LONDON — “This is just like high school!” Tom Ford shouted from the Royal Albert Hall’s Grand Tier as everyone from royals to raconteurs milled about having endless kissie-kissie moments. “Everyone’s drinking and smoking and talking and generally misbehaving. It’s great.”
Ford and 5,499 others were celebrating Fashion Rocks, a three-hour marathon fund-raiser Wednesday night for Prince Charles’ charity, The Prince’s Trust. He was among 16 designers who showed their current fall collections to the tunes of celebrity singers. And the concert alone was worth the ticket — Beyoncé Knowles sang for Giorgio Armani, Bryan Ferry for Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche, Sheryl Crow for Tommy Hilfiger, Duran Duran for Donna Karan, Grace Jones for Stella McCartney, Robbie Williams crooned “Angels” for Donatella Versace, and Jay Kay did his song-and-dance routine for Burberry.
“Fashion frocks and Grace rocks!” yelped McCartney after Grace Jones belted out “Pull Up to the Bumper,” during her fashion show.
The crowd — which raised over $1 million — included Prince Charles, Camilla Parker-Bowles, Lily Safra, Harvey Weinstein, Amy Sacco, Keira Knightley, Mario Testino, Joely Richardson, Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Jemima Khan, Minnie Driver and Bob Geldof. Safra, who was hurrying back to the royal box, gushed about the night. “Armani — and Robbie Williams — are my favorites so far.” Denise Hale, who was sitting in the Burberry box, wasn’t as clued-in: “I don’t recognize any of the singers — I keep asking Rose Marie [Bravo] who IS that?”
A member of security at the royal box tried to shoo away Mario Testino who was snapping photos with his pocket-sized camera. “Security said ‘I don’t think you belong here.’ And I said: ‘I think I do,’” said Testino with a giggle.
Hilfiger said New York needs to come up with something similar. “We shouldn’t have to wait for the Prince to do something like this. We need to do our own version back home.”
And this was London’s fashion party week. Fashion Rocks was preceded the night before by the opening at the Royal Academy of the Armani retrospective. The designer celebrated the opening with a party at the new Morelondon venue, overlooking Tower Bridge.Ms. Dynamite sang while two of the ladies from Mis-Teeq — Su-Elise Nash and Sabrina Washington — grooved along with the audience, which included Robert De Niro, Richard Gere, Lauren Hutton, Sarah Ferguson, Eric Clapton, Donna Karan, Lucien Freud, Sarah Wynter, Rosamund Pike and Emilia Fox.
“I’ve got to move my butt or I’m going to fall asleep,” said a jet-lagged Donna Karan who was dancing in the VIP corner of the room. Bob Wilson, who has staged four Armani retrospectives, and is starting on a fifth — in Rome — later this month, refused to admit his life has become one big Groundhog Day. “It’s my job,” he deadpanned.
Alberta Ferretti's "Rainbow Week" sweaters are back. The designer closed her #MFW show with a few day-of-the-week sweaters, which first debuted on the catwalk last January as part of the pre-fall 2017 collection. #wwdfashion (📷: @delphineachard)