June 17 1998 is a date that will stick in the mind of Bob Diamond for a while. Not because his speech, '"Give me credit baby", A European bank's perspective on the importance of credit research', went down so well at Euromoney's latest Global Borrowers and Investors Forum - though his was one of the wittier and more provocative offerings. No, the chief executive of Barclays Capital is more likely to remember his debut as a catwalk model at his firm's well-attended party at London's trendiest new hotel, the Hempel.
As well as serving some of the capital's best food, Anoushka Hempel is a respected designer of haute couture and a selection of her latest creations was modelled for the delectation of 200-odd Barclays Capital clients. Among them were the cream of Euromarket borrowers, relaxing after a hard day's conferencing.
Before gliding down the aisles, the models posed behind an opaque screen, their silhouettes a tantalizing preview of their outfits. As the show drew to a close, one silhouette in particular caught the attention of the assembled borrowers. Somewhat shorter and more comfortably proportioned than the others, this was revealed to be Diamond who proceeded to walk the length of the marquee on the arms of two supermodels before stopping on a podium to take in the applause of the audience.