Tuesday 26 February 2019

JEEVES will be away for a period of 15 days. Greetings

Peaky Blinders 'Vintage Look' / VIDEO:Peaky Blinders Inspired Vintage Fashion | London Fashion Week Day 2 | Vl...

 Why the Peaky Blinders look is the hot new thing in men's fashion
Stylish period dramas have inspired designers to put a contemporary spin on everything from tweeds to flat caps
Lauren Cochrane

Tue 29 Oct 2013 17.50 GMT First published on Tue 29 Oct 2013 17.50 GMT

Period gang drama Peaky Blinders drew to a grisly conclusion a couple of weeks back but the look Cillian Murphy's Thomas Shelby wore is far from finished. The directional haircut – a kind of undercut with bowlish tendencies – worn with a rounded collar shirt, tweed jacket and waistcoat might be just the thing in 1919 Birmingham but it's also doing the rounds in 2013 east London. Moving on from the 60s-tinged school of dressing, menswear now has a new reference.

Five years ago, web developers in Shoreditch were wearing Barbours and pretending to be farmers – something that Mumford & Sons took to a spoof-worthy extreme. The focus has shifted. It's now about a look that can broadly be dated to post-first-world-war. Its archetype isn't posh but it's not hunky agricultural labourer either. Instead, think sensitive craftsman.

Other than Shelby and James Middleton – who sported a very on-trend beard at the christening of his nephew last week – moodboard pics might include the artistic alpha males that populate DH Lawrence novels, as well other characters in TV shows Parade's End and the below-stairs chaps of Downton before it went all 20s. Frock coats, smoking jackets and granddad shirts have been part of collections from Margaret Howell and Dolce & Gabbana to Alexander McQueen, where a cobbled catwalk and buckled shoes featured for spring/summer.

Why is this look taking off nearly 100 years after it was first worn? Fashion loves putting a spotlight on something obscure and, without an obvious subculture (the 60s, say), this particular style hasn't been cool before. It was a bit dowdy and make-do – but, in austerity Britain, that's perfect. It works within a wider nostalgia for a hardy, heroic Britain in the Keep Calm and Carry On poster on the kitchen walls of shared houses, the patriotic domesticity of hit series The Great British Bake Off and war re-enactment weekends for thirtysomethings. These clothes aren't about high fashion – they're more the logical drip-down of this lifestyle trend.

Clothes that can be traced back to where they were made, traditional cuts reworked and words such as "craftsmanship", "workwear" and "artisan" are replacing references to Don Draper's tux-and-blonde glamour as the boxes to tick. Asos says sales of workboots have more than doubled since last year, and All Saints' Marshall-style boots – almost soldier-worthy – are a bestseller. Topman, that litmus test of what most men actually wear, has increased its Made In England suiting range, with jackets and waistcoats selling well.

"There's a return to nostalgic items that emanate from their surroundings," says design director Gordon Richardson. "This collection is produced in an old factory in the north of England." It's not a wholesale thing; that would be too costumey. Topman reports customers wear the tweed jackets not with matching trousers but jeans, and Albarn combines its version with that other big men's trend, the sweatshirt.

"We don't go out of our way to align ourselves with a particular era but we're always touching on the past," says Ben Dutton, Albarn's buyer, where the Artisan shirt is a bestseller. "It used to be you would go down the pub and boast about the newest technical twist of your Stone Island jacket. Now, if a jacket has a story to tell, it's more appealing."

Menswear trends always swing between the futurism of sportswear and the authenticity of heritage. With a rose-tinted version of Britain in vogue, it makes sense the latter is having a moment now. "This is less New York, more the mountains around Catskills," says Jeremy Langmead, editor-in-chief of Mr Porter, where they are pushing fisherman jumpers, hiking boots and tweedy jackets. "It's about escapism from the stresses and strains of modern metropolitan life."

Hostem takes this idea to an extreme. The boutique, on Redchurch Street in east London, looks like a provisions store from the 20s – with hessian walls, antique jars and shop assistants of a beard-plus-boot type. Instead of stout and aspic, it sells very expensive, very limited runs of menswear pieces that fetishise a pre-mass production model.

"Designers we work with are using knitting looms and hand-making shoes. We celebrate that technique," says founder James Brown. He points in particular to Geoffrey B Small. "It's just him and two other people," says Brown. "They handfinish everything down to the buttonholes. He'll use berries or bark to dye, old-world techniques." As you might expect, items can take up to a year to produce, and are priced accordingly – a suit is around £2,000.

Brown believes these prices are worth it because they're a way to opt out of trend-based high fashion. "You can buy a Prada jacket one season and it's worthless the next," he says. "This is about investment pieces." But with the look encroaching on the high street, that means early adopters will be on the look out for a new retro icon (20s baseball player? Thirties accountant?). The Peaky Blinders look will definitely still be around for most when the second series begins next year. What Thomas Shelby will be up to, though, we're yet to discover.

Saturday 23 February 2019

The ugly truth about Karl Lagerfeld’s reign / Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld was right about fashion and wrong about women

The ugly truth about Karl Lagerfeld’s reign
Tanya Gold
‘It is impossible to watch Karl Lagerfeld’s work and think he really liked women.
The high priest of Chanel made his money from placing women in unhappy competition with their childish selves
Fri 22 Feb 2019 18.12 GMT Last modified on Fri 22 Feb 2019 18.44 GMT

Karl Lagerfeld is dead, and the fashion industry he presided over from the house of Chanel rends its garments and calls itself heartbroken. His muse, a white cat called Choupette, which exists largely on Twitter – a metaphor for his misanthropy so pure I thank him – was photographed in a mourning veil, thanking us for our words of condolence. That his best beloved was literally inhuman, and very small, is no surprise. (It is rumoured that, if she exists, she will inherit his fortune, though that is illegal in France.)

I do not think Lagerfeld really liked women. It is impossible to watch his work and think he did. It is impossible to watch his face – immobile, from surgery or not, I can’t say – and think he liked himself. It is obvious, and often noted, that fashion doesn’t have to be misogynistic and exclusionary; fashion is merely expression, and expression is morally neutral. But it certainly became those things in the era when Lagerfeld was dominant. In a world that is pure hierarchy, he had the power of a medieval pope, and he could have used it to make fashion less exclusionary, and more joyful. Consider the changes that Edward Enninful is making at British Vogue. He employs Paris Lees, a trans woman, as a columnist, and his first cover featured Adwoa Aboah, a mixed-race woman. Lagerfeld was rarely so benevolent or brave: profit was his calling, and misogyny his method. At home, meanwhile, he preferred to idolise a cat.

The couture shows in Paris, at which he excelled, power the global fashion machine and send it to the duller parts of Earth. He decided what was lovely and what was not, who should be noticed and who should be ignored. None of this would matter if it didn’t have that power – fashion, when cornered, cites its triviality as a defence – except it did. The machine sold perfumes and handbags (almost no one can afford couture, and that kind of money is a sickness in itself) by offering an ever-receding image of beauty that no normal woman could ever attain, let alone hold. The girls who wore his clothes, which were as insubstantial as a fleeting dream (he was an artist, and his works expressed his philosophy perfectly), were very young and tiny. They seemed, when you watched them, only just born, with no blemish on them, existing only for the adornment of Lagerfeld’s feathers and bows.

