A spectacular show of couture animal themed masks made an entrance here in London at The Animal Ball (in November). Presented by The Elephant Family charity, of which Ruth Powys is CEO, the most eagerly anticipated event of the year took place at Victoria House in Bloomsbury. This innovative fundraising event was held to help raise money for the conservation of African and Asian elephants.
After months of meticulous planning, 40 of the world’s top fashion houses, including Burberry, Christian Dior, Matthew Williamson and Jimmy Choo, pulled out all the stops to create exquisite and exciting animal inspired masks, all worn by guests attending the ball. The phenomenal collection included a bespoke Swarovski crystal mask inspired by the endangered snow leopard, made with hundreds of impacted Swarovski crystals and created by the outstanding designer, Lara Jensen. To model these feline sparkling masterpieces at the V&A’s Conservation Couture opening event was an experience in itself.
Nothing could prepare you for the visual extravaganza of creative expertise as the masks made their debut. The fusion of exotic feathers, opulent rhinestones, dazzling crystals, sculptured metallic headdresses and even fur, feather, beaks and horns all culminated to mark a ground-breaking and unforgettable fashion evening. In a recreated jungle, live actors were painted head to toe, to resemble all kinds of creatures from the animal kingdom, remaining in character throughout the whole evening. Leonora Ferguson’s whimsical ‘mother and baby’ lemur headgear stole the show and you couldn’t fail to miss Ellie Goulding wearing an intricate coin and tassle elephant headdress. To say nothing of Mario Testino in the iconic beaded bear mask.
Most fascinating of all was to witness the remarkable skill of so many of the world’s most creative designers pushing the boundaries of millinery couture.