In a few hours, Jo Glynn-Smith of Harper's Bazaar and I will be on a plane to Marrakech - we're only there for a long weekend but it's induced in me the most monumental wardrobe panic. I think it's partly because it's hard to get out of one's head this extraordinary Litchfield image of Talitha Getty, which is at once sensual and exotic and so utterly, achingly stylish that anything I could possibly fling in my suitcase is destined to disappoint. It's partly the pose and partly the styling, but Talitha Getty is in this picture as 'full of Eastern promise' - as Fry's Turkish Delight
adverts of the 1970's professed to be.
Oh, the fashion pressure of Marrakech - if it were only this single iconic photograph it would be bad enough, but of course, Marrakech was also the home of fashion god Yves St Laurent - Jo and I plan to pay homage to his genius and visit Les Jardins Majorelle, the garden YSL loved so much he requested his ashes be scattered there after his death (stupid sentence, that - they could hardly be scattered before his death, could they). What's more, Jo and I are in Marrakech partly to cover the Caftan Festival - a huge fashion event in Morocco - and we can't let Harper's Bazaar down by being anything other than well-put together.
However, herein lies a fashion conundrum - we don't dress well for hot weather in Britain, at least, we don't during the week. On the very rare days when the temperature rises in London one has only to look around one in the streets to discover what a struggle it seems to be to navigate the sartorial codes dictated by the appearance of strong sun and cloudless skies. Half the population appears to be dressed for Ascot and the other half for a heavy night in a seedy nightclub. We don't invest in summer clothes - there's no point, the season's too short-lived - even shorter-lived this year when it's well into May and arctic winds and icy rain are being consistently served up. I haven't even bothered to get my summer clothes out of the loft - I'm still in a wool coat and thick tights, not to mention the thermal vest. In short, as of five o'clock this evening, I had nothing to wear.
Reader, what could I do? I did what any right thinking individual would do and shook off the winter pallor with a St Tropez spray tan (£20 at Debenhams - result) and then went for a trolley dash around Zara.
Liberty London Girl
recommended a maxi dress, and I could see the logic of this but Zara is made for etiolated model types so I'd have had to hack two feet off the bottom of anything I tried on. Anyway, I have gone for a kind of YSL/Jardins Majorelle inspired palette of navy and cobalt blue with a smart - if rather short - kind of silk trapeze dress with cut out sleeves for dinner at La Sultana, a silk paisley shift dress (again, slightly shorter than I'd realised, but if I wear flat sandals, perhaps no one will mind too much), and a pair of well-cut navy chinos with a coral belt. I'm hoping the trousers particularly will take me through a variety of eventualities.
My perfect plan will be not to channel Talitha Getty - that's completely beyond my capabilities - but to look moderately cool even when the temperature is stonkingly hot. As long as the hotel has wifi, I aim blog the trip every day and I'll even try to make the posts rather less self-obsessed than this has turned out to be.
Right, only three hours til I need to leave - do I bother going to bed?