Having become “more British than the British” after paying £15 million for Easton Neston House at Towcester in Northamptonshire in 2005, Leon Max got what he described as “a smoking deal” when he snapped up Madonna’s former home near the Hollywood sign in Los Angeles for half the original asking price in 2010. A Jewish father of three and thrice married, Leon Max was born in Saint Petersburg and after seeking political asylum in Vienna became a personal trainer in New York. He founded his eponymous Max Studio fashion chain in 1979, owns some 100 retail stores and is said to be worth £1 billion. Of the dress sense of English women, he once remarked: “Everything is always grungy in England, no? It’s like a little shibboleth of the upper class, wearing something out of your grandfather’s trunk. There’s something to be said for a disregard of fashion, but it has to be a carefully curated disregard. It works best, I think, on someone under 18. After the age of, say, 40, you can end up looking like a bag lady”.