The King’s Speech January 2011

Dear Rowley,

Thrilled that Colin Firth won the Golden Globe for The King’s Speech. I remember having a chat with the costume designer way back when about the possibility of inviting King George VI and the Duke of Windsor’s Savile Row tailors to make the costumes. Both were dressed by their father George Vs tailor Davies & Son in their salad days then graduated to Scholte in the Duke’s case and Hawes & Curtis for the King. Budgets and time got in the way.

A similar situation happened when Madonna’s costume designer Arianne Phillips  came to see me at No 1 Savile Row to have a look at some of the Duke of Windsor pieces in the Savile Row archives for her film W.E. based loosely on the romance between Mrs Simpson and Edward VIII. Madonna was going to join us but bailed. Anyway, I showed Arianne and her team the Duke’s patterns, one of his Prince of Wales check (natch) blazers and a pair of his shoes all belonging to Davies & Son MD Alan Bennett. Sadly Dunhill offered to make all the suits gratis so Savile Row was a no-go.

A thousand years ago, I dated an RSC actor. I think I told you about it in one of my last letters. Anyway, when they were on tour, the actor GH shared a house with Hugh Bonville. Anyway, when I did Loose Ends on Radio 4 last Christmas to publicise the Savile Row book, Hugh was on the panel talking Downton Abbey. We had a chat after the show and it seemed Mr B wasn’t thrilled with the frockage for the ITV cossie drama. So I had a chat to the divine Poppy Charles at Huntsman who will cut Hugh an immaculate white tie for the next series of Downton.

Isn’t it interesting that some subjects such as King George VI just happen to be in the ether?  This weekend I was scribbling the King George VI chapter for my Thames & Hudson Fashion at Royal Ascot book. I’ve divided the book in chapters according to the monarch’s reign from Queen Anne to Queen Elizabeth II. I feel like a frenzied circus monkey tapping the book out on my MacBook Air without even time to smoke a Vogue Menthol.

Mr Bowering drew me another of his marvellous cartoons to celebrate the Ascot book going at full gallop towards the deadline: lovely to have talented, amusing friends no Rowley?  I read a lovely story yesterday apropos King George VI who had a reputation for solemnity. Official papers recently released reveal that he, Queen Mary and the Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret Rose would hide under the table at Windsor in order to avoid official parties of visiting diplomats and politicians touring the castle.

I am thoroughly enjoying Come Fly With Me. Yes, I know, it’s the usual men-in-frocks un-PC social stereotype nonsense but it’s a laugh a minute. Particularly liking Precious the African evangelical Christian who runs the Costa coffee shop in the terminal. This week she had such extreme neon green nail extensions at the ‘nail art’ bar she had to close the shop and take the two-for-one offer on Lion King tickets up West. ‘Praise ‘da Lord!!!!!’ Also enjoying the first class steward Moses whose charity Wish Wings flies terminally ill children to destinations of his choice such as Mykonos, Sidges and Fire Island…’Happy flighting’.

My first lunch at the Savoy Grill today with Mr Haddon to discuss the Savoy Museum and the Signature Suites. I am hoping Zack and I can film an Inside Out short doc about the Savoy Museum. We’ve got Diamonds in the can when I record the voice overs next week and I think I’ve bored you to sobs telling you to Sky+ tonight’s Savile Row escapade on BBC1 at 7.30pm. Apparently, our film is up first. There was a trailer in the Sunday newspapers saying something along the lines of ‘one man’s mission to save Savile Row single-handed’. That’ll go down like a chorus boy with certain people I won’t mention.

A very nice surprise to see Mum and Dad pop in for a glass of Champagne at Bloomsbury Towers on Sunday before lunch. They’d been at a theatre weekend and had notched-up Birdsong (sounded ghastly and depressing) and Romeo & Juliet at the ENO: three-hours long and seats that felt like your bum was on concrete after twenty minutes. I do love the ballet but must admit to practically rubbing my thighs in anticipation of a glass of bubbly come the interval.

Have you heard that Colchester council are trying to workshop a ‘wet zone’ in the city where problem drinkers can congregate and literally knock themselves out ‘in a controlled environment’. One old soak was on BBC Breakfast saying ‘just because I’ve got a can in my hand and an attack dog on a lead, don’t mean I intimidate people, innit?’ My dear, we are regressing to the 18th century. I am thinking of Hogarth’s Gin Lane; actually set not too many streets away from Bloomsbury Towers. Of course Bloomsbury Towers isn’t so much gin lane these days as Champagne alley, Sally.