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"My Next Job, QVC!"

Alber Elbaz Keeps the Locals Laughing at Lanvin's London Opening

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Alber Elbaz with Yasmin LeBon   
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There was no need for guests to worry about finding their way to 128 Mount Street for the opening of London's new Lanvin women's store: A pink, balloon-smothered cab, occupied by a leopard spot-attired mannequin kicking up her heels, was parked outside. That sighting in the heart of establishment Mayfair set the hilariously playful tone for the cocktail party cum show-and-tell orchestrated by Alber Elbaz for a clutch of art and fashion friends, including Anouck Lepère and Jefferson Hack, Bryan Ferry, Zandra Rhodes, Yasmin LeBon, and Juergen Teller. The designer (who told everyone he's on a post-show protein-only diet) entertained his guests with a mini-presentation of his splashily colored high-summer collection. "I wanted the dresses to look as easy as if a girl had just stepped out of the shower and tied a towel around herself," he said, plucking at puffs of washed gazar and satin as his audience sat on little gold chairs, laughed, and clapped. "Thank you!" he bowed. "My next job, QVC!"

Afterward, the party headed off to the abode of art dealer Ivor Braka, where they were mesmerized by the Gothic surroundings, Arts and Crafts treasures, and masterworks by Hockney, Paula Rego, Edward Burne-Jones, Zurbarán, William Blake, and Lucian Freud, not to mention the cabinet of human skeletons by Damien Hirst in the hall. Yet more arrivals added to the dizzy atmosphere of a one-off London evening unlikely to be repeated—Lucian Freud himself, daughter Bella, Isabella Cawdor, Mark Ronson, and later, Rosamund Pike, who hotfooted it from the stage at the Donmar Warehouse, where she's playing Mishima's Madame de Sade with Dame Judi Dench.

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