The war on terror’s going well, isn’t it? I met the most golden delicious college lecturer a few nights ago and we debated the burning issues of the day long into the night. As he says, historically the Arabic world has given us superb art, profound philosophy and exquisite literature. How can it be that these nations now only give us fear and loathing? I was so depressed to hear about the printer ink bombs intended to explode planes over Western territories. What has the world come to when a person hides explosives in his underwear in the name of Islam?
Speaking of explosive underpants, I have taken a couple of knocks tonight. I tripped off to John Lewis today to buy some Sanderson wallpaper to decorate a wall and stopped off in the food hall to prepare a feast for my better half to have early evening before an early pre-work night. He cried off as did the heir and the spare. How do I feel? Fabulous. I will roast the damned chicken, crack a bottle of Cava and imbibe in bed with the latest episode of Downton Abbey. Sometimes one’s own company is all one needs despite the exploding underwear.
So what news do I have for you? Very little. I spent the first part of the morning in the King’s Library in the British Museum perusing Greek statues and lusting after all the pretty things in the gift shop. I always pick a shop a year to do all my Christmas gift buying from. This year it will be the British Museum shop. So if you receive a life-size bust of Nefertiti in the post don’t be remotely surprised.
With my ego slightly bruised by all the no-shows this evening, I can take some scant comfort in the rack of stiffies on my radiator inviting me to various bashes in London leading up to Christmas. I love a good stiffy nicely embossed on thick card. Though I am thrilled by invites from Cartier, Clarence House and Smythson, the most exciting invitation is to the rededication of St George’s Hanover Square on the 5th December. How nice to think there will be a carol service in this historic Mayfair church this year. I even caught myself enjoying the Daily Service on Radio 4 this morning. Will I take the veil before the year is out?
I had a terrific phone call from my New York friend Anthony who tells me he is interviewing as design director of Dunhill. That boy is one of the wonders of the world. He too has been to hell and back. He has worked for Donatella and survived which says it all. This guy is such a creative dynamo who keeps on coming back after every knock and honey we are all judged by our knockers.
My day after the expedition to John Lewis was spent in Mommie Dearest mode scrubbing the carpets with Vanish to vanquish the cigarette burns, laundering bed linen (don’t get excited Rowley), cleaning the silver and dreaming of a central chandelier in my office/drawing room/Kitchen at Bloomsbury Towers. Joan Crawford was right. There is something terribly soothing and humbling about scrubbing a bathroom floor in a silk teddy.
Speaking of silk teddies, yesterday I picked up a package from the Tottenham Court Road sorting office. Within a tissued bed was a cornflower blue silk dressing gown embroidered with Sexton on the belt. The sex in question was the divine Edward Sexton who had sent the slinky as a thank you for all my work on the Savile Row book. The man oozed class. Who else on or off the Row has acknowledged the book in such an elegant fashion? As I have said previously, I have a little list of the people who have written to thank me and the people who have behaved as if I have simply written a self-serving tome to further my career.
The most insulting correspondence was from a chap who intimated that the book launch at the Savoy was for me. Wrong! It is for a book wot I wrote and is a superb marketing tool for all of the tailors showcased in its pages. There are not many people who will work for gratis for two years trusting that the royalties will pay dividends in the end. Any intimation that I have not given it until it hurts in the name of furthering Savile Row’s fame is a jerk. I have an awful feeling that the Savoy party will signify closure. I will continue my project with Henry Poole and help Gieves redesign their interiors but as far as Savile Row Bespoke is concerned this is game over. I have done my dash with no regrets. I hate it when someone intimates that it’s not what Savile Row can do for you but what you can do for it. I have moved mountains for it. End of.
I am going off radar for the rest of the year to write my Ascot book and edit the Louis Vuitton Guide to London. I will take weekends, take massages, take it easy and really embrace relaxing. Lessons learnt after 20 years in business. I had a very disappointing exchange with a talented, bright young girl yesterday. She had left the company she was working for and called to ask advice. I responded that she could help me as a researcher for my Ascot book. She replied that she had rents to pay in Chelsea but thanks for the offer.
This was offensive on so many levels. I pay my people more by the hour than I ask for myself and told her so. She wrote a panic email claiming to be mortified that I had taken offense. Well, I had. The twentysomething generation have the misconception that they are at once both more charming and more intelligent than they really are. Time will teach them the lesson. You my darling never lacked for charm.