Oh my goodness. I’ve said it.
Along with the true loves and beautiful relationships that she has had (and lost tragically) throughout her life, Jenny Kee bedded John Lennon, Keith Richards and Eric Clapton. Whoa! It’s true!
In preparation for my interview with Jenny at this Sunday’s Soul Session, invited for her later life experience as a dedicated practitioner of Tibetan Buddhist, I’ve been reading her autobiography, aptly titled A Big Life.
And boy, has she had a big life.
She is perhaps best-known for designing the koala jumper that Princess Di wore when she as pregnant (pic right). But that is only part of it.
The young Jenny was a wild, creative member of Sydney’s avant garde collective. She was snapped by the paps for the social pages of newspapers, invited to party privately with the world’s biggest bands, she hitch hiked to Darwin on a whim at 3am, ended up at an after dinner party orgy, and set off for London to get away from it all and advance her creative career in fashion. Such was life.
But none of this is off the record. To take from the inner jacket cover of the book, the following words describe Jenny’s journey…
‘Precocious, Bondi-loving daughter of a Chinese business-man gambler; cute mod singled out by John Lennon for a very private party; alluring hippie chick in swinging London, mixing it with the Oz expatriate larikans and the rockstars, artists, fashion designers and beautiful people flocking to Biba and the Chelsea Antique Market; dynamo designer of the seventies and eighties, acclaimed by both the Australia press and the international fashionistas; artist honoured by museum exhibitions and Parliament House commission; ardent conservative campaigner; creator of spectacular costumes for the Sydney Olympics Opening Ceremony – Jenny Kee has been all of these, and she has written her autobiography with an energy, passion and élan to match.
Yet with searing honesty she also lays bare her private life: her dysfunctional family; her insecurities as a person and an artist; her love affairs and friendships; the highs and lows of motherhood and marriage to a gifted painter; her relationship with a younger man who became her soul mate, and its tragic end; the personal price she paid for her enormous success – and disastrous decline – of her business; and her road to spiritual and emotional fulfilment.’
Reading Jenny’s book has been an incredible journey. At times my jaw has been on the floor in shock, I’ve squealed with delight at the outrageousness in her and yelled out snippets across the house for my family to share. I have loved living vicariously through her adventurous and somewhat broken spirit, sobbed real and salty tears while carried, as if by her side, with words through the suicide of her partner of almost 11 years, and the grief that followed.
Unlike many of my other interviews, I’ve never met Jenny before, but having read her book I feel like I know her intimately. I am already in love with her for her honesty, willingness to be vulnerable, the pain she has endured in business and personally, and the incredible life she has lived.
So looking forward to this interview on Sunday. I’m humbled to be meeting such an incredible soul.
Our Soul Sessions this month explores cool Buddhist
wisdoms for every day living.
It’s called Dharma Express < CLICK HERE >
features interviews with practicing Tibetan Buddhist
fashion icon Jenny Kee and ex-Buddhist Monk
of Awesomeness Dorje Christos Walker.