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Her suicide devastated her family and the nation’s fashion industry, but eccentric style icon Isabella Blow’s widower, Detmar, felt that he had finally found happiness again when he got engaged to film director Martha Fiennes, sister of Hollywood actors Joseph and Ralph.
Now, however, I can disclose that barrister and art dealer Detmar has been left heartbroken after their engagement was broken off.
And, to add insult to injury, Martha tells me she has already got engaged to another man. Her new fiance is rare book dealer Simon Finch, 65. ‘I am in a relationship with Simon, and we’re engaged,’ she confirms.
Unlike her engagement to Blow, 58, which was announced in 2016, she’s wasting no time in exchanging vows with Finch, who sells books to clients said to include Sir Mick Jagger and Hollywood star Whoopi Goldberg. ‘We’re going to get married in July next year,’ Finch tells me. ‘It just felt like the right thing to do; we get on so well.’
In 2020, Finch was going out with Paddington film producer Alexandra Derbyshire. He has an adult son from a previous marriage.
Her new fiance is rare book dealer Simon Finch, 65. ‘I am in a relationship with Simon, and we’re engaged,’ she confirms
While Blow has Hilles, the captivating Arts and Crafts house in Gloucestershire built by his grandfather, Finch owns another of the country’s finest Art and Crafts properties: the 33-room Voewood, near Holt in Norfolk. He and Fiennes will hold their wedding there. Finch does not mention the engagement ring. After Blow proposed to Fiennes, she said of her sparkler: ‘It’s a really unbelievable diamond ring with a Mogul emerald. It’s like a spaceship.’
Martha, 58, who directed brother Ralph in Chromophobia and Onegin, has never been married despite trying for 20 years to persuade her long-term partner, film director George Tiffin, to tie the knot. They had three children before splitting in 2011, after which Martha started dating hedge fund tycoon Issam Kabbani, to whom she got engaged though the relationship collapsed soon after.
Detmar was married to Isabella, famous for discovering model Sophie Dahl and designer Alexander McQueen, from 1989 until her tragic death in 2007 at the age of 48. A year later, he started dating Brazilian artist Mara Castilho, with whom he had a son, Sasha, but Mara upped sticks to Portugal in 2011 barely a year after they wed.
I can disclose that barrister and art dealer Detmar has been left heartbroken after their engagement was broken off. And, to add insult to injury, Martha tells me she has already got engaged to another man
Desperate! Frustrated! Sasha and Emily’s war of words
Sasha Swire caused explosive reactions among David Cameron’s usually restrained set when she released her gloriously indiscreet memoirs, Diary Of An MP’s Wife.
In the 2020 book, she disclosed the most intimate details of her relationships with friends of her Old Etonian husband, the former minister Sir Hugo Swire.
Now, Sasha has sunk her claws into Cameron’s sister-in-law Emily Sheffield — and the fur’s flying. Baronet’s daughter Emily, the sister of Samantha Cameron, made her debut as a panellist on TalkTV last night, leading Swire to brand her as ‘desperate’ online for appearing on the new channel.
Sheffield, 49, who succeeded her close friend George Osborne as editor of the London Evening Standard, angrily replied: ‘Desperate is writing salacious diaries about their best friends behind their backs to get a book published.’
Last year, Sheffield dismissed Swire, 59, as a ‘frustrated housewife’ and suggested she wrote her book because she was bitter at not being mentioned in memoirs published by major political figures.
Now, Swire has alluded to Sheffield’s 20-year marriage to London restaurateur Tom Mullion, remarking: ‘Desperate is calling me a ‘frustrated housewife’ — bit rich from you Emily, hey?’
Whatever could she mean?
Sasha has sunk her claws into Cameron’s sister-in-law Emily Sheffield — and the fur’s flying
Sheffield, 49, who succeeded her close friend George Osborne (pictured together above) as editor of the London Evening Standard, angrily replied: ‘Desperate is writing salacious diaries about their best friends behind their backs to get a book published’
As your bills soar, spare a thought for senior members of Britain’s snootiest sports enclave. On Thursday, the Hurlingham Club voted to increase fees for members over the age of 80 from a peppercorn £31 per year to £1,084. That’s a rise of more than 3,000 per cent.
‘It’s an absolute disgrace,’ one splutters. A source at the Fulham country club, where the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s children have tennis lessons, says its members are living longer so it has more over-80s on the old rate than it can afford.
Sir Rod Stewart is mourning the loss of impresario Billy Gaff, who turned him into a global superstar.