There is nothing wrong with being young and lovely, but it is a passing moment in a woman’s life, and he offered nothing for women who do not look like that – ie, almost all women – but a remorseful look in the glass, and exile. He employed older women at Chanel (he had to, for models and cats cannot do everything), but they had to grasp backwards towards youth. Their faces were over-smooth and indistinct at the edges, as if they lived under a curse: a woman uneasy in her own face, a woman who cannot age. Young women – fresh clay for his myth – were what he craved. He placed women everywhere in unhappy competition with their childish selves, and I can think of nothing sadder or more destructive of the very soul that fashion is supposed to liberate. I imagine that had he seen a woman excrete, he would have vomited.

It is worth noting, again, that he didn’t make the clothes himself; and the clothes themselves were almost incidental to his art. Rather, he made powerful and spurious myths. The clothes were made by a group of dedicated, vastly skilled women (and a few gifted men) in an eyrie at the top of the house of Chanel. It is the same in almost every fashion house. You see these artisans credited fully only when a designer – John Galliano, for instance, or Lee Alexander McQueen – loses himself within the artifice he builds. Then they are celebrated, a small truth offered as penance for fashion’s crimes, and things return to the abnormal normal.

Lagerfeld’s art had a wider impact even than inciting self-hatred in women for ordinary profit, and enchanting intelligent women to collude in it, which was always the most extraordinary montage that fashion offered. The world grew more unequal when Lagerfeld ruled fashion. That beauty – the very apex and definition of beauty – belonged only to the almost unimaginably rich added power to the gospel of prosperity theology that ruled the age, and which has brought us to such anger and terror. To the rich, everything, for they are fairies or gods; and to the rest, the crumbs. He was, at his heart, a handmaiden to the unequal world we have made, and although you can argue for its transient loveliness, it was always uglier, and more important, than that.

• Tanya Gold is a journalist

Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld was right about fashion and wrong about women
by Madeline Fry
 | February 19, 2019 04:34 PM

Karl Lagerfeld, one the 20th century’s greatest fashion designers, died Tuesday in Paris. Credited with saving Chanel when he became its creative director, Lagerfeld was known, not only for his stylistic brilliance, but also his outspoken and controversial comments.

His perspective on fashion was invaluable, but his critiques of women represent the darker side of the industry.

The haute couture king told the New York Times that fashion designers are artisans, not artists. As catwalk looks have become increasingly unattainable, with models debuting styles you wouldn’t see anywhere but the runway, Lagerfeld emphasized fashion’s utility.

Designers “take themselves very seriously because they want to be taken as artists,” he said. “I think we are artisans. It’s an applied art. There’s nothing bad about that. If you want to do art, then show it in a gallery.”

Despite his lifetime contracts with high-fashion labels Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld embodied a down-to-earth perspective on clothes. “People buy dresses to be happy,” he said.

But the designer’s legacy is tainted by the way he conformed to industry stereotypes. Fashion may have been more than a piece of art to him, but women were not.

Lagerfeld had a habit of complaining about women’s bodies, whether he was saying they looked ugly or need to lose weight. He called Adele “a little too fat,” as an aside while discussing her lovely voice, and later insulted plus-sized women again: “No one wants to see curvy women on the catwalk.”

He also grumbled about other people's faces. In 2012, he insulted Pippa Middleton saying the Duchess of Cambridge is beautiful, but “her sister struggles. I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.”

Worst of all, Lagerfeld dismissed objections to sexual harassment in the industry. He told Numero magazine last spring that he was "fed up" with the #MeToo movement. "If you don’t want your pants pulled about," he said, "don’t become a model! Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent."

Lillian Fallon, a New York City-based fashion writer, said Lagerfeld’s conflicting legacy represents a broader trend. “His comments on plus-size women and models in general kind of summarize the elitist attitude of the fashion industry and the treatment of women as objects meant for consumption,” Fallon said. “He seemed to embody a lot of the negative stereotypes of the fashion industry.”

Lagerfeld “really was not on board with the push to have a more accurate representation of women and wasn’t really interested in diverse beauty.”

While obituaries focus on his more humorous quotes — Lagerfeld once said that “sweatpants are a sign of defeat” — we should remember that he was only halfway revolutionary. The designer’s legacy was one of breaking fashion trends but conforming to its old tropes.

Tuesday 19 February 2019

'Don't feed the monster!'

'Don't feed the monster!' The people who have stopped buying new clothes
A growing movement eschews fast fashion in favour of secondhand clothing. Is this the biggest personal change that can be made for the environment?

Paula Cocozza
Tue 19 Feb 2019 06.00 GMT Last modified on Tue 19 Feb 2019 09.13 GMT

Sarah Fewell, who runs a business selling secondhand and vintage clothes on the website Depop that now has 10 million users.

Lauren Cowdery is flicking through the rails of the Cancer Research charity shop in Goole, east Yorkshire. “Too bobbly!” she tuts at a ribbed top. “This skirt is big but it would be easy to take in … ” Cowdery appears to be shopping, but she is merely browsing. She is on a mission not to buy any new clothes, even ones that have recently belonged to someone else. “I think you have to pull back and ask: ‘Do I need this?’” she says.

Cowdery is one of a growing number of people who love clothes but try their hardest to resist buying them for reasons of sustainability. According to the charity Wrap, which promotes sustainable waste management, the average lifetime for a garment in the UK is just 2.2 years. An estimated £30bn of unused clothing hangs in UK wardrobes, and yet still we shop for more. “Each week we buy 38m items and 11m items go to landfill,” says Maria Chenoweth, chief executive of Traid, a charity working to stop clothes being thrown away. “We don’t have enough resources to keep feeding this monster.”

Chenoweth believes that consumers are switching to secondhand shopping, or adding a pre-owned element into their purchasing habits. She points to a 30% rise in turnover at Traid shops in 2018 compared with 2017. When she was a teenager in the 80s, her father banned her from jumble sales in case people thought the family was poor. She disobeyed him, and dragged her sacks of clothes through her bedroom window. Now, Chenoweth considers it “a huge gesture of activism to buy secondhand”, a necessary choice for those who “do not believe in damaging the environment and perpetuating this consumption and waste”.

So how hard is it to make the transition to a more sustainable way of shopping? In the UK, clothing has the fourth largest environmental impact after housing, transport and food. More than half of fast-fashion items are thrown away in less than a year, according to McKinsey’s State of Fashion report last year. But is buying secondhand really an antidote to fast fashion?

In Goole, where Cowdery works as a marketing officer for the Junction Theatre, there are ample local distractions for a lunch break: Dorothy Perkins, New Look, Peacocks. Cowdery used to buy things “because they were there”. In the evenings, she went on Asos. “I’d think: ‘Oh brilliant, a discount code! Free shipping! I’ll order stuff! Hmm … It doesn’t fit very well, but I can’t be bothered to send it back … I’ll keep it.’”

Each month, Cowdery bought two or three things. “At £20 a time, that starts to build up. There’s a wardrobe of stuff. Things with the tags still on … I took a look at myself and thought: ‘What are you doing?’”

 ‘It changed how I thought about clothes’: Lauren Cowdery of the Leeds Community Clothes Exchange:

Curious about a post she saw on Facebook, one weekend Cowdery dropped into the Leeds Community Clothes Exchange, a local swap shop. Four years on, she is one of its three directors, helping to oversee the 2,000 items – “designer stuff, vintage stuff, handmade things, wedding dresses” – that pass through the doors of the Woodhouse community centre each month.

Cowdery and I meet in one of those lunch hours that used to be spent shopping. Her skirt, top and cardigan are all from the Clothes Exchange; her boots are from the Autism Plus shop in Goole. “At the exchange, it’s one for one on everything,” she explains. There are no value judgments. A garment is saleable if all its buttons are present and there are no stains. Some prom dresses return again and again. “People take them, wear them, bring them back.” Regulars set aside pieces for each other. The fitting room is a place of encouragement.

