Yes, my Jilly obsession returns. It never went away.
If you haven’t read any/much Jilly Cooper, there are many good reasons to do so. The romance, intrigue and hilarious one-liners. But if that doesn’t do it for you, then they’re worth reading just for the fashion – particularly the old 70s stuff.
I have coveted many a Jilly outfit. Here are my top 10.
1. Octavia in gold
‘Now you see me, now you don’t!’ Octavia quipped to the shocked Home Counties party, dancing for a slavering audience. Her completely see-through gold chainmail tunic had only a couple of sequined discs to cover her nipples, perilously.
2. Prudence underdressed
Prudence is my favourite. She’s a fan of theme dressing, just like me. Her green culotte dress, which was by all accounts very skimpy and had enormous cut-outs at the waist, was ‘a showstopper’. Maggie declared it heavenly, but then wondered how one would be able to go to the loo.
3. Imogen’s awful beach outfit
Oh, poor Imogen the vicar’s daughter. She’s in the south of France with a bunch of bitchy supermodels, and her holiday outfits all came from the church jumble sale – but surely she could have done better than that awful old kaftan and moth-eaten bathing dress? Clueless Imogen tried to salvage things in the glamour stakes by adding tights and high-heeled sandals. On the beach. Luckily, Matt was waiting in the wings to whisk her off to St Trop and start playing Pygmalion.
4. Daisy at Rupert and Taggie’s wedding
‘Bit of a bohemian,’ whispered Sukey Benedict behind her back – inspired by Daisy’s black velvet knickerbockers and black blazer printed with gigantic pink roses. Little did she know her husband had chosen and bought the outfit for Daisy.
5. Cameron ‘as a bloke’
Cameron Cook was such an awful, hateful bitch. But some of her outfits sounded amazing. Slutty, but amazing. They seemed to involve a lot of leather and suede, and dresses that laced up the sides to show she wasn’t wearing any pants. My favourite was when she turned up at Valerie Jones’s cringey dinner party in a tuxedo.
6. Duckling grows up
So, ‘Duckling’ was always in love with her older sister’s boyfriend and so she decides to wow him when she sees him again by dressing up as a ‘disturbing Greek youth’ – she wears an outfit that sounds, frankly, like the most amazing thing of all time: a silver body stocking, silver high heels, glittery body paint and her hair slicked back in ‘rainbow blonde wings’. Awesome. And kind of a good thing that, really, he loved her for her sweet personality.
7. Flora’s sand-coloured shorts suit
Jilly’s keen on a sand-coloured shorts suit – Taggie also wore one to the polo once, with red lipstick and matching pashmina. This one came from Jigsaw and was a birthday present from her mum Georgie. I think Flora sounds gorgeous, with her dark red bob and foxy face, and this actually sounds like an outfit I would quite like to wear.
8. Hermione’s Chanel suits
Hermione Harefield – opera singer, mistress of the fiendish Ranaldini – is hell on high heels. She never engages her small brain before she speaks and is a crashing snob. However, she has a lovely line in Chanel suits, which I covet madly. Flora even immortalised them in her infamous carol concert ode to Paradise.
9. Bibi in coral
I love a good makeover story. For Bibi’s date with the divine Angel, Chessie (apparently in a rare moment of charity) lent Bibi her maid, who used to be a beautician. Obviously underneath all her usual unflattering work clothes, Bibi has the body of a racehorse and finally shows it off.
10. Perdita as Lady Godiva
Because that was the only way she could compete with all those rich bitches.
I’m sure there are loads of classics I’ve forgotten. Anyone?