Wednesday, 18 November 2009
Sadie frost - Winter i-D
With four children, two dogs and a never-ending stream of visitors, Sadie Frost’s Primrose Hill home is a hub of laughter and activity and the beloved stomping ground of friends and family alike.
Photography Iain McKell
styling assistance Milly McMahon
Introduction Milly McMahon
Interview Holly Shackleton
Scaling an impressive five spacious floors, decked out in the most stylish of modern interior décor, Sadie Frost’s family home in Primrose Hill, West London, is a bustling domestic project which caters to her kids rough and tumble ways as well as her own eclectic lifestyle. Boasting huge open spaces, sky-high ceilings and walls full of colour each floor owns a theme: The basement-lounge is a sumptuous den for nighttime frolicking, a single polished stainless steel post stands proud in the centre of the room designed for Sadie and her guests to get their legs up, hair down and swing on. Then there’s the landscaped walled gardens outside where the family get-togethers happen, decked out with a state of the art Wendy house, jungle gym and BBQ patio the wooden decked steps which lead up to the open plan marble-kitchenette-come-reception, where the magic really happens. Just crack open the fully equipped Frost fridge and you’re met with a trove of mouth-watering delicacies from all over the world, catering to your every taste. And when your just about stuffed a bed of sofas awaits in the snug, only a short waddle away! The further three floors weave into a maze of boudoirs and hideaways that lead up the Grande staircase, wind around never-ending corridors to reveal hidden nosatlgic nooks and every crannies decorated with photos, trinkets and love.
Constantly surrounded by the mates that she has now come to regard as her extended family, Ms Frost can frequently be found entertaining the glam likes of Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse, Nick Grimshaw, Jemima French and Libertines front man Carl Baratt. That’s when she’s not busy designing for her award winning womenswear label FrostFrench, alongside bezzy mate Jeminia Khan, that is. The doting mother of four children, Fin, Rudy, Raffy and Iris and pooch Ringo, Sadie balances motherhood and business like a fine art, and when she isn’t snowboarding, horse riding or rock-climbing with the kids, can be find representing one of the many charities she endorses while still managing to find time to tread the boards, write her autobiography (watch this space) and snuggle up with her loved ones at the end of a long hard day. We dropped by chez Sadie for a cuppa and a catch up.
You grew up with hippie parents. In what ways did your upbringing determine the ways in which you have brought up your own children?
My upbringing was a very creative one. I watched my father paint everything. I was always covered in paint and smelling of turps. It was very unconventional and a lot of ‘rules’ were broken. I have used the same creativity, but a lot less chaotic. It was a large family anarchy, but very loving.
What are your favourite memories of childhood?
I remember dancing a lot. Doing made-up shows on tables for adults at bars and pubs where my Mum worked, always being the showgirl. Some of my fondest memories are of when we traveled around in a Red Citroen 2CV. We drove from Camden to Morocco with a mattress in the back and my sister Jessie sitting in a washing up bowl so she didn’t get hot!
What do you regret?
Not giving a fuck .
You were born in Primrose Hill and have spent much of your life there, what is it about the area that you love so much?
It has changed so much, but I suppose it’s like a little island of its own – cut off – it has, or had, a very mixed community. In the 70s it was very bohemian, many of the artists and creative people of that time lived there, such as Kingsley Amis, David Bailey etc…
Would you ever move?
If I were to move to another city it would be to Barcelona. I love its architecture. I would love to get a beautiful Gaudiesque apartment and re-invent myself, calling myself Penelope or some other beautiful Spanish name – I love doing that.
How has your life changed since having a family?
I don’t really remember much else! They have filled up so much of my life. Fin is 19! My kids have always come first. When Fin turned 5 (14 years ago) I decided my career would have to be in London where his school was. I’m sure that had an impact on my career.
Your professional success and social life has made you frequent fodder for the tabloids. How do you cope with the paparazzi?
It’s all a lot better than it was. It was a nightmare when I was really struggling around the time my father passed away and during my divorce from Jude. I was very vulnerable and they took advantage of that.
How do you ensure they do not encroach on your children’s lives?
The children really do dislike the paparazzi and get quite angry. Raff and Fin have, in the past, thrown eggs at them. I tell them ‘breathe and be calm’ and hold their hands so it feels less intrusive. Thank God it’s quieter now.
Over the year’s you have been an avid supporter of charities such as PETA, Homes of Hope and Amnesty International, what charities are you working with today, and why have you decided to support them?
In the last year I have worked with Focus12, Homes of Hope, Palestinian Homes and Comic Relief. I’m actually doing a cabaret show for Focus12 this week to help them raise money. I try to do different things and make it creative. I also did a sketch with Kate Moss and Katie Brand for Comic Relief, which was loads of fun. I try to use my creativity in some way, often designing something that is then auctioned. I recently became patron for the Hep C Trust – this is an incredibly personal one for me as my father was found to have Hepatitis C but it was undiagnosed for ages. I also went on a charity bike ride with Will Self for Jemima Khan and Bella Freud’s charity The Hoping Foundation, to help Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon.
