Sunday, December 30, 2018


As we hurtle towards 2019, it is now a matter of weeks before Joan embarks on her UK tour of 'Unscripted', so don't miss your chance to spend an evening with Joan at the above selected dates.. 
Book your tickets here for these unmissable events!


As another busy year ends for Joan and The Joan Collins Archive, we look ahead to 2019, which is set to be an even more exciting year in the world of the Legendary La Dame! With a guest role on the popular USA series 'Hawaii Five O', to a tour of her sell out stage show 'Unscripted' to another eagerly awaited book tentatively titles 'My Secrets To Growing Older!' and other exciting projects.. Watch This Space!! You can be assured all will be featured here on The Joan Collins Archive, your essential home for all there is to know about our Legendary Dame!
 Happy New Year to everyone!!

Tuesday, December 25, 2018


As patron of The Shooting Star Chase children's charity, Joan hosted their annual afternoon lunch event at The Dorchester on Friday.. The event helps sick children and their parents celebrate the Christmas season with festive cheer and a visit from Santa..
Joan with good friend Stella Wilson


As another year comes to an end, I would like to wish everyone a most wonderful Christmas and much excitement in 2019! Thanks to everyone who enjoys The Joan Collins Archive and I look forward to another year of adventures with our Legendary Dame!

Monday, December 17, 2018


Joan dropped into the ITV studios to chat to Piers Morgan & Susanna Reid on Good Morning Britain earlier today to talk about her upcoming tour of 'Unscripted' wowing audiences from February 2019.. Joan looked fabulously festive in a dress she designed herself.. To book tickets for 'Unscripted' do go here!!
Joan on set with Piers & Susanna

Friday, December 14, 2018


Tune into ITV1 this Saturday December 15th for The Jonathan Ross Show as Joan brings some much needed Star Glamour to the sofa.. Also appearing is Danny Dyer among others.. Catch The Jonathan Ross Show at 10:05pm on Saturday 15th with a repeat showing on Wednesday December 19th at 10:45pm..
Jonathan & Joan with Danny Dyer, Kevin Bridges, Big Nasty & James Arthur


