For more than a year, after a brief stay at the University of Arizona in 1969, Claire Rambeau was into a Los Angeles modeling career. During that time, she often left the city for a few days and drove to her father's north-central-Arizona home in Sedona, where she spent many hours exploring - either on foot or horseback - the vast, craggy Red Rock country in search of seclusion as well as scenery. Although enjoying some professional success, 20-year-old Claire was becoming increasingly disenchanted with her working environment. "I became more and more dependent on my Arizona trips as a means of clearing my head in order to face the coming week." Finally, last spring, she left Los Angeles for good. "I was really fed up. So many people I met in the business could talk about nothing but their multi-million-dollar deals that were being finalized. Then, when I'd run into them again a month later, they'd be talking about the same deal and it was still imminent." She decided to use what money she'd saved to travel and flew to the one place in the world she most wanted to see: London. "My former roommate in L.A. is a stewardess who's been all over the world. She continually talked about London, so I just had to go." Claire wasn't disappointed. "I fell in love with it. There's a kind of formal air about the city. I don't mean that people are stuffy - they're conscious of tradition in a way I found charming." But Claire enjoyed the open air of the countryside outside London almost as much. Off by herself, she spent long introspective afternoons thinking about her future. Shortly, everything began to fall into place. "I decided that I wanted to live in London, and since I'd always had a great interest in fashions, I visited some commercial-art schools to ask about their fashion-design courses. I haven't made up my mind which school I'll attend, but I'm definitely going to enroll." After reaching this decision, Claire reassessed her past career. "I no longer think with regret of the year I spent modeling," she says. "After all, it did increase my awareness of good design."
Early last summer, she left London and returned to Arizona so she could prepare for the move this fall. "I'm looking over design books and fashion magazines right now." Whatever school Claire attends, it seems only fitting and proper that London - having lost its famous bridge to Arizona - should get such a delightful attraction in return.
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