The Whitechapel Gallery turned to Tod's for their annual fundraising party this year, putting on a one-off event for which many of the art and drama world's best were suitably present and correct. The meeting of cultural minds - which saw a host of live performances and art showcases take centre stage - launched the evening into a full festival of the senses.
Hosted in conjunction with Harper's Bazaar together with Art Plus Chair Mollie Dent-Brocklehurst and Jude Law, the party had guests sipping on Stoli Moscow Mules while they enjoyed a series of six five-minute performances, each scripted by a leading contemporary artist, and directed by top theatre figure Rupert Goold. Maxine Peake, Juliet Oldfield and Jake Maskell performed the script of artist Lynda Benglis; Claire Foy read Lawrence Weiner’s monologue; Jonathan Pryce read Ryan Gander’s text; Hywel Morgan and Helen Bradbury read a script by Vitto Acconci, Benedick Blythe performed Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's script, while Tom Hiddleston and Ashley Walters performed Barbara Kruger’s dualogue.
Another highlight of the party - which raised £225,000 for the gallery's Education and Community programme fund - was a screening of 'An Italian Dream' - the fantastical product of Teatro alla Scala's ongoing collaboration with Tod's. Specially created for the Whitechapel Gallery by lead choreographer Gianluca Schiavoni, the directional short film - which features a solo performance by Teatro alla Scala's prima ballerina Marta Romagna - interplays the ballet segments with glimpses into the crafting process of a Tod's shoe.
It wasn't all looking and no participation at the East End art world institution however - there was nothing like some healthy bidding frenzy (in this case, the auctioning off of artworks by Sir Anthony Caro, Angela De La Cruz, Nan Goldin, Philip-Lorca diCorcia, Alice Neel, Julian Opie, Dