SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Jasper Conran forks out £4m for Yves Saint Laurent's ...

He became a household name in his 20s as Princess Diana’s favourite designer, and later created the dress of Princess Margaret’s daughter, Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones.

But Jasper Conran — son of Habitat founder Sir Terence Conran and bestselling ‘Superwoman’ author Shirley Conran — is now intent on proving himself as a stellar hotelier.

Less than three years after opening L’Hotel Marrakech — a converted 19th-century palace in the heart of the Moroccan city — he has, I can disclose, acquired Villa Mabrouka, Yves Saint Laurent’s old house in Tangier on the country’s Mediterranean coast.

Jasper Conran, who became a household name in his 20s as Princess Diana’s favourite designer, is now intent on proving himself as a stellar hotelier

Conran with Diana in 1986

Jasper Conran, who became a household name in his 20s as Princess Diana’s favourite designer, is now intent on proving himself as a stellar hotelier. Conran, pictured above (right, with Diana in 1986)

Less than three years after opening L’Hotel Marrakech (pictured) — a converted 19th-century palace in the heart of the Moroccan city — Conran has acquired Villa Mabrouka, Yves Saint Laurent’s old house in Tangier on the country’s Mediterranean coast

Less than three years after opening L’Hotel Marrakech (pictured) — a converted 19th-century palace in the heart of the Moroccan city — Conran has acquired Villa Mabrouka, Yves Saint Laurent’s old house in Tangier on the country’s Mediterranean coast

‘He plans to turn it into a hotel like his one in Marrakech, which is enormously popular,’ I’m told. ‘All the fashionistas stay there.’

Conran’s new acquisition is one of the most coveted properties in Tangier, positioned on a clifftop from where it looks out over the Strait of Gibraltar.

Saint Laurent (above), who died in 2008, bequeathed Villa Mabrouka to his partner, Pierre Berge, who died 18 months ago, and enjoyed inviting stars of stage and screen to enjoy its splendour

Saint Laurent (above), who died in 2008, bequeathed Villa Mabrouka to his partner, Pierre Berge, who died 18 months ago, and enjoyed inviting stars of stage and screen to enjoy its splendour

‘It’s got an enormous garden with a swimming pool dug out of the bedrock,’ a regular visitor tells me. ‘It’s a very spectacular place.’

Yves Saint Laurent bought the house in 1999. Thereafter it became a favoured refuge for his friends, including his muse Loulou de la Falaise, niece of Mark Birley, founder of Annabel’s nightclub in Mayfair, and cousin of Robin Birley, who named his own nightclub Loulou’s in her memory. 

Saint Laurent, who died in 2008, bequeathed Villa Mabrouka to his partner, Pierre Berge, who died 18 months ago, and enjoyed inviting stars of stage and screen to enjoy its splendour. ‘Kenneth Branagh used to stay there,’ I’m told.

Now it is Conran’s turn, after paying what Tangier society believes to have been between £3 million and £4 million.

His spokeswoman says that Conran, who has remarked that he has wanted to be a hotelier ‘since the age of eight’, is ‘unable to make a comment at this time’.

But he and his husband, Oisin Byrne, an Irish artist 24 years his junior whom he married in 2015, will surely be heartened by the villa’s name, Mabrouka — Arabic for ‘luck’.

Pippa's struggle to juggle keep-fit with baby 

Pippa Middleton chose her sister the Duchesss of Cambridge’s favourite boho designer when she went to a charity ball at the Guildhall in a high-neck £2,000 Alice Temperley dress.

Health fanatic Pippa, who has a four-month-old son Arthur with financier husband James Matthews, is relishing motherhood, but is finding it hard to find time to exercise.

‘I’m sure I’m not alone in finding it near-on impossible to keep my fitness up while breastfeeding,’ says Pippa, 35. 

Pippa, who has a four-month-old son Arthur with financier husband James Matthews, is relishing motherhood, but is finding it hard to find time to exercise

Pippa, who has a four-month-old son Arthur with financier husband James Matthews, is relishing motherhood, but is finding it hard to find time to exercise

‘Despite every good intention, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. I’m sure every

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