As her involvement in the clothes exchange grew, Cowdery’s visits to Peacocks dwindled. Now, its shop floor struck her as “an explosion in a jumble sale”. She began to delete unopened emails from Asos and Topshop. She swore off buying new clothes for a year. “I thought I’d reach the end and think: ‘I’ve done that. I’ll move on,’” she says. Instead, “It changed how I thought about clothes.”

Cowdery still loves clothes – especially anything velvet – but she has found a safe way to consume them. The clothes exchange enables her to refresh her wardrobe without adding to it. She can be acquisitive, as long as she relinquishes in equal measure. Where she once bought three pieces a month, she now swaps 10 to 15 – mostly things she picked up at the previous exchange.

Clothes come and go at the Basingstoke home of Sarah Fewell, too. In fact, so many parcels come and go that she knows her postman by his first name (Jay). Fewell has always loved cutting up old clothes, sticking on studs, even at 14 when most of her friends were into Hollister. But now she has turned her passion for preloved clothes into a sustainable version of fast fashion.

Fewell runs a shop called Identity Party on the website Depop, which since being established in 2011 has offered its 10 million users a blend of eBay-style trading with Instagram-style posting. Her brand is “a lot of 80s, 90s, quite bohemian, grungy”. She especially loves “selling things with animals on, a good old ugly jumper and anything by St Michael.”

Two years ago, in the second year of a politics degree at Goldsmiths, University of London, Fewell was browsing the charity shops when she saw “a really nice dress that wasn’t for me”. She already had a Depop profile, having sold some unwanted clothes, so she bought the dress, listed it as “‘very Phoebe from Friends” and it promptly sold.

She bought and sold relentlessly during her third year. “When I left university, I thought, I don’t want a real job.”

Now with Identity Party, Fewell has professionalised her love of vintage.

She doesn’t totally eschew new clothes for her own wardobe; they make up about 10%. She buys gymwear new, for instance (“It would be a bit gross to wear secondhand gym clothes”). She even bought some on Black Friday: “That’s maybe contradictory of me to engage in Black Friday, but I just wanted gym clothes.”

 People used to watch hauls on YouTube and be like: ‘Yeah, great.’ Now they are a lot more aware
We are sitting in a cafe in a shopping mall in Basingstoke. Fewell, who is wearing an Identity Party top and jeans and an eBay jacket, runs through her working week: Monday, she posts; Tuesday, she photographs; Wednesday she uploads. A fourth day is spent scouring the charity shops of Basingstoke, Newberry and Reading. A fifth and a sixth on further photography and posting.

Fewell’s days are long. But all the hours spent cutting out shoulder pads and removing used handkerchiefs from pockets have made her one of Depop’s top sellers. Since that first dress, she has sold more than 3,000 items, and her customer base includes her own friends, who no longer find secondhand shopping “a bit niche”.

“A lot of people are getting really sick of fast fashion,” Fewell says. “People used to watch hauls [mass trying-on sessions of newly purchased clothing] on YouTube and be like: ‘Yeah, great.’ Now if you click on a haul and read the comments, everyone’s like: ‘Oh, there’s so much stuff, it looks really bad quality.’ People are a lot more aware.”

In 2017, when she posted that first dress, Fewell “wasn’t very conscious” of the sustainability benefits of secondhand clothing. “I wasn’t really thinking: ‘I could push this message.’” After a couple of months, “it got added in there”. Now she trades her “handpicked vintage gems” as sustainable fashion. Facts about clothing waste are printed on the reverse of her business cards. When a piece of clothing doesn’t suit a customer, she urges them to sell it on, to close the loop.

But does Fewell ever look at the floor of her parents’ spare room – now her stock room – at the sea of pink plastic packages waiting to be driven to the post office, and think that buying and selling secondhand clothing may not be the height of sustainability? In some ways, Depop mirrors fast fashion: consumers buy cheaply and often. Fewell points out that the bags are made of recycled plastic; she would like to afford biodegradable ones. “The downside, environmentally, is postage and packing,” she admits. “But people are always going to want to buy clothes. Buying secondhand is probably the best way they can do it.”

The key, says Stephanie Campbell from Wrap’s Love Your Clothes campaign, is “to keep clothing out of landfill”. Each year 430,000 tonnes of clothing are disposed of and not recycled in the UK. Meanwhile, the number of new clothes sold is rising: 1.13m tonnes in 2016, an increase of 200,000 tonnes on 2012.

 Zoe Edwards, who 11 years ago pledged never to buy new clothes.

“It’s a slow, gradual mindset change,” says Zoe Edwards, a sewing teacher and blogger who 11 years ago pledged never to buy new clothes. “It’s not like a switch goes on and all of a sudden, it’s: ‘Right, this is how I shop now.’”

Edwards was working for “a very fast-fashion, low-end clothing supplier” in London. Her job was to order the trims: labels, hanging loops, buttons, zips. The quantity of delivered fabric always varied, so she had to order a surfeit of trims, a routine waste that made her uncomfortable. She had always loved sewing, selling her handmade clothes on market stalls and Etsy. Now, her two ways of living jarred.

“I didn’t want to be part of fast fashion any more,” she says. She quit her job, sewed clothes, sold the clothes, taught sewing and blogged about it. In the past 11 years, Edwards has bought only “one or two things”. Her bras are new, and she thinks she may have purchased a top from Zara in about 2010. Even her knickers are what she calls “me-made”.

So how difficult is it to stop buying clothes? Tania Arrayales, a self-described “fashion disruptor”, has founded an organisation in New York called Fashion of Tomorrow to advocate a more sustainable approach to the clothing industry. Arrayales was a founding member of Style Lend, a peer-to-peer clothing rental site, and swore off all clothing purchases for a year, inspired by the documentary True Cost. But weren’t there times when she was desperate to break her self-imposed rule?

“The challenge was feeling a little bit … I wasn’t as trendy as I used to be. I couldn’t make an impact when I went to an event,” she says. “I didn’t have anything new and shiny. But I wanted to restructure the way my brain saw shopping.”

 “I started seeing pieces in a new light’: Tania Arrayales, a founding member of the clothing rental site Style Lend.

In her second year, she allowed herself to buy vintage clothes. The year after that, she bought the odd piece of new clothing from sustainable brands. Any time she felt her style “lack a little”, she rented what she needed from Style Lend (there are lending sites in the UK, too, but this is not yet a flourishing market). “I started seeing pieces in a new light. I discovered styling,” Arrayales says.

Cowdery has noticed a similar sense of exploration and play at the Clothes Exchange. “I’ve been more experimental, more free, with clothes. I don’t keep things for best. I wear them. And I don’t worry about the size on the label,” she says.

The fluidity around sizing is one of the pleasures of secondhand shopping. Depop sellers such as Fewell list clothes as fitting size eight to 14. Shoppers are encouraged to view their size as variable. “That’s the great thing about swapping,” Cowdery says. No one gets depressed because something their size won’t zip up. “You just look by eye, and ask yourself: ‘Will that fit?’”

Edwards has faced a similar confrontation with her personal taste. Sewing requires a lot of decision-making: the colour and weight of fabric, length of dress, shape of sleeves. She buys vintage fabric and refashions charity shop finds, but even so, she doesn’t think “sewing is necessarily the most sustainable way to dress yourself”. There is still the acquisition of fabric and materials. And a tendency to prize the making over the wearing, so that a lot of making goes on that never gets worn. “There is a big slow fashion movement within the sewing community,” Edwards says. “People are using their stash rather than buying new stuff.”

