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Twenty-twenty-one marks three-score years since the sleek, iconic Jaguar E-Type, dubbed the most beautiful car ever made, was launched, Robin Dutt opines.

Unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in 1961, it was perhaps no surprise that this model with its plainly seductive and sensual lines would become an instant classic. A dear friend of mine pushed the boat out and purchased a glossy red example to celebrate his 50th birthday – and didn’t regret the cash expended.

In fact, a picture of him next to it shows an unashamed boy-racer glee. Took years off him!

There is something rather oceanic about the E-Type, with its suggestively adventurous “eyes” for headlights and a grill more like the mouth of an exotic deep water fish, somehow knowing it is rare indeed.

With a price tag of £45,000 in today’s money, the E-Type was an out-of-reach motoring luxury for most but a tangible reality for so many others who fell under her spell. Those who were on the usual £7 a week salary in the 1960s could only dream but somehow one suspects that so seductive was the model that some might have tried to save up or wait for a second or third hand example.

And, so iconic is its name that Bo Martin Erik Erikson the musician, chose to call himself, ‘E-Type’.

Perhaps another reason, apart from its soignee aesthetics, the model was produced only between 1961 and 1975 and again apart from its appearance, it was a high-performance vehicle for its time – the leader in the sports car stakes.

The colours most associated with this member of the Jaguar family are black, silver, red, green and the occasional flash of yellow – nothing that suggests trend. And as in perhaps many other cases of beautifully designed cars, shape does dictate possible colour. Some colours would look so wrong on an E-Type. In today’s vehicular world where almost industrial steel grey as a car hue seems a dull, given the E-Type’s restrained palette from the start, was all about the longevity of classicism.

The car has featured in several films – most ironically, perhaps, with Mike Myers where the name Shaguar was bound to stick. But there was also the classic red example in Car Trouble featuring Julie Walters and one, beautifully converted into the most elegant hearse imaginable, for the equally one-off cult classic, Harold and Maud.

So, you might just want to fall in vintage love with an E-Type today and if so, E-Type UK will sell you your dream.

But you won’t, perhaps, have much change for celebratory strawberries and cream.

Twenty-twenty-one marks three-score years since the sleek,

It has been five years (there’s a Bowie song there, somewhere) since this grandmaster of musical and performance creativity died and about 50 years since he stole the show with the lilting and strategically seductive, ‘Starman’, writes Robin Dutt.

So many people (d’un age certain) will remember this moment with fixed fascination and awe, when he burst through the TV screens – for most in black and white (but there seemed to be colour) and sung – ‘I had to ‘phone someone, so I picked on you – oo, oo’.

And accompanied by that camera-pointing index finger, almost fencing foil targeting, everyone surely thought, he was speaking about them and them alone whilst at the same time, knowing or at least, hoping that there were others out there who felt exactly the same. Ian McCulloch of Echo & the Bunnymen saw Bowie’s performance as a 12-year old and recalled ‘The presence of it.’ Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet calls it ‘my seminal moment’.

Robert Dimery’s livre de poche entitled simply, ‘David Bowie’ in a series of ‘Lives of the Musicians’ reminds in cogent detail, Bowie’s extraordinary originality and versatility. The star knew that to stay the same was to atrophy and so,  ‘Ch-ch-ch Changes’ were the way forward and the only way to establish longevity.

Although we may know much of the detail of Bowie’s life (or lives) Dimery’s is a welcome and not obtrusive presence throughout, as a guide

”Look out all you rock and rollers’ is one of the lines in that song which is surely a somewhat cheeky warning. Perhaps, it is even self- referencing too. And yet, when other ‘stars’ reinvent themselves, it is usually done mechanically and as a result of the force of fashion. He might have been a chameleon but he was reacting not to prevailing trend but his personal environ.

Bowie was able to counter the moment and the circumstance. Dimery reminds also just what a great wearer of tailoring Bowie was – of course unconventional and sporting the sharp and sculpted cuts of such visionaries as Thierry Mugler and Kansai.

The photographs in this book – some will be unfamiliar to perhaps even the most ardent Bowie fan – show in those mismatched eyes of his, one thing: steely determination. Whether as a colt of a youth in early band incarnations such as the Kon Rads or Feathers to the sexy-terrifying look of ‘Droog’-style Spiders from Mars, or the impossible sleekness of (HRH!) The Thin White Duke, Bowie’s reinvention of himself was intentionally honest and much more than about image alone.

Perhaps a humble background is essential for superstardom and Dimery is cogniscant of painting the dull background drab to the explosion of future colour – from nothing to everything, one might say.
The author’s painstaking (but evidently, enjoyed) research is here from start to finish and although we may know much of the detail of Bowie’s life (or lives) Dimery’s is a welcome and not obtrusive presence throughout, as a guide.

A ‘warts ‘n’ all’ account of the phenomenon that was/is Bowie (hard to say which) is not necessarily for most fans, undesirable. But through the author’s strident prose, one does perceive the performer’s almost manic intention to be music’s ultimate hero.

It was obvious, Dimery recounts, that Bowie had to turn his attention to America to be truly global

And with the press fascinated to the point of mania itself, having also identified the electric deliberately camp allure of Bowie’s friend, Marc Bolan’s ‘T.Rextasy’, the one time Mr. David Jones was predicted to be, as Rock Magazine stated, ‘to the 70s what Lennon and McCartney, Jagger and Dylan were to the 60s’.

Indeed, by 1973, Bowie had become Britain’s best-selling rock star. But if the concept of being a ‘Hero’ and the concept of ‘Fame’ were turned into songs, it was obvious, Dimery recounts, that Bowie had to turn his attention to America to be truly global.

