Sunday 31 July 2022


History and development

Like many British manufacturers, AC Cars had been using the Bristol straight-6 engine in its small-volume production, including its AC Ace two-seater roadster. This had a hand-built body with a steel tube frame, and aluminium body panels that were made using English wheeling machines. The engine was a pre-World War II design by BMW which by the 1960s was considered dated. In 1961 Bristol decided to cease production of its engine.


In September 1961, American retired race car driver and automotive designer Carroll Shelby wrote to AC asking if they would build him a car modified to accept a V8 engine. Bristol engines for the AC Ace two-seater sports car had recently been discontinued so AC agreed, provided a suitable engine could be found. Shelby went to Chevrolet to see if they would provide him with engines, but not wanting to add competition to the Corvette they said no. However, Ford wanted a car that could compete with the Corvette and they happened to have a brand new engine which could be used in this endeavor: the Windsor 3.6-litre (221 cu in) engine – a new lightweight, thin-wall cast small-block V8. Ford provided Shelby with two engines.


AC Ace 3.6

In January 1962 mechanics at AC Cars in Thames Ditton, Surrey designed the "AC Ace 3.6" prototype with chassis number CSX2000.


AC had already made most of the modifications needed for the small-block V8 when they installed the 2.553-litre (156 cu in) inline 6 Ford Zephyr engine, including the extensive rework of the AC Ace's front end bodywork. The only modification of the front end of the first Cobra from that of the "AC Ace 2.6" was the steering box, which had to be moved outward to clear the wider V8 engine.


The most important modification was the fitting of a stronger rear differential to handle the increased engine power. A Salisbury 4HU unit with inboard disc brakes to reduce unsprung weight was chosen instead of the old E.N.V. unit. It was the same unit used on the Jaguar E-Type. After testing and modification, the engine and transmission were removed and the chassis was air-freighted to Shelby in Los Angeles on 2 February 1962,[9] By this time the small-block's displacement was increased to 4.7 L (289 cu in).


Shelby's team paired this engine along with a transmission into CSX2000, in less than eight hours at Dean Moon's shop in Santa Fe Springs, California, and began road-testing.



(CSX/CS 2001–2602)


A few changes were made to the production version:


The inboard brakes were moved outboard to reduce cost.

The fuel tank filler was relocated from the fender to the center of the trunk. The trunk lid had to be shortened to accommodate this change.

AC exported completed, painted, and trimmed cars (less engine and gearbox) to Shelby who then finished the cars in his workshop in Los Angeles by installing the engine and gearbox and correcting any bodywork flaws caused by the car's passage by sea. A small number of cars were also completed on the East Coast of the US by Ed Hugus in Pennsylvania, including the first production car; CSX2001.


The first 75 Cobra Mk1 models (including the prototype) were fitted with the 4.3 L (260 cu in).[10] The remaining 51 Mk1 models were fitted with a larger version of the Windsor Ford engine, the 4.7-litre (289 cu in) V8.


In late 1962, Alan Turner, AC's chief engineer completed a major design change of the car's front end to accommodate rack and pinion steering while still using transverse leaf spring suspension (with the leaf spring doubling as the upper suspension link). The new car entered production in early 1963 and was designated Mark II. The steering rack was borrowed from the MGB while the new steering column came from the VW Beetle. About 528 Mark II Cobras were produced from 1963 to the summer of 1965 (the last US-bound Mark II was produced in November 1964).

Saturday 30 July 2022

Controversy over Ukraine presidential couple's Vogue photoshoot


Olena Zelenska's Vogue cover sparks backlash


Right-wing politicians in the US criticize the cover shoot featuring the Ukrainian first lady, while Ukrainians say they need the publicity to fight Russia.


Olena Zelenska, the wife of Volodymyr Zelenskyy, was a comedy scriptwriter who preferred to stay behind the scenes until her husband became president and she became first lady.


In 2019, she reluctantly did her first Vogue Magazine shoot and this month, in the wake of Russia's invasion of her country, she is the subject of a cover story for the same magazine.


Titled "Portrait of Bravery," the cover sees Zelenska sitting hunched on a stair in an unremarkable outfit and with flat shoes. It is one of several images shot by star photographer Annie Leibovitz that include pictures of the first lady with her husband, and amid sandbags and a destroyed aircraft.


"These have been the most horrible months of my life, and the lives of every Ukrainian," she told the magazine. "Frankly I don't think anyone is aware of how we have managed emotionally." 


But the day after the cover story was published, a host of conservative politicians and pundits in the US and beyond ignited a social media storm over the images.  


"While we send Ukraine $60 billion in aid Zelenskyy is doing photoshoots for Vogue Magazine," tweeted far-right Republican congresswoman Lauren Boebert. "These people think we are nothing but a bunch of suckers."


There is no proof that the Vogue shoot was paid for with the weapons money, but that did not stop a wave of recriminations framed within an ongoing culture war between the right and pro-Ukraine liberals.


"I don't remember Saddam Hussein's wife being on the cover of Vogue when Iraq was illegally invaded," stated another tweet.



Some were more subtle in their critique, believing the stylized images were not good publicity for the Ukraine cause.


"The Vogue cover for Zelensky is the first genuine PR misstep I've seen him make," read one tweet. "Five months into a war and only one propaganda miscalculation is good, he's pretty much landed everything else."


Keeping global focus on an ongoing war

But many supported the Ukrainian first couple's decision to do the Vogue cover.


"It's nice to see the far left and far right united in losing their minds over the first lady of Ukraine raising greater awareness of the genocide in her country with a Vogue cover," tweeted Andrea Chalupa, a US journalist, author and co-host of the Gaslit Nation politics podcast.


Ukrainian Melaniya Podolyak, who covers the war in social media, called much of the criticism "westsplaining."


"I love the pictures," read another tweet. "They show Ukraine's fight for survival and freedom. I think it's important to show this to the world, so that they won't forget this fight and help your beautiful country. And that is the goal of these powerful pictures."


