In a habit that I’m sure will ring true for many others, I have spent a large part of the past year observing my teenage daughter to determine to what extent the pandemic, home schooling and social isolation have screwed up her mental health. In so many ways, we have been lucky: my daughter was old enough and sufficiently digitally connected that, through lockdown, she was never entirely cut off from her friendship group. She was also able to adapt to the virtual classroom and manage Google lessons on her own. People with younger children have had my every sympathy. It’s rare that one feels blessed to have a teenage child.
Older teens and students have, quite rightly, felt a greater sense of grievance. I feel deeply for those students who, having anticipated the full university experience, found their first stab at independence horribly curtailed. Likewise, those graduates or school leavers who were ready to launch themselves into their futures only to find themselves furloughed, or made redundant, and trapped back in the family home. Waiting for life to recommence is perfectly OK for old codgers like myself who have been quietly grateful for some respite from the hectic pace of “normal”. For those young people sitting on the threshold of adulthood, this past year has been an awful chore.
One can only hope that this summer offers them some options. Moreover, that they get an opportunity to socialise more freely and a chance to have some fun. “Testament of Youth”, the fashion shoot undertaken by Laura Bailey and Cathy Kasterine, was shot over a weekend in the Cotswolds and is designed to capture the happy forevers of best friendship and adventures to be had. Part Finzi-Continis, part Lucy Honeychurch, part My Summer of Love and a little bit of Picnic at Hanging Rock, Laura’s portraits conjure a nostalgia for the lost days of bygone summers while celebrating the resilience of youth.
Some things are less resilient. In her second piece for HTSI, Tiffanie Darke uncovers the myths and mysteries of the “amicable separation” (“The Good Divorce Guide”). At a time when 42 per cent of marriages in England and Wales end in divorce, there is a growing appetite for consciously uncoupling, or at least for salvaging the fragile friendship on which a successful separation hangs. While it’s relatively new in the UK, where the “no-fault” divorce will only come into effect in law this autumn, other countries have long been advocating for the conciliatory split. Nor is it necessarily horribly expensive. One imagines that such divorces are only possible when there are spondoolies of cash at hand to placate opposing parties: it turns out, however, that the friendlier the separation, the less it’s going to cost.
Lastly, Coldplay’s Guy Berryman invites us to tour his country home (“I’m a Total Nerd”). As the bassist in one of the most successful rock bands of the modern era, Berryman has built an enviable collection of collections, amassing everything from stencil machines to cameras. But it’s his pristine vintage Helmut Lang and Margiela clothes that take our interest here. Berryman has used the rigour and aesthetic of those designers to inform his own Applied Art Forms, a collection of workwear he launched towards the end of last year. In an interview with Mark C O’Flaherty, the former engineering and architecture student discusses the visionaries that now surround him – from his Stanley Kubrick books, to Dieter Rams turntables and his Mario Bellini seating. Meantime, if all else fails, it turns out he’s a dab hand at restoration: as evidenced by his extensive fleet of vintage cars.
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