The last time I came to the Theatre Drury Lane, I was surrounded by small children dressed up in their Disney store blue polyester sequin dresses, accessorised with blonde plaited wigs and plastic wands, to watch Frozen.
Last night wasn’t entirely dissimilar, in terms of spangle at least. Although no Elsa, there was a sort of ice queen reigning over proceedings. Anna Wintour, Edward Enninful (Kristoff?) and Baz Lurhmann (Olaf?) stood in the foyer greeting their Vogue World guests (including two actual sister Princesses, Beatrice and Eugenie). There was certainly some froideur between two of them.
This one night-only spectacular was there to underscore the growing fervour of Vogue’s intention to secure its role as the chief proprietor of the fashion world. In the FishWorks restaurant next door, reams of staffers sat glazed eyed into their laptops churning out the content to hit that all critical viral domination. But, it was, to be fair, quite a riot.
The theatre had been stripped of all traces of Arendelle (which will be resurrected in time for tomorrow’s 7pm performance, won’t someone think of the production staff?), and was festooned with rich red roses, chosen by the designer Erdem. Ushers proffered guests single stems as gifts. Instead of Frozen merch, the ground floor bars were taken over by Gucci, dishing out citron negronis. Guests could also grab a gratis Coach pashmina and pin, take selfies in Harry Styles’ brand’s “pretty pleasing” mirror (and pick up a bag of products) and stock up on sweets at the Fortnum and Mason station.
Upstairs Burberry’s Grand Saloon had food by Florence Knight and an Estee Lauder powder room (with makeup to take home). Who doesn’t love a luxe freebie? Although if you’d coughed up £150 for a ticket, perhaps that’s the least you’d expect.
The stalls were stripped out for plush red clothed tables for VIP guests — including Kate Winslet, Victoria Beckham, Jared Leto, Jodie Turner-Smith, Carey Mulligan, David Harewood and Andrew Lloyd Webber. Hacks were in rows at the back, while paying punters were up in the gods.
The show opened with footage from curtain call backstage moments everywhere from the Royal Albert Hall to Shoreditch’s Old Blue Last. Kate Moss appeared in a molten cowl neck gown, train hoisted by John Galliano in a white Maison Margiela lab coat, as the London Musical Theatre Orchestra performed on stage.
FKA Twigs emerged in a cut out bodice delivering a killer performance of Opus III’s It’s A Fine Day as models Alva Claire, Precious Lee and Skin paraded out from the stage, skirting the tables at the front.
Stormzy performed a mesmerising take on King Henry IV’s Heavy is the head that wears the crown speech as Sophie Okenado dressed on stage in a mediaeval-esque gown, pausing at the end to complete the speech, raising a silver crown over her head.
Sienna Miller, Damien Lewis, James Cordon, Cush Jumbo and James McAvoy did what could have been an awful we’re-the-cleaners-here-to-chuck-you-out skit, but was actually quite fun. Especially when Dame Harriet Walter came out as the stage door hand. And then poof!
Annie Lennox in a pearly queen coat emblazoned with God save the world on the back belting out Sweet Dreams, surrounded by My Fair Lady characters, supers models — Karen Elson! Irina Shayk! Cara Delevingne! Emily Ratajowski! streaming out, and then, the finale, Naomi, Christy, Cindy and Linda! A standing ovation for the cover women, and Vogue’s take on the West End.
It doesn’t look like Wintour (who kept her sunglasses on throughout the show) is going to let go of her grasp of fashion anytime yet.