Mr. Lash and I don’t do Christmas, though I’m not above accepting gifts any time of the year. But don’t you hate getting a mink scarf with a list of instructions as long as your leg about how not to wear it? At least Carnaby Street is only a few Manolos away from Lash Mansion when I need a break from the manservant. A good shoe, like a good wine, improves with age.
Mod central in the 1960s, Carnaby became uncool for a few decades with faux punks spraying their hair blue and fat ladies having their photographs taken. Now Carnaby is cool again. Its Christmas lights went up straight after Halloween and sinister Santa’s followers are shopping till they drop.
What sort of people celebrate a mooby man who sneaks into homes with a sack of ho ho ho, then allow their bawling, snot-nosed elves to sit on his lap? Twisted people with eyes wide shut and mouths wide open, that’s who. They’re the same types who have nothing better to worry about than who Anna Wintour — in London this week for the British Fashion Awards — puts on the cover of Vogue. Kim Kardashian does look like a ho on holiday, but previous covergirl Lena Dunham is practically an ambassador for Alarming Burds Anonymous.
“If we remain deeply tasteful and put deeply tasteful people on the cover,” Anna said, “it would be a boring magazine. Nobody would talk about us.” Vogue reflects culture, it doesn’t define it — although there’s still talk, even if it’s just to say how suburban the mag is. Wintour does deserve credit, but it would be nice to see her in a pair of YSL go-go boots once in a while.
Today in Carnaby Street, I was stalked by a presenter of a style show that I shall never name and asked to explain my “look.” Really? This Santa impersonator can’t tell that I’m dead glamorous? Glamour, like good vodka, is impossible to define, not that I would ever try. Never apologize or explain, as Mummy used to say when she gave Daddy a black eye. If there weren’t a camera crew, I could give Santa a smack in the face.
Bad Santa trotted after me holding his microphone like a dildo and babbling about Vivienne Westwood, recently vilified for suggesting that people should eat organic food. As an ethical anarchist, I defend your right to eat shit if you want to, but is Dame Westwood’s advice really so silly? A Christmas pudding costs more than an organic carrot. And if people are starving, why is everyone so fat?
Yes, I can hear you. Don’t shout. Poor people can’t afford cosmetic surgery. But operations are only half the battle. You need ironclad discipline to be properly thin — like Wallis Simpson, who did it the old-fashioned way with the cigarette diet. Fashion is often wasted on rich crumblies who can afford it, but Wally was the exception to that rule. And her stalker husband, the Duke of Windsor, the mod idol of his day, gave up his throne for her, chasing her around the world while himself living on half a grapefruit a day. Wallis defined the century with her slogan, “You can’t be too rich or too thin.” It just doesn’t quite work when Renée Zellweger or Angelina Jolie is in the room.
I’m with Chairman Mao. If in doubt, go to bed with a book. The manservant gifted me a copy of Elsa Schiaparelli by Meryle Secrest, which he probs stole from my mail. Now that he’s back in the closet, obsessive-compulsively sorting my shoes, I can read in peace. A good biography is a history of its time, like the clothes in your closet smelling of memories and perfume — or, in some cases, essence of President.
Elsa grew up in a library that doubled as a Roman palace. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor had no books in their house in Paris. Some people prefer collecting pictures of themselves. Schiap, walking a tightrope between art and fashion, dressed Wally in a lobster nightgown for her honeymoon. Let’s hope the Duke wasn’t allergic to shellfish.
Don’t leave it to creepy Claus — gift yourself a copy of Spying on Strange Men. Then you can take me with you on a boat, a plane, or a train while blocking out the bore sitting next to you. And now you can listen to me read from the book.