In Good Company: Susie Bick & Bella Freud

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Published October 29, 2010

 

Susie Bick, the model and wife of singer Nick Cave, first met Bella Freud, designer and wife of Keith Richards’ ghostwriter James Fox, when Freud was the assistant and Bick was the catwalk superstar at Vivienne Westwood. Susie doesn’t really recall; she had a hangover. Bella noticed her immediately: “She’s really not like anybody else, the way she looks, what she thinks about things, or the things she notices,” Bella explains. Scroll forward in time, to 2009, and Bella asks Susie at their children’s school sports day to design a line of clothes with her. “It’s always about something she has in head about how she wants to it make feel and look,” says Freud of her friend and collaborator. “She doesn’t have a formula but she’s very specific. I wanted the clothes to be about Susie. So I thought may be she’d want to help design them.” She did. “Bella casually mentioned it,” recalls Bick. “I’d always wanted her to ask me but I’d never wanted to mention it.”

In terms of conception and inspiration, the clothes are Bick’s. Since the pair’s viewpoints are sympathetic, the 12 pieces they’ve made for their first collection—little dresses, miniskirts, jumpers, two bags, and two pairs of socks —are the collaboration the label’s name, Susie Bick & Bella Freud, would indicate. “I always learned a lot from Bella, and I love the way she looks so feminine even when her clothes are quite structured,” Susie offers. “We came up with the shapes together. I wanted everything really, really short. You can never get clothes short enough now like you could in the ’60s. So I wanted them exactly like Bella’s clothes would be, but micro-.” The girls recruited their friend, the filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood, to take the publicity photographs, and Net-a-Porter.com offered to make them available. Now it’s a business. “She’s so clever and deft,” Feud says of her friend, “she could really do it all herself.”