The summer is officially done and dusted and the coldness of the autumn months arrived just in time for my evening with Megan Hess. Hopping on the tram after a day in the office, I wrapped myself up in my All Saints pea coat which until last week was hidden in the back of my wardrobe. Making my way towards The Willows venue on St. Kilda Road, I meet my good friend Lynne for a quick pre-event drink at Balencea, where I tasted for the first time a Kir Royale, which is a cocktail of champagne and chambord; a delicious raspberry flavoured liqueur. Throwing on our scarves and coats once again after our drink we made our way to the event eager to meet the lovely lady herself and to hear the amazing stories behind some of her most famous works.
Each and every one of us was there that night to meet Megan, to understand the many influences behind her new book Fashion House and to listen to her discuss the journey in which she took to get to where she is today. And if there was any doubt as to how successful Hess has become - one only has to look at the long list of very high-profile clients she works with regularly. Chanel, Laduree, Hermes, Tiffany & Co. and Bergdorf Goodman, the list goes on and on. With everyone sipping on Champagne, the wait staff walked the room with delicious canapes. Rare roast beef on a crispy potato cake and the buffalo mozzarella and tomato bruschetta being two of my personal favourites.
Making our way around the room we meet some lovely people including the fashion loving Lisa & Lisa, who I have been following on Instagram lately and who are big fans of Hess and her work. Throughout the evening they showed me some special pieces they have been collecting of Megans, including books, bags and gift cards from a trip to Bloomingdales, all stamped with Megans signature illustrations.
Throughout the talk we learned about some of Hess' girl crushes. These included the golden girls of the 50's and 60's such as Audrey Hepburn, Sophia Loren and modern icons of fashion such as DVF, Tom Ford and Tamara Mellon. We also learned about Hess' trip to New York to Montblanc's headquarters where Hess was one of the few people to ever have their own Montblanc pen created. Sitting down using a piece of technology which Hess described as something NASA might own - Montblanc were able to create a pen that meets the needs of Hess when drawing. The way she holds the pen, the amount of pressure she applies to the paper - these factors all came together to create a pen that Hess' aptly named Monty. Being that there is only one Monty in the world, one could see how nervous Hess was to leave the pen lying around. What excited Hess even more so was that she was in excellent company when it came to getting her own personalised pen. Its turns out both Bill Gates and Johnny Depp have had their own pens produced by Montblanc.
The evening ended with a brief questions and answers round where Hess was asked about whether she would ever like to live in New York since the majority of her clients are overseas and if she would ever produce her own clothing line. The answer to both were a no. But one can never be so certain. With a line of home furnishings, stationary and scarves being added to her line of products this year - Megan Hess is a brand that I see continuing to grow over the next couple of years.
One could almost say that she will never stop going until she becomes as big as the person that initially inspired her interest in drawing, the Russian painter Romain de Tirtoff.
I for one, certainly hope so.
Make sure to check out Fashion House as well as the Fashion House stationary range at your local bookstore as well as online at www.meganhess.com