London society has a new stalwart in its summer season calendar, says William Cash.
With the fountain courtyard of the Victoria & Albert Museum packed with A-list socialites, artists and figures from the fashion and arts world, museum chairman and Condé Nast president Nicholas Coleridge (with his wife Georgia) launched the inaugural V & A Summer Party, sponsored by Harrods.
Many present thought the event was as socially glitzy, glamorous and exclusive as the Serpentine Summer Party which for so long as held the title of über-trendy Arts party of the Season. Coleridge's committee included Nicky Haslam, Pierre Lagrange, Marc Newton, Nadja Swarovski, Philip Treacy, David Furnish, Jemima Goldsmith, Geordie Greig, Victoria Beckham and Ben Elliot.
The Referendum vote added a special frisson to the VIP evening. Far from being filled with arts world 'luvvies', Coleridge's formidable address book ensured a broad society church. The more the champagne flowed, the more people began 'outing' themselves as voting for either 'Leave' or 'Remain'.
The A-list social tone was well set with Roísín Murphy entertaining in the gardens, while celebrity guests - including Andrew Lloyd Webber, Jeremy Irons, Kate Moss, Joan Collins, David Downton, Erin O'Connor - sipped champagne and cocktails among the fabulous treasures of the V & A. The South Kensington soirée was a rose white summer arts fete extraordinaire, complete with a floral white macaron tower with white uniformed waiters carrying champagne in light-up LED trays. The event certainly put the ‘VIP’ and ‘A-list’ into the V & A.