Parties: Move over, Manhattan

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The Independent Online

The economy may be on the rails, and New York may have tried to squeeze London out of the fashion calendar, but the capital showed that old Blitz spirit on 19 September, as the 101-year-old London College of Fashion (LCF) hosted a party for fashion's old guard.

Visiting LCF professor and legendary fashion illustrator David Downton had invited fashion royalty only – including LCF alumnus Jimmy Choo – to glamorous Belgravia venue Il Bottaccio to mark the launch of the second issue of his journal Pourquoi Pas?, starring the queen of retro glamour, Dita Von Teese.

Downton's muses Erin O'Connor and Carmen Dell'Orefice (the world's first supermodel, and a walking advert for timeless style) both flew the flag for British design, O'Connor wearing a black Vivienne Westwood gown, Dell'Orefice a black skirt from Britain's best-known export, Topshop. Indeed, classic black proved a popular choice for the party, with both Guinnesses in attendance, Jasmine and Lulu, in chic, understated shifts; and Von Teese in a black-lace prom dress.

London's fashion elite, from model Jade Parfitt to designer Maria Grachvogel, swarmed to congratulate Downton while quaffing Grey Goose cocktails, before raising a glass to their own fabled history – and a metaphorical two fingers to New York: London's been doing fashion for centuries, dahling – you can't stop us now.