A PORTRAIT OF MANY LADIES: Flash bulbs lit up a small slice of Charing Cross Road as guests – including the Duchess of Cambridge – arrived for the National Portrait Gallery gala on Tuesday night in London. It is the gallery’s most anticipated event, which takes place every four years.
The Duchess, a patron of the National Portrait Gallery, arrived in time for dinner in an emerald lace gown by Temperley London.
She mixed with guests from the worlds of art and fashion, and got a private tour of two of the gallery’s current exhibitions: “Howard Hodgkin: Absent Friends” and “Gillian Wearing and Claude Cahun: Behind The Mask, Another Mask.”
Alexa Chung was the new head of the Portrait Gala’s committee, so it was no surprise its guest list featured many more fashion industry figures than in previous years.
Among them were art lover and collector Erdem Moralioglu, Philip Treacy, Juergen Teller, Noor Fares, Laura Bailey and Arizona Muse.
“This is one of the liveliest crowds I’ve seen,” said the National Portrait Gallery’s director Nick Cullinan, who later introduced a perfomance by the British soul singer Laura Mvula.
Moralioglu said he’s a regular at the gallery. “I come here for inspiration all the time, so I was really looking forward to this. I loved the Hodgkin exhibition and Gillian Wearing is one of my favorite artists. She is represented by Maureen Paley, a little gallery in Whitechapel that’s very dear to me,” said the designer, who had just returned from a trip to Paris and is relaunching his e-commerce site.
Fares, the London-based fine jewelry designer, spent her time scouring the Anonymous Postcards display and pondering a purchase. To raise funds for the National Portrait Gallery’s work, a series of artists, including Teller, Grayson Perry and Alex Katz, created 100 postcards featuring everything from child-like scribbles to embroideries and hand-painted portraits.
The gallery only reveals the artist behind each postcard once the exhibition is taken down and the postcards are sent to their owners. Guests could purchase the anonymous artworks for 250 pounds, or $313 at current exchange, each.
Vivienne Westwood, Treacy, Allen Jones and Peter Monkman were among those who created masks inspired by the exhibition’s theme of exploring perceptions. Proceeds from the sale of the masks, which each cost 1,000 pounds, or $1,253, also went toward the National Portrait Gallery.
The lengthy lines to the cash registers suggested the event was a success.