Belfast Telegraph

Patsy may admire Kate's fashion sense, but it's wearing thin with me

By Jane Graham

I've always been in two minds about Patsy Kensit. It won't surprise you to know I've spent many hours weighing up my two minds on Kensit. I think we all have, in a way. I've tended towards positive vibes since the ex-pop star/actress broke up with Liam Gallagher in 2000 - the final bell toll in the hazy dream that was Cool Britannia. She looked so sad afterwards.

But last week, she said such a silly thing my natural state of Kensit sympathy collapsed back into the frustrating status of ambivalence which plagued me in the early years of our showbiz (celeb-proletariat) relationship.

"Kate Middleton would be my regal inspiration," she told Stylist magazine. I told myself not to make a snap judgment. Perhaps Stylist had forced Patsy to choose a "regal" inspiration, insisted that she pick a favourite from a Windsor-only line-up. She'd opted for Kate over Camilla, Anne and Zara; fair enough. But, oh, Patsy, you had to go on.

"She's so fabulous on every level," she continued. "She repeats outfits, which is brilliant. I know it's a shallow thing to say, but I think it's done so much for women. I'm not going to be forced to have to look different every time I go out. She's like our generation's suffragette." Oh, dear.

To be fair, it's impressive that Patsy Kensit still makes headlines at all. Even in her 80s/90s "heyday", she was only a minor pop star, the big-eyed ooh la la type with the look of being one lollipop away from the full Lolita.

She was also a minor movie actress, whose agent must have spent a lot of time sifting through scripts for stage directions saying "sits and pouts", "stands and pouts" and "leaves the room pouting". No shame in that; she does have fabulous Bardot lips.

I felt for her when her attempts to be taken seriously were hit with the bad luck of playing a character called Crepe Suzette (French for Crap Suzie) in Absolute Beginners. And it must have been a disappointment when that much-hyped film suffered a box office floppage so devastating it literally destroyed the prestigious production company which made it.

But she once said she wanted to be "more famous than anything, or anyone", so perhaps she found a way to take solace from the notoriety of that legendary epic fail. I hoped so.

Despite the hard-ass "by any means necessary" big talk about stardom, halfway between the Malcolm X ruthlessness and X Factor narcissism, there seemed to be a rather vulnerable little soul.

She wasn't a good enough actress to convince me she was a tough guy. Her devastation at the split with Liam Gallagher only made me more sympathetic.

But now this gratitude to Kate Middleton for allowing her to "repeat outfits". Even if she was half-joking, these are the words of a woman in thrall to a notion of womanhood created by an industry more soulless than Robert Johnson, greedier than Mr Greedy.

It hadn't occurred to me that brain-possessing women over 40 might still worry about being "caught out" wearing the same dress twice. Even worse, though, is the notion that years of fashion fear could be wiped out, not by doing yoga on Everest, or reading Primo Levi, but by getting the style nod from a cute girl who married a prince.

It's nice that Kate Middleton sometimes grabs a Zara cardie off the back of a chair, but I'm not sure Emily Davis would have thrown herself in front of a horse if she'd thought that would be extent of the emancipatory leap a century later.

Dave's manifesto is just bubbly jubbly

None of the election manifestos have leapt out at me screaming this is the epiphany in progressive, compassionate, democratic enlightenment you've been waiting for.

But, then, none of them have posited a benign dictatorship led by a dug-up John Stuart Mill, so no surprise.

However, I'm truly baffled by the Tory vision of the "good life". Is David Cameron suggesting we all give up our jobs and lounge around on benefits waiting for our carrots to hatch, like Richard Briers did in the sitcom? Or is this code for promising posh folk decades of quaffing champagne on the chaise longue while the peasants queue at food banks?

'Dress down' Kim is just plain happy

"So what did you think of the dress?" asked a friend this week. I scanned my brain anxiously, wondering if I'd forgotten that we'd just been clothes shopping.

My short-term memory can be quite scatty. But it turned out she was referring to the wedding frock of Mrs Andy Murray, Kim Sears.

Apparently, social media and the fashion pages are awash with disapproval at what's considered to be an "old-fashioned", "matronly", "unflattering" fuss.

I have to admit, I barely noticed it.

The smile on her face was so wide, she looked so damned happy, I must have been distracted.

Belfast Telegraph


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