"Ukraine is doing everything it can to keep Western focus on the tragedy unfolding in their country and for the Western public to keep supporting weapon shipments to Kyiv. People who complain about Olena Zelenska's Vogue shoot don't understand why she did it," tweeted news aggregator Visegrad 24.


Indeed, Zelenska's mission to raise awareness extended to a recent unannounced trip to Washington.


"I'm asking for something I would never want to ask for: I am asking for weapons — weapons that would not be used to wage a war on somebody else's land but to protect one's home and the right to wake up alive in that home," she said in an address to the US Congress last week.


A woman stands behind a mic and is backgrounded by the Ukraine flag

Olena Zelenska addressed members of the US Congress on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 20


An empowered female leader

Val Voshchevska, a self-described digital creator and Ukrainian activist and organizer, on Instagram described the cover as "an iconic feminist photo."


"Ever thought you'd see a First Lady WOMAN spreading like a boss on the cover of a magazine," she asked. Providing an in-depth explainer of the cover photo, she described how Zelenska sits on the stairs without striking a pose, simply being herself.


"The lack of heavy photoshop, layers of fancy make-up, perfect hair," make Zelenska "come across as a real person," she wrote.   


"With this one photo, Olena destroys the sexist expectations that a First Lady needs to be an impeccable Stepford wife."


"Wow Olena Zelenska and Annie Liebovitz - you smashed it," Voshchevska concluded.


Romanian-German novelist Herta Müller has said that women expressing their individuality through make-up and fashion has been a means to maintain dignity during war and under oppressive regimes. "This is about dignity," said the Nobel Prize for Literature winner, who endured harassment from the Romanian secret service. "If you give yourself away, then of course you no longer have any dignity."


Müller is quoted in the book "Ein Hauch von Lippenstift für die Würde" ("A Touch of Lipstick for Dignity") by Henriette Schroeder, which shows how women in the Balkan wars, or living under dictatorships in China and Iran, have maintained their femininity as a symbol of dignity and resistance.


For some, the Ukrainian first lady is seen as part of this tradition.


"The 'outrage' over this shoot is just plain old sexism," read one tweet. "It's a Vogue profile on Olena and the incredible work she is doing for her country. She's helping keep Ukraine in people's minds and hearts. Also, it's a beautiful picture of strength, resilience, and love."


Controversy over Ukraine presidential couple's Vogue photoshoot


By Sophia Khatsenkova  & Isabella Jewell    Updated: 28/07/2022 - 21:43

Olena Zelenska in Washington


The Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy's latest media appearance with first lady, Olena Zelenska, has split opinion, with many claiming the images shot for Vogue magazine undermine the severity of the war.


Information has been a key weapon in Russia's war on Ukraine, with both sides running extensive media campaigns to garner support.


The Ukrainian president has harnessed the power of social media throughout the war, posting regular selfie video updates on platforms like Twitter and Instagram.


The striking photographs by legendary US photographer Annie Leibovitz are accompanied by a written feature, Portrait of Bravery: Ukraine’s First Lady, Olena Zelenska.


Rachel Donadio's article reflects on the emotional toll of the war on Ukrainians, and Olena Zelenska's struggles to adapt to suddenly being thrust "centre stage in a tragedy".


However, some users took to Twitter to question the seriousness of the Ukrainian president, suggesting his battle to protect the country is a front.


US politicians have also weighed into the online debate, criticising the military aid sent to Ukraine.


Lauren Boebert, a Republican politician and avid gun supporter, said that Zelenskyy had taken her country's citizens as "a bunch of suckers".


Others simply found the Vogue cover to be in poor taste, given the nature of the glossy high fashion magazine, compared to the gruelling reality of life for Ukrainians on the ground or those fleeing the worn-torn country.


Professor Anjana Susarla from Michigan State University has studied Zelenskyy's communication tactics over the past five months. She argues that his self-shot video messages were succeeding in rallying support for Ukraine.


“It was someone we could relate to. He looks like any of us and sounds like any of us. That’s what made it so powerful," she said. "The authenticity and immediacy of his messaging were extremely effective in bringing in international support."


Speaking to Euronews, she added: "The contrast between 'I am one of you' versus suddenly 'also I have time to do these glamourous things'... I can see why that would be upsetting to people because suddenly the contrast is too jarring."


“The First Lady is dressed in fashionable clothes. And it’s difficult to connect this with the previous raw message that there’s a war going on," she continued. 


The photo series, however, does have its supporters.


Many of them argue that Zelenskyy's role is to raise awareness about the war and keep coverage of Ukraine in the mainstream media, meaning a PR stunt like this one is important.


On Twitter, one user posted that in times of war, "you use every single means of getting the word out", while another argued that "keeping Ukraine in the news is vital for his war effort".


Paul Booth, professor of political communications at Chicago's DePaul University believes that it is a good PR move.


He told Euronews: "The trouble with anything that's PR-related, or anything that looks like it's being generated for attention, is that people won't be able to see through that and think that it's just a superficial appearance, which I don't think this was.


"I think this was a meaningful moment in Zelenskyy's social media profile, he's using his celebrity for an important effect," he added


Executive editor of New Voice Ukraine, Nika Melkozerova, tweeted that the social media discourse about the Vogue shoot is in a patronising tone, and reveals a lack of understanding about the nature of war.


"The fact that Ukrainians continue to live and fight at the same time is strange for those, who have never seen war, they see it like a movie," she said. "They think that joy is impossible during war and that real people fight only like they saw fighting in [the film Saving] Private Ryan."

Thursday 28 July 2022

The original Orient Express train will soon return to Europe.

The original Orient Express train will soon return to Europe


Seventeen refurbished original cars from the legendary Orient Express will run through Europe once again in time for the 2024 Paris Olympics


By Thomas Barrie

30 June 2022


How exactly does one “lose” a train? It might sound difficult, but that is apparently what had happened to the Orient Express – or at least 17 of its original carriages – until the cars were rediscovered in a remote train station in Poland, near the Belarusian border. Now, the carriages are undergoing restoration in France and will be redeployed in time for the 2024 Olympics in Paris.


