Thursday, June 9, 2011

'A breath of fresh air': Leggy Nicole is a hit at U.S. X Factor auditions as Cheryl becomes 'the invisible woman'

By SARA NATHAN

At your service: Nicole Scherzinger poses with excitable fans as she arrives at the second day of auditions in New Jersey for the U.S. X Factor today


She is still in hiding after her dreams of cracking America on the X Factor USA were shattered.

And yesterday, Cheryl Cole actually became the invisible woman as Simon Cowell introduced her replacement on the TV talent show – singer Nicole Scherzinger.

To ear-splitting applause from the crowd, the X Factor judges walked out to greet the audience at the auditions in New Jersey.


'Invisible woman': Nicole showed off her longs legs in a metallic grey dress with a studded belt, seen right the woman she replaced, Cheryl Cole on her first day of auditions in Los Angeles last month


Simon Cowell, Paula Abdul, L.A. Reid and Nicole Scherzinger beamed as they made their introductions.

And it was a case of ‘Cheryl, who’s Cheryl?’ as Miss Scherzinger, 32, was introduced to the crowd by Cowell as ‘our own answer to Cruella de Vil.’

It was as if Mrs Cole had never even been on set as the slender brunette then triumphantly punched the air, making it clear that she deserved the job, screaming: ‘What’s up New Jersey? How are you? Y’all feeling good today?’


It's Saula: Simon Cowell has given Nicole high praise, saying she is like a breath of fresh air, but it was Paula Abdul who he was lauding with attention as the pair shared a smooch as they arrived today


Pretty in pink: Paula stood out in a bright short dress, teamed with Christian Louboutin heels


Clad in a figure-hugging green jumpsuit and gold stilettos, the singer added: ‘I don’t know if you all know this, but today is my first day on the job for the X Factor – I’m here for you. I’m at your service, New Jersey.’

‘So please, please, lets have some fun and let’s show X Factor some love!’

The former Pussycat Doll singer was promoted from show co-host to a judge after Mrs Cole, 27, was removed from the panel after filming four auditions.


Unbreakable bond: Simon and Paula were very touchy-feely as they greeted the waiting media and fans outside the arena


Say cheese: Former Pussycat Doll Nicole poses with fellow judge L.A. Reid, who looked dapper in a suit with brown suede shoes


And speaking after the first round of auditions at the Prudential Centre in Newark, New Jersey, music mogul Cowell told the Daily Mail: ‘Didn’t’ Nicole do well? She was terrific.

‘She’s a great addition to the panel, she’ll be great. She’s just what we needed – she’s a breath of fresh air.’

The entire judging panel looked terribly cosy as Miss Abdul, 48 cuddled, up to Cowell , 51,and Miss Scherzinger bantered with record executive Reid.



Lively: Nicole was loving all the attention she was getting as she posed for photos and spoke to the Press


And when asked if they knew who Mrs Cole was, audience members professed ignorance and one said: ‘We don’t know her in America.’

An onlooker said: ‘It was as if Cheryl had never been there at all, everyone looked happy and relaxed. It was like she had been rubbed out of the show.’

Mrs Cole is yet to make a public appearance after flying home to England from the auditions in Chicago two weeks ago.

The star was removed from the U.S. judging panel after being told by TV executives that she had lost her ‘sparkle.’


Meet my new BFF: Nicole posted a picture with fellow U.S. X Factor judge Paula on her Twitter page


The move then sparked a 10-day standoff beween her and Cowell that ended in her snubbing a £2.5 million offer to return to the U.K. X Factor – and finally an 11th hour offer to try again as a judge on the U.S. show.

She turned down the offer to return to America on Monday, leaving Miss Scherzinger - who was a guest judge at the U.K. X Factor auditions last year - to fill her high heels.

A show source said: ‘Nicole is feisty, she’s loud, she gets the crowd going – and she’s ambitious.

‘In short, she’s exactly what the X Factor needs. She was great on the first day and managed to spar with Cowell and the rest of the judges.’

Speaking earlier this week, Cowell told the Mail that it had been a ‘rough few weeks.’


