Browns and Women for Women International fashion show & live auction
Last night HE the French Ambassador and Mme Bernard Emié hosted an exclusive catwalk show and live auction at their Kensington Palace Gardens residence, in aid of Women for Women International.
The evening began with drinks in the large hall, where esteemed guests mingled and moved their way through the silent auction, swiping their electronic bidding cards at their desired lot. Here bidding items ranged from experience-based lots such as a paid part-time visual merchandising position at Browns (who are long-time supporters of Women for Women International and sponsors of the event) or an exclusive tour of White Cube Bermondsey and afternoon tea with owner and gallerist Jay Jopling, to covetable fashion items donated by a range of new and established designers.
Ushered into the resplendent salon jaune and adjoining ballroom, guests took their seats to watch a fashion show comprised of outfits from both the silent and live auction. A real mix of looks, from princess to punk, and from a host of international designers, the show was tied together brilliantly through the pared down yet sophisticated styling of Fran Burns.
Set to the rocking beats and warbling tones of old-fashioned soul music, the show opened with casual yet chic looks, featuring a coral coloured lambskin coat by Chloé, a fun, flirty and characteristically floral double-breasted coat by Gucci, and a Christopher Kane spring/summer 2013 white crew neck bolt dress.
Then came the more sumptuous looks; set against the fine French furniture, sumptuous paintings, Gobelin and Beauvais tapestries, and 17th and 18th century Savonnerie carpets, Missoni’s cream and coral organza gown, lined with open knit lace and embroidered with Swarovski crystals, and a 1920s-inspired tulle dress in pearl grey, covered with shimmering crystals, by Alberta Ferreti really came to life. Particularly striking was a double duchesse satin tulle gown from Alexander McQueen’s pre-autumn/winter 2013 collection in the most brilliant of reds. Sauntering down the catwalk to Shirley Ellis’s sultry The Nitty Gritty, this was a look that stood out for its oozing sex appeal and old-world glamour.
Next was the live auction where Simon de Pury mixed tongue in cheek humour with sheer skill to raise a large sum of money for Women for Women International. After a moving speech from Brita Fernandez Schmidt, guests were urged to reach into their pockets and invest in one of the exquisite garments on show, and in doing so invest in the future lives of women across the world. Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable evening.