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2009 February 10

Man-Eater

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Ralf Finnes with Nicole Farhi Ralf Finnes with Nicole Farhi
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(LONDON) It wasn't the BAFTAs that gathered British actors like Bill Nighy, Colin Firth and Ralph Fiennes together Monday evening. In fact, it was a far less thespy interest that accounted for their presence at an intimate dinner near Carnaby Street: fashion. The three were joined by the likes of Amanda Harlech, Hilary Alexander, and editors from mags like as GQ, Arena and Tank for a sit-down meal and fashion show presentation celebrating 20 years of Nicole Farhi menswear. "Even though it's been 20 years, it feels really young," the designer exclaimed. "And my womenswear line turned 25 last year, but that still feels comparatively young, too. There's just so much left to do!" Well, she certainly had the guests, the food (delicious fare from her restaurant, Nicole's, culminating in mouthwatering cheesecake in blueberry sauce) and the clothes down pat--Fiennes and others are already ordering the velvet jacket from the show. The newly shorn actor just finished playing Oedipus and is "accepting offers at the moment." As far as his views on how to make a man look stylish? "He has to be at ease in his clothes."

In between pleasing the men, Farhi is also busy with the women: namely, her Fall 2009 show. "Next season will be very happy. I've got a lot of interesting, rich fabrics like jacquards and double-weaves and it's very colorful. Also, there's a lot of attention to the shoulder; it's not big and square but it's an interesting new shape." And while fashion and fêting were on everyone's minds, topics like the financial crisis and its toll on the fashion industry and excitement around the U.S.'s latest president weren't far from anyone's lips. Farhi expressed her Obama support last fashion week, when her final model came out sporting an Obama '08 pin. "I was extremely excited and it was the first time I ever brought my political feeling out there. I knew we needed change; not just the U.S., but all of us, and I thought he might be the one. My friend was working on the campaign and she sent me a badge and it just worked perfectly with the dress." Other sartorial experts agree that wearing your politics on your sleeve is perfectly en vogue. "I was wearing a MASSIVE Obama pin," laughed Harlech, who sported neither Farhi nor her usual Chanel, instead choosing vintage lace for the event. "It's falling apart, but I love the combination of velvet and lace," she smiled, fingering her green velvet collar.

However, not everyone was quite as confident regarding their fashion expertise. Firth, who cut a dapper figure in rimmed glasses and a sharp suit, laughed when asked what makes a man stylish. "I'm the wrong person to ask! And you can quote me on that." Hopefully the goody bag, featuring a special 20th anniversary silk men's scarf with tassels, will help him get there.
JENNIFER BARTON




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