Wednesday, December 12, 2018



In 1955, when a shy actress named Joan Collins arrived in Hollywood from London to begin her contract with 20th Century Fox, she had some pressing concerns. One was how to avoid appearing star-struck during lunch at the studio commissary,
where, on her first day, she spotted Lana Turner, Richard Burton, Susan ­Hayward, and Robert Wagner. Another was how to deal with the myriad come-ons from producers and directors, and even the Fox studio chief Darryl F. Zanuck, who one day followed Collins down a hallway near his office and trapped her against the wall so he could tell her about his penis. (“I’ve got the biggest and the best, and I can go all night,” he informed her, brushing his moustache against her cheek until she wriggled free and took refuge in the publicity department.) ­Collins also worried about how she would fare after her ingenue years were over: Would she become a respected leading lady like her idols Vivien Leigh and Margaret Leighton? Or would she end up alone in an old-actors’ home, poring over yellowed clippings about movies that nobody remembered, if they’d seen them in the first place?
Today, as Dame Joan Collins shows me around her airy apartment in a Wilshire Boulevard high-rise, pointing out photos of herself with everyone from ex-fiancé Warren Beatty to Queen Elizabeth II, it’s clear that her concerns have eased. She mentions that this is just one of her several homes; there are others in London, New York, and the Côte d’Azur, and she rotates among them with her husband of almost 17 years, Percy Gibson. (Of course, there have been several other husbands, too.) And although Collins jokes that her 70-year career has lasted long enough for her to make a whole lot of terrible movies as well as good ones, she’s rather pleased with her current work schedule, which includes a stint on the Emmy-winning hit American Horror Story, playing—what else?—a Hollywood grande dame; a one-woman stage show that’s set to tour in the U.K.; and an upcoming role on the television series Hawaii Five-0.
One subject I’ve been warned not to dwell on when we meet is Collins’s age. Of course, she is the first to raise the topic, observing that ageism is the last prejudice that’s still considered acceptable in polite society. “People feel they can make fun of older people—even older people who look good,” she says. “Frankly, it pisses me off. You’re not supposed to say that someone has a big nose or frizzy hair or whatever. But you’re allowed to say, ‘She can hardly walk into the room!’ ”
Nobody’s saying that about the ever-sprightly Collins, who, on this afternoon, is wearing Chanel pumps, sparkly Kenneth Jay Lane ­earrings, and a print silk shirt that she tells me is “oh, nothing—like a copy of Versace that I got online.” Her playful wit and pouty scarlet lips remain undimmed, as does the suffer-no-fools glint in her eyes. For any interviewer sitting down with Collins, it takes some effort not to dive right in with 300 questions about Dynasty, the ABC series in which she starred as the scheming vixen Alexis Carrington from 1981 to 1989. If you were around during the ’80s or have binged on the show recently, chances are you have a favorite catfight scene or courtroom clash from the prime-time soap opera, which, in 1985, succeeded ­Dallas as the most-watched series in the United States. Alexis, dressed in a series of batwing ballgowns and fur coats, is the ultimate fearless man-eater, like some unholy hybrid of Mata Hari, Lucrezia Borgia, and the shark from Jaws.
Though Collins boosted the show’s ratings from the moment she debuted, behind a black veil and dark glasses on the witness stand in Season Two, she reminds me that she was far from the network’s first choice. “They wanted Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Jessica Walter,” she says. “They were waiting for Jessica until the very last minute, so they didn’t cast me until two weeks before we started shooting.” ­Collins created her own backstory for Alexis—a globe-trotting Brit whose ex-husband, the Colorado oil magnate Blake Carrington, had banished her from Denver after catching her in an affair. “Alexis had the affair because Blake was at his oil rigs all the time,” Collins says. “She’d been young and lonely, and now she wanted to beat him at his own game. And she succeeded in many ways. I think that’s what made the show so interesting and popular.” Something else that didn’t hurt: “Every single person on Dynasty was good-looking,” Collins says. “You wanted to see rich, good-looking people fighting with each other.”
What complicated things for Collins was the fact that her personal notoriety surged in direct proportion to Alexis’s. After her 20th Century Fox contract expired in 1962, Collins had continued to work regularly, but often settled for B-list roles and TV guest appearances. She had three children, moved back to England for a while, and paid the bills with trashy films like The Stud and The Bitch, both based on novels by her sister, Jackie Collins. Around 1984, when Collins noticed a helicopter hovering over her Beverly Hills garden because a paparazzo wanted a shot of her pruning her begonias, she realized that she’d become a big star. The gossip rags churned out reports that Collins was just as much of a drama queen as Alexis—a narrative that she says was gleefully fueled by the show’s producer, Aaron Spelling. Granted, “during that time, I was going through various divorces and remarriages and boyfriends and things,” Collins says with a coy smile. “I was in the public eye because my personal life was quite…full, if you know what I mean. But they pushed this idea: ‘Joan is just like Alexis.’ That was hurtful, because I’m not. I really am not. If I did the slightest thing—if I was in a restaurant and said, ‘Oh, this steak is a bit well-done, do you think you might cook it a bit less?’—it would be in National Enquirer the next week: diva storms out of restaurant because of overdone steak!’ Those things were printed all the time, and they came directly from the show’s offices.”
Collins remains proud of her portrayal of Alexis, not least because the character was one of several Dynasty females who refused to be defined by men. “We were really the first generation of women on TV to empower ourselves, in the way we acted and the way we dressed,” she says. She was also a pioneer in the quest for pay equity, constantly pushing to have her salary equal to her costar John Forsythe’s. She managed to get big raises, but Forsythe had been contractually guaranteed to earn more than the rest of the cast.
