Prize Giving. February 2017.

Dear Rowley,

Didn’t the Duchess of Cambridge stand out like a mile of style at the BAFTAs last night? The off-the-shoulder, floor-length Alexander McQueen evening dress was a couturier’s eye view of how to dress an HRH when meeting Hollywood. I wasn’t remotely surprised to read that the ever-regal Emily Blunt was also dressed by McQueen’s creative director Sarah Burton.

Interesting, isn’t it, that dressing actresses for the more senior red carpet events is rather high risk these days. Can’t even begin to say how ghastly I find Alessandro Michele’s Gucci collections. I adore Naomi Harris but that bloody Gucci lampshade she was wearing had t’Internet buzzing like wasps in a jam jar.

If all of the worst dressed forums name actresses kitted-out in Gucci then you’ve got to question the wisdom of stylists risking their fees suggesting it as a red carpet option. You almost long for the age when actresses conspired with the Hollywood costume designers to hone a public image. Meryl Streep has done just that but cut out the middle man. A black pant suit in an auditorium full of meringues and sequins is a smart move.

Do you think Meryl Streep ever gets fed-up of giving her awards face when platitudes rain down on her like manna from heaven? It is a quizzical, amused ‘you guys!’ sort of expression expertly deployed on Stephen Fry last night who was presenting the BAFTA awards at the Royal Albert Hall.

Meryl is a miraculous actress and one of the most decorated in the industry. She was pipped to Best Actress by Emma Stone in La La Land but, let’s face it, Meryl can afford to be magnanimous with a trophy cabinet gleaming with gongs. Like her Julia Childs, I thought Florence Foster-Jenkins was a mad half hour for Meryl Streep that was a joy to watch presumably because it was a joy to act.

La La Land has struck such a chord with Hollywood because it harks back to the days when the studios were known as dream factories. The golden age of the musical began during the Great Depression when cinema spun dreams that took people away from their sepia toned lives. It was Dorothy going from mud-brown Kansas to the glorious Technicolor of Oz.

A lot of films today are didactic ‘message movies’ hammering home an agenda. These are particularly popular with BAFTA and the Academy. I’m glad these films are made but I also feel a need for escapism: movies that make you leave the cinema with a warm glow of satisfaction and happiness rather than a rictus grin of the deeply traumatised.

Don’t know about you Rowley but I have always loathed horror films. Evidently there’s a huge audience out there who want to be scared out of their wits. I have never understood the desire to have images of chainsaw massacres, stalkers and supernatural terror hard wired into one’s brain. The world is quite frightening enough as it is.

Escapism has been much on my mind of late apropos of which I think a holiday is a matter of urgency when the Louis Vuitton London Guide 2018 and Sartorial Treasures: Jewellery for Gentlemen are in the can. I’m racing through Vuitton and have just completed the second of three shoots for the jewels.

It wasn’t without irony that tens of thousands of pounds worth of fine jewellery has passed between my paws in recent weeks. Gemstones truly are nature’s miracles perfected by man. My poor photographer Andy Barnum had to practically rip the jewels from my hands because I was so busy staring at these masterpieces with a dazzled, hypnotic smile on my face.

I’ve said it a million times but when I see a jewel set with white diamonds my brain turns into champagne. It’s like a cat watching a canary. The urge to own is that of the Gollum with ‘the Precious’. Needless to say, I can’t afford Claire’s Accessories at the moment never mind antique Cartier but it is a privilege to be able to photograph such beauty.

Have you ordered the postman that back brace for when he delivers all the Valentine’s cards tomorrow? You and I are old romantics at heart and I think we both still genuinely believe the dark knight on the white charger has merely been delayed along the way. Sometimes it is the only explanation.

Actually, I find the thought of sharing a restaurant with mooning couples like The Lady and the Tramp most unappealing. The sense of high expectation is not dissimilar to New Year’s Eve. And if the evening doesn’t end in a champagne-fuelled fireworks display of lust and chandelier swinging someone is bound to be disappointed. When a love affair is good, every night is Valentine’s.

High expectations are the bain of many a life. As you know, I was schooled on life expectations by Hollywood musicals. So when an evening doesn’t involve a carriage ride through Central Park and a slow waltz like Astaire and Charisse in The Bandwagon I am down of mouth.

I suppose the lesson is in La La Land. The dancing might not be the best in the world and the singing sometimes weak. It might not even have a happy ending in the last reel. But if the one you’re dancing with is the one you want, then nothing else really matters.