Last night was the series premiere of Ladies of London. I'm interested, although I wish there were more Brits than Americans living in London. I deal with enough American famewhores, I want to learn about some international ones!
Right away we meet the doyenne of the franchise Caroline Stanbury. Caroline is authentic British aristocracy and royalty. She owns and runs a luxury concierge service and lives in a massive home down the street from Brangelina. She's fabulously British and serves as the show's narrator of all things Brit and Class. I imagine her holding a clipboard, Burberry cat eyes perched on her nose, as she scores all the infractions of social impropriety. Basically you can tell within 6 seconds of her meeting the American caste of her class that she regrets getting involved in this nonsense and feels it's her duty to separate herself in everyway possible from their gauche behavior.
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Caprice (one name only "like Madonna') is an American who expatriated twenty years ago and has cracked the London social set by sheer formidability and longevity. She's a former Maxim girl who was famous for being one of London's sexiest models. She dates A-list celebrities and traveled with the famous set, but now that she's 39, she runs her own lingerie company that did $6 million in revenue last year. Not bad. She's also seven months pregnant and settled with the love her life. Caroline is a close friend, but Caprice warns that Caroline is not to be trusted as she'll be polite to your face yet decimate you behind your back. Caprice acts as the intermediary between the American upstarts, desperate and hopeful to crack the scene, and the establish Brit girls with pedigree and the titles to back it up.
Speaking of which, Annabelle Nielsen is a former model and McQueen muse (I've seriously seen her in Vogue back in the day!) who also comes from British society. Annabelle was McQueen's best friend and refers to him as her "husband", she has still not fully recovered from his death in 2010. Annabelle's friends include supermodel royalty Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell. She works in fashion, but is down-to-earth and claims she could care less about keeping up with the Vesteys. Except she's secretly as judgmental as Caroline. Annabelle's clothes are phenomenal, as well.
Annabelle is learning to ride horses to compete in a charity event to benefit her late-friend Alexander and manages to make riding fabulous and downtown. Since McQueen's passing she's become a bit of a hermit, but her friend Caprice is forcing her to get out more and meet new people.
In Britain the celebs are the ones that hold the titles and unlike America where actors and musicians are the important names to drop, in London it's all about the titled aristocracy with which you mingle. Which explains why all these girls are on Caroline like flies to honey!
And now, onto the Americans! First up is Noelle Reno (something tells me that's not her given name…). Aaaahhh… Noelle. She is politely described as a gold digger. She moved to London as a model and was formerly engaged to a millionaire. And she's now dating an ex-con with a huge divorce scandal or storied missing financial means. Meaning disappeared 400 million pounds and spent time in prison for refusing to disclose his financials to the court in the midst of his divorce proceedings after he was accused of faking bankruptcy. Noelle's legend is the tabloids of which she claims she does not court, as a result of her association with Scot.
I had a hard time focusing on anything Noelle said or did because her DIY eye makeup was so distractingly bad and cakey. Seriously – she had clumpy mascara smeared on falsies. Girl – you're allegedly dating a billionaire; hire a makeup artist! Noelle is tired of being plagued by scandal, yet she's holding out for Scot's millions. She's friends with Caprice, who she idolizes because Caprice is an American who made it in London. "I wouldn't call her a gold digger… she's a hustler," Caprice describes of her friend.
Juliette, another American tells us a charming story of the time Scot and Noelle had dinner at their home and Simon ate and drank to his heart's content, but when it came time to clean up an injury sustained to his finger from putting on too-tight skinny jeans prevented him from helping. Did I mention is 50+? Aka, Noelle is his mid-life crisis girl!
Juliet Montagu is a brash American who portends to be proudly American and disinterested in breaking society. For instance, she lives in the downtown Battersea South London because she "likes" it. She's married to an ad exec named Gregor who was transferred to Britain and works in fashion – except she has terrible taste in clothing.
