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Glitter, Parties and Magnificent Curtsies!

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Please do allow me to clarify... I did say in my last blog entry "next time I write I shall be back in America", but I wish to share something about what happened in London BEFORE I flew back to California.

On 23 May, HRH Queen Elizabeth, hosted a party to launch the Diamond Jubilee, intended to be "the most glittering arts event in the history of London" (this turned out to be an understatement), and I was part of the GLITTERATI!!!

The Queen's intention was to focus attention on the important artistic achievements of British citizens. and even more importantly to preserve the future of British leadership in the arts, by presenting scholarships to students at the Royal Academies of Arts, Music, Dance and Dramatics.

As a fashion designer, I was invited to attend with my muse, and I chose Michele Paradise, whom I discovered in Washington, DC in 1983 and brought to London (she later became Phillip Treacy's muse - talented lady!).

Michele truly looked absolutely fabulous wearing (from my latest collection) a tight fitting purple floral dress with pleated hip feature under a printed shocking pink satin bubble coat.

She also wore a stunning bow hat by my former student Piers Atkinson - who has created millinery for HRH Kate Middleton. We glided elegantly around the Royal Academies' beautifully hung walls until we were gently shepherded into line so the Queen could most graciously greet us personally - for those who do not regularly attend such functions, let me explain that as the Queen approaches, we each curtsy. I must say I did my best to do this gracefully and of course showing the deep respect I feel, but I was no match for the curtsying skills of the actresses such as Sian Phillips (whose performance in the original Tom Jones film will never be forgotten). Sian's magnificent curtsy put my bob to shame!

Princess Michael (Patron of the Fashion and Textile Museum I founded in Bermondsey) was elegant and charming as always, and she shared lovely memories of adventures she had while wearing my dresses.

Then Matthew Williamson, another rising fashion superstar (whom I mentored) walked over to me with his muse to to thank me for starting him off in his truly spectacular career.

As for the representatives of the other arts... Dame Judith Dench was there as was Paul McCartney, who strolled over to introduce me to his new bride. Petula Clark - looking totally Petula - came rushing over and said "Mary Quant you do not look any different!"

As for the refreshments, I was most impressed with the canapes: exotic little palettes with elderflower jelly and beautiful beet salad with exotic touches of mint. While resting and enjoying the canapes I had the great good luck to sit with Ray Davis, former frontman for the Kinks (who can forget Waterloo Sunset?).

I so enjoyed when Vivienne Clore (one of the most dynamic and powerful forces) rushed over to admire my own lilac organza printed evening coat. She was surprised to learn that I had a private penthouse salon about the Fashion and Textile Museum (hmmmm... maybe I need an agent to get the word out?)

When this incredible evening ended we walked down the grand academy staircase, garlanded with peonies and tiny child ballerinas standing at attention with great discipline. Then we entered the great cobbled square lined with young naval cadets. There we were treated to red white and blue ice cream. Zoe Wanamaker, star of stage and screen (most recently in the Harry Potter films) posed with the cadets so they could memorialise the moment with their iPhones.

It was a truly fabulous evening.

Early the next morning I indeed flew back to Southern California to organise and prepare for a very important event: the 91st birthday of the magnificent Salah Hassanein. I carefully hand carried his birthday gift onto the plane; it was a specially commissioned mirrored sculptural picture frame created by Andrew Logan.

Salah has retired from Todd AO and Warner Brothers, and now dedicates himself to philanthropy. His birthday party at the Athenaeum in LaJolla, California was simply wonderful - there was such an outpouring of love from family and friends; though the venue, dress and general attitude of the Californians is quite different from Brits at the Queen's event - the enthusiasm and sense of fun is really quite lovely. And dare I say many of the women guests were wearing ZANDRA!

Well, now I am off to London (I'll be perched above the Thames watching the Queen for the Diamond Jubilee celebrations - when I can spare time from work work work!)

Therefore, so it is,

Bye for now,

ZANDRA

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