susie bick, the vampire's wife
We meet up with the model, muse, and i-D cover star to discuss her new clothing line.
After watching Nick Cave's 20,000 Days On Earth I left the cinema and thought to myself the real star of the movie wasn't Cave, but his wife Susie Bick. Though she doesn't actually appear on screen bar a fleeting glimpse of slick black hair, her husband speaks about her in such away that she becomes an otherworldly creature with whom the audience has no choice but to fall in love with.
Her 2009, Sølve Sundsbø shot cover of i-D is a personal favourite of mine. Again it is a mere glimpse at Susie behind a the veil of her trade mark jet black hair. So who is the mysterious Susie Bick? We know her as a model, an actress, a muse, wife to Nick Cave and a mother to their twin boys, and now she is adding fashion designer to her list of achievements. I went to meet her at a suite at the Café Royal where she talked me through the aptly named clothing line, Vampire's Wife that she is launching with her friend and business partner Alex Adamson. A tall, willowy vision of elegance wearing a gold lurex blouse and a deep purple pencil skirt from the collection, she welcomed me graciously into the suite with a hint of endearing nervousness, as this was the first day she would be meeting the press to introduce them to her new venture.
She talked me through the small capsule collection. A stunning burst of deep colours for vixens and vampiresses. Pencil skirts that hug and shape while flashing a tease of leg. A pin stripe dress cut specifically to enhance the breast. Exactly what you would expect from such a feminine yet seductive woman. The name perfectly sums up Susie, and the collection provides a fitting wardrobe for such a title. "It came from Nick" Susie smiled, "He'd written a book that he decided not to publish, so he gave the name to me." When I asked if it was about her, her smile widened, "It was kind of about me yeah. I haven't said that before but yeah it was. I love the name. We really wanted a name that we loved and I just love the name for lots of reasons." When I asked Susie who she saw as the vampire's wife, she pondered: "It's almost like a tribe, I don't know how to explain it. it's sort of something esoteric but at the same time very inclusive, because of all those vampire films. I suppose it is me, but it's also Alex. We've used her family crest, Alex is Romanian. I'd like it to be a lifestyle."
Susie began her modelling career at 15. For her, the actual clothes and dressing up was what she loved most about her career as a model. "Everything I make has really come from all the years of working so closely with John Galliano and Philip Tracy, Vivienne Westwood and Bella Freud. Just being in that environment for so long, because I was modelling for such a long time, for about 25 years. I started when I was 15 and before that I was making clothes, that was my thing that I was totally into. So modelling for me was a lot to do with the clothes more than anything else. That's the thing I used to love - the part of putting clothes together." When I asked if she asked any of her designer friends for advice she admitted, "No, I was a bit shy about it really. I haven't yet, Bella Freud is coming over today to have a look at it - she hasn't seen it yet."
Getting a glimpse into the world of the mysterious Susie Bick left me even more intrigued. She is clearly incredibly intelligent with the kind of poise that I have only read about in Jane Austen books. Yet in a very wonderful way she is shy and open enough to admit that she is actually really nervous embarking on this exciting new venture. It's easy to see how Nick Cave was happy for her to steal his heart and the lead role of his own movie.
Text Ger Tierney
Photography Sølve Sundsbø
Styling Edward Enninful
The Best Of British Issue, i-D No. 297, March 2009