Mimi talks to Camilla Morton – Part 1

Mimi ON Dec 10, 2008 AT 2:25 pm

Camilla Morton

Camilla Morton

Camilla Morton is a fashion journalist and author of How to Walk in High Heels and A Year in High Heels. We caught up with her to find out more about fashion, books, heels and Galliano.


Background/academic – how did you get to where you are now?
However much you want to plan things I don’t think you ever really can. I started off at an all girl’s school, was very quiet, very shy, wanted to be a pianist.  I got into art, started painting and next thing you know was at art college. I went to Central Saint Martins to study fashion – which felt totally natural as my mum used to let me cut up old copies of Vogue and so on when I was growing up – and before you knew it I was working in fashion. 

I did work experience while I was at college with everyone and anyone.  I worked on cable TV, in PR, at The Telegraph and at Vogue… and then in my final year of college I applied for a job at Christian Dior in Paris and ended up graduating and moving over to assist John Galliano

I moved back to London to start on POP Magazine when it was launching and freelanced for various newspapers and magazines but all the while kept doing odds and ends for Galliano (so we didn’t miss each other too much). I have written for US and English magazines but what I love most is John and covering the fashion shows. I loved art, theatre, old films but above all it was fashion – or to be precise John Galliano – who the moment his debuted his first collection I was mesmerised by.  I was eight when he graduated and from that moment on I knew. 

A Year in High Heels

A Year in High Heels

My first job on graduating was assisting Galliano and I moved to Paris leaving Vogue and London behind! Working with John was a dream job – and dream lifestyle, but I missed London and I missed writing. I started writing for The Times Newspaper and got offered a job and moved back home… but even before the Eurostar had left to take me home John and Steven had chased me to the train station and offered me a job so I would stay!  And so I started to work half for Galliano, half as a journalist.  It really was the best of both worlds – hard – but I was doing what I loved.  I didn’t earn any money, but I was paid with the most amazing knowledge and experience, and I truly got to learn all about my craft.  I basically had several turning points in my life.  One: seeing Galliano’s first show.  Two: Meeting Manolo who told me to work for John.  Three: Meeting Galliano.  And from this all else has stemmed. If you work hard, and wish even harder anything is possible.  

What made you decide to write your first and current book?
I wrote the book because I had come to Paris to do the collections, had dashed round to see the boys in the studio, and been robbed…I remember it so clearly. I went back to the studio and cried, ‘I don’t want to work in fashion,’ I sobbed to the boys as I tried to work out what I had lost, and indeed how I had lost it, and was totally sabotaging any fittings getting done.  Steven tried to jolly me out of my black cloud and gave me a pen and notepad and said they would help me come up with a new career.  ‘Write a list of things you like’, said John, ‘or things you don’t,’ said Steven, so to compromise we wrote a list of things I was hopeless at…all 250 things. ‘This isn’t making me feel any better!’ I wailed, ‘I am a victim of crime and now I am also rubbish at this whole list of things!!’  ‘No my Lala, you are going to write a book!’ said John, and with that the black cloud vanished and everything seemed jolly again – and things were just the way you should be.  And yes, I did write a book – the book you are writing about – that turned out to be my first. Galliano has such an astounding optimism its as if his wishes are a magic command. 

How to Walk in High Heels’ came out and struck a cord.  Next thing you know I had to follow it up. A sequel? John’s PA looked pained (I had insisted I faxed him every draft of every chapter, and he had dutifully read each one, and even wrote the foreword).  ‘Well are you perfect yet?’ they asked when I begged them to help me think of the next step. I blushed.  I might not be ‘perfect’ in many ways, but sitting here in the studio it felt as if this was pretty close to my idea of it. Clearly they didn’t agree. So I decided to create a Utopia for the ultimate girl to reach – not the ‘perfect’ girl, but the ‘pretty darn close and happy about it’ girl… Just as they would create a path for their muse to follow, I followed this formula and laid out a new city, a new month, a new adventure, and by the end she would be the ultimate girl for all seasons, just as I felt when I was in that room with them – I felt invincible. So yes, as well as my day job, last year A Year in High Heels was published…and it is just about to come out in America and indeed the copies have only just arrived! 

Describe a day in your life
Not one day is the same – and not one day can compare to the next! I have not had a timetable since I was at school and not worked in an office since I left Russian Vogue in 1999!

Career highlight to date
Meeting Galliano, meeting Manolo and fainting into his arms and seeing my book on the shelves is pretty inspiring!

Read more about Camilla here

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