my childhood. Like the bright red lace-ups, at a time when everyone else was in black slip-on pointiness. “Farleigh,” they shouted at first, this – charmingly – being the name of the local mental health institution. Then they left me to enjoy my gorgeous shoes, before, after a while, they started buying their own. (I am not going to ’fess up how much scarlet footwear I have now.)
Then there was the green down coat from Denmark, when no one had seen a down coat before. No one could get their heads round that, but I was the warmest kid in the playground. And the pirate fancy-dress costume at a marine-themed party at which every other female in attendance was a super-cute sailor girl. My mum had made me an eye patch and a parrot, my dad a plywood musket and bottle of grog. This was, in retrospect, Comme des Garçons levels of envelope-pushing.
All of the above made me the dresser I am now – and, relatedly, the person I am. But it began with that frock. What it neatly demonstrated to me, although I didn’t realise it then, was that clothes can render you visible. And that sometimes this can initially be a negative thing but provided you look good – and, hey, what can I say, I knew how to work that parrot – and provided you rise above that