HOW WE MET - SUSIE BICK AND BELLA FREUD

The model Susie Bick, 30, was born in Cheshire. At 14, she ran away from boarding school to New York, where she was discovered by a modelling agency. On her return to England, at 17, she became David Bailey's muse and began making a name as a model. She lives in north London with her dog.

The fashion designer Bella Freud, 35, was born in London. She is the daughter of Lucian and the great-granddaughter of Sigmund. In 1977, she started work at Vivienne Westwood's shop Seditionaries; by 1991, she had created her own collection. She lives in west London with her boyfriend

Susie Bick: I'd met Bella briefly on a couple of occasions, but the most significant time was in 1990 at her studio in Notting Hill. I'll always remember everything about that day; there was a feeling of it being special. I had had a fabulous dream the night before about a perfect pair of shoes and a box of chocolates.

The shoes were a beautiful pair of black suede slingbacks. I told a friend of mine who suggested that we go out and look for them. At that time it was impossible to find a decent pair of shoes anywhere, so I didn't expect to find them. The first shop we went to was Bella's - and there were the exact shoes that I had dreamt of. It was such a lovely day, it was like the dream was real, or that I was still in the dream, very strange and hilariously funny. I didn't tell Bella at the time in case she thought I was a bit weird. Then Bella and I got talking and she asked me to work with her - and that was when our friendship began.

Over the years she has become the most amazing friend I've ever had. In this business particularly, it's very hard to make sincere friends. I have travelled around a lot since I was a child, leaving school and leaving the country and then having a career since I was 16; so I never really knew what it was to have a good friend. I've got brothers, but I'd always wanted an older sister. I remember the first time I told Bella something very personal - and the look on her face told me how much she cared about me. I'm always amazed at her dedication to friendship. I find that she understands me even when I say very little.

To work for, Bella is focused and dedicated; she is very concerned with the detail in her clothes. She notices all sorts of things that I never would. There is a real psychological element to her work. A skirt must be a certain length, to show a little but not reveal too much. I would want to wear it ridiculously short, but Bella is far more subtle. She understands that there is more in suggestion than total provocation. I have worn her clothes for years, and I love the way they make you feel safe, even though they have an extremely feminine quality. They don't make you vulnerable, like other clothes can do. They are slightly restrained, yet luxurious and beautifully made.

Bella is partly responsible for my calmer lifestyle. I used to be very naughty, and I've got a reputation for being a bit wild. My life has changed a lot since I met her, partly due to her influence and partly to do with my growing up. She has introduced me to different people and I've met several of my good friends through her. She has never criticised me and she rarely gets cross.

She can make me feel a little flighty sometimes, though. She came to my house once and saw that Hoover, my dog, had taken all his bones to my room and was chewing them on my bed. My bed was covered in bones; and I hadn't even noticed. Bella didn't think that was very nice - I was so embarrassed.

Bella and I have fun together, too. When I was young I always felt that I was a bad influence on my friends. We used to get dressed up and I'd say, "Why don't we wear this?" and, "Why don't we wear that?" I'd cut up trousers and make them skin-tight, and make little mini skirts, and then we used to get dressed up in feather boas and go for walks... and this was when I was about seven. It's a great excuse with Bella to do that all over again. We really appreciate all those "girls' things" - even though our friendship goes far deeper than that. I want to know her all my life. She's a genius and very glamorous, in a real way. I love being around her.

BELLA FREUD: The first time that I saw Susie, I was assisting on a shoot that she was working on and I saw her getting changed in the back of the coach. She was taking her clothes off incredibly slowly. I thought that she must be very cool and confident; when I get changed I take my clothes off as fast as possible, but she was just peeling hers off, piece by piece. It was very captivating.

The first time that we properly got to know each other was in 1990, when this mutual friend of ours said he wanted to bring her over to buy some shoes that she had apparently dreamt about. I was really excited, as I'd just started my own line and I wanted to get to know her; I was hoping that she might even model some of my clothes. Susie liked all the clothes, and so she agreed to be in the video for my summer collection. As soon as she started modelling for the video, everybody gathered round her excitedly. They were saying, "Now put this on, Susie; now do that; how about this, Susie." She was such a great actress that everyone was drawn to her. One of the things about her that is so disarming is that although she is this amazing model, she's so sweet to everybody.

