There’s always the risk after a lovely two week holiday that unprecedented sun, pina colada and oversized pastries may incur a sense of reality loss. So to return from a fortnight abroad to find that in fact while you’ve had your back turned the rest of the world has gone mad, is something of a relief. I wondered if I had missed a holiday memo when firstly my boyfriend’s brother in law referred to himself as ‘Joe’ during a go-karting session – his name is nothing like Joe – but when my boyfriend announced en route to a romantic dinner a deux, that he had booked under the name ‘Jon’, I started to look around for video cameras. My boyfriend is not called Jon and he is not an undercover spy to my knowledge, so while he seemed utterly bemused by my reaction (I giggled until well into the first course by which time I had hiccoughs), I began to think perhaps there was something in the pool water.
On Sunday we were back in London and I set about the dreaded task of checking my ignored emails. While the boyfriend peered over my shoulder and sniggered about the urgency of all those emails promoting – yes, you’ve guessed it – new season coats and boots, I prayed the tiling job, done in a rush before we left, had held out and there wasn’t a further complaint that the place was now flooded.
Thankfully, there was no insurance claim awaiting me and there was no other news worse than the vaguely irritating confirmation that even when an automated email is set to inform that you are out of the country with no access to email, there are some who persist in asking if you can be somewhere other than on holiday in Spain in something other than a bikini sometime other than when you are back in the UK. Rant over.
And then I saw the email from my friend Cesca. Now Cesca is not ordinarily the bearer of news more scandalous than accidentally sending her elder daughter into school in fancy dress on the wrong day, but on this occasion the subject line promised an altogether more controversial content than our usual banter about tan marks and forgotten mascara. ‘Sam Cam Named World’s Most Stylish Woman’ is nothing compared to ‘Zayn Leaves One Direction’ as headlines go but it is intriguing so I investigated further.
It turned out that according to American magazine Vanity Fair David Cameron’s wife Samantha is indeed the best dressed person is the whole entire universe bar none. Not Olivia Palermo, not Kate Moss and definitely not Kate Middleton. I considered whether ‘best dressed’ and ‘most stylish’ actually meant something different. Best dressed means, I suppose, that you’re dressed in the best whereas stylish means you’ve really got something, something special in the fashion arena. When it comes to Vanity Fair’s verdict, this special something amounts pretty much to A Lot Of Money To Spend On Hiring A Stylist. Real style in my opinion is being a bit clever about how you put your wardrobe together whether you are loaded or not. I don’t object to what Samantha Cameron wears, I just don’t feel inspired or impressed by it. On the day after the election when she appeared dressed in a Preen frock which looked as if it had been splattered with black paint and darned with patches, I went so far as to call my mum to discuss it.
If Samantha Cameron is the most stylish woman in the world then I shouldn’t have been surprised by those who followed, but I was. “The Countess of Wessex??!!” I texted to Cesca. “THE COUNTESS OF WESSEX??” This was such an extraordinary stand to take (who remembered Prince Edward even existed?) I simply had to see what Vanity Fair had said to justify its decision. It turned out Vanity Fair hadn’t justified its decision. Underneath the far more understandable choices of Diane Kruger and Taylor Swift there were a few helpful pieces of information such as their favourite shops and style icons. For Sophie, Countess of Wessex, it stated ‘Husband: Prince Edward’. At that point, I started to feel a bit sorry for her. After all Sophie has certainly raised her game since Kate Middleton married into the firm. It’s a rare royal occasion these days when you don’t see Sophie in Kate’s favourite trusty LK Bennett nude patent heels. I know I go on about them but it’s actually getting rather embarrassing now and I can’t help wondering what Kate thinks of the poor old C.O.W. in her copycat outfits.
I suspect Vanity Fair had reasons other than mere style credentials for their peculiar list for whilst nobody would disagree that actresses Diane Kruger and Emmas Watson and Stone are anything other than faultless in their style, The Countess of Wessex and Bill Nighy are perhaps more of an acquired taste. The boyfriend (who has reverted back to his actual given first name now we are back in London) suggested Vanity Fair simply named those they want on their front cover in the next year. I’m inclined to think there may be something in that. Although still, the Countess of Wessex?
Yes it’s fair to say that August’s so-called silly season is alive and well in 2015 and if you were wondering about the pseudonyms utilised on our Spain holiday – the boyfriend used Jon, his middle name, because it is far easier to spell out than his real name. As for his brother in law, well he used ‘Joe’ because his real name means ‘dandruff’ in Spanish. You win some, you lose some, eh Sophie?