Modern romance

'Modern?' the assembled company of consumptive Byronic poets, cynical, rakish fencing-masters, good-hearted, massive-armed shepherds, and secretly aristocratic highwaymen chime as one. 'What do you mean, modern?' The Blonde, standing abandoned in the winter rain, s/s 08 Cavalli petticoat slicked to the skin, invisible orchestra keening Michael Nyman-via-Jeff Buckley stylings through the mist, is well aware of the irony. 'It's just...' she pleads in a small, halting voice, 'well... hasn't it all become a bit much?'

Everyone agrees that Cranford was outstanding, but what with that miserable Curiosity Shop, Billie Piper looking like a humbug, the new Sense and Sensibility with the ASBO Willoughby and BSBD&NE Marianne, and Lark Rise to Candleford coming soon, I'm just starting to long for a little... well, as Mr Gill puts it, imagination over adaptation. A whiff of the fresh. A nip of challenge.

In the death-throes of the year we love to wallow in the tranquilising tallow of historical romance, all velvet-textured, fig-stuffed, fireglow-flavoured emotional sweetmeats, but I ain't half ready for a bit of bright, bracing bite. Moreover, fashionistas' forecasts that 2008 is all about goddess glamour and ruffs sends a bored shudder through every broad who has already spent months costumed as a hobbled, swathed, caked and crusted crone of yesteryear.

So. Forget those editors blinded by the prim Prada prints, and focus on Christopher Kane, who has been shedding his image as a one-trick body-con pony with feather-light snakeskin suits in melting neutrals. We'll call it The New Pretty; avoiding both the Boombox teenage tranny and Grand Guignol granny, these light pieces transcend their eighties inspiration to evoke the spirit of true modern romance: youthful, original, yet timelessly cool.

Of course, I do think they would look perfect with Karl Lagerfeld's Maison d'Art pre-collection fingerless jewelled leather gauntlets. Anything that says 'D'Artagnan, meet Fagin' is worth bankruptcy.

Damn. You can take the Blonde out of the historical fantasy...