News, Culture & Society

LIZ JONES: There are still places where I’m a VIP

I’ve spent the past three days staggering from my hotel to half a dozen fashion shows a night in tall heels. You might say, well, she’s been doing that for 20 years, but you’d be very, very wrong, as this time there is a difference. I’m at Liverpool Fashion Week, as a VIP attendee alongside Gok Wan (you might think our encounter in the lobby would be embarrassing, as I once wrote that he was an ‘anorexic gay man who has no right to tell women how to look good naked and, anyway, what’s wrong with clothes?’, but you’d be wrong again, as he was gracious; David, please take note). And although you might say, well, hasn’t old Ms Fussy Pants gone down in the world, a bit like her attending Romford Film Festival (I have actually just been invited to the Romford Film Festival, where I can enjoy ‘complimentary drinks in the VIP holding area’; you see, there are a couple of small pockets left in the world where I’m still considered a VIP), but actually Liverpool Fashion Week has been brilliant.

Whereas at London Fashion Week at a dinner thrown by Stella McCartney I was banished to a very high balcony area to chew on three almonds while being allowed to gaze down on the likes of Alex Shulman and Kate Moss sitting down to a three-course banquet (I kept wanting to yell over the banister: ‘But I’m the one who’s vegan and doesn’t wear fur!’), the designers in Liverpool have welcomed me with open and very tanned arms. The women in the frow have been friendly, too, and actually turn to talk to me rather than what used to happen in London, Paris and Milan: fashion editors would lean around me to gossip, as though I were invisible as well as deaf. The young women of Liverpool are not above being asked personal questions, either, such as when I asked one how on earth she managed to grow such amazing eyebrows and she replied happily, ‘It’s a Scouse brow. I shave off my natural brow, then pencil in a shape with wax, then build up the colour, and then I apply a highlighter on the bone.’ Blimey. Not only where does she find the time, but what does she look like when she goes to bed? Tilda Swinton? ‘Who? Oh, well, I don’t wipe them off. They sleep with me, like pets!’

You see? Women after my own heart. Anyway, after my protracted virtual argument with David last week, when I told him he would never see me again, he emailed an apology. ‘Hi, back in France. On reflection, I see why you were angry. Of course I don’t think you are Islamophobic. I’m sorry.’

I graciously accepted his apology, mainly as he is in charge of picking up my (borrowed) outfit for my niece’s wedding on Saturday: a gorgeous pink lace dress with sheer sleeves and a scalloped hem, matching coat and a hat from Suzannah, a couturier with an atelier in London’s Little Venice.

It’s a funny conundrum, fashion. On the one hand, I hate it: the PRs on the door with a guest list who can hardly be bothered to raise their Laura Mercier lashes to ask me, ‘Who is it you write for?’, to which I’d be tempted to snap, ‘Do you really want me to tell the owner of your company that you can’t read?’ Being yelled at by the scrum of (male, overweight) photographers at the end of the catwalk to, ‘Uncross your legs! Move your ruddy handbags!’

But on the other hand, knowing I will turn up at the wedding on Saturday in the perfect dress is like having body armour, or at least a lovely friend. Dressing up for a wedding shows respect. I remember at my wedding my dear, now dead, brother turned up in jeans, cowboy boots and a leather jacket. I was angry at him then for thinking his comfort was more important than my feelings, but I suppose he didn’t feel the need for armour, or for anyone to like him.

I’ve just got back from the Beatles exhibition on Albert Dock. I was a bit too young for The Beatles, but one item of memorabilia was so familiar, I reeled with shock. A Meet the Beatles magazine, which my elder sister Lyn would bring home for me every week, having purchased it at Liverpool Street Station. It’s a dusty relic now, like a piece of Roman pottery. Seeing it, I suddenly realised: time flies. And I realised I’ve wasted quite enough of it feeling unhappy.



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