AN image of Buckingham Palace was projected on to the exterior of what is to become the future American Embassy in Wandsworth on Saturday night for Grey Goose Character and Cocktails: the Elton John Aids Foundation Winter Ball, curated by Jean Paul Gaultier – where Erin O’Connor, Gemma Arterton, Daisy Lowe, Liz Hurley, Roisin Murphy and Tamara Ecclestone were some of the night’s famous faces.
The French flag flew above the spectral palace and a Tricolor carpet that lead from the muddy car park were the first hint at the liberal Gallic touches that were to come from Gaultier’s party planning . Inside – past two saluting girls in thigh-high latex boots and faux bear skin hats – guests passed under a Art Deco cut-out spelling “L’Amour” before entering JPG’s party vision. Red and green lasers cut through the darkness as handsome waiters served an array of pre-dinner Grey Goose cocktails.

“Allo, allo, allo,” began Gaultier when he took to the stage. “I should like to say how happy I am to be here tonight to participate with the [Elton John AIDS] Foundation. It is very beautiful what you are doing for all those people. Tonight was a great experience because I could use a little French revenge of the frog to arrive with the French flag over Buckingham Palace.”

It turned out that the heavily French-accented voice that comically announced: “Jean Paul Gaultier, the French Frog, is inviting you to eat – so stand up and go”, was the designer himself. So we went – as we were told – through to the dining room, which was lit by twinkling crystal chandeliers, (which ranged in size from huge to completely gigantic), where chef Marcus Wareing was in charge of dinner.

The after-dinner charity auction saw a vintage dress from Lily Allen’s Lucy in Disguise vintage shop – modeled by Gemma Arterton – raise £8,000 for the Elton John AIDS Foundation, while the cocktail bar designed by Gaultier went for £80,000.

Sir Elton performed a selection of his greatest hits – replacing an unwell Lily Allen – and got everyone up and dancing before Roisin Murphy played DJ for the after party.

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