Met Ball May 2011

Dear Rowley,

So it’s curtains for Osama Bin Laden. It has always struck me that he looked rather docile and beatific to be the personification of evil but that just shows how wrong you can be. Look at Simon Cowell. Now the Royal Wedding is out of the way I’ve got to knuckle down at the Savoy to create a new Savoy Museum showcase.

I’m thinking about going through the hotel’s collection of historic guest cards dating back to the birth of the 20th century and putting together a display of cards according to profession: monarchs, artists, musicians, politicians and all that. Could be fun to find first edition books for the authors to show alongside their cards because, let’s face it, Virginia Wolf and E.M. Forster weren’t oil paintings were they.

We’ve also got to make a decision about the Debbie Reynolds collection of MGM Hollywood film costume slated to be shown in the Savoy’s Lancaster Ballroom in a matter of weeks. My advice would be to postpone and allow time to make the display spectacular rather than a hugger-mugger rush whereby quality and publicity will inevitably suffer.

After Ascot it would be very smart to revisit the nine Savoy signature suites named after the great and the good. For the years that I worked on those rooms, the management shied away from many of my ideas such as asking the Savoy florist to interpret one of ┬áMonet’s Giverny canvases as a bouquet displayed in an antique gilt frame as if the painting was bursting forth. Now I think we all recognise that the Sig Suites need a lot more oomph.

Don’t you think some people simply have a more heightened aesthetic sense than others to put it kindly? For example, I would rather risk jail than use the dung brown plastic ‘kitchen waste’ recycling buckets sent to Bloomsbury Towers by the council. I would rather chain myself naked to the railings of Bloomsbury Square (no comments please Rowley) than put a plastic bucket full of rotting waste on the Georgian doorstep of the townhouse. I’ve also finally dissuaded the neighbours from hanging fluorescent plastic bags full of papers/plastic/bottles on the railings for recycling.

It’s not that I’ve anything against recycling over and above I think it is an evil conspiracy to employ more people in the public sector while shovelling all our carefully sorted waste into huge landfill pits. But Diane at Capri (the dry cleaner not the island) and I do feel it is tantamount to mental torture collecting all your empty wine and champagne bottles on a weekly basis only to feed them into the public bottle bank like a dead eyed Florida tourist pumping a purse-full of dimes into the slot machines in Las Vegas. It is too shame making.

As promised, I have enclosed a couple more snaps of the glossy posse who attended the Metropolitan Museum costume institute gala ball in honour of Alexander McQueen. What always strikes me is that however groomed, burnished and buffed the Hollywood film and fashion set may be, there is always a hollow note to their glamour. Take Penelope Cruz. I know, it is terribly hard for any of us to forgive her performance in Nine but she is a beauty. However, don’t you feel desperate for all those A list actresses that they must have wardrobes filled with nothing more than Juicy Couture tracksuits because all their red carpet dresses and jewels are borrowed?

There is truly no fun in borrowing gee-gaws for a night only to have to send them back to a press office at the stroke of midnight. I have sent you a terribly pretty shot of actress Nina Dobrev wearing a magnificent white diamond Chopard necklace with a magnificent pear shaped drop. She’s a pretty girl but that neck will be bare come pumpkin time, Princess. How much more interesting and style leading of Princess Letizia of Spain to wear family jewellery to the Royal Wedding and commission delectable evening dresses that she can and will wear again. That’s my kind of recycling.

I’m just listening to the marvellous Maggie Hambling on Radio 4. Maggie is I think one of our greatest living artists and was famed when I was a lad for appearing on a terribly amusing BBC2 art quiz called something like Whither the Arts? where she’d chain smoke and bat her panda lashes under a frizz of grizzled curly blonde hair like a vision of Dusty Springfield seen in a circus mirror. I met Maggie when I was a lad being taken to the loucher artistic salons in London by my former amour Robert Tewdyr Moss who was a diarist for the Evening Standard. She was smouldering in the Groucho Club and, on being introduced, kissed my hand. I thought it was enchanting.

This put me in mind of a story as told by the Golden Girl Bea Arthur about the late, great and scandalous Tallulah Bankhead. This was Tallulah’s definition of homosexuality. She said ‘Beatrice, it’s really very simple. There’s a touch of the homosexual in all of us. It’s not the cock and it is not the twot. It is the eyes, don’t you know, and that subtle scent of violets’. You got that one right, Tallu.