Having a blast: Crowds assemble outside the Prudential Center in New Jersey


What a line-up: These are the first auditions to be filmed with Scherzinger as a judge


Coming soon: X Factor starts airing from September in the U.S. on the Fox network


Hot competition: A neon-clad Paula Abdul took on former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger in a battle of puffball frocks as the X Factor auditions kicked off in New Jersey yesterday


source: dailymail

Glum Kim Kardashian returns to LA... as Bret Lockett affair claims continue to rumble

By Daily Mail Reporter


Downcast: Kim Kardashian looked glum when she touched down in Los Angeles this afternoon, as Bret Lockett affair claims continue to rumble


She is currently contending with claims by NFL star Bret Lockett that the two recently had an affair.

So it was no surprise that Kim Kardashian looked glum as she touched down in Los Angeles this afternoon, after her recent trip to London.

The usually camera friendly 30-year-old kept her head down as she faced the media storm waiting for her at LAX airport.


In an act of defiance, Kim continued to wear her $2 million engagement ring given to her by fiancé Kris Humphries.

Dressed in a pair of black trousers with thigh-high boots over the top, a printed t-shirt and a tuxedo jacket, Kim cut a sullen figure as she made her way through the terminal.

The reality star swept her hair up in a tight bun, unusual for the star who prefers it coiffed and flowing.

Shielding her eyes with giant sunglasses and keeping her head down low, Kim was clearly not in the mood.

Kim has demanded an apology from Lockett, after he claimed the pair had a five-month affair.

A lawyer acting on behalf of reality star Kim's behalf sent a stern legal letter warning the NFL player of a potential lawsuit if he continued to make the claims.

But the sportsman has refused to back down, claiming he has 'concrete proof' of the 'long-distance' relationship, which he says was conducted entirely via telephone.

His alleged evidence includes 'intimate' photos sent by text message, flirty text messages and phone records showing conversations between the two.

Not herself: Shielding her eyes with giant sunglasses and keeping her head down, Kim was clearly not in the mood


Kim recently celebrated her engagement to basketball star Kris Humphries, who she has been dating for six months. The two are said to be planning a summer wedding.

Despite Lockett's claims he refused to give details on when his 'affair' with Kim took place.

But in a video interview on TMZ he even hinted that he would submit the evidence to court if sued by Kim.

Denial: Kim in London yesterday, has reacted angrily to claims she had an affair with NFL player Lockett, pictured right


'At the end of the day, Kim knows what happened and I know what happened,' he said.

'Kim can deny this all she wants, but if she wants to go the legal route and start recalling text messages and conversations and pictures and all of that, then that's not a problem.'

InTouch, which reported the claims under the headline: 'Kim caught cheating', backs its claims with a series of relatively harmless undated texts it claims a friend saw on Lockett's phone.

New love: Kim is happily engaged to sports star Kris Humphries


In one it alleges she told him 'You should SEND me a sexy picture.'

Kim is alleged to have asked a friend to get Lockett's number for her from his brother.

Lockett told the magazine: 'She pursued me.'

Kim, currently in London promoting her various business lines, made what appeared to be a veiled reference to the reports on her Twitter page.

She wrote: 'Remember, people only rain on your parade because they're jealous of your sun & tired of their shade.'


Business woman: Kim didn't let the drama affect her work as she launched her new perfume at Debenhams on Oxford Street in London earlier today


source:dailymail

Glum Kim Kardashian returns to LA... as Bret Lockett affair claims continue to rumble

By Daily Mail Reporter


Downcast: Kim Kardashian looked glum when she touched down in Los Angeles this afternoon, as Bret Lockett affair claims continue to rumble


She is currently contending with claims by NFL star Bret Lockett that the two recently had an affair.

So it was no surprise that Kim Kardashian looked glum as she touched down in Los Angeles this afternoon, after her recent trip to London.

The usually camera friendly 30-year-old kept her head down as she faced the media storm waiting for her at LAX airport.


In an act of defiance, Kim continued to wear her $2 million engagement ring given to her by fiancé Kris Humphries.

Dressed in a pair of black trousers with thigh-high boots over the top, a printed t-shirt and a tuxedo jacket, Kim cut a sullen figure as she made her way through the terminal.

