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Once Upon A Fashionista by Camilla Morton


Bestselling Author of ‘How To Walk In High Heels’ & the ‘Fashion Fairytales’ series with Christian Lacroix & Manolo Blahnik. Her next is on Diane Von Furstenburg, released on Nov 13th.


as all the best fairytales begin, a little girl began to dream… She read about Princesses, glass slippers, magical dresses and dancing till midnight.  Yes.  This was what she wanted to do when she grew up.

  Anyone born in England will most probably have read at least one Ladybird book, and if not you must.  It was the Well-loved Tales, retold by Vera Southgate, and illustrated by Eric Winter, that decided this little girl’s future…

Who wouldn’t want to be like these heroines? In Sleeping Beauty she slept for a hundred years yet woke up flawless, soft blush to her cheek, breath like that of fresh peppermint, and not a hair out of place.  No wonder the Prince, 100 years her junior, sealed it with a kiss. 

 In Cinderella as that magic wand swept through the air and cast its spell, no one gave  The Fairy Godmother credit for performing such a marvelous hair and make-up job. That would’ve been hours on an editorial shoot and she would’ve missed the ball (or had to at least start around lunchtime).

No.  This was the magic. Fairytales were, and remain, flawless.  Eyes were wide-eyed, subtly laced with mascara, and skin stayed dewy and forever fresh, only Ugly Sisters plastered it on with a trowel.  Never mind if, like the Princess and the Pea,     you were caught in a downpour, or, like Cinderella, you were sobbing your heart out having lost a shoe – you were flawless, and ready to be kissed at all times.  Yes the outfits were sumptuous, but the beauty was true the magic to the tales.

 In none of these tales would Rapunzel have snapped that ‘she had a terrible migraine’ while some clod-footed Prince was heaving himself up her tower using her hair.  And does Snow White ever get time to freshen up after toiling away doing the housework for seven dwarves? No – but she still looks perfect, and that lovely nature is rewarded with lovely beauty.  In fairytales the rule of thumb is thus: whatever hardship the heroine must go through there will be no pimples or breakouts to make things any worse.

And so time passed…

 Ladybird Books issued new editions, Eric Winter’s illustrations were replaced, and Vera Southgate – the story and lady – disappeared.  Ms. Southgate, who inspired so many children’s innocent dreams, like a Fairy Godmother simply vanished. To this day even her publisher cannot say where.

 Stories came and went…..

Disney feature-length cartoons, fashion shows, the internet, but still it was those original tales that lingered in the little girl’s dreams…


The little girl grew up.  Her blonde curls fell out but she kept her Well-Loved Tales and wanted to find a grown-up way to be part of this magical world. 

 But, finding no Fairy Godmother to train under, she started to work in fashion – Cinderella-to-the-fashion-cupboard. She called in the samples, wrapped couture gowns in tissue, ran to get Supermodel’s tea

while alas all the Prince Charmings were gay…

 The little girl, who was not so little anymore, remembered the tales that had so inspired her journey and realized what she must do…

  She wrote to her friend, Mr. Lacroix, and they met to talk about ‘Happily Ever Afters’ at a time when the famed couturier very much needed one as his fairytale couture house was closing.  The not-so-little-girl didn’t have a magic wand, so she wrote, and twisted his tale with Sleeping Beauty and then Mr. Lacroix, hero of this tale, drew all the illustrations himself for their magical creation.

Next she wrote to her very own Fashion-Fairy-Godfather – Manolo Blahnik – surely this was the person a Cinderella would have turned to? He laughed at the idea, but he was a kind gentleman and saw that she was in earnest.  He rather adored this blue-eyed bubble that insisted on writing him letters when the rest of the world had turned to emails.  She held her breath.  He agreed – ‘The Elves and The Shoemaker’ it would be – with his infectious enthusiasm dancing across the page he illustrated this book with a confetti of heels and happy ideals.


Last, but not least, the little-blonde wanted an inspiring lady to tell a story, after all it was a lady (Ms. Southgate) who had started her on her journey…

She thought long and hard.  Then realized – there was only one designer who could inspire her next tale  - and, in that same flash of inspiration she realized there was only one tale she could transform… You will have heard of the Emperor’s New Clothes, well this is the story of his daughter – The Empress – and her love of fashion. 

 Alas, this tale begins with sadness.  The Empress’s mother has died so she has reluctantly taken to the throne as her poor father is so heart broken he won’t leave his tower.   While the country mourns the young girl thinks fashion might be the answer to get them to notice her.  So, her outfits get wilder and wilder.Soon she is the talk of the realm, though not for the reasons she had hoped…         Everyone wonders what she will wear next – and it attracts trouble.  Two such swindlers see an opportunity – you know the type: cruel, wannabe, dangerous. But they manage to arrive at court with such a flourish everyone assumes they must be the next big thing…

 Will the Empress expose herself and her insecurities – or will someone come to the rescue?

 Luckily there is a heroine in mind.

 There are few women as influential in fashion as Diane von Furstenberg, and she is the designer to come to the rescue of the Empress, and indeed to this tale.DVF’s iconic print and own story wrap with that of the Empress and add a bold new layer to the power of fashion….

To be continued…

 So you see you don’t need to grow up and put all your dreams aside.  I was the little girl who wanted to live in a fairytale world.  And I do.  It is called Fashion.

 Love from, Camilla Morton

  Camilla’s next Fairy Tale ‘Diane Von Furstenburg and the tale of The Empress’s New Clothes’ is out on November 13th

Follow Camilla on twitter HERE

Read Camilla‘s BLOG HERE


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