In 2015, French historian Arthur Mettetal was working for the national rail service of France, SNCF, when he uncovered a video on YouTube that led him to uncover 17 of the original Nostalgie-Istanbul-Orient-Express carriages dating to the 1920s and 1930s; several years later, the owner of the cars agreed to sell them to the Orient Express brand, and in 2018, they were returned to France. On Tuesday, Accor, the company which owns the brand, announced that the 12 sleeping cars, restaurant car, three lounges and van will all be incorporated into live services between Paris and Istanbul from 2024 onwards, after a thorough renovation.


The vintage carriages reportedly still have many of their original period features, including Lalique glass panelling, marquetry by Morrison and Nelson, and art deco detailing. Speaking to Travel + Leisure magazine, the vice-president of the Orient Express Guillaume de Saint Lager explained how restoration work had been ongoing for a year, with architect Maxime d’Angeac given the brief to refresh the carriages’ Gilded Age splendour. “​​The brief to the designer was really to find this perfect balance between past, present, and future," he told the magazine. “Some guests will think that [the train] has been built in the 1930s. Others will see that it's a modern interpretation, but we like to play with the notion of time and to really blur the line between past and future.”


The first nine cars are expected to be revealed in December, including six sleeping carriages, a restaurant, a bar, and what they describe as “an experimental salon”, before the final eight cars will be revealed on a staggered basis by 2024. The train will boast three varieties of suite, including a Presidential suite that will take up a whole car. The “salon” car will host performances and events, and will take as its theme a fantastical winter garden – which Saint Lager characterises as a deliberate stylistic break with the rest of the train.

Monday 25 July 2022

Kate Moss, model / Desert Island Discs


Kate Moss, model

Desert Island Discs


Kate Moss came to fame in the 1990s, and her distinctive look went on to embody the era of Cool Britannia. She has appeared on the cover of hundreds of magazines and starred in campaigns for many of the top fashion houses. She has made cameos on film and television and inspired artists including Lucian Freud, Tracey Emin and Marc Quinn.


Kate was born in Croydon in 1974. When she was 14, she was spotted at JFK airport by Sarah Doukas who signed her to her modelling agency. Two years later Kate was on the cover of the style magazine the Face – one of a series of photographs shot on Camber Sands by Corinne Day. The images were raw and natural and Kate’s slight, delicate build, in stark contrast to the curvaceous supermodel silhouette that had defined the decade, heralded a new era in modelling.


Kate moved on to high profile campaigns for the designers Calvin Klein and Marc Jacobs. In 1993 she appeared on the cover of British Vogue for the first time. Later her waif-like figure attracted criticism from some commentators who thought some of her photographs glamorised thinness.


In 2013 Kate received a Special Recognition award at the British Fashion Awards, acknowledging her 25-year contribution to fashion. Kate set up her own talent agency in 2016 and one of the agency’s first signings was her daughter Lila.


Presenter: Lauren Laverne

Producer: Paula McGinley

Kate Moss ‘sick and angry’ at being made a scapegoat for taking cocaine


The British supermodel talks candidly on BBC radio’s Desert Island Discs about her drug use, defending Johnny Depp and being ‘objectified and scared’


Vanessa Thorpe

Sun 24 Jul 2022 06.30 BST


Kate Moss, one of the world’s most famous models, has spoken of her anger at the condemnation she received after publication of photographs of her taking cocaine in 2005. She took the blame, she believes, for the widespread acceptability of drug-taking in her circle.


“I felt sick and was quite angry,” the British supermodel revealed on Sunday in a rare radio interview, “because everybody I knew took drugs. So for them to focus on me, and to try to take my daughter away, I thought was really hypocritical.”


Although Moss was not charged for the offence, and she kept her daughter, Lila, she lost lucrative contracts with several top brands and later said “sorry” formally in a public statement. “I had to apologise really, if people were looking up to me,” she told Lauren Laverne, host of BBC Radio 4’s long-running Desert Island Discs programme.


For 30 years, Moss, 48, has represented the summit of British cool. But the woman whose motto “never complain, never explain” was borrowed from her former boyfriend, Johnny Depp, used the interview to speak out about the anxiety that crippled her teenage modelling years and of the abuse and mistreatment she suffered in the industry.


Moss also explained her decision to speak up for Depp in his recent American libel case against his ex-wife, Amber Heard, and talks about defending her old friend, the British fashion designer John Galliano, who was found guilty of racist abuse in 2011.


“I believe in the truth and I believe in fairness and justice,” she said. Her appearance at Depp’s trial was prompted by a wish to set the record straight. “I know the truth about Johnny,” Moss said. “I know he never kicked me down the stairs. I had to say that truth.”


The urge to stand by Galliano came from her belief that he is “not a bad person – he had an alcohol problem and people turn.”


“People aren’t themselves when they drink,” suggested Moss, “and they say things that they would never say when they were sober.”


At 14 years old, Moss was approached on an aeroplane journey by the owner of the Storm modelling agency, but she didn’t imagine herself as a model. “I thought it was vain,” Moss said.


The start of her career in 1988 was traumatic and “a hard slog”, she recalled. She had to travel across cities alone for photographing castings. At 15, she had the “horrible experience” of being asked to take off her top for a bra catalogue shoot. “I was really shy then about my body, and I could feel there was something wrong, so I got my stuff and I ran away.”


She says the experience “sharpened her instincts” – “I can tell a wrong ’un a mile away.”


Her 16-year-old face was suddenly in international demand after a photographic session for The Face magazine on Camber Sands in Sussex with her photographer friend, the late Corinne Day.


Moss admits crying “a lot” about being naked. “She [Day] would say, ‘If you don’t take your top off, I am not going to book you for Elle. It is painful. I loved her, she was my best friend, but she was a tricky person. But the pictures are amazing, so she got what she wanted and I suffered for them, but in the end they did me a world of good really. They changed my career.”


