Parties: Playtime in the garden

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The Independent Online

What's at the bottom of Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst's garden? Half the art world, 18 contemporary sculptures, and a lot of Perrier Jouet champagne was the answer last Saturday, when she launched her third exhibition of contemporary art in the grounds of her stately home, Sudeley Castle. For one enchanted evening, film stars (Rosamund Pike, elegant in Chanel) tiptoed through the knot garden, major artists (Michael Craig-Martin) danced on the lawn and rockers (Paul Simonon) flicked ash at the ha-ha.

The theme was the Artist's Playground, but at first guests were reticent, inspecting Zaha Hadid Architects' slide ("Z-stream") rather than putting it to use. But soon the beau monde were checking out each other (and themselves) in Jeppe Hein's mirrored labyrinth. "I see my art as a tool for communication," he explained, "half-architecture, half-reflection..." Further snatches of high-flown chatter soon floated on the fragrant air: "Working at the Saatchi Gallery is a bit like being in the Beatles..." Was this Pseudeley Castle?

As Carsten Holler watched bright young things including model Alice Dellal and curator Elliot McDonald queue to test his Flying Machine – a gallows-like contraption that revolved at a graceful pace – a small child cried out: "Won't it go faster?" "Just what I was thinking," said designer du jour Henry Holland, though he wasn't getting too near, preferring to sigh over the wildflower beds – "Florals, like my new collection!"

Guests wandering into the Secret Garden at nightfall discovered actors Alfie Allen and Jaime Winstone sharing a love seat, as peacocks made a melancholy dialogue above their heads. "That one is the Guv'nor," she said, pointing out a bird in the branches of a yew, before, of a sudden, fearful of the ghost of former châtelaine Lady Jane Grey, everyone raced inside for dinner.

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