Survival of the Sloane

<strong>Cooler, Faster, More Expensive: the Return of the Sloane Ranger</strong>

Peter York & Oli

Twenty-five years since Peter York and Ann Barr first immortalised the term “Sloane Ranger” in The Official Sloane Ranger Handbook, York has returned to the subject with a new accomplice. The Sloane has diversified: now that London is awash with sharp-dressing Americans and petro-billionaires, many Sloanes have been priced out of their natural habitat, and forced to evolve. Like the dedicated anthropologists they are, York and Stewart Liberty have set about redefining and subdividing the new species.

Princess Diana, apparently, created the new template, but there are numerous versions: there’s Eco Sloane; Chav Sloane; Thumping, Turbo, Bongo and Party Sloane – not to mention Sleek & Euro Sloane, and, of course, Sloane Off the Rails. In each case, there’s a fictional prototype: meet Bella (Bells), the Chav Sloane who went to Benenden and then Oxford (Brookes), now works in PR as a “brand ambassador”.

The book is in many ways the complete guide, prefaced with helpful tips such as “how to grow your own Sloane”, from giving birth, names, nannies and prep schools right through to funerals. Kate Middletons of this world, however, should take note: it “takes three generations to make a Sloane: two looks pushy”.

This article first appeared in the 19 November 2007 issue of the New Statesman, New best friends?