Diary: From cover girl to bag lady

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The Independent Online

Gossip Girl star Blake Lively is to be the new face of Chanel's "Mademoiselle" handbag line, after she was introduced to Karl Lagerfeld by Vogue editor Anna Wintour. "I will always feel [the bag] is more than just a purse," Lively mused. "It's a quilted case full of lipstick, love letters and the dreams and possibilities that I have always felt every time I see that beautiful CC."

I'm guessing Wintour didn't mention that Lively was her magazine's second worst-selling cover girl of 2010, news of which was also released yesterday. The 23-year-old's Esquire cover was that title's worst-seller of the year, too. (I'm just hoping she won't have the same detrimental effect on my column.) The bestselling cover girl of last year was Lady Gaga, whose Vanity Fair issue came second only to Angelina Jolie's, and whose Rolling Stone issue tripled the mag's monthly average sales. That cover image featured a near-naked Gaga brandishing a pair of breast-level machine guns. Can't really see that in a Chanel ad. Can you?

* As noted in yesterday's column – and in a number of leading leftist publications – George (né Gideon) Osborne's £11,000 ski trip to Klosters didn't exactly scream "We're all in this together". But I must say I'm impressed by the swift reactions of the Conservative-friendly press. The Sun and The Mail responded in kind with blurry photographs of Gideon's shadow, Alan Johnson, enjoying (and this really is a shocker, readers) a two-hour lunch at a nice restaurant with an old friend. Said restaurant, the recently relaunched Savoy Bar and Grill, serves a £38 T-bone steak, the stunned Sun reported – and this on the day of the VAT rise, which Johnson claimed would hit the poor hardest! Such startling hypocrisy! Of course, there's every chance Johnson and his companion, former spin doctor Chris Norton, tucked into the more modestly priced mutton cutlets at £18. And as for their alleged quaffing of pink champagne, surely it was pink lemonade (this was lunchtime, after all) or the popular Jamaican grapefruit mixer, Ting?

* My notional sitcom "Anyone But Lembit" has proven hard to pitch to even the least discerning of television channels, despite its high-concept: Lembit, starring as himself, tries to become the Lib Dem mayoral candidate; the Lib Dems try to stop him at all costs, by persuading former Blue Peter presenter John Leslie to run instead. Now I've received a call from this column's favourite Estonian (I only know the one) to tell me his 2011 is getting worse. Lembit has learned that his celebrated weekly political column for The Daily Sport has been dropped by the paper's editors, who were miffed not to get the exclusive on his participation in I'm A Celebrity... Meanwhile, there are as yet no takers for his much-publicised theatre/TV show with "Dr Gillian McKeith, PhD". On the upside, Lembit reveals that he's about to embark for New York as a cruise ship entertainer with Cunard. I hope the ship is well stocked with lifejackets.

* There follows an unexpurgated extract from a conversation between Jennifer Aniston and Nicole Kidman – mutually supportive Hollywood ex-wives, and co-stars of the forthcoming box-office flop Just Go With It – as published in Harper's Bazaar magazine. JA: "Okay, let me just say this: Physically, you are a masterpiece." NK: "Excuse me, you wear a bikini in the film and you look like you're 20 years old!" JA: "I think that's Vaseline on the lens." NK: "You are a freak of nature. You have the best body I've ever seen. And I'm a heterosexual girl. You look good morning, noon, and night." JA: "Does Keith buy you clothes?" NK: "Yeah, and he buys me lingerie." Get. A. Room.

* Another dispatch from Crispin Mount: recycling sceptic, amateur scourge of South-western Tories and my erstwhile Cotswold correspondent. In view of the elevated profile that any contribution to this column entails, Crispin tells me he's deemed it necessary to open a Twitter account, at twitter.com/CrispinMount. Crispin cites "local public demand" as the principal reason for this decision. So far, he has five followers. His scintillating tweets cover such topics as the local district council's waste collections being cancelled due to snow, and the extortionate car parking prices in Cirencester. You heard it here first.