What life lessons have you learnt that you want to pass on to your own children?
Oh dear, I haven’t learnt any. I think they should work it out for themselves, although I did send Fin off to university with a suitcase full of condoms…
If you could do it all again what would you do differently?
I’d like to live in the moment more, worry less and not chase some of the useless and pathetic things I did chase, but that’s youth I guess!
When and where did you first meet Jemima French?
I met Jemima at a party in Dalston when we were both 14. Apparently I was putting my lipstick on without a mirror. This impressed Jemima.
Why did you hit it off?
She was blonde and posh, I was brunette and wasn’t! We were the positive and negative of each other.
Why did you decide to go into business together?
I remember sitting on the top of Primrose Hill pregnant with Raff, Jemima was pregnant with Edie. I was moaning how I was in a very male orientated environment with Jude, Jonny Lee Miller and Sean Pertwee in our film company Natural Nylon. I wanted a feminine output so we decided on making the most girlie, pretty scented girls’ thing, knickers – an antidote to their testosterone!
Describe the Frost French girl…
She’s classic, with a twist of pop.
What do your children want to be when they grow up?
Rudy wants to be a footballer, Raffy a cricketer, Iris an author and Fin a musician.
Describe a typical day in your house…
I devise my day by rotating which need prioritising, it could be either: FrostFrench, floozie, art directing a shoot, web concept, charity work - learning my lines for next theatre project or writing the book I am working on. Then of course teatime, bath and bed. Once that is all done I will watch a French film or a documentary and of course my children.
What do you do to enjoy quality time with your kids?
We try to do things like rock climbing or trapeze, something fun, active sports. Today we are going snowboarding at the new Snowdome in Hemel Hempstead. We like going to see musicals together, Billy Elliot or a play like Warhorse – that way we are all happy and entertained.
Kate Moss is one of your best friends, when and where did you meet?
I met her properly three days before my wedding to Jude. I had no wedding dress to wear so she took pity on me and lent me a dress John Galliano had made her for her 21st birthday. We hit it off straight away. Two like-minded people.
What is your favourite memory of a night out on the town with Kate?
It was 10 years ago and we’ve grown up a lot since then so I don’t mind telling you about this. We were in Ischia in Italy. Kate had arrived off the ferry from Naples, we went to some mad mud baths then dressed up in 50s swimsuits, heels and swimming hats. It was very theatrical and we drove around town reeking havoc on the sleepy place. We then drank far too much Limoncello and danced madly in an open-air disco. We ended the night in a biting competition! Who could bite the hardest! I think Jude woke up minus a thumb…
What is your favourite…
Shop? Liberty’s and our new FrostFrench shop opening up in Soho on Noel Street
Bar? Cat & Mutton on Broadway Market
Restaurant? Lemonia in Primrose Hill
If i-D were coming for dinner, what would you cook us?
Beetroot, goat’s cheese and quinoa salad, with soba noodles, chili, lime and mushrooms.
Where can we find you on a typical Saturday night out?
I never go out on a Saturday night.
Where can we find you on a typical Saturday night in?
With my friends. All in my big king size bed, with the fire on, telly in the background, incense burning, my two dogs squidged in with us and curry on our laps. I get a chance to be with my whole family!
What do you think are the vital ingredients for a good night out?
Nick Grimshaw and James Brown. Guaranteed entertainment.
What’s the best thing about your gang of friends?
That we are all quite tough. We are supportive of each other, a bit crazy, hard working and all with a good sense of humour! They are all creative people that don’t take themselves too seriously.
Why did you decide to be photographed for i-D with the people you did?
They are all funny characters. They all come round to my house and raid my fridge and eat pots of humus and put stuff in my washing machine or we will have an afternoon nap. The kids love them and they are like part of the family. Sometimes they do drive me crazy and I want to throttle them… not saying which one in particular!
How do you keep fit?
I love to swim at the moment and do Pilates. I take trapeze classes and am about to start tango lessons.
What are your hidden talents?
I can do the splits and the time step.
What star sign are you?
Gemini with a Virgo ascendant .
What’s the best i-Dea you’ve ever had?
Having my four kids or taking a train to Istanbul with a notebook .
Other than your children and your fashion label, what do you love most in life?
I love dancing. And I love my dogs, Rosier and Ringo. I loved doing my one-women show Touched in the West End recently. It was so liberating and reminded me of my love for theatre and acting. I’m now preparing for a play that looks likely to start in the spring. I’m also preparing to do two films. I’m getting some really fun roles…
What do you do to relax?
I love sitting in the steam room with some potions or simply being in bed with all my kids peacefully sleeping around me.
Where do you see yourself in five years time?
I always say to my daughter Iris that when she’s 16 we will go on a world cruise together to some of the world’s most unspoilt places. By then I’ll be an even more eccentric lady! We will have matching, chic, luggage and we will sit on deck chairs sucking boiled sweets! I guess I'll be retired. It’s all very Roald Dahl.