Cosmopolitan · English · Faction · Modern Dilemma

The Loves & Pleasures of a PR Socialite |Scorpios at Sotheby’s

Dangerous eyes don’t lie, but being genuine often confuses people. Every dangerous thing is just the simplest thing.

Episode 1

The #CHANCE of Chasing Candace

Sotheby’s London, 2017

Grown-ups often think they can dictate the plot of their lives, but they dismiss the huge part that ‘chance’ plays. They only blame destiny when they fail, and they put it down to hard work when they are successful!

It was at Sotheby’s that I first met Candace in 2015, when we were both contemplating the work of Salvador Dali. She said she pitied Dali’s lover Gala, because she thought she worth no more than money or lobsters in the artist’s eyes. More people know Dali’s lobsters, but not Gala. Candace wasn’t an art history connoisseur. Perhaps she hadn’t read about how strong Gala’s sexual drive was, and how she was inspiring but also a destructive force to Dali’s life and creation.

“But it’s still better off than not being any one’s muse.” Candace shrugged in her Balmain dress, and even as she stood there quietly, her enigmatic energy tamed the room.

Back then, she was a living muse, not to any artists, but to any ambitious society girl. She had all the good traits of a Scorpio girl, both affectionate and determined. If being scheming also counts, that still served her well, as long as she didn’t hold onto too many past grudges. I’d say she took revenge in a graceful way-by living a larger and fuller life.

Candace knew a thing or two about PR. She was skilled in throwing cool parties, and would snap her fingers and say “Girls, come to this party!” She did it masterfully, never cheaply. Her gesture would hook the crowd, they would uber to her friend’s hotel room, for prohibited sleepovers-girls sap Martinis, and dancing on the sofa. People said Candace was a well-heeled investment broker, with deals done not at tables, but over a couple of drinks or two at another her friends’ penthouses in Knightsbridge.

Candace’s self-confidence was self-built with her society experience, not earned with years of wisdom-she was still rather young.

I saw Candace at the preview of Surrealist Art auction at Sotheby’s again last week. “Girl, don’t deny it, you’d be a surrealist if you were an artist, because you are so random! You have no idea of what you are talking about, yet you know how to give it meaning, and you do interpret things in a nice way. Look, just like Jean Arp.” Candace pointed to the sculpture in this auction.“Did Jean Arp know he wanted to make a biomorphic sculpture, a torso? No, he didn’t. He saw ‘chance’ as his active collaborator. He would generate his shapes first, and title them post-completion, he wanted to eliminate as far as possible the interference of the conscious mind as much as possible.” Candace walked around the preview with me, continuing her take on life, of which she only knew a tiny slice from my Instagram posts.It annoyed me a little bit, but I chose to be polite and said nothing.“You don’t have a clear plot for your life yet!” Candace said after hearing me speaking up about my plans for my editorial project. “I will make my own story-it will be alluring!” I said.“Darling,” Candace said with confidence-she was tall and blonde, her facial structure was sharp which naturally granted her with doses of confidence and pride. “Plot is different from story. Plot has causality.” Candace said, “Grown-ups often think they can dictate the plot of their lives, but they dismiss the huge part that ‘chance’ plays. They only blame destiny when they fail, and they put it down to hard work when they are successful!”“I totally agree with your point. They think they can hold onto their ‘achievement’ and call it ‘success’, but ‘chance’ also comes into play and swipe up the sweetness of success.”

“You know things!” Candace nodded in agreement. That was the only time I felt she granted me a sort of approval.

Episode 2

The Glimpse of Her Diamond Earring 

& An Exotic Specimen

Candace & Mark

Draycott Place, 2015 & Loulou’s 2014

Diamonds are forever, but the love at the first sight of her diamond earring is just a phantom of the game of “catch me if you can”.

They didn’t embark on a love affair immediately. This is London. People don’t settle for sparks, they wanted anything and everything, and they are always hunting for more. But Candace and Mark remembered each other, from time to time, they frequented the same kinds of places, she was always sub-consciously in search of the scent of his Creed Vetiver cologne, and he always hoped to catch a glimpse of her Hemmerle diamond earrings in the crowd. 

“I was naive, fearless and naïve. Funnily, it’s usually when you know nothing that you live your life better, because you aren’t scared of losing anything.” Candace said to me at her party two years ago. She was smoking a cigarette on the balcony of her flat at Draycott Place-a street near Sloane Square, one of London’s finest postcodes.

