London and Paris, Paris and London, the real question was which cuff links to wear where.
Several of the chaps were visiting before a long weekend en France. The other question was what to pack.
We couldn’t possibly have told the women about this as they would have laughed out loud. I can see her now “what do you mean you don’t know what to wear? Are you serious?” In fact I think that Australian tennis player who always questioned referees’ decisions could have been heard in my drawing room.
We gathered together a weekend before the departure. It was an easy enough trip. Train from St Pancras to Paris. Simple hand luggage, all was well with the world.
The challenge was when the invite from the ambassador arrived. Over the years we have created and designed many cuff links for diplomatic staff. But this wasn’t the usual embassy event and it wasn’t the usual invite. We had been invited as guests to a fashion show! It was certainly a first and as the whiskey consumumption increased, the suggestions became more outrageous.
It was agreed that London requires decorum, navy pin striped suits, black highly polished shoes, plain double cuff shirts and striped ties for the City. The socks can be loud, the watch can be proud, but the cufflinks need to show your passions and values. They could be ants, horses, golf clubs, rugger balls or even footballs.
Paris is a different animal. Negotiation, discussions and animated afternoons. The suit may be a lighter blue, the shirt the same colour, ties not always needed, but cufflinks essential. The cufflinks should demonstrate your status. That called for diamonds and pearls, plenty of sapphires.
It was finally agree that we should make a fashion statement. Without a moment to lose, we commissioned union jack jackets. No danger anyone else would be wearing them, they could be worn without ties and we would wear our flag with pride. The union jackets, worn of course, with the original and much copied Deakin & Francis Skull.