The American designer Calvin Klein chose Moss for a 1992 underwear campaign as a result, but her memories of this job, posing with actor Mark Wahlberg in New York, are “not good”. She took Valium for her anxiety to get out of bed for work.


Topless again, Moss felt “objectified and vulnerable and scared”, she told Laverne, adding: “They played on my vulnerability. Calvin loved that.”


Her friend Day was responsible for the controversial images taken for Vogue magazine a year later, which were decried for promoting “heroin chic”. Pictured in her own flat, the ever-slim Moss was shown in underwear. “I was a scapegoat for a lot of people’s problems,” Moss said. “I was never anorexic. I never have been. I had never taken heroin. I was thin because I didn’t get fed at shoots or in shows and I’d always been thin.”


A quote often attributed to Moss, that “Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels”, was not her own coinage, she said. It came from a note stuck to the fridge door in a flat, designed to dissuade a dieting friend from snacking.


Born in 1974 to a travel agent father, Peter, and “glamorous” mother, Linda, who worked part-time in a bar, Moss said she suspects she was quite lonely. Her looks were not remarked on at home, and her mother was surprised when modelling work came her daughter’s way.


Her unruly “headstrong” teenage behaviour worsened, Moss remembers, once her parents split up: “I started smoking spliff and I hung out with older boys,” she says, confessing she was full of sadness. “Yes, I was heartbroken ... it was all a bit dark.”


Moss set up her own modelling agency in 2016, signing up her own daughter early on. “I’ve said to her, ‘You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do. If you don’t want to do this shoot, if you don’t feel comfortable, if you don’t want to model, don’t do it.’ I take care of my models. I make sure they’re with agents at shoots so when they’re being taken advantage of, someone is there to say, ‘I don’t think that’s appropriate’.”


Moss has moved her main home to her Cotswolds country house and reveals she has become obsessed with gardening. Partying, she says, is “boring to me now”, adding, “I’m not into being out of control any more.”

'He said "take your bra off"... I was 15': Supermodel Kate Moss reveals in unflinching detail how she fled a photoshoot in tears after being targeted by fashion industry predator as a teenager

Kate Moss tells Desert Island Discs that she was targeted by predators as a teen

At 15, the young model  was forced to run after being asked to remove a bra

Now 48, she says she was left in tears by photographers looking for topless pics



PUBLISHED: 00:01, 24 July 2022 | UPDATED: 00:45, 24 July 2022


As the queen of the catwalk for three decades, interview-shy Kate Moss has usually adopted the Queen’s famous unofficial motto: ‘Never complain, never explain.’


But in a candid interview on Desert Island Discs today, the supermodel reveals the toxic truth about exploitation in the fashion industry and how, as a young teenager, she was targeted by sexual predators.


Now 48, she recalls being reduced to tears by photographers who pressured her to go topless. At 15, the self-conscious teenager was even forced to flee one session when she was asked to remove her bra.


In a candid interview on Desert Island Discs today, the Kate Moss, pictured, reveals the toxic truth about exploitation in the fashion industry and how, as a young teenager, she was targeted by sexual predators. Pictured in 1993


In a candid interview on Desert Island Discs today, the Kate Moss, pictured, reveals the toxic truth about exploitation in the fashion industry and how, as a young teenager, she was targeted by sexual predators. Pictured in 1993


‘I had a horrible experience for a bra catalogue,’ she tells the BBC Radio 4 programme. ‘I was only 15 probably and he said, “Take your top off”, and I took my top off. And I was really shy then about my body.


‘And he said, “Take your bra off”, and I could feel there was something wrong so I got my stuff and I ran away. I think it sharpened my instincts. I can tell a wrong ’un a mile away.’


Teenaged Kate, who signed to the Storm modelling agency in 1988 at the age of 14, would travel across London unaccompanied, completing up to eight modelling assignments a day.


During the radio show, she speaks about the shoot in 1990 that made her famous – but admits that revisiting the memory remains ‘painful’.


During the radio show, she speaks about the shoot in 1990 that made her famous. Pictured during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant this year


During the radio show, she speaks about the shoot in 1990 that made her famous. Pictured during the Platinum Jubilee Pageant this year


The late photographer Corinne Day, with whom Moss often worked, shot a series of photographs for The Face magazine on the beach at Camber Sands, East Sussex, when she was 16.


Moss says: ‘That scrunched up nose that is on the cover, she would say, “Snort like a pig” to get that picture. And I would be like, “I don’t want to snort like a pig”, and she would be like, “Snort like a pig, that’s when it looks good”.’


The model recalls how she had ‘cried a lot’ during the shoot because she was uncomfortable about being ‘naked’, adding: ‘I didn’t want to take my top off.


‘I was really, really self-conscious about my body and she would say, “If you don’t take your top off I am not going to book you for Elle”, and I would cry. It is painful because she was my best friend and I really loved her – but she was a very tricky person to work with.


‘But... the pictures are amazing so she got what she wanted and I suffered for them, but in the end they did me a world of good, really. They did change my career.’


Moss also recalls shooting an underwear campaign for Calvin Klein in 1992 with Hollywood actor Mark Wahlberg, known at the time as Marky Mark. It was her first major advertising campaign but the then 17-year-old had to take Valium to ease her anxiety, caused by the prospect of going topless.


Asked by presenter Lauren Laverne if she felt objectified during the campaign, Moss replies: ‘Yes completely, and vulnerable and scared. I think they played on my vulnerability, and I was quite young and innocent, so Calvin loved that.’


Moss emerged from these early challenges to become one of the most iconic and powerful figures in international fashion, boasting an inner circle that includes some of the world’s biggest celebrities.


But the highs have been accompanied by lows and Moss speaks frankly about her battles with drink and drugs which almost derailed her career. She recalls her wild youth growing up in Croydon, South London, when she first went off the rails at 13 after her parents split.


