LARKSPUR LADY: Emma Elwick-Bates
Emma Elwick-Bates is the charming, lighthearted escape we all need right now. As a contributor for Vogue, born as a dual-natured Gemini, and having lived in the US and UK, she has a million interesting stories to tell - and starting...here! Read on for insider intel on the fashion industry, musings about Georigan era jewelry, and of course...motherhood. We wish her a very Happy Mother’s Day from across the pond and cheers to all of the British mamas celebrating on March 22.
What drew me to the Larkspur & Hawk jewellery I am wearing... I am always drawn to linear designs. Classic tennis bracelets and of course, rivières. Translating as “river” in French, a clear blue seemed the ideal choice for the free-flowing gems (and for someone that wears a lot of denim!).
It is perfect for… Every day with a white T-shirt or silk shirt, and that speaks to me, but it is equally spectacular to pull out for evening. The rivière always circles back again in light of its simplicity.
My jewelry traditions... I am a firm believer in “one great piece” (I don’t like stacks, nor layering per se) and jewelry that’s not got a curfew. I love my mannish watches, so that’s the left arm’s solo prerogative. The right, a yellow gold Cartier Love bangle I’ve worn for over a decade. And my simple wedding band and engagement ring. I don’t even have my ears pierced- no fuss and nonsense.
My favorite jewelry memory... My husband proposed without a ring, so we made a very delightful shopping pilgrimage to Grays Antiques Market in London where I found my Deco emerald-cut diamond ring. More recently, I styled the cast of the new “Emma” movie for American Vogue, and the film’s director Autumn de Wilde was the photographer. We had all the jewelry that had been custom-made to perfection to choose from. Emma Woodhouse was certainly a heroine of impeccable style.
To me, Larkspur & Hawk means... Modern grace.
How I first discovered Larkspur & Hawk... My adventures in New York when I joined Vogue.
My style in three words… Birkin. Cobain. Deneuve.
*Franglais, denim, plaid, blonde with roots
What's inspiring me right now… Two of the most exciting shows in London are at the National Portrait Gallery: David Hockney: Drawing from Life, for the colors and Britishness that are part of our patchwork, and the jaunty joie of Cecil Beaton’s Bright Young Things — also quintessentially Brit and characterful in a different way. As he once said, “When I die I want to go to Vogue.”
My favorite artist is… a tie between the two titans of 20th Century art: Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud. Their work, friendship, and estrangement are all fascinating with those intense, extraordinary art moments. My first Paris Fashion Week for British Vogue in 2005, I managed to see the Bacon/Picasso show at the Picasso Museum. An incredible memory, and the catalogue outlived my novice Fashion Week blisters.
My favorite color combination is… black and navy.
To me, a necessary indulgence is... black coffee.
Favorite animal... The whippet (although any hound will do).
Something old I love... Watching Sir Peter Ustinov as Poirot in Agatha Christie films.
A golden rule I live by... Try not to worry (says a confirmed worrywart).
How I came to have a career in fashion and jewelry... I studied English Literature in London and had a place at the College of Law. I was missing doing something more creative and wandered into Central Saint Martins when it was on Charing Cross Road to enquire about night classes…I met the legendary professor Louise Wilson OBE and ended up with an M.A. in Fashion.
The most surprising thing about my job... I always compare fashion to a carousel...an awful lot of work goes into making those gilded horses turn effortlessly.
The most surprising thing about being a mom… • The increased adrenaline and energy…You must move forward and always be on form for your charge. • The incredible sensation of a knee-high bear hug. • And that our only child of 10 years, Beckett the Whippet, would be as in love with and protective of our son Hector as we are.
Something only my son could have taught me... Racing “speedy cars” is the most incredible fun. Red cars psychologically go faster. Alexander Calder’s animals can mesmerize all ages. Giggles are hereditary. As is a love of music. Ditto Paddington Bear.
Best advice my mom gave me... “Kindness is not a weakness.” I actually quoted her words upon leaving a past job. Our industry has impressed me: over the 15 years I have been a part of it, kindness and community have started to be prioritized. The narcissism and power games of the past seem at best comedic and obviously dated.
New York or London... BOTH! As a Gemini, I wish one twin was ensconced in New York and the other in London. I also need my country time, so the twins will respectively go to Shelter Island and Marlow, Buckinghamshire.
What’s next for me... The rivière was popularized during the Georgian era and remains a timeless staple today, and appropriately…my next project is renovating a John Nash villa in Regent’s Park. Now the fun mood-boarding is over. Deep breath, roll up the sleeves and apply some elbow grease!