Hollywood Black Tie. March 2017.

Dear Rowley,

Department of no surprises that Paul ‘Diana’s Rock’ Burrell has divorced his wife and is marrying a husband. ‘Royal Butler is Gay’ shocker is up there as a headline with ‘Madonna Adopts African Baby’ and ‘Kardashians Speak Out’.

I don’t know about fake news but there is rather too much news at the moment. Radio 4 dedicated about eight minutes to pollution in LA this morning which has about as much to do with the British public as a cat being stuck up a tree in Nova Scotia.

That said, the news does draw one’s attention where it might not naturally fall. My Jewellery for Gentlemen book with Thames & Hudson has had me looking at  new generation of actors and musicians who are flying the flag for men’s sartorial treasures. The boys came out in force at the 2017 Academy Awards giving me a very good feeling that the book is well-timed.

My favourite pieces bar none at the Oscars were a yellow gold and enamel rose worn by Once Upon A Time hottie Josh Dallas, a majestic lapel chain draped from top pocket to shawl collar rocked out by Hidden Figures actor Aldis Hodge and a white diamond Chanel firework brooch that Pharrell Williams wore with strands of black pearl chains.

For someone who was a disciplinarian about classic black tie, I have to admit a liking for Hollywood Black Tie whereby cocktail suits are the rule rather than old school DJs. I enjoyed seeing Josh Dallas in a claret velvet dinner jacket and all those boys at the Oscars wearing sapphire blue rather than ink black.

I think actors have finally cottoned-on that classic black tie will not get them noticed hence the experiment with coloured cocktail suits and jewellery for gentlemen. As Dallas proved, it doesn’t take much more than a precious metal pin on the lapel to get the attention of the style press. It is not a big commitment and reaps huge rewards on social media.

Best Actor Oscar winner Casey Affleck wore a ruby AIDS ribbon last seen at the Academy Awards as worn by Elizabeth Taylor in the 1990s. Lest we forget, Elizabeth Taylor was as fearless as a pioneer woman in the early days of AIDS having lost countless friends including Rock Hudson.

I remember ET standing-up at Freddie Mercury’s memorial concert at Wembley and making a rip-roaring speech while blinding the first eight rows with her rhinestone Versace bolero. When some dummy catcalled, she shot back ‘I’ll get off in a minute. I’ve got something to say’. And so she did reminding the audience to take care of themselves and each other.

No idea why Affleck wore Dame Elizabeth’s ruby pin but it was nice to see it again at the Oscars. I did wonder why so many actors were wearing a blue ribbon this year until I looked it up and discovered a blue ribbon signifies the ACLU (the American Civil Liberties Union). Good to know.

How’s your head, your heart and your wallet Rowley? Mine are clear, full and running on empty until the end of March. I suppose such is the nature of working for oneself that one month it is champagne and the next month kippers. I’ll never forget my old friend Mandi Lennard giving it her best Les Dawson and saying ‘It’s always champagne or kippers with you’. Never a truer word spoken…

Still, I get the feeling that everyone in London is hustling at the moment. The sands are shifting beneath our feet on a daily basis as only those of us who were born before the online revolution appreciate. I am no techno denier and appreciate the benefits it has brought.

That said, isn’t it incredible that the age of connectivity has isolated so many people? I used to spend a good half hour on the telephone to my editors mulling over stories when I was earning my crust as a journalist. In the professional arena, email killed talk. I’m making a conscious effort to pick up the damned phone again.

So what else is new on the Rialto? I might have a new project in the works: one I call a three-dimensional gig whereby it doesn’t rely on my being chained to a MacBook Air for weeks on end. You know one of my favourite assignments of all time was styling and dressing the Savile Row London Cut exhibitions in Florence, Paris and Tokyo. This is on similar lines. Perhaps in a past life I was a window dresser…