Absolutely Fatuous. September 2016.

Dear Rowley,

Did you see the British Vogue documentary on the telly last week? No, me neither. It was the talk of Emma Willis’s summer party though with the general consensus being it could have been infinitely worse. But the Vogue doc did remind me that – the nation yawns – London Fashion Week is imminent.

You know what this means don’t you? A flock of ‘gender neutrals’ with asymmetric bobs, black nail polish and hobnail boots littering the streets of Soho and Bloomsbury and generally making a nuisance of themselves. There will also be fleets of branded Mercedes swishing the swishy people around town to watch the unwearable worn by the very hungry.

You know where I stand on fashion. It didn’t get much better than Dior, Fath, Balenciaga, Balmain and Charlie James in the 1950s. My heart also belongs to 70s Halston and 80s Versace but there hasn’t been anything to write home about since about 1992. The fashion hags are currently in New York. Have you seen the pictures?

Now, I’ve got a lot of respect for Victoria Beckham. She’s got a sense of humour, that one, and no mistake. I loved her Posh Spice incarnation and could only applaud her quiet but confident entry into high fashion. Mind you, the Spring/Summer 2017 collection could run Stella McCartney a close second for heinous crimes against the female body.

What’s with the eternal vogue for skinny models? Granted, Charles James used to fit his couture ball gowns on Abyssinian teenage boys because they had the perfect physique for his sculptures in Duchess satin. But at least they were buff, plumb Abyssinian boys not anorexics. Old Mother Beckham’s models needed a good wash and a burger. And she could have run a comb through her hair for the runway bow, couldn’t she.

Of course Miss Wintour was front centre next to David Beckham. Both were flanked by their spawn: the new hereditary fame monsters. I found Anna Wintour’s love for her children the most endearing part of The September Issue. They are the chink in her armour and make the queen of fashion a little more human than perhaps even she would like.

The comment most often repeated at Emma’s party about Absolutely Fashion (British Vogue) was about how fashion director Lucinda Chambers was trying hard to do a Grace Coddington and steal the doc just as Grace stole The September Issue. I happen to think Anna Wintour is a pussycat compared to Grace Coddington. You’ve got to be hard as nails to survive as long as she has as a stylist. But what a talent!

I rarely buy American Vogue but whenever I do, my breath is taken by Grace Coddington’s styling. She makes the most ghastly rags designed by fashion history plagiarists look sublime. That’s a talent you can take to the bank and apparently Grace has done so.

Apropos fashion, I had a spare hour after a check-up in the Chelsea & Westminster hospital and decided to revisit Harvey Nichols. You don’t know this but when I was at school working on my textiles special report, I wrote to Harvey Nichols and was given permission to spend a day on the fashion floors photographing the collections.

I was so full of respect for Harvey Nichols for allowing a seventeen year old carte blanche in the store. I also visited the V&A to photograph their print collection of Toulouse Lautrec posters. I must have had balls of steel in those days to ask those questions. But back to 2016. The new men’s collections floors at Harvey Nichols are superb. The edit of the collections is strong and I even made a purchase.

I rounded-off the morning with a gin and tonic on the rooftop terrace at Harvey Nicks. It was glamorous. I think the rest of the store needs a makeover but this appears to be happening. As far as fashion is concerned, Harvey Nichols has the edge over Harrods and Selfridges. I still prefer Liberty but that’s because I am a West End boy not a Knightsbridge lad.

Knightsbridge is now a United Arab Emirate. On the streets there’s an awful smell of hookah pipes and Tom Ford’s Noir de Noir. I do have a beef about the Victoria & Albert Museum. Security checked my bags this morning and wanted to open a paper bag full of medication from the Chelsea & Westminster hospital.

The lady who was doing the checking couldn’t really speak English so laughed when I said what was in the bag was none of her business. She insisted on opening it so we had a physical tussle with the bag until I ripped it out of her hand and walked out. This is beyond intrusive. If a woman walked in wearing a burka she’d be welcomed with open arms because the museum takes the Qatari dollar to sponsor exhibitions.

I know London is on alert for a terrorism attack but I do think ageing homosexual men carrying music cases are probably not going to be high on the risk list. I was so offended that I had to go shopping in Harvey Nicks instead. LOL.

Until next time…