RUBENS AND CHARLES I WATCH LUXURY GONGS

THE great and good of the British luxury brands industry gathered for one of the biggest events of the year last night, as its lobbying group, Walpole, held its annual awards.

In Whitehall’s Banqueting Hall, under the glow of a delicately lit ceiling of Rubens masterpieces and near the site where King Charles I was executed, ten brands won gongs for their success in serving an elite top slice of the market. Burberry carried the night with two awards, while other winners included Hublot, Hackett London and Six Senses Spas.

Walpole CEO Julia Carrick – who assured The Capitalist that she takes a very “hands-on” approach to organising the event – opened the ceremony, speaking without notes. Wearing a sparkling, crystal-encrusted, pink gown and fending off compliments, she oversaw proceedings as Burberry scooped two prizes and Goodwood’s Lord March picked up the highest honour:?a personal award for his achievements.

Speaking with him before the awards, The Capitalist asked what makes a luxury brand successful: “The authenticity of something is pretty important,” he said sagely. “Just making it up doesn’t carry weight.” As for which brands fit into which category, March was far too polite to comment.

MOUTHS TO FEED
Here’s hoping the insurance brokers of Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty have been stoking up their appetites this autumn. Fresh food specialist caterer Lusso has just moved in to the atrium of the insurer’s Gracechurch Street office, stocking a café and a brand new restaurant for those who are just too busy to venture outside for their snacks. The £315,000 contract makes Allianz Lusso’s 22nd City firm, with others including financial advisory BDO and Investec.

So what can lucky Allianz workers expect? The Investec canteen’s hot roast bar on Thursdays gets special praise, I’m told, and they’re reviewed overall as “generally pretty good”. Visitors to Investec’s CEO conference, meanwhile, held this week and next, can expect a kind of posh food court as the caterer ships Borough market goodies into the lobby. As for City Christmas parties, if you’re attending one in the next month, there’s a good chance that trays of delectable Lusso canapés will be sliding past your eager gaze: MD Paul Hurren says the firm is catering for thousands of City folk in just the next month.

LAWS-LESS
Finally! Right-wing City politicos have a home again thanks to the tireless efforts of one Alan Mak of Clifford Chance. Mak reconvened the long-dormant Conservative City networking group City Future in Canary Wharf last week, as exchequer secretary to the treasury David Gauke MP came to address a gathering of 150 young professionals.

Speaking on the 30th floor of Clifford Chance, overlooking the shimmering facades of HSBC, Barclays and Citigroup, Gauke called British financials a “vital industry” and said it was good to be back inside a City law firm “without having to think about filling in a time sheet”.

Despite eager curiosity from his audience, Gauke claimed that any budget secrets were “above my pay grade” – but that he definitely knew more than first secretary Danny Alexander.
Alas, it seems the Treasury is still mourning the loss of short-lived first secretary David Laws.

JEDWARD RETURNS
Ever wondered how wacky brother double act Jedward are making a quick buck these days, nearly a year after the last X Factor season ended? Well, neither did we, until an invite to the Christmas party of newly merged best pals Orange and T-Mobile popped into the inbox. The guest of honour? The indomitable tuneless twins themselves. What’s more, in order to honour the new-minted merger and to prove the strapline that “two is better than one”, they’ll be dyeing their hair: one bright orange, the other pink. The future’s trite, it seems.