Have you been watching the French Open finals this weekend? I have been rather bashing the BBC of late but have to say you long for Sue Barker when watching a sports event on ITV. The ad breaks are a bore as is the lack of hawk eye and the ability for the presenters to action replay and analyse stats. The Sharapova win was an anticlimax if only because her opponent was not up to the challenge. I always think Maria Sharapova is the Chris Evert de nos jours. She is cool, calculated and a devastating return and cross court backhand diva.
It is always fun to see a great rivalry such as Raffa Nadal and Novak gather momentum. Whoever wins the final today at Roland Garros will make tennis history: Raffa as the only man in history to win seven French opens and Novak as only the third in a century to win the Grand Slam. Raffa is a burning hunk of love who, in the words of my Auntie Lynda, is a ‘sexy beast’.Novak is like a rather prettier elder brother to Wallace of Wallace and Gromit fame. Much amusement today with the commentators discussing ‘the Spaniard’s lovely fresh balls’…I think he meant new. When rain stopped play, Mr Inverdale uttered the immortal ‘I wonder what they’re feeling in the locker rooms right now’. Pass the smelling salts, Maud.
So what news on the Rialto? A Friday in which I felt like a tennis ball being thwacked backwards and forwards by Raffa and Novak. The day began with the delivery of our stiffies for the Savile Row/Burlington Arcade cocktail party at the printers. It is die stamped and edged with gold. Slight concern that it was grander than the invitation to St. James’s Palace the night before but if you’ve got it flaunt it.
I sent out about 100 e-invites to nearest and dearest selling the event as ‘Savoy cocktails, cucumber sandwiches, a baby grand and a handsome guest list’. What’s not to like? Anda and I had a meeting with the British Fashion Council at Anderson & Sheppard with two charming gals. We were then joined by a creative ad agency called Mother: shades of Twenty Twelve. Why don’t we brand the hoarding outside Abercrombie & Fitch kids on the Row with ‘Great’ as in ‘British’? It would be less contentious if I painted my bottom blue and did the Salsa down the Burlington Arcade.
Still, we fight on and fight to win to produce a superb event for Savile Row, the Arcade and London Collections: Men. I had to dash come 3pm to drop in on Brasserie Zedel. Incredible that Messers Corbin and King are as usual on schedule to open. Only last week it looked like the Wreck of the Hesperus. Now it is looking as glamorous as Joan Crawford on Oscar night. Came Ruth Leon who is the Queen Mother of cabaret on both sides of the Atlantic. If Ruth agrees to consult on the project, I think we have the makings of a cabaret worthy of internationally fabulous performers. Hold that thought.
After Zedel it was on to the Savoy for a very welcome glass or three of Champagne with Brett to discuss the Savoy American Bar in the Burlington Arcade for next Friday’s event. I do adore Brett. He is supremely unflappable and very good company. We have two special cocktails mixed for the occasion: the Savile Row Collins mixed by the marvellous Erik Lorincz for my Savile Row book launch in the River Room and a new one called the Burlington Beadle in honour of Henry Poole & Co’s new liveries for the Arcade.
The most charming touch for the event is the acquisition of several old fashioned newspaper vendor’s A-frames from the Evening Standard that will be printed with the headline ‘Jolly Good Show Savile Row’. Now that’s what I call subtle branding. We’ve had enough indecent proposals for inappropriate branding for this event to keep Shivaun Sharp in ‘holy f****’ for a series of Twenty Twelve. It’s terribly difficult to explain to a non Row or Arcade person the reverse psychology of charm over beating someone over the head with a decal.
Friday evening ended with a front row seat to see Adam Cooper star in Singin’ In The Rain at the Shaftsbury theatre (where Oscar’s Importance of Being Earnest was first performed in 1895) with my friend Patricia. Miss Carruthers and I go back to the late Nineties when she was my fixer/chaperone at the biannual Pitti Uomo shows in Florence. We do adore each other’s company and topped and tailed the evening with sittings at the Oyster Bar at J. Sheekey’s.
What to report about Singin’ In The Rain? It is one of the finest, most energetic and joyous musicals I have ever seen performed on the West End stage. Bear in mind that we’re a few months into the run and you are simply blown away by the talent and adrenalin coming off that stage. Puts me in mind of a story Ruth Leon told me about the late, great Gertrude Lawrence who would spray the hem of her bias cut Vionnet evening dresses with Shalimar before stepping out on the stage to pirouette and make the first ten rows swoon. I shall try similar with Old Spice in my turn-ups. Until next time…