She was telling me the story of how she met her ex-boyfriend Mark one year and a half ago at Loulou’s, the one private members club in London. He was a quintessentially English man, an exotic specimen for postcodes like W1 or SW3. “That was the first thing he said to me. The English turn out to be exotic in prime postcodes of their own capital, blame their economic policy!” Candace laughed.

As I said, Candace knew a thing or two about PR, and she knew how to do her own PR best. Mark knew a thing or two about women and would sense how women were from the jewellery they wore.

Candace was affluent and had an abundance of choice at boutique jewelers. She knew how to ‘invest’ in key pieces-she had one pair of earrings from Hemmerle and two vintages pieces from Fred Leighton, those were enough for her occasions and could differentiate her from a sea of Bvlgari and Cartier.

Mark was a quintessentially English man with exotic tastes. He wasn’t like any other English men who wanted a “Stepford wife”. He wasn’t keen on girls with pearl earrings, which he dubbed “the classy-looking ones that think playing dirty in the bedroom degrades themselves.”

He warned his mates that normally a ‘Madonna’ in the drawing room and ‘prostitutes’ in the bedroom version of girls doesn’t really exist, you’d better pick one. He picked the latter, because ‘prostitutes’ were naïve, while ‘Madonnas’ were usually self-absorbed and no fun to play with.

Candace wasn’t a mundane type, he judged from her jewellery tastes.

“As rare as the stones in my earring!” Candace embarked on Mark’s exotic status of being English in Mayfair.

Candace said he was too expressive, which was not English at all. “Shall I be thankful for your drinks, that made you not so English?” she said.

“I drink Old Fashioned, but I don’t behave according to the name of my favourite drink.”

“I like it, exotic and rare. I only carry the rare find around.” Candace said.

They didn’t embark on a love affair immediately. This is London. People don’t settle for sparks, they wanted anything and everything, and they are always hunting for more. But Candace and Mark remembered each other, from time to time, they frequented the same kinds of places, she was always sub-consciously in search of the scent of his Creed Vetiver cologne, and he always hoped to catch a glimpse of her Hemmerle diamond earrings in the crowd.

The fourth time they met was at Loulou’s, Candace felt dazed after a couple of Martinis. She dragged her heels to the sushi bar upstairs and found there Mark was drinking alone.

She said “Hi!”

He said, “Sit down please.”

She said, “what a command.”

He said, “If you want to obey, that’s totally up to you, but the pleasure will be all mine.”

Then she sat down next to him, and for the next weeks she sat in his limos, just occasionally, because a quintessential English upper class life wasn’t his sort of thing.

He was adventurous, she was entertaining. He’d rather take her to more exotic haunts together, with his globe-trotter suitcases to fine resorts in Africa.

She wasn’t really the jealousy type. She adored Mark’s tastes in tribal art, because she herself was a modernist fanatic-she loved all things primitivism, art-deco and mid-century. They had the looks, money, tastes, and the privilege to set their foot on any continents, and even leave a mark.

“Even then, we just couldn’t continue being together. There were all sorts of reasons-one being we were just too alike. What I disliked about him was what I dislike about myself. We were not complementary, we were competitive. We were in a race set by ourselves, and who would laugh till the end?” Candace was getting tipsy, and a grain of sadness entered in her smoky voice.

“Mark isn’t stupid. He kissed my earlobes and placed other rare finds on them. But he only bought me earrings, he never wanted to place anything on my fourth finger you see. Just like every plot of modern fairy tales, if the woman is not scheming enough, the weight of reality usually outpowers fantasies in the end. Diamonds are forever, but the love at the first sight of her diamond earring, is just a phantom of the game of “Chasing Harry Winston”.

Episode 3

To New York, Ride Something Else & Young Greek Artist, from Athens with Love

Candace & Milos 

Williamsburg, Brooklyn NY 2016

Milos cared more about the revival of the Studio 54 spirit, bringing the 80s to Brooklyn. His DJ friends would make art in his loft, while Milos himself made love.

Dangerous eyes don’t lie, but being genuine often confuses people. Every dangerous thing is just the simplest thing.

