LAST HURRAH: ‘Twas the night before Brexit, and Londoners were in the mood to let loose during a host of events taking place all over town.
The Victoria & Albert Museum held its first summer party; Delpozo marked the opening of its Sloane Street store with a dinner and Michael Kors hosted an evening bash to mark the opening of his 16,000-square-foot Regent Street flagship.
“It’s even bigger than the one in New York — how about that?” said Kors before dinner at The River Café, where guests included Gwyneth Paltrow, Jessica Chastain, Solange Knowles, Elle Macpherson, Erin O’Connor and Eugenie Niarchos.
The conversation naturally turned toward Thursday’s Brexit referendum, when Britons will decide whether to remain part of the European Union.
“Tomorrow, I’ll be talking about shoes and hemlines — it will be an odd conversation,” added Kors, who is in London for a flying visit to meet with press and unveil a new partnership with McLaren-Honda Formula 1 racing for men’s wear. He is off to Greece later this week.
Many of his Britain-based guests — all of whom were given a pair of paper aviator sunglasses as place cards — were definitely in favor of Britain staying in the EU. “Hell yeah! We’re stronger together and why take a leap into the unknown?” said Alice Temperley.
Charlotte Tilbury said she plans to vote “In” too. “Of course I am — I’m worried about the markets if we leave,” she said.
Niarchos, meanwhile, discussed her newest jewelry collaborations — a collection made from precious gemstones and pebbles, with designs inspired by astrological signs and a project with the Greek brand Zeus and Dione, which works with Greek artisans.
“And I’m doing my usual pop-up store on Mykonos this summer,” said the jewelry designer.
Macpherson talked about her new life in Florida. “I love it. But I’m back in London often,” said the model, who is set to launch Elle Macpherson Body in the U.K. later this summer.
Not far away, designers turned out en masse for the V&A’s first summer party, which was hosted by Nicholas Coleridge, the museum’s new chairman and Condé Nast International president.
Mary Katrantzou, Alexander Lewis, Osman Yousefzada, Sandra Choi and Henry Holland were among the guests celebrating the arrival of the summer, despite the thunder and lightning storms that pummeled the British capital intermittently during the night. The museum’s central courtyard was dressed in pink and white roses, Regina Murphy performed and guests grazed on food supplied by Harrods.
Coleridge said the arrival of summer was only one excuse to celebrate: “The V&A has just been shortlisted for museum of the year so this is sort of a double celebration,” he said.
“I knew Nicholas Coleridge would throw one hell of a party,” said Michael Ward, Harrods’ managing director who’s stepping down from the store in January 2017.
The designer guests all admitted to having a particular affection for the V&A.
“This was the first place I ever visited when I came to London. I still have the picture of myself standing in this same courtyard at 10 years old,” said Katrantzou. “Just by chance there happened to be a banner that said ‘The Greek Miracle’ behind me, from an exhibition they had on at the moment,” said the Athens native.
Jimmy Choo’s Choi said of the institution: “Not only was it one of the first places I came to when I visited London for the first time, but I then also got married at the Victoria & Albert private residence on the Isle of Wight.”
Hannah Weiland of Shrimps, the label known for its playful faux-fur coats, said she’s been been keeping busy designing her resort collection.
“I did soft colors, lighter coats and I created a new dress with a print that was inspired by Matisse,” she said. “We are going to Paris for sales and then it’s straight to planning spring 2017. I didn’t participate last season and I felt left out, so this year we’ll do something great.”
When it came to the topic of Brexit, “remain” was the word of the evening.
“I’m “in,” but a lot of my family is voting “out.” I think if you have a young business in London, you have to vote to remain, although people living outside the city see it differently,” said Yousefzada.