ALEXANDRA SHULMAN’S NOTEBOOK: Want the truth about David Cameron? Look at his suit as he’s pictured with Lex Greensill in Saudi Arabia
What to wear? How often we all ask that question. Hardly surprising since how we dress is every bit as relevant to the impression we make as what we say or do, especially now that a photograph can travel the world instantly.
Take the Duke of Edinburgh’s funeral yesterday, where traditionally the male members of the Royal Family would be in full military dress as part of a long-held custom.
But to avoid embarrassment for Princes Andrew and Harry, who for differing reasons could no longer be seen in the uniforms of their previous rank, it was decided the plainer option of morning coats would be worn.
If there’s one thing the Royal Family infallibly get right, it is pageantry and pomp at momentous occasions. Fabulous uniforms are part of that.
So I’m a bit sad we were deprived of the full gold braid, sword, spur and epaulette-wearing display – especially at the send-off of a man who had the military so close to his heart.
David Cameron and Lex Greensill probably weren’t aware how unsavoury that image of them on their Saudi camp night would appear a year down the line
Of course it’s not only the Royals who have to watch what they wear. It’s true for anyone in public life.
David Cameron and Lex Greensill probably weren’t aware how unsavoury that image of them on their Saudi camp night – schmoozing Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman soon after he was accused of ordering the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi – would appear a year down the line.
There they were seated on a splendid rug in front of a blazing fire, propped up by velvet cushions, sipping mint tea in near-identical blue suits, pale shirts and blue ties. Greensill’s wearing a pair of what looks like Chelsea boots by the Australian brand RM Williams, which give him a dash of the rugged outdoors.
But the incongruity of those business suits adds to the discomfort now bouncing around about the whole trip.
Suits were a curious outfit for an evening in the desert – it’s certainly not the kind of thing most holidaymakers wear when they leave their plush hotels for an ‘authentic’ night under the stars.
But then Cameron and Greensill were not on holiday – they were on what now looks like a spectacularly ill-advised business trip to the kingdom – and wearing suits was meant to show that this was work, not pleasure.
It’s worth noting that were the situation reversed and their Saudi hosts (who had most likely been wearing the traditional white gowns of the region) had been taken glamping in the Cotswolds by prospective business partners, they would almost certainly have adopted Western dress to fit in.
Forget the cottage – get a £44m yacht
Speaking of Mohammed Bin Salman, another incongruous sight was of his £44 million 255ft super- yacht moored near Falmouth last week.
You now can’t rent a house or get a hotel room in Cornwall for any amount of money until autumn but, of course, for the world’s dictators and plutocrats there’s always the sea.
Perhaps the Cornish harbours will resemble Saint Tropez and Portofino this summer, with floating palaces stacked up and their occupants dropped off for their crab lunch by the boat’s tender.
The £175m flat that needs net curtains
Years back, I hosted a Vogue dinner at One Hyde Park, the apartments where developer Nick Candy’s pad has just gone on the market for a cool £175 million.
At that time, the blocks were empty and the party was part of a marketing exercise to drum up some interest.
We had to tell guests they couldn’t wear heels in case they damaged the pristine floors, which was a bit of a problem considering this was a high fashion dinner thrown at a time when towering stilettoes were very much the thing.
The sumptuous flats were being touted as some of the most desirable – and expensive – in the city, even though the positioning of the two blocks and their huge glass windows meant that, at some angles, you could look directly into rooms in neighbouring apartments.
For that much money you don’t want to have to deal with net curtain syndrome.
It’s probably why so much of the development was bought as off-shore investments by people who only ever spent the odd night in them.
Ding-dong! My witchy look is dead
Like anyone lucky enough to nab an appointment, I had my hair chopped last week, which was fortunate since I had begun to resemble the witchy-haired wife of a demonic cult leader.
Due to George Northwood’s scissorhands I am greatly improved but I discovered haircuts and masks do not make ideal bedfellows.
I’m not sure when mandatory masks are going to disappear from salons but my advice to anyone thinking of a major revamp is to wait until your stylist can actually see your whole face before embarking on a radical transformation.
Mick Jagger (pictured) said he didn’t want to waste his time looking back over his life
Mick’s ghost writer gets no satisfaction
Mick Jagger has been explaining that he didn’t want to waste his time looking back over his life, which was why he never finished an autobiography. I, too, frequently bore myself thinking back over my past but then his life has been way more interesting than mine.
Spare a thought, though, for the poor ghost writer who had the unenviable task of trying to wheedle interesting morsels out of a recalcitrant Jagger, eventually handed in a manuscript, only to discover that the great man didn’t want it published.
We gained freedom – but lost our minds
I’ve missed two meetings recently simply because I didn’t bother to check my diary since for months there has rarely been anything in it. And last week I’ve received several text messages cancelling dinner plans because of people double booking.
No doubt we will soon get back into practice but at the moment having to check whether we’ve anything ‘on’ is a muscle memory some of us seem to have lost.
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