The Animal Ball at Lancaster House raises £300k with royals and celebrities
Yesterday evening saw societies most glamorous of faces from Cara Delevingne, Poppy Delevingne and Jerry Hall to Rupert Everett and Mario Testino attend the inaugural Animal Ball, at Lancaster House. Adorned in a menagerie of masks, created by the world’s top milliners, designers and artists, guests raised a staggering total of over £300,000 and counting, due to absentee bidders, through the silent auction and private donations to support the pioneering partnership between the Elephant Family and Habitat for Humanity.
A selection of guests, friends and committee members attended a private reception in the presence of Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall on the lawns of Clarence House. Awed and wowed by the stunning display of maschieri, both the Prince and the Duchess joined in the reverally by donning classic tiger and elephant venetian inspired mask designed by Piers Atkinson. Guests congregated by a magnificent life-size elephant created by the V&A illustrator of the year, George Butler, showcasing one of the amazing Lancaster Collection – a stunning collection of 19 life sized one-off endangered animal statues including a phenomenal rhino and a pair of mating pygmy hippos from The Chapman Brothers, available in the silent auction that evening – which commenced a parade to Lancaster House for the official start of the Animal Ball.
Guests arrived at Lancaster House to be greeted by iconic designer Michael Howells’ vision, set into actuality by prestigious events company Quintessentially Events, transformation of 24 rooms dedicated to the animal kingdom, inviting guests on a magical journey throughout the evening. The grand hall was rocked out by the illustrious Jools Holland and his Rhythm and Blues Orchestra, comprising a 20 piece ensemble, and an exclusive pre-set from rising star Patrick Wolfe. Guests explored the magnificent venue to discover one room hosting a lavish feast fit for Kings filled with hams, cheeses and breads; through another door, guests were transported into a crochet rainforest from designer Olek, with the hot topic of the night being the Animal ‘Love Room’ – a small room with videos of animals mating on-loop. To ensure merriment was at every turn, Caprice Holdings provided bars from London’s best-loved establishments including Le Caprice, The Ivy, Bam-Bou and private members’ club, Annabel’s. Each room was partnered with individually themed cocktails including “Rock the Croc” with Ketel One Vodka and “Pinkish Panther” with Don Julio Tequila, all sitting alongside Asahi beer, and a stunning array of canapés and extravagant food offerings kindly donated by Alison Prince.
Tensions mounted through the silent auction of the Lancaster Collection, with many secret bidders sussing out the competition early-on in the evening. High bidders eagerly grabbed the attention of the stylish ‘bell-boy’ porters to place their next bid which helped to achieve the dramatic total.
The evening also saw the official announcement of next year’s creative extravaganza from the Elephant Family, ANIMAL ARK, a full size ark created from reclaimed wood which will see hundreds of endangered animals migrating from all corners of London towards its home in the heart of Hyde Park. Guests were given a privileged preview of the metals frames that will be the basis of next year’s magnificent creations including an Antelope, a Rhinoceros, an Elephant and a Giraffe – all which were displayed in pairs, making their way two by two across the Clarence House lawns.
The funds raised from the night will power a pioneering partnership between Elephant Family and Habitat for Humanity, created by leading philanthropists Cyrus & Priya Vandrevala. The charities are working together to solve the challenges of over population and development for both wildlife and people. Due to the huge population booms across Asia, each year hundreds of people lose their lives and homes and millions of rupees worth of crop damage due to elephant migration. In retaliation, the local farmers are killing this endangered animal to protect their families and livelihoods. Over the course of 20013 and 2014, Elephant Family and Habitat for Humanity are uniting to resettle communities away from danger zones, whilst also restoring the migratory routes used of millions of years by the Asian elephant.
The editorial unit
Photos: Marcus Dawes