So what are Collins’s thoughts on today’s #MeToo movement? “Well, I could say, ‘Been there, done that,’ ” she observes. If you find yourself being harassed, she says, “This is what you do: You take your knee and you put it in the man’s groin, or you walk away. You don’t stand there frozen with fear.” Maybe that’s easy for Collins to say now, but it was trickier to actually follow through at a time when men considered it their divine right to touch a woman when and where they wanted. ­Collins is sure that she lost jobs because she refused to accept casting-couch overtures. She recalls one afternoon when she was ushered into what she thought was a meeting with a famous older producer, only to find herself in a bathroom—with the producer naked in the tub, asking her how badly she wanted the role. After she declined to join him in the bath, “he said, ‘How old are you?’ I said, ‘25.’ He said, ‘25 is not young in this business anymore.’ And I thought, Oh, God, this old fart, sitting in the bath, is saying this? So I said, ‘Well, I’m sorry about that. I have to go meet my boyfriend,’ and I walked out.” Of course, the callback never came. “And I know I was perfect for that role,” Collins says. “The girl who got it was blonde and totally wrong for it.” She pauses. “I’ll tell you her name if you promise not to print it.”
Collins’s taste for big jewels and deep dish sometimes makes it easy to forget her rigorous classical training at London’s Royal Academy of ­Dramatic Art, where she enrolled at 16. Kathy Bates, her costar on the latest season of American Horror Story, had never met Collins but became aware of her serious chops as soon as the cameras started rolling. “Joan is a real actor, not some bullshit diva,” Bates says. “And on the set, she was a working stiff like the rest of us.” As for her style, ­Collins says that before she landed in Hollywood, she had little fashion sense and “wasn’t even attracted to glamour. In fact, I sort of abhorred it. I wore men’s plaid shirts. I was very pretty, so that sort of came through, but I had bangs and wore almost no makeup—just black eyeliner, because I wanted to look like the French singer Juliette Gréco.”
If there’s one area where Collins has shown an uncharacteristic lack of self-awareness, it’s in her marriages. While over the years she has confidently dated a stream of buff young hunks, from Ryan O’Neal to Jon-Erik Hexum, the saga of her multiple no-good husbands reads like another lurid soap opera, one that combines farce and tragedy with moments of outright horror. There was the Irish actor Maxwell Reed, who raped her on their first date in London after slipping a drug into her cocktail; ­Collins, then still a teenager, felt she should marry him anyway because he’d taken her virginity. “The guilt of a young girl in the 1950s,” she says with a roll of the eyes. (Not long after the wedding, Reed tried to persuade her to sleep with a Middle Eastern sheikh in exchange for a £10,000 payment.) Next, in 1963, came the actor Anthony Newley, who was less of a monster but more of a cheat, fathering at least one child with another woman as he and Collins were starting their own family. Newley was succeeded, in the 1970s, by the record executive Ron Kass, whose flaws included a cocaine habit that turned into a heroin habit, and a weakness for forging Collins’s signature on financial documents, leaving the couple hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt. (Low point: when creditors in L.A. impounded their car and kitchen appliances.) The Swedish pop singer Peter Holm, whom Collins came to see as a “calculating sociopath,” followed, in 1985. Their divorce played out in a nasty court battle, during which Holm picketed Collins’s house in Beverly Hills in an attempt to wrangle a larger settlement.
Looking back on all of this, Collins doesn’t try to cast herself as a victim, nor does she spend much time analyzing her attraction to men who mistreated her. Maybe the relationships were partly an attempt to garner the love she never received from her distant father, a theatrical agent who, upon seeing his firstborn daughter at the hospital, joked to Collins’s mother that she looked like a half pound of mutton. In any case, Collins still believes in the institution of marriage and is convinced that she has finally figured things out with Gibson. “You know, I see all these Hollywood marriages, and there’s a pattern to them,” she says. “They all break up after four years, or 10. The passion wears off, and once that happens, something has to be there—friendship, and true love. It sounds terribly clichéd, but I do think that’s the way it is.”
In the U.K., Collins has supported some conservative causes, including Brexit, but today she’s not in the mood to discuss politics; when she calls herself “old-fashioned in some respects,” it’s with the assurance of someone who’s spent much of her life being tagged with adjectives like “saucy” and “free thinking.” (Her Playboy spread appeared in 1983, when she was 50.) Among the traditions Collins approves of: afternoon tea, good manners, home delivery of fresh butter from the milkman. Her health and beauty tips? Think Barbara Cartland with a dash of Jack LaLanne. Collins says you should eat lots of fruits and vegetables and sardines, but also cookies when you feel like it. Work out a few times a week, but steer clear of what she calls “no-pain, no-gain, Jane Fonda–type exercises. I think that’s stupid to do after the age of 40.” She adds that “having a husband who’s 30 years younger is very helpful.”
One key to Collins’s longevity, she believes, is her adaptability. Growing up in Britain during World War II, “I went to 13 schools,” she recalls. “I was constantly being taken from London out to the countryside, whenever bombs were falling.” She once counted all the homes she’s lived in and got as far as the number 52. “In fact, it’s a lot more than that, but there are 52 that I can remember.” As for dealing with hardships, “I have this great ability to put things out of my mind if I don’t like them,” Collins says. “And I’ve honed it to a skill.” The technique involves a combination of the Sedona Method (a “releasing” process that she studied in Arizona decades ago) and what sounds like plain old denial. “I don’t let things get to me,” she says. “I might rant and rave and get very upset for a short period of time, but I will not let it fester. Just get over it.”
At a time when pretty much all the movie stars that Collins used to see in the Fox commissary are either long retired or long dead, she is focused on several upcoming projects. There might be a new book to add to the 16 others she’s already written. Collins mentions that when she was working on her first memoir, Past Imperfect (1978), “Swifty Lazar told me, ‘We don’t want to know about how you met Laurence Olivier. We want to know who you fucked!’ And that became a book.” (Yes, you’d be well-advised to read it.) Since then, she’s published three more autobiographies in addition to six novels and several guides to beauty, health, and living well.
The next book might be another memoir. Collins says a lot has happened since she published the last one, in 2013. “So it’s time to bring everything up to date.”

