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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.