical all end up here.  From all over the world writers, directors, producers they too turn up in LA sooner or later. Some of them end up leaving as fast as they came, others become waiters or waitresses looking to be discovered and for a select few there will be a place at the table.  It’s the same thing in Paris.  The streets jammed with hopeful, hopeless lovers of fashion.  As I would arrive in Hollywood years later in search of the studio-I arrived in Paris aged 17 totally in awe of the big fashion houses, worshiping at the iron gates of St Laurent as I would the gates of Paramount.

Paris! What an amazing adventure.  Apart from reinventing myself as Lord Anthony Rendlesham I also illustrated for fashion magazines, styled for photographers (where r u Jim Greenburg?), formed opinions about haute couture, prêt-a-porter and ‘tendance de la mode’,  I went to every show every season, met every designer: Karl, Yves, Chantal, Emmanuelle, Angelo, Thierry, Jean-Paul…I watched elderly women with soft voices cover an entire couture frock with 14 lbs of tiny jet beads.  I learned how to sew a cuff onto a sleeve, a collar onto a blouse, a placket, a peplum, to drape, a toile, organza, interfacing!  The language of fashion became my language.

These are the languages I learned during the past 45 years: fashion, cuisine, film.  I can speak all of them fluently.

It was in Paris that I met Fred Hughes, elegant mercurial Fred Hughes.  His slicked back hair and beautiful apartment on the Rue de Cherche Midi, his paintings by Girardot , his linen sheets, his vetivert.  He showed me how to take cocaine and heroin.   You know, I was such a prude.  I didn’t have sex ever with any of them.  Now they are all dead.

Fashion, take it as seriously as you want to take it.  I love it as much as I love cooking and film making.

Within a few years I would learn an altogether different language:  the language of prison.  I can speak that fluently too but I seldom get the chance. Thankfully.

Little Dog asleep in suitcase Paris 2009 with Comme

I read about Bernie Madoff in his medium security prison yesterday.  Harlene Horowitz, who lost her Brentwood, Calif., home and other assets in Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme.

“For someone who lived so high, he can’t be happy in his surroundings,” she says.

It struck home forcefully.  Not because I agree with her but because if Bernie is anything like me then he’ll be doing just fine.  He’ll be making the best of it.  He’s a survivor.  Bernie Madoff is cushioned from the reality of prison by fantasy.  The same fantasy that persuaded him he would never get caught.  I know what that feels like.  I know what it’s like to be in prison, treading carefully, never looking anyone in the eye or speaking unless spoken to.