She also reflects on the drugs scandal which threatened to destroy her career in 2005. She temporarily lost several lucrative contracts when a national newspaper published photos which appeared to show her taking cocaine


She also reflects on the drugs scandal which threatened to destroy her career in 2005. She temporarily lost several lucrative contracts when a national newspaper published photos which appeared to show her taking cocaine


‘I started smoking spliffs and hanging with people a lot older than me, a lot of older boys that kind of took me under their wing and protected me,’ she says.


‘They would take me to London on the train. I would get changed from my school uniform into clothes and go to Fred’s [a bar in Soho]. I didn’t even like the taste of alcohol.


‘I would drink Long Island Ice Teas because it didn’t taste of alcohol, but then of course it is a strong drink.’


She also reflects on the drugs scandal which threatened to destroy her career in 2005. She temporarily lost several lucrative contracts when a national newspaper published photos which appeared to show her taking cocaine.


Her career resumed, however, when police decided there was not enough evidence to take action.


‘I felt sick and was quite angry because everybody I knew took drugs so for them to focus on me and to try and take my daughter away, I thought was really hypocritical,’ she says.


The star also rejects the idea that she and Day deliberately created the hugely controversial look dubbed ‘heroin chic’ when they collaborated again on a shoot at the model’s home for Vogue in 1993.


‘I think I was a scapegoat for a lot of people’s problems,’ she says. ‘I was never anorexic, I never have been. I had never taken heroin.


‘I was thin because I didn’t get fed at shoots or in shows and I had always been thin. It was a fashion shoot. It was shot at my flat and that is how I could afford to live at the time.


‘And I think it was a shock because I wasn’t voluptuous and I was just a normal girl. I wasn’t a glamazon model, and that shocked them.’


Despite being one of the world’s most photographed women, Moss says she hates having her picture taken outside the workplace. Pictured in the early 1990's


Despite being one of the world’s most photographed women, Moss says she hates having her picture taken outside the workplace. Pictured in the early 1990's


Despite being one of the world’s most photographed women, Moss says she hates having her picture taken outside the workplace.


‘I am actually really shy in front of the camera. I don’t like having my picture taken when it’s not at work,’ she says. ‘I don’t like having selfies or snapshots. I find it difficult to be myself in front of a camera. I find it much easier to be somebody else.’


She has now set up her own model agency, which has on its books her 19-year-old daughter, Lila.


Moss, who recently sold her North London home to move to the Cotswolds, says she has ditched her ‘boring’ hedonistic lifestyle and discovered a new passion that she can share with her mother Linda.


‘I am obsessed with gardening,’ she says. ‘I have got a membership to the garden centre, and I go with my mum and we have the best time.’


Her musical choices for the show include George Harrison’s My Sweet Lord, Harvest Moon by Neil Young and a specially remixed version of Back To Life by Soul II Soul featuring Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir.


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery is her book of choice and a cashmere blanket is her luxury item.


Desert Island Discs is on today at 11.15am and will be repeated on Friday at 9am.


Kate Moss reveals the truth about Johnny Depp — and her Freud tattoo — in Desert Island Discs


Lucian Freud left an indelible mark on Kate Moss when he inked a tattoo on her thigh while she was sitting for a portrait.


Recalling their friendship, she says that the celebrated artist, who died in 2011 aged 88, originally suggested a chicken upside down in a bucket for a design, but they settled on a more traditional image.


She says: ‘He gave me a bottle of really good Rothschild wine, and he got out his etching needle and scraped into my thigh a flock of birds which now look like varicose veins. But I am still probably the only living person with a Lucian Freud on my thigh.’


Lucian Freud left an indelible mark on Kate Moss when he inked a tattoo on her thigh while she was sitting for a portrait


Kate Moss also caused a sensation earlier this year when she gave video evidence in support of ex boyfriend Johnny Depp in his libel trial against Amber Heard, who had mentioned a rumour that the model had been pushed down the stairs by the actor when they were dating


Kate Moss also caused a sensation earlier this year when she gave video evidence in support of ex boyfriend Johnny Depp in his libel trial against Amber Heard, who had mentioned a rumour that the model had been pushed down the stairs by the actor when they were dating


For Freud’s acclaimed 2002 portrait, Moss posed nude while heavily pregnant with daughter Lila. The painting took around nine months to complete and was later sold to an anonymous bidder for £3.9 million.


Moss prides herself on her loyalty to friends. In 2011, she publicly defended fashion designer John Galliano when he was found guilty by a French court of making antisemitic comments.


She also caused a sensation earlier this year when she gave video evidence in support of ex boyfriend Johnny Depp in his libel trial against Amber Heard, who had mentioned a rumour that the model had been pushed down the stairs by the actor when they were dating.


Explaining her stance, Moss says: ‘I believe in the truth, and I believe in fairness and justice. I know that John Galliano is not a bad person – he had an alcohol problem and people turn. People aren’t themselves when they drink, and they say things that they would never say if they were sober.’


She adds: ‘I know the truth about Johnny [Depp]. I know he never kicked me down the stairs. I had to say that truth.’


Depp, who was in a relationship with Moss between 1994 and 1998, won the lawsuit against his ex wife Heard last month.

Sunday 24 July 2022

Even the monarchy doesn’t want a new royal yacht. But Liz Truss does


Even the monarchy doesn’t want a new royal yacht. But Liz Truss does


Royal Yacht Britannia was decommissioned in 1997. Now the Tory leadership hopeful is backing another one despite minimal public and political support


Esther Addley

Sat 23 Jul 2022 07.00 BST


All the clocks on the Royal Yacht Britannia, now moored beside the blue car park at Ocean Terminal shopping centre in Leith, near Edinburgh, show the same time: 3.01pm. That was the moment on 11 December 1997 that the Queen stepped off the ship for the last time, famously weeping as a Royal Navy band piped a farewell to the soon-to-be-mothballed vessel.


No one, not even the Queen herself, can seriously have expected ever to see another royal yacht. But 25 years later, here we are. On Thursday, as the country recovered from state of emergency temperatures and amid an escalating cost of living disaster, Liz Truss sought to strengthen her case to be Britain’s next prime minister by pledging support for another national big ship.


