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Suzy Menkes

Vogue International Editor Suzy Menkes is the best-known fashion journalist in the world. After 25 years commenting on fashion for the International Herald Tribune (rebranded recently as The International New York Times), Suzy Menkes now writes exclusively for Vogue online, covering fashion worldwide.

Absolutely Fabulous — And Not Just My Cameo Role!

Your roving fashion correspondent makes an appearance in the hotly anticipated movie of the summer

20 Июля 2016

From left, June Whitfield (
From left, June Whitfield ("Mother"), Jennifer Saunders (Eddy), Joanna Lumley (Patsy), Julia Sawalha (Saffy), Jane Horrocks (Bubble) and Kate Moss (playing herself) at the London premiere of Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie

Full disclosure: I play a significant role in Absolutely Fabulous, the movie, although my declaration, “Fashion is dead!” may not make such a splash as Kate Moss leaving a gruesome party by “accidentally” falling over a balcony into the oily green Thames. (Fortunately she wears green that night, so no dry-cleaner worries.) 

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Suzy at the after-party for the Ab Fab London premiere with Kylie Minogue, who sings the movie’s theme song,

Suzy at the after-party for the Ab Fab London premiere with Kylie Minogue, who sings the movie’s theme song, "Wheel’s on Fire"

Suzy with Joanna Lumley/Patsy before hitting the champagne bar at the London premiere of

Suzy with Joanna Lumley/Patsy before hitting the champagne bar at the London premiere of "Absolutely Fabulous"


Things don’t go so well for Edina and Patsy, who seem to have lost their charisma since the 1990s TV series and are now down on their luck, their “hand money” cash and their bottles of bubbly. “Chanel Number Five?” offers an imperious Patsy, as she swigs down the golden fragrance.

There are gags and fags (no e-ciggies here) as the anything-goes duo is on the run in the South of France, as they must have done back in the 1960s.

Bubble, Eddy and Patsy in
Bubble, Eddy and Patsy in "power dressing" mode

Edina’s old mum (June Whitfield) joins elderly women in search of card games or men; while prissy daughter Saffie, with an expression divided between resignation and rage, tries to keep her teenage daughter out of the clutches of her granny and the rollicking duo.

It is all very silly, big on one-liners and just what you might need to get over the post-Brexit hangover.

My favourite scene is not one of the many cameos, although the wit and repartee of Sanders’ excellent script holds these performances together and the pop-up appearances by Joan Collins lazing by a Côte d’Azur pool, Barry Humphries as an ageing and swelling-out lothario, Graham Norton and a Chanel-addicted Jerry Hall are a hoot. (In a case of life imitating art, Jerry turned up at the London premiere yesterday with her new husband, Rupert Murdoch - the kind of octogenarian Patsy would gobble up while swilling down the Bolly.) 

Patsy drowns her sorrows at the bar
Patsy drowns her sorrows at the bar

Rather, I was captivated by Joanna Lumley, who leads the way in showing how to grow old disgracefully.

Dressed as woman or male (transgender inevitably making various appearances in this 21st-century story), “Patsy” carries a hilarious hauteur. Her first foray into a budget airline alone makes the film worth seeing.  

Kate Moss does not shine as an actor, except when she has to lie on a couch swilling down the champagne. I failed to ask her if that was the toughest part of her role. She managed to walk the riverside with Jean Paul Gaultier, who has the supermodel partying through the five “lost” days in the film.

Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders on the red carpet at the London Ab Fab premiere
Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders on the red carpet at the London Ab Fab premiere

 At the premiere, Gaultier opened his jacket to reveal a Union Jack top, which was cheered by onlookers. They included a wealth of trannies, dressed Absolutely Fabulously, as they moved on in full costume to the after-party at Liberty. 

Surely this is the perfect antidote to Brexit Blues: a mindless film, entertaining, witty and with few of those modern devices to complicate a world where smart words are more in evidence than smartphones.

Stella McCartney and Kate Moss at the London premiere of the Ab Fab movie
Stella McCartney and Kate Moss at the London premiere of the Ab Fab movie

I have two appearances. (Thank you, Kylie Minogue, for congratulating me on my cameos.) But like the rest of the fashionistas in the film, I guess it’s a case of “Don’t give up the day job!” Not even for the blue Mediterranean sky and a magnum of champagne. 

Absolutely Fabulous is on general release in the UK from 1 July

Suzy with Jean Paul Gaultier at the London premiere
Suzy with Jean Paul Gaultier at the London premiere

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