David Sims Luella Bartley Choose Love fundraiser Help Refugees


IN IT TO WIN IT: Luella Bartley took the lead-up to Christmas as an opportunity to raise awareness and funds for the Help Refugees/Choose Love campaign, with a series of December events, including a charity raffle on Monday night.

“I’ve been following the charity since the spring and it’s been hugely emotional for me. I would see their posts on Instagram and you always think, ‘This is terrible,’ but when do you ever turn that into actually doing something?” Bartley said.

“So I messaged Help Refugees UK on Instagram…and they told me about the Choose Love initiative. Then I called all my mates and we’ve had such an incredible response with the prizes.”

A single raffle ticket cost 25 pounds, or $32, and the prizes included two Céline handbags, a Chloé one, dresses by Ashish, a bedtime story read over Skype by Tilda Swinton, a Tim Walker print, a Jake Chapman painting and a stay at L’Hotel in Marrakech, which has just been opened by Jasper Conran.

The event raised 18,000 pounds, $22,700, while a Just Giving link has been set up for those wishing to make further donations to the Choose Love campaign.

As Princess Julia and Lou Hayter played DJ, the bar at the Basement club downstairs at the London Edition hotel was swamped with orders for Bulldog Gin and Fever-Tree tonics or Vedett beer. Guests, including actress Sai Bennett, Marissa Montgomery, Tess Ward, Bella Freud, David Sims, Tiphaine de Lussy and Lara Bohinc, were all hoping to bag one of the dozens of covetable prizes.

“I’d love to win the Simone Rocha earrings,” said Roksanda Ilincic, who had donated a pink velvet bag from her debut handbag collection for the raffle. She missed out on the earrings but did manage to scoop an Erdem lace dress. “I can’t believe it — I hope it’s in my size.”

The London-based designer said she had already finished her Christmas shopping, having bought an electric guitar for her four-year-old daughter.

“She wants to be a rock star,” she explained, adding that she’ll in skiing in Switzerland over the holidays. “I am not very good (at skiing). It’s more my husband and daughter, they love it. I was telling Peter Pilotto that my daughter is just four and already learning to ski and I was worried she is too young, and he told me that he started when he was two.”

The raffle was presided over by London’s premiere drag queen, Jonny Woo, who announced each winner with arch officiousness. “No, show me your ticket, or no Céline for you,” he warned one winner.

And what does one get a drag queen for Christmas? “Sequins, of course! Expensive scented candles and soft furnishings,” Woo said.

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