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Farmville For An Evening At Gwyneth’s London Arts Club

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In terms of celeb cred, it doesn’t get hotter than the members-only Arts Club on Dover Street. Founded in 1863 by London’s original It boy, Charles Dickens, it’s recently reopened after an extravagant renovation. Gwyneth Paltrow is an investor, on the membership committee, and has acted as design consultant; Mark Ronson is its music director. Despite its relatively nascent stages, it’s already hosted some legendary parties, like last month’s still talked-about affair where Mrs. Chris Martin took to the stage and sang to the Duke of Edinburgh, and two weeks ago, where Ron Wood, Damien Hirst, and Flea rocked out for a near-hysterical crowd. Last night, the Club shared a little of its hard-earned mojo with one of the oldest established celeb haunts: Switzerland’s Verbier Farm Club, which arrived for a one-night-only “pop-up” at the London space. (There have been plenty of pop-up shops in recent years, but this may be London’s first pop-up club—and what’s more, a pop-up club within a club. Think of them as the Russian Dolls of the party world.)

Giuseppi and Serafino Berardi’s establishment has been the Verbier’s premier après-ski club for 41 years, infamous for its “no last call” policy and for being the club where people like David Bowie and Diana Ross went straight from the dance floor at 6:00 a.m. to the first ski of the day. Princess Diana and the Duchess of York were Verbier Farm Club regulars, and now so are their sons and daughters, similarly titled ilk, Posh and Becks, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jemima Khan, and so forth. All this ski debauchery was brought to the Arts Club last night, where the Champagne and vodka flowed freely in what amounted to a hat tip from the old-school legend to the newbie hot spot. It served as a thank-you of sorts from the Swiss club to its London faithful, and as importantly, a way to induct new It Brits into the Verbier world. Spotted in the crowd were such next-generation partiers as Cara Delevingne and Otis Ferry, alongside Elizabeth Saltzman Walker and model Adwoa Aboah. The approach seemed to be working. “I haven’t been to the Verbier Farm Club before,” Delevingne said, surveying the scene approvingly. “But I guess now I am going to have to check it out.”

Photo: Courtesy of the Arts Club

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