The volume of clothing of all kinds – new, secondhand and handmade – is challenging. And selling on secondhand clothes has its limits. To avoid swamping the secondhand market, or passing the problem on to others, including developing countries where many used clothes are sold in bulk, other technologies, such as fibre-to-fibre recycling, need to be encouraged.

“Clothing is a way to show who I am, what I feel, what I believe,” Edwards says. “It’s a way to communicate with the world. It’s got real social value, but it has got to be done mindfully.”

So what can a person who loves new clothes but wants to live more sustainably do? As Edwards says, if you are spending time on fashion sites, it doesn’t take a huge leap of imagination or will to switch your browser to eBay, Depop, thredUP, Hardly Ever Worn It or any of the raft of “resale disruptors”. Chenoweth says that “not keeping stuff in your wardrobe is important if you’re not wearing it”. Donating clothes puts them back into circulation.

As Cowdery says: “Clothes have a story. If you wear something once then throw it in the bin, it hasn’t had a story. You want to know there’s life in these things.”

Sunday 17 February 2019

"Tweedland" has reached 4.000.000 page views ! Thanks to you all ! Jeeves.

Why are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry 'SEPARATING' from Kate and William? / Tormenting Meghan Markle has become a national sport that shames us

ROYAL FEUD: Why are Meghan Markle and Prince Harry 'SEPARATING' from Kate and William?
MEGHAN Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship with Kate Middleton and Prince William will become even more distant in the future according to a shock claim. Why are the Sussexes separating from the Cambridges?

PUBLISHED: 08:55, Sat, Feb 16, 2019 | UPDATED: 11:24, Sat, Feb 16, 2019

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry will soon leave their London home at Kensington Palace and move 20 miles away to Frogmore Cottage, a home on the grounds of Frogmore House in Windsor. And while the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are focusing on the arrival of their first baby, Kate and Prince William’s focal point will be on their regal duties as the future King and Queen of England. Why are the royal power couples separating?

According to E! News chief correspondent Melanie Bromley the further separation between the Sussexes and the Cambridges are due to Kate and Prince William’s coming to terms with their future roles within the Royal Family.

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Ms Bromley claimed: "It’s two women who are both going through changes that have actually to do with the brothers.

"William is facing the reality of his future role right now – it’s heartbreaking to say but the Queen is 92 and that means there are going to be big changes in the monarchy in the next ten, maybe 15 years.

"That’s a reality everyone is preparing for."

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are already busy raising their three children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and young Prince Louis - and will also have their hands full with this over the next years.

Prince William, who is the second in line of succession to the British throne, is receiving more and more responsibility as his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, is getting older.

And while the Duke of Cambridge prepares for his future duties, Ms Bromley added Meghan Markle and Prince Harry are focusing on becoming parents for the first time.

Ms Bromley added: "William and Kate have a different purpose than Harry and Meghan and that is definitely going to impact the future of the house of Cambridge and the house of Sussex.

"There are differences in general between these two families, new families with children coming into the picture and lots of changes.

“This fact is being portrayed as Meghan versus Kate.

"The idea that Kate somehow hasn’t been welcoming to Meghan is completely unbelievable because if anyone understands what Meghan is going through is Kate.

"That Meghan has come in and she thinks she knows how to do things better is also unbelievable."

This comes amid rumours of tension between the two Royal power couples.

A royal source told Vanity Fair Meghan and Kate are doing what they can to get along, despite being “very different people” and tension is said to be between brothers Prince William and Prince Harry.

The source said: “Kate and Meghan are very different people and they don’t have a lot in common but they have made an effort to get along.

“Any issues are between the brothers.”

The reason for the tension between the royal brothers is rumoured to be because Prince Harry does not think Prince William has done enough to welcome Meghan into the family.

The source claimed: “Harry felt William wasn’t rolling out the red carpet for Meghan and told him so.

“They had a bit of a fall out which was only resolved when Charles stepped in and asked William to make an effort.

“That’s when the Cambridges invited the Sussexes to spend Christmas with them.”

Tormenting Meghan Markle has become a national sport that shames us

Catherine Bennett
Once, she was a breath of fresh air. Now media critics and ‘experts’ are having a field day
Sat 16 Feb 2019 20.30 GMT

‘Not the new Princess Diana’ – but arguably having worse treatment in the press. Meghan and Prince Harry at the Endeavour Fund awards on 7 February 2019. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/PA

In the period when the acquisition of the former Meghan Markle was depicted as little short of a national triumph, much was written in the British press about her various accomplishments. These are, after all, roughly as common in royal spouses as successful independent careers. Meghan, the actress and blogger and charity worker, is also, it emerged, a skilled calligrapher.

“I’ve always had a propensity for getting the cursive down pretty well,” she once told an Esquire journalist, who’d described her writing as “incredible”. “What it evolved into was my pseudo-waitressing job when I was auditioning.”

 Tormenting the Duchess of Sussex has become a national sport, limited only by the supply of new material
Now that tormenting the Duchess of Sussex has become a national sport, limited only by the supply of new material, this same incredible handwriting is proving a treasure trove for character assassins. Last week, after her father released sections of a private letter she had written, alleged handwriting experts confirmed what the Meghan pursuit is making increasingly clear: harassment by the press is not over in the post-Leveson era, just different, and not merely because the results are disseminated instantly, with added conspiracy, on social media.

More vigilance over physical privacy still leaves room for intrusive, but undisprovable, speculation; greater avoidance of libels does not restrict dehumanising commentary, volunteered, of course, from a perspective of strictly caring emotional literacy. Body language experts will claim, for instance, to gauge her mental state from Meghan’s deployment of her bump. Since the Ipso code of conduct proscribing harassment doesn’t cover any distress caused by amateur analysis, maybe former phone hackers and laid-off bin rummagers could yet find employment as hired gaslighters of one sort or another.

For the Daily Mirror, Ruth Myers, a handwriting expert, found, in a protractedly unflattering analysis, that the letter exposed Meghan as “emotionally insecure and self-pitying”. Also “easily provoked to anger”. It was further possible for this scholar to deduce, from handwriting alone, “an inability to forgive”, something arguably contradicted by the letter’s existence.

In the same document, Emma Bache, another expert, discovered evidence of a “showman and a narcissist”. Tracey Trussell detected vulnerability: “It’s impossible for her to forget people who have meant so much to her in her life.”

If, having got beyond her conscious, professional calligraphy, these experts could not agree on which facets, out of so many, of the duchess’s character are most concerning, well, perhaps that only confirms, to the trolls congregating on Twitter, that fellow Meghanphobe Piers Morgan is correct to feel (following his defriending by her) generally “suspicious and cynical about Ms Markle”.

Morgan is sympathetic, instead, to the emotionally abusive man who, with the unstinting support of the British press, has committed to destroying Meghan’s pleasure in her wedding, her pregnancy and, by the sound of it, her forthcoming motherhood – “her poor father”. If superficially unalike, the two older men appear to share an incredulous resentment that a young woman might, out of self-preservation, disregard them, no matter many times they misrepresent or admonish her.

The latest example of Morgan’s retribution was among several press retorts prompted by an intervention by George Clooney, who warned: “She is being pursued and hunted in the same way that Diana was and it’s history repeating itself.”