“I do support the idea of promoting our trade around the world,” she told reporters in Peterborough. However – new broom and all that – she wouldn’t do it Boris Johnson’s way. Rather than expecting taxpayers to stump up the projected £200m cost, “what I would be seeking is to get investment into a yacht, looking to the private sector to assist with that to make it financially viable”. Sponsors with nine-figure marketing budgets, do step this way.


What is it about the thought of a big British ship that gets some people so excited? The Daily Telegraph has been campaigning for one since 2016, not coincidentally the same year the paper and its then columnist helped secure Brexit. Johnson announced last May that a new “national flagship” would indeed be built, “reflecting the UK’s burgeoning status as a great, independent maritime trading nation”.


The Ministry of Defence, with a £16bn backlog in its equipment budget, isn’t keen to pick up the tab, however. Truss’s rival Rishi Sunak, while chancellor, was also at odds with Johnson on the subject, with a source telling the Sunday Times last year that there was “a huge row” over funding; another described the yacht plans as “a complete and utter shitshow”.


The British royal family has had its own yacht since 1660 when Charles II, newly restored to the English throne, bought the small coal ship on which he had fled for France a decade earlier, naming it, rakishly, HMY Royal Escape. Eighty-two ships later, Britannia was launched in 1953 with a bottle of “Empire wine” – a rationing-friendly substitute for champagne.


The new Queen and her husband were closely involved in its design, which made it “rather special”, the Duke told an interviewer in 1995: “All the other places we live in had been built by predecessors.” Britannia was extensively used by the royal family and in almost 1,000 state visits, but became increasingly costly to maintain and Tony Blair took the decision in 1997 not to recommission it, a decision (unlike some others) that he later said he regretted.


Today, however, it is not clear who really wants a yacht. Not the public – YouGov found only 29% in favour last year. Not the royal family, who were unhappy about plans to name a new ship after the Duke of Edinburgh and have called it “not something we have asked for”.


Senior military figures aren’t keen either, among them R Adm Chris Parry, a former senior naval commander (“Frankly the narrative around this has been really poor. And the designs I’ve seen – I wouldn’t go to sea in that”). And many Tories, too, agree with Lord (Ken) Clarke who told the BBC it was “silly populist nonsense”.


Six weeks before Conservative members choose Britain a prime minister, however, Truss knows that talking about a yacht while saying she wants to privately fund it “allows her to pledge support for the idea without it ever happening,” as Sunder Katwala, director of the thinktank British Future, noted.


Sunak, meanwhile, is yet to be drawn on his plans for the yacht if he wins, though as some have observed, if need be the multimillionaire could comfortably fund it himself.

Saturday 23 July 2022

The Souvenir | by Joanna Hogg

The Souvenir review – sumptuous class study puts Joanna Hogg in the limelight

The director confirms her status as a modern visionary with a deft, distinctive and deeply personal story of young love


Peter Bradshaw

Peter Bradshaw


Thu 29 Aug 2019 07.00 BST


Joanna Hogg’s new movie is her most intensely personal yet – but this mysterious and beautiful film is not revelatory in any obvious way. I have seen it twice since writing about the premiere at Sundance in January, and the things about it that perplexed and baffled and bemused and entranced me then have done so more fiercely in the meantime. Yet its difficulties now feel not like flaws but rather sunspots of inspiration. The mother-daughter relationship is quietly superb and the musical interludes are wonderful: there is a glorious outing for Robert Wyatt’s haunting Shipbuilding and Willie Mabon’s Poison Ivy.


The Souvenir has already received plaudits as a breakthrough for this director – although I don’t think she needed a “breakthough”, given that each of her three previous films has been a triumphantly creative leap forward for those open-minded enough to see them. The rather lovely poster image of its two leads might induce audiences to expect something romantic and comfortingly mainstream. Wrong. The Souvenir is an artefact in the highest auteur register. Its absence of tonal readability is a challenge. But there is also a cerebrally fierce, slow-burn passion in its austere, unemphasised plainness.


Hogg conducts her dramatic business in a sort of indoor available light, with characters often receding into semi-darkness if they walk away from windows: a look Hogg has contrived in her other films. It is a film about the upper classes, but not in the Downton Abbey style: it is about the upper classes as they actually are, in the dull day-to-day; a social realist movie about posh people. It’s as if Hogg has found a contemporary English response to the rhetoric of Antonioni or Visconti.



The setting is the early 80s, and a sweet-natured young film student called Julie lives in a smart flat in London’s Knightsbridge, just across from the cupola of Harrods department store. This is evidently a pied-à-terre kept by her extremely well-off parents, who have a country place in north Norfolk. Her mother sometimes pops in after shopping expeditions, and is always having to “lend” Julie money for her film projects, yet Julie is charmingly open about her advantages in life.


Then the vampiric figure of Anthony makes his appearance. He is a supercilious, opinionated young man with a job in the Foreign Office and an insidious knack of playing on Julie’s insecurities by asking pointedly sceptical, quizzical questions about her work and airily claiming to admire Powell and Pressburger. His seduction technique involves taking her to the Wallace Collection to see Fragonard’s painting The Souvenir. It isn’t long before this sinister character has moved in and is buying Julie erotic lingerie, taking her to Venice, disrupting her film-making plans and upending her life.


In another movie, this would make for black comedy, and it feels like the plot for something by Muriel Spark, or an early AN Wilson novel. But comedy isn’t what’s happening. So what is? Something far subtler and more incremental.


Anthony is played with understated arrogance by Tom Burke, and newcomer Honor Swinton Byrne gives a graceful and insouciant performance as Julie. She is the daughter of Tilda Swinton, who duly plays Julie’s mother, unobtrusively aged up as a patrician mamma. At first I wondered if there was meta-textual humour in this casting but it is simply that their on-screen rapport is tremendous.


