Dame Natalie Massenet will step down as chair of the British Fashion Council at the end of this year, leaving a stylish space at the top of the table. So who has what it takes to sustain the country’s status as a fashion destination?
When news of Massenet’s departure spread, Dylan Jones was tipped as a frontrunner. The GQ editor has, after all, been a vital component of the London Collections: Men events. But The Londoner hears excited whispers that Christopher Bailey and Samantha Cameron are also contenders.
Bailey, who helped bring Burberry, once an ailing fashion brand, back to the top table, left his post as CEO in November. His conscious uncoupling will be complete this time next year when he departs the company entirely, leaving a lot of diary space.
Cameron also has the expertise: the wife of the former prime minister has worked as an ambassador for the BFC while at Downing Street, hosting receptions at Number 10 for British designers. She was also on the payroll at chic stationers Smythson, and set up her own fashion brand — Cefinn — earlier this year. “She would be perfect,” a fashionista tells us. “Natalie was at Net-a-Porter while she was at the BFC and juggled both perfectly. Sam could do the same.”
Massenet’s replacement will be announced in due course. We shall see if one of the fashionable trio can take the throne.
Prince Harry’s charity, Sentebale, held its Christmas concert at St Mary Abbots, Kensington, on Monday. Some may have been left disappointed that HRH didn’t show up but the local vicar, Rev Gillean Craig, was not expecting Harry to attend — contrary to our earlier report. Plainly we made a clerical error.
The cosmopolitan Goves go Nineties
HAPPY belated birthday to our Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Michael Gove, who threw a 50th-birthday bash at his new west London home last night. Gove turned 50 in August but you can forgive him for the tardy party: he has been busy restoring his reputation since Theresa May reinstated him to the Cabinet in June. Politico spotted that Home Secretary Amber Rudd, MP Jacob Rees-Mogg and Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt were among the guests. Cosmopolitan cocktails were served. How very Nineties.
The Londoner couldn’t make the do as we had our own bash at The Compton Cross in Soho, with a drag queen called Tiffany Wells and a trayful of whisky sours. Beats cosmopolitans any day.
Quote of the Day
'There's like a bunch of random strangers, one of who might be a serial killer'
Billionaire Elon Musk doesn't understand why other people take public transport.
Absent hound at Fendi’s flagship opening
FASHION brand Fendi opened its flagship store on Sloane Street last night. Eighties DJ Fat Tony mingled with a fresh generation of Sloanes such as Lady Mary Charteris; Liam Gallagher’s daughter, Molly Moorish, was there too, celebrating the opening of the shiny new boutique. Guests headed to an after-party at Isabel in Mayfair, where Vogue editor Edward Enninful rubbed shoulders with photographer Mert Alas. Alas, Ru, Edward’s Boston terrier and The Londoner’s favourite fashionable hound, was nowhere to be seen. Perhaps he’d had a ruff day.
THE Londoner met Michael Portillo yesterday as the Radisson Blu Edwardian hotel group threw a party at its Mayfair outpost. The former politician — aka Portaloo — told us that our Foreign Secretary is a welcome member of a special club. “I was at one time a future Prime Minister,” he said. “I am now a former future Prime Minister. There are a number of us in Parliament and we formed ourselves into a little club. I eagerly anticipate a new member called Boris Johnson.”
Tong is ‘in the wrong’
IT’S all gone Pete Tong for... Pete Tong. In a withering Facebook post last night, Massive Attack member Robert Del Naja, aka 3D, lambasted the DJ for playing one of the band’s songs without permission.
“Dear Pete Tong,” Del Naja writes. “Thanks for covering one of our songs on your nostalgia nightmare roadshow. I don’t recollect you getting in touch to see if we would mind.”
As an international DJ, Tong, pictured, is used to sampling the work of others and will have followed proper channels. But for Massive Attack it’s an issue of benevolence: when playing the song, Unfinished Sympathy, they project giant photographs of refugees to raise awareness of their plight. It’s part of a project with photographer Giles Duley, in which the band also collects money for the UN’s refugee agency UNHCR.
Del Naja adds: “If you do mean to carry on coining it, why don’t you divide your nightly profit by the number of songs you murder in your set and hand the total of that one song over to UNHCR? It would be the least you could do.” Looks like DJ decks at dawn.
Tweet of the Day
Disney now owns Star Wars, Marvel, Indiana Jones, Disney World and the Simpsons. If they acquire my parent's divorce they will own my entire childhood.— Frank Pallotta (@frankpallotta) December 14, 2017
CNN reporter Frank Pallotta tweets his fears after Disney acquired 20th Century Fox.
Clutter of the day: actress Priyanka Chopra, a pal of Meghan Markle, had her eye-popping horde of emails revealed by a friend’s Instagram post. Her total? A mere 257,623.
Snow White joins #MeToo movement
TO THE Tabernacle last night for the seasonal Notting Hill show, an alternative Nativity entitled The Naivety. The #MeToo movement featured, with local princesses including actress Matilda Sturridge, far left, as Snow White and Immy Waterhouse, centre.