How to wear animal print?
- words by Hannah Slapper, styling by Alice Cuffe
Happy Friday sweetie darling. It's time to pay homage to Fashion's favourite farcical duo - Patsy Stone and Edina Monsoon, the wonderful stars of Absolutely Fabulous.
Created by Jennifer Saunders, the story of these two unlikely friends and their insane lifestyle has charmed and disarmed viewers for five series and over 39 episodes. Saunders plays Edina, or Eddie as everyone calls her, a quasi-successful twice-married/twice-divorced owner of a PR company. She laments her life, her relationship failures, her weight, her absent son Serge, her very sensible daughter Saffron and the general chaos of her life. She often deals with the day by drinking obscene amounts of champagne, taking drugs and going shopping with her enabler, best friend and soulmate Patsy Stone.
Stone is played by the ever-cool Joanna Lumley whose cold, collected ambivalence acts as the perfect counterpoint to Eddie's warbling hysteria. Her real name is Eurydice Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone, and she is the youngest daughter of a Parisian bohemian-bitch. Having been a high fashion model, Stone now gets by as a fashion director for a magazine and lives off cigarettes and copious amounts of alcohol, "the last mosquito that bit me had to check into the Betty Ford clinic". She has only eaten twice since 1973, (a crisp and a piece of turkey, respectively).
When it comes to their style they are yin and yang. Patsy manages to use the fashion influence of her youth to continue to dress in a stylish classic way, but with elements of irreverence, such as her sculpted beehive hairstyle. She loves high fashion, and wants to spend much of her free time browsing the new collections: "I thought a little mosey down Bond Street, a little sniff around Gucci, sidle up to Ralph Lauren, pass through Browns and onto Quags for a light lunch."
Eddie, however, is eternally neurotic about her weight, and often drapes herself in unnecessary layers, colours and textures to try and disguise this fact. Her design obsession through most of the programme has been with the famously eccentric Christian Lacroix ("It's Lacroix, darling, Lacroix") although this was replaced by Stella McCartney in the last couple of years. A hilariously ironic move, as Stella is famous for her clean lines - the polar opposite of Eddie's whirlwind of colour and print.
The focus on fashion in the form of what they buy and wear, and their industry jobs have given them some pretty high profile fans. '60s popstar Lulu and Emma Bunton from The Spice Girls were regularly mentioned and occasionally starred in cameo roles as clients for Eddie's PR business. Stella McCartney herself decided to appear in a Christmas and Olympic special, and a small skit done for Sport Relief. Kate Moss, who is a huge fan of Jennifer Saunders, also appears, as does David Gandy.
So realistic and lifelike have Saunders and Lumley's Ab Fab characters become, that they often make appearances as Eddie and Patsy. They turned on Stella McCartney's Christmas lights at her London store last year, and also fronted Alexis Bittar's SS12 campaign.
So, we hear you asking how you can channel some of their chic, darling? It certainly isn't effortless - it takes a lot of practise and hard work to look as glamorous and affluent as these two, but we can attempt to point you in the right direction. Lots of Lacroix, berets, leopard print and irreverence is the key to the look, and if in doubt, just drink a bottle of Chanel No. 5 in the style of Patsy's famous New York tipple.
1. John Lewis, Angora Mix Beret; £18, motilo.com
2. Isabel Marant, Laury Floral-embroidered Crepe Shirt; £560, motilo.com
3. Maison Michel, ‘Iroquois Mohawk’ Felt Wool Trilby; £700, motilo.com
4. Christian Lacroix, Bandeau Top; £1871, motilo.com
5. Nina Ricci, Leopard-print Faux Fur Coat; £2200, motilo.com
6. Dolce & Gabbana, Gold-tone Crystal and Velvet Necklace; £610, motilo.com
7. Alaia, Leopard-print Calf Hair Platform Pumps; £1125, motilo.com
8. Linda Farrow, Prabal Gurung Large Frame Sunglasses; £252, motilo.com
9. McQ Alexander McQueen, Military Green Oversized Parka; £705, motilo.com
10. See by Chloe, Sheer Maxi Skirt; £325, motilo.com