By way of correcting him, a number of royalty authorities seized this opportunity to attack Meghan, for the completely new personality defect of being implicitly compared with Diana, by someone who is probably not – her critics say – a proper friend anyway. Arthur Edwards, who photographed the teenage Diana in a transparent skirt (“the sun came out and revealed those beautiful legs”), told Meghan to “lighten up. You’re not the new Princess Diana.” In the Times, Clooney’s comment was dismissed as “utter fantasy”.

If not exactly fantasy, Clooney’s version of Diana’s persecution does, admittedly, leave lots out. Glossed over is the late princess’s well-documented habit, with the collusion of chosen journalists, of invading her own privacy; her later refusal to use royal protection officers. When secrecy mattered to her, Diana did take holidays or have long relationships, undocumented in the press. Moreover, prior to her first (initially denied) experiment in shared psychodrama, authored with Andrew Morton, in which she detailed Prince Charles’s infidelity with Camilla Parker-Bowles, the young Diana remained, to her husband’s annoyance, a cherished national pet.

 Would any of this, it is increasingly asked, have happened if Meghan were not (to use her term) biracial?
So if anything, Clooney surely does not go far enough. Within months of her marriage, with zero contribution from their victim, sections of the UK press had identified Meghan as someone of whom virtually anything malicious might be said, regardless of accuracy, public interest and its potential impact on her health. Neither her advancing pregnancy nor one attempted correction has brought any respite.

Whatever privacy concessions Meghan Markle was willing (however inexplicably) to make in exchange for royal privileges, she could not, reasonably, have anticipated these sustained personal attacks, for which the sole justification is – ludicrously – that they originate in a man who should ideally be rewarded with a restraining order. Would any of this, it is increasingly asked, given the indulgence extended to most royal hangers-on, have happened if Meghan were not, to use her term, biracial?

Plainly, this affluent couple have choices and an exit from royal life could liberate them, at once, from vindictive relations and their press facilitators, to say nothing of their current destiny as lifetime specimens for bodily and other analysis. Plus we’d finally find out if anything would make the Markles happy.

That outcome might be less promising, however, for the reputations of the very news groups that, seconds after identifying Meghan as breath of fresh air, decided she was also a hardened manipulatrix, cruel to her poor stalker of a daddy, with a way of being pregnant that really pisses off newsroom executives. And leave aside plunging trust levels, and journalism’s deepening funding crisis, will no one think of the graphologists?

• Catherine Bennett is an Observer columnist

Saturday 16 February 2019

How To Wear A Prince of Wales Suit (The Art Of Dressing)

Anna Wintour: The editor-in-chief of American Vogue talks to Jess Cartner-Morley

Anna Wintour: a rare face-to-face with the most important woman in fashion
 Anna Wintour editor-in-chief American Vogue. Photograph: Tyler Mitchell
The editor-in-chief of American Vogue talks to Jess Cartner-Morley about Michelle Obama, fake news and only spending 20 minutes at parties.

Portraits by Tyler Mitchell
Sat 16 Feb 2019 06.00 GMT

One morning last August, Anna Wintour was playing tennis with her coach in the 40-acre grounds of her Long Island summerhouse. She noticed he seemed a little distracted: “But his wife was about to have a baby, so I thought he was nervous about that.” Then it struck her that they had attracted an unusual number of spectators. The house was brimful with family, but it was earlier than most people get up on a weekend. (“I’m a morning person,” says Wintour, for whom anything later than 5am constitutes a lie-in.) As she prepared to serve, she heard a car pull up. “I am pretty OCD about guests and where they are sleeping. I thought, I’m not expecting anyone else, I don’t have any more rooms. Who is this? And then I thought – that looks like Roger [Federer, with whom Wintour is good friends]. And that looks like [his wife] Mirka. And that looks like their twins.” Wintour’s daughter Bee Shaffer, it transpired, had arranged for a Federer-Wintour family tennis tournament, “which was the best gift a daughter could give a tennis-mad mother. I got to play doubles with Roger for the first time in our very long friendship, against my two nephews.” Twenty-five floors above Manhattan, behind the ebonised mahogany Alan Buchsbaum desk from which she has ruled the fashion world for three decades, she leans back in her chair and smiles at the memory. “We won, of course.”

Of course. Anna Wintour plays to win in everything she does. She is editor-in-chief of American Vogue and artistic director of parent company Condé Nast, but her job titles do not come close to describing her iconic status. Vogue has been a launchpad from which she has powered herself to become a player in culture and politics. She is a fashion industry kingmaker, a Washington insider (Barack Obama’s fourth-biggest fundraiser in the 2012 campaign), an art world luminary (the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum was renamed in her honour in 2014) and a Dame of the British Empire. And her haircut alone – as preternaturally unruffled and impenetrable up close as it looks in photographs – is recognisable from space.

The Anna Wintour mythology is as much about power as it is about fashion. It owes a great deal to the 2006 film The Devil Wears Prada in which Meryl Streep’s ice-queen editor, assumed to be a cartoonised Wintour, created a character that popular culture has thrilled to ever since. Such is her fame that a mere rumour of her departure is enough to send shockwaves through the fashion and media worlds. (Last summer, these rose to such a clamour that Condé Nast issued a statement confirming Wintour would remain at Vogue “indefinitely”.)

Her office has an air of ambassadorial gentility. No industrial styling, no modish succulents. Definitely no treadmill desk. The south wall is glass, diffusing the room with silver light bouncing off the towers of the financial district. Framed photos of her son Charles and Bee, as children and as the thirtysomethings they are now, are prominently displayed on her desk, on the window ledge and between a pair of topiaried miniature trees standing sentry on the limewashed sideboard. A cornflower-blue ceramic vase is filled with fresh ranunculus in Titian reds and coppers; a glass pot holds sharpened HB pencils. Only the lipstick mark on the grande Starbucks coffee cup and the Chanel sunglasses in the in-tray give the Vogue game away.

I am summoned to this inner sanctum 10 minutes before our scheduled 9am interview time. Wintour is wearing a calf-length Erdem dress in dark silk with a bright floral print, collared with two sparkling necklaces. A blush pink coat and a jade green scarf are thrown over a corner chair next to a small Victoria Beckham black leather tote. With characteristic briskness, she has already wrapped her portrait shoot with Tyler Mitchell, who last year became the first black person to shoot a Vogue cover when he photographed Beyoncé for Wintour’s September issue. “He’s charming, he’s intelligent – I’ve been impressed by what he’s said yes to, and what he’s said no to,” she says of Mitchell. “Also, he’s quick.”

Before the shoot, she was watching Andy Murray’s match at the Australian Open on television – his first after announcing his retirement. “So emotional,” she says, gravely. Is it true that she herself plays tennis every day at 5am? “I don’t play tennis as much as I used to, but I get up every day between 4am and 5am, and I work out every day.” (Her game is, she says, “terrible! But I enjoy it.”) While we’re on the subject, this seems an opportune moment to verify some of the other Anna Wintour myths. What about spending only 20 minutes at parties? “Well, it depends on the party. If it is fashion week, then most likely I will be in and out. But there have been many times I have stayed a lot longer, believe me.” She is smiling, but her folded arms semaphore impatience to change the subject. I am sorry to say that I chicken out of asking her if it’s true about eating medium rare steak for lunch every day.

Becoming a public figure in a way no other Vogue editor ever has been “wasn’t a conscious path”, she insists. “I don’t work for Anna Wintour, I work for Condé Nast. I don’t have any kind of social media accounts or look for personal recognition.” But Wintour is instantly recognisable, thanks to a style that has remained almost unchanged since the 80s. Her sleek bob teamed with a sharp wit has often been a power combination, channelled by Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in Pulp Fiction, by the diminutive Edna Mode in The Incredibles and by Taylor Swift at her most sassy. But the style was “not a strategic decision”, Wintour insists. “I feel comfortable with it, that’s all. I am a creature of habit. Honestly, Jess, it’s not something I spend any time thinking about at all. I come to the office and do my job.”

