"I've come straight from Ascot," announced Nancy Dell'Olio, as her eight-inch heels (Louboutins? We were too polite to ask) clattered up the steps of Mark Wilson's Cross Street Gallery in Islington, North London, on Tuesday evening. "I've been there all day." Waitresses flew into action. "Someone get Nancy some champagne," they hissed to one another. Someone did, thank goodness, and a small crisis was averted.
The occasion was an exhibition of work by Sally Ann Lasson, the Independent's acerbic cartoonist and, indeed, one couldn't help but wonder whether Nancy saw traces of her wayward ex-boyfriend Sven-Göran Eriksson in Lasson's sardonic depictions of domesticity. If she did, it only served to amuse.
Across the room, the impressionist Ronni Ancona – elegant in black and white – was engaged in lively debate with the equally elegant, though rather less pretty GQ editor, Dylan Jones, while our very own Yasmin Alibhai-Brown and Howard Jacobson caught up, discussing only matters of high politics (presumably).
Of course, the real star of the evening was Lasson. Guests queued up to grab a word with the woman of the moment – and her cartoons, which, as the sun set on London's most switched-on borough, were picked out and sold.