When Life Imitates Soap

“You never realise how much of your background is sewn into the lining of your clothes”, Tom Wolfe wrote in the Bonfire of the Vanities in 1987. This is probably something also Mr Markle overlooked as he was faking his costume fitting a couple of days back. Then these two men, each known for their sartorial choices, became the topics of the week.

The much respected and feted author Tom Wolfe passed away the other day. The larger audience will know him for his novel Bonfire of the Vanities, but before becoming novelist he was a long-time journalist. He was also known for his distinct style, which was to wear a white three-piece suit around the year. 

Wolfe explained this in the ​Rolling Stone interview in 1980: “I went to a tailor here in New York and picked out a white material to have suit made for the summertime. Silk tweed is actually a very warm material, so I started wearing the thing in the wintertime. This was winter 1962 or 1963 and the reaction of people was just astonishing… The hostility for minor changes in style was just marvellous.”

The New York Public Library had earlier bought 190 boxes of notebooks, letters, tailor’s bills, Christmas cards, drawings and manuscripts from Wolfe for more than USD 2 million, so Wolfe was an American literary institution way before his death. An expert storyteller and user of English language (he coined many new novel words that were later taken into Oxford dictionary), Wolfe had a huge influence in journalism and reporting styles.

I love the Bonfire of the Vanities in all its fabulous 80s excess, and will re-read it to commemorate Wolfe’s passing. I recently happened to finish Tina Brown’s Vanity Fair Diaries which of course makes a fabulous pairing with the “Bonfire”. Best enjoyed with a prawn cocktail, Tequila Sunrise and an entire Viennetta chocolate ice-cream gateau. 

Then onto the other bonfire of vanities, which shall take place in Windsor this Saturday. The royal wedding, which is actually becoming rather interesting now that people who do not give a toss about British royal protocol are giving the kingdom a run for their money. It is at the same time a pity and nothing short of a miracle that the father of the bride manages to overshadow the bride, but I fear this is where we are.

Royall weddings are fabulously harmless entertainment, and the run-up to these particular nuptials has been eye-opening in many ways. Given that the most stuck-up royal family of this world have welcomed Meghan in their folds, it is astonishing to follow the collective bashing and denigration of the bride-to-be by the media and the general public. As we know from the princess fairy tales of this world, the question here also shall be: Who’s the snobbiest of them all?

I hope to see Meghan’s mother walk her daughter down the aisle as an up yours at the highly patriarchal tradition. Also according to the latest available information, she will be the only family member actually attending the wedding (subject to changes, I dare to reckon). 

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