Tonight, Elle UK celebrates its 21st birthday with a party hosted by Donatella Versace at her store on London's Sloane Street. Fashion's most famous blonde has guest edited our October issue — bumper-sized and stacked with celebrities, it's taken months (and the odd tantrum and tears) to bring to fruition.
Entrance to the store means passing an enormous bank of silent, staring paparazzi — clearly, the promised roll-call of celebrities is yet to turn up. Inside, however, the champagne is already flowing and the place is buzzing with journalists, designers and PRs.
Richard E Grant is hiding behind a pillar, pretending not to be there. Poor thing. It's only ever fashionable to be late. But wait, here's La Versace dressed in her trademark black Lycra with her posse — bodyguard, personal assistant, hairdresser and make-up artist in tow.
Next to explode through the door is Liz Hurley and David Furnish, hotly pursued by Elle Macpherson and gang. The two statuesque brunettes try to outpose each other in their respective Versace numbers as the flashbulbs go pop. There's a bottle neck as Rod Stewart and Penny Lancaster arrive, both with matching mahogany tans. Then there's Lulu. Lulu?
It's a weird if wonderful moment. Everywhere you look there's a famous face — Rupert Everett, Sadie Frost, Claudia Schiffer… it's all too much, I need a cigarette.
Downstairs in the shop basement there's an outside bit where the unglamorous swilling and washing of champagne flutes is in operation. Here, we find Rhys Ifans loitering, fag in mouth.
No sooner have we sparked up and Elle's fashion director Anne Marie Curtis steps back into a drain, her lovely Louboutin heel wedged in the grate. Lifting her foot, the drain comes with her. It's not a good look as Liz Hurley and David Furnish waft by. Thankfully, Rhys comes to the rescue and manages to extract shoe from drain.
It's on to Elton John's Holland Park house now for "dinner" (read delicious if minimal canapes) where another team of paparazzi are lurking at the end of the street. We walk in just in front of Nicole Kidman and husband Keith Urban. Nobody can take their eyes off her — she's absolutely flawless.
And look, there's Natalie Portman! As for the interior, it's not at all what you'd imagine — no blingtastic over-the-topness, Elton's gone all chic and elegant and stuffed the place with modern art. Next stop, the Elle office party. Venue: a pub off Regent Street. Well, the glamour had to end somewhere.
Hangover. 3pm interview with Roland Mouret at Claridges.
Fashion's boy wonder has just inked a deal with pop svengali Simon Fuller. It's a bizarre mix. Mouret is the creator of the thousand-pound-plus "Galaxy" dress, seen on everyone from Scarlett Johansson to Carol Vorderman, Fuller launched the Spice Girls and came up with Pop Idol, the most successful talent show format in TV history. They want to bring fashion into people's living rooms. It's all very exciting, but equally vague.
He says that projects include a chain of hotels or the redesign of an airline. The idea of Mouret simply getting his designs back on the catwalk in the usual way doesn't seem to figure. Still, it's great to see Mouret, who fell out with his previous backer and in so doing lost the right to use his name commercially, back in the driving seat — even if nobody knows exactly where he's driving to.
1.40pm flight to New York. Get bumped to business — yes!
It's always worth being charming to those ladies on check-in.
Watch Richard E Grant's directorial debut, Wah Wah. Fall asleep on flat bed. Love BA.
Arrive at Soho House hotel. My usual room here is a cupboard by the lift, but the hotel is full for fashion week so I've lucked-out with a deluxe room featuring swimming pool size stone bath tub. Can't believe it.
The New York collections are the first leg of the spring-summer '07 shows (followed by London, Milan, Paris) and it's always bizarre looking at swimming costumes and beachwear when we're heading into winter. That said, it's blisteringly hot.
Dinner for European editors, hosted by party queen Amy Sacco and KCD PR company at Bette, New York's restaurant of the moment (461 West 23rd St). The Europeans light up and, surprisingly for a city that won't let anyone smoke even on the terrace of a restaurant, ashtrays are served up.
After eight shows all over town, we head to Marc Jacobs — always the highlight of New York Fashion Week. A conveyor belt of stars lines the runway — 50 Cent, Winona Ryder, Roger Federer, Victoria Beckham. Posh, pouting as usual, actually looks quite good in her 1960s makeover, though not sure anyone knows who she is. The show is a tour de force. Marc Jacobs takes his bow. He's dropped four stone. Everyone is pleased.
Post-show party at the newly Schrager-refurbished Gramercy Park Hotel (very gothic), a charity do for melanoma research. Somehow end up pogo dancing to Smells Like Teen Spirit with Elle's fashion director, Anne Marie Curtis. No drains in sight, thank God. US editors look on, appalled. DJ holds a minute's silence in commemoration of those who died in 9/11.
Hangover. Nine shows, from 9am to 10pm. Food-free day — no time. At this rate I'll end up like Marc Jacobs — great!
Breakfast on the roof of hotel. There's Gwen Stefani, breastfeeding her baby by the pool. Have caught "fashion flu" due to the heat and all the blasting ice-cold air con.
The hotel has laid on cars and drivers to ferry around fashion editors and celebrities. Our driver, Beth, picks us up from the Matthew Williamson show. Beth double parks, right in front of a cop. There's a tap on the window. "Do you always behave this way in front of a police officer? Gimme your licence and ID."
Beth hands them over and slips him something else too. "Who's this?" asks the cop. "My boyfriend," she replies. "OK. Well, make sure you're more careful next time." It turns out that Beth has the equivalent of a get out of jail free card that proves she's related to a New York detective.
In fact, she's not and doesn't even have a boyfriend.
10pm: Diesel dinner. It's an exclusive private function for US editors, but I've wangled an invite. Drink far too much vino bianco. Live jazz band, so no pogoing tonight.
1am: Find myself on terrace of penthouse at Soho Grand hotel for a post-premiere film industry party, not sure whose.
You can see all the way up Broadway. New York twinkles.