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Off the record, December 13 2014

The social whirl.

Life in plastic just got wilder

Barbie got the Wildfox treatment at Oxford Street Selfridges to celebrate a partnership between Mattel and the LA womenswear label. Guests saw the Barbie Dreamhouse collection while Ken doll waiters gave out cocktails and DJ Paula Goldstein manned the decks. Among the guests joining Wildfox chief executive and president Jimmy Sommers was Oscar-nominated actor Chiwetel Ejiofor.


Merry Ex-mas

Exley Hervey’s Lesley Exley, possibly London’s most sociable executive headhunter, gathered contacts for festive fun at Gieves & Hawkes’ refurbished flagship at 1 Savile Row. Pictured with the hostess (centre) are LK Bennett group product director Jo Hooper and Ray Clacher, Gieves & Hawkes managing director.


Who let the dogs out?

Jack & Jones unleashed its Denim Dogs campaign in Manchester this week. The Bestseller Group brand will hide the toy pooches across the city centre with a note attached asking people to return them to House of Fraser, where they will get a pair of jeans in return. The campaign will be accompanied by ‘Lost dog’ posters providing hints. Get hunting!


Dennison’s says farewell to FRA

Sir Philip Green, founder of the Fashion Retail Academy, and chair of governors Kim Longman (right) were on hand to wish good fortune to Karen Dennison, who has retired after more than seven years leading the London college. When the former London College of Fashion lecturer joined, the FRA had two courses and 200 students. Now it has 800 students on 10 courses. Her successor is Lee Lucas. Expect more smiles in 2015 when the FRA toasts its 10th year.


Element opens its new branch

A tree through the centre of all three floors didn’t stop the new Element store in Seven Dials filling up for its launch event. Fans of the US skate and lifestyle brand went to Covent Garden to view the menswear, womenswear and skateboards on sale, while checking out the rotating gallery on the first floor, which will get made over by a new artist each fortnight. Tunes were provided by Element advocate and musician Kepa and skateboarder Ray Barbee.


Next is hot property at BCSC awards

Next’s property director Dominic O’Rourke and regional estates manager Adrian Trotter (second and third from left) scooped Occupier of the Year at the BCSC (British Council of Shopping Centres) Gold Awards, held at London’s Grosvenor House hotel last week. As the wine flowed, the retail property industry’s great and good were entertained by former Tory MP and writer, actor and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth, who delivered his insider view on working in government and alongside the Queen.


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