To quote La Farmer, this week I felt as if I’ve been shot out of a cannon. The pace was good to firm but relentless; the week beginning elegantly with a Prosecco lunch at Ciao Bella with Scott ‘Bespoke Banter’ Wimsett that was reminiscent of that scene in The Lady and the Tramp when the mutts share a bowl of spaghetti. We were honoured to have the round Mafia family table outside to ourselves and the offer of linen napkins rather than the usual paper. Small pleasures, large measures…
Scott is ‘in a good place’ as the therapists nauseatingly refer to happy, well-adjusted people. He’s just flown out to Barcelona to film a Kate Moss interview at her invitation and the week previous was interviewing at a Coworth Park charity polo match patronised by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. Scott had me in hysterics telling me the tale of him sneaking off into the meadow planted garden to smoke a crafty cigarette when who should rock up but Prince Harry asking to bum a dog (borrow a smoke). Scott only had a rather fey packet of slim Vogue menthols but apparently they went down rather well. The Prince asked for another one to tuck behind his ear.
The first half of the week was spent shooting a Savile Row portfolio for the Telegraph. Mary McCartney was taking the portraits in Anderson & Sheppard, Henry Poole & Co and Thom Sweeney of ambassadors Guy ‘Dashing’ Hills, Land Rover chief creative officer Gerry McGovern – the sharpest dresser in the motoring world – and Matt Biffa. Matt has the fascinating job of supervising music for movies such as Snatch and the Harry Potter films. Mary is a jolly sensible, capable lady and a crack shot. The portraits are going to be whip smart.
Highlight of the shoot was make-up artist Karen Mason: one of those pretty ladies who can tell your star sign as soon as look at you and has a very healthy perspective on the ugly business of beautiful people. Both Mary and Karen ‘got’ the bespoke attitude and seem keen to work on a fashion story for The Rake. I’m keen to revive a shoot with Suzie Kennedy who simply IS Marilyn Monroe. We’d like to recreate the 1956 press conference at the Savoy when MM and Laurence Olivier announced their only collaboration on The Prince and the Showgirl. We’ve got to hope Suzie’s diary will allow us to get it shot in time for the 50th anniversary of MMs death in August.
In between shooting up a storm for the Telegraph, I did another live Luxury Lookback for ITV This Morning with a collection of vintage royal ball gowns inspired by the V&A exhibition of British ball dresses from 1950 to the present. My friend Timothy Morgan-Owen loaned me two superb Norman Hartnell gowns and Austin at Hardy Amies provided two crackers from the vaults worn by Princess Michael of Kent and the Duchess of York. As usual, the presenters Philip Schofield and Holly Willoughby were keen, interested and gave the studio item 10 minutes. As you know, minutes on morning television are like dog years. Loved it. Try to ITVPlayer it darling.
We’re careering towards Diamond Jubilee weekend and the weather has calmed considerably since last weekend’s heatwave. I sunbathed in better half’s Clerkenwell garden for about 24-hours and caught sufficient rays to sing eight bars of Mammy. Cooler weather is good news for The Queen’s River Pageant and carriage procession from the Palace to St Paul’s. If it’s too hot you get poor guardsmen falling at your feet in a dead faint: wishful thinking I know but not good for the dignity of the institution of monarchy, duckie.
I’m going to be broadcasting on the Tuesday of the carriage procession with Tatler editor Kate Reardon and anchor Mr Schofield. We’re called for 1.30pm and might not get more than a couple of minutes’ air time. But Kate is a hoot and I think we could all have some fun commentating on royal fashion. I’m not working on the Sunday of the River Pageant and have instead accepted an invitation to the Savoy’s street party with my darling Mrs T. Apparently, the fountain in Savoy Court will flow with Bombay Sapphire gin so we’ll have to take care when we go up onto the roof to watch the River Pageant go by.
Plans for the Savile Row/Burlington Arcade cocktail party to honour London Collections: Men gather apace. We had a photo call in the Arcade whereby the Head Cutters of the big hitting bespoke houses were all photographed suited and booted in Savile Row’s finest. It was quite an historic moment to see Mr Parker (Henry Poole & Co), Mr Hitchcock (Anderson & Sheppard), Mr Murphy (Huntsman), Richard Anderson and Edward Sexton lining-up as the Row’s present. We shot another image with apprentices and younger cutters to show the Row’s future.
It’s been terrific fun diving in and out of the tailors’ shops this week like a demented cuckoo to gather everyone’s support for the Savile Row open day and cocktail party. En route, it was a thrill to see Chittleborough & Morgan cutting a midnight blue tailcoat for a new member of the Bullingdon Club and Sir Tom Baker rocking out an electric blue satin cocktail suit. One of the ideas for signage on the open day is to use the old fashioned Evening Standard A-frame billboards to place outside the bespoke shops taking part. If some of our sponsors had their way, the windows on the Row and shops in the Burlington Arcade would be one big decal covered in logos. I believe that if branding isn’t cute and slightly eccentric it looks naff as all hell. More of this anon…