My Fabulous Life: How I conquered primetime America

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I am back from the United States, rather earlier than anticipated, admittedly, but only because no one expected me to conquer Manhattan quite so spectacularly and speedily. Even my lovely American PR and personal coat-handler, Todd von Bismarck III, was singularly impressed. "Never seen anything like it," he said. I said: "Thank you, Todd. Now, my coat? Over the shoulders first, as discussed." I know I will be the envy of my British peers, many of whom have had to endure long promotional tours to make it Stateside, whereas I seemed to pull it off with just the one appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. A full transcript of the interview appears on, but here is a taste of what turned out to be a most satisfactory and enjoyable encounter all round:

"Welcome, Denisella Brown, mother, home-maker, lifestyle guru, celebrity chef, record-holding childcare consumer and author of Curtain Couture, the best-selling curtain-couture book of all time. Have a seat."

"Thanks, Jay. It's great to be here."


"Fine, Jay, just fine. How are you?"


"Actually, I'm busy, busy, busy as ever, especially with Denisella's Easy Button Projects due out in the autumn. Collectable and inexpensive, buttons add drama when sewn onto handmade greeting cards, embellished with embroidery on napkins, or converted into drawer pulls, Jay."


"Buttons pull us together day after day, Jay, fastening our skirts, clinching our cuffs, closing our jackets. And yet their indispensability often goes unnoticed until we discover one missing. I think that, as a society, we are seriously in danger of taking buttons for granted, Jay."

"Now, on to another..."

"How things have changed, Jay. In centuries past, buttons were the stars of the fashion world, worn like jewellery. The 18th century was the golden age of elegant buttons. Artisans crafted exquisite marvels: romantic Rococo figures painted on porcelain, gilded stars encrusted with flamboyant gems."

"And my next guest..."

"With the industrial revolution, affordability and durability became the aim and the 20th century will, I believe, always be remembered as the era of the plastic button."


"And if you wish to know my thoughts on the role of buttons in post-war Iraq, Jay, what I will say is that while one understands the refugees' difficulties, there really is no excuse for not, say, taking a certain amount of pride in your home environment and at least button-crafting the flap of your tent, Jay."

"Oh, for God's..."

"I have my own tent range, as it happens, Jay. Denisella's Living Tent Collection. My tents are all available in six colourways and three models: The Cape Cod, The New England and The Manhattan, which comes complete with back-lit contemporary art and is great for entertaining, whether a dinner for six or fundraising gala for 50."

"This is too..."

"Exciting, Jay? I know. And now, live on television for the first time, I will give a simple burka a playful touch by adding several antique mother-of-pearl buttons, arranged into pretty, shimmering garlands..."

At this point, Todd dashed onto the set, put a hand over my mouth ­ I'd promised American Cosmo my dental-health exclusive, so I guess it was wise not to reveal too much ­ and sped me back to the airport. "People aren't going to forget that in a while," he said as he put me on the plane. Dear, dear Todd. He always says the right thing.

Who's been inspecting my king-sized duvet?'

My surprise early arrival home was met with great excitement, naturally. "Missy Bwown home, Missy Bwown home," shouted Mae ecstatically, as I came in. Enough, Mae, I said, but she just could not contain herself. "Missy Bwown home, Missy Bwown home," she repeated, even louder. Mae, I said, you are becoming hysterical. "MISSY BWOWN HOME! MISSY BWOWN HOME!" I was just about to slap her, when the sight of Keith and Day Nanny emerging guiltily from the master bedroom seemed to calm her down no end. And now, listen to this, guess what Keith and Day Nanny were doing in there? Inspecting our king-sized luxury duvet (filled with 100 per cent free-range, endangered baby owl down) for potential button-crafting possibilities, so they could surprise me on my return. "But now you have ruined it, Den," said Keith. He did look very upset. Red-faced and breathless, with his shirt done up all wrong and tie all skew-whiff. Sweet, sweet Keith, who, I suspect, would fall apart entirely if it were it not for me.

Mummy dearest

On my return, who do I find staying in the guestroom? Mummy! Yes, poor, poor Mummy, who is so out of it these days that she came to stay even though I'd expressly written to her at the nursing home to tell her I'd be away for the week. Honestly, her relentless decline into dementia is heartbreaking, and she has been, as far as I can gather, something of a malevolent presence, totally unpicking Keithleen's nightdress, which I'd painstakingly covered in dozens of fiery orange buttons sewn in multiple layers to create a dazzling sequin effect. "The poor child can't get a wink of sleep," said Mummy, who gets tragically madder by the minute. I got straight on to the home, who immediately came to take her back, even though Mummy fought like mad and bit matron. Eventually, they had to put Mummy into a rather unstylish white jacket with ties at the back. Certainly, I will be writing to the home directly to ask why ties and not buttons, which were carved by the Ancient Greeks from bone and stone as early as 2000 BC. See you next week!