Wintour’s image of cool, impermeable authority has become a blueprint for successful female leadership. I am sure I even caught something of Wintour’s staccato delivery in the sardonic crispness of Emily Blunt’s Mary Poppins. The notion raises a smile, but Wintour has a politician’s sleight of hand when it comes to answering questions she doesn’t like, segueing to her preferred talking points. She steers the conversation away from her own image and on to how Vogue is championing women in political leadership. “I was very encouraged by our midterm results on that front. I believe women are taking control and standing up for what they believe in. We are in a moment of huge change.” She reels off an impressive list of female politicians who have appeared in the magazine recently, including Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Amy Klobuchar, Lauren Underwood, Kirsten Gillibrand and Kamala Harris.

For the best part of two decades, Wintour’s Vogue was closer to the White House than Vogue had ever been. Hillary Clinton became the first first lady to cover Vogue in 1998 – an honour not bestowed, even, on Jackie Kennedy – and in 2016, Vogue endorsed her presidential candidacy, the first time the magazine had ever been publicly partisan. But it is the mention of Michelle Obama that sends Wintour into raptures. “What intrigued me and the rest of the world about Mrs Obama from the beginning was her poise, her intelligence, her grace, how articulate she was, and the sense that she gave of being a true partner to her husband. She was remarkable in so many ways – and still is, look at the incredible success of her book – and I was thrilled to see how she embraced fashion in such a democratic way. She would wear leggings one day, a designer gown the next, and look comfortable in both. She wasn’t locked into one idea of how a first lady should dress. For Vogue, she was a gift.” When the Met’s Costume Institute was renamed in recognition of Wintour’s work as a fundraiser and cheerleader, Michelle Obama cut the ribbon, saying, “I’m here because I have such respect and admiration for this woman, who I am proud to call my friend.”

Since Trump’s election, Vogue has found itself in opposition, a position it has embraced with unexpected relish. The September issue included a profile on Stormy Daniels (the adult film star who had a hush money deal with the president) which saw Daniels resplendent in evening gown and Tiffany diamonds, photographed by Annie Leibovitz. “Today’s audience – not just Vogue’s audience, every audience – wants journalism to take a stand,” Wintour says. “People want to know what you believe in and what you stand for. In this time of fake news, when there is so much disregard for truth and value and for supporting those less fortunate than oneself, we have a moral obligation to stand up for what’s right.”

While Michelle Obama starred on three Vogue covers as first lady, Melania Trump is still waiting for Wintour to call. Will Melania be in Vogue, I ask? “Melania has been on the cover of Vogue,” Wintour fires back without missing a beat. Indeed she has, in her wedding dress, in 2005, but not as first lady, representing the White House. “We do report on Melania consistently, on vogue.com,” says Wintour. “Which is Vogue.” Her inflection puts the emphasis firmly on the full stop.

She picks up her mobile phone. “I’m going to ask someone to bring me another coffee. Would you like one?” I say no, and wait for her to make her call, but after a few seconds she raises an amused eyebrow at me. “Go ahead. I can type and think at the same time, you know.” She has texted the coffee request, I realise. As perfect as Wintour’s manners are, I do not get the impression it would be wise to put them to the test by boring her. I try not to think about the scene in the 2009 Vogue documentary The September Issue when Stefano Pilati, then designer of Yves Saint Laurent, withers under her stony-faced appraisal of his latest collection.

Born in London in 1949 to a British father (Evening Standard editor Charles Wintour) and an American mother, Wintour moved to New York in her 20s. She returned to London in 1985 to edit British Vogue, but was back in New York two years later. Her first issue as editor of American Vogue, in November 1988, featured a model wearing jeans, which famously caused the printers to call Vogue’s office to check they had the right picture. It was an early signpost of the shift from fashion being “something that was directed at a small group, to becoming something that speaks to everyone. That has been the most extraordinary change that I have seen.” As fashion has swelled to a powerful force in culture over the last three decades, Vogue has ridden the crest of that wave. A Vogue cover has become an official stamp not just of beauty, but of relevance. For Amal Clooney, Serena Williams and others, a Vogue cover has signalled a change in gear from success in their field to general superstardom. “Vogue stands for quality,” Wintour says. “To be recognised by Vogue always has an impact.”

In 1998, Renée Zellweger became the first non-model to cover an all-important September issue of Vogue (traditionally the biggest of the year). As the era of the supermodel waned, Wintour coached and coaxed a new generation of actresses to take their place. “The supermodels led us to celebrity,” Wintour says. “The generation of models who came after the supers just wanted to be models, and didn’t want that spotlight. Meanwhile, celebrities were starting to engage with fashion, realising the power of fashion to build their personality, to express who they were, on the red carpet or the front row. So the supermodels ended up being replaced by celebrities.” The alchemy that happens when fashion meets celebrity is at its most potent at the Met Gala, over which Wintour (who has chaired the event since 1995) will once again preside on the first Monday in May.

But today Wintour, who rarely gives interviews, seems less interested in talking frocks than in establishing her place on the right side of history. “I hope I have been able to use the platform of Vogue to do a little bit of good in the world,” she says. She mentions the CFDA Fashion Fund, launched in the aftermath of 9/11 to support young American designers. “It has been wonderful to see Condé Nast and Vogue taking leadership in championing diversity. As a company, we want to stand for positive change. I personally take that very seriously, but it’s not just about me. Edward Enninful was such an important appointment at British Vogue, and he is leading the way on diversity.” I ask who her mentors and allies have been, and she namechecks Condé Nast luminaries Si Newhouse and Alexander Liberman, and designers Karl Lagerfeld, Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren, before landing on Kay Graham, publisher of the Washington Post during the Watergate era. “She was a great friend of my father’s and became a great friend of mine. I admired everything she stood for, how she represented the progress of women, how she stood her ground against the White House. She believed in her editors, she had wonderful women friends and was a deeply good person and had a lot of fun. And [she] was a great tennis player.”

It is a year since the New York Times published allegations of sexual misconduct against Mario Testino and Bruce Weber, two star photographers of Wintour’s Vogue. Wintour has faced criticism for having failed to use her power to better protect the vulnerable in fashion. “We take very seriously events that happen in the industry, whether in or out of our control,” she says today, “and after so many unfortunate incidents came to light, we took a strong stand.” Testino and Weber were banished from Vogue. A new Condé Nast code of conduct forbids the hiring of models under 18, and requires images involving nudity, swimwear, lingerie or suggestive poses to be approved in advance by the subject.

How long Wintour will remain at Vogue is impossible to predict, because Condé Nast is itself in turmoil. Having lost an estimated $250m over the past two years, the company recently announced plans to merge US and international operations, and is searching for a new CEO to replace the departing Bob Sauerberg. Wintour enthuses about the digital age as “a golden era for journalism, because we have the luxury of being able to talk to more people than ever before”, but digital has undoubtedly eroded the might of Vogue. The magazine’s Instagram account has 21.5 million followers but that sounds less impressive when you note that three of the Kardashian family – Kim, Kylie and Kendall – have more than 100 million followers each.

