On Friday 10 October, London College of Fashion held the culmination of its FASHION MATTERS 2014 fundraising campaign with a glittering Gala dinner sponsored by Shaftesbury PLC and Hogan Lovells at the Savoy in Central London.
Over 200 guests including designers, entrepreneurs and key fashion business leaders gathered for a unique evening to celebrate British educated fashion and design talent. VIPs included Grayson Perry CBE RA, Soprano Laura Wright, CEO of the British Fashion Council Caroline Rush, Chief Executive of Whistles Jane Shepherdson, Harold Tillman CBE, supermodel Olivia Inge, designer Maria Grachvogel, interior Designer Nicky Haslam, TV illusionist Derren Brown, philanthropist Aisha Caan, Made in Chelsea star Mark Francis and TV presenter Cleo Rocos.
After a champagne reception with an exhibition of beautiful work by current London College of Fashion students, the evening kicked off with a welcome speech by Chair of the Fundraising committee Harold Tillman CBE asking guests to “Dig deep … and even deeper” to help LCF surpass last years total of 29 new scholarships which helped launch “29 new careers.” Following Harold Tillman’s opening address Grayson Perry CBE RA took to the stage – beautifully dressed as his female alter-ego Claire. Grayson had the audience in stitches as well as reminding everyone about the more serious reason for the evening – to raise money for students who might not otherwise be able to afford University education. He reflected that as a working class boy he had received his Art School education for free – and mused how the changes to the funding of Higher Education in the UK was likely to have an impact on those very same working class students. Will we still have artists and designers in the future from every social background? “I don’t see the next Alexander McQueen coming from Eton” he joked. He asked the audience to give generously and bid on his beautiful ceramic ‘Unfashionable Lion” which was auctioned later in the evening.
During the three-course dinner guests took part in a game of Heads and Tails, MC’d by auctioneer for the evening Ed Giddins, answering taxing questions about London College of Fashion and were treated to a catwalk salon show of current LCF designers. Guests were able to bid on Silent Auction items including a beautiful dress donated from the personal archive of Giles Deacon (which went for £700) and a personal tour with Paul Smith in his Covent Garden studio.
As desert was being served Ed Giddins compered a lively auction with spectacular prizes including Grayson Perry’s ‘Unfashionable Lion” which went for a staggering £9,500, an exclusive picture of David Bowie generously donated by celebrity photographer Richard Young which went for £3000, a pair of Tom Ford catwalk show tickets which went for £1000 and a bespoke ‘Miss Jones’ Stephen Jones hat and a visit to his studio for £1000.
Rounding off a spectacular evening was an exclusive performance by Soprano Laura Wright who recently performed at Prince Harry’s Invictus Games. Laura performed two tracks from her new album ‘Sound of Strength,’ which is currently at Number 11 in the Classical Music Charts.
Early calculations suggest that the evening smashed its target raising in excess of £85,000, which will result in at least 50 new scholarships and bursaries – easily surpassing last year’s total of 29.