A queue of eager guests snaked around Jay Jopling's White Cube in Mayfair last week for the private view of Tracey Emin's exhibition, Those Who Suffer Love – her first London show in four years.
Swarms of people made their way round the three rooms. First up: a flickbook-style animation of a woman masturbating under a steady green neon glow. Downstairs, visitors puzzled over doodles on lined paper – some back-to-front, supposedly her diaries – and naked figures stitched on blankets. Here, the elegant design doyenne Betty Jackson hailed the artist as a "female force" and branded the show a "rebirth" of Emin's iconic work.
Kooky Pam Hogg trailed around the gallery – alongside the artist and former Clash bassist Paul Simonon and Agent Provocateur founder Serena Rees – with a swagger that only a cool 1980s cult fashionista with yellow hair could pull off, while long-time comrade Jo Wood giggled, "Oh she's as mad as a hatter, our Trace."
They all then joined up with fellow guests Nancy Dell'Olio and the artist Sam Taylor-Wood in the gallery's VIP rooftop soirée. Only one of Emin's elite appeared in any way less than delighted: "I had to leave my son Ben's party early as I had already agreed to come to this," poor Vivienne Westwood opined.
And where was Emin? The New Review's intrepid reporter legged it up the back stairs and on to the private decking area, finding herself face-to-face with love's sufferer herself, only to be hurled straight back out to the street bash for the masses below after being recognised by a disgruntled Dell'Olio. No chance, then, to discuss critical reactions to her latest handiwork.