LONDON SCOOP

Fashion addicts skipped many of the shows on Tuesday to go to the Christie’s preview of Princess Diana’s dresses. They’ll be sold to raise money for the Marsden Hospital Cancer Fund and the AIDS Crisis Trust. The 80 evening gowns, worn by Diana between 1981 and 1996, include designs by Catherine Walker, Victor Edelstein, Bruce Oldfield, Norman Hartnell, Zandra Rhodes, Bellville Sassoon and David and Elizabeth Emanuel. The frocks, which will be auctioned at Christie’s on June 25 in New York, are expected to raise up to $3.24 million.
Meanwhile, Diana’s former sister-in-law dropped by London Fashion Week Wednesday afternoon to see the exhibition and to pop into Copperwheat Blundell’s runway show. Princess Anne, dressed in a bright red suit and blue-and-yellow print scarf, smiled gamely throughout the 25-minute show — although no one knows what she thought of the sheer dresses and of Yasmin Le Bon wearing a navy coat slit so high in back it afforded the audience a clear view.

The hot ticket in town is Ralph Fiennes’s star turn in the title role of “Ivanov” in the Anton Chekhov play at the Almeida Theatre in Islington. The play, in a new translation by David Hare, has been sold out for months. Opening night drew everyone from Sean Connery to Tom Ford of Gucci, with a party afterwards at the restaurant Lola. Guests there included CAA’s Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, who were keen to sign Cambridge University student Justine Waddell in her first stage role — until the play’s director, Jonathan Kent, pointed out that she was already with ICM.

You know you’ve really made it as a designer when you’re knocked off by The Gap — as Clements Ribeiro’s signature striped knits have been. They’re now hanging in malls around the world. But the good news is that they’re already on sale in New York — marked down to $29.99 from $44. The designer cashmere versions cost about $567.

The place to stay here is Christina Ong’s new hotel, the Metropolitan in Old Park Lane, a 155-room, minimalist hotel in pale stone and pearwood that features a Nobu restaurant, The Met Bar, and staff uniforms by DKNY.

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