Franca Sozzani, editor-in-chief of Vogue Italia, had decided I was to photograph Daphne Guinness for a jewellery calendar. But just as the particular photograph was about to be taken, I got a phone call saying: “Elizabeth Taylor wonders if you’d make her a hat pin?” I said: “Would you ask her if she would like a hat to go with the hat pin?”
“She says yes, and she’d like to see you now.”
“Now?” They said they’d send a car. Daphne said she was coming, too, so we swept through the shoot and went off to meet Elizabeth Taylor.
When we arrived at the Dorchester, she sent for the cocktail waiter with his bar on a trolley, and to be honest, you need a drink to meet Elizabeth Taylor. I had never met her before. I had designed hats that looked like her (I’d used her image with her permission in the “Warhol” hats series). And when I was about four, my best friend Angela and I were known as Liz and Dick because we were always together. But now here we were with 20 hats and Stefan, my partner, who was busy getting the big mirror off the bathroom wall in her suite.
All her relatives were sitting on couches – I didn’t know who they were at the time – and I was the entertainment. So we got all the hats out and she tried every single one on in front of the mirror. If I tried to take one off she would say: “No, no, no, don’t take it off, I want to have another look.” She asked a hundred times: “But which one shall I have?”https://649eb05f161cfed25c1b37349ba7fc11.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
I said: “You’re Elizabeth Taylor. They’re yours!” She didn’t believe that I was giving her all these hats. I thought: I’m getting plenty out of the experience of Elizabeth Taylor telling us about making Cleopatra and how she would know the mood of the scene by looking at the costumes. She was the ultimate movie star – entertaining and fun and interesting. She told us how the previous day she had visited her childhood home in Hampstead and when they opened the door they were a little surprised. I said: “I bet they were!”
She kept saying: “What can I do in return?” and of course you say: “No, it’s fine.” But then I said: “There is one thing you could do for me. Would you speak to my sister on the telephone?” and she said: “Deal!” So I called up my sister in Brussels, and she was doing the laundry in the basement. I said: “Marion, Elizabeth Taylor.” And Elizabeth Taylor spoke to my sister for 20 minutes. The next day she sent me 100 violet roses the colour of her eyes and also this poem:
Amazing creator of hats,
dreamer of dreams,
making dreams come true,
making our dreams come true,
allowing our dreams to become reality.
For that we thank you forever.
Much love, Dame Elizabeth Taylor.