No, this isn't about the star-studded grand opening of the One&Only Cape Town, which by the way, is a fabulous hotel by any standard. With architecture by Ruben Reddy and Dennis Fabian Berman and interiors by Adam Tihany, it is sexy, modern and chic, and makes that grande dame of Cape Town, The Mount Nelson, look like its spinster aunt, creased but dignified, clinging defiantly to the glories of centuries past.
No, this isn't about the hotel at all, though in a roundabout way, it is.
A few days before I left for Cape Town, my budding teenager had a wardrobe crisis. One of her friends was having a party with a black-and-white theme and she absolutely had to find something to wear. The initial idea was to look for white skinny jeans with a black top. But as any dedicated shopper knows, you can map out your shopping route with militaristic precision, yet you end up with your heart set on the one thing you never intended to buy, in the one store you never even considered checking out.
Once she tried on the outfit, all other possibilities suddenly lost their appeal, and it was this dress or, she threatened, she would wear nothing at all to the party. Fine by me, I replied with equanimity; it wasn't my weekend, therefore it wasn't my issue to lock horns over.
My issue was, however, that the dress was a bit grown up, considering she wasn't quite 13 yet, and that it cost more than I thought it should. Of course there were tears and threats - what would the teenage years be without them? In the spirit of finding solutions instead of sulking and slamming doors, we compromised. She paid half from her allowance and I paid the other half. My discomfort with the outfit was mitigated by the fact that the strapless dress came with a shrug that would provide ample coverage; her gratitude was evidenced by the gushing promises to never ask for anything again (yeah yeah). Not even a little present, she claimed, would she deign to expect when I came home from my impending trip to Europe.
I thought this was a heaven-sent opportunity to educate her in regarding clothes as investments - not as throwaway caprices, though there is room in a girl's wardrobe for that, but as something that is made well, that is the best quality that one can afford, and that will not date so easily. The fact that I was speaking to a pubescent child whose body was just beginning to curve and swell into, well, womanhood, therefore needing a complete wardrobe overhaul every few months, was not lost on me. But I thought that if I could at least drum it into her head to shoot for quality, quality, quality, in time the lessons would sink in...
And then she asked me what I would be wearing to the red-carpet event in Cape Town. It was a moment of triumph, for I proudly announced that I would be wearing a short black cocktail dress that was hand-ruched in black silk chiffon and made in Manila for expressly for me at the now defunct Victoria II atelier run by Vicky Zubiri and Vicky Lopez in 1991 - way before any of my children were born.
Now isn't that investment dressing? And in a sea of Matthew Williamsons, Diors, Puccis, Diane von Furstenbergs and Alexander Wangs, I wore a dress from Manila almost two decades old along with a striking piece of neck jewellery by my good friend, the Paris-based interior decorator and now designer Rose Anne de Pampelonne.
And I was, as far as I could tell, the One & Only.
Oh, and since the four-inch heel of my left shoe broke just as I assumed my position on the red carpet, I was also the One & Only person hobbling on one foot with feigned grace all night long.
But I don't think anyone could tell.
Photo of me with Oprah fave, party planner and lifestyle guru Colin Cowie... At 2am in the morning, we were best friends. The next day he didn't know me... Just to be clear, the bruise on my arm was not caused by his grip!