The Gold Rush. May 2013.

Dear Rowley,

So the Love Gold London magpie has reported for duty in Cannes, or Juan les Pins to be precise, and is billeted at the Ambassadeurs hotel where all of the models in tomorrow’s amfAR Ultimate Gold runway show are staying. I always think modelling must be a lonely life for a teenager particularly if they’re blessed with good genes but little confidence. I had a peek at the fittings for the show this afternoon and it did strike me that models are the silent movie stars of our age. It must be so frustrating never to have a voice. You’d be so tempted to throw a teenage strop and say ‘I’m not wearing that’ knowing full well you are at the mercy of the stylist.

Fortunately for the amfAR models, this show is styled by Carine Roitfeld’s team and all of the gowns have been designed at her behest. Apparently it was Madame Roitfeld who chose gold as the theme of the show over a year ago when she styled last year’s extravaganza. The inspiration for the gold runway show is Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra and the creative team have produced a look book illustrated by Lula of Elizabeth circa Cat on a Hot Tin Roof modelling the gold dresses made for the show.

Having had a clandestine rifle through the rails this afternoon my money for best in show is on McQueen’s gold fil coupé dress that actually reminds me of Claudette Colbert’s Cleopatra. I adored the gold beaded Burberry trench with a solid metal fish scale cape and Chanel’s gold tweed suit is the sort of high fashion piece you wish the Duchess of Cambridge could wear if she wasn’t restricted to British designers. For sheer goddam Croisette glamour I’d choose Armani’s gold shantung siren dress and for insouciant elegance Lanvin’s draped sequin tunic that screams of Liza in Studio 54. 

Did I mention that all of the dresses are auctioned as a single lot at the end of the night? Mind you this is the kind of auction that includes VIP passes to all the Oscar parties next year and a signed Warhol of Elizabeth Taylor so I’m not expecting there to be a dearth of manicured hands lifting to bid for such an outstanding collection. Note to self, lay off the dry sherry or I’ll have to sell a kidney to pay for auction prizes.

The thrill of sneaking into the amfAR fittings this afternoon was being able to get up close and personal with the hardware that’s being sent down the runway tomorrow at the Hotel du Cap. My favourite pieces by a mile are Wright & Teague’s gold arm and leg embellishments. I can’t call them bracelets and neither can I call them braces. I will snap a photograph tomorrow at the show for you. The pieces I managed to photograph today include a truly sensational Anndra Neen solid gold cage evening bag, Kimberley McDonald’s bracelets and two sets of 18ct yellow gold cuffs set with white diamonds.

There is so much more for me to show you but it will have to wait until we’re ‘live’ at the show tomorrow which, incidentally, starts at 6pm with the red carpet and model photo call then eases into an after party that apparently ends twelve hours’ hence. The evening hasn’t been terribly glamorous so far because – wouldn’t you know it – the heavens opened from about 5pm preventing me from exploring the glamour of Juan les Pins by day or the fleshpots of Nice by night. Still, it is only cocktail hour so there’s always time.

Did I tell you Nick Rhodes was on the Heathrow flight to Nice? Apparently Duran Duran are performing tomorrow evening as is Shirley Bassey. The Dame is a local with an apartment in Monaco and I am sure she has it written into a contract somewhere that no A-list event with Gold in the title can be allowed to happen anywhere in the civilised world unless she gives a Royal Command Performance of you know what.

Dame Shirley reminds me of an amusing tale when she last played London’s Royal Festival Hall. I was going with a gaggle of friends from the Soho bar days and we bumped into an incredibly macho man called Troy in the foyer bar who used to be something of a heartthrob in the environs of Old Compton Street back in the day. When asked what he was doing at a Bassey concert, he replied in his gruffest voice, ‘I’m a friend of Shirley’ to which my friend Lee replied ‘we’re all friends of Shirley darling’. Too funny.

You should see the invitation for tomorrow night. That’s not just a figure of speech. You really should. Imagine Willy Wonka’s golden ticket then multiply it a thousand. I was nearly blinded by the bling when I opened the envelope and started looking for my acceptance speech. There’s the cocktail, the dinner, the runway show, the infamous auction then the after party. It will be the party equivalent of running the Grand National and I fear many will fall at Beecher’s Brook. I sincerely hope I’m not one of them.

Until next time…