What’s it like? Well, I can tell you it’s like driving a juggernaut where you only have two pieces of string to control the wheel…” Grayson Perry told us of his experience coordinating the Royal Academy’s 250th Summer Exhibition. Dressed as his alter-ego Claire, as is standard at their annual preview party he held court as he moved around the galleries – chatting to a Kim Cattrall here, a David Bailey there – in a look made by second-year St Martins students. “I go in and do a six-week project with them,” he told us. “They design looks and then I buy the ones I like.” Isn’t that hard, we asked? “Well, I’m no size-zero model, darling, but I know what works — and I’m not afraid to go short.” At which he hitched up his dress to show off some absolutely cracking pins.
Elsewhere fashion folk had caught the bug with Laura Jackson reaching peak art-anxiety sprinting to get to the Tracey Emin before anyone else… Fail. And Paloma Faith deciding to get in on the art game “I bought something!” she told us. “But not framed – I can do that myself.” Right-o. “Be careful before you do any champagne shopping,” another well-heeled guest warned us. “I bought a McQueen dress at an auction that I’m still having to pay off in instalments.” Hard times, babes.
On, then, to the opening of the Moët Town House, a pop-up members club literally built on champagne with over 400 cases of bubbles being shipped in for the 4-day event. Proceedings kicked off with a DJ set by Groove Armada’s Andy Cato, who had made full use of the green room – complete with wall to wall jeroboams of champagne. Issues arose when Idris Elba arrived to play his set, used the room and locked the door behind him. With the keys inside. Cue two belonging-less DJ’s and one locksmith called out at midnight.
Back to the scene of the crime the next night for a dinner hosted by David Furnish, Dylan Jones and Caroline Rush to celebrate the opening of the 12th season of London Fashion Week Men’s, where talk turned to a worrying trend emerging from the front row – the shaving of male editor’s ankle hair for that rolled up chino and loafer look. “Would you shave your ankles?” one concerned American editor asked over the tuna tacos, “no” we assured him, but our European cousins, well, that’s a different matter.
London Fashion Week Men’s Season 12, that’s a wrap! Proceedings finished with a series of dinners to celebrate the shows, the most preeminent of which being the GQ dinner which was hosted by GQeditor Dylan Jones and Loyle Carner at hip new eatery Neptune, opened by stylist turned restauranteur Margaret Crow. “We’ve been opened two weeks and it’s going well, there are always a few hiccups when you’re opening but it’s going…” she told us.
Another man who’s slightly less new to the restaurant game is Michelin starred chef Jason Atherton who, in addition to hosting the GQ Opening dinner on Friday, provided refreshments to the masses across the weekend at the Moet Townhouse. What are your ultimate tips for hosting, we asked? “Cook simple dishes and do it well’ he told us, “always use seasonal (and local if possible) ingredients, the food will taste so much better. Pair light white wine with fish, chicken or rabbit and a nice Burgandy or Bordeaux for red meat. Do as much preparation as you can so that you can enjoy the meal yourself rather than being stuck in the kitchen leaving you more time to be stress-free and get ready on the day.’ Anything else? “Get the right mix of people to keep it interesting, but be careful of who you sit next to who. Place guests next to those you know have similar interests.”
We lucked out at the closing dinner being sandwiched between DJ Diplo and Tinie Tempah. Result. Having just shown his What We Wear collection Tinie was on a post-work high, “I love doing the show” he told us, “we did one in Lagos recently and it really taught me to chill out. Doing a show there you schedule it for a certain time and it happens three hours later. It meant I got a less worked up about this one!” Next stop for him is Ibiza, jetting out there today for the second week of his residency at Ushuaïa. “You should come out for it one week, we’re there all the way through until September” he said… Don’t need to ask us twice.
Fresh from the GQ Style x Brown’s party at Annabel’s the previous evening Diplo couldn’t stop raving about the recently refurbished club, “I had such a good night” he said, “I love it in that place. For such a small venue the lighting and the sound were incredible” Well, they have just spent £55 million on it, we told him, so you’d kind of hope so. Diplo also told us about the origins of his and Mark Ronson’s newest project Silk City. “It’s a place in Connecticut and where we met 15 years ago. It’s great having Mark work on a track with you, it’s like I produce him and he produces me.” If you think the life of a superstar DJ and producer is easy then think again, straight from dinner he and singer Raye were heading straight to the studio in Chiswick to carry on working on the new popstrels track.
After dinner the west living contingent headed to Tinie’s afterparty at the newly opened Soho House White City for sets from Idris and Nick Grimshaw while the Eastenders headed to Bisthrotheque to catch the tail-end of Fashion East’s closing dinner and watch a (really very good) Britney Spears impersonator. Standard. Word even reaches us of hard partying contingent that headed back for a house party that went on until 6am. “I had to leave” one text message delivered during the birdsong hours told us, “I looked around and realised that everyone was about one drink away from losing, phones, wallets, house keys and dignity.”