Why this top fashion designer wants to be buried in her birthday suit – The Australian Financial Review

I think about death almost daily. My mum passed away when I was very young, so I have lived with death for a long time. It has shaped me in ways I probably don’t even recognise.

I am not afraid of death, although of course I would prefer to live as long as possible. It’s hard to know how I’d react if I fell ill, but I think I’d want to live this life out as best I could, without too much fear. That time will come for everyone. I think we should embrace it, because it is part of life.

I’d like to be buried, close to my mother. I grew up in a relatively orthodox Jewish family and community – a tradition that honours the dead through a very sacred ceremonial process of prayer, meditation and age-old rituals. I’m not especially religious now, but one thing I love about my faith is the rite of passage around death.

Once a family member has passed, all blood relatives sit shiva, a seven-day process of mourning. It’s quite specific: mirrors are covered, you sit on a hard surface, you wear the same clothes you wore to the funeral for the whole seven days. The idea is that you are not comfortable. It’s a great way to mourn. You have to sit with the pain, really feel it, and not turn away from it.

I’ll be buried in my birthday suit. Very fitting for the occasion, right? I mean, it’s a closed coffin. Why not? And I wouldn’t be able to decide what to be buried in anyway. I have too many clothes I love. I won’t take anything with me except a photograph of my family, to be placed on my heart. I don’t want any jewellery buried with me; it should all go to my loved ones. They should be able to enjoy it when I’m gone.

The wake will be at my home, in line with the Jewish minyan service. I want it to be intimate, for only those absolutely closest to me. I’d really hate for people to wail – get a grip, guys! I’d love there to be a feeling of joy and a sense that my life was complete and well lived.

I want people to eat. If I were organising it, it would be a long Italian feast, but I suspect the reality will be Jewish comfort food – egg salad, chopped herring, smoked salmon bagels and extra schmear. I know exactly the caterers I would want. I love Jewish comfort food, and that will absolutely be on the menu. Challah for days. But if I were alive, and had my way, it would be pure Italian decadence. Salt-crusted fish, lots of vegetables … with a very good drop of wine.

You know, I say all this, but of course I’ll have no control. I’ll attach this to my will, we’ll see what happens.

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