A six page feature by Donald Wiedenman, originally published in Queen, reminiscing about the lost art of the so called 'Proper Affaire' which had become almost obsolete in the new permissive 60s society. However, in its heyday the customary etiquette appears to have included a weekend stay at the Ritz (booked in advance using a fictitious name) followed by the consumption of copious amounts of champagne, Tia Maria and vodka martinis while luxuriating in Badedas bubble-baths, shopping for trinkets and clothes in Bond Street (a Hermès scarf & Gucci bag for the lady, a heavily-beaded patchwork waistcoat from Mr Fish for the Gentleman) and a quick trip to the Kensington Antique market resulting in the purchase of matching pink crushed velvet trouser suits which they apparently will never wear but can't resist nonetheless. Over the weekend, other pursuits involve browsing in the Gentleman's favourite salacious bookshop in Soho, tickets to see the musical Hair, some light gambling and later, fine dining and dancing at Annabel's in Berkeley Square. Of course, all of this activity is punctuated with the obligatory phone calls to their 'nearest and dearest' before the return back home on Monday, inspite of these necessary interruptions they do however manage to fit in a final shopping spree before they go their separate way, this time resulting in the purchase of 'tokens of affection' for each other as a memento. It's quite an intimately detailed article, obviously based on the experiences of someone that the author knew 'well' but personally speaking, apart from the account of the visit to Mr Fish and the Kensington Antique Market, I was far more taken with the fantastic illustrations by Graham Percy.
DOING IT IN STYLE
Without a doubt, there is only one hotel to stay in for a really old-fashioned, slightly camp Proper Affaire, and that is the Ritz. Amidst, mirrors, gilt, and fading elegance, the Ritz offers the best service, the most discreet staff, the biggest bathtubs, and the most intriguing atmosphere - you can still actually meet behind the aspidistra. The Savoy, sad to report, is too old-fashioned (even for an old-fashioned affaire) and Claridges is full of too many politicians, bodyguards, and curious clerks. The Dorchester is the second choice, but the lobby is unfortunately always full of famous people and hovering photographers, and if the Lady or Gentleman is married, this is to be avoided at all costs.
All images and original text scanned by Sweet Jane from QUEEN magazine October 1969. Illustrations by Graham Percy for an original article by Donald Wiedenman.