Britain’s apparently unslakeable thirst perplexes 32-year-old Carolyn Asome, the deputy fashion editor of The Times. “Nowhere else that I’ve lived do people drink so enthusiastically with the sole purpose of getting wasted. It’s not like that in Europe, Hong Kong or the US. And I don’t really understand the culture of excessive drinking here — it can be pretty terrifying. Although I’ve got no argument with anybody who chooses to drink, I do think that drinking just to get bladdered is a strange concept.”
Fashion is a world well-lubricated by alcohol but at the shows, as many of her colleagues sip from their champagne flutes, Carolyn opts for Evian or mint tea. “Not drinking is never a problem when we’re working, and it tends to be so busy that it’s handy not to have a hangover.” Carolyn is no stranger to unhealthy excess: before becoming pregnant she smoked 20 cigarettes a day. A large, empty box of Rococo chocolates rests next to her keyboard. Alcohol, though, has never appealed.