The Tsarina's Dreams
I have long been an ardent admirer of clothes, I love to buy them, dress up in them, paint them and consider them.
I love the extravaganza of fabric: the two-way colour of shot silk, sometimes a blue with an orange shadow, or orange with a magenta thread. Fabrics delight me, the descriptions of Henry VIII's clothes enchant me.
When I went to the Hermitage in Russia I was agog at the Tsarina's dresses. I was similarly thunderstruck by the Emperor and Empress's clothes in a Beijing costume museum. The richness and ornateness of these garments was spellbinding.
The Tsarina wore one if not several new dresses every day – a philosophy echoed in modern times by Sex and the City's Carrie Bradshaw and by Margo of the Good Life (ably played by Penelope Keith), who both believed that "one should never wear the same thing twice".