I first met the Spaghetti people the divine Nadia and Suomi La Valle in 1979, at that moment I was propped up by a lamppost outside Vogue House in Hanover Square, after over indulging at a champagne reception. I was trying to get a cab and failing. That was in the days when I still imbibed tobacco and alcohol.
“Are you okay” a kindly and calm voice said over my shoulder, it was Suomi. I then replied in a rather slurred tone, “ Yes I am fine, just trying to get a crab back to Kensmington.” Crabs were in short supply and I was not having much success hailing one. Suomi said “Can we give you a lift, we are going towards Kensington, “Sank you” I said as he guided me into his limousine. Nadia & Suomi could not help laughing at my inebriated state, and neither could I. We drove to their beautiful apartment above their wonderful SPAGHETTI BOUTIQUE in Beauchamp Place. Their apartment was just opposite what was to become our favorite restaurant San Lorenzo.
After some sobering coffee, animated conversation and something to lift our spirits we went across to San Lorenzo and had a hilarious and delicious dinner together. The conversation flowed effortlessly and we all laughed together until 1 or 2 am. Lorenzo the owner joined us, there was a guitar hanging on the wall and I started to play and sing. The performance went down well as I recall, after a while everyone joined in. We were the only people in San Lorenzo. I felt as if I was with my family. That is exactly what Suomi and Nadia became and are to me to this day. After we left San Lorenzo I went back to their apartment and Nadia showed me some of their beautiful fashion creations, we drank more and got out of it until the dawn broke.
After a week of non-stop partying and a massive creative exchange of ideas, we started to work together. I showed them some pictures of the beautiful Anglo-Japanese model Vivienne Lynn, who they thought was amazing. I said we should use the incredible gold lame jacket. I asked John Frieda and Barbara Daly to do the hair and make up respectively. Barbara and John agreed and we I shot these images at the Spaghetti shop. The hair and make up are incredible and still looks amazing today.
A week later I had lunch with the delightful art director and editor of Harpers, Willy Landels. I showed Willy, the photos of Vivienne in the Spaghetti clothes, his response was, “How wonderful, can I use this as a cover” I said of course. Willy was one of the most open hearted and generous men I have ever met and worked with. Willy helped me immeasurably as a young photographer he was my mentor. He gave me my first location shoot in Jaipur, India – (read all about it here). Nadia and Suomi and I, together with our mutual friend Michael Roberts (roving editor of Vanity Air, photographer and illustrator) had the most incredible times together. Michael recently wrote the forward to my book Arrowsmith: Fashion, Beauty and Portraits – in which he called me a scallywag, probably because we did crazy shoots like this with Bianca Jagger.
My friendship with Suomi and Nadia has continued to grow and I have spent so many memorable moments in Azelo, Italy, and at their amazing home in Tangier, Morocco. They are dear friends, they are the incredible Spaghetti people.
Model Vivienne Lynn – Make up Barbara Daly – Hair – John Frieda – Photography-Clive Arrowsmith