I called Pinky: ‘Sparkles!’ he answered. ‘Come to a book launch with me?’ ‘No’ he said, instantly. ‘Oh please come! It’s in Kingly Court’. ‘Oh, well that’s around the corner, I suppose. Okay, I’ll meet you outside Ralph Lauren and we’ll walk up together – but I’m not coming with you. I’ll go and pick up my laundry on the way home instead’.
It started to rain. My new Mac is certainly getting a work out these days. I hurried along and spied Pinky sitting on the window ledge of Ralph’s gaff. ‘So what’s new?’ he asked, followed by: ‘You look like a right minx in that coat’. ‘Not much’ I said, as I told him about ‘Audrey Hepburn in Hats’. ‘I’ve never really been a fan but my friend always does these lovely books and I’d like to see it’.
Pinky in flip flops and me in open toed sandals meant that we didn’t tarry. We separated at the lift to the hat shop where the launch was taking place, and said our goodbyes.
I saw my cousin’s friend Alastair, and called out to him. ‘What the hell are you doing here?’ he shouted back. ‘You invited me!!!!! Honestly!’ ‘ You’d be disappointed if you got any other reaction from me’ he responded to my mock horror, and he was right.
After being checked off on the list I walked into the hat shop and immediately gravitated towards a brick red organic raffia trilby which found its way onto my head in about two seconds flat. ‘I’m not even a fan of Audrey’s!’ I cried to anyone within earshot. ‘Oh, but that looks lovely on you’ a woman said as she proceeded to try one on too.
I decided I’d better look at the book before I got into any more trouble with hats. Beautifully simple and with gorgeous photos of the My Fair Lady star in the chapeaux of her particular years. Unusual for such a pretty woman to choose to wear hats so often, but yet they added a further dimension to her existing elegance and undeniable presence, and perhaps she was aware of that. As the author pointed out, she also wore them at a time when bouffant hair dos were all the rage – stiff competition – literally.
A cheese straw, florentine, new headwear and a book later, I decided it was definitely time to go. Saying goodbye and thank you to Al, I stepped outside. Pouring rain greeted me and I lingered a little while longer under the awning to shelter with the smokers. I met the author’s sister in law. ‘I remember when I was young I’d see my mother in hats all the time – she wouldn’t have considered an outfit complete without a hat!’ I agreed that it was interesting how things had so radically changed from that time, not so long ago.
I looked inside at the hats and the continuing drizzle. ‘Why don’t you put your new one on for the journey home?’ someone asked. I didn’t hesitate: ‘A lady never wears a hat after six in the evening’.