Dwarves, chastity belts and why Pippa's missing the one man who could rein her in
07:43 GMT, 18 April 2012
We will have to wait until this October to see whether cavorting dwarves, burlesque strippers bursting out of giant cakes and aristocratic Frenchmen wearing dog leads make it into Pippa Middleton’s forthcoming party manual, Celebrate.
Though no one can say she’s not conducting her research thoroughly.
For what other reason can it have seemed a good idea for the remaining Miss Middleton to have gone to a very risque fancy-dress party last Friday in Paris dressed as a sexy Marie Antoinette-meets-Benny-Hill’s-Angel
Questionable taste: Pippa grins while the Vicomte de Soultrait wears a dog collar and chain
Not only that, she then allowed herself to be photographed sitting on the edge of a fake throne as part of her host’s party harem at the party, where 125 bottles of Roederer champagne were flowing freely — and where a provocatively dressed young woman wearing a metal chastity belt (and little else) made sparks fly by striking an industrial angle-grinder against it.
In retrospect, it wasn’t that brilliant an idea either for the sister-in-law to our future king to be grinning kittenishly as the floppy-haired French friend who drove her to the Gare du Nord to catch the Eurostar the next day waved a (possibly real) gun around in the street.
But I suspect it was English politeness that stopped her from telling the silly boy to put it away.
Or just lack of energy — she didn’t leave the party until 6am.
Despite a spate of recent shootings in France, it is unlikely the police will get too excited by the prospect of punishing Pippa. Sitting next to a posh idiot isn’t a crime, even in France.
Pippa, pictured at the back of the group next to the Vicomte, appears to have found her own 'chateau crew' of landed Frenchman
Party girl: Pippa poses with the Vicomte de Soultrait, left, and with his brother Marcy, right, at the bash
Until all the unfortunate gun, dwarf and dog-lead photographs emerged, it looked as if Pippa was having a rather wonderful, ego-boosting Paris-in-the-Spring weekend, holding hands with three very friendly Frenchmen.
Her party host, the Vicomte Arthur de Soultrait, who was turning 30; his dark-haired, dashing little brother, the Vicomte Marcy; and the equally eligible restaurateur and TV producer Antoine de Tavernost.
Just the sort of chaps, in fact, she might like to take home to Bucklebury to meet Mummy.
When Pippa was at Edinburgh University, she was known for being queen of the ‘castle crew’, the lively group of Sloaney students who went to nearby castles every weekend and played raucous games, of which she was frequently ringmaster.
Now, it seems, the ever-resourceful Pippa has developed her very own ‘chateau crew’ of young, landed Frenchmen.
Though original ‘castle crew’ member George (Earl) Percy — the heir to Alnwick Castle — was with Pippa, Wills and Kate on the ski slopes this month, Pippa clearly feels there is no harm in him and his ilk having a little Gallic competition.
Gateau blaster: A stripper bursts out of a giant birthday cake
Particularly because, despite her tantalisingly close friendship with George — eco entrepreneur and future Duke of Northumberland — he really is just a friend.
This leaves 28-year-old Pippa very much available, and very much open to the idea of a quick hop over to Paris for a party thrown by a young vicomte.
Even a Middleton, pushing 30, cannot spend her entire time on holiday with her parents — as she did in Courchevel the other week —no matter how generous and adored they are.
And this young Vicomte Arthur — though he wears clothes that don’t fit, throws somewhat louche parties and appears to be delighted if the paparazzi roll up to snap VIP guests at his events — is also an entrepreneur of the sort beloved by the Middletons.
His company Vicomte A — originally backed by his aristocrat father Eric, who lives on a sprawling estate in Burgundy, where he breeds horses — is a cheaper version of Ralph Lauren: clothes for international gilded youth, including 100 polo shirts and 350 jackets.
Sparks fly: An angle grinder is used on a metal chastity belt
Intriguingly, given the recent publicity, Vicomte A is soon to open a stand-alone boutique in the Kings Road in London — very near the flat Pippa shares with her brother James — so the publicity of the past 48 hours certainly won’t be irritating to him.
In interviews about his company, he is always keen to portray it as aristocratic, ‘cheeky’ and ‘irreverent’. His customers are the sort of people who find bright pink jeans on men amusing.
