Morning Tales. May 2017.

Dear Rowley,

I first came across Giles Deacon when he was showing a couture collection in the Emirates Palace, Abu Dhabi, alongside Vivienne Westwood, Valentino and a treasure chest of jewellers including Graff and Van Cleef & Arpels. He was then one of the East London designers on the Club Kid/Boombox scene supported by Love editor Katy Grand. Fast forward to 2017 and Giles is the British couturier chosen by Pippa Middleton to design her wedding dress. Didn’t he do well?

The shaping Giles achieved for the bride – a lovely high neck, cap sleeves, fitted bodice and gently draped, fluted skirt – was enhanced by the invisibly stitched structured lace overlay. I thought Stephen Jones’s pearl-stitched halo veil was terribly pretty as was the smattering of diamonds in Pippa Middleton’s hair.

I am sure it wasn’t coincidental that Carole Middleton and the Duchess of Cambridge were both thinking pink or that Princess Eugenie dialled it down and looked terribly nice. Nice touch of Prince Harry’s beau Meghan Markle to absent herself from the wedding pictures and only attend the reception. Nothing detracted from the bride just as it should be.

No comment on the lady who wore a cowboy hat, the one in the pink top hat and the woman who proved why Royal Ascot were entirely wrong to allow jumpsuits into the Enclosure this year. I was much more intrigued by how the boys handled morning tails. On the plus side, all of the male guests seem to have met the dress code valiantly. But if ever there was an argument for Savile Row’s tailors to step it up it was the wedding of Pippa Middleton and James Matthews.

There was something wrong in the trouser department from the Princes William and Harry onward. Granted, there weren’t any waistline malfunctions whereby shirt showed between waistcoat and trouser. But in this day and age wouldn’t it be nice to see trousers more contoured to the shape of the leg rather than flared and puddling? You know I am a total convert to puppy tooth check trousers with a single pleat and turn-ups that actually narrow into the calf. It’s a Beau Brummell trick to contour the trouser (or the riding breeches in the Beau’s age) thus balancing the tailcoat.

Best in show bar none was best man and brother of the groom Spencer Matthews. An alumnus of  Made in Chelsea, Spencer is groomed for television which is a great start. But then he ticked every box for me: a neatly tailored morning coat, a delicious blue single-breasted waistcoat, a mismatching but complimentary burnt orange tie and a white-collared shirt with a pale blue body. The buttonhole and pocket square were in proportion and the tie was set at a rakish angle with a gold stud.

The groom wore a spotty claret tie with a duck egg blue shirt almost identical to my first Royal Ascot combination. I love a blue double-breasted waistcoat – Ede & Ravenscroft I presume – and hurrah to see another perfectly set tie stud. I wish the groom had kept his morning coat buttoned for the photographs, thus  pulling the tails into shape, but there we are. James Matthews did compliment his bride.

I always enjoy James Middleton’s tailoring. He actually looks like a second son of Prince Michael of Kent; particularly with the beard. Mr Middleton’s blue shirt with a lemon waistcoat was such a pleasing combination with another dark tie and gold stud. I have always had a bias for black morning tails and all of the principals at the wedding chose to wear them rather than a grey three-piece which is rather dull.

British weddings, Royal Ascot and Royal garden parties are really the last opportunity to wear formal day dress and looking at Mr and Mrs Matthews’ wedding pictures gives me hope that we still know how to put on a show. I’d even venture to say the guests at Pippa’s wedding were better dressed than in Westminster Abbey in 2011 when her sister married the Duke of Cambridge. It was all the damned politicians in 2011 who pretended they had hired their morning tails from Moss Bros which was pure hypocrisy from Mr Cameron’s Notting Hill Set.

We are still an occasionally chippy nation and there had been calls for the Mddletons to scale down the wedding in this age of Brexit, uncertainty and austerity. Try telling that to my grandmother Hilda Sherwood’s generation. They still wore their furs, gowns and best jewellery while Hitler was bombing Sheffield. There is something to be said for getting dressed in your best … particularly when times are tough.

On another note, I do hope that the General Election doesn’t drag on. Mrs May seems to be sweeping all before her though it is not necessarily her compliment considering Messes Corbyn and Farron – and lest we forget Nicola Sturgeon – are such woeful opponents. Diane Abbott has been absolute comedy gold combining complete incompetence with entitlement and condescension on various platforms. My favourite Abbott manifesto moment was promising to recruit 10,000 policemen with the sum she’d budgeted meaning each would be paid £30 per year.

If Diane Abbott didn’t try to bluff even after she’d had a ‘dog ate homework’ moment perhaps people would like her more. I think Mrs May is scoring because she is honest, dry, slightly dull and an irony free zone. But give me strong and stable over spin and self-interest. Until next time…