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Out With A Bang

The London Men's Collections End With A Pair of Wild Parties

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Tom Ford and Laura Bailey   
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In the temporally challenged world of fashion, three days counts as a week, kind of like dog days. The men's "week" that finished in London on Wednesday night showed us why. So much sensation so successfully shoved into such a short space of time that it was no wonder the closing-night festivities struck a note of triumph. Paul Smith, Tinie Tempah, and GQ editor Dylan Jones—each in their own way a figurehead of the city's menswear renaissance—hosted a dinner at Sketch. It was a seven-ages-of-man scenario: over there, Marshall Lester, who, decades ago, backed London icons Katharine Hamnett and Michiko Koshino; over here, Harry Styles, 1D's serial sexologist.

Two things really stood out for me. In his speech, Tinie Tempah saluted the dedication of all the people who worked right through Christmas to ensure that designers would have their stuff in time for the shows. Given the way the industry slams to a halt while Italy and France enjoy their grande vacance, that was a point well-made. The other striking thing? Comedians! Tony Award winner James Corden shared a table with Styles and Michael McIntyre, who may have just found out that he was last year's most successful stand-up guy, with a take-home of £21 million. Something else to celebrate: Savile Row's sweetest soul, Richard James, was turning…oh, who's counting? It's just a number…but the size of the cake hinted at the seriousness of the anniversary. The rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" was a reminder of how intimate and supportive British fashion folk are. It's not simply a matter of everyone knowing everyone else's business—it's just that people care.

Then all those caring sharers got up and walked over to Loulou's, Robin Birley's rococo rabbit warren, where Tom Ford was throwing a party to mark his commitment to London's primacy in fashion's global pecking order. And what stood out there was how Tom turned the hottest boîte in town into a (extended) family affair, with friends and collaborators like Elizabeth Saltzman Walker, Colin and Livia Firth, Sharleen Spiteri, Sam Taylor-Wood, and Julia Restoin Roitfeld in attendance. And Harry Styles and the comedians, of course (with the addition of Graham Norton, who's not by definition a comedian but who is nevertheless a very funny man).

"New movie, Tom?" we asked. "No, I've been having a baby," he answered. He and partner Richard Buckley were the best kind of advertisement for parenthood. It's taken years off them both. Tom's longtime Ms. Fixit, the sensationally sequin-clad Whitney Bromberg Hawkings, twigged that secret two babies ago. Mind you, she insisted she'd be first on the dance floor, and at midnight, we were still waiting.

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