The invitation had arrived, we had made the journey up the M1, we even had a glass of champagne. But we still weren’t quite sure what we were doing there.
One thing we were sure of was that it was a good party. The event was spread across the lower floor and grounds of Easton Neston, an impossibly grand, baroque mansion in Northamptonshire, that was bought, six years ago, for a mere £15m.
The staircase itself looks like it was worth the asking price alone. It is so grand it makes you want to dance down it with a cane, wearing fancy spats. The gardens meanwhile make you want to walk through them having stilted conversations as though you were in a period drama. Things felt less Jane Austen-esque when you reached the marquee outside where Pixie Geldof and her new, and impressive, band played for the assembled. And doubly so if you were invited by one of the fairies floating around the party to one of the outbuildings, which housed a Punchdrunk show involving cavorting naked women.
We wanted to find the host. “He’s here somewhere,”said one guest. “You’ll find him, he looks a bit like that film director, you know the one.”We didn’t, and we didn’t.
We did find out more about him though – Leon Max, a Russian-born, US-based fashion tycoon was both host and owner. He is expanding his European operation and wants to raise its profile.
His tactics were novel: invite three coach loads of black-tie wearing fashionable types from London (plus one or two journalists). Then drive them up the motorway to one of the smartest homes in the land for a party that would impress Jay Gatsby and get them talking about it.
It seemed to work, as by midnight, when guests were taken back to their luxury coaches, everyone was talking about what a great party had been. “These parties are straight out of The Great Gatsby,”said one local guest. “He is just happy to invite everyone to party all night in his house.” I just hope the invitations keep coming.