Fashion royalty at Elton John’s White Tie and Tiara Ball 2011
“There’s billions in there, absolute billions,” observed retail billionaire, Sir Philip Green’s daughter Chloe Green, resplendent in a daringly low-cut Herve Leger gown, and accompanied by her boyfriend, ‘Made in Chelsea’ actor, Ollie Locke.
She was right.
You could hardly move for the Diors, Lanvins, Puccis, Versaces, and Calvin Kleins, all bathed in the collective mega-watt glow of thousands of carats of diamonds and a treasure trove of precious jewels, at Sir Elton John’s and David Furnish’s White Tie & Tiara Ball last night.
Sir Elton himself was dazzlingly accessorised with a 260 carat emerald pendant by Chopard. A Russian oligarch’s wife, resplendent in crystal-beaded Versace Atelier and Dior mink, wore David Morris at her ears, Harry Winston around her neck and a 40 carat Graf solitaire diamond the size of a large walnut on one hand and a 37-carat yellow diamond ring on the other.
It was hard not to think of money.
The auction alone raised £5 million in about 40 minutes, adding further to the £45 million pounds the balls have raised for the Elton John Aids Foundation since they were first staged in 1999, while the overall total raised to date by he foundation itself, established by the singer in 1993, now stands at £156 million.
The ball was held, as is traditional, in the grounds of Elton and David’s home in Old Windsor. This year’s theme was “2001: A Space Odyessy”, with guests greeted by white-clad waiters made-up with silver painted eye-masks, with members of an orchestra, sitting on black plinths, complete with tubas, violas, and violins, miming to Strauss waltzes.
Royalty – both real and fashion – mingled with celebrities and the seriously wealthy, sipping champagne and ‘Kryptonite’ cocktails made with Grey Goose vodka and elderflower wine.
Elizabeth Hurley and her new beau, Aussie cricketer, Shane Warne, who looked fresh and fit in a Dunhill tux, arrived late, because the corset on her slinky, animal-print Cavalli gown had taken “hours to lace up”. Hadn’t Shane helped? “I was playing golf, but I have stepped on her train five times,” he said.
The Duchess of York, in elegant black Escada, and the same diamond earrings she wore when she married Prince Andrew in 1986, arrived with daughters, Princesses Beatrice and Eugenia. Bea, in a stunning, rose-beige lace Elie Saab gown, straight off the catwalk, was with her boyfriend, Dave Clark. Eugenie wore a favourite red Vivienne Westwood gown. Alexa Chung, looking demure in a black and white polka dot vintage gown she found ‘quite cheaply’ in a vintage store in New York, had accessorised with raspberry-pink Repetto ballet-pumps, a Chopard gold teddy-bear pendant and yellow diamond ring which she had picked out herself. “I had to go into the Chopard vaults. It was great fun.”
Comedian David Walliams, wearing Tom Ford because “I’m his muse”, was with supermodel-wife Lara Stone, chic in a beige, beaded Calvin Klein cleavage-slink, and sipping Coca-Cola Light from the new pink and white striped bottles designed especially by Karl Lagerfeld. Aristo-model and interior designer , India Hicks dazzled in a one-shouldered, black-beaded Victoria Beckham gown with her grandmother, Edwina Mountbatten’s (Countess Mountbatten of Burma) white fox stole tossed over one arm. “I can’t wear a tiara because I’m not married,” she said. “Anyway, all our family ones have probably been sold off at Sotheby’s.”
In pictures: Elton John Aids Foundation Winter Ball hosted by Jean Paul Gaultier
I also spotted Beth Ditto in a black, short, custom-made Vivienne Westwood corset-crinoline; Camilla Al Fayed in red Issa; Hayley Atwell in Antonio Berardi; Elen Rives in a sensational original Ossie Clark black crepe backless wrapover gown; and Nick Candy with his girlfriend, singer, Holly Valance, in cream and rose print chiffon Dolce & Gabbana.
After cocktails, the 690 guests proceeded to a vast all-white marquee, with a futuristic laboratory foyer, decorated with crackling and fizzing coloured lasers, while the circular dining area was designed like a vast space ship.
Elton’s appearance on stage caused an immediate clap-along,singalong, dance-a-thon, as he opened his gig with, appropriately, ‘Rocket Man’. And there was even more of a roar when the surprise guest, George Michael, appeared and the two reprised ‘Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me’, just as they had sung it at Live Aid at Wembley Stadium in 1985.
