Evening Standard - ES Magazine


- @bengcobb

Last week I had one of those mornings. You know the kind: cold, still dark at 8am and torrential rain. No taxis or Ubers, I dashed for the Undergroun­d, tiptoeing over rivers of oomska. My Boots umbrella, panic-purchased en route, didn’t stand a chance. By the time

I got to the station I was sodden — in hindsight, probably not the best day to be wearing wool bell-bottoms — and in a foul mood.

The Tube was packed and smelt of damp kennels. I stared out of the sweaty window, willing myself somewhere else — anywhere else. And then I saw something. Like a glitch in the matrix, a Japanese woman in full traditiona­l dress appeared on one of the platforms.

Walking slowly through the grey crowd, she was a vision of poise and elegance, and she immediatel­y snapped me out of my funk. That’s the thing about London: when you need it most or least expect it, this city throws you a magic moment; the secret is you just have to look for it. I felt ashamed for doubting our capital: never again (weather dependent).

I’m not completely sure why I’m sharing this snippet with you. It’s probably to do with magic moments because we have plenty of those in this special Gift Guide issue. For starters, Chloë Sevigny is always a good idea. Chloë Sevigny in a wedding dress with three mini lookalikes shot by the mighty Petra Collins? That’s definitely a magic moment. Inside, Hamish MacBain sits down with ‘the coolest girl in the world’ (as she was dubbed by The New Yorker in the Nineties) for some oysters and a catch-up. Hamish is happy to report she is now the coolest woman in the world. We’ve also compiled a stellar gift guide full of magic moments. See what Victoria Beckham, Susie Cave, Mert Alas, Pat McGrath and a host of others are all hoping to find under the Christmas tree this year. There’s lots more to enjoy — tech titans and gasketeers — but I have to dash to the dry cleaners now with those bell-bottoms.

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