Monday, December 10, 2018



Joan Collins: My own transgender moment

I recently returned from several months in Los Angeles working on one of the most popular US TV shows. American Horror Story is a mysteriously scary but fascinating series of interconnecting stories created, produced and written by Hollywood’s latest wunderkind Ryan Murphy. In the past decade, he was the brilliance behind such hits as Nip/Tuck, Glee and my particular favourite, Feud, a fascinating study of the enmity between two great legends of the silver screen, Joan Crawford and Bette Davis. More recently his output has trebled with The Assassination of Gianni Versace, a nine-part series about the tragic events involving the fabled Italian designer, and the mesmerising trial of O.J. Simpson in The People vs O.J. Simpson. The latter was a massive hit and Mr Murphy’s fame continues to soar — he gets a star on Hollywood Boulevard this month. Ryan is endlessly creative, and he decided that one of my characters in the series should be a film star/witch called Bubbles McGee. I adored the name, and the part, for which I wore a silver white bouffant wig redolent of Jean Harlow. Strangely, silver wigs are hard to come by in Hollywood and they only managed to get one. When it came to the death scenes (actors die a lot in American Horror Story), the fake nails embedded in my skull from a ‘nail bomb’ and the blood splattered all over my face took an hour to apply and three days to get rid of. I kept wondering where the congealed blood was coming from in my bath…
I was excited to be working at 20th Century Fox studios, for this was the third time that I had started a project at this iconic studio. When I was 20, I was signed as a contract player by the notorious Darryl Zanuck (cue the #MeToo chorus). The studio backlot at that time covered acres of prime Los Angeles real estate from Pico Boulevard to Santa Monica Boulevard. It included completely authentic-looking English villages, New York streets, 14th-century castles, western towns and dozens of other locations. I deeply regret I was too young to appreciate the iconic nature of these buildings, so I never really explored them or took photos. There is one batch of photos of me there, which Milton Greene, Marilyn Monroe’s agent, took of me looking sulky and lounging against an Egyptian obelisk while I was screen-testing for the movie Cleopatra. It was that movie which shrunk the prime acreage to what it is today. The production went so over budget that thousands of staff were laid off and Fox had to sell off parcels of land to stay afloat. It was the second time the Queen of the Nile brought down an empire. All the renowned sets were demolished, and dozens of skyscrapers, hotels and shopping malls took their place.
The second time I entered the Fox gates on Pico Boulevard was in 1982 when I started filming a little series called Dynasty. The backlot sets that had been razed were a sad reminder of past tough times, but the New York street on which Barbra Streisand had performed in Funny Girl was still there. In June I was delighted to find, on my third time arriving at Fox, that it was still there — a survivor, like Ms Streisand herself.
A very famous actor known for his extremely liberal views was quoted recently as saying he was fed up of being told by his PR representatives: ‘You can’t say that, it’s politically incorrect.’ May I join the queue of people who side with this sentiment? Watching a popular dance show on TV alongside a young female person (is that OK?), I referred to a woman (can I say that?) who was performing rather badly as ‘the girl in the pink dress’. ‘You can’t say that,’ the teenager squeaked indignantly. ‘It’s sexist and incorrect.’ ‘What should I say?’ I asked. ‘The individual in the pink dress,’ she replied. ‘We can’t assume how she identifies.’
This reminded me of my own potential transgender moment. At 15 I decided I did not like the idea of becoming a woman and started on a ‘tomboy’ stage. I eschewed my mother’s girdles, suspender belts and slips, and adopted my father’s corduroy slacks and loose shirts. I also took to accompanying him to Arsenal games, where I would wave my ratchet furiously. Luckily this all stopped a few months later when I was accepted at Rada and discovered the joy of boys (wait, can I say that?).
At a glamorous Mayfair party, a ‘person of the to-all-outward-appearances female persuasion’ (or ‘woman’ as they used to be called) pushed through the throng to excitedly inform me that she had never missed an episode of Dynasty. ‘I love it,’ she exclaimed. ‘It stood for everything I hated.’ For once, I was struck dumb....

