Fitting Days April 2011

Dear Rowley,

Highlight of the week? I finally got to see Gail in Capri (the dry cleaner not the island) after weeks of narrowly missing each other. Gail is off to a wedding in Dublin and had me in hysterics about a YouTube clip of Postman Pat with an Irish voiceover. I suggested she looks-up Fascinating Aida’s Cheap Flights song on YouTube. Trust me darling, it is a riot. But it is nothing compared to their ditty about dogging. Makes me weep. It also makes me consider how close dogging is to blogging. Isn’t it much nicer to write letters rather than blog? Or dog for that matter. Do YouTube Aida’s Dogging song if you want a smile on your kisser today.

On to more salubrious subjects. My royal wedding suits are reaching their final fittings. The first one past the post was the evening suit crafted by Anderson & Sheppard’s head cutter Mr Hitchcock. This garment is one of the finest I have had cut on Savile Row. The lapel is a work of art – curling and standing proud like the best in show at the Chelsea Flower Show – and the trousers give me legs like a percheron. I hope to wear this suit on the evening of the Royal Wedding when reporting on the ball that evening outisde Buckingham Palace. I don’t think it will be ball gowns and tiaras but do hope it will be black tie. At least that means I can wear a dinner jacket with conviction and progress to the Savoy for a glass of champagne when it is all over.

My second fitting was at Huntsman with head cutter Pat Murphy who has made my Royal Wedding day suit. This is a three piece of navy cloth with a very subtle scarlet pinstripe. I have been wondering how to approach the shirt, tie and handkerchief. Now I think I’ve cracked it having found a red, navy and white patterned Ede & Ravenscroft tie. It is very bold as Julian & Sandy would say but lifts the suit sufficiently if I keep the shirt simple. This may be a job for Turnbull & Asser. Speaking of which I saw Mr Miller, the MD, the other day while I was smoking a cigarette outside Wilton’s. The flagship in New York looks like it might open its doors in October. I wonder if some of my interiors have made the final cut for the NY store?

The third fitting was courtesy of Mark Powell. I do like Mr Powell. He is one of the most original tailors in Soho: a true talent and a great stylist. Mark is underestimated by Savile Row folk who really don’t get that craft without style is as redundant as a nymphomaniac without sex appeal. The suit in question is a red cashmere corduroy dinner jacket with flared cuffs and a matching black corduroy pair of slim evening trousers. I commissioned this look for The London Cut Florence in 2007 and it has always been one of my favourites. Mark offered to cut it for me after the Savile Row: The Master Tailors of British Bespoke book came out as a thank you.

Last night I had a drink pencilled in the diary at the Savoy with the art director of the London Cut exhibition Tokyo. His name is Steve Lidbury and he is terribly talented. Steve has now relocated to London and could I think be invaluable to the Debbie Reynolds Hollywood Costume exhibition at the Savoy in May. Steve¬†turned the London Cut exhibition in the British Ambassador’s Residence, Tokyo, ¬†from a quaint mannequin show into a bravura display that stole all the press in Japan. Anyway, it was a great shame we couldn’t stay at the Savoy because there were queues for both the American Bar and the Beaufort.

The Savoy does need to figure out the issue of queues for their bars. Even when the Savoy Museum champagne bar is open, they can’t cope with the volume of guests wanting a cocktail. I would strongly suggest the hotel finds the space for another bar. There is a dead area underneath the Lancaster Ballroom that could very happily be converted into a Speakeasy style jazzy little club that would have its own flavour and is seconds away from the river exit so we few beleaguered smokers can nip onto to the Thames bank for a quickie.

I have not been at the Savoy for a couple of weeks but am aware that after the Royal Wedding we’re going to have to dress a new showcase in the Savoy Museum and replace the regal wedding display that I was rather proud of. I think it would be rather nice to think about a horse racing display or something along the lines of the great British season to lead us up to Royal Ascot’s 300th anniversary. Not sure there will be that much material in the Savoy archive but it does mean another trip down to Hackbridge with Mrs T to forage for more hidden gems.

It is the premier of Betty Blue Eyes tonight and I have Scott on my arm for the performance and the premier party tonight. I think it is going to be an absolute hoot. Well, what’s not to like about a singing pig with Kylie Minogue’s voice? Perhaps a Kylie Minogue with a singing pig’s voice? No, fair’s fair, I love a bit of Kylie. I will never forget singing along to Step Back in Time with all the actions in my youth with Kylie on my Walkman (ouch, how ageing!) and my brother’s friends walking in on me mid riff. Almost as humiliating as my brother finding a tape of me singing along to the backing track of Wham’s Freedom…rather well as it happens. I could have used it as a demo and been the next Justin Bieber…or rather Justin Bieber’s grandsire. Until next time…