And whilst his old friend, Bolan, remained a glam god – yet fading all the time, Bowie embraced and indeed, made change. He understood the concept of the fragility of created empires. He knew that people tire even of the things they love.

It is curious perhaps to realise the truth of the word ‘star’ applied to anyone from musicians to painters, couturiers to writers and indeed, anything to anything, when it comes to recognition, mass adulation and of course, sizeable fortune and iconic beauty.

For a man who perhaps knew that an actual star is not a living but a dying entity, the cold irony of the fact could not have escaped. He wrote the love-soaked ballad, ‘The Prettiest Star’ for his then wife, Angie Bowie (originally with Marc Bolan on lead guitar).

But so many think that it was actually a song about Bolan. Indeed, it could have been.  And Bowie was the last star to appear on the television show ‘Marc’ which was to be Bolan’s last performance before his car crash in that purple Mini.

But that’s another story. Stars feature in Bowie titles and in the contents of his songs – ‘Starman’, ‘Ziggy Stardust’, ‘Lady Stardust’ – so is his choice of title for what would be his final album, was, ‘Blackstar’. And so…Ladies and Gentleman…a star had left the universe.

I never met David Bowie (or Bolan, come to that) but there is a personal story to share. I was invited so long ago, to one of London’s celebrated private galleries for the birthday of the gallerist and Bowie was guest of honour. He was charm itself, mingling happily with the delighted crowd and shaking hands. The star had come to town. But with champagne flowing and the baffling beauty of so many extraordinarily interesting guests, each time he sallied into my eyeline, I moved out of the way – and out of eye contact.

Julie Burchill once trenchantly wrote in an article about being wary of meeting someone you admire. ‘Never meet your Hero’ was the sentiment.   And I never did.

David Bowie by Robert Dimery (Lives of the Musicians) is published by Laurence King Publishing £12.99.

It has been five years (there's a

Bulgari have announced a new partnership with the Golden Globe and Critics’ Choice award-winning actor, Josh O’Connor. Josh shot to fame for his portrayal of Prince Charles in The Crown.  

Bulgari say Josh represents the best and brightest of young British actors. They have followed his career, with “great belief” for many years.

They say his discerning eye for craftsmanship, detail and design is unrivalled and they are  “delighted to bring these values together and introduce him into the Bvlgari family as an ambassador for watches”.

Speaking about the announcement, Josh said: “I’m delighted to join the Bulgari family as their Watch Ambassador. I have always had an interest in the making of timepieces and I look forward to learning more about the craftsmanship and design of these unique objects.” 

Bulgari have announced a new partnership with


Before the immediacy of marketing imagery in the world of fashion, communicating the latest trends and new ideas were often conveyed internationally by fashion dolls, writes Robin Dutt.

Their heyday was the second half of the 18th century but historians have identified their origins to Renaissance Italy – even 18th century France.

The fashion doll or Pandora, or indeed, Poupees de Mode allowed dressmakers, tailors and milliners to accurately show miniature versions of what the potential customer could expect for the season and experience at first hand, the vibrancy and actuality of colour, tactility of fabric and use of decorative trimmings and buttons.

One designer of this century has utilised the concept of these figures for his S/S 2021 collection entitled Mirror Ghosts Whisper Loud.

You can always expect the unexpected at Walter Van Bierendonck and this year is even more of an exception, featuring his selection of loose-cut tailoring with a twist and turn – some outfits complete with slices of mirrors, metallic fabrics and clearly ‘no-fur’ fur.

The designer’s exact inspiration is much more recent than the eighteenth century, as he personally cites  the Theatre de la Mode which travelled the world in 1945.

The pandemic of the time, the newly ended Second World War is surely a match for our clinically relevant pandemic where ideas might be slower to reach recipients in their glorious actuality, with no salon shows, no catwalks or runways, no experiencing the feel of the fabric.

But Van Bierendonck’s spirited collection, the dolls slowly rotating to sensual contemporary mood music, is brave, unusual, disturbing, comic, touching and clearly shows that his concept at the very least, is virus-proof.

  Before the immediacy of marketing imagery in


Sometime last year when one was briefly allowed to roam the hitherto empty streets of early Covid and encouraged to go on a shopping safari, I made a vintage discovery, writes Robin Dutt.

Dating from the 1960s, it is a handsome, mint condition, raglan sleeve overcoat with leather knot buttons, in a most fetching Racing Green, After Eight chocolate and biscuit-ivory Tweed, designed by one Sir Hardy Amies.

Apart from the elegant label, proclaiming his name, there is another, altogether larger with an image of a map accompanied by the proud assurance that this garment had been woven (notice, not ‘made’) by the Islanders of the Outer Hebrides.

How to wear it: courtesy of Slater Menswear

That alone gives instant provenance and inspires. It is a substantial affair and just right for now (and a little later).

But as the seasons roll on, one company, Slater Menswear, has identified Tweed for all seasons and places – be it late spring or even summer – and whether the workplace or worn for special occasions.

Slaters reminds that Tweed need not be restricted to the arguably most associated colours of the fabric – russets, mustards, drabs and olives but consider more ‘metropolitan’ and strident tonal mixes of silver greys, teal blues and the like – perfect with very smart dark, Parker Quink Blue-Black jeans, cut narrow for a winning weekend look.

Also, there is no need to think of Tweed having to be part of an ensemble. A  Tweed waistcoat, crisp Jermyn Street shirt, smart trousers and Brogues make for a timeless statement and look dynamic into the bargain too – from morning coffee to evening cocktail.


  Sometime last year when one was briefly