Friday, December 7, 2018


Joan arrives at 5 Hertford Street for the pre-ceremony reception..
To start the festive season in spectacular fashion, Joan was the guest of honour in Mayfair on Thursday December 6th for the Christmas Light ceremony in Shepherd Market, where she set the market alive with wave of her magic wand! Looking glamorous in Gold, Joan certainly brightened the evening for many!

Wednesday, December 5, 2018


Joan dropped into BBC House to chat to Steve Wright on his afternoon BBC2 Radio Show this afternoon to discuss her upcoming tour of 'Unscripted' hitting stages in February 2019..
You can listen to Joan's interview here!

Monday, December 3, 2018


Sequins, power Jackets, shoulder pads, big earrings, lipstick and an LBD!: How to be a fashion icon at any age by Joan Collins!
By Sarah Vine for the Daily Mail

The first time I met Dame Joan Collins was a few years ago at, of all things, a political fundraiser.
I introduced myself and said how much I admired her, and then, before I knew it, I found myself rather boldly inviting her to dinner. To my consternation, she accepted. It turned out to be quite a memorable evening, not necessarily for all the right reasons. In a desperate attempt to impress, I decided to serve quail’s eggs with the drinks. Only I failed to cook them sufficiently, with the result that the first one Dame Joan bit into exploded all down her beautiful leopard print blouse.
We were only just recovering from that minor catastrophe when my son, who must have been nine or ten at the time, came down in his pyjamas to say hello to our famous guest.
His opening gambit was: ‘You don’t look bad for 80,’ which, while delivered with the best intent, was not, perhaps, the most tactful thing to say.
Joan the new face of Kurt Geiger

Sensing this, he tried to make amends by telling her he thought she was brilliant in the Snickers advert (which she was starring in at the time).
I have not seen her much since then, but Dame Joan has gone from strength to strength, seemingly ever more in demand for her inimitable style, class and waspish wit.
Our lunch today — at Claridge’s Hotel in Mayfair (where else?!) — is apropos her latest foray into fashion. She is one of the faces of the latest Kurt Geiger campaign and hard to miss this winter, smouldering on billboards in a cape and a corsage and a very racy pair of red stilettos.
We air-kiss. Her lips are red, those famous green, wide-set eyes expertly made-up by her own fair hand. Her ears are extravagantly bejewelled with crimson gems (real or paste, I cannot tell) and her fingers are dripping with rings.
I compliment her on her dress, a black fitted floral number. ‘Oh, thank you: it’s Erdem!’ she exclaims, as she slides into the bench opposite me, scattering mint-coloured cushions in her wake.
‘I need a light,’ she says. I half- expect her to spark-up a cheroot, Alexis Colby style, but no, she’s just struggling to see the menu in the gloaming of the restaurant. ‘Would you mind if I ordered?’ she says. ‘I’m ravenous!’
Not surprising: I would be too if I had Dame Joan’s schedule. I know women half her age who would struggle to remain upright.
Currently she’s not long off a flight from LA, where she’s been filming for the hugely successful FX series, American Horror Story. In the new year she’s on tour with a new one-woman show, Joan Collins Unscripted.
At a time of life when most women could be forgiven for wanting to spend the afternoon snoozing on the sofa, Dame Joan could hardly be busier.
It helps that her uncompromising glamour and dedication to elegance also happens to coincide with the fashion mood of the moment. Our fashion editor assures me Joan circa Dynasty 1981 is the look for Christmas 2018 — think animal prints, sequins, big earrings, shoulder pads.
As iconic as that look is, it might never have happened had it not been for the woman herself who, right from the start, stamped her identity on the character. The show’s stylist, Nolan Miller, had a very different vision for Alexis.
‘Oh, Nolan,’ she says, her eyes lighting up. ‘Nolan was like a brother to me. When I first met him he said: “We want you in little short tweed jackets, with little Peter Pan collars and little pillbox hats like Jackie Kennedy.” And, I said: “I’m not doing that. That character is not like that.” I said: “No, I have to be haute couture, I have to be.”
‘I’d just been to Paris and seen the Pierre Cardin collection, or Yves St Laurent . . . I had a very good idea of how I wanted to play Alexis from the moment I read the part. She is the epitome of haute couture, slightly over the top.
How to dress for Christmas? No jeans. No tattoos. And women need to wear more lipstick — women are scared of lipstick! 
‘But, of course, this was the decade of slightly more than slightly,’ she adds. ‘I mean, people used to wear . . .’ she pauses, searching for the words. ‘Right, OK’ she says, indicating her own outfit. ‘So I’m just wearing this cardigan today, but in the Eighties I would have worn a bra underneath with built-in shoulder pads.’
I can’t imagine Dame Joan in Peter Pan collars and pastels. Although she is feminine, there is nothing simpering or girly about her. All her life, both on screen and off, she has been the epitome of the strong yet sexy woman, confident, empowered, in control.

