Sunday, 20 September 2009

Party Time

Although the fashion was disappointing, yesterday at LFW ended in a fireworks display of parties. You can't do them all and keep your sanity — let alone get any sleep – so it is very much a question of  'first come, first served' with most of us.

I ended up doing two. First to Brook Street, to the Savile club for a party thrown by the magazine Fantastic Man. In keeping with the cool confidence linked with the gift for the unexpected that has made it a cult read, FM decided to choose for its venue the most traditional of all English settings – a London gentleman's club – and then filled it with an eclectic range of predominantly young men who were anything but  gentlemen - and very happy with that. As a very sophisticated French friend said, with an ironic tilt of his eyebrows, 'I hope that Byron was a member here. I think he would have enjoyed this.' 

Certainly, as one of the few women guests pointed out as the young crowd began to get very drunk on vodka cocktails, 'I don't know when I last saw so many pretty young gays so drunk and determined to have a good time' - which translates into 'Looking for sex'. I am sure they were not disappointed.

I was more interested in the surroundings, which were perfect World of Interiors shabby grandeur, with panelling, slightly worn carpets and sofas and a warm feeling of log fires and cigar smoke in the past.

Then on to Harrods, as glossily different as the 21st-century commercial world can be from a sequestered 19th-century male enclave could be - although both are about the privilege of money. 

I was very late and everyone was already seated at a very long, beautifully set table in the relaunched International Design Room. The host was the owner of Harrods, Mr al Fayed, and the guests included Harold Tilman and several of the staff of the BFC, a few journalists and several of the designers whose clothes are in the new space. I talked to Roland Mouret, along with Christopher Bailey of Burberry, one of London's best loved design figures. Roland told me he had just bought a house in Suffolk with 2 acres where he intends to have donkeys and geese. Roland's father was a butcher and, perhaps a little incongruously, it is well known that that bloody trade goes hand-in-hand with a respect for and even love of animals, so Roland the Farmer all seems oddly right. 

Barbour should keep an eye on him for future approaches to waterproof clothing with a touch of Gallic chic.  An evening of good food and wine ended with Mr al Fayed slipping a couple of Viagra tablets to each male guest as we said goddbye 'to continue to enjoy the evening'. They were in fact heart-shaped digestive mints.