I love Somerset House – I would go so far as to say it’s one of my favourite venues; certainly my favourite outdoor one. In 2004, Jimmy and I – not long acquainted – went to see PJ Harvey playing there.
Eight years later, I was thrilled when Charlotte Gainsbourg was announced for the 2012 Summer Series. I adore her – her cool/angelic singing style as well as her personal style and varied career – and she doesn’t play live much, so this was exciting.
I was not disappointed – she was unimpeachably cool in an immaculately skinny all-white outfit, and she is as charming live as I might have expected. She did many of my favourites – Heaven Can Wait probably being the top one – and, another highlight, a perfect cover of Bowie’s Ashes to Ashes, which I’ve had jammed in my head ever since. She didn’t speak much, which kind of added to the allure, as when she did it was like a little treat.
It was the first warm and dry evening we’d had for ages; as the evening drew on, the darkening sky above a lit-up Somerset House was a sight to behold.
As you might expect at the gig of a fashion icon and film star as well as singer, the crowd were as fabulous as Charlotte herself was. Everyone was overdressed, in a very casual-cool-whatever kind of way: I wore head-to-toe APC and spotted a LOT of Isabel Marant and more high heels than I think I have ever seen before at a gig. Everyone seemed to be French and sexy – it was like a little secret corner off the Strand had been turned into bohemian Paris for the night.
It became most apparent that this was a fashion event as much as a music one, when someone shouted out the best audience-heckle of the concert: “Charlotte! Are your shoes Margiela?”.
Dreamy. My kind of place.