CAPTAIN MOONLIGHT: Harold's mac ... Tony's ties ... and toenails for th e Ni neties

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The Independent Online
AN INTERESTING week, sartorially. Jonathan Ross attended a film premiere in a skirt and Lord Kagan died. Personally, I didn't understand the fuss about the skirt. My friends know that I spend much of my time at home in either sarong or kaftan and find both wonderfully cool and liberating and more than worth the odd odd look when I'm getting in the milk. And although I favour private use, I also admire someone with the, er, nerve to sashay out in public, especially with those legs.

Lord Kagan's demise, though, did serve to point up the present sorry state of the British raincoat. Once, Chairman Mao, Presidents Khrushchev and Johnson, the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh all joined Harold Wilson in wearing a Kagan Gannex, that cleve r mingling of bobbly nylon and tartan wool. Even the royal corgis were photographed in Gannex. Now the Captain must be one of the very last wearers of this stylish garment which was as much a part of the Sixties as Woodstock.

You might be surprised to learn that the last Gannex was manufactured at Kagan Textiles, in Elland, Yorkshire, only last May. There are now just a few hundred left, available from the factory or from retailers in Peebles, Edinburgh or Pitlochry, small b a stions of taste. Can no one come forward to relaunch the Gannex into our dreary sea of anoraks and urban gamekeeper outfits?

And then there was Tony Blair's black tie, the one he was wearing when he lambasted football for its greed. A made-up job. Do come on, Tony. That sort of thing may be all right for John Major, but not for a Fettes man. Let the Captain help. This is how you tie a black tie: start with the end in the left hand extending one and a half inches below that in the right hand. Cross longer end over shorter and pass up through loop. Form front loop by doubling up shorter end and placing across collar points. Hold front loop with thumb and forefinger of left hand. Drop long end down over front. Pass hanging part up behind front loop and poke resulting loop through knot behind front loop. Even ends and tighten. All right?