Wintour insists that she believes print magazines will be around “for ever”. Really? “Yes, for ever. I really believe that. Print remains the jewel in the crown.” Does she think of Vogue as a magazine, these days, or is it now a brand? “I don’t care for the word brand, to be honest,” she says. “It makes me feel like I’m in a supermarket. But I love Vogue – very deeply.” She types a few words on her phone and the door opens to signal our time is up. She walks me to her door, shakes my hand, bids me a warm goodbye and turns to her assistant. “I asked for a coffee,” she says. There is no discernible hint in her tone that this is a sackable offence. But then, Anna Wintour doesn’t give much away.

Sunday 10 February 2019

Baftas 2019 / VIDEO: 2019 Baftas: Joanna's jokes, Brexit jibes and the best speeches

 Baftas 2019: The Favourite reigns – almost – supreme as Roma takes best picture
Olivia Colman’s win for best actress is among seven gongs for the period romp, but Alfonso Cuarón is set fair for Oscars glory as Roma takes best picture, best director, and two more

Mark Brown Arts correspondent
Sun 10 Feb 2019 21.32 GMT Last modified on Mon 11 Feb 2019 04.42 GMT

Olivia Colman’s performance as the unstable, self-pitying and hilariously bad-mannered Queen Anne won her Bafta award success on Sunday evening – one of seven awards for the 18th-century comedy The Favourite.

The film was easily the biggest winner at the glitzy Royal Albert Hall ceremony, picking up prizes including including best British film, best production design, best supporting actress, best original screenplay and best costume design.

Colman followed up her success at the Golden Globes and the Critics Choice awards by being named best actress – a category pundits predicted would feature a close race between her and Glenn Close, nominated for The Wife.

 “We are having an amazing night aren’t we?” said Colman in her speech, which met with a standing ovation. “We are going to get so pissed later.”

It caps a stratospheric rise for the actor who early in her career struggled for parts and was best known for comedy, becoming a regular in Mitchell and Webb television and radio sketches and Peep Show. Later came career-changing dramas such as Broadchurch and The Night Manager – up next: the middle-aged Elizabeth in Netflix’s The Crown.

Playing a queen of England does not guarantee Bafta success, but it unquestionably helps. Colman follows in the footsteps of Katharine Hepburn (Eleanor of Aquitaine), Judi Dench (Elizabeth I and Victoria), Cate Blanchett (Elizabeth I) and Helen Mirren (Elizabeth II) in winning for a royal turn.

Both her co-stars, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, were nominated for best supporting actress, with Weisz winning out. Weisz paid tribute to her co-stars, saying: “I salute you! Didn’t we have an extraordinary time. Hats off, ladies.”

It was a terrific night for The Favourite but it lost out to the widely lauded tear-jerker Roma in the best film category. Roma’s director Alfonso Cuarón was named best director, beating Yorgos Lanthimos, Spike Lee, Bradley Cooper and Paweł Pawlikowski. It also won best cinematography (by Cuarón himself) and best film not in the English language.

Cuarón thanked Netflix for having the “faith and courage to get behind a black-and-white film about a domestic worker, subtitled from Spanish, and bring it to audiences around the world.

“To see a film about an indigenous domestic worker embraced this way in an age when fear and anger propose to divide us means the world to me.

“Reverting back to a world of separation and isolation is not a solution to anything. It is simply an excuse to hide our fear within our basest instincts.”

If there was an underlying theme of the evening – apart from the odd jibe about Brexit – then it was diversity in the industry. Or the lack of such.

One of the biggest cheers went to The Favourite’s production designers Fiona Crombie and Alice Felton when they dedicated their win to “every woman and working mother who keeps it together and makes it happen”. And screenwriter Deborah Davis said: “Thank you for celebrating our female-dominated movie about women in power.”

The Favourite’s costume designer, Sandy Powell, described it as a dream “to design for three powerful female protagonists played by three powerful female actresses”.

Earlier in the evening, the film-maker Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, accepting the best documentary award for Free Solo, which follows rock climber Alex Honnold on a remarkable, heart-stopping free solo climb, thanked National Geographic for “hiring women and people of colour … because we do make the films better”.

Bohemian Rhapsody won two awards, including best actor for Rami Malek’s remarkable portrayal of Freddie Mercury. “This is totally extraordinary,” he said. “Thank you for this generous gift.”

The film’s success is striking on several levels, considering some fans were unhappy at what they perceived as liberties taken by the plot, as well as the mixed reception it got from critics, and the unceremonious firing of director Bryan Singer before the film was finished. Last week, Singer’s name was removed from the nominations list because of sexual misconduct allegations against him. Malek did not mention Singer in his speech.

Can You Ever Forgive Me? star Richard E Grant continued to enjoy his award-season party, grinning constantly and posing for photographs, but he failed to win best supporting actor, losing to Mahershala Ali for Green Book.

It was a brilliant night for The Favourite, but the Bafta record of nine awards – set in 1971 by Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid – remains intact.

Other awards included best original music for A Star Is Born, and outstanding British debut for the film-makers of Beast.

This year’s awards were the first to take place since Bafta introduced new rules to increase diversity in the films it honours. But although change is happening, it is too slow for many observers, who point to the all-male shortlist for the best director category. The only woman to ever win is Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker in 2009.

Bafta contends that the lack of women director nominations is a reflection of wider problems in the industry. On the red carpet, Dame Pippa Harris, Bafta’s chair, said only 10% of the films entered this year were directed by women. “It needs to be 50%.” She acknowledged there is “still much more to be done” and praised the “4% challenge”, which encourages people in the film industry to commit to working with a female director within the next 18 months. “It seems so low as a bar you think, ‘Really? Is that all we are aiming for?’ But I think it’s great to have something concrete that people can pledge to do.”

For the second year running, Joanna Lumley presented the awards – probably down to her not being on Twitter, she joked. In truth that was one of her better lines, as many of her scripted gags were met with groans or, worse, polite chuckles.

The ceremony’s in memorium section paid tribute to figures such as Albert Finney and Nicolas Roeg, accompanied by the young saxophonist Jess Gillam playing the title track from Love Story.

The only award voted for by the public, the rising star award, went to Letitia Wright, the Guyanese-born British star of Black Panther, who revealed from the stage that she was deeply depressed a few years ago and was considering giving up acting. Her faith in God and Bafta got her back on track, she said.

The evening’s highest honour, the Bafta fellowship, was given to film editor Thelma Schoonmaker, a three-time Oscar winner and one of Martin Scorsese’s closest collaborators, who has worked on 22 of his features.

Ahead of the award, Schoonmaker revealed to the Observer her plans to publish the diaries of her late husband, the director Michael Powell.

Another of Bafta’s special awards, for outstanding British contribution to cinema, was presented by Bill Nighy to husband-and-wife producers Stephen Woolley and Elizabeth Karlsen, whose films over four decades, from The Crying Game to Carol, have been nominated for a total of 52 Baftas.

Wednesday 6 February 2019

The Rebirth of an English Country House: St. Giles House by Earl Of Shaftsbury (Author), Tim Knox (Author) VIDEO:Lord Shaftesbury's Extensive Estate Restoration

The Rebirth of an English Country House: St. Giles House
by Earl Of Shaftsbury (Author), Tim Knox (Author)

The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, 39-year-old Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, invites the reader into the house that his family has called home since the fifteenth century. In recent years, his award-winning restoration has brought the house back to life, transforming exquisite spaces that honour the past while being suited to twenty-first-century living. English country-house splendour, through the hands of some of the world s top artisans and craftspeople, returns to the house in the form of re-created wallpapers, customized paints, revived furniture from the Georgian and Victorian periods, reworked antique Brussels tapestries, restored plasterwork and textiles, and a complete overhaul of the landscape, with its sunken garden, woodlands, avenue of beeches, lake, and shell-encrusted grotto. With stories of noteworthy architecture, beautiful interiors, and centuries of a single family s involvement in British and world history, this book will appeal to devotees of country living, the aristocratic life, historic houses, and English interior design.