The reality star swept her hair up in a tight bun, unusual for the star who prefers it coiffed and flowing.

Shielding her eyes with giant sunglasses and keeping her head down low, Kim was clearly not in the mood.

Kim has demanded an apology from Lockett, after he claimed the pair had a five-month affair.

A lawyer acting on behalf of reality star Kim's behalf sent a stern legal letter warning the NFL player of a potential lawsuit if he continued to make the claims.

But the sportsman has refused to back down, claiming he has 'concrete proof' of the 'long-distance' relationship, which he says was conducted entirely via telephone.

His alleged evidence includes 'intimate' photos sent by text message, flirty text messages and phone records showing conversations between the two.

Not herself: Shielding her eyes with giant sunglasses and keeping her head down, Kim was clearly not in the mood


Kim recently celebrated her engagement to basketball star Kris Humphries, who she has been dating for six months. The two are said to be planning a summer wedding.

Despite Lockett's claims he refused to give details on when his 'affair' with Kim took place.

But in a video interview on TMZ he even hinted that he would submit the evidence to court if sued by Kim.

Denial: Kim in London yesterday, has reacted angrily to claims she had an affair with NFL player Lockett, pictured right


'At the end of the day, Kim knows what happened and I know what happened,' he said.

'Kim can deny this all she wants, but if she wants to go the legal route and start recalling text messages and conversations and pictures and all of that, then that's not a problem.'

InTouch, which reported the claims under the headline: 'Kim caught cheating', backs its claims with a series of relatively harmless undated texts it claims a friend saw on Lockett's phone.

New love: Kim is happily engaged to sports star Kris Humphries


In one it alleges she told him 'You should SEND me a sexy picture.'

Kim is alleged to have asked a friend to get Lockett's number for her from his brother.

Lockett told the magazine: 'She pursued me.'

Kim, currently in London promoting her various business lines, made what appeared to be a veiled reference to the reports on her Twitter page.

She wrote: 'Remember, people only rain on your parade because they're jealous of your sun & tired of their shade.'


Business woman: Kim didn't let the drama affect her work as she launched her new perfume at Debenhams on Oxford Street in London earlier today


source:dailymail

'Maternity leave - what's that?' Victoria Beckham has no intention of slowing down ahead of birth of her daughter

Not slowing down: Victoria Beckham told Glamour magazine she intends to work right up until she gives birth to her daughter next month


Victoria Beckham has revealed she has no intention of slowing down ahead of the birth of her daughter.

The 37-year-old star, who is eight months pregnant with her fourth child with husband David, joked she had no idea what maternity leave was, and will be working right up until the birth.

She told Glamour magazine: 'Maternity leave - what's that? I've been working incredibly hard so I'm prepared for next season.


'Being a working mum is hard - I think women can relate to me when I say it's like juggling glass balls.'

And Victoria, who is also mother to sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, said she doesn't see her clothing and accessories line as a job - just a big part of her life.

She said: 'My husband and children will always be my priority. But for me, what I do professionally doesn't feel like a job - it's my passion.'

My work is my passion: Victoria, seen last month, says she doesn't regard her work as a job, but a passion


Victoria, who took home the Accessory Designer of the Year award at Glamour's Women of the Year ceremony thanks to her stunning range of handbags, also explained why she first wanted to launch her own line.

She told the magazine: 'It's been a really exciting time for me. It's my passion to make women look and feel beautiful and the highest compliment I can receive is when women enjoy what I'm doing.'

Victoria is due to give birth to her fourth child in early July and has been looking svelte through the whole pregnancy so far.

Jetsetter: Victoria has been flying around the world in recent weeks, and was seen arriving in London from Los Angeles last month


And despite choosing to give birth in the U.S., the Beckhams are said to be planning to move back to Britain permanently in the summer.

They are planning to bring their three sons and new-born daughter back to their £18 million mansion in Hertfordshire, according to close friend and television personality Louie Spence.

He said: ‘David, Victoria and the boys are coming to live over here again.

‘I’m working in the States over the summer but I’ll be in New York. If I’m in LA while I’m there we’ll definitely be spending time together.

