Parties: Beth burns up the art world

Matthew Bell
Saturday 22 October 2011 22:42

Nicky Haslam says Beth Ditto isn't beautiful, just fat. "Parties" wouldn't dream of wading into such a spat, but we can report that the Gossip girl was operating on Gas Mark 8 at the Royal Academy of Arts' summer exhibition party last week, first to shimmy up the blue carpet and last to leave, belting out her songs on a specially erected stage as the well-refreshed throng tripped into the night.

Traditionally one of the best parties of the season, this year was no disappointment, with half the belle monde out for an early peak at the walls of Burlington House groaning with weird, mad, bad – and some quite good – art.

Potter Grayson Perry hadn't submitted any work, but his dress, with more pastel shades than an ice-cream shop, provided ample visual stimulus, showing up the rock'n'roll credentials of Johnny Borrell and Alex James, who dressed like waiters in white shirts and black trousers.

The fashion stakes were high, with designers Stella McCartney and Henry Holland and models Erin O'Connor, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley and Jasmine Guinness in attendance.

But no one could trump Agyness Deyn, who dazzled in a bullet-grey bodice dress, white linen jacket and spectacular Margaret Thatcher-style hairdo. She was so in demand by paparazzi on her way in that she caused quite a bottleneck, eclipsing the entrance of TV presenter and one-time FHM cover girl Kirsty Gallacher, who was next on the carpet. Any hope of salvaging some dignity wasn't helped by one cheeky snapper, who yelled out, "I didn't recognise you with your top on." How rude!

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