Parties: Stars rally for Roundhouse

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The Independent Online

What was it about the invitation to drink champagne and listen to live music at Camden's legendary Roundhouse venue that brought out such wardrobe excess?

Nancy Dell'Olio strutted up to the Rock & Roll Circus Gala on 12 June in a canary-yellow dress and matching stole, batting her typhoon-inducing eyelashes at all, while Tessa Jowell, the Olympics Minister, wore a searing pink dress that divided opinion as sharply as the 42-day rule. But the prize for eccentricity surely went to the former Lord Chancellor, Lord Falconer, whose take on the smart dress code was faded jeans and battered gold trainers. "They're my dancing shoes for later," he explained, with a wink.

Guests, there to raise money to rejuvenate the Roundhouse, were first treated to sushi canapés served from treasure chests, before being seated for an evening of auctions and bands, kicked off by the king of Camden, Suggs.

The designer Oswald Boateng, model Saffron Aldridge and Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason tucked into a supper of slow-roast heirloom tomato pistou and goats cheese, followed by Suffolk chicken, as the former Welsh rugby player Mervyn Davies, wearing a jacket adorned with his national flag, played auctioneer. "I'll give you £2,000 if you set fire to your jacket," shouted out England rugby international Austin Healey. "Not on your life," retorted Davies – though the night did raise over £900,000, including £80,000 for an Antony Gormley scuplture and £7,500 for premiere tickets to the next James Bond film.

After a performance from Beverly Knight, and Toyah Wilcox doing a spirited cover of Guns N' Roses' Sweet Child o' Mine, the real dancing kicked off, Tessa Jowell shimmying away with Dame Gail Ronson, while Saffron Aldridge was the subject of admiring glances with her graceful prancing. As for Charlie Falconer? Nowhere to be seen.

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