Hogg creates an almost trance-like state with the film, which she shakes off when Anthony and Julie host a dinner party attended by Anthony’s insufferable film-maker friend (a hilarious cameo for Richard Ayoade) who brayingly announces that it is appalling how Britain, the home of the Stones, the Kinks and the Small Faces, still doesn’t do movie musicals. (He doesn’t mention the Who, so is maybe not a fan of Tommy.) It is this character who will reveal the poison cloud gathering over the head of poor innocent Julie.


The Souvenir is at least partly autobiographical on Hogg’s part, and it sometimes feels as if it is circling around and around a memory that is too painful to be approached directly, of an episode which arguably endangered her development as an artist and in another way stimulated it. But there is something so coolly elegant in this circling – a choreography of young love, and a talent preparing to take flight.

‘The Souvenir’ Costume Designer Put a Decadent Twist on Opulent ’80s Style


By Tomris Laffly


Set against the backdrop of London’s early-1980s cultural renaissance, British auteur Joanna Hogg’s exquisitely sculpted and critically acclaimed “The Souvenir,” which A24 has been widening in platform release for the past month, follows film student Julie (Honor Swinton Byrne) and her gradually destructive romance with the magnetic Anthony (Tom Burke). “We didn’t want a film that screamed ’80s,” says costume designer Grace Snell, who, instead of browsing fashion magazines for secondhand ideas, mined Hogg’s old Polaroids and Ray Roughler Jones’  “3000 Hangovers Later,” a pictorial examination of Notting Hill decadence in the ’80s, for inspiration. The result is a softly nostalgic film that avoids the stereotypical shoulder pads and lamé of the era.


Snell distilled Julie’s artistic spirit, her preppy or “Sloanie” fashion sense (cashmere/silk instead of wool/polyester) and her chameleon-like desire to mimic Anthony to create an aspirational closet. For the couple’s first date, she dressed the student in Vivienne Westwood pirate buckle boots, as well as including daily staples: Levi’s, tomboy shirts (Ben Sherman and an ’80s original Katharine Hamnett) and various 1950s blouses from Norwich’s Lulu Vintage. For Julie’s classic-inspired loungewear, Snell considered the young woman’s evolving sensuality. “Phantom Thread” head cutter Cecile Van Dijk was brought on board for the Charles James-inspired couture gown (an original design by Snell), in which Julie elegantly strides in a scene set in Venice. On the train ride there, she wears a Hitchcockian, uncharacteristically waist-cinching gray skirt suit (another original) — a nod to Kim Novak in “Vertigo.”


For one of Anthony’s signature looks, Snell notes that Hogg wanted a pinstripe suit. “We went to Earl of Bedlam,” a punkish South London fashion house that Burke favors. “The fabric is Huddersfield Fine Worsteds, blue chalk stripe,” she notes. But to amplify the precise character that defines much of Anthony’s wardrobe, Snell gave the suit a pink lining. His shirts were custom-made, but his silk bow ties were original ’80s pieces, hand-painted by Hugh Dunford Wood. Costume trainee Harriet Waterhouse made the dressing gown Anthony wears throughout the film: a military-style piece imagined as an old school coat.


Snell had fun with the film’s mother-daughter facet, with Tilda Swinton, Honor’s real-life mom, playing that role for Julie. For an intimate birthday dinner scene, she put the duo in Fendi geometric prints; she also created subtle mirror-image moments between the two. “Maybe they swap clothes,” Snell suggests. “I imagined Julie had been given her scarves by her mother for Christmas.” A sizable portion of Swinton’s wardrobe, which conveys the character’s loyal commitment to ’60s style, came together thanks to a coincidence at a Norfolk charity shop, where Snell spotted a man donating boxes of clothes from a late family member. She bought the lot, discovering pristinely pleated petticoats, matching handbags and shoes and floral dresses. She added a red Mackintosh raincoat and vintage Wellington boots to the mix, as well as various silk scarves, including one of Swinton’s own.


The designer, who’s currently working on Bassam Tariq’s “Mughal Mowgli,” can be seen in “The Souvenir” in a fun cameo. “I’m the seamstress when Julie’s being measured,” she says proudly.


Costume Designer Grace Snell on the Look of ‘The Souvenir: Part II’


By Tomris Laffly


A melancholic memory piece that continues to follow the young, budding filmmaker Julie’s (Honor Swinton Byrne) personal and artistic journey, Joanna Hogg’s semi-autobiographical “The Souvenir: Part II” picks up her tale where the former film had left it off, sculpting a B-side just as haunting and immersive.


Reuniting with Hogg after infusing “Part I” with her thoughtful vision, costume designer Grace Snell once again dresses Julie and her world through a sophisticated ‘80s lens. It’s a refined aesthetic that graciously sharpens and matures while the five-year period in which “Part II” is set progresses and Julie navigates her grief over Anthony [Tom Burke]; her older, manipulative boyfriend who passes away from an overdose in “Part I” after an invigorating yet toxic relationship with the innocent Julie. Snell also shoulders a double-duty of sorts here as one of the film’s key artisans. Mirroring the film-within-a-film structure of “Part II” as Julie makes a personal film school graduation movie about her experiences with Anthony, Snell repurposes some of her “Part I” looks with the misty polish of both Julie’s and Hogg’s remembrances.


In a recent conversation with Variety, Snell—a two-time British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) nominee for her work in both films—broke down her approach to costuming Hogg’s sequel with consciously stylized colors and silhouettes.


Let’s start with Julie’s evolved style in Part II as a young woman moving through her grief and growing into a mature voice.


We definitely wanted a departure from the Julie that was in Anthony’s shadow, under Anthony’s spell. [In Part II], we pick up exactly where we left off in [Part I]. So I didn’t want to make an immediate jarring change. There needed to be some continuity. I did this through one scene, when Julie meets Antony’s parents [wearing] that scarf [around her neck]. That was the last time we get a sense of the [old] Julie. I just introduced a jacket and some new things. I wanted the overlap to be seamless. The film is [set over the course of] five years as well, so Joanna and I agreed we’d like to push the fashion a bit [with] a few more conscious choices. Along with production designer Stéphane [Collonge], Joanna came up with a color palette for the stages of grief to use as a framework. That was a nice approach. I liked this idea of playing around with light and dark. And we never wanted to [use] black—that was a conscious decision. [Instead, we used] midnight blue when we wanted [something] dark.