If she has weakness or moments of self-doubt, she rarely shows them. And as honest as she is about the darker moments in her life, she would never indulge in public displays of self-pity.
And there have been dark moments. Four failed marriages; personal tragedy when Katy, her youngest daughter by her third husband, American businessman Ron Kass, was hit by a car aged eight in 1980 and left with brain injuries; and, of course, the death, in 2015 from breast cancer, of her younger sister Jackie Collins.
‘I remember watching Dallas when Katy was in hospital,’ she says. ‘I was living in a caravan outside because she needed me to be there and talk to her.
‘And, every night at seven o’clock, I would say to the nurses, or to Ron: “Right, I’m going off to the caravan to watch Dallas.” And, I watched it, and I had a bottle of wine — which I would swig from the bottle — and I would smoke about ten cigarettes. And I used to think, I would really love to play a role like J.R. Ewing.’
Not long after, her wish came true when she landed the role of Alexis. It was the best and the worst of times.
‘My personal life was a total shambles,’ she says. ‘I had a recovering brain-injured child. I had a husband who had . . . well, it’s not a secret . . . drug problems. I had a lot of financial problems.’
And the role itself was fun, but tough. ‘To be perfectly honest, I hated being painted as this venal, you know, bitch. Alexis wasn’t like that. She was a modern woman, who, today, would have been an empowered woman, a powerful woman.
‘She used her sexuality and her brain to get what she wanted. Nobody knew who he was at the time, but I based her on American businessmen like Donald Trump.’
What the 45th President of the United States might make of the fact that one of the most terrifying characters in TV history was based on him is anybody’s guess, but it shows just how ahead of her time Dame Joan was, particularly in terms of equality.
Hers is the kind of feminism I most admire: no excuses, no special pleading, just beat the men at their own game — and use all the means at your disposal, including sexuality, while never losing sight of your identity as a woman.
It’s so refreshingly different from today’s pervasive culture of victimhood. Does Joan have a view on #MeToo?
‘Knee him in the groin.’
Quite. We return to fashion. The clothes she wore for Dynasty, did they let her keep them?
‘Of course not,’ she says. ‘But Linda [Evans, who played Krystle Carrington] and Diahann Carroll [Dominique Deveraux in the show], who is a great friend, and I used to wear them sometimes.
‘I took a lot of the earrings. I think these are from Dynasty.’
She removes a red bejewelled number and places it on the table. ‘I think they’re Dolce.’
Joan with Linda Evans

