Meredith Meredith Etherington-Smith By Randy Bryan Bigham Journalist and promoter MEREDITH ETHERINGTON-SMITH gives HILARY Magazine the goods on Beaton, Marilyn, Diana, and the glorious happenstance of her 40 year career at the center of London's design world. The editor-in-chief of the venerable Christie's magazine, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Art, chairman of the innovative program Art Fortnight London, author of The Persistence of Memory: A Biography of Dali, journalist and sometimes actress, Meredith Etherington-Smith is busy reshaping (and shaking up) the London art scene. Meredith grew up in Kent, studied at the Royal College of Art and has since edited and contributed to almost every major publication in the world, from the New York Times Magazine, Town & Country, GQ, Art Review, andWomen's Wear Daily to French Vogue and Harper's & Queen. Many are also familiar with her recent foray into reality television with 'The Dinner Party Inspectors', but Meredith, now 59, first made her mark nearly 40 years ago as one of the happening breed of young journalists responsible for changing the way fashion was reported and featured. She's profiled everyone from Andy Warhol to Ella Fitzgerald, helped launch the careers of Bruce Weber, John Galliano and Joanna Lumley, and befriended the likes of Princess Diana and Karl Lagerfeld. Over tea in the garden of her house in South Kensington, she talks to HILARY Magazine about her career and how it might never have happened. HILARY Magazine: What's the importance of personality when it comes to success? Obviously you know fashion, you know art. But how much of your success has been due to personality? You have a posh accent and a commanding voice, so... Meredith: That's 50 years of smoking, I'm afraid. Well, 45 years! I have a rather old fashioned voice. I go into department stores and ask for something and people think I'm an actress because you don't hear this kind of voice very much anymore. HILARY Magazine: It's beautiful. Meredith: Well, it's sort of fun for some people. Not all. HILARY Magazine: But it gives an air of chic. Meredith: No, I think I get hired because I actually know what I'm doing. I've described myself as a graduate of the "1960s hemline school of journalism." I've been doing what I do, adding bits and pieces on, since I became a fashion editor at the end of the '60s. The only editor who has a longer fashion memory than I have is probably Susie Menkes at the Trib. So we've been around a long time and that's rather reassuring for people in a way. I've always been incredibly lucky because I've never actually gone after anything. People have always sort of said "Wouldn't you like to do this or wouldn't you like to do that?" I've never really applied for a job.