Today, after seven amazing years, Penny leaves us to become Professor of Fashion Imagery at the London College of Fashion. To say that she will be missed by every member of SHOWstudio is a very large understatement.
I was more or less half-way through the maelstrom of coloured chaos that was a five-day Dior couture shoot when I first met Penny. Juxtaposed with chainsaws, snakes, smashed pianos, magenta paint and crystal-encrusted car-sized satin dresses, Penny could not have been more of a contrast. A calm, almost serene Hitchcockian beauty only just managed to conceal the excitement and joy at being surrounded by such fashion insanity. For 30 minutes we sat and talked excitedly about SHOWstudio and the emerging possibilities of fashion film, fashion performance, live broadcasts, our loves and hates of photography and the sheer thrill of a new medium opening up before us. By the end of the interview I felt much more enthusiastic about my own work and I had a better understanding of it. I realise now that that is Penny's effect on people. When you work with Penny, whether it is a 6 hour non-stop live interview with Dame Vivienne Westwood or a quick soundbite backstage to a Vogue journalist, everybody comes away from the meeting feeling better about themselves.
Penny brings the rarest and most needed commodities to the world of fashion: intelligence and culture. It is these rare and precious qualities that she has built forever into the foundations of SHOWstudio - a gift which makes me one of the happiest men alive.
Thank you Penny.