Christmas is zooming closer at an alarming rate and so my two lovely friends Astrid Harbord and Alice Naylor Leyland and I decided rather last minute to organise and host a cool Christmas Bazaar. We chose to have it at my gallery The Little Black Gallery and due to the number of designers wanting to participate I asked our divine Italian restaurant next door “Eleven Park Walk” if we could use their beautiful space as well. Needless to say that what started off as a little idea became a huge production and before we knew it we had 18 brands. Lotty B, of Mustique fame, arrived bright and early with her charming husband Dr Michael Bunbury firmly in tow. Her famous swimwear and wild kaftans were a massive hit. My girlfriends Mimi Baldwin and Zara Simon had very different but very special jewellery corners along with Feidt (an achingly cool Parisian brand). Another good friend Alessandra Vicedomini had tempting rails with dresses and cashmere galore. Alberto Moretti and Fiona Dreesmann of My Slippers shod our feet and the charming Charmian Taylor had a wonderful display of her florist line Scent by Design.
The food was taken care of by the fabulous Roberto at Eleven and they even set up a pop-up café for the ladies with mouthwatering teeny portions of scrambled egg with truffles! Our great friend Sarah Ferguson popped in for tea and also to do an unofficial signing of her latest children’s book “Ballerina Rosie” for her charity. She was a roaring hit and actually ran out of copies. We were thrilled she came as she is always great fun and Princess Eugenie popped in for support. Amanda Ferry slunk in, head to toe in gym kit, with her gal-pal model Kimberly Johnson and even Cath Vialli and her sister made an appearance. It was of course not without drama when Vivien Duffield swung by and brought lots of goodies for her Christmas list. One phone call later and we were on our hands and knees looking for a lost diamond necklace!! The day was a huge success and we even managed to raise around £1,070 for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital’s Wish list appeal. Shopping with a feel good factor…all boxes ticked!
I was obviously feeling still in a ‘do good’ mood when I went off to help at my daughters Christmas Fair. I was planted on the cake stand with a hundred different prices for all the home baked treats and my mind boggled at trying to remember it all. The big mistake was that the table was kiddie height and so many little angels got their paws onto the cupcakes that parents were constantly having to shell out! It was funnily enough the homemade brownies that were in huge demand. So, a note to all you Yummy Mummies, a bake off is way too sophisticated for a Nursery Christmas fair!
My most exciting night and one I had been getting all overexcited about for weeks was Valentino’s retrospective opening at Somerset House, “Valentino: Master of Couture” (somersethouse.org.uk/visual-arts-valentino). Giorgio and I are good friends with both Valentino and his longtime business partner Giancarlo Giammetti and so have been lucky enough to have seen their shows in Paris and Rome. However, nothing could prepare us for the ‘wow factor’ that they had created for London. I cannot tell you how massively urgent it is to get there and see it for yourself. The curators and creative team consisted of Patrick Kinmonth, Antonio Monfreda and Alistair O’Neill.
The idea is for the visitors to be walking down a runway and the mannequins are in fact dressed in Valentino’s creations and are the audience at the show – all very clever and of course a treat for sore eyes. There was of course a small intimate dinner at The Italian Embassy, thrown by Giancarlo afterwards for their close personal friends and a decent smattering of young cool London scensters. It was a visual treat spectacularly created by Emma Gold of GSP. Musician/model James Rousseau was there without his delightful girlfriend the actress Annabelle Wallis who was caught up filming.
Fashion darling Olivia Palermo and her beau Johannes Huebl had flown in from New York and were ready for fun. Alexa Chung looked amazing in her Valentino dress and Dita Von Teese was truly the business. As always with the Valentino crew the atmosphere was as if we were at one of their beautiful homes so it was absolutely no surprise when we headed down the sweeping staircase for dessert. A room dedicated to naughty treats and sweets greeted our eyes – so beautifully and artfully tempting that I can’t think of a soul who declined! A coy Victoria Beckham was on hand in her own line but it was down to the elegant Valentino to kick off the dancing. He is a fabulous dancer and adores dancing – novices step forward at your peril…
Too much fun for one girl to digest. I rounded off a full week by taking my little Violet to see Father Christmas at Harrods. This has been an annual pilgrimage for as long as I can remember. This year was to be different! All went swimmingly as I had of course been smart and pre-booked months ago. She loved meeting Father Christmas and was ecstatic to be told she may indeed receive a hamster! No such luck I assure you.. Anyway since we were with friends we decided to have a brunch in the Terrace restaurant.
I decided Violet needed a loo trip and so off we headed through the dog/pet department. Standing in the queue Violet decided she didn’t need to go after all and hotfooted it out of the room. I held my maternal ground and gave her 3 mins! Panic struck as I realised she had called my bluff – the little monster had run off! Now I hope you can all imagine a Saturday in Harrods on a Christmas shopping day! A nightmare as you have no clue which way to look – I will keep the story short but thankfully she was only missing 8 minutes in total. They were the longest 8 minutes ever but my fear was compounded by knowing Harrods has no tannoy… She had of course gone off to see the puppies and then returned. She has no clue what all the fuss was about and is still pretty unrepentant!!!
Busy next two weeks filming new series of Channel 4’s ‘Four Rooms’ plus having to squeeze in a few pre-Christmas nights out! Not sure how I am going to cope ….