WHEN it comes to impressing the great and the good of the City, Mayfair and Westminster, the firms which made the cut for this year&rsquo;s Walpole Brands of Tomorrow pretty much have it licked.<br /><br />The luxury companies on the 2009 list gathered last night at Brown&rsquo;s Hotel in the West End to drink champagne and compare notes on their various big-name clients.<br /><br />Britt Lintner, the up-and-coming fashion designer who also somehow manages to hold down a full time job at hedge fund GLG Partners, chatted about dressing the Prime Minister&rsquo;s wife Sarah Brown and who she&rsquo;d most like to dress next from the worlds of business and politics (City superwoman Nicola Horlick and American First Lady Michelle Obama, since you ask).<br /><br />Olivier Bonnefoy, a former SocGen trader and the founder of men&rsquo;s cosmetics company Gentlemen&rsquo;s Tonic &ndash; which caters to the well-heeled suits at Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan, among others &ndash; waxed lyrical about the flamboyance of the hedgie boys in Mayfair compared to their City counterparts (it&rsquo;s all about good grooming in the recession, didn&rsquo;t you know?)<br /><br />And Lodger Footwear founder Nathan Brown was busy fielding questions about his latest high-profile client &ndash; none other than Lord Mandelson himself.<br /><br />I hear the business secretary recently snapped up a swish pair of black Italian leather &ldquo;formal moccasins&rdquo; from the company for a bargain &pound;550 &ndash; and paid for from his own deep pockets, no less. It&rsquo;s a far cry indeed from that questionable raspberry V-neck sweater Mandy sported back in October upon his re-appointment to the Cabinet. Top marks.<br /><br /><strong>SUGARED UP</strong><br />Who knew that in a world of almost draconian cost-cutting, cakes and confectionery are edging ever higher up the corporate expenditure priority list?<br /><br />Mich Turner, the founder of the Little Venice Cake Company, who&rsquo;s made intricate celebration cakes for everyone from foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay to the queen of pop Madonna, tells me some of her biggest clients are the City&rsquo;s larger banks.<br /><br />Barclays and Deutsche Bank are some of those already snapping up her creations, including individually boxed cakes for employees, corporate Christmas cakes and even boardroom birthday cakes, complete with mock-up rave newspaper articles decorating the top.<br /><br />Though at up to &pound;23,000 a pop for the cakes, that kind of ego trip isn&rsquo;t going to come cheap...<br /><br /><strong>THICK SKINNED</strong><br />Walpole&rsquo;s mentoring programme and awards are being sponsored for the third year running by Barclays Wealth, which insists it is committed to investing in flourishing entrepreneurial businesses with strong brand names. &ldquo;Barclays is a 325-year-old brand, but I spent an afternoon today discussing how to take that brand forward,&rdquo; Barclays Wealth&rsquo;s head of marketing Ian Ewart told the room yesterday. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re in the process of digesting Lehman Brothers at the moment, and it&rsquo;s a pretty venerable brand which deserves recognition&hellip;&rdquo;<br /><br />At that, The Capitalist&rsquo;s ears certainly pricked up, though Ewart assures me there&rsquo;ll be no sign of Lehman&rsquo;s name on any future re-brand.<br /><br />&ldquo;No, the Lehman name is now gone for good,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not like on the high street, where there is a lot of emotion associated with the loss of a big name like Abbey and Alliance and Leicester&hellip;&rdquo; That&rsquo;s the business world&rsquo;s thick skin for you.