Above: Nicholas Ashley-Cooper, 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, and his wife, Dinah. Top: The exterior of St. Giles House.
Photo: Juston Barton

In 2012, Nicholas Edmund Anthony Ashley-Cooper, the 12th Earl of Shaftesbury, and his wife became the first people to live in St Giles House, Dorset, since the death of his great-grandfather in 1961. The Grade I listed building had been the family home since the 1400’s, but like many English country houses, it fell into disrepair following World War II. Lord Shaftesbury’s talk will explain his sudden inheritance, as well as describe his personal trials and tribulations, and eventual successes with the renaissance of St. Giles. He will show dramatic before-and-after photos, from the interiors to the grounds and gardens, which offer a front row seat into the house’s dramatic transformations. The result is a testament to his resilience to honor his family’s past while embracing 21st century living.

The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury Relays a Family's History Through Its House
In a new book, the earl reminisces on St. Giles House and the drama that unfolded within it

By Mitchell Owens
December 12, 2018
The 12th Earl of Shaftesbury Relays a Family's History Through Its House

“Houses are exactly like gardens,” Nick Shaftesburytold AD PRO recently. “You leave a garden for summer or six months, and it’s just gone wild. A house is the same: left to its own devices, it unravels so quickly without humans stroking, caressing, tending, fixing, and constantly keeping the thing going.” In his case, the “thing” is St. Giles House, the redbrick seat of the Ashley-Cooper family for nearly 400 years, and home to the Manhattan DJ (he was then known as Nick AC) turned 12th earl of Shaftesbury. It’s also the subject of an engaging, intimate, and surprisingly honest book, freshly published by Rizzoli: The Rebirth of an English Country House: St Giles House ($55).

Written by Shaftesbury and Tim Knox (now the curator of the Royal Collection) and photographed by Justin Barton, The Rebirth of an English Country House traces the trajectory of St. Giles, located near the Dorset village of Wimborne St. Giles, from splendor to dilapidation and nearly back again. (More on that strategic “nearly” in a few moments.) That narrative is interwoven with the brutal 2004 murder of Shaftesbury’s flamboyant father, the 10th earl, by his third wife’s brother, and the death, six months later, of his 27-year-old accountant brother, the 11th earl, of a heart attack during a holiday in New York. Three years after that, Shaftesbury broke his back in a riding accident. (He has since healed and is now a marathon runner and ambassador for Wings of Life, an Austrian-based international spinal-cord research foundation.) These episodes upended the present earl’s life, personally and professionally, and thus might have understandably been entirely skirted in the new book, but Shaftesbury and his family agreed that enough time had passed. In any case, it’s not as if the story of St. Giles could be told without them.

“My siblings and my mother were affected by those events as much as I was, but they have been really supportive, and I shared with them what I had written, and they were comfortable with it,” says the 39-year-old, sleeve-tattooed aristocrat, who married veterinary surgeon Dinah Streifeneder in 2010 and has three children, Anthony, Viva, and Zara. “Each of us has dealt with it in our own way,” he continues. “Sometimes you see tabloid articles that are kind of distressing, and other times you give interviews, but some of them have been lovely, actually." Ultimately, he says, "the book was cathartic.”
The Rizzoli deal also gave Shaftesbury a singular opportunity to honor his late father’s own youthful efforts in preserving St. Giles, which hadn’t been occupied since the 1940s. “It’s easy for people to focus on a man who had spiraled out of control, and mist over all the years he had put into his family and into the house,” he explains. “It’s also nice to highlight my brother’s contributions. What we’ve done is finish off work that had been started off many years before.”

The 10th Lord Shaftesbury started the ball rolling in the early 1970s by demolishing Victorian additions that had transformed the 1650–51 house, constructed for the first earl, into a castellated, elephantine sprawl, picturesque in silhouette but with unwieldy results. “Unfortunately, the Victorians did that a lot,” explains the present earl, who larded the stylishly produced book with family photographs and staggering "before" shots (think collapsed ceilings and black mold). “We live in an era where you can’t touch anything or make any changes, but my father’s removals made the house more practical and more aesthetically pleasing," he opines.

The biggest contribution was the 10th earl’s brilliant decision to remove the disintegrating stucco that had been slathered on the exterior in Victorian days—it was fashionable at the time—to expose the original 17th-century brick. (He also got rid of a disfiguring 19th-century tower.) Says Shaftesbury, “The result is a charming, softer house.” Still, the restoration stalled because of money issues, and the family continued to live at another Ashley-Cooper property. Then came 1999, the first of several anni horribiles that came in swift succession. The 10th earl, shattered by the death of his adored mother, relocated to the South of France, divorced his Swedish second wife (the present earl’s mother), and succumbed to drugs, alcohol, and sketchy romances.

Though St. Giles had returned to its original form under the 10th earl’s ministrations, the house, still shuttered and crumbling, eventually ended up on English Heritage’s Buildings at Risk list. Roofs leaked so badly that buckets were positioned all over the house; windows rarely kept out the elements; giant holes allowed one to peer into the basement; and all manner of disintegration abounded. “Dry rot is a particularly sinister phrase, isn’t it?” Shaftesbury says. “It’s even more sinister in real life.” In 2015, though, he and his wife proudly accepted the Historic Houses Association and Sotheby’s Restoration Award for their enthusiastic efforts in turning back St. Giles’ decline in just five years. They also settled into a sprightly, easygoing apartment in the south wing (it’s featured in the book, too) and revitalized the 5,500-acre estate as a business—farming its fields, raising cattle for dairy and beef, running commercial partridge and pheasant shoots, and renting out portions of the house and outbuildings for weddings and the like. The book also generously highlights the works of the artisans and craftspeople who have helped the Shaftesburys in the restoration, which ranged from the reproduction of antique wallpapers to the restoration of the park and its grottoes, as well as the restoration grants and other funding that helped bring St. Giles back to life.

Curiously, though, it’s what the Shaftesburys haven’t done at St Giles that rivets the visitor’s eye. The Great Dining Room, which is pictured on the book’s cover, is still missing a goodly portion of the 18th-century paneling, revealing the underlying brick walls in full view. (Yes, dry rot was the culprit.) As a result, an earlier era’s doors and windows, sealed up when the room was remodeled in the 1700s, are plainly visible—and it was the Shaftesburys’ inspired idea not to re-create the grand space as a period piece. “When you try something different, it’s nice when people don’t always get it. Sometimes they ask, ‘When are you going to finish?’ Or ‘Did you really take off all the paneling?’” Shaftesbury explains. “What I love about that space is that your imagination is allowed to run wild. A lot of houses are grand and beautiful but there’s often no surprise or thought-provoking element. It’s lovely to feel that we can contribute something to the house and not be entirely slavish to what happened before.”

Enraptured by the story that Nick Shaftesbury tells in The Rebirth of an English Country House? Then get thee to South Carolina’s Charleston Antiques Show: On March 16, 2019, the earl will be talking about the revival of St. Giles. The trip to America is also a bit of a homecoming—the first earl, the man who built St. Giles, was one of the Carolina colony’s original lords proprietor, and namesake of the state's Ashley and Cooper rivers. Whether his DJ descendant spins any discs, though, is anybody’s guess.