‘Yes, well, you didn’t steal them,’ she continues. ‘I would say to Nolan: “I love the pink dress, can I have it?”
‘Last night, I wore an Yves St Laurent jacket and I think it was bought for Dynasty. I nicked it. I’ve kept it in the back of my closet. Every Christmas I bring it out for an airing for a couple of days. I have quite a few things like that.’
I suggest that’s one advantage of being Joan Collins — people give you stuff.
‘It doesn’t always happen, darling,’ she says before quipping, in the direction of her agent, and only half-joking: ‘I need some more Kurt Geiger boots, white.’
‘I don’t rely on a stylist,’ she adds. ‘You see a lot of wonderful- looking actresses — and I’m not going to name any names — and they can look wonderful on the red carpet, but they don’t know how to dress themselves.
‘I do my own make-up, my own hair and I know what suits me. I’ve known that ever since I started designing for my mother and my aunts when I was 14 or 15. I wanted to become a fashion designer.’ So why didn’t she?
‘At that age you don’t know what you want to be. I changed my mind all the time; at one point I wanted to be a boy, you know.’
Well, I suggest, things might have been quite different now.
‘I know,’ says Dame Joan, ‘I would have been straight to the hormone place!’
But seriously: ‘I remember distinctly thinking Mummy has to put on all these things,’ she says. ‘A roll-on, then suspenders, then stockings which were always laddering, and had to have the seam exactly at the back of her leg. Then this pointy bra, then the slips. And Daddy just put on a pair of slacks and a shirt, and I thought, it’s so much nicer to do that.’
The way she talks about her mother is interesting. It’s clear that she was a great influence on the young Dame Joan and her sister Jackie.
She credits her with instilling in her the basic principles of enduring good health, including the importance of exercise and good nutrition. But there is a bittersweet tone to her reminiscences of a woman who was ‘totally stressed out’ by the war, struggling to raise two children (Dame Joan’s brother was born just after the war) in a climate of insecurity and fear, while her father was a theatrical agent.
They were evacuated ‘at least ten times’ and her mother always came with them.
Perhaps it explains why Joan herself is such a dedicated parent to her three children, why she always assumed financial and emotional responsibility, carried the can when relationships broke down.
Certainly she is not a woman inclined to give up or compromise, hence her seemingly inexhaustible work ethic.
‘I have a lifestyle that I got very accustomed to when I was quite young, and I want to continue it,’ she says. ‘Robert Wagner said to me once, when I was doing Hart To Hart: “JC — he always called me JC — have you got f*** you money?”
‘I said: “What’s f*** you money?” He said: “Enough to cover you when you’re not working.” So, I made a decision that I had to work.’
Dame Joan is lucky that she lives in an age that seems to appreciate more and more the talents of older women.
Until not so very long ago, an actress was considered washed up after 35. All that expertise and wisdom, wiped out by a few wrinkles. But nowadays, women reach 50 and start to think, gosh, here I am, career of my own, children a bit older — and I have choices.
‘Yes,’ she says. ‘I can have sex without getting pregnant!’
‘I remember Mummy taking me to RADA when I had just turned 16 and looking so mumsy and old. I worked out she was probably in her early 40s, but she’d put on too much weight and she hadn’t changed her style. I think the war had worn her down.’
She pauses, looks thoughtful. ‘Those women, you know, are the people today who need support. They are the generation who got us through the war. Anyway . . .’
One last question: Christmas. Given she’s the current queen of fashion, what are her Christmas party dressing tips?
‘No jeans, no tattoos and lots of sequins,’ she replies, quick as a flash. ‘Wear a little black dress, a pair of lovely earrings or a little jacket. Women need to wear more lipstick — women are scared of lipstick.
‘And don’t be a bore if you’re going to a party. I gave a party in LA for Percy’s birthday in October. And somebody said: “My wife can’t come, can I bring da da da,” and it was an actress, and I said: “Well, if you must.” And she didn’t say a word all night and sat in the middle of the room.
‘If you’re going to go to a party, you have to make an effort, otherwise don’t go.’
And with that, I take my leave. I put on my scarf, a ludicrously over-the-top faux fur number and Dame Joan’s eyes light up.
‘Ooh,’ she says, ‘that’s fabulous — where’s it from?’
‘Zara,’ I reply, and she launches into a small monologue about the wonders of Zara. I offer the scarf to her.
‘No, I couldn’t possibly,’ she says, but I insist. She throws it over her shoulders and it is instantly transformed from cheap Zara to haute couture. Class, see: you can’t put a price on it.