Elton John fan’s proposal at Hove concert
Elton John fan Andy Kerridge prayed his girlfriend wouldn’t go breaking his heart when he got down on one knee in the middle of a crowd at one of his idol’s concerts.
Now, five years on and blissfully married, Mr Kerridge, 43, and his wife Zu will sit in almost exactly the same seats for the superstar’s show at Sussex County Cricket Ground tomorrow.
Mr Kerridge, who runs his own social media company in Hove, said he barely remembers a single thing about the first gig in Hove in 2006 other than his nerve-racking wedding proposal.
He said: “I was so nervous I can’t remember a single song he played. I just kept telling myself that when the right song came on I would know.”
He waited and waited, and then, towards the end of the first half, the 1994 hit Believe began and Mr Kerridge knew he was ready for love.
He said: “I don’t know what it was about the song, but I just knew that was the moment.”
In front of a packed crowd he asked Zu, who he first met at a friend’s wedding in 1998, to be his wife and despite the deafening background noise he heard her say yes.
He said: “Most people were obviously watching Elton but people did start to realise what was happening and began to clap and cheer.”
Five years later he says the marriage is ‘going from strength to strength’.
Mr Kerridge’s dad Brian spotted the posters for the 2011 Elton John gig and bought the pair tickets.
Monday’s Argus will have a full report and eight pages of pictures from the event.
George Michael and Sir Elton John Make Up
Saying that they kissed and made up might seem to be somewhat tasteless but Sir Elton John and George Michael have decided to bury the hatched. The acrimonious nature of their relationship had many people wondering what was going on. It seems that as they grew older the quarrels became childish. At some point they had to reconcile and this was a prime opportunity to sort things out. They had been very close to one another and some people blamed the collapse to George Michael’s marijuana addiction. Elton John tried to help him to no avail. That is typical behavior of people that are struggling with addiction. They do not seem to understand that they are complicit in destroying their lives and relationships.
Two great artists close doors to one another
These are some of the best pop musicians that Britain has ever produced. George once told his old friend to “shut his mouth and get on with his own life”. Recently it has been reported that they are seeing one another again socially. Elton is now happily married to his long term boyfriend and they have a son. Michael seems to have quit drugs. This came after a stint in prison and rehab. He turns forty eight shortly and will be playing at a charity concert in London. This is part of the fundraising effort for the Elton John AIDS Foundation. Sir Elton is sixty four and has plenty to celebrate in his career. He was very close to Diana Princess of Wales at her lowest points. They did have some sort of feud but towards the end it seems to have been resolved. He poignantly rewrote one of his songs for her funeral and it became a bestseller.
He has referred to Michael as a dear friend and expressed gratitude for the offer to sing at the concert. Since the foundation of that organization George Michael has been a patron. The pair sung “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” at the 1985 Live Aid concert. At the height of the feud Elton mused that his friend was smoking too much marijuana. He also said that the album “Patience” was disappointing. This enraged Michael and he retorted that John knew very little about him apart from the gossip on “the gay grapevine”. A knife was stuck in with some acid comment about Elton relying on his old hits to make millions. It was reported that reconciliation had failed when George refused to take five calls.
When Michael Parkinson interviewed Michael in 2006, he said that the hostile media started when Elton made some comments about his state of mind. Having been caught driving whilst intoxicated, he was eventually sent to prison for eight days. When he left the renewal quietly started. It seems that one of the things that are being repaired is his relationships with other musicians who were looking out for him. That is not to say that Sir Elton is an angel. Who can forget those magnificent Diva tantrums abroad?
Local dancer plays title role in ‘Billy Elliot’
On his days off, Viernes will more than likely be hanging around his hometown of Half Moon Bay, visiting pals and his old dance studio (the Shely Pack Dancers), rather than The City, where the show opens Monday at the Orpheum Theatre.
Not that J.P. — it stands for John Paul — is having a bad time on the road.
“All of it is pretty fun,” he says of performing, calling the feeling of accomplishment, the chance to learn a lot and having the audience cheer at the show’s finish the best aspects of the job.
He also gets to meet new and famous people, including “Billy Elliot” composer Elton John, Woody Harrelson and even Oprah Winfrey, during the show’s run in Chicago.
The most challenging parts of touring, Viernes says, are giving a fresh performance each time and the long, hard rehearsals, which he admits do “pay off.”
