SERPENTINE SUMMER PARTY
‘Britain’s finest donned their best dresses to attend one of the season hottest tickets’ according to Elle, while ‘Anyone who was anyone attended the Serpentine party’ trumpets Vanity Fair. I went too, (my presence casting doubt on both statements), and sure enough many ‘main’ people were in attendance. An idyllic summer evening and the blissful sunshine perfectly lit the new tomato juice red monolithic pavilion and the parade of facial adjustments that ensued around it.
Many of these social X-Rays looked unnaturally pinched or inexplicably odd. Architect Jean Nouvel’s construction has an ancient alien temple feel about it, yet seemed less visually jarring than much work exhibited by the assembled socialites. A Martian priest presiding over the dramatic red bar come altar would have thought many society parishioners beyond salvation.
Some women did look lovely. A sort of Roman/Greco story was in the air that worked better as dusk fell.
Lilly Cole and Hayley Atwell looked special without trying hard, while Tamara and Petra Ecceleston had tried, but did deliver glam. Mad pensioner Grace Jones looked utterly content with a wicker coffee bean on her head, while Jared Leto came as a special Billy Idol with his gang of cyber-hards.
Men mainly looked bad. Standouts included Nick Candy who managed Top Man/X Factor contestant in buff coloured trimmed blazer teamed with awful rich man jeans. While Natalia Vodianova appeared demure in vintage inspired Givenchy, her man the Earl of Portman dressed like a sociology lecturer on a red wedge demo in 1987. Golf club fundraiser appeared to be the theme for most, as if they never considered shoes are part of an ensemble, but merely there to protect the feet. Exceptions included Nick Foulkes in white suit, slashed to the waist red striped shirt and Italian loafers. Believe or not, Nicky Haslam in turquoise suit and luminous sunglasses looked very appropriate. More colour play from Andrew Neil who walked past me with an orange wife, and his weave/ sweep-over contrivance in a shade of plum. Founder of Tank magazine Masoud Golsorkhi looked noble and international for an elevated outdoor do in semi colonial blazer based garb, while his fellow Tank girl/ publisher, Caroline Issa far looked more at ease with her striking glamour and summery patterned dress than all of the A list. Best dressed men were William Gilchrist in air force blue safari/playsuit fusion and Carlo Brandelli, with white pants and scarf, blue open weave Kilgour no.5 jacket and matching tint sunglasses. No shirt Carlo? How racey.
So it wasn’t a non-stop freak show, and it was also fun. I was a guest of Jaguar cars thanks to luxury propaganda high cleric, Lara Mingay. She’s the attractive, Chanel bag wielding PR equivalent of J. Edgar Hoover, mysteriously controlling the prevailing climate in many parts of the media. I was grateful to appear on her list and hop into one of her Jags to arrive. The evening did feel special in other ways. The food was a delight and between asparagus risotto and Moroccan tagines, there was so much to gawp at, I committed the social sin of being in a group of one much of the time, although did enjoy much banter with old pal the glamorous Prada Elaine.
The event’s circulating pseudo-rumour was not of the topless Martian ping-pong contest to be played the red tables outside the pavilion, but of the appearance of grime MC turned pop star Dizzee Rascal. DJ Semtex (his real name) and Dizzee looked as bemused and dislocated at the hundred of so posh folk who nodded awkwardly out of time or filmed obtrusively as the black man shouted his street thing right there live, in front of them. It was an uncomfortable sight as disparate modern worlds collided. “We don’t care about none of the art shit, Lets get into something a little bonkers,” Dizzee announced. Bonkers or perhaps clueless is best word applied to whoever made this booking.
As the wedding music and dancing returned the cultural relief was as tangible. Britain’s finest and most special Anyone’s can be an alarming bunch of extra terrestrials when viewed in good light, sober and up close. Sensing a change in all of those prevailing factors I slipped onto another red monolith, the number 10 bus.