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Harper’s Bazaar editor-inchief and au­thor Jus­tine Pi­cardie talks about her cul­tural in­flu­ences

Jus­tine Pi­cardie is the dis­cern­ing editor-in-chief of Harper’s Bazaar mag­a­zine, the glo­ri­ously glossy UK art, travel, lit­er­a­ture and fash­ion bi­ble that is cel­e­brat­ing its 150th birth­day this year. Bri­tish-born Pi­cardie is also a nov­el­ist, and a new edi­tion of her lat­est bi­og­ra­phy, Coco Chanel: The Le­gend and the Life, is out this month (Harper­collins, £22). At the mo­ment I’m lis­ten­ing to mu­sic by the Jel­lies, an ob­scure post-punk band I was in when I was 18. We re­leased one ec­cen­tric vinyl sin­gle, which – much to my sur­prise – has de­vel­oped a cult fol­low­ing. I’ve been lis­ten­ing to the remixes of the song and laugh­ing about its un­ex­pected af­ter­life. The song that makes me feel in­stantly

happy is Rebel Rebel by David Bowie ( 2). It still makes me get up and dance, decades af­ter I first heard it and in­stantly fell in love with it as a teenager. I’ve just fin­ished read­ing Alan Bennett’s The Un­com­mon Reader ( 6)– a wry, yet hu­mane story about the plea­sures of read­ing. My favourite film of all time is Chi­na­town, di­rected by Ro­man Polan­ski, with a bril­liant screen­play by Robert Towne and equally daz­zling per­for­mances by Faye Du­n­away and Jack Ni­chol­son ( 5) in the lead roles. It’s a film about cor­rup­tion – the sin­is­ter crim­i­nal­ity that was hid­den in the ori­gins of Los An­ge­les, and the dark­ness at the heart of a pow­er­ful fam­ily.

The last ex­hi­bi­tion I saw

was Howard Hodgkin’s ‘Ab­sent Friends’ at the Na­tional Por­trait Gallery – it’s a com­pelling and beau­ti­ful show, with an emo­tional in­ten­sity height­ened by the knowl­edge that the artist died in March, just be­fore this ex­hi­bi­tion opened. One of my proud­est ever mo­ments as the editor of Harper’s Bazaar was when we pub­lished an edi­tion of Bazaar Art with a front cover de­signed by Howard Hodgkin ( 4). For a fun night out in London, I’ll go to The Wolse­ley ( 1) or the Colony Grill Room at The Beau­mont – both owned by a friend of mine, Jeremy King, and brim­ming with life, as well as de­li­cious food and charm­ing ser­vice. I also like Bel­lamy’s in May­fair – where the Queen goes on her rare ex­pe­di­tions to eat out in the cap­i­tal. If I had a free day in London and it wasn’t rain­ing, I’d go for a walk in one of the city’s green spaces – Re­gent’s Park ( 3) or Hamp­stead Heath, which I’ve known and loved since child­hood. My favourite place in the world in sum­mer is the High­lands of Scot­land, when the days are long and the sweet scent of heather fills the air. The next place I’m off to is Sri Lanka ( 7) with my hus­band. I’ve never been, but he has and he says it’s one of the most won­der­ful places he’s ever vis­ited. We’re go­ing up to the old tea plan­ta­tions in the moun­tains, which still have Scot­tish names dat­ing back to a by­gone era.

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