A Marvellous Party. June 2012.

Dear Rowley,

Happy Birthday Ma’am. Better Half and I are terribly grateful. The garden in his Clerkenwell pad is on the route of the Buckingham Palace fly past so every Jubilee, Trooping and Royal Wedding we have the thrill of seeing the Red Arrows shoot their red, white and blue into the sky above Hesling Towers. Lovely also to see the Stella Artois tennis on the Beeb this week. Isn’t it heaven to see English grass and tennis whites after the dirty Gallic dustbowl that is the French Open?

So much news from yesterday’s Savile Row Open Day and Burlington Arcade cocktail party for London Collections: Men, I don’t quite know where to begin. Came on the day Suzy Menkes, the New York Times, US GQ, Le Figaro and scads of amusing Japanese including the lovely Kai who was working at the Ambassador’s Residence in Tokyo when we took The London Cut there in 2008. She now runs the whole shooting match so I planted the seeds for a Perfect Gentleman book launch in the land of the rising sun later this year.

The Open Day was a roaring success and the photographs divine. Style & Error scribe Tom Stubbs played Frost to Edward Sexton’s Nixon at Chester Barrie and that was my highlight of the day’s activities. Well, it came a close second to Anderson & Sheppard’s Three Bags Full cocktails served from a speakeasy bar in one of the changing rooms. I do like the Chester Barrie chaps; particularly Chris Modoo who, when at Ede & Ravenscoft, taught me how to dress for Royal Ascot.

Interesting to see which houses the press, TV media and photographers gravitated towards. Poole’s never fails to charm. Anderson & Sheppard is always a class act even though some mischievous imp put a pair of dark glasses on one of the Lalanne sheep in homage to Woolmark’s Le Cool Wool campaign. Richard Anderson is always a draw because he is the real deal. It was such fun to see Chester Barrie and Maurice Sedwell rise to the occasion by laying a roped-off red carpet that traversed both of their shopfronts. I swear, Rowley, the Row looked like a baby Bel Air.

Laughed my ass off at the British Fashion Council photo opportunity around the postbox on Savile Row. Gorgeous George Garnier had already shot the definitive image for next season’s campaign of the Savile Row young apprentices all looking terribly handsome. The photo-op was then to be repeated on Open Day with celebrities to ramp-up the glamour. So who did they provide for our delectation? David Gandy who is touted as the world’s first male supermodel. Being rather long in the tooth, I can recall queueing for the loo in the Palazzo Versace at the after show party in Milan with Tyson Walloon who was a supermodel before the butter had dripped off Mr Gandy’s noodle. Tyson was as dumb as a box of hair but the boy had cheekbones that could make a nun sing eight bars of They Call Me Naughty Lola.

Then up rocks Alexa Chung; the Clara Bow de nos jours. Fashion models are a compelling species. They are all gangles and angles when seen in the flesh and invariably have that wild-eyed look of Bambi after a chase through the forrest on anti-psychotics. However, on film they can touch the divine. I don’t think Miss Chung is quite in the league of a Penelope Tree or Tina Chow. But she gave it her best Ophelia’s mad scene in heels and a leather skirt.

I rather like the British Fashion Council gals. They do a very good job. I was slightly more ambivalent about their advertising agency of choice curiously titled Mother. Mother is an all male team of very young men wearing skinny jeans that must call into question their eligibility to bear children and a collective deadpan stare from behind black framed glasses that is meant to look cool but looks so much more ‘thumb up the bum and brain in neutral’ as La Farmer would say.

Every time I heard the BFC gals saying ‘Mother’s coming’, it put me in mind of an old poof on a barstool come midnight at La Cage Aux Folles. ‘Earrings off girls, it’s a raid’ and all that. Anyway, I digress. Come 6pm, Poppy Huntsman and I rocked up at the Burlington Arcade to find none of the bars set-up, no flowers, no signage, no Union Flags hanging from the rafters and nobody hoovering the red carpet. Many, many, many people were floating around with clipboards but not one doing a jiggery-pokery of graft to transform the Arcade into a glamorous party pad.

In these situations and with deranged fashion press waiting at the gate like an army of angry orks, one accentuates the positive. We had a terribly pretty pianist and a baby grand with no mike who I asked to not so much tickle as pulverise the ivories with the Cole Porter songbook. I asked the Savoy’s pop-up American Bar to perform a Feu de Joie of Champagne corks to welcome our guests with the sound if not the promise of a glass of some festive fizz. I then suggested to the clipboard Nazis on the door to exercise the Studio 54 stratagem: if you don’t mind waking up next to them in a bedsit in the Bronx, let ‘em in. Did we get away with it? Until next time…