With this in mind, I set myself a project: to become a New York Woman. I wouldn't hide in dark corners lest someone saw my nails did not boast perfect cuticles: I would go to a nail parlour and get them done. Neither would I hide my hair under a hat. No, instead I'd get a smart haircut and some low-lights.
The nails were easy. My manicurist buffed them to a shine in 20 minutes. Next, I went to John Frieda from where I hoped to emerge looking like an extra from Sex and the City, all volume and glossy shine.
I sat down with Marie, colorist to the likes of Carolyn Murphy, Esther `the lips' Canadas and Christina Kruse, who promptly told me that she loved my shaggy-at-the-ends hair and that my natural colour was just perfect. You're a brunette," she said. "Why change it?" Then I got chatting to a downtown New Yorker with messy blonde hair extensions, who was wearing platform shoes and a cute knee- length print dress. She told me the idea of women being glossy and high maintenance was dated. Women today, she said, are more natural and less contrived. My hair got a quick trim, and a few lowlights to warm up the natural reddish colours.
As I walked on to Park Avenue, it hit me: I'd got it all wrong from the start. Obvious high maintenance is conspicuous. It looks too obvious. Marie was just as high maintenance, but in a different way. Her hair extensions hadn't been brushed for days on purpose to get them to look mussed up. Her clothes were designer, but they didn't shout. Her make-up was natural, but it was there. Eyebrows and nails were perfect, but not embellished.
Next day at the Helmut Lang show, while studying the fashion pack, I noticed something significant. Everyone was "doing" understatement. One girl-about-town usually seen in Manolo's and chic skirts was wearing old jeans and worn JP Tods. Another was sporting designer combats, with flat sequin sandals and a baggy top. Both were trying hard not to look as if they had tried too hard. At that point, I gave up my quest. I'd rather be British woman any day - it's much easierReuse content