His company website carries dozens of snaps of the nattily dressed fashion entrepreneur, including one of him with Pippa.
Arthur’s younger brother Marcy also works for the label.
They went to private Catholic schools, and hunt and shoot and fish and play polo.
As well as the Burgundy chateau, the family also has a house in an exclusive Paris district where Arthur lives and Pippa has stayed, and a chateau-cum-country home just outside the capital.
Their father has helped them, but with the blissful confidence of the privileged, Arthur applied for — and won — the commission to make ties for the French Olympic team.
Seemingly, the brothers are strangers to self-doubt.
Arthur, who sells his clothing in 400 global outlets (his concession in Parisian department store Galeries Lafayette is its most profitable calculated per square metre) has said he spends very little on advertising and does his own publicity. After this week, you can’t say he’s not good at it.
The third of the men Pippa has been rousting around the French capital — the one she enjoyed a liaison with at the party — is Antoine de Tavernost, who co-owns a cocktail bar in St Germain called ‘Le Schmuck’ (hilarious!).
He recently reopened the legendary Chez Regine nightclub with some friends. Antoine is also an heir and fellow member of the chateau pack.
Decadent: The partygoers in fancy dress pose around the throne with Pippa
His father is French TV mogul Nicolas de Tavernost, 62, a former politician who runs the M6 cable channel and is a director of Bordeaux football club.
Antoine is a sort of debs’ delight figure, enjoying his father’s vast country estate and fancy turreted chateau in Cesseins in the Rhone-Alpes.
The preppy French are often a bit self-consciously ‘crazy’ in their idea of fun, as Pippa has discovered to her cost. They like deliberate bad taste and practical jokes of the most stupid kind.
They are also crashing snobs, hence their interest in Pippa, aside from her beauty.
To a publicity-seeking entrepreneurial vicomte in a country with no monarchy, the fun-loving sister of a future Queen is simply irresistible.
As one acquaintance put it: ‘The French paparazzi couldn’t be less interested in the antics of French aristocrats if they tried. The party wouldn’t have had any coverage if it wasn’t for Pippa.’
Little decorum: The Vicomte with revellers including dwarfs
This weekend’s events were just the latest in a series of foreign jaunts for Miss Middleton that rather give the impression that her life at the moment is one long string of jollies.
Only a few weeks ago, Pippa was again on tour, this time doing something equally odd if a little more constructive — cross-country skiing for 70 miles — in aid of the ‘Magic Breakfast’ children’s charity in Sweden with her brother James.
Together they raised more than 12,000. Other than that, it’s been a few days in the sun in Mustique, skiing in Courchevel and back to Chelsea to write the book on throwing parties for which her agent David Godwin secured her a staggering 400,000 from the Penguin imprint Michael Joseph — just for the idea.
In between those duties, she still works for her parents’ company Party Pieces, where she has a part-time job compiling the newsletter, The Party Times.
As she has chased round Sweden on skis and cavorted in Paris, it has been hard to escape the notion that Pippa may be just a teensy bit bored and therefore is seeking thrills.
With no boyfriend and no demanding job, it seems she must create her own fun.
Pippa's male companions appear to find the gun stunt hilarious as stunned onlookers struggled to make out if the weapon was real
It’s almost a year since she became an overnight celebrity: Pippa walked into Westminster Abbey a small-time party planner and emerged as Her Royal Hotness.
Her friends feel that it was bad news that Alex Loudon, the cricketer-turned-financier who was her most serious boyfriend, departed last year.
That his mother is said to have described Pippa as ‘not wife material’ may be a line worthy of Downton Abbey’s Dowager Countess of Grantham, but most of her friends felt that Alex was certainly husband material.
For a start, Loudon did what it is said that many — including her parents — never do, which is: Say No To Pippa. ‘He didn’t do things he didn’t feel like doing,’ says one of their circle.
‘He didn’t let her boss him around or go to parties he didn’t want to go to. It was probably quite good for her. He was a level-headed, calming influence.’
Would Loudon have allowed her to be photographed as she was at the weekend It seems unlikely.
But she will be nervous about the media coverage and is likely to keep her head down for a while.
Taking aim: As the others laugh and smile, the driver of the car Pippa was in points the pistol directly at a photographer
The Middleton parents, and William and Kate, are unlikely to be cross with Pippa for this weekend’s indiscretions.