Thrilled: Victoria today tweeted thanks to Justin Bieber for giving her three sons signed guitars


'But to be completely honest, they’re moving back to Britain soon, so I might have to wait until I’m back here until we can have a girly catch-up.’

If they do move back to the UK, it is thought that the couple will keep their LA mansion as a second home.

Meanwhile, Victoria took to her Twitter page today to thank Justin Bieber for the autographed guitars he gave to her three sons.

She wrote: 'Thank u @justinbieber for the boys signed guitars!!! they are so happy!!!!!!! X VB x '


source: dailymail

'Maternity leave - what's that?' Victoria Beckham has no intention of slowing down ahead of birth of her daughter

Not slowing down: Victoria Beckham told Glamour magazine she intends to work right up until she gives birth to her daughter next month


Victoria Beckham has revealed she has no intention of slowing down ahead of the birth of her daughter.

The 37-year-old star, who is eight months pregnant with her fourth child with husband David, joked she had no idea what maternity leave was, and will be working right up until the birth.

She told Glamour magazine: 'Maternity leave - what's that? I've been working incredibly hard so I'm prepared for next season.


'Being a working mum is hard - I think women can relate to me when I say it's like juggling glass balls.'

And Victoria, who is also mother to sons Brooklyn, Romeo and Cruz, said she doesn't see her clothing and accessories line as a job - just a big part of her life.

She said: 'My husband and children will always be my priority. But for me, what I do professionally doesn't feel like a job - it's my passion.'

My work is my passion: Victoria, seen last month, says she doesn't regard her work as a job, but a passion


Victoria, who took home the Accessory Designer of the Year award at Glamour's Women of the Year ceremony thanks to her stunning range of handbags, also explained why she first wanted to launch her own line.

She told the magazine: 'It's been a really exciting time for me. It's my passion to make women look and feel beautiful and the highest compliment I can receive is when women enjoy what I'm doing.'

Victoria is due to give birth to her fourth child in early July and has been looking svelte through the whole pregnancy so far.

Jetsetter: Victoria has been flying around the world in recent weeks, and was seen arriving in London from Los Angeles last month


And despite choosing to give birth in the U.S., the Beckhams are said to be planning to move back to Britain permanently in the summer.

They are planning to bring their three sons and new-born daughter back to their £18 million mansion in Hertfordshire, according to close friend and television personality Louie Spence.

He said: ‘David, Victoria and the boys are coming to live over here again.

‘I’m working in the States over the summer but I’ll be in New York. If I’m in LA while I’m there we’ll definitely be spending time together.

Thrilled: Victoria today tweeted thanks to Justin Bieber for giving her three sons signed guitars


'But to be completely honest, they’re moving back to Britain soon, so I might have to wait until I’m back here until we can have a girly catch-up.’

If they do move back to the UK, it is thought that the couple will keep their LA mansion as a second home.

Meanwhile, Victoria took to her Twitter page today to thank Justin Bieber for the autographed guitars he gave to her three sons.

She wrote: 'Thank u @justinbieber for the boys signed guitars!!! they are so happy!!!!!!! X VB x '


source: dailymail

Here come the girls: Elizabeth Hurley, Holly Valance and Sophie Dahl lead the glamour at Ark gala dinner

By Sarah Bull


Glamour girls: Elizabeth Hurley and Holly Valance led the glamour at the Ark gala dinner at Kensington Palace


Elizabeth Hurley, Holly Valance and Sophie Dahl led the glamour at the Ark gala dinner this evening.

While Hurley opted for a grey Roberto Cavalli dress, Patrick Cox shoes and a Jimmy Choo bag, Valance looked stunning in a navy blue full-length dress with beaded detailing along the neckline and at the waist.

Meanwhile, Sophie Dahl made her first public appearance since the birth of her baby girl Lyra in March.

New parents: Sophie Dahl made her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter Lyra, and was accompanied by husband Jamie Cullum


The 33-year-old model appears to have sprung back into shape after her pregnancy and showed off her figure in a black lace dress as she arrived at the event with husband Jamie Cullum.

And motherhood is clearly suiting Sophie, who looked radiant as she posed for photographers outside Kensington Palace.

A statement released shortly after the birth of their daughter, read: 'Musician Jamie Cullum and his wife, the author and presenter Sophie Dahl, have become parents.

