Category Archives: Robin Lawless

Come Fly With Me!

The new paperback edition of Chanel is out today!  And it’s being featured at the Hudson News Store in all your favorite airports!  Perfect for vacation reading!

Both the photo of my mother, Georgann Rea and the one of me and my sister Robin were taken by my late step-father, Oliver Rea.  The new edition also includes the first chapter of the sequel, Heart of Glass due out in March 2016!
Happy Summer!  Happy Reading!


New Paperback!


Fresh from the publisher!  My first copies of the new Chanel paperback which includes the first chapter of the sequel Heart of Glass!  The books will be available two weeks from today and will be featured at Hudson News in airports all over the country! I think Gallery did a lovely job.   And I absolutely love the Tiffany blue.  That’s my mother on the cover and Robbie and I in the inset photo.  I hope you like Chanel and will look forward to Heart of Glass which is being published in March, 2016.


New Cover for Summer!

Chanel Bonfire reissue (1)

This is an early proof copy of the new paperback cover for Chanel due out this summer!  The reissue will include the first chapter of the sequel, HEART OF GLASS!  That’s my mom on Lyford Cay with Robbie and me in the inset.  The photos were taken by Pop, my once-upon-a-time stepfather Oliver Rea (note the misspelling of his name on the credit).  Should be out in July in time to take to the beach!


Hot Night at El Morocco

Okay, I don’t have any pictures, but we were there. One of the hottest nights in my memory, as if a garbage filled blow-dryer was pointed at your face. It was NYC, 1974, Robin and I in our long Laura Ashley dresses, getting drunk on champagne while Mother and Pop Bossa Nova’d and didn’t pay attention to anyone else. Listening to “Midnight at the Oasis”. Later, I passed out in the taxi. My first faint. Stay cool out there this summer.

Years later, in a strange, worlds collide, my husband and I were living in Hell’s Kitchen and we’d just had our first child, Harry. We lived in Manhattan Plaza, a building for people in the performing arts. An old lady named Mrs. Valentine who had been Toscanini’s secretary lived a few floors down from us and knitted booties for Harry. Her husband, Harry Valentine had been the Maitre ‘d at El Morocco until his retirement in the early 80s and probably poured us all into the taxi!


Merry Christmas from Chanel Bonfire

Merry Christmas from Chanel Bonfire

As any reader of Chanel will know, Christmas was not always the most wonderful of times for me and and my sister Robbie.  It is not so great for many kids for many reasons.  But, seeing the holiday through my own children’s eyes has given me a chance to experience what can be and should be a truly wonderful family time of year.  For everyone, beneath what can frequently be a superficial veneer of holiday cheer, Christmas can be a time of hope.  And I hope that all of you have a very merry season and Happy New Year.


First Chinese Restaurant — Mr. Chow

151 Knightsbridge, London SW1X 7PA

Mr. Chow was the first Chinese restaurant I ever went to.  And the first occasion was my 16th birthday party.  It was lunch for about a  dozen of my friends and my sister Robbie and it was truly wonderful–glamorous and fun.  I can’t remember the food but I do remember that my friend Matt Backer gave me the Rolling Stones live album “Get Yer Ya Ya’s Out” and began my life-long love affair with the Stones.

Mr. Chow was opened in Knightsbridge in London in 1968 (outposts in Beverly Hills and New York City followed in the next decade) by Michael Chow the son of Peking Opera Grand Master Zhou Xinfang. It quickly became a place to be seen and to see and introduced many to a Chinese cuisine which may not have been the most authentic was was certainly the most glamorous at that time.  There are now even more Mr. Chow restaurants in Malibu, South Beach and Tribecca to name a few.  And while Beverly Hills’ is my closest, the true Mr. Chow will always be the one in London about which Alan Richman of GQ wrote, “It is an establishment that can not be defined by customary standards but must be appreciated for its sheer fabulousness.”  Mais oui.

Matt Backer’s love of rock-n-roll persists, he is a successful guitarist and songwriter who works frequently with Julian Lennon.  And in a very small world coincidence, Michael Chow’s daughter China acted in my husband’s first movie, Head Over Heels.


Howard Johnson’s

The Howard Johnson’s Motor Lodge in Danbury Connecticut

In the 1960s and 70s Howard Johnson’s was America’s largest chain of restuarants with over a thousand locations.  Begun as a drugstore and soda fountain in Massachusetts in the early 1920s, Howard Johnson’s reinvented ice cream (their 28 Flavor –all high in butterfat–became famous) and hospitality. And as the country and the highway system boomed after World War Two, Howard Johnson’s standardized roadside accomodations providing comfort and a sense of continuity for millions.  For me, Howard Johnson’s distilled the essential qualities that make a hotel (whether it is the Ritz, the Hilton or the Plaza) good beds, clean towels and room service or at least a cafe.

When we moved back to the States from London, we stayed briefly in New York and then, while Mother and our fairy ex-stepfather Oliver patched things up again and looked for a house in Connecticut, we live for a few months at the Howard Johnson’s in Danbury — a small town in northern Fairfield County about an hour and a half north of the city.  America was a strange place for Robbie and Me (especially once we were off the island of Manhattan) but HoJo’s with good linen, maids and a restaurant loaded with ice cream made us feel at home.  And, they had the world’s first, positively addictive, video game, “Pong” which we played for hours on end.

The Inter-Continental Hotel, Paris

The Westin Paris-Vendome built as the Hotel Continental in 1878 and known to us in the 70s as the Inter-Continental.

My daughter Grace on the same balcony overlooking the Tuileries that Robbie and I shared.

When our fairy ex-stepfather materialized at the Hotel Sydney Opera to rescue us from the horrors of two star accomodations, the Inter-Continental is where he took us.  Opened in April of 1878 as the Hotel Continental it occupied a full block at the intersection of the rue de Rivoli and the rue de Castiglione over looking the Tuileries Gardens.  It was the largest and most luxurious hotel in Paris for decades.  Renamed the Inter-Continental in 1969, It became the Westin Paris in 2005 and the Westin Paris – Vendome in 2010.  It was for Grace and I, as it had been for Robbie and I a wonderful and enchanting place in which to flop on the beds, drink Coca Colas and race across the street to the gardens.


The Mamounia

La Mamounia

The Mamounia Hotel in Marrakech, Morocco or La Mamounia as it’s commonly known sits at the heart of the old section of the city facing the Atlas Mountains.

 We stayed  here while our step-father was scounting locations for a new resort in Morocco.  It was a wonderful, mystical-feeling place in which a couple of young girls could have a lot of adventures.  Mother and Oliver’s version of the trip had it’s own kind of magic but sadly it’s own very grown-up kind of sorrow.  

A wonderful series of photos and history of the hotel can be found on The New York Social Diary at the link: