Parties: Stars align for Chalayan

It was a long, stylish, but very disgruntled queue that waited in the spitting rain to get into the Design Museum for the British Cypriot fashion designer Hussein Chalayan's retrospective on 21 January.

The luminaries all jumped the queue so by the time we'd finally battled our way in, there they were, warm, dry and tucking into complimentary Veuve Clicquot and Cypriot canapés. Representing the world of design was Terence Conran, deep in conversation with Chalayan himself, Ron Arad lurking at the edge of the dance floor in his trademark hat and Tom Dixon in shiny turquoise anorak.

The singer Roisin Murphy, looking resplendent in a Chalayan dress (how could she not?), fitted right in with guests from the fashion world, who included the model Saffron Aldridge and a thoughtful-looking Erin O'Connor, who ditched her drink to inspect the exhibition up close. "I wore that pink tuille dress in the catwalk show," she said, pointing to one of his creations from 2000. "It took six hours to get on. It was the longest fitting I've ever had in my life. But that's where fashion becomes art and that's what Hussein does in his own humble way."

As the medieval harpist stepped aside for an electro set by London DJ duo Lou&Nova, the tempo moved up a pace and Chalayan found himself in the middle of it all with everyone clamouring for a piece of him. It was a far cry from the low point of 2000, when he filed his company for liquidation. "Everything here I've lived with for so long it's left a mark on me," said the emotional designer, "It's my life's work all under one roof. Wonderful, but a little weird."

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