'Their daughter Lyra was born on March the second. They are over the moon.'

Dates for the evening: Hurley attended with shoe designer Patrick Cox while Holly was accompanied by businessman boyfriend Nick Candy

Leggy lady: Hurley stuck to her age-old formula and flashed some leg in her dress, which was split to the thigh


And while Dahl was accompanied by husband Cullum, there was no sign of Hurley's boyfriend Shane Warne, and the mother-of-one instead attended with shoe designer Patrick Cox.

However, Warne spoke about his relationship with Hurley in a radio interview earlier this week, telling the interviewer: 'She's a lovely lady. We get along very well and things are going great.'

Former pop singer-turned-actress Valance was accompanied on the red carpet by her businessman boyfriend Nick Candy.

Metallic: Jemima Khan shone in a bronze full-length number while Laura Bailey looked ethereal in nude

Standing out from the crowd: Mariella Frostrup wore florals while Tracey Emin wore a bright pink dress with a black train


The event was the 10th anniversary gala dinner of the charity Absolute Return for Kids (Ark), co-founded in 2002 by financier Arpad Busson, who hosted the evening.

Other celebrities to make an appearance at the event included Jemima Khan, who looked stunning in a bronze Grecian-style dress, and model Laura Bailey, who chose to wear an ethereal nude frilled number.

Mariella Frostrup went for a more colorful outfit, however, in a floral-print dress while artist Tracey Emin also stood out from the crowd in a bright pink number.

The Duchess dazzles: Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, attended


Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were also in attendance, on behalf of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry - an organisation which raises sustainable funds for charitable grants.

The Duchess looked stunning in a shimmering dusky pink cap-sleeve gown by designer Jenny Packham which she teamed with pink suede LK Bennett sandals.

With her hair down and her outfit accessorised with tiny drop earrings, Kate appeared relaxed and William looked smart in a dinner jacket and bow-tie.

The gala dinner was held in an enormous luxury marquee which appeared more like a small building.

As the guests arrived, a troupe of divers entertained them by diving acrobatically into a specially constructed pool.


Hand-in-hand: Elizabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud (left) and Anish Kapoor with his partner arrive for the event


source:dailymail

Here come the girls: Elizabeth Hurley, Holly Valance and Sophie Dahl lead the glamour at Ark gala dinner

By Sarah Bull


Glamour girls: Elizabeth Hurley and Holly Valance led the glamour at the Ark gala dinner at Kensington Palace


Elizabeth Hurley, Holly Valance and Sophie Dahl led the glamour at the Ark gala dinner this evening.

While Hurley opted for a grey Roberto Cavalli dress, Patrick Cox shoes and a Jimmy Choo bag, Valance looked stunning in a navy blue full-length dress with beaded detailing along the neckline and at the waist.

Meanwhile, Sophie Dahl made her first public appearance since the birth of her baby girl Lyra in March.

New parents: Sophie Dahl made her first public appearance since the birth of her daughter Lyra, and was accompanied by husband Jamie Cullum


The 33-year-old model appears to have sprung back into shape after her pregnancy and showed off her figure in a black lace dress as she arrived at the event with husband Jamie Cullum.

And motherhood is clearly suiting Sophie, who looked radiant as she posed for photographers outside Kensington Palace.

A statement released shortly after the birth of their daughter, read: 'Musician Jamie Cullum and his wife, the author and presenter Sophie Dahl, have become parents.

'Their daughter Lyra was born on March the second. They are over the moon.'

Dates for the evening: Hurley attended with shoe designer Patrick Cox while Holly was accompanied by businessman boyfriend Nick Candy

Leggy lady: Hurley stuck to her age-old formula and flashed some leg in her dress, which was split to the thigh


And while Dahl was accompanied by husband Cullum, there was no sign of Hurley's boyfriend Shane Warne, and the mother-of-one instead attended with shoe designer Patrick Cox.

However, Warne spoke about his relationship with Hurley in a radio interview earlier this week, telling the interviewer: 'She's a lovely lady. We get along very well and things are going great.'

Former pop singer-turned-actress Valance was accompanied on the red carpet by her businessman boyfriend Nick Candy.

