Hello again from London. If it seems as though we're here a lot, that's because we are. As many of you know, I'm married to someone whose office is the world. In just a few short years, we've been to Hong Kong, Beijing, Melbourne, Sao Paolo... with multiple visits to Singapore, Sydney and London.
I purposefully untethered myself from a traditional job several years ago. It was a job that I truly loved, but the opportunity to see the world was irresistible. So I took the leap and went out on my own, offering whatever talent and experience I had to businesses willing to work with me as a consultant. While working this way can be unnerving... from the discipline required to the uncertainty that is part and parcel to the consulting world... it's been pretty positive so far.
Part of being a good consultant, especially in the lifestyle sector, is to always, always always be curious. For many of my clients, I serve as an antennae for trends. That means walking the streets of whatever major city I happen to be in, to get a feel for what people are wearing, how they're living, what they're eating. It means going into shops and restaurants that are crowded and obviously popular and trying to figure out why. It means listening to what people are talking about.
Before this particular trip to London, a friend told me about an extraordinary exhibit at the V&A, the Victoria and Albert Museum. Entitled "You Say You Want a Revolution? Records and Rebels 1966-1970," it's an evocative trip back in time set to music. One is given a headset upon entering, like so many museum exhibits, except this time there are no voices... only music. As one moves from one gallery to the next, the songs change to match the visuals. What was so amazing to me was how much was so familiar, even though I was only a kid during those times. There were record album covers that I recognized, posters, advertisements... products, clothes, photographs... video clips... all so familiar. There was a gallery devoted to Woodstock that made you feel as though you were there. There's Mama Cass's caftan, Twiggy's dress and John Lennon's jacket. There was a fabulous video montage of Vidal Sassoon's revolutionary haircuts. But one piece resonated with me like no other. It was a piece of paper off of a notepad from the New York Hilton- the hotel where my Parsons Senior Fashion Show was held- and where we gathered in my parents' suite that evening to celebrate.
On this little piece of paper was John Lennon's own scribbling... the beginnings of the song, "Imagine."
I couldn't stop looking at it. I knew that hotel logo... I probably took one of those pads from my parents' room, as I loved collecting hotel shtick. And as I heard the song I know so well come through the headphones, the words made more sense to me now than they ever have.
"Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for, and no religion, too. Imagine all the people, living life in peace... you... You may say I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one. I hope someday you'll join us, and the world will be as one."