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“Isn’t London always like this?” said François-Henri Pinault with a sly smile as he looked up at the blue evening sky studded with white clouds. It was Pinault’s first time at the Serpentine Gallery in Kensington Gardens, and he certainly did it in style.
On Tuesday night, Brioni, one of the brands in Pinault’s Kering portfolio, sponsored the Serpentine’s annual summer party to mark the unveiling of the pavilion, designed this year by Chilean architect Smiljan Radic. The pavilion, which resembles a space ship docked on top of Stonehenge, opened last week and will stay up through Oct. 19. The party was cohosted by Pinault and Brioni’s creative director Brendan Mullane, Michael R. Bloomberg, André Balazs, Marina Abramovic and the Serpentine’s codirectors of exhibitions and programs, Julia Peyton-Jones and Hans Ulrich Obrist.
This story first appeared in the July 2, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Asked why Brioni supported the event this year, Pinault said, “I couldn’t refuse Brendan. I very much love when my designers are interested in art.”
Pharrell Williams performed a live set during the evening — songs included “Happy,” “Blurred Lines” and the Gwen Stefani track “Hollaback Girl.” The music had everyone in the crowd dancing in the chilly twilight.
Guests included Keira Knightley, Lily Allen, Prabal Gurung, Princess Beatrice, Zadie Smith, Erdem Moralioglu, Roland Mouret, Alexa Chung, Orlando Bloom, Naomi Campbell, Sir Philip Green and Chloe Green, Matthew Williamson, Joseph Velosa, Alice Temperley, Solange Azagury-Partridge, Jay Jopling, Liam Gallagher, Grayson Perry, Zaha Hadid, Emilia Fox, Stephen Webster, Tracey Emin, Bianca Jagger and Clare Waight Keller.
Bloom was among those who Brioni dressed. “I’ve never worn one before,” he said as he flashed open his dark blue jacket for all to see. “It’s my first time ever.” Obrist was modeling a flower-print suit from Brioni’s recently unveiled spring collection.
“The curator is wearing a piece of art,” said Mullane, who for spring had collaborated with the Los Angeles-based photographer James Welling, taking his complex and colorful flower photographs and printing them onto clothing.
Hadid was a lady in red — floor-length Valentino red. “This is my first time in Valentino — I always wear Japanese,” she said. “Why red? I didn’t want to wear black.”
Perry, meanwhile, was decked in a sequin-covered design with giant flower adornments that a student at Central Saint Martins had made for one of his classes. “The assignment was oversize Hawaiian,” he said. “And then I saw it — and I asked her to make it more glitzy. The shoes are mine,” he added, pointing to a pair of comical lime green platforms with ribbon laces.
Williamson was showing off pictures of his new Border Terrier puppy, Mr. Plum, who came from the litter of one of Plum Sykes’ dogs. He was also singing the praises of instant gardening: Williamson has furnished his flat’s garden in London’s Belsize Park with giant mushrooms, a gazebo — and more plants than the Amazon rainforest. “I have Homebase on call 24/7,” he said, referring to the do-it-yourself home improvement center.
Annabelle Neilson, who is currently appearing in the reality show “Ladies of London,” said she’s also been busy writing a series of children’s books. “The thing is, I was chronically dyslexic as a child; I’m still dyslexic. I wrote the first ‘me me me’ [sic] book when I was laid up after breaking my back in a horse riding accident. The characters are angry me, giggly me, messy me, ADD me, mellow yellow me.…There’s a part of all of them in everyone,” she said.
Other guests marveled at the pavilion — Jagger likened it to a space ship while Caroline Sieber said, “It looks like those plaster casts you get when you break a bone.”