Pandora: Westwood Jnr plans his fashion week debut

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The Independent Online

Gentlemen, get ready. We have news of a surprising addition to the London Fashion Week schedule: Ben Westwood, son of doyenne designer Dame Vivienne, hopes to debut his menswear collection in the forthcoming February shows.

It's quite a departure. Westwood, better known for his top-shelf photography than his skills on the sewing machine, was last seen arranging a bondage-themed carol singing session outside Harriet Harman's house. He didn't decide to pursue the family trade until last summer, when his stepfather, Andreas Kronthaler, who heads up Dame Vivienne's MAN label, agreed to lend him some of his staff.

Now, after six months toiling on his collection, Westwood claims that he is ready to put his wares on the catwalk, and is hoping to share the stage with his brother, the Agent Provocateur co-founder Joe Corre.

"Joe's got a show on the 24th of February," we're told. "Ben's been stocking his stuff at Joe's store in east London so hopefully it'll make an appearance."

If so, we can expect plenty of latex and metalwork. "I'm a pornographer whose done a bit of a fashion line," he explains.

Connolly has a Brown moment

Whoops! Just a month after Gordon Brown forgot Reese Witherspoon's name (the Prime Minister accidentally referred to the Oscar-winning actress as Renée Zellweger during her visit to the House of Commons), Billy Connolly has had a similar moment of seniority – despite having only just finished a film with her. "I'm in an animated film next," he told Pandora at yesterday's South Bank Awards. "I'm doing it with that woman, what's her name...? Oh yes, Reese Witherspoon."

Come on, boys!

O'Toole's unique take on Avatar

A singular honour, now, for James Cameron's Avatar. Pandora ran into Peter O'Toole, who could not have sung the special effects-heavy film's praises more highly.

"It's full of blue-arsed Barbie dolls trying to catch rubber turkeys," observed the actor, succinctly. "It was the most gorgeous pile of nonsense I have ever seen."

It's a rather warmer review than has been offered by some; Cameron's self-styled masterpiece has been variously described as "long-winded", "weird" and even "racist".

"Yes, I did have to take the glasses off," reflected O'Toole. "We had all that already with House of Wax."

The odd couple get cosy in the office

Mischievous seating plans at the Daily Mail where new star columnist, the famously gay Andrew Pierce, yesterday took up residence. And with whom should he be seated but Jan Moir, author of that notorious Stephen Gately piece which prompted such an outcry in the gay community. Still, there shouldn't be too much friction; we're told the pair go back a long way. "They're old friends," says our informant. "Jan was even setting up his desk with him." How kind.

Lumley stays true to her cause

Not for Joanna Lumley the fleeting good causes of other celebrities. The evergreen actress was accompanied to yesterday's Oldie Of The Year Awards by one of the Ghurkas she worked with while lobbying the Government on their behalf. Still, not everyone she dealt with remains close. Lumley assures us that since her stern ticking-off of Phil Woolas last May she has kept her distance from the Immigration Secretary. "Why would I keep up with him?" she says. "Not that I don't wish him all the best."