“I love my turban because it makes me a muslim, a sikh, a beach bum, a nut-case and a hippie, altogether funky fresh, a walking fruitcake: proud to be me.”

One the most high-profile, dynamic and admired children’s charities
in London, Kids Company, was founded in 1996 by the  formidable psychotherapist Camila Batmanghelidjh. I have been aware of her since almost the creation of the charity and have always admired her relentless and admirable work for children who have suffered trauma through abuse and neglect, and who have effectively been re-parented and returned to society as functional young adults.

A former refugee herself who grew up in Tehran, Batmanghelidjh is well-known in Britain; her advice is much sought after by politicians and her opinions by the news media. A painting of her hangs in the National Portrait Gallery.

But additionally to her dedication, tremendous skills and relentless fight for a most noble cause, she is also highly recognisable for her trademark eccentric and flamboyant outfits – which she possibly uses as an ‘armour’ against the dangers her job involves – and has become something of a fashion icon; layers of bright, colourful fabrics with clashing patterns, billowing floral robes and of course her signature fingerless gloves, dramatic earrings and printed turbans are the outfits Batmanghelidjh turns in minutes every day using exotic fabrics, sofa trimmings and patchwork quilts.

“I wear them with joy brooches the kids make out of cardboard. I don’t wear pierced earrings, because disturbed toddlers pull them off your ear, so my lobes are graced with antique clip-ons and they never match”, she declares. “It takes me probably five minutes to get dressed. I don’t think about it at all… But the way I dress matches my psychological energy, so when I get up in the morning I think ‘What colour do I want to wear today?’ and I just bung it on really quickly and get out. I don’t worry about what people think at all… And it’s instantaneous – I instantly know what fabrics go together and what doesn’t – and it’s just instinctive.”

So here is one of A-Gent of Style‘s heroines and, in every sense of the word, a very colourful character who fearlessly swathes herself in an explosion of fabrics and whose warmth and humanity never fail to radiate and shine through.
Everytime A-Gent sees her beaming smile and her joyous outfits in a magazine or on television, it is a reminder that life is beautiful, as is she.

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