At 5.30 am Hong Kong time I got in a taxi and drove through the darkened city, and saw, for the first time - undistracted by the soaring illuminated towers - the port. I was reminded of those old pictures of three-masted schooners densely rocking on a tide, but the spires were not sails, rather the cranes of the docks, loading the manufactured goods of China and setting them out on their container ships to the rest of the world. For here was the epicentre of fashion: not the Paris or Milan atelier, not the St Martin's graduate in his Shoreditch studio, but what comes of the reality of all those dreams. Hard commerce. And I could not help but think how distracted we are in Europe with the wrong political preoccupations, while under our noses a whole new superpower has sprung into life out of our needs and wants and desires. Ruthless, with not a democratic bone its collective body, all America's tarnished idealism (its Founding Fathers, its constitution, its will to happiness) is absent; trade is its DNA.
On the 13 hour flight, I finished Richard Ford's Independence Day and could have knocked my head against a wall for not reading it sooner: a hymn to suburban America, the philosophy of real estate and why there is always dignity in finding another man a home. I watched Elizabeth: The Golden Age (dire) and The Assassination of Jesse James (ponderous, but beautifully scripted and acted, another examination of American myth), three episodes of Kath and Kim, and three episodes of Extras.
I return to the new issue of UK Vogue with a piece by me on the emotional wrench of throwing things away, and on the cover, Victoria Beckham, whom Nick Kent has partially managed to convey as if she the subject of a Cecil Beaton between-the-wars society girl. Alexandra Shulman (vogue.com has a video of Alex talking about the decision to feature her) has written a definitive appraisal of her: her helpless urge to succeed, hints at her insecurity, an essentially suburban marriage, her teenage desire to always have the right thing: her shoes are always too big because she gets catwalk samples from the shoes, and has to stuff them with tissues. Trying too hard, not pretty enough, never thin enough for the mental picture inside her head, she's the triumph of the will: an oddity, a girl with nothing going for her except her determination that, knocked down, she will always arise and live to dress another day.