I went to Hyde Park for a wonderful party last night, following a day that involved going all the way to Devon and back by train for a three-hour meeting. I sat on a wall on the way from Paddington Station to the park in a quiet side street, to swap my face from meeting to party mode, and asked my husband to bring some heels with him to transform my look. The party was organised by Laura Tennant, glamorous blonde editor of the London Magazine.
During a speech by her delightful boss, it became clear that Laura has jet-propelled the London Magazine, previously a successful purveyor of property advertising to London's elite, with some smart arts and features coverage, into the glamorous mainstream of London fashion and fun. 'That's why she got the job,' he said smiling. 'First, let's have a party! she said. So we did.'
It is always so good to see a boss enjoying the ideas, creativity and dynamism of a new recruit. Not always my experience I must say -- there is a creeping problem in the media where new management structures seem to be designed to suppress creativity rather than foster it, using the twin tools of PowerPoint and Excel. When I was young, there was no such thing as a manager in a magazine team -- just editors at different stages in their career progression, with everyone mucking in and writing and ideas flying about in all directions.
The Serpentine Gallery is in the middle of Hyde Park and, under the supervision of the dynamic Julia Peyton-Jones, it was transformed in the 1990s from a dusty curiosity where one sheltered from the rain when walking children in the park, to London's most glamorous party venue.
That was where Princess Diana appeared in a killer black dress and heels, on the night that her husband was shamefully confessing adultery on television. Really, where do our royal family get their ideas of what is appropriate?
We have another misstep this week, with Princess Anne's son Peter Phillips selling his wedding (and by extension his family) to Hello! magazine for £500,000. O dear. Talk about selling his grandmother!
Last night, the sun was lowering itself gracefully down the sky, and the huge trees looked gloriously bosky -- the grass almost fluorescing in the light. Everyone was outside, not just the smokers for a change, and inside the exhibition of rather brutal and sadistic nudes and semi-nudes, did not attract the crowd all intent on sipping and chatting.
There was art promoter James Birch, taking credit for the fall of the Berlin Wall -- well, he might have a point, he was the first person to stage a Western mainstream art exhibition in Moscow, when he took Gilbert & George there in the late eighties. Now he is planning something equally radical -- we can only hope the political consequences are equally as dramatic and positive -- but I have been sworn to secrecy on the subject.
Also there was Peter York, who with Anne Barr, brought us the concept of the Sloane Ranger in the 1980s. Ageless and handsome, in his marvelous suit, he expressed alarm at his next birthday which is looming. I told him he didn't have to, and we reminisced about what fun London was twenty years ago. It definitely seems to be getting its mojo back now though.
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