I’m terrible at recognizing celebrities. Friends who moved to LA quickly learned to pick out any of the A-, B-, C-, D- or Jason Patric-list who become, I am told, part of the furniture of its bars and restaurants. For my part, I didn’t realize who the bum in a Paris wine shop who looked like Johnny Depp actually was until International Man of Mystery Michael Alden asked me if I’d noticed it was Depp himself.
It wasn’t until I read The Story of Babar as an adult, to a young child who loves elephants, that I realized how jarring Jean de Brunhoff’s charming childhood story is. The Babar stories lay in my mind as a vague genial tale of a mellow, rather formal, pachyderm civilization.
Nothing, if you’re Tom Ripley. Yes, that Tom Ripley, of The Talented Mr Ripley fame, the character whose coveting and yearning became perverse virtues of their own, who launched a thousand iGents in search of the cufflinks box, the cashmere sweater, the monogrammed slipper that was no doubt their only missing step to belonging to that club of people who didn’t want anyone who had to try.
The last weeks have taught the world more than it ever wanted to know about the expensive clothing tastes of the French political class. Conservative presidential candidate François Fillon blew up a scandal, not because he wore custom suits from Arnys, a defunct French designer now owned by Berluti, but because since 2012, those very expensive suits had been paid for by someone else…who turned out to be a fixer on behalf of various African leaders with the French political elite.
You knew it was coming. How could a style writer stay away for long from the man whose out-of-context quote emboldened generations of fops, bestowing pseudointellectual and political prestige on overdress?