To write this I had to take a deep breath. A big one and promise myself that I would forget all the stuff I previously knew and open myself up to a new experience here (if that makes sense).

Are beauty and pretty the same?

This weekend I was accidentally redirected. Has this ever happened to you? You’re on your way to one specific place and you ask someone (a local) for directions and they redirect you to an entirely different place, their idea of “a much nicer spot”.

As I trek about exploring for my next book, every billboard I see, every street I wander and every bite I chew is a clue to a place’s new beauty. It’s impossible to know everything, but trying to bottle a place’s beauty is what we all try to achieve on a good holiday. We bring back proof in pictures and add little verbal explanations of the experience for family and friends.

Last Sunday a barista made me an Espresso. I couldn’t wait to drink it. He mixed up a bit of coffee with some sugar until it was a paste and then he poured that on top of the espresso, like cream. Sitting in the shade, drinking it, I thought… this is beauty; maybe the idea of beauty in an extraordinary person’s talent, or an extraordinary taste, or an experience, absorbed with all our senses?

When you work in and around fashion it becomes more and more difficult to appreciate non-conventional beauty. Are beauty and pretty the same? I’ll be honest here and say any person (and not necessarily a model either) has to have something other than conventional prettiness to be beautiful. No? Alice Cornish’s face is etched in my mind as my favourite example that I’ve found so far, like a haunting painting, it’s stayed with me.

Backstage at Marios Schwab Alice Cornish stood casually wrapped in her own huge flexible woolly knit and slouchy boots and as the sun went down last Sunday night and I thought about that lovingly made coffee, I wished I’d remembered where I’d put these pictures as I wanted to show them to my friends. We’d started to discuss this idea of beauty. Having a talent is beauty. Relaxed beauty in fashion. Maybe I’m not explaining it properly, but the feeling is summed up in these pictures above.

Have you seen Tron: Legacy? I watched it late Saturday night Olivia Wilde (more frequently known as ‘Thirteen’ in the US Medical drama House) is so great. Very different to Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday (can you believe it…a whole Audrey Hepburn weekend on Film4?). Like Anita Ekberg in La Dolce Vita, or Mia Farrow in Rosemary’s Baby all these leading ladies have created their own inspiring legacy. But behind the make-up and the pomp they had that relaxed beauty going on. Maybe it’s a mix of vulnerability with A LOT of bravery and courage. And a little bit feral. (I like that). I’m sure you’ll come up with someone even better that will trump all of these.

Anyway, it’s a few days on and I’m still thinking about relaxed beauty and even though Paul Hanlon crafted Alice Cornish ‘s hair into his idea of a futuristic ‘shiny bow’ for Marios Schwab AW11 show (not unlike the blonde female programme’s hair in Tron Legacy: which is mere co-incidence) Alice Cornish still looked relaxed and natural. How did she manage that?

In the final scene in Tron: Legacy Olivia Wilde sees her first sunset. Imagine!!!!! Not ever seeing a sunset? Maybe beauty is that simple. I was sitting next to U2’s Bono one night and I remember asking him what he found the most beautiful and simple thing in the world? Guess what he said?