Julie gradually relaxes into her Part II style, in roomy but well-tailored trousers, shirts and sophisticated blazers, confident and sexy, can you talk about that?


When I watched “Part I” again, I really loved Julie in her coat that’s quite oversized. It’s a man’s coat. That was kind of a starting point for me to grow in Part II. But also [I took] Joanna’s generous input on how she likes to dress. She loves suits, blazers and this masculine outer shell. I had fittings with Honor. She just wore them so well. Not many people can pull off that look so effortlessly. It [can] look forced or stylized, but it looked completely natural on her. But I also wanted to make sure that we didn’t always associate that too much with Julie, so I introduced skirts and dresses. She has such a wide interest in fashion. But her go-to look would be a blazer or a jacket.


While we’re on jacket-and-trousers, what is the story behind her gorgeous pair of silver pants? Were they leather?


That particular stage of grief was assigned [the color] silver. One of my inspirations for them was the ’80s fashion designer, Romeo Gigli. He was a great influence for my mood boarding in the early stages. And then Joanna said, “I was obsessed with Romeo!” [We used] this bizarre metallic material—I can’t even remember what they were—but I knew it would work on camera. And what I love about them in that scene is, it’s quite a dark scene but [the pants] catch the light so well. She comes into the hangar of the film set like a shining light. There is a glimmer of what she’s capable of being.


Julie’s coming-of-age story comes full circle in Part II, as she makes a film about her experiences in Part I. And your costumes are very much a part of that journey. What was it like for you, to see your Part I work come back to life like that? Some pieces seemed exactly the same and some felt like renderings.


I used a lot of the same pieces and then I deliberately found some pieces that looked slightly similar, like a pair of shoes or a shirt. I did that because I liked the idea that I was a costume designer for Julie within the film, so that there was the Grace designing for Joanna Hogg. Then there was a different costume designer, designing for Julie. And then a different costume designer designing for Patrick [Richard Ayoade], etc. So I didn’t want to get everything completely correct by the book. Because a costume designer approaching an autobiographical piece would probably be given some pieces of clothing by the director, but then would be asked to [supply] others, maybe based on pictures. [That] small detail was important to me. We just had very [key] pieces [identical], like the coat and the scarf around [Anthony’s] head.


And then deliberately, Garance [Ariane Labed, who plays Julie in Julie’s student film] wore the pink cardigan and cherry blouse in different ways. Because that’s what happens, it’s like Chinese whispers in essence, a re-interpretation. It was really exciting actually. It was just very meta. My head had to be thinking of many things at once.


There are two specific outfits that I would love for you to break down. One, her beautiful graduation presentation outfit—a mandarin collar jacket, high-waist trousers and sash belt, all in gold tones. And the other, a gorgeous one-shoulder, square-neck cocktail dress that she wears for her birthday.


With the midnight blue dress at the end of the film: it’s a color that we now associate with Julie. It’s about this independent woman, dressing for herself and loving clothes; not necessarily having a formula when she goes shopping. Maybe she just loved the elegance and [that] it’s grown-up. And because it’s her 30th birthday, this is the oldest we’re seeing Julie. I did want us to look at her in a different light. [That dress] just feels really playful. I hate to use that word normally, but it doesn’t feel too serious. She doesn’t take herself too seriously; she’s just very strong and independent. I found it online at a vintage shop that I really love.


With that particular [graduation] outfit, the stage of grief is we are in is acceptance and its [color] was gold. I said to Joanna that I would really like to dress the whole audience in shades of golden brown. Joanna was really up for that. It was a stylized choice, [something we didn’t do in Part I]. When Julie was in this gold jacket, everything [feels] very warm and together in that scene. I had found that jacket in a charity shop a month earlier for 5 pounds. I had it on a hanger in the room for ages. [Then] my seamstress and I conceived the trouser pattern, the same that we used for the metallic pants. We took the garment to fabric shops to match the colors. And so we made the trousers and the sash—it’s one of my favorites as well. There is a catwalk show that Romeo Gigli did, which is all browns and golds. That was a big inspiration for me. What was funny about it was how similar it is to the gray Venice suit in Part I. The shape of the jacket, [also] the collar and the buttons. So I loved that there was continuity there, but in the opposite color. Gold rather than silver.


There seems to be a subtle, slight shift towards the ’90s here in Part II, to perhaps reflect a transitional period in style. We’re still in the ’80s, but we also see signs of the incoming fashion.


For the costumes, I do try to get inspiration from a set of five-year periods around the [actual] period, whether it is the future or the past. So I was definitely looking at early ’90s. I was looking at Yohji Yamamoto. And we do want to see the progress of time here. Whereas in Part I, we kind of wanted to make it timeless. It was important to show how Julie was becoming a filmmaker and independent in her own right. And so it’s important to start showing these markers of time in the costumes. You don’t want to scream, but push it forward where the story is going slightly.


I want to mention Richard Ayoade briefly, who plays a hilariously obnoxious, in-your-face sort of character. What was your approach to his costumes? I love the pink and white suits and that fur coat.


Richard and I worked very closely together. There were probably over 50 emails about this character. He had a lot of ideas which were welcome. He wanted to wear those sunglasses. I had the idea of having a quite simple silhouette, [like] he’d always wear a suit, whether it’s with a shirt and a tie. We left his shirts crumpled on purpose. And then he was generous with some of his own suits—he’s got a lot of suits in his wardrobe. That’s how I work as a designer: I like having collaboration with an actor, even if I don’t agree necessarily with some of the things they bring to the table. I really value their opinion and the character work they’ve done. I can’t remember where the fur coat came from but it really works within that Soho alley. Designing [costumes] for [his character Patrick’s] musical was also a lot of fun. I had all the suits made for his actors in Technicolor bright colors specifically to be shot in black and white.