FASHION NOVEMBER 2010

Dear Rowley,

Have you seen Cher in the latest Vanity Fair? As the young would have it OMG! The woman is a miracle in Bob Mackie. What is more, she’s a remarkable human being as well as a superlative performer. Cher for President I say.

Apropos of the student riots earlier in the week about cuts and fees, I have one simple suggestion. While bathing at my better half’s house this morning, I happened to pluck The Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought from the bookcase. It runs the gamut from Alvar Aalto to Zoosemiotics and costs less than a tenner in paperback. I would recommend all aspiring students to read Modern Thought from cover to cover and then think again about cuts and fees.

I did think the title of a recent biography of Lady Mosley was genius: A Life of Contrasts. If that isn’t a euphemism then I don’t know what is. In pursuit of a life of contrasts, I bought the latest copy of Arena Homme + magazine to keep up with the world of men’s fashion. I used to write for this title back in the days before the Ark and was grateful to have interviewed Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, Miuccia Prada, Raf Simons, Nicholas Ghesquiere and Chris Bailey for said magazine.

Congratulations to Homme + for being the only men’s fashion title whose editorial content is as chuffing ridiculous as the advertising. A particular favourite from the new season is Lanvin Homme in which a boy wearing pointless clothes and a bleached blonde bouffant like Myra Hindley stares vacantly into the distance. But the winner hands down for vacuous nonsense is the image of a male model in a motel kneeling on a bed wearing a jockstrap with ‘high waistband’ that looks not dissimilar to a truss.

Compare and contrast this with an advertisement for Dashing Tweeds shot by creative director and my mate Guy Hills. The suit is a miracle, the model wholly appropriate and the location at Harrow school lyrical. Guy is a true Renaissance man. He photographs beautifully, has a superb eye for contemporary takes on traditional ideas and is insatiably curious and industrious. More to the point he has an unique and original point of view.

Guy and I are plotting a monumental fashion story for The Rake editor Christian B. Barker set at the Savoy. We would like to cast real people from the hotel’s formidable staff to recreate scenes from its past. So, we’re thinking Bromance’s PA Sharon as Josephine Baker singing in the Beaufort Bar, Bretty and Deborah as Fred and Adele Astaire dancing on the roof, Mrs T and I as Noel Coward and Vivien Leigh in the Grill and our fearless leader Kiaran and Lisa from Peter Millard’s office as Laurence Olivier and Marilyn Monroe in the River Room. Move over Cecil B. De Mille.

Speaking of the Savoy Grill, can the British press please draw a veil over Gordon Ramsay’s personal life please? Mrs T and I had a peek at the Grill yesterday evening over cocktails and I predict that when it opens later this month, there will be a stampede. The interiors are gorgeous as is the private dining room next door to the Savoy museum. If Gordon gets the menu right, he’s going to have a palpable hit. Remember, the man is a world class chef not a saint.

Much excitement a couple of nights ago in the Beaufort Bar at the Savoy. Mark, Charlie, Joanna and I convened to test two cocktails formulated by American Bar maestro Eric for the Savile Row party. We all agreed on the Tanqueray 10 with Martini Rosso, sugar, lemon and bitters served with a curl of lemon peel with a brandy-soaked maraschino cherry within. Eric christened it the Savile Row Collins; adding the piquant touch that the first Collins was mixed in a hotel on Conduit Street at the end of the Row.

Eric is this year’s World Class barman and in that capacity will be touring the world as a Savoy ambassador. He can’t tour the world in the horrible garment provided for the American Bar staff. So Henry Poole & Co is cutting Eric a magnificent ivory barathea single-breasted, one button DJ with silk facings and pearl buttons. The lovely Keith, head of ceremonial tailoring at Poole’s, insisted that it was made to the highest possible specifications and swiftly too in time for the book launch.¬†What I appreciate about Eric is that he does his homework. He knows that Poole’s was not only the founding father of Savile Row but also that they patented the prototype dinner jacket for Edward VII when Prince of Wales in 1865.

I don’t think there has been a day this week when I haven’t been at the Savoy. The sooner we get the Tanqueray 10 bar installed in the press office mezzanine the better because it is unfair to queue jump at the American Bar and ask Salim to find tables that simply don’t exist. There have been a few dark rumblings about having to queue at the Savoy and there are definitely timing issues with the bars considering they are mobbed nightly. But would people (even the staff) queue if the cocktails and interiors weren’t fab-u-lous?

Brett came up with an intriguing idea to pimp me out to the guests that we have code-named Male Package. It is basically an idea for the well-dressed man to spend as day with me being trimmed at Trumpers, measured-up on the Row, lunching at Sheekey’s Oyster Bar, shopping for gentlemen’s requisites on Jermyn Street and antiques on Cecil Court. But no happy finish. My virtue will remain intact.