Instead of a song or remembering images with Zaha Hadid’s creations, today I imagined a conversation with THE very architect. Some years ago I tried to schedule an interview with her for a fashion magazine, but after 9 months I gave up in front of her always changing assistants and a very, very intense planning. Of course today I do regret. I should have insisted in finding a solution to meet her.
It might have been like this, my imagined meeting with her.
London, a lovely summer day, some time ago.
Mrs Hadid receives me after 28 waiting minutes and a cup of hot Earl Grey Jasmin tea served in fine china by a very Scandinavian looking assistent, Mathias. Her office is in the corner of the building, big, with large black leather armchairs and translucid windows. Drawings and two scale models of a Chanel store and the Vogue Contemporary Art Foundation give life to the design room which, without it, would look empty and barely used. Some cactus and succulents stashed in a origami-mirror-like flower pots showed some life in the giant office.
A stander not looking like a stander, full with the same kind of black and navy cloths and about 16 pairs of high end shoes are the living detail, next to four wonderful orchids in bloom. Her office table is resembling more a bar table, with very high chairs Zaha seems to adore.
“Do you mind if I put some music? Have a terrible jet lag and beside some really hectic days” she asks.
“Not at all, please, we’re in your office” I say, trying to sound casual and relaxed.
Zaha clicks her fingers in a very oriental way and Pink Martini’s “Je ne veux pas travailler” in a mariachi version floods the room as if the band is playing right there. The lady starts dancing.
“You should dance a lot and wear high heels, you’re young – I miss having 30 years old legs” she smiles and starts to move quick and perfectly on rhythm. “Dancing keeps one young, look at me!”.
Her FaceTime is blinking, she answers without stopping to dance – George Clooney is in London with Amal and next to the office. Hadid laughs and accepts the lunch invitation for next day.
“George always knows such great restaurants and Amal has a lot of tasty Hollywood gossip” she turns to me.
She climbs on one of the bar-kind-chairs and invites me to join her (a real yoga test). She is tired and her black outfit made her look statuesque. Another click of fingers and the music changes: DJ Alesso and Blahnic make special playlists for her and keep Zaha updated on latest hits.
I begin to worry: she accorded me a 30 minutes interview and half of the time is already gone. But this “tiny” detail doesn’t seem to bother Dame Hadid. I try mentally to pick the most important three questions out of the 25 I prepared for her, praying for a miracle that this interview would not be a total disaster. She is obviously not in the mood for an interview !
“You must be concerned that I will not do the interview as I presume you’ve prepared it very carefully. Don’t worry, Mathias already picked all the photos for you about my exclusive Vogue project. You’ll love it. If you feel asking some other questions, please feel free to mail them later today, I’ll answer every single of them. Promised !”
Looking again at her iPhone who looks like a Prada pocket mirror, she continues. “Hope you don’t mind us doing a check-up on you. I found out you know how to prepare polenta and something called allivenque (she pronounces it with a french accent). I wish for years to try an authentic one! I was so happy to learn that you have some Romanian roots, I really need to ask you this favor. Please, I’m dying to taste it! Could you do one for me ? As I’ll take care of the interview and will make it special, please agree to share this afternoon this dish with me”.
Did I just witness an earthquake? I dont know if my surprise came because she asked for a check-up on my behalf or because she actually agreed me to meet her because of a Romanian dish.
In a second, a lot of ideas are chasing in my mind like lightnings: asking to go out to FaceTime my best girlfriend living in London or my mother (if she finished her current visit at Palais Galliera), to ask for the recipe in english measures, how could I provide the best ingredients, what if I fail? …
“I read the post on your site Code Noir Style and it all makes sense. Therefore I asked my friend Paul (you know, Bocuse) to lend us his penthouse in Chelsea – his French assistent already prepared for us 10 different polenta type flour flied in from Bucarest. And of course some eggs and dairy products, especially sent from his organic farm in Abbaye de Collonges. I also took the freedom to ask my partner Patrick to joins us and Karl. You know Karl, he’s lately such a fan of east-European cuisine! So let’s relax today.”
As for the rest of the evening … I was asked to keep it private. I can only mention that Madame Hadid actually sent Karl’s private jet for my mother in Paris.
Karl is a very funny person. He didn’t stopp teasing my mother in German while incorporating delicately the beaten egg whites with the polenta mixture. He really got the proper touch for it.
All this while the mariachi cover songs for In your eyes, La isla bonita, Beatles or Pink Floyd were played by… a real mariachi group Hadid flew in from Mexico.
And in a totaly decontracted mode everybody was dancing around the table, laughing and Patrick and Zaha sometimes throwing Vuitton darts on an aim on the wall. A light, crazy atmosphere and the alivanca’s fragrance while getting beautifuly golden, baked in Paul’s miraculous WIFI oven in Chelsea.