Thursday, 15 September 2011
A model with a conscience
Meet Mak Gilchrist. She's been modelling for over 25 years and has worked with some fabulous people like Peter Lindbergh, Arthur Elgort, Bruce Weber and er, me. Back in my more glamorous fashion editor days, Mak was one of my favourite cover girls. Charming, down-to-earth and intelligent. Not one to be consumed by the more superficial aspects of the fashion world, and like myself, a bit of a hippy at heart. She's appeared in tons of magazines and ad campaigns and was the face of Chanel’s Allure:
And if that doesn't impress you, Mak was one of the supermodels in Robert Palmer’s Addicted to Love video:
Not so long ago, we met up again - this time at a bus stop, not a fashion shoot. Mak has been neglecting her own back yard, of late, to do a spot of Guerilla Gardening. The site near her south London home was bombed during the Second World War, two end-of-terrace houses never replaced. So, with the help of Lambeth council and a group of local volunteers, this strip of bare earth has been turned into The Edible Bus Stop project. An organic community garden. And it's fantastic. Really inspiring. Neighbours stop by for a chat or to help out, there's an elderly man who keeps an accurate record of all the plants and when someone tried to help themselves to the produce, patients from the hospital across the road banged on the windows and scared them off.
There's a committee who meet regularly to develop the garden and discuss plans, to negotiate with the local authority and neighbours. I asked the forty-something model if she'd thought of a career in politics, ' Oh I'd sooner be the one who whispers in the politician's ear. I've never sought the spotlight. As a model you're not promoting yourself, you're shining a light on the product. I've always seen myself in a promotional role.'
So, tomorrow instead of going to London Fashion Week, I'm off to The Edible Bus Stop's Green Carpet Catwalk Show, organised as part of International Park(ing) Day.
Fashion shows start at 13:15 and 14:00 on the Concert Hall Approach, South Bank, London SE1. If you're in the area, please come along.
Mak Gilchrist photos: Premier Models