I ask you, is Rottweilling really a career?

My daughter's been trained to hang around playgrounds looking for the future Kate Moss

UNDER NORMAL circumstances British Fashion Week - we've just had it - would have left me unmoved. I've pretty much given up fashion. The last designer garment I bought was not a success. How can I describe it? Quite easily, in fact: it's a knee-length, V-necked, dark grey tubular cardigan, austere to the point of astringency save in one respect. Instead of cuffs it has long, shaggy, drooping woollen tendrils variously knotted, looped and frayed, sprouting at each wrist. "An amusing little detail, typical of this particular designer," said the shop assistant knowingly as she disentangled one of my fronds from her earring with a bitter expression.

And amusing they probably are when I make expansive Gallic gestures and my woolly toggles bounce waywardly at will. But they're a nightmare anywhere near food, particularly sticky food, to which they are attracted like slugs to lettuce. Most of my dinner ends up in my sleeves. Once, in a restaurant, signalling to the waiter for another bottle of wine, I counted linguini, two peas, half an olive and a toothpick embedded most unamusingly in my cuff.

But back to fashion week which this year did not pass unnoticed because, like it or not, I have become unwittingly involved in the glossy world of supermodels. Throw another log on the fire, if you like; this is a long story. I have this friend called Melissa who, when all my other friends were carving out important careers in the media, the City and Tupperware, started her own model agency, called Take Two, which the rest of us, working for Thompson Regional Newspapers, Coopers & Lybrand and Tupperware, thought terribly trendy. So was her office in Covent Garden where, if you went to meet Melissa for lunch, you might easily bump into Jade Jagger on the stairs.

Working for Take Two in school holidays was the dream of my three daughters, especially the youngest who, despite perfectly respectable grades in A- level theology, classical civilisation and English literature, said she would rather be a booker at Melissa's than go to university. A booker? It sounded vaguely erudite. Maybe you needed three A-levels to be a booker. Had I had the opportunity to sit down and discuss my daughter's future at length with Melissa, things might have been different; but alas, Melissa was never around. Trendy Take Two had metamorphosed into the far more serious and forbidding Take Two Management Limited and Melissa was always in Paris, Milan or New York signing up new models and staying in impossibly trendy hotels with black walls, no lights and rude staff. I know because she once recommended one of them to me in New York, and I bear the scars on my chins and the bruises on my amour propre to this day.

What I did learn from the fledgeling booker was that you don't get to book overnight. You have to be trained. First, you have to learn to scout. This, as far as I can make out, entails hanging around school playgrounds at half past three looking for the future Kate Moss. The goods, as we all know, are getting younger. In the old days, Melissa would sign up Welsh nannies and Polish au pair girls she'd spotted making sandcastles with their charges in Battersea Park, but these days, when girls peak at 13 and are over the hill by 18, you have to get in there quick.

By the end of last summer my daughter was a fully trained booker, which meant sitting round a table with very young, strangely dressed people, shouting into the telephone about options, go-sees, castings and outs. Stranger still were the models themselves: wasted and never, to my mind, wearing enough warm clothes. "They've got attitude, that's what counts," explained Melissa.

There were the usual crises last week. Three models got food poisoning at a fast-food noodle bar in Soho and couldn't make the knitwear show at the Natural History Museum. "Mum, Melissa is sending me to Milan next week to look after Jacquetta Wheeler, our top girl at the Italian fashion shows. Everybody wants her. She was on the cover of The Face, and Mario Testino says she's the face of '99. I've got to stop people trying to steal her from our agency."

How? And who's Mario Testino anyway? "Why don't you go over to Milan for the day and see how it all works," suggested Melissa. "You'd be very proud of your daughter. She's a regular Rottweiler."

But is Rottweiling really a career? Something inside me still wishes she were studying Jane Austin at Warwick University under the beady eyes of Professor Germaine Greer, who, I bet you anything, was not at the knitwear collection at the Natural History Museum. I wonder if it featured any slug-and-lettuce cardigans.

Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

Arts and Entertainment
Dapper Laughs found success through the video app Vine

comedy Erm...he seems to be back

Arts and Entertainment
Wolf (Nathan McMullen), Ian (Dan Starky), The Doctor (Peter Capaldi), Clara (Jenna Coleman), Santa Claus (Nick Frost) in the Doctor Who Christmas Special (BBC/Photographer: David Venni)

tvReview: No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

Arts and Entertainment
Bruce Forsyth and Tess Daly flanking 'Strictly' winners Flavia Cacace and Louis Smith

tv Gymnast Louis Smith triumphed in the Christmas special

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
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.

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that? The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year

    Aren’t you glad you didn’t say that?

    The worst wince-and-look-away quotes of the year
    Hollande's vanity project is on a high-speed track to the middle of nowhere

    Vanity project on a high-speed track to nowhere

    France’s TGV network has become mired in controversy
    Sports Quiz of the Year

    Sports Quiz of the Year

    So, how closely were you paying attention during 2014?
    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry, his love of 'Bargain Hunt', and life as a llama farmer

    Alexander Armstrong on insulting Mary Berry and his love of 'Bargain Hunt'

    From Armstrong and Miller to Pointless
    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on after Giroud's moment of madness

    Sanchez helps Gunners hold on

    Olivier Giroud's moment of madness nearly costs them
    A Christmas without hope: Fears grow in Gaza that the conflict with Israel will soon reignite

    Christmas without hope

    Gaza fears grow that conflict with Israel will soon reignite
    After 150 years, you can finally visit the grisliest museum in the country

    The 'Black Museum'

    After 150 years, you can finally visit Britain's grisliest museum
    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    No ho-ho-hos with Nick Frost's badass Santa

    Doctor Who Christmas Special TV review
    Chilly Christmas: Swimmers take festive dip for charity

    Chilly Christmas

    Swimmers dive into freezing British waters for charity
    Veterans' hostel 'overwhelmed by kindness' for festive dinner

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect