Luke Blackall: Hotfooting it to the launch of... an ice bucket

Man About Town: British journalists look like the badly-dressed free-loading hacks that they are

The addresses sound more refined, the waiters more polished and the crowd are infinitely better dressed. And it goes without saying that the food and drink are a step up.

How could an invitation to a "cocktail dinatoire" be refused (even if I wasn't sure exactly what it meant)?

So I jumped on the Eurostar, from where I write this. The occasion was the launch of an ice bucket. Not just any ice bucket, you understand, but a special new one for the Champagne house Ruinart.

Designed by artist and designer Hervé van der Straeten (pictured) it costs more than a couple of cases of the champagne designed to go inside it. Such a launch is not as unlikely as it sounds. In fact, in the world of high end drinks, it is quite normal.

Many of these brands don't advertise and so they throw parties and tie-ins with either creative people or sports events to build up awareness. Over the years I've gone to launches of stoppers, of new labels and even the launch of a knife used to carve ice for vodka cocktails.

All too often at London parties, it seems that the numbers are made up by thirsty young liggers, who are brought in from the East End to make the event look as young and trendy as possible. On Thursday night in Paris, they showed how it could be done in style, the beau monde making us English visitors feel positively arriviste.

Those who organise parties either side of the Channel talk about how they have to search out different crowds. For example, journalists at some of the fashionable publications in Paris make for a hip, stylish crowd. In the UK, they look like the badly-dressed free-loading hacks that they are.

So for a night it was nice to try to blend in and see how the other half live. And after all that exertion, we headed to the Plaza Athénée for a well-earned nightcap. There, a dimly lit modern bar sits in one of the most classic hotels in town, a favourite among le bon ton. Yes, we might have menus-on-iPads and special ice cubes with lights in, in the UK, but in France they just seemed that much smarter. As you can tell, I was completely séduisé by the whole place.

Suggested Topics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Talent Manager / HR Manager - central London - £50,000

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Talent / Learning & Development Mana...

HR Manager (standalone) - London

Up to £40,000: Ashdown Group: Standalone HR Manager role for an SME business b...

HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350-£400

£350 - £400 per day: Orgtel: HR Analyst - Banking - Bristol - £350 - £400 per ...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone