To get away with the suit Mark Ronson is wearing today (blue stripes on white, solid blue collar, bum-freezer jacket, cropped trousers tight as a tourniquet), you must be able to tick a series of boxes. Young and Slim go without saying. Handsome helps a lot. But to really carry it off on the streets of London and not look like some affected fop, you need to have Rich, Successful and Very Confident at your disposal, too. The record producer, DJ and fashionable man of the moment, 32, is all of these things and more, and hence carries his clothes with ease and style. "Do you like it?" he asks of his ensemble (by the Swedish-born, New York-based designer Patrik Ervell, and a recent purchase). "Who else cares enough to wear seersucker in a light colour? It's just me and Tom Wolfe, I think."
Such casual self-absorption does not translate well to paper. But still there's something likeable, even charming about the man behind the albums Back to Black (by Amy Winehouse), Alright, Still (Lily Allen) and Version (his very own, but featuring guest vocals by a variety of artists, most notably Winehouse on the hit reworking of a Zutons song, Valerie). And that's impressive, given that within the space of one year, his status here has gone from that of relatively unknown DJ/producer to that of media ubiquity (his very presence at festival turntables this summer is being counted on to boost the bankability of one outdoor event after another).
Even so, Ronson knows his time is precious. Spending an hour in his company is like hanging on to the coat-tails of someone living a life that Heat readers can only dream of, as I discover on meeting him, on what is a whistlestop visit back to the capital, and driving with him east from Notting Hill. No sooner are we in gear than he proposes a detour. Today is the 21st birthday of his half-sister Henrietta and there is a package he absolutely must drop off. In fact, the first thing he did on arriving at Heathrow this morning was to call Allen and ask her advice about a suitable gift. "Lily's really good and sweet like that. She said, 'There's this cool bag and I'm calling Chanel right now. Just drop by and pick it up!' Which I did. Right and then first left please [he is now addressing the driver] and stop just where those balloons are being delivered." He reaches for the door handle. "I'll only be a minute," he promises, and duly is.