NIGHT OWLS: “Why doesn’t Claridge’s ask me to do their Christmas tree?” said a quizzical Thom Browne on Thursday night at a dinner he hosted in London’s Soho with Mr Porter. “It’s mine and Andrew’s home in London — our favorite hotel — and our favorite bar,” said the designer, referring to his partner in life Andrew Bolton. This year, for the second time, Dolce & Gabbana decorated the tree in the Claridge’s lobby, so maybe it is time to swap Italian drama for some American flair.
Browne was in London partly to mark the launch of an exclusive capsule collection with Mr Porter. “The collection only launched Tuesday and it’s almost all sold out, so we probably didn’t need to do this dinner,” deadpanned Toby Bateman, fashion director at Mr Porter, during the dinner at L’Escargot.
The designer had other appointments on his London agenda, including meetings with retailers and his ongoing work with milliner Stephen Jones. “He’s a dream,” said Browne of Jones. “His references are so intellectual. He’s thinks Jean Prouvé, while I’m thinking Freddy Krueger.”
Browne said he’s heading home to Allentown, PA for Thanksgiving and will then return to London for Christmas.
Earlier in the evening, Robin Birley threw a party to mark the launch of the book Loulou de la Falaise (Rizzoli), by Ariel de Ravenel and Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni. Guests included Nicky Haslam, Rupert Everett, Lady Antonia Fraser, Rifat Ozbek, and Frances Von Hofmannsthal.
“Loulou deserved a tribute – she left us much too early and too suddenly,” said de Ravenel, a longtime friend of the late fashion muse and designer, during the signing at Birley’s underground club Loulou’s. “She had a rather adventurous existence and she was immensely fun. And she had an absolute sense of fantasy.”
Ozbek, who’s just turned 61, said he is relishing life away from the fashion industry. He works on interiors with club owner and restaurateur Birley, has a business making luxury cushions, and he travels. “Fashion used to be fun, but it’s become too corporate. I knew when I started designing too many handbags and shoes that it was no longer my world.”
On the flip side, the folks at Kate Spade New York are far from finished with fashion. On Wednesday night they filled the dining room of Mayfair’s George Club with pots of pink and white roses and flickering candelabras, for a dinner to celebrate the launch of the brand’s new UK Web site, katespade.co.uk, along with dedicated social media channels for the country.
Kate Spade’s president and chief creative officer Deborah Lloyd joined guests including Amber Atherton, Martha Ward, Olivia Grant and Jan and Daisy de Villeneuve to dine on seared scallops and sea bass in the cozy dining room. And as a Brit based in New York, Lloyd was using her short visit to London as an excuse to stock up on classic English festive fare, ahead of Thanksgiving in the U.S.
“It’s been Harrods for the Christmas pudding…and then it will be After Eight [chocolates] at the airport,” said Lloyd. She also took in the “Women Fashion Power” the current exhibition at London’s Design Museum on the recommendation of her friend Diane von Furstenberg. Actress Grant, meanwhile, wearing a pink Kate Spade cocktail dress, said she became acquainted with the label while filming in Malaysia this summer, where she said women are “mad for the accessories.”
The actress was shooting “Indian Summers,” a forthcoming Channel 4 and Masterpiece 10-part drama, which is set northern India and looks at “the last days of the Raj in the 1930s,” Grant said.