Liz Smith: The Queen Is Not Amused

All suited up (clockwise from top left): Daniel Craig, Shia LaBeouf, Tom Hardy, LeBron James, and Channing Tatum.“ETERNAL NOTHINGNESS is fine if you happen to be dressed for it,” says Woody Allen.

THERE’S NOTHNG like an attractive man in a beautifully tailored suit. And there’s nothing like an attractive man in … nothing.

Take Playboy’s Style Icons. Playboy refers to them as “The Bespoke Bruisers: Tough Guys Who Know How to Wear a Suit.” The five bruisers in question are actors Daniel Craig, Shia LaBeouf, Channing Tatum, Tom Hardy and athlete LeBron James.

I don’t know that I’d class LaBeouf as a “bruiser.” He is more on the sensitive side, although Shia has fought robotic aliens and is currently, violently, “Lawless.” Channing is most impressive the less he wears, as “Magic Mike” proved beyond a doubt. I’ve mostly seen pictures of LeBron James in his basketball togs, but I’ll take Playboy’s word for it that he’s a “stylish brute.”

As for Daniel Craig, he is a bruiser. His James Bond is the most lethal ever, but he looks divine in 007’s inevitable tux. (I recently caught, on cable, Craig’s “Cowboys and Aliens.” It was one of the worst movies I’ve ever seen, saved only by Craig’s skintight cowboy get-up, which included chaps. This couldn’t quite make up for a muddled script and schizophrenic direction, but eye-candy is not to be despised.) Tom Hardy, who co-stars with Shia in “Lawless” carries the “bruiser” moniker very well too.

Ryan Gosling is also included in the article as an “Alpha Artist.” Over the past couple of years Gosling and/or his PR machine have created a highly polished fashion image for the actor.

Now, as for men wearing nothing at all. I do mean strapping Prince Harry, caught partying in Las Vegas in his birthday suit. The Drudge Report put this escapade the top of its page.

Forget that Missouri politico, Mr. Aiken and his amazing medical discovery that during “legitimate” rape (as opposed to I think-I’ll-file-my-nails-while-being-violated-rape) a woman’s body “shuts down” and prevents pregnancy. Clearly one of Britain’s royal backsides is what Drudge’s conservative fans are most interested in.

I won’t say “poor Harry.” He’s handsome and 27 and rich and doing what all handsome young wealthy men do when they have the opportunity. (Or even average-looking low-salaried men.)

He’ll probably get a dressing down from Daddy and Granny and go back to military service from which he was on leave. The awful thing here is that a member of the party, perhaps of his own entourage, took the pics and sold them. (They first appeared on TMZ. No surprise there.)

It occurs to me more and more that celebrity, glamour and mystery as we knew it back in the day — even as recently the 1970s and ’80s — could never have survived an earlier invention of the Internet and iPhones, Twitter, etc. Where would we be now? It’s scary to contemplate, for where will we be 10 or 20 years from now?!

Maybe the word “privacy” will simply be struck from the dictionary?

SPEAKING OF Britain’s royals and nudity, on the cover of Playboy is a young lady who calls herself Katrina Darling. She is a 20-year-old burlesque performer. Her show is titled “God Save the Queen.”

It turns out — though she denied it at first — that “Kat” as she prefers to be called, is second cousin to Kate Middleton, wife of Prince William and the future Queen of England. Miss Darling is now a great big deal in the UK. Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, hasn’t asked Kat to stop peeling it off and letting it lay, nor has the Palace issued any edicts.

Maybe Miss Darling is a distant second cousin, perhaps it would be unsuitable even to acknowledge her? (Whereas Prince Harry’s tush is an unavoidable subject of chatter, upstairs and downstairs.)

Well, Playboy isn’t class conscious. She’s a pretty girl, except for the tattoos on her calves. I just don’t understand the tattoo craze. And once begun, people can’t seem to stop, either.

SINGER ANITA Baker is back in a big way. Her new single, “Lately” has racked up some impressive stats.

It is the highest single debut on Billboard’s Adult Contemporary Chart (#10) in 15 years.

It is the biggest debut of Baker’s career since 1994.

It has the most increased airplay on Billboard’s Smooth Jazz Chart.

It also has the most ads on the Groove Jazz Chart and on Radio Wave Internet airplay music chart.

The CD from which this winner is culled is titled “Only Forever” and is due in late October. Baker has won eight Grammys. She has four platinum and two gold records.

Her career has had its fallow periods, but this does not seem to be one of them.

“THE SOUND of her raucous laughter still rings in my ears.” That was part of what I wrote about Elizabeth Taylor for the recent issue of Q magazine. I was referring specifically to my favorite encounter with her, among dozens and dozens over a 30-year period. I was interviewing the star of stars in Paris, where she was filming a movie about — get ready — a simple Las Vegas showgirl! But that time (1968) Elizabeth was too rich, too famous, too over-the-top, too zaftig to be believable as a showgirl, although she made no bones about it. She was doing it for the money — a record amount. And, of course to keep tabs on Richard, who was filming in London.

Elizabeth didn’t answer one question I’d been asked to ask her by Cosmopolitan magazine. Instead, she treated me to days of watching her indulge herself with food, drink, jewels, clothes, joking with co-star Warren Beatty and generally being The Greatest Show on Earth. Shopping with Elizabeth was surreal — “I want some rings and things,” she announced at Bulgari. She was one of a kind, she took her most intimate secrets to her grave, and I don’t believe she regretted one moment of her fabulous life — even the final decade of terrible illness. She learned from that, too. I still miss her. And please pick up Q, too.

Elizabeth Taylor and Warren Beatty in the Only Game In Town

SO, David Letterman welcomes Jimmy Kimmel to his time slot saying, “The more the merrier” as the new talk show guy supplants “Nightline.”

No wonder! For two years, “Nightline” has won all the ratings in this time slot, double those made by Letterman and Leno combined! It’s “Nightline” that surprised everyone with its strong ratings and young demographic and made Kimmel possible!

This column originally appeared on NYSocialDiary.com on 8/23/12

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