The trouper is clearly accustomed to practice. An award-winning dancer who began when he was 7, he went through five auditions in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York before landing the role in 2009.
At the time, he was fairly new to singing and acting, with just one bona fide theatrical part — Jerome in Coastal Repertory Theater’s “South Pacific” — under his belt. These days, the experienced dancer slightly favors ballet, but he still likes jazz, tap and modern too. In some ways, Viernes identifies with his character.
“The big thing is that we both really love to dance,” he says. Both are creative, and both get great satisfaction after learning a new step. J.P. differs from Billy in that his family is supportive of his dance career, while the character faces opposition.
J.P. admittedly was the object of a little bit of bullying at school, which he ignored. He thinks that with TV shows such as “So You Think You Can Dance” — which reveal how difficult and fun the pursuit can be — social pressure against boys dancing has eased.
He attributes the popularity of “Billy Elliot” in part to its main theme, about “staying true to yourself” and because it has “really entertaining big dance moves.”
While he and his co-stars aren’t supercompetitive, Viernes says sometimes they face off to see who can do the most turns.
His plans for the future include finishing school — he likes physics and chemistry — and continuing to perform. In the short term, he’s excited about seeing his friends in person in Half Moon Bay.
“I hope you guys come to the show, and I hope it’s not too foggy there,” Viernes says.
Read more at the San Francisco Examiner: http://www.sfexaminer.com/entertainment/2011/06/local-dancer-plays-title-role-billy-elliot#ixzz1QKT4xIQd
Elton and George end 7-year bitch
Photo Flash: Elton John and Tim Rice’s AIDA Premieres in Manila, 6/24 – 7/10
Manila, Philippines, June 24, 2011 — Elton John and Tim Rice‘s contemporary take on Aida, a tale of star-crossed lovers based on the Giuseppe Verdi‘s opera of the same title, made it to Manila through Atlantis Productions Inc.’s local production that opened at the Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium, RCBC Plaza, Makati City Friday night. (The musical runs until Sunday, July 10)
Aida’s local premiere has prompted the return of musical theater actress Ima Castro (Miss Saigon, Paglayang Minamahal), who’s been based in London for the past 10 years, to the Philippine theater scene. Ms. Castro plays the title role opposite to Myke Salomon’s (Care Divas, Magsimula Ka) Radames and Rachel Alejandro‘s (Xanadu, Avenue Q) Amneris.
Ms. Alejandro’s real-life dad, Hajji Alejandro (Batibot, Kapinangan), plays Radames’ father, Zoser. Recording artist and theater newcomer, Josh Santana, plays Mereb while one of local theater’s most promising talents, Alys Serdenia (A Little Night Music, Rent), plays Nehebka.
In Aida, Egypt has enslaved Nubia. And when Nubia’s princess, Aida, comes to the palace as a slave, Egypt’s prince, Radames — who’s betrothed to the exceedingly materialistic Amneris — falls in love with his Nubian slave.
Aida in Manila is directed by Chari Arespacochaga. It also features choreography by Cecile Martinez, lighting design by Dong Calingacion, set design by Faust Peneyra, costume design by Twinkle Zamora, musical direction by Jojo Malferari and vocal direction by ManMan Angsico.
For tickets, call Atlantis Productions Inc. at or TicketWorld at (632) 891-9999. You may also visit www.atlantisproductionsinc.com.
The original Broadway production of Aida opened in March 2000 and ran for 1,852 performances. The musical was nominated for five Tony Awards in 2000 and won four awards: Best Original Musical Score for John and Rice, Best Actress in a Musical for Heather Headley, Best Scenic Design for Bob Crowley and Best Lighting Design for Natasha Katz.
Photos by Atlantis Productions Inc.
The cast of Atlantis Productions Inc.’s ‘Aida’
Myke Salomon, Ima Castro
(center) Rachel Alejandro
(center) Hajji Alejandro
Ima Castro, Rachel Alejandro
Fresh off her divorce (it was finalized June 15th), Elizabeth Hurley had no qualms stepping out with her new man, Australian cricketer Shane Warne.
The two were dolled up to the nines as they exited Hurley’s London home en route to Elton John’s annual summer party. That train is glamourlicious!
Oh to attend house parties that have that kind of dress code! (Oh, to be able to throw them!)
Photos by GF/TOE