Parties: Hatters go mad at V&A

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The Independent Culture

Forget the outfits — hats trumped haute couture at last Monday's V&A bash celebrating milliner extraordinaire Stephen Jones's headgear exhibition.

Guests milled around the bar, some adorned with novel home-made creations – including two matching cardboard Spanish sailboats and a plastic lobster perched on a fan grill – while others, such as Gordon's wife Sarah Brown, sported a more traditional black affair.

The night's theme was egalitarian chic: no VIPs or cordoned-off areas here. While Jones himself darted around in a glittering beret, ordinary folk rubbed shoulders with the greats, including London's other super-milliner Philip Treacy and style icon/Jones muse Anna Piaggi. Even supermodel royalty Yasmin Le Bon, with daughter Amber in tow, had to queue up at the bar for her crystal glass of pink champagne.

Elsewhere, a jovial Erin O'Connor was swamped by limpet-like admirers, while model-turned-Vogue TV presenter Jade Parfitt eagerly weaved in and out of the crowd with her cameraman. And over at the exhibition was a black-silhouetted Daphne Guinness chatting to British Fashion Council chairman Harold Tillman and admiring the 350 hats on display.

Tucked into a corner, a boutique sweet shop provided a welcome respite from all the social repartee, as mad hatters tucked into devilish macaroons and pudding pots. Perhaps it should have provided a quick nutritional guide, too. "Ooh, I love jelly sweets because they have no sugar in them, right?" reckoned a slightly misinformed Le Bon (Sr).