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Monday, November 3, 2008

Royal Flash

The run-up to the launch of Flash, a three-month pop-up restaurant in the Royal Academy of Art's regal new GSK space in London, has been well-publicized—as if its well-connected owners David Waddington and Pablo Flack, both of Bistrotheque fame, would have it any other way.

And with the launch on Saturday, the verdict is in: the hype is warranted. Not only were chef Tom Collins' creations delicious, but the guests—a tight-knit bunch—were in rare form. Giles Deacon and Katie Grand, who go back nearly twenty years with Waddington, were particularly chatty. Grand was likely still riding high on all the to-do surrounding Love, her new title with Conde Nast. But although she didn't let on if she knew who her replacement at POP would be, the rumor mill's list grows longer by the day, even if most people think trying to do POP without her would be impossible. But he/she who dares, wins. No?

Many of London's biggest fashion names were to be found across town at CSM course director Louise Wilson's OBE award celebrations, making Flash's pull all the more impressive. Arty types included everyone from the Int'l Herald Tribune's Alice Rawsthorne, megastar photographer Juergen Teller and his wife and gallerist Sadie Coles to the irreverent artist Simon Popper and trash art stars Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Also making an appearance was designer Bella Freud, daughter of the painter Lucian and great-granddaughter of the father of psychoanalysis. Rounding out the fashion contingent were Style.com's Tim Blanks, Nicki Bidder of Starworks, Dazed creative director Nicola Formichetti, i-D editor Ben Reardon, Arena Homme Plus' Jo-Ann Furniss and Lulu Kennedy of Fashion East, all of whom recognize that fashion is fueled by parties that aren't just big, but also big fun.

Following dinner, fashion's favorite bearded drag artist and playwright Johnny Woo hosted a spirited game of Gay Bingo. although everyone (see above) cheated. Woo and Grand's banter was funny, fashion types just don't argue with Grand. It's like having an inner policeman, Foucault-style.

—Daryoush Haj-Najafi

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