They will shy away from criticising her for her lack of judgment, because there is always an anxiety that Pippa, single and unprotected, never asked to be famous, and that as such she must be given leeway in dealing with it.
The Palace, for example, won’t make any comment about her, and officially don’t advise her, since she is a private citizen.
This seems like rather wishful thinking on their part given that she is considerably more famous than say Princess Eugenie, who enjoys royal protection or a host of other minor Royals who are of little interest to anyone.
But the downside of the media attention is offset by the huge advance from Penguin that has freed her to do pretty much as she likes most of the time.
The trouble is that other than hanging out with loony Frenchmen who may well be using her to further their own publicity, it’s not quite clear what that is yet.
As her sister comes to see her for lunch in Chelsea once or twice a week, they will certainly discuss how to overcome the negative publicity surrounding this daftly decadent party and accompanying gun-slinging journey to the train station.
How she must wish she had caught a cab. Expect another charitable venture any minute. And a dwarf-free summer.
Kissing in the corner, Pippa's clinch with Paris playboy/04/17/article-2131269-129A35F4000005DC-187_306x423.jpg” width=”306″ height=”423″ alt=”Liaison: Pippa Middleton leaving the party with Antoine de Tavernost, son of French TV CEO Nicolas de Tavernost ” class=”blkBorder” />
Liaison: Pippa Middleton leaving the party with Antoine de Tavernost, son of French TV CEO Nicolas de Tavernost
Pippa Middleton was seen passionately kissing a notorious Paris playboy during her ‘wild weekend’ in the city, the Mail can reveal.
According to eye-witnesses, Prince William’s sister-in-law and Antoine de Tavernost sneaked off to a quiet corner at the debauched party thrown by French fashion entrepreneur, Vicomte Arthur de Soultrait.
Hours after the Friday night party, Pippa found herself at the centre of controversy after one of her companions brandished a gun at photographers.
But last night the Vicomte’s brother tried to play down the incident and said that Pippa was treating the entire incident ‘as a joke’.
Marcy de Soultrait insisted the gun in question was a child’s toy and that the royal in-law thought the entire incident was ‘a very funny game’. Speaking from the family chateau in Presles, just outside Paris, de Soultrait told the Mail last night: ‘Pippa is a very good friend of mine and this gun affair is very silly.
‘It was a children’s toy that the driver had in his car. Pippa thought it was funny. It is fine in France to do that and the police are not investigating. In France there is no problem, just in England. You English think there is a problem, which is crazy.
‘I have spoken with Pippa, she thinks this is all a joke and a funny game. We were just having a laugh. We are funny people, it’s what we do.
‘The paparazzo saw the toy and he knew it was a toy, he has said so. You English need to get over it. It was just a joke that has been blown out of all proportion.’
In fact, an ongoing police inquiry is causing acute embarrassment to the Royal Family — only last year, the Mail can reveal, the Vicomte was photographed with the Queen when his firm provided the clothing for the GCC Polo Cup held at the Guards Polo Club in Windsor.
Pippa and Antoine were pictured leaving the party hand-in-hand
The Duchess of Cambridge’s sister was invited to Paris by the Vicomte for his 30th birthday party at the Theatre St Germain, an upmarket restaurant and nightclub. As the champagne flowed, Pippa, 28, was seen in a corner in an intimate embrace with Antoine de Tavernost, whom, it is claimed, she’d just met.
The couple were later photographed walking hand-in-hand as they arrived at a post-party soiree at the nearby Le Schmuck restaurant, in which de Tavernost has a share.
A well-placed source, backed by another independent witness, told the Mail: ‘She was kissing Antoine de Tavernost. He is the son of the chairman of a big TV station. He is quite wealthy and lives in Paris. They seemed like girlfriend and boyfriend on Friday night, but Antoine will see it as a bit of fun, nothing more.
‘They met for the first time at the party. They were chatting and dancing. Then later they were seen kissing in the corner.
‘Apart from this, she was very well behaved. They left together, at about 2.30am, to go to a restaurant called Schmuck St Germain, where he is a partner.
‘Then they went to Regine, another nightclub. I don’t know if they went home together.’
VIDEO: Scroll through to 16mins 30″ to see Pippa partying
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