Posh, a great British brand
No, she's just plain bland
Sir Peter Westmacott, the British Ambassador to the U.S., probably thinks a shrug is a rude gesture and a wrap something you grab for a quick lunch, so we probably shouldn’t take his views on fashion very seriously.
At the launch of a campaign to entice visitors to Britain last week, held in New York, he described Victoria Beckham as ‘one of Britain’s major fashion icons’.
The former Spice Girl has been chosen to spearhead the campaign focusing on our fashion industry and will be presenting a promotional film — which is a bit rich as she lives in Los Angeles and commutes to London every couple of weeks to meet the team who produce her clothes, talking to them nightly on Skype in her dressing gown from Beverly Hills.
Great Briton Victoria Beckham's dull designs, like those she models here, hardly make her an outstanding representative of British fashion, not to mention the fact she lives in L.A.
More importantly, Victoria is completely self-taught (as if spending a fortune on clothes teaches you how to cut a pattern) and her designs are hardly ground-breaking, which is why I think she’s a poor choice to promote British creativity.
What about the wealth of brilliant fashion people who learned their craft at fantastic colleges, such as St Martins, which are the envy of the world
Stella McCartney, Peter Pilotto, Christopher Kane, Mary Katrantzou and Peter Jensen — Britain nurtures creativity and we export our talent to run major fashion houses in Paris, Milan, and New York.
To designate Victoria the mouthpiece for the British fashion industry is insulting to these designers who are far more successful. She makes expensive bland clothes only the very rich and the very thin can afford or wear.
Fashion is, of course, a good reason to visit Britain and the industry an important part of our economy, employing thousands of people — which is why Sam Cam is hosting a party at Downing Street tomorrow as part of London Fashion Week.
There’s no better free show in the whole world than walking around central London enjoying how people put their individual looks together. That’s why people come to Britain, not to buy an expensive frock in Harvey Nicks designed by a footballer’s wife.
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Mind you, the Visit Britain campaign’s central idea — promoting Britain as ‘great’ — smacks of desperation in the first place. They’ve even got Twiggy involved — she’s lovely as the face of mainstream safe frocks at Marks & Spencer, but hardly the reason you’d shell out thousands to visit Britain for a life-changing holiday.
If I were in charge of the Visit Britain campaign, I would be using all the people (apart from our fabulous fashion designers) who sum up what’s brilliant about our culture: eccentric, quirky, one-offs such as James Corden, Ruth Jones, Adele, Peter Kay and Mackenzie Crook.
Damien Hirst, arguably the most successful living artist, is British — and he’s planning an eco-estate of 500 homes in Ilfracombe!
I’d be shooting ads on the streets of British cities, using ordinary people showcasing our extraordinary sense of style.
Bland: Victoria's designs, like this one on sale in Harvey Nichols, are hardly ground-breaking
I’d be celebrating Topshop and affordable fashion, the choice that’s on offer at all price ranges. London knocks New York and Paris for six.
Victoria and David Beckham live surrounded by millionaires in California, supported by an expensive team of PR people, high-powered agents and managers who ensure they are treated like quasi-royalty by a fawning Press and politicians.
This well-oiled machine means every single day one Beckham or the other is in the news.
Now, Victoria claims she’s not miserable (after adverse comments about her sunken cheeks in New York), but tired, because the baby is keeping her awake at night and she’s working hard to launch her new collection.
We never hear this kind of
self-pitying guff from Stella McCartney, who has three children and
continues to design high fashion, not to mention underwear, children’s
wear, accessories and sportswear for our national teams.
Philo is another designer who has combined a high-profile job with
babies — but to listen to Victoria, you’d think she was carrying the
hopes and dreams of the UK on her bony shoulders, sustained by a couple
of prawns and half a dozen rocket leaves.
David Beckham is a businessman coming to the end of his football career who spends his time playing for a second division team in the U.S. He’s still regarded as a saint, and will probably be carrying the Olympic torch, even though he’s not a participant and is too old to play footie for our national team, and is neither a manager nor a coach.
Can someone please point out to Visit Britain that plenty of real talent lives here full-time.
Do grow up, Mr Huhne
I’ve lived in Clerkenwell, Central London, for 25 years and never see anyone famous in the local supermarket — but that could change.
Liz Jones has bought a hideaway nearby, which she calls her ‘cupboard’, and former Environment Minister Chris Huhne has just got an apartment over a former pub. I can’t wait to stand behind them at the checkout, as I always think you can tell a lot about someone’s character by the contents of their basket.
Charges to face, but not each other: Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky ignored one another in court last week
The picture of Mr Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky sitting glum-faced in the dock at Westminster Magistrates’ Court last week was pretty sad — they sat just a few feet from each other, but their body language spoke volumes.
When you split up acrimoniously and divorce, the temptation to ignore your former partner is hard to resist.
But when you’ve had three children together, isn’t it mean on them to so publicly ignore each other And a bit childish, given that both people are highly intelligent human beings
Tax sunbeds and all hail the pale
Hold the front page — we’re told the use of sunbeds has been banned by 11 of the leading model agencies, supporting a campaign by Cancer Research UK.
There has been a shocking rise in the number of malignant melanomas, especially among the young, but does anyone except the stars of TV’s TOWIE think that looking the colour of an old leather handbag is fashionable
Model agencies have some weird priorities — some don’t seem bothered about signing up girls who are under 16, many of whom are thousands of miles from their homes in Eastern Europe.
And anyway, most catwalk girls, if not born with brown or black skin, are uniformly pale and look like fragile stick insects who need a plate of pasta.
Even good old Boden, home of the yummy mummy look, features a pale girl on a beach in its latest catalogue.
If we really want girls to stop endangering their health in tanning salons, tax sun bed use.
Stop being so self-centred, George
Feeling sorry for himself: George Clooney says he's lonely
There's real loneliness — and there’s designer misery. True loneliness is sitting in a care home or a silent living room, your partner long dead or departed, with no one to talk to from one day to the next, when the radio is your best friend and even the person who turns up to give you a wash and a wipe spends only 11 perfunctory minutes in your company.
George Clooney tell us he suffers from loneliness — really I met him at a party once and he was extremely charming.
Highly intelligent, he has spent time and money supporting humanitarian causes.
He wants to make the world a better place, visiting places where there is real human suffering, such as Darfur.
I’m surprised he needs to boost his chances of winning an Academy Award next month by giving a mawkish, self-centred interview to the Hollywood Reporter.
He complains of back pain and insomnia (I know plenty of women who’d be happy to read him to sleep).
According to George, profound loneliness strikes when he’s in the most public of places — surrounded by fans. He could try sitting in his own urine overnight unable to summon a nurse to help, and see if that kind of loneliness is easier to bear.