John Gibson: Why Archie is top of the pups at V&C

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THERE’S no escaping from the woman at Valvona & Crolla. Her work has bagged the wall space at the Elm Row restaurant. Or rather, Archie’s got the walls to himself.

He’s a terrier, lovable with it, and he’s Domenica More Gordon’s creation for her book, Archie, first of three (second this Christmas) and everything at V & C has been taken from the book. Colourful in the extreme.

Domenica is a Londoner, of Scottish-English parentage. Her father taught at Edinburgh Art College and she was schooled here at Rudolf Steiner, Colinton, where “free thinking” was encouraged.

She went to art college in London and her first jobs were in quality magazines in London, also in Los Angeles.

“I was offered publishing deals from Hodder and Bloomsbury and I chose Bloomsbury, the deal being to provide a series of three starring Archie. The first in May and the follow-up this Christmas.

“I’ve a lot of encouragement from Mary and Philip Contini, V and C’s owners, and Archie virtually has the run of the place. Loves it and evidently so do the customers, who enjoy having him around.”

Deep sleep

WHO was that gorgeous blonde we saw you with last night, I’m asked. I wish! Donatella Versace at 57 has fought a winning battle with nicotine. Down to one pack of fags a day.

“How do I keep so young?”, says the delectable Donatella, worth millions, who can well afford to pamper herself.

“Haven’t you heard? I sleep every night in the deep freezer. The most important things in life are strength, determination and loyalty and never giving up. You have to fight for everything.”

Not short of a sense of humour, by no means short of a bob or two either.