The red carpet zoom awards season is upon us, and celebrities could do far worse than to don Tubereuse Nue, the new fragrance by Tom Ford. Even on a bare-shouldered number, just at home. For the vibe. Warm, fuzzy, sexy, this is a rich and thick textured number that smoulders – sweet with white flowers: tuberose absolute Orpur from India at the forefront of the perfume blended with lily, jasmine and Sichuan pepper over an ambery, suede-centred base of benzoin, cacao bean, styrax, tonka, musk, and a slight touch of oud, all the notes disseminated into a smoothness, redolent of the glamourpuss perfumes of yore such as Vanderbilt, Oscar De La Renta, and even Madonna’s Truth or Dare. As with Shanghai Lily, Ford brooks no airy, subtle transparency here, but fills up the flowers’ stamens to their brim with richness and suggestivity: only lightly lascivious.
Every year I read obsessively about the Oscars. And the Golden Globes – all the cinema prizes, I don’t know why. I like to keep up with it all, even if I haven’t been to a single movie theatre in an entire year. As the stars arrive, it’s always intriguing to hone in on their style choices, the ‘ensemble,’ despite the fact that – obvious general attractiveness aside for the most part – actors and actresses are often generally too conservative in their choices, and go with the consensus set up by their personal shoppers. The mermaid silhouette, the trains; the toned arms, the belaboured jewellery or for the men the standard tux – I very rarely personally actually enjoy how they present themselves because it is all just too much of a muchness – standardised wealth set to the fashion rules of the time.
This year, celebrities will be filming themselves at home. So different. No emerging from limousines and setting up a pose for the paparazzi. No ‘who are you wearing?’ No entourages. No packed together in the auditorium. I wonder if they feel bereft of the limelight, or just relieved? In its place, your dressmaker and makeup up and hair people simply coming over to the house after lunch, getting it all done in the living room, before setting up shop for the little camera lens on the home computer. Then, rather than all the smooching and schmoozing and hugging and air kissing at all the right after-parties, just ripping it all off again and changing back into comfortable leisure gear while grabbing some bubbles from the fridge and checking all the reactions and the buzz on social media. Was I in the Best Dressed or the Worst?
My vote for the former would definitely be for Josh O’Connor. I fancied the pants off Prince Charles in the recent series of The Crown (a sensation I found vaguely alarming) – his father, Prince Phillip wasn’t at all bad either. Although my favourite scene of the ‘historically inaccurate’, but utterly engrossing drama was when Princes Diana, played by newcomer Emma Corrin – who, like Josh O Connor won a Golden Globe award for best actor in a Television Drama – danced alone, sealed off from the rest of the world but not from her dreams in a mist-windowed studio to Elton John’s Song For Guy : just a tape in a stereo and her earnest, blue eyed naivety as she imagines a dazzling future, quite heartbreaking to behold; for me, only Prince Charles, in his less superficial rendering of the heir to the throne ultimately came across as anything approaching a real person. All others were embodied caricatures – impersonations. Effective, to some degree, in their somewhat fixed, Cluedo-like characterisations ( I quite liked Princess Anne), though the vinegary, mewled vowels of the ludicrous Royal Received Pronunciation they were all using distracted from the proceedings for me. Only the real aristocracy can speak like that. They still always sound completely ridiculous, but you know that those sounds are being emitted quite naturally from their ribcages. They were born into it. When overdone by a diction coach, for actors from a different class, it comes across as a parody. Only Josh O’Connor disappeared into his role, capturing not only the essence of his character, and the accent, but also the sheer frustration and fury and anguish of a person restricted by their public duty and not allowed to love. I thought he was brilliant. And he looks beautiful , too, in his Golden Globe clothes – outside the box; subtly flamboyant, but very elegant. These colours and fabrics, also, incidentally, are perfect for the new Tom Ford : just a few dabs somewhere on his person in this context would be unusual, ravishing.