The flat went unsold. Candace said it was due to bad timing as property prices went down. Before renting it out, she threw a few parties and mounted exhibitions for her artists friends. “Not for selling purposes, just for good times. At the end of the day, the thrill of a money transaction doesn’t linger long, but you remember the fun times every time you look back on Instagram. Well some people do, but I don’t look back.”
She said she wanted a holiday to pull herself together after her break up with Mark. She temporarily moved to New York with her high school friend Evelyn. But these two women’s lives in NYC soon fell apart. “Evelyn is a classy and homely woman. She walks her dog and rides her horses. I despise this approach to life. I told her, it’s NYC babe, NYC is not for commitment and marriage. I’d walk my way and ride something else.”

So Candace went to ride something else, a hot Greek artist, from Athens with love. She helped to bring back the spirits of Studio 54 to his Williamsburg studio loft. “Milos is drop dead gorgeous. I briefly encountered him once at the Sunset Party at Scorpios in Mykonos.One Scorpio picked up another Scorpio.

He is a babe. He said he grew up watching his dad making Brancusi style sculptures in their white stoned Greek houses by sea. He told me he wasn’t so keen on modernist art. He wanted to create work that reflected our times. Digital things. You know. Well, he is just a rich kid who wants to make some art, who follows all the cool kids who migrated from Manhattan to Williamsburg. He landed in NYC freshly, someone from Athens with love, with his Greek look, with his sartorial combining continental chic and New Yorker’s chill. When I saw him, I immediately knew he would know how to throw parties.”

Candace described Milos’ Williamsburg studio to me-sky-ceiling, open spaces, “if we use our imagination,  a young Greek guy in Brooklyn, making modernist Calder like sculptures, that’s hot, but that’s very last century. Obviously, it’s your love for these sorts of spaces has overtaken the fantasy of a piece of fresh meat. And he doesn’t make sculptures.”

Milos’ art dealt only a bit of modernist aesthetic, and had more to do with the digital. “This kid knows Instagram, DJ, rappers, communications, he’s an information maniac. He uses Photoshop to make art. His studio looked sleek and not a mess. Supermodels in and out, you can imagine occasionally there were Sex and the City ‘Samantha Jones’ or ‘Carrie Bradshaw’esque women, for both his physical and creative exercises. If his models’ hair was still in place when they left his studio, he’d be disappointed as he set out to make their hair a mess.”

“I told him I knew tricks of scandals that could launch his publicity. You know what this kid said, ‘I am the best publicity. I know better.’”

Candace knew little about career progression for artists, luckily, Milos cared little about career advancement. He cared more about the revival of the Studio 54 spirit, bringing the 80s to Brooklyn. His DJ friends would make art in his loft, while Milos himself made love.

“He looks like a bad boy, promiscuous, dangerous”, I commented on Milos’ look when Candace showed me a picture of him on Instagram.

“Well, babe, dangerous eyes don’t lie but being genuine often confuses people. Every dangerous thing is just the simplest thing. Somehow I was glad I met Milos, it was simpler having fun with him than cultivating the relationship with Mark. You see, Mark added diamonds to my ears, but Milos added two lobsters, like Dali or Schiaparelli’s works. His Photoshopped work looks rather Duchampian.” Candace giggled and said how she was finally a muse to a rich kid who wanted to make some art.

She couldn’t help but tell me more about her adventure with Milos,

‘“Do I suppose to have nicer breasts?” I asked him. Then the next second, he placed his lips on them. “Maybe you should just photoshop another lip on i”, I suggested. He said, “What about I Photoshop it on other parts of your body?” “Fine, fine, fine!”

I just played along. I had such a carefree time in NYC, I left relieved. I told everyone it was Nars Orgasm blush powder that did the trick, but they all figured out it was another kind of orgasm. I told them I wasn’t dating anyone, so they took me as a narcissist. I don’t care. It’s New York.’

I took another sip of bubbles which raised my spirits.  “Why did you come back to London?” I asked Candace.

“Oh well…”Candace hesitated before she spoke, “At some point, I just felt fed up with going out and all the parties. I just want to keep the necessities away from all the superfluous. No, what I mean precisely is that I just want the real thing after all the superficial,” she said.

Candace isn’t a surrealist, I thought to myself.

Photo of Luning Wang

Luning Wang

Luning is a London-based writer and arts & lifestyle journalist. “Picasso and the Single Girl” is dedicated to the stories and species of the art world, cosmopolitan life, modern dilemma and female brilliance. Luning also consults European brands on their Chinese marketing and media strategies.
Photo of Luning Wang

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