Metallic: Jemima Khan shone in a bronze full-length number while Laura Bailey looked ethereal in nude

Standing out from the crowd: Mariella Frostrup wore florals while Tracey Emin wore a bright pink dress with a black train


The event was the 10th anniversary gala dinner of the charity Absolute Return for Kids (Ark), co-founded in 2002 by financier Arpad Busson, who hosted the evening.

Other celebrities to make an appearance at the event included Jemima Khan, who looked stunning in a bronze Grecian-style dress, and model Laura Bailey, who chose to wear an ethereal nude frilled number.

Mariella Frostrup went for a more colorful outfit, however, in a floral-print dress while artist Tracey Emin also stood out from the crowd in a bright pink number.

The Duchess dazzles: Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, attended


Prince William and Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were also in attendance, on behalf of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry - an organisation which raises sustainable funds for charitable grants.

The Duchess looked stunning in a shimmering dusky pink cap-sleeve gown by designer Jenny Packham which she teamed with pink suede LK Bennett sandals.

With her hair down and her outfit accessorised with tiny drop earrings, Kate appeared relaxed and William looked smart in a dinner jacket and bow-tie.

The gala dinner was held in an enormous luxury marquee which appeared more like a small building.

As the guests arrived, a troupe of divers entertained them by diving acrobatically into a specially constructed pool.


Hand-in-hand: Elizabeth Murdoch and Matthew Freud (left) and Anish Kapoor with his partner arrive for the event


source:dailymail

The Duchess dazzles: Kate and William bring a touch of glamour to charity gala

By Daily Mail Reporter


Simply stunning: All eyes were on the Duchess of Cambridge as she she made her way inside the gala dinner


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made a dazzling entrance at a charity gala dinner at Kensington Palace this evening.

Looking stunning in a Jenny Packham gown, accessorised with LK Bennett shoes and a clutch bag, Kate brought her usual touch of simple elegance to the Duke and Duchess's first official public engagement as a married couple.

The couple are attending the 10th annual Absolute Return for Kids (Ark) Gala Dinner.

What an entrance: Kate steps from the limousine to hordes of spectators hoping to catch a glimpse of the newest addition to the Royal Family

Dazzling: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arriving at the Ark Gala Dinner at Kensington Palace


Kate's style has been scrutinised since officially becoming a member of the Royal family following her wedding to Prince William in April.

With her recent appearances meeting the Obamas at Buckingham Palace - and watching the horse racing at the Epsom Derby at the weekend - she tested the sartorial water with simple but chic pieces.

However, the Duchess pulled out all the stops for this evening's glamorous event.

William and Kate are attending the reception with 900 other guests at Perks Field and will later sit down to a private dinner before the prince gives a speech.

Musician Mark Ronson and his band will perform for the royals and guests.

The Duke and Duchess are attending on behalf of the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry - a body which raises sustainable funds for charitable grants.

Star attraction: William and Kate didn't disappoint on their first official public engagement as a married couple

Glowing: Kate's beautiful gown was teamed with LK Bennett shoes and a clutch bag


The gala dinner was held in an enormous luxury marquee which appeared more like a small building.

As the guests arrived, a troupe of divers entertained them by diving acrobatically into a specially constructed pool.

When the royal couple's Jaguar limousine pulled up, they were greeted by calls from banks of photographers asking them to pose for a picture.

Financier Arpad Busson, co-founder of the organisation, warmly welcomed them before they climbed a few steps to the entrance of the building before posing and smiling for the waiting cameras.

Outside the banquet hall was a covered reception area with two champagne bars and stalls serving sumptuous canapes from the Mediterranean and Far East where guests gathered before dinner was served.

Hot ticket: The couple's presence at the gala will shine a spotlight on work carried out by the charity


The Duke and Duchess mingled with some of the more prominent figures or chatted to associates of their host, Mr Busson, known as Arki to his friends.

William and Kate were the centre of attention with people crowding around them to get a view of the newlyweds or take their picture on camera phones.

Mr Busson has two sons with his former partner, model Elle Macpherson, and in recent years has dated actress Uma Thurman.

