Hit & Run: The chic stays in the picture

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The Independent Online

In the late 1990s, he was the king of fashion, the man who put Kate Moss in skinny velvet flares and male models in micro shorts. He also put Gucci, formerly a naff Italian leather goods brand, on the style map – and the catwalk crowd in Milan cheered on each of his collections. This week Tom Ford is hoping to thrill the art-house audience at the Venice Film Festival with his latest creation: a full-length feature film, A Single Man, due to be unspooled on the Lido this Friday. Five years after walking out on the Italian fashion house he transformed, the mahogany-tanned, artfully bestubbled Texan is finally making good his promise to reinvent himself as a movie director.

Ever the showman, Ford, who was a commercials actor in his youth, is keeping his first movie secret until release but early word is that it's glossy and glamorous with, unsurprisingly, a premium on style. Adapted from Christopher Isherwood's 1964 novel of the same name, his debut stars actors Colin Firth, Mathew Goode and Julianne Moore, and takes place over the course of a single day in Los Angeles in 1962. It tells the tale of a British professor George Falconer (Firth) who is struggling after the death of his long-time partner Jim (Goode).

A series of chance encounters, many played out in scenes looking like a page torn straight out of a Vogue fashion shoot, abound with beautiful people, leading to Jim's decision that life is worth living after all. Moore plays George's closest friend Charley, a glamorous 48-year-old in an existential crisis; both actors look more fabulous than they have in years, with Firth sporting spectacles and pristine white shirts, and Moore seen in various states of immaculate dress. Nicholas Hoult provides more eye candy as the beautiful young student who wants to get closer to the professor.

So is there is danger of style ruling content? Well, sources say there are scenes on classic magazine locations such as the boudoir and the beach as well as street locations involving a plethora of extras. However Ford's production company Fade to Black earnestly describes the film as "A romantic tale of love interrupted, the isolation that is an inherent part of the human condition, and ultimately the importance of the seemingly smaller moments in life."

As yet, no trailer has been released and the internet is filled only with images of Ford caught unawares on set. These pictures show the dapper 47-year-old on set directing scantily clad male models. If the pre-screening buzz seems well orchestrated, well, as Gucci's head designer he was celebrated nearly as much for his marketing skills as the clothes he produced; even today he maintains a hyper-expensive range of sunglasses, menswear and fragrances and his own name. Even if the film-making takes off, he hasn't retired from selling lifestyles. Now we get to see if Ford is as good at changing hats as he used to be at designing them. Kaleem Aftab

Singles would like to Tweet

Self-defeating though it may be, for some singletons the only thing worse than hopeless solitude is going to an organised date night. If that's you, be glad you don't live near Hugs, a hipster haven in the New York neighbourhood of Williamsburg. The bar (dress code: skinny jeans; fat Air Jordans) has been hosting, wait for it, "Twitter-fuelled singles dance parties". Aarrgh!

So how does it work? Participants slap numbered stickers on to their chests. See someone you like? Just fire an anonymous text (140 characters max) to the bar's Twitter feed, being sure to include the right number alongside your chat-up line. A giant screen then displays messages to the whole bar. If your number's up, everyone looks at you while you try to figure out who likes you. If it doesn't, you presumably go home solo, crying into a kebab.

So it's a bit like shouting "you're fit!" to a hot girl across the bar while you hide under a table. Not everyone's idea of fun, but it's going down a storm in "Willyburg", where lonely young creatives are whipping out their Blackberries quicker than you can say "#34, nice smile ;-)".

Still, it's a relief to see not everyone's taking it seriously. Recent flirt-tweets have included "#18 has got a hot bod! I'd lick his glasses!" and "I will marry to exchange citizenship, no lies". What's less of a relief for date-night sceptics is that Twitter parties are almost certainly on their way to a bar near you. Simon Usborne

Jack the lads are ruining my good name

Since it's also my name, I've greeted the news that Jacks are the most trouble-making children with sadness. According to the nation's teachers, when looking at their registers, the name Jack (along with Connor, Callum, Casey and Crystal) spells trouble. As someone who was called Jack back in the days when it was still an edgy, underground name, I can only blame celebrity; my namesakes of yesteryear, the Lemmons, Nicholsons and Kerouacs of the world, have been swept away and replaced by a new generation that includes the puerile Jack Black, dull Just Jack, and, worse still, Jack Tweed – perhaps that's what's in a name. Jack Riley

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