Gaff, who died in Dublin on Monday aged 78, managed The Bee Gees and The Clash. Sadly, in his later years, he was conned into lending Alexandre Despallieres, a Frenchman who passed himself off as a pop star, nearly £300,000.
Gaff was renowned for legendary parties at his Fulham pad, attended by guests including Elton John.
Coming from a large, talented family can have its drawbacks — just ask superstar cellist Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 23, who played at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding. He’s due to perform at the Last Night of the Proms, but has been given only four complimentary tickets, even though he has six siblings, who performed together at last year’s Proms.
‘The bad news is he was only given four tickets between the nine of us,’ his father, Stuart, tells me. And the concert’s on his sister Aminata’s 17th birthday.
She’s the first British monarch to reign for 70 years, and In just a few days’ time, the Queen becomes the third longest reigning monarch in history.
Right at the top of that tree is Louis XIV of France, who reigned for 72 years and 110 days, but, between him and Her Majesty sits Johann II of Liechtenstein who reigned for 70 years and 91 days. On May 9, the Queen will overtake him.
And she won’t have long to wait to become second longest. On June 14, she’ll overtake Rama IX of Thailand, who reigned for 70 years and 126 days. Long may she reign over us!
Mossie posse is a more genteel affair these days
They were once queen bees of the hedonistic Primrose Hill set in North London, but now Kate Moss and Sadie Frost enjoy a bucolic life in the country
They were once queen bees of the hedonistic Primrose Hill set in North London, but now Kate Moss and Sadie Frost enjoy a bucolic life in the country.
And Moss, 48, who’s pictured walking her dogs with Frost, 56, in the Cotswolds, is to complete her transformation by launching a health and wellness business.
I can disclose that the supermodel has applied to trademark her Cosmoss brand for a variety of applications, from aromatherapy candles, vitamin supplements and teas to magazines, videos and home furnishings.
‘Kate is ready to embark on the next chapter of her career,’ an insider tells me. ‘She knows wellness has been a key part of her life and wants to share her knowledge.’
It’s certainly a big change for Moss, who was branded ‘Cocaine Kate’ in 2005 after pictures surfaced which a newspaper claimed showed her snorting drugs at a music studio. She lost her £1 million contract with H&M and booked herself into a rehab clinic.
The model is pictured with her pooches, Stanley, the Chihuahua and Staffie Archie, while Frost is walking her sausage dog, Cherry.
Contestants on Channel 4 series SAS: Who Dares Wins have had to put up with instructors such as Jason Fox bellowing scripted insults. Yet it can prove just as transformational for contestants’ partners. Fox tells me: ‘I stayed in a hotel and this couple came up to me. They said, ‘Our daughter was on your show’, and I said, ‘I’m really sorry for the way I might have spoken to her.’ And they said, ‘No, no, she really enjoyed it and she’s left her partner.’ ‘ He adds: ‘SAS is a life-changing experience. People realise what they need to do to change their life for the better.’
Claudia pours out heart to son she misses so terribly
Claudia Winkleman revealed earlier this year that she felt ‘heartbroken’ after her son, Jake, left home to go to university. Now, the Strictly presenter has written an emotional letter to him, explaining that it’s like being betrayed by a husband.
‘I am going to talk about heartbreak,’ she told fans this week at her Behind The Fringe theatre tour. ‘Not about an affair. Not when you are ghosted. This is about when your child leaves home. I am proud of him, but it is also horrific. I have a letter here for my son which might explain how it feels.’
In the letter, she tells Jake: ‘I tried to be brave, organised and helpful . . . I attempted to use a normal face when you explained you wanted to be far away . . . Now it is time to share you. I know I can’t keep you all locked up with me at home. You need to make friends, get hammered and write your own essays. You need to work out what are you are and what you want. It has been the greatest privilege of my life to live with you solidly for the last 19 years. Please call us occasionally, know this is your home. It always will be. Please don’t lose your keys, be great to your friends and even greater to your partner. I love you.’
She doesn’t say if Jake replied.
(Very) modern manners
Michelin-starred restaurants often put me off with their tiny portions, pompous chefs and ridiculous theatrics, but news reaches me of a new tactic that makes even Heston Blumenthal look humble.
Two-Michelin starred Kitchen Table in London’s Fitzrovia has asked guests to guarantee to spend at least £150 on drinks or £95 for soft drinks — each — before booking. This is on top of the £300-a-head menu that includes such dishes as Cornish brill and wild garlic en papillote with foraged wild garlic and three-cornered leek from suburban London woods, and sirloin steak with bone marrow ketchup. Vegetarians are warned: ‘We will only serve our tasting menu, with no substitutions or alterations for dietary requirements.’