The royal couple chatted to his sons, Flynn Busson, 13, and his eight-year-old brother, Cy, laughing and joking with them.

After about 45 minutes, they made their way into the circular banqueting room which was filled with almost 100 oval tables.

Meet and greet: From left to right, financier Arpad Busson, Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and Ian Wace, also a co-founder of Ark


Among the guests seated on the Duke and Duchess's table were Oscar-winning actor Colin Firth, actress Liz Hurley, socialite Jemima Khan and broadcaster Mariella Frostrup.

Elizabeth Murdoch, the daughter of media tycoon Rupert Murdoch, also had a place, as did William's private secretary, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, and Baroness de Rothschild.

Anish Kapoor, the British-based, Indian-born sculptor, who won the Turner Prize in 1991, was another guest with a seat close to the Duke and Duchess.

Kate sat between Crown Prince Pavlos of Greece, a distant relative of William, and Mr Busson, while her husband was opposite her with socialite Countess Debonaire von Bismarck on his left and Princess Marie of Greece on his other side.

Wrapped around the edge of the room was a multi-coloured dot-matrix display which would later be used to show the bidding for charity lots that included a stay on the Maltese Falcon - the world's largest sailing yacht - or a Kenyan safari at a luxury lodge.

Captivating: Kate seems to have taken to public life with ease as she chats with Matthew Freud


On the tables were tiny consoles to allow the wealthy guests to place their bids and around the room were swings for performers to use to entertain the guests.

Musician Mark Ronson and his band were due to entertain the diners later and a mystery band - rumoured to be the Kings Of Leon - were also performing.

The £10,000-a-head dinner will also feature auctions to raise donations for Ark, which has projects helping disadvantaged children around the globe.

In the UK it sponsors a number of academy schools and runs other projects like Teaching Leaders and Future Leaders.

Ark was co-founded in 2002 by the financier Arpad Busson, who now acts as a trustee of the organisation.

A spokeswoman for the charity said: 'Over the past 10 years, Ark's programmes in the UK, Southern Africa, eastern Europe and India have transformed the lives of more than 200,000 children.

'In tackling access to healthcare in sub-Saharan Africa, improving educational opportunities in the UK, US and India, and giving children the chance to live in a caring and nurturing environment in Eastern Europe, Ark is helping to overcome some of the most severe blights on children's lives.

THE DUCHESS OF CAMBRIDGE IS ON SPARKLING FASHION FORM...


We know she can make Topshop and Reiss look a million dollars, but in shimmering Jenny Packham at the ARK Gala Dinner in London last night, the Duchess of Cambridge took her style cred to the next level.

The pale pink gown, which sells at the designer's Mayfair boutique for £3,800, was dripping with sequins and crystals, and the perfect choice from the British designer's spring/summer collection.

Style cred: The Duchess of Cambridge dazzled in palest pink Jenny Packham at the ARK Gala last night

The high neckline looked sophisticated, while the figure-hugging cut made the most of her slender frame.

But, fan of the High Street that she is, Catherine couldn't resist teaming the dress with a pair of shoes from LK Bennett, one of her favourite brands.

It was a smart decision - plain colour-matched courts or simple strappy sandals would have been a safe choice, but the bow detail on the ankle looked fresh and pretty

Packham is best known for her bridal designs, and had been hotly tipped to design Catherine's wedding dress.

But her designs are more and more frequently seen on the red carpet, by A-listers including Beyonce, Sarah Jessica Parker and Angelina Jolie.

Emma Roberts wore a gown from the same collection as Catherine for the Oscars and Vanessa Hudgens chose a backless number for the premiere of Sucker Punch.

A-list fans: Jenny Packham is a red carpet favourite with stars including Emma Roberts, Angelina Jolie and Vanessa Hudgens to name just a few, though she made her name as a bridal designer

But while the designer has been well-established on the British fashion scene for many years, the impact of the 'Kate effect', is set to see her star soar even higher.

Last week it emerged that Catherine had a stronger impact on retail sales than Michelle Obama, fashion's so-called $3billion woman.

(TAMARA ABRAHAM)

Star quality: Liz Hurley, Sophie Dahl and Jemima Khan arrive at the gala




source: dailymail