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More fur flies at Camilla’s fashion house

Fashion is a flyaway friend, with the passing of trends guaranteeing that this season’s blanket coat will be next season’s sofa throw, but this latest hiccup in the brand’s chequered past strikes us as curious.

Issa was founded by Brazilian designer Daniella Helayel in 2001 and had built a strong following. In 2010 Helayel struck gold when the Duchess of Cambridge wore an Issa blue wrap dress at the official announcement of her engagement. Sartorialists expected the royal seal of approval would take the brand to new heights, and in 2011 Camilla Fayed, daughter of Mohamed Fayed, bought 51 per cent of the company.

Come May 2013, however, and Helayel made a surprise departure. “Creating Issa has been one of the most rewarding things in my life,” the designer said in a statement, amid rumours of a clash of characters and gagging clauses. “I may be leaving, but the Issa girl will live forever in my heart.” Farrier, formerly of Stella McCartney and Chloé, took Helayel’s place at the end of the year.

“Future collections will be created by the talented and committed existing in-house design team, under the guidance of chairwoman Camilla Al Fayed,” said a statement from Issa today. It also wished Farrier well in future endeavours.

Paterson keeping it in the family on climate change

Owen Paterson, shuffled out of his role as Environment Secretary this summer, was back in full sceptic-mode yesterday as he spoke to the Global Warming Policy Foundation think-tank. Raging against the Climate Change Act, offshore wind farms and previous energy secretaries, the Tory MP once again dismissed the “green blob” at the centre of Westminster.

Photo: kissydressinau short formal dresses

But one eagle-eyed Twitter user spotted something amiss when looking at a screen grab of the speech on a Word document.

The authorship of the document points to one Matt Ridley, Times columnist and climate change contrarian, who also just happens to be Paterson’s brother-in-law. We wondered what other gems of wisdom we can expect from Paterson and his intellectual guru in the future. but Ridley was being modest about his contribution.

“As [Owen Paterson] said in the speech, I was one of several people he consulted for suggestions, that’s all. I am not ‘the brains behind’ it, but I think it was a terrific speech.”

Minnie, a dancing queen in waiting

Here at The Londoner we are well aware that one’s schooldays can be a difficult time, so it’s comforting to know we are in good company. While promoting her third album on the American talk show, Late Night with Seth Meyers, Minnie Driver revealed that her time at school — she attended Bedales — was not all sunshine and roses. “At every school dance I used to stand on the sidelines and it was the mantra I had going, ‘Ask me to dance. Ask me to dance. Ask me to dance,’” said the actress-cum-singer.

“And they never did because I was so bloody tall and looked a bit like Slash. The boys were always at boob level. Which you would think a 13-year-old would want to be — but apparently not.”

We’re sure those boys are regretting their decisions now.

Artistically yours

What could be more romantic than a life-sized Frankenstein-like sculpture, based on your legs and your loved one’s torso? Pam Hogg, Nancy Dell’Olio and Marco Pierre White’s children Mirabelle and Luciano crowded into Soho’s Society Club last night, where artist Tim Noble unveiled his latest work, inspired by his wife, Sue Webster.

“This is not so much a portrait of my wife,” said Noble, but of an “inseparable relationship that has been torn apart and stitched back together in a brief, suspended marriage to form a bastard child.” Oh, artists!

No slippers yet for Ranulph

“Ranulph,” The Londoner asked, “are you ever tempted to just sit by the fire with a book?” “Without doubt,” boomed Fiennes, the septuagenarian explorer, “I will never stop planning my next expedition.”

Fiennes, honorary vice-president of the Scientific Exploration Society, will mark the 30th anniversary of the Raleigh International youth foundation with a speech at Baden-Powell House in South Kensington on Saturday. As for the future of exploration, Fiennes prefers old-fashioned methods. “While Google Earth is excellent and useful in cities,” he says, “there is nothing better than to see for yourself what is underneath the trees, the view from a mountain peak — and, on your travels, to meet people face to face.”

Euripides and the Higgs boson

Tatler girl turned foreign correspondent Charlotte Eagar has spent six months trying to take a Syrian refugee production of Euripides’s The Trojan Women on tour around the world. Last we heard, bureaucratic strangleholds were stopping the cast from travelling to the US but now, Eagar tells us, the tour has changed destination — from the Land of the Free to the Land of the God particle.

“After a rather exhausting roller-coaster of tension, we’re going to go to Geneva and perform in front of CERN next Wednesday,” says Eagar. “All of the cast are refugees — none of them has ever been in a plane before.” Just think what they’ll make of the Large Hadron Collider.

Paul O'Grady accidentally blows a kiss to David Cameron

Politicians: beware of intercepting kisses meant for another. At the Daily Mirror’s Pride of Britain Awards last week, the comedian and Left-wing firebrand Paul O’Grady blew a kiss across the room to Bruce Forsyth’s wife, Wilnelia — but to his horror it was Ms Forsyth’s dining companion, David Cameron, who assumed it was for him and returned the greeting.

“When he waved back, thinking I had blown a kiss to him, I was totally mortified,” O’Grady tells the New Statesman. “It was like Anne Frank blowing a kiss to Hitler.”

A focus on Harry, red hot and topless

Have we found a new philanthropic project for Prince Harry? Red Hot, a new book of photographs of topless ginger men, was launched at The Conran Shop in Chelsea last night.

The anthology of images of topless redheads was created by photographer Thomas Knights, who is trying to remind people of the virtues of an auburn mane. Part of the proceeds go towards the anti-bullying Diana Award, of which Princes William and Harry are patrons, so Knights is hoping to make a connection.

“I’m gunning to photograph Harry,” he told us. “He’s cool, a bit naughty, handsome and, more than anyone, he’s had a big impact on making people think ginger men can be sexy. He probably won’t let me take his top off for a shot but maybe if I got him a bit drunk it could happen.” With Prince Harry? Never!

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