The last few weeks has been an ordeal for many of us – there is little refuge from the constant barrage of bad news. However, we must try to create a semblance of normality whenever we can, which for me, Emeliva Howawante, has meant getting back to feeling rich.
It has been quite a trial. I cannot stop at Harrods for an amuse-bouche between meetings anymore, and shopping sprees at Changi airport are of course out of the question. All I have left are the happy hours in the queue outside Waitrose. From there I can see the world, and the world can see me – through the clear plastic bodysuit I wear at all times. It keeps both my health, and my birkin, safe from infection. As does my aerosol disinfectant that I have mixed with pepper spray. You never can be too careful with the hooligans.
I was half-way into the store the other day when I remembered an encounter I had with the celebrated ceramicist Jemima Gerriatric, who I met ten years ago at a Cartier event in Paris. What she said to me I will never forget: “The only way out of rock bottom Emeliva is to start collecting Picasso.” This is my battle cry, and I have taken it upon myself to discover and share with you ways that we can all achieve that elusive ‘I-really-do-own-an-island’ feeling, without leaving the safety of our own homes.
For starters, the recent drop in the stock market should be considered a fantastic opportunity. My husband reminded me that since 2008 there has not been a riper time for investment. So, why not while away a few hours cashing in some savings to the FTSE 100. The best part of it is that even if the market price drops, there is always more to put more in! If you invest for the long term (like myself) then you can spend the next few years watching it appreciate and thinking of all the lovely things you can buy with your earnings.
Nothing has brought me more joy in this horrible time than tapping the buttons on my bank app and looking up stock market trends. It’s so fun, like grown-up Candy Crush! I have decided that this could be considered a pastime in itself and, like all pastimes, it deserves a bit of luxurious elevation. After several weeks of virtual admiration I can announce that I have purchased an extravagant Hermès chaise longue with dark red leather upholstery and guilt dragon feet which I have informed my family is to be used exclusively for my own financial exploits. No greasy handprints on this fine beauty.
Last week was a flurry of interior design for me – a vase here, a buddha statue there, though what’s really transformed the entire mood of the conservatory has been the installation of a little Japanese sand pit in the corner. Every evening after watching the news I go to my zen room, pick up the delicate wooden rake and dust it through the sand, creating such calming horizontal lines that it takes all the worry away. It needs to fit the colour scheme of the room of course, so I have ordered 10 kg of black Tahitian sand from my dear hotelier friend – Ivan con Feshon-Tumake.
Digital meetings are of the utmost importance. I spend a good half-hour everyday styling my backdrop. A still-life tableau of grapes and oranges provides a roman resplendence to my drawing room. It has given me an excellent excuse to whip out the Louis XIV candlesticks that I nabbed at Christie’s last autumn.
The virtual experience has allowed me to see the intimate parts of my colleague’s houses like never before, what a treat! I like to rate their rooms on a scale from squalor to splendor. I even discovered that one of my peers has the most outrageous wallpaper – it depicts nude women doing various things with pineapples… Whoever would have thought that demure Kenneth would have such scandalous taste?
The fantastic article from FT’s lifestyle contributor Luke Edward Hall provided some excellent inspiration; he suggested sneaking a ‘plaster cast of a classical head’ into the frame of your zoom meeting. But I ask the critical question – is that enough? Last night I embraced my natural flamboyance and spent an hour styling a centrepiece for my morning Skype call. I have placed my husband’s terracotta bust of Margaret Thatcher directly in front of my iMac webcam, and tomorrow I intend to sit behind it doing my best impression of the late baroness. I hope it will surprise and delight them to see her brought back to life! You can get bronze busts of all sorts of prolific politicians – Stalin, Pol Pot, Castro, and I intend on purchasing a few and doing a sort of Punch and Judy show with them. Perhaps I’ll reenact the battle of Trafalgar, or JFK’s assassination.
There you are my darlings! I hope this has inspired you to take up your own ‘creative-wealth projects’ as I’m calling them. Don’t let the Lockdown get you down and remember that wherever you are in the world you must treat yourself to the very best.
Love, Emeliva xx