Thursday, 6 December 2012


Life with Mrs FB has been difficult this week.  Fantasy Bob sensed a certain anxiety a little while ago.    For once he was sure he was not the source.  He was sure that his cricket kit was well stowed for the winter and not lying in just the place that Mrs FB was bound to trip over it.  So there was something else.

And this week it all come out.  As the media spoke with excitement about the presence in Linlithgow this week of Chanel's chief designer Karl Lagerfeld and the prestigious Metier des Arts show  Mrs FB broke down.   'How could he come to Linlithgow and not invite me?' she sobbed to a sympathic FB, 'Have I not spent enough in Chanel over the years?'  FB quickly understood that the second question was rhetorical, for no one could doubt Mrs FB's long term commitment to the celebrated fashion brand.

Lagerfeld with Stella Tenant
modelling new cricket wear in Linlithgow
When sometime ago it was announced that Karl and his entourage of stick thin models would hold their show in Linlithgow, Mrs FB was confident that an invitation would be in the post.  Certainly she was prepared to cede front row seats to lesser celebrities such as Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie whom the media reported to be flying in especially.  But she would be there.  Chanel in Scotland would not be Chanel in Scotland without her presence.

FB shared the anticipation of his loved one.  He would be interested to see what the great Lagerfeld might do with the cricket sweater  and the jock strap - subjects overlooked by haute couture.

But more that that he would be interested to find out how Boghall cricket ground, home of West Lothian CC could be turned into an arena fit for a fashion show.  In his long cricketing career FB has never played at Boghall - a mixture of different leagues and weather caused postponements has ensured this.  But he has from time to time attended the ground as a spectator and always looks out as the train between Edinburgh and Glasgow gives a fine view over the ground.

To be honest, he was uncertain why Chanel would choose Boghall for their show.  He was aware that Coco Chanel was a frequent and fond visitor to Scotland, but he was uncertain whether she had ever been to the cricket at Boghall.  Had she done so, she might have shared FB's view that there seemed nothing particularly fashion-conscious about his fellow spectators the last time he visited.  Indeed the opposite was the case with a distinctly unfashionable array of anoraks and parkas protecting the supposed fashionistas from the summer elements.  But that is the thing about fashion, FB supposes, much of it looks awful and certainly the collection of anoraks and parkas on that day was no less frightful than the latest Paris collections.  Perhaps Chanel identified this as a challenge.  But having reviewed some of the photographs of the show FB considers that Mr Lagerfeld's designs are unlikely to replace more conventional cricketing wear.

Boghall has been home to West Lothian CC since 1969.  Although it is no longer on the list for international matches in its time it has seen a number of Scotland fixtures.  Mathew Hayden scored a century there in 1998 playing for Australia A, a side that also included Mike Hussey and Andrew Symonds.  The match was drawn.  So the Chanel fixture would be a welcome return for Boghall to the international circuit.  In addition the event is reported to have generated over £2m for the local economy, although FB suspects that the models involved will spend little in Linlithgow's world class chip shops.

But as the event got nearer it became evident that Mrs FB's claims were being cruelly overlooked.  And FB has had to tread with care around the house.  Mrs FB is reconsidering her brand loyalty and Chanel's prosperity may be in danger.

A shame - for there must have been vacant seats as it seems that, despite all the publicity, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie failed to turn up.  Perhaps they failed to find the ground.


  1. At first it was a mystery to me why a Paris fashion house would choose a cold, rainsoaked Scottish field called Boghall for a winter show but the reasons are now slowly becoming clear. Not only did Coco Chanel visit Scotland on many occasions with the Duke of Westminster, ostensibly on shooting expeditions, but Linlithgow itself has connections to haute couture. Mary Queen of Scots was apparently a loyal Chanel customer and, had she been a cricketer, would undoubtedly have batted at No 5. As a French-speaking Madamoiselle, she had the Chance to capture the throne and the Allure of that ambition proved irresistible. I could go on but you get the drift. Mrs FB should console herself with the reassurance that such a high-profile event has put one of Scotland's foremost historical venues firmly on the fashion map - ample compensation, I'd have thought, for missing Mr Lagerfeld's extravaganza.