Juliet describes herself as being an "it girl" while in America. "Lindsay Lohan was considered a close friend," she brags. I wouldn't exactly be excited to reveal that fact girlie – think of what it says about you! Also Juliet is a good ten years older than Lindz! Juliet is described as being "too much" for the Brits to handle and I don't like her immediately simply because she tries too hard.
And finally Marissa Hermer. Marissa's husband Matt owns the poshest nightclub in London where the Royals have their own secret entry. Because of her marriage she's had an easier time gaining entry into British society, but still women are standoffish and she just doesn't seem to be able to turn her obvious "American-ness" off. For instance, she seems like she's trying too hard to be someone she's not. She seems like she's trying hard to be Caroline. Later she meets Caroline and it's clear she's been studying her in the press and the news, buying things advertised on her website, flattering her and complimenting her like a sycophant. Caroline knows what she's doing, but keeps Marissa at arm's length and and lets her hang herself with her faux pas. Caroline seems like a woman who never forgets and infraction.
Marissa and Juliet are friendly, but you can tell its mostly because they are outcaste Americans. They are also friends with Noelle. The three go to tea in an effort to be more British, where Juliet launches on Noelle about her shady relationship with Shady Scotty. Caprice describes the British press as ruthless and admits once a scandal is broached, unlike in America, one never lives it down. Noelle wants to clear her name, but she also seems to relish being in the spotlight and gloats that Juliet is jealous of her infamy. I can't say I disagree! Juliet is the classic pushy famewhore that repulses Brits, it seems.
Juliet interrogates Noelle about the nature of her relationship with Scot and wonders how she can be with someone who isn't trustworthy. Noelle reveals that Scot has until the end of the year to clear up his divorce because she will not be 35 and single. Carprice believes Scot is a nice guy with a bad rap who is truly in love with Noelle. <cough, cough> bull s#*!<cough, cough>
Everyone comes together for Polo In The Park, the opening of the London Summer Season. The dress code is informal-ish. In America we would describe it as sun dresses, but upscale fancy ones, obviously. I would describe it as 'country club chic' or Town & County.
Unfortunately Noelle made the ultimate faux pas by wearing <gasp> a hat. And the other Americans over-dressed by wearing dresses more suited to tea, according to Caroline. "I like your hat," Caroline smirks. "It's very smart." Noelle awkwardly replies, "I am smart."
Caroline and Annabelle snicker about their over-eagerness and inability to observe the behavior of the natives. According to Caroline, they have failed British Anthropology 101. They do not blend. Everyone at polo ignores the Americans as the cheer at the fences and stomp divots re-enacting their Pretty Woman fantasies. The Brits, and the Stockholm Syndrom-ed Caprice, lounge in lawn furniture gawking and giggling at the show, while making snarky comments. Clearly they are treating Juliet as an exhibit at the zoo and Noelle as the desperate wannabe. Marissa they treat nicer because of her marriage, and because they probably all frequent Matt's nightclub. Caroline believes Matt married an American because they are more subservient to their husbands and better cooks. It was not a compliment… I am loving the supreme bitchiness of Lady Caroline!
Annabelle describes the three Americas as like dogs: Juliet is the yappy terrier, Noelle is the wounded rescue mutt, and Marissa is the overly-pampered poodle. Oddly it seems accurate. To put it polite the two warring factions do not gel. They blend less well than Noelle's hat at the polo match.
Annabelle announces it's time to leave; she's had enough of the American hour and the drinks are warm and she's forgotten her sunglasses and her skin does not tan, ergo she's cranky. Caroline has been pleasantly amused, but polo bores her and she only went to see who else was there. They insincerely discuss how much they like the American girls, despite their American-ness. This should be interesting… I'm hooked -if only for Caroline's wardrobe and Marissa's obvious attempts to SWF her.
[Photo Credits: BravoTV.com]
TELL US – ARE YOU STICKING AROUND FOR MORE LADIES OF LONDON? WHO ARE YOU LOVING? HATING?