The world converged in London last night. “I’ve just flown in from L.A.,” said a breathless Donna Karan, “after Barbra Streisand’s closing-night concert at the bowl. The jet lag hasn’t kicked in yet.” Karan has been outfitting her friend Babs for the singer’s world tour, but the customer still comes first, which is what brought her to Harvey Nichols, to launch her own boutique and show her Resort collection. (Nicks’ brass said Karan was the top seller on its international floor last week.) Yasmin Le Bon (left, with Karan), Irina Lazareanu, and biking gold medalist Victoria Pendleton were among those on hand to welcome her.
Meanwhile, across town, another American transplant was celebrating its London debut: SushiSamba, the Japanese-meets-Brazilian chain, which opens its doors at East London’s Heron Tower. Alison Mosshart, McQueen muse Annabelle Neilson, Katie Grand, and Richard Nicoll (left) were among the revelers, as was Style.com’s roving advice columnist Waris Ahluwalia, while Pixie Geldof’s band Violet played a set Mark Ronson spun the tunes. (His uncle, Gerald Ronson, built the tower.) At Harvey Nichols, Yasmin Le Bon was applauding her friend Donna’s knack for knowing how real women want to dress in the real world, but the dress code here was more unreal woman in the unreal world: a clatch of barely clothed samba dancers. “You know it’s a good party when you’re picking feathers out of your mouth all night,” Peter Pilotto said with a laugh.
No surprise that London Fashion Week began on a somber note, following the tragic death of Alexander McQueen. At Naomi Campbell’s Fashion for Relief fundraiser for Haiti, she, Kate Moss, and Annabelle Neilson (McQueen’s muse and dearest friend) strode down the runway in McQueen creations, which then went onto the auction block. When Topshop chief Philip Green bid £100,000 for Kate’s dress, it proved too much for the model, who broke down into tears in Neilson’s shoulder. At the official opening of the week the following day, BFC Chairman Harold Tillman held a moment of silence for the late designer.
Spirits were higher at the breakfast launch for the new Dorchester Collection Fashion Prize. McQueen’s great friend Daphne Guinness and her fellow judges—including Giles Deacon, Stephen Jones, Manolo Blahnik, and Yasmin Le Bon—will decide on the winner of the £25,000 award, which was masterminded by former British Vogue features editor Bronwyn Cosgrave. The slate of shows for the day was already full—Aminaka Wilmont, Hannah Marshall, Felder Felder, and Caroline Charles were all on the schedule—but it was the Sass & Bide show that had most people talking: Its invitation was made of very jagged, broken (real) mirror. That’s the sort that should come with a warning—at least for the poor mailmen.