Bunga Bunga! February 2011

Dear Rowley,

Have you ever been to a Bunga Bunga party a la Silvio Berlusconi? I think I have but did not realise until in retrospect. There was a lady – and I use that word loosely – on Radio 4 this morning making claims that Bunga Bunga meant monkey rather than a good hard shag. I know which version I believe. Good for the women of Italy finally getting out on the streets and protesting that they have an ageing Satyr as a President who has polluted their TV stations with old men and pneumatic blondes with Chesty Morgans and no inhibitions. They can’t even read the news without a WonderBra in Italy. Then again, we’ve got Fiona Bruce purring like a cat so maybe it’s only a matter of time before she reports from Basra in a Basqua…preferably a burkah.

So what news on the Rialto? I spent the morning down at London Fashion Week in the courtyard of Somerset House and didn’t know whether I had chanced upon a Justin Bieber does Michael Jackson’s Thriller reshoot or a Rocky Horror convention. The women are strange enough but the boys? Imagine stacked heels, fur chubbies and asymmetric haircuts with plenty of maquillage. The old guard are really an endangered species. I bumped into Suzy Menkes at the coffee stall in the courtyard who tells me that there are zero days off in between New York, London, Milan and Paris. This is not good enough. I said to Miss M, they need you more than you need them. Say something. They won’t start a Gucci show without her and the lady needs at least a day off. I was ten years younger when I reported on all the shows and I couldn’t keep up with that kind of pressure.

I always go to Jasper’s show and had a nice corner seat on the old front row next to Colin MacDowell. Colin is one of the grand old men of British Fashion. He tells me even Hilary is retiring from the Daily Telegraph. This is bad news and I think the Tel has missed a trick. The demographic in the UK is getting older and most fashion reporting is so far away from the demographic who buy papers. They need Hilary more than she needs them. I am allowed to say this because a million years ago I used to assist Hilary at the couture shows in Paris. You’ve got to take your hat off to Hills. She is a journalist to her fingertips. If there’s a story to get, she gets it. Work? The kids and bloggers have no idea what hard work is compared to Hilary. She will not, I am sure, go quietly and nor should she.

Jazzy’s show was super: heavy on 70s Studio 54 references but lovely and – by and large – a wearable proposition for rich ladies. My only beef was with leather dresses cut and shut with rivets in the style of Paco Rabanne’s space age plastic dresses from the 60s. They are not pliable enough for Jasper’s fluid style. He is a clever, clever man who knows how to dress the ladies who appreciate classicism with a little sex appeal. Would I be surprised if his work was not very well represented at the Royal Wedding? No I would not. He might even take the prize. Philip Tracey will certainly have the royal ladies queuing-up for grand titfers to rock the aisle of Westminster Abbey.

My week was dominated by Savoy business. I curated a new showcase in the American Bar corridor dedicated to the history of Royal Weddings beginning with Queen Victoria and ending with the PoW and Diana, Princess of Wales. Mrs T and I had raided the Savoy archive (I caught another chill as a result) but we had a day of buying new archive material from the NPG, the Palace and the dealers on Cecil Court. This is not an easy task and takes hours to complete as you’ll see from the snap I enclose of the new material laid-out on my desk in Bloomsbury Towers.

But acquiring is just the beginning. Then one has to present. Most of the pieces I bought were too large for the American Bar showcase so there was a lot of copying, trimming, framing and considering each of the five shelves one by one. In the end, I took the story of Royal Weddings from shelf five to one chronologically covering the weddings of Queen Vic, Edward VII, George V, George VI, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Charles with a little nod to Prince William and the future Princess Catherine. I think it looks hot. The GM asked for more Savoy related material and this I included. But I do think the Savoy Museum does not need to be too strict about Savoy connections when Mrs T and I have collected such super material relating to the royals that – quite frankly – would take other people (I name no names) months to put together.

My highlight of Fashion Week so far was a double macchiato with the delectable Vicki Sarge – creative director and founder of jewellers Erikson Beamon – in the courtyard at Somerset House. We were joined by Scott from Style Edit who is gorgeous as ever despite being in rather a serious near miss car crash before New York Fashion Week. Still, you can’t keep a good girl down as Cher would sing. Scott and I have to have a campy evening before he flies to Milan to catch-up on Miss Marple in Bloomsbury Towers and relax, relax, relax.

Next week is all about a visit to Windsor Castle with His Royal Keithness, lots of Fashion at Royal Ascot captions and the endgame for the Vuitton Guide to London 2012. Come March I should be able to stand down, soldier, for a couple of weeks. Amen to that. Until next time…