Princess Julia and Rebecca Thomas could be any two gals, dressing up, going out, having fun and capturing it all on camera. That they are neighbours – “Julia helped me out when I didn’t have a bathroom, I would go to hers and shower!” – and met at a party “and kept bumping into each other”, only further encourages the statement.
However that said photographs are the subject of a new book – as opposed to a painfully ill advised Facebook album – somewhat separates them from the rest.
“Rebecca was looking for an idea to present her work,” begins Julia, “I think it was down the pub that the subject came up.” Man About Town editor, Ben Reardon encouraged the idea – “when Ben tells you to do something you do it!” – and so the semi-self proposed assignment began.
“She was already one of my favourite people to shoot, plus Julia’s look is kind of the embodiment of everything I love – club culture mixed with proper Hollywood glamour, along with all the coolest London designers,” tells Thomas. “And it helps that Princess is a lovely person too!”
Her description of Julia’s wardrobe is hard to better, given it’s a near exact equation of the outfits that consume the book’s pages, among them pieces by Meadham Kirchhoff, Sibling and Ryan Lo. “Oh I love dressing, I think it’s really important to make the most of yourself,” states the one time Miss Fodor, later adding “I tend to sling things together, can’t you tell?”
The answer to which is both yes and no; yes, she looks comfortable and confident in the same way someone who’s slung on a piece of jersey might, no, ‘cause that’s a silk Louise Gray two-piece. Probably.
While Rebecca hails from New Zealand, finding herself in London for the primary reason that, “you can pretty much do what you want in London without it bothering anyone else too much” (this translates as shooting for among others, Fashion East, Vogue and ASOS), Julia’s is a more instantly recognisable face, having long served the city’s dancefloors, be it as mover and shaker or the brains behind the decks.
Beginning at Blitz in the early ‘80s – that’s her in the video for Visage’s ‘Fade to Grey’ – the DJ has since turned to painting and writing. A one time publisher (for ‘The P.i.X’ zine), she is currently Culture Correspondent at i-D magazine, a role that one assumes befits her most naturally, allowing her also to maintain the aforementioned disc jockey fixture.
It’s this past however, that Julia is perhaps most frequently associated with, so the book she notes, makes a pleasant change: “What I find interesting is that it’s a contemporary account of my comings and goings over the last five years. A lot of the time I’m referenced over four decades, but obviously I’m very much involved in stuff going on now.”
And of the idea that people might gravitate towards her solely for her style? “Well I hope it inspires other people, I’ve been really inspired by creative dressers down the years.”
The next big do on the Princess/Thomas calendar – aside from a shindig to launch the book, naturally – will be three days of menswear in the middle of June.
“We have really proved what amazing designers we have, look at Christopher Shannon, Craig Green and Lou Dalton – all quite diverse and really making a mark!” Julia exclaims of the London Collections: Men line-up. “It’s interesting because a lot of women are pulling things out for themselves to wear as well,” she tells Clash.
Rebecca’s intentions meanwhile veer from the formal – shooting for Sibling and MAN – extending to the more light hearted “hopefully going to some fun parties and maybe checking out a few cute boys!” Given that the book’s title was once Rebecca’s motto, we can only presume Julia too will be indulging in the latter.
“We also both love cats and dogs!” comes the final revelation, as if confirming the real deal clincher between the pair.
Words: Zoe Whitfield
What Would Julia Do is out this week, available from the ICA, Donlon Books, Society Books, Cock ‘n’ Bull Gallery, Artwords Bookshop and Maiden.