Last night I went out to the 50th birthday party of a good friend. It was held in a small private members’ club not far from St Martin-in-the-Fields and I’ve passed its entrance many times: a simple anonymous front door with only a tarnished brass plate to identify it as having hidden attractions. Part of the delight of being invited to all things social is the bittersweet contemplation of what to wear and last night I chose to go long. Sun ray pleated orange long. Burnt orange, I should add, not the orange of frozen lollipops, and even that tempered by a black fluted-sleeved top.
I didn’t know many of the people who would be going and clothes are an invaluable resource when it comes to establishing something of the character of strangers. We make huge assumptions about people based on what they wear and I’m not convinced by those who tell me that clothes don’t matter. Even someone who disparages fashion as frivolous has, by default, bothered about their own attire. Anyhow, I’m not quite certain what orange says about me and perhaps its best not to delve but I’m always interested to see what other people wear, men and women, and I notice the detail: the quality of fabric, the stitching, the fit. It’s the first step in de-coding someone’s character.
Immediately on entering the club, there is a very narrow and very steep staircase which I climbed with all the grace of an elephant. It took one step onto the hem of my skirt and I fell like a log and, like trying to stand up after falling over on ice, it gets worse before it improves. I did reach the top, mostly by crawling, and entered the room in disarray, in a fug of expletives having untangled myself and having thrown my skirt’s voluminous mass over my shoulder. It was very far from being an elegant and gracious entrance. ‘Buffoon’ comes to mind.
My hostess looked lovely in black georgette devore and there were a few beautifully cut Savile Row suits about the place. You can always tell Savile Row: those perfect, fat seams and their precise fit. They are a joy. There was also a lot of ordinariness and a fair amount of scruff. A fine and fascinating mixture.
There’s always the possibility, at socials, of meeting someone who could become a client and I met someone last night who seemed very keen in becoming one. Therein lies the problem. There are some people from whom I run both physically and metaphorically and she was one such person. I’m generally pretty affable and accommodating but there is a limit and I can see ‘awkward’ a mile off. I’ve had difficult clients and it’s torture so I shall graciously decline……
An excellent party.