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Highlights from our annual International Women's Day dinner

international women's day dinner
Inside Bazaar's annual IWD dinnerOliver Holms

On 7 March 2024, guests gathered in the elegant ballroom at The Peninsula London – one of the capital's most exciting new hotel openings – for our sixth annual International Women's Day dinner, held in partnership with Lingo by Abbott, Veuve Clicquot, Clé de Peau Beauté and The Caring Family Foundation.

The gala dinner brought together a stellar cohort of inspirational cultural figureheads, who are each breaking boundaries in their respective fields, and who appeared on stage for a series of interviews, panel talks and keynote speeches throughout the evening.

Here are some highlights...

Harper's Bazaar editor-in-chief Lydia Slater kicked off the evening by welcoming guests to the gala dinner.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

Our headline speaker, the actress Marisa Abela – star of the much-anticipated Amy Winehouse biopic, Back to Black – appeared in conversation with Bazaar's acting deputy editor Helena Lee. Abela, whose previous credits include the BBC series Industry, discussed her role in the Sam Taylor-Johnson-directed film, her own personal journey in preparing for it, and the power of storytelling through the female gaze.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

"When we look back on her narrative, we are somehow using other people to inform us about her story," Abela said, of what they wanted to achieve with the movie. "Our film is really trying to take it back to how Amy felt, what Amy was thinking – and there is no judgement there."

She continued: "How have we got to this place where she is a victim of her own story? Of course, she was a victim of addiction and the media attention, but before all of that, she was a powerful woman."

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

The Ukrainian human rights lawyer Oleksandra Matviichuk delivered an impassioned keynote speech about her inspiring work as the leader of the Centre for Civil Liberties and the achievements that led her to win the Nobel Peace Prize in 2022. She took to the stage to highlight the plight of women in global conflicts and the need to fight for change for a brighter future for all.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

Guests also heard from BBC Newsnight's BAFTA-nominated producer Sam McAlister, who has been behind some of the programme's most high-profile moments – notably Emily Maitlis' exclusive sit-down with Prince Andrew. Her book, Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews, was released in 2022 and forms the basis for a new Netflix film, out 5 April, starring Billie Piper as McAlister, Gillian Anderson as Maitlis and Rufus Sewell as the prince.

McAlister appeared alongside the critically acclaimed actress, writer and director Romola Garai – who stars in Scoop as the Newsnight editor Esme Wren, McAlister's real-life boss, who oversaw the current affairs programme when it secured the landmark interview with Prince Andrew – in a discussion chaired by Bazaar's Marie-Claire Chappet.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

"The answer to how I got that interview is a very human one," said McAlister. "People sometimes see empathy and negotiation as soft skills and I profoundly disagree. The power to convince a member of the royal family to do something against his own interest requires a huge amount of research and hard work but also a massive amount of empathy – and that is my superpower."

a woman sitting at a table
Oliver Holms

“These issues pertain to a wider culture, a sea that we all swim in and that can infect your entire country, your entire culture, until it becomes intolerable for women to lead normal lives," said Garai of the themes highlighted in Scoop. "It can sometimes seem as if these issues are not at the centre of the way you live your life, but actually, women have just become used to dealing with abuse. Even at what you would think of as being small-scale abuse. But if you tolerate it at a small scale, then it becomes acceptable everywhere. What was great about the attitude about Esme Wren was that she treated this as a seismic event, and this really became an event of national proportions.”

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

Each of the ticketholders took home a copy of the April issue of Harper's Bazaar, starring the actress Léa Seydoux.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

Guests were welcomed with a Veuve Clicquot champagne reception. The beautiful floral displays were courtesy of Blooming Haus.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

Guests Victoria Magrath, Suzie Bonaldi and Amelia Liana.

a group of women posing for a picture
Oliver Holms

Hearst CEO Katie Vanneck-Smith with Patricia Caring, co-founder of The Caring Family Foundation.

women holding wine glasses
Oliver Holms

Easels in the drinks reception space showcased the vital work of The Caring Family Foundation, which focuses on combatting child poverty, domestic abuse, and deforestation in the UK and Brazil.

international women's day dinner
Oliver Holms

An activation table allowed guests to learn more about one of the night's sponsors, Lingo, which uses continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) to help you understand the real-time impact of food, stress, sleep, and exercise on your body.

a table with flowers and a book
Oliver Holms

Each seat featured a personalised Clé de Peau goodie bag, featuring a selection of skincare products.

a box of tissues and a box
Oliver Holms

A Clé de Peau engraving station allowed for product personalisation on the night.

a person holding a needle
Oliver Holms

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