She's got all the qualities of a 1950s star without being retro or old- fashioned. She looks like how one would imagine Guinevere to look with this amazing Arthurian profile. I also like the way that sometimes she looks terrible. She's not ordinary; not just a boring old bonny face. She's like the girl at school that everyone will always want to hear about. The singer Prince is always sending her roses, and all sorts of people fall for her. To have Susie modelling in my show is a wonderful advert.

She is famous for being able to change her image while keeping the thing that makes her Susie. I was in Paris with her four years ago and I was trying to pair her off with somebody who became my current boyfriend. We all had dinner together and then went on to this party, and Susie disappeared into the loo and when she returned she had put her hair up and made her skirt long, and the same man didn't even recognise her. Susie phoned me some months later to try to contact him, and I had to tell her that he was my boyfriend. She wasn't bothered; in fact, she thought it was funny.

We've got closer over the years, and we talk three or four times a week on the phone. I feel like her big sister. She's no egomaniac; she'll often be more interested in taking her dog to the vet than going off and doing a Dolce e Gabbana show. It's a liability looking the way she does. I sometimes feel more like her bouncer when so many creeps try to talk to her. She always handles it very gently, whereas I want to go up and bash them. There are times when she doesn't stand up for herself. I remember once when she was shooting in France and the organisers hadn't bothered to take care of her. She phoned me and said she was hungry, freezing cold and miserable. I said, "Put your foot down. Refuse to do any more until they get you some heaters and some food." So she did, and they treated her better from then on.

Susie brings my work to life in this electric way. She brings out the subtleties in the clothes; she'll put the raunch into the demure that is so essential; the thing about a really good model is that they bring out the magic in the clothes. The fashion business is 20 minutes of glamour twice a year and the rest is relentless hard work. Susie's arrival calms me down if I'm stressed and she's full of good ideas. She also encourages other models to work with me. During my first show Susie was doing a show with Naomi Campbell and Susie suggested to Naomi that she come to do a show with me, and she did. It was fantastic.

Susie's got this wild-child reputation which has only occasionally been manifested in front of me. People always expect her to go out on a limb and be flamboyant and take her clothes off or something. Sometimes I've gone to pick up Susie to take her to breakfast, and she's been wearing something completely transparent. She's not shy about her body; she's used to doing semi-naked catwalk shows. She was also in the naked catwalk show in Robert Altman's film Pret-a-Porter. It is that picture of her that has always stuck in people's minds. !

Arts and Entertainment
Sir Nicholas Serota has been a feature in the Power 100 top ten since its 2002 launch
art
Arts and Entertainment
Awesome foursome: Sam Smith shows off his awards
music22-year-old confirms he is 2014’s breakout British music success
Arts and Entertainment
Contestants during this summer's Celebrity Big Brother grand finale
tvBroadcaster attempts to change its image following sale to American media group
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Dales attempts to sell British Breeze in the luxury scent task
tvReview: 'Apprentice' candidate on the verge of tears as they were ejected from the boardroom
Arts and Entertainment
Kate Bush: 'I'm going to miss everyone so much'
music
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Laura Wood, winner of the Montegrappa Scholastic Prize for New Children’s Writing
books

Children's bookseller wins The Independent's new author search

Arts and Entertainment
Pulling the strings: Spira Mirabilis

music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Neville's Island at Duke of York's theatre
musicReview: The production has been cleverly cast with a quartet of comic performers best known for the work on television
Arts and Entertainment
Banksy's 'The Girl with the Pierced Eardrum' in Bristol

art
Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Tim Minchin portrait
For a no-holds-barred performer who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, Tim Minchin is surprisingly gentle
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
Arts and Entertainment
Joy Division photographed around Waterloo Road, Stockport, near Strawberry Studios. The band are Bernard Sumner (guitar and keyboards), Stephen Morris (drums and percussion), Ian Curtis (vocals and occasional guitar), Peter Hook (bass guitar and backing vocals).
books
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
    West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

    Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
    Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

    A new American serial killer?

    Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
    Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

    Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

    Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
    Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

    Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

    Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
    Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

    Want to change the world? Just sign here

    The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?