I am up early wishing I had had a better night's sleep and longer in bed.
My car and driver collect me at 9am sharp and drive me 10 blocks down to FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology). I am viewing the graduate students' exhibition of dresses inspired by Valentino. Impressive!! I loved 2 of the garments (wish I had taken down the students' names, but one was a pale apricot and pink dress gathered in a most elegant way down the front with each gathering sprinkled with diamanté. The other outfit was a sassy and very flirtatious pair of shorts with a wonderful ruffled blouse to go with it. Made of the finest silk organdie it just looked sheer and very feminine. Both these outfits would sell well in Sydney.
I wander around the 'garment district' area for the next hour and find a street where most of the shops sell mannequins or shop fittings. I also find I am back at the wonderful antique centre where my stunning collar was bought on 25th St.
At 11am I meet up with my same driver and we head south to 200 Hudson Street. I have a talk at 12pm at the 92Y Tribeca – a community based organisation that offers talks and other activities to the wider NYC community. I am showed my lecture room and set up my dresses on the dress rack and await the audience.
The room is full of very well dressed women including Fran Darnell, Doris' grand daughter. It is wonderful to meet her and have her in the audience. She is delightful I will keep in touch with her and look forward to meeting up with her again. The talk is one of the best – a great group - very eager to hear the stories and enjoying the whole event. I am asked lots of questions and sell plenty of books which all need signing. What I enjoy about my talks are the varying questions. I try to answer ones I know people ask frequently when I give my presentation so that the questions asked really become a great extension of my talks. Today's questions are quality ones!
After my talk and book signing I am interviewed by several bloggers and one woman who produces NBC Style on-line. I have photographs taken, answer a range of questions recorded on a hand held recorder and sign more books. This new world of internet media certainly expands the potential of selling my book to a huge new crowd. It is way beyond my understanding so I just let it happen!
I have 2 hours to have lunch and prepare for my evening talk which will be at the FIT Bookstore (Barnes & Noble). There is a lot going on tonight at FIT so the audience will be small. Still, I am thrilled my book is in the bookstore – it will reach an large student market.
So back down to FIT I go at 4:30pm with the same driver who has been sitting and waiting outside the hotel. I meet with the vivacious Clare who runs the bookstore. Our audience is small, but I love intimate talks after the enormous ones I have been giving recently. One lovely woman had been to the book launch and wanted to hear more and another woman runs the wonderful vintage dress shop, The Family Jewels, I had visited on my first day in the city. We have a nice chat – very informal and discuss things other than the book, but all fashion related. I leave with a gift, an FIT pen (for future signings).
My car takes me back to the hotel where I drop off my vintage dresses and then on to Cameron's gallery on E. 62nd Street. This is the big Impressionist sales week at the big auction houses and the high flyers are in town. Many of the important galleries are hosting drinks parties so I join in this one and wander from gallery to gallery looking at museum quality paintings and antique furniture drinking French champagne. Not bad for a free night! I am wearing a beautiful summery pistachio green 60s cocktail dress with a jewelled collar. I bought it from Sandy Bizy's vintage shop in Sydney and love it.
I head back down to my hotel to begin the long task of reducing 4 suitcases worth of shopping and clothes into 2. I give up around 11pm and read a magazine before falling straight to sleep. Even though I feel like I have been away from home and my lovely daughter for years, I am now feeling a bit sad my trip is almost coming to an end. Mind you I still have 3 more days and a number of meetings and book signings. Not that I am done and ready to relax!