Dynasty, the 1980s soap opera, had a cult following that I admit to watching. I was hooked on the dynamics between Alexis Carrington Colby and Crystal Carrington and the clothing that defined them. As the series evolved, fashion became a weekly must-see, personifying the era of extreme shoulder pads and opulence. Costume designer Nolan Miller created stunning wardrobes for haughty Alexis, played by Joan Collins, and Crystal, played by Linda Evans, the epitome of goodness.
Miller projected naughty and nice with color, fabric and design, using soft pastels and blues for the blonde Crystal, and jewel tones with lot of black for dark-haired Alexis. His designs were so popular that he had his own ready-to-wear Dynasty label and influenced fashion for years. Some of the most memorable scenes were catfights between the actresses, but they retaining their dignity and managed to project humor into the most ridiculous moments.
This year, Scott’s annual European meeting was in Edinburgh, Scotland. Before starting work, we visited our favorite haunts in Venice, Paris and London. Paris provided its usual fashion, food and Bordeaux fix. I attended a fashion market called “Who's Next,” showcasing clothing and accessory lines from around the world, and from up-and-coming designers from French design schools. As I searched the convention center for something new, I discovered that trends in the U.S. are very similar to what’s coming out of Paris. This is somewhat gratifying but also a bit disappointing when you are looking for the next hot look. Street style, a good trend indicator, included flats and tennis shoes, ripped jeans, short shorts and quilted coats. Hmmm!
Upon arrival on the Eurostar Chunnel from Paris, London was abuzz with celebrations for Queen Elizabeth as Britain's longest reigning monarch, surpassing Queen Victoria, who held the record of 63 years, seven months and two days. Coincidentally, it was the same day we were to arrive in Edinburgh, where Her Majesty would open the new Boarders rail connection. The Queen is respected as a hard-working monarch who has withstood the challenges of keeping the family and monarchy in tact. At age 89, there is no sign of her relinquishing the throne, which seems ok with her royal subjects. Keeping calm and carrying on is certainly her mantra.
The weather in London was predictably drizzly and grey, and with less than a day to spend until our train to Edinburgh we chose Harrods, the famous department store, to spend the afternoon. With six floors of the most luxurious lines of clothing, accessories, food and home goods in the world, it would take several days to see it all. After a jaw-dropping hour of shopping and a restless husband, we took a break at the Champagne Bar. Set amongst the glamour of international fashion, the contemporary bar gave us the perfect vantage point for people watching. Suddenly, through the doorway, Joan Collins entered with her assistant, looking for the Personal Shopping Service where she had an appointment. I recognized her instantly, even with the dark sunglasses, camel-colored, cashmere-wrapped coat and matching espadrilles. They sat near us, asking the server to call the personal shopper. Dame Collins still exudes Hollywood glamour and looks amazing at 81 years old. The Queen recently awarded her the title for her charitable work. Harrods staff finally located her destination, and in true Alexis Colby Carrington character, she proclaimed, "This store has become a mall!" and made her grand exit through the doorway with all eyes on her.
Dynasties and monarchies may come and go, but a certain Queen and Dame have managed to hold onto their empires with grace, and a bit of attitude. Long live the Queen!