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Sir Philip throws £6m birthday party

The 55th birthday party of one of the world's richest men was always destined to be a lavish affair.But Sir Philip Green's five-day celebration on a private island in the Indian Ocean will perhaps go down in history as among the most extravagant of all time.The culmination of the all-expenses-paid extravaganza was a private concert last night by George Michael and the Latino stars Jennifer Lopez and Ricky Martin.The billionaire retailer has spent an estimated £6 million on the event, flying some 200 of his closest friends to a luxury spa resort in the Maldives. They had been given a "travel wallet" containing instructions to pack shorts and to be prepared for a long flight.The bill for securing George Michael to perform for an hour on Thursday night was said to be several hundred thousands of pounds.Guests were believed to have included Allan Leighton, the chairman of the Royal Mail Group, Richard Desmond, the owner of Express Newspapers, and Bill Kenwright, the theatre impresario.The revellers were also serenaded by Roberta Flack, best-known for her 1973 hit Killing Me Softly, the American soul singer James Ingram, and the jazz singer Patti Austin.Jilly Johnson, the former Page 3 girl, Eddie Jordan, the Formula 1 boss, and Charles Dunstone, the Carphone Warehouse owner, who were pictured at Stansted airport, were also thought to be amongst the guests.The location was kept a tightly-guarded secret, but Sir Philip is thought to have hired out Soneva Fushi, a resort on the island of Kunfunadhoo, where prices range from £600 a night to £2,000 for a suite.Yesterday evening on the island was declared "White Night" and guests were instructed to wear no other colour. One guest said: "It's amazing, how elegant and beautiful the party has been."The resort, where the motto is "no news, no shoes", offers an award-winning spa, a private beach for each guest and a variety of water sports.Much of the decor is made from recycled products and there is an organic vegetable garden where residents can pick ingredients for their evening meal.It is part of a chain founded by Sonu Shivdasani, an Old Etonian friend of David Cameron's, and his Swedish wife Eva, a former model.Other facilities include a vintage wine cellar, a private cinema showing Hollywood classics, and the opportunity to be dropped off on an uninhabited island with nothing but a picnic.Sir Philip has never been shy of exuberant displays of wealth and generosity to his friends.He flew 200 revellers to Cyprus for his 50th birthday, where they were treated to private performances by Sir Tom Jones and Rod Stewart. At a toga party on the final day, he appeared dressed as the Emperor Nero, and his wife, Tina, gave him a solid gold Monopoly set featuring his own acquisitions. Three years later, he spent £4 million on his 13-year-old son's bar mitzvah in the south of France.The retailer, who has his own Learjet and a yacht, was fifth on the Sunday Times Rich List of 2005, which estimated his wealth at just short of £5 billion. Sir Philip, largely credited with the recent success of the Arcadia Group, recently signed a deal with Kate Moss, whose fashion collection for Top Shop will be launched in May."We ran into each other and she says, 'I'm a Croydon girl and you're a fella from Croydon, we should do business'," he told the latest edition of Vogue.Sir Philip struck gold when he was 33, making several million pounds profit from the sale of the Jean Jeanie denim chain. He bought Arcadia, which includes the high street chains Top Shop and Dorothy Perkins and Bhs, in 2002.

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