‘Sunbathing topless is just so unfashionable’
Kate Middleton should not have gone topless as doing so “was so very unfashionable”, the former editor of Cosmopolitan believes.
Speaking in her elegant, top-floor Sliema apartment, the award-winning Marcelle d’Argy Smith said the Duchess of Cambridge was rather naive to do so when she could be snapped by paparazzi or even staff at her holiday home in France.
Last week, the French edition of Closer magazine published photos of the future queen sunbathing topless, prompting the royal couple to take the rare step of suing.
The Irish Daily Star was the next to print them and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were yesterday seeking an injunction to stop further publication.
Drawing on years of experience of writing and editing, Ms d’Argy Smith says “the whole of life needs editing”. The duchess needs to self-edit because she knows she is one of the world’s most photographed women.
“Don’t do it, Kate,” she quipped.
Ms d’Argy Smith, a former antiques dealer and current journalism lecturer at London’s City University, lives by her self-editing maxim and exudes a refined tastefulness.
“Your wardrobe needs editing, your home needs editing, so you need to learn to think in an edited way because people talk an awful lot of junk and tragically write a lot of junk too.”
Writing is her passion and her love of teaching and meeting new people is behind the five-week writing course she is about to conduct in Malta, called Structure and Style. It starts this week.
“Writing and life have great parallels,” she reflects, adding that people who have very structured lives often lack style and are boring.
Someone who has style often lacks structure, but ideally you have both.
The basis of good writing, she believes, is the power of words – and their careful and considered use is most beautiful.
She learned a rather expensive lesson about this. “We were sitting around the office brainstorming about a feature on being nice and adorable to men and treating them like puppies because men always respond to that, when we decided to title the article on the cover as ‘Treat Your Man Like a Dog’.
“I was accused of being the most misogynist, man-hating woman, but we thought people treat their dogs wonderfully.”
“Dog” seemed to be a good word one day but it cost her 50,000 copies the next.
Gender and sexuality play a very interesting role in putting pen to paper, she notes.
“Year after year I turn out creative, gay men when teaching.
“Straight guys go for news and don’t think about the writing but perhaps the word creative puts them off and reminds them about having children,” she adds with a chuckle.
“Men run the whole gamut. They are either completely, emotionally autistic or the most brilliant, wonderfully creative people.
“Women are somewhere in the middle.”
For more information about the course, Ms d’Argy Smith can be e-mailed at firstname.lastname@example.org.