It is very rare in my job that I become star-struck or I forget to remain professional but last night I attended the Elizabeth Walker lecture as part of NE1's Newcastle Fashion Week and I was so busy listening to her exciting and incredible life story that I completely forgot to take notes! Luckily I did manage to scribble down a few quotes but rather than relay her life story which you'll be able to find on other blogs, I just wanted to put down here some of inspirational things she said.
“This lecture is all about me, and my curious career as Go-Go Dancer, to Graphic Designer, to Fashion Director!”
As soon as she said this I was hooked. I often worry that because I have dabbled in lots of different areas of the creative industry that I will be penalised for this, it was even more comforting when Elizabeth began talking about during her university years in Scotland, she also was taught a variety of skills before settling on magazines as her chosen career.
“The more you see - the more visual references you can include in your own work...”
This advice is something I was once also told by an ex-lecturer of mine, Barry. Barry taught visual studies at Durham and preached to my course the importance of visual references. We were encouraged to keep visual diaries of anything we saw and had an opinion on but also to learn as much as possible about everything to be the best designers we could. He said the best creatives were the most intelligent people because they had a knowledge of both the past and present and an idea of what was going to happen in the future. Elizabeth echoed this advice.
Elizabeth spoke fondly of famous friends and colleagues, including Manolo Blahnik who she recalled one time had recently had an accident with his ankle but turned up wearing heels to which she mentioned to him they may not be appropriate attire for a poorly ankle and she received the following response -
“If you girls have to suffer for my art, so do I too. - Manolo Blahnik”
I honestly could have listened to her all day, she was so interesting and had so many stories to tell that I really didn't want the talk to end. I have to admit she pulled on my heartstrings during the question and answer session when Lisa from NLC Beauty asked how Elizabeth combined such an amazing career with family life. Elizabeth replied with she had never married and had very little family, she seemed to remain quite positive however.
After her lecture and the Q&A, myself, Hannah and Lisa had the chance to have our photo taken with her and have a little chat where she dished a few secrets out, signed copies of her book for us and confessed her beautiful purple dress was vintage Alberta Ferretti.The whole evening was amazing and I left feeling really motivated and inspired, if you get the chance to ever see her speak, jump at it.
Photography Credit: Idene Roozbayani