The Third Leader: Glad rags

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The Independent Online

Limbering up for the guest edition of Mr Armani later this week, I should like to direct your thoughts towards London Fashion Week, currently packing them in, principally at that inspired choice, the Natural History Museum.

How much can be packed in is, of course, the subject of a blanket ban on models with a Body Mass Index under 18 enforced in Madrid and demanded here by the Culture Secretary, Tessa Jowell. I was initially puzzled by the blanket ban, as I understood that parkas and warm-up pants were the new look, less so by Ms Jowell's consistent attempt at control.

For some reason reminded to declare an interest, I should point out that my own BMI is, in very round figures, almost twice the Madrid limit, placing me firmly alongside the late rapper Biggie Smalls who confided that "you'll never catch me in no Versace s**t", expounding that this was because "he don't make my size".

Nevertheless, I am implacably in favour of fashion because if we don't defend it, Ms Jowell will have us all in high visibility jackets, and yellow is just not me. Besides, who could not relish the serious, obsessive pursuit of frivolity accoutred with such disarmingly wacky panache? As the great designer Elsie De Wolfe exclaimed on sighting the Parthenon, "It's my colour! Beige!"

I should like to leave you, though, as you ponder sack-shape and big knit, with two opposing schools. First, John Galliano's view that he helps women achieve what they deserve: to be desired. The other is from a letter written to Dior in the 1940s: "Stay out of Topeka, you bum!"

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