LONDON RAVES: It’s party time here, and the week kicked off with Prime Minister Tony Blair and his wife, Cherie, hosting a cocktail party at Lancaster House. Blair told such guests as Alexander McQueen, Nicole Farhi, Jemima Khan, Yasmin Guinness, Hussein Chalayan, Elspeth Gibson and Manolo Blahnik that he was there at the request of his wife. “And of course I do whatever she asks me to do,” he added. Blair then zipped away to a dinner with President Jacques Chirac of France while Mrs. Blair, dressed in a low-cut dress and sage green coat by New York-based Roman Keflay, chatted with the crowd for another hour. Meeting McQueen, she said, “Please don’t show me your knickers.”
Later that night, Jade Jagger took over the bar at the St. Martin’s Lane hotel for a bash to launch her spring jewelry line. Dad Mick gamely posed for the paparazzi while the hotel’s owner, Ian Schrager, recalled that 23 years ago he’d held a party at Studio 54 for Jade Jagger’s mother, Bianca. But the main talking point of the night was Posh Spice Victoria Adams and her husband David Beckham — nobody could figure out why his head was covered in a Jean Paul Gaultier scarf.
Two nights later, the place was jumping just as much for designer Matthew Williamson’s after-show bash. In fact, it was so packed, not even Williamson was allowed in. So he and his pals, a very pregnant and unrecognizable Helena Christensen and Naomi Campbell, hung out in the lobby.
WESTWOOD GRANT: Vivienne Westwood may have esoteric views on fashion, but she’s clearly a shrewd property dealer. Westwood made front-page news in London earlier this week with the revelation that she’d been given a government grant of almost $30,000 to pay for the renovation of her $1.2 million house in an historical area of South London. Government ministers are now asking why the designer was given the grant, which is funded by money from the British lottery.
HEADING WEST: Nicole Farhi isn’t the only British designer opening a shop in New York. Liza Bruce will open one in SoHo in the next few weeks, her third freestanding store, after London and Beverly Hills. Also heading to New York is leather accessories designer Bill Amberg, who is close to signing a deal on a shop in SoHo that he hopes to inaugurate in the next few months.