Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 20 February 2008

Diana: The Movie

Over on this side of the pond, dear readers, we remain in thrall to the latest testimony of Mohammed al Fayed at the Diana inquest.

My friend George Szirtes has written the scenario for a forthcoming blockbuster based on the Harrods owner's penetrating insights into the British Establishment (I particularly enjoyed his rejoinder to the judge who asked if he had any evidence - 'How can I have evidence? There is a ring of steel around the security services.'


The Mohamed Fayed story has gone down in history as a mixture of pathos and comedy. I can't entirely resist the comedy element. Particularly this, of course:

The murder was, he said, the result of an audacious plot hatched by Prince Philip, who was not only a member of the Frankenstein family but also the real ruler of Britain and a crypto-Nazi. Philip was assisted by his son Prince Charles, Mr Al Fayed claimed; they were the two principal royal plotters, the senior male members of what he called a "Dracula family".

Hard to resist the conjunction, that is, of Frankenstein being a member of the Dracula family. Then there is the 'Crocodile Princess'. It's good. It's very good, but he hasn't gone far enough in my opinion. It's a missed opportunity. Here, after all, is a horror movie to trump all previous horror movies such as King Kong vs Godzilla and Frankenstein meets The Wolfman.


Prince Philip (Frankenstein) is plotting with Prince Charles (Dracula) - OK, I know even the Daily Mail has got so far, but are too thick to go on - the murder of innocent naive American tourist, Diana (played by Tuesday Weld).

He enlists the help of the Queen (Bride of Frankenstein, natch), Rupert Murdoch (The Creature from the Black Lagoon) and a nauseating butler (The Blob).

Alistair Campbell (The Wolfman) persuades Tony Blair (Child of the Damned) to arrange an accident employing the driver, Henri Paul (The Alien) of Diana and Dodi (Jack Nicholson) to drive into bright flashlights operated by Russell Brand (The Mummy) on 'The Night of the Living Dead'.

Paparazzi (Zombies) enter and eat everything in sight.

Dracula marries The Crocodile Princess and she gives birth to Captain Hook.

It's a winner. Ridley? Wes? Abbott and Costello?...


One of the advantages of having a soi disant relationship with the media, is that you do get to know about what the press cannot, for various reasons (usually legal) report. So from time to time one hears things that are not in the public domain but for which the the word is so firmly out, that it's only a matter of time before it goes mainstream. Charles and Diana's marriage being on the rocks, was one such story I remember hearing, as early as the late 80s.

You go along for years thinking that certain fabulous women in their fifties and sixties look fabulous because of a combination of personal, beauty, lucky genes, good diet, exercise, facials, and make-up artists, and believe that if only you could put the same dedication into your appearance as they do, why, you too could look - not as good, but a bit as good.

And then you find out that all is an illusion. Facelifts, botox, fillers. They have all had it done. Do I blame them? No, I don't. If your career is dependent on how you look, then you do what you must do. And we can stop beating ourselves up because we don't look like that. For unless we're prepared to go under the knife, the fact is, we won't. I hope I have made myself clear.

Beauty awards

The Telegraph's beauty editor hands out her annual awards.

In the past year I have also convinced by this, which has replaced the ruinously expensive Eve Lom cleanser in my bathroom:

For taking it off, my Best Cleanser prize must go to Liz Earle's Cleanse & Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser (£10.25, If there is a beauty secret to let you in on, this is it.

Beauty editors and models rave about it and I've been hooked ever since I first tried it. It's a simple, creamy lotion, containing almond milk, rosemary and eucalyptus, which you apply with your fingers and take off with a wet muslin cloth.

It removes all your make-up and the cloth gives you a gentle exfoliation. Furthermore, it's pretty cheap. Friends says that it's helped with everything from acne to mild eczema.

Strictly speaking, it's not new this year but it's easier to get hold of thanks to a new shop opening in London (53 Duke of York Square, Kings Road, SW3) and is available in selected John Lewis stores.

And here's something I didn't know about

The gong for Best Lash Enhancer goes to Lancôme's Hypnôse Strass topcoat (£19.50), which is currently flying off make-up counters.

The thought of adding a shiny layer on top of mascara sounds WAG-ish, but it's a subtle way of giving lashes some va-va-voom for a big night out. In fact, dozens of celebrities were spotted having it added by make-up artists at the Baftas last week. Expect a raft of copycat products.

All hail Anya!

Anya Hindmarch speaks!

The designer and maker of all my bag purchases in the past 18 months explains all:

My bags are about craftsmanship. If I could be allowed just one from my extensive collection, it would be my bespoke Ebury that has a lovely message inscribed inside from my husband and children. And I want my children to pass it down. My mother gave me one of her Gucci cast-offs when I was 16 and it made me feel fantastic. The power of that handbag was the impetus for my business. I was planning to go to university, but went to Italy and found a bag that I thought women would like. I sent it to Harpers and Queen, they placed it in the magazine and I ended up selling 500.

If I had to describe the brand in three words, they would be: British, humorous and bespoke. It’s still very connected to London, where it started in 1993. I am British and proud to be so, plus you absorb so much of what is around you. When I started, I spent time in Hackney, alongside leather and metalworkers, so it’s really part of the brand’s DNA. What I like is the feeling that anything can happen in London.

It is very frustrating when you see a copy of one of your bags. So much hard work has gone into each one. Often we can take 15 or 16 attempts to get an angle right. That said, when I saw my first copy on Canal Street in New York, there was a moment of “Yes! We’ve made it”, quickly followed by: “What creeps, you’ve stolen my idea.”

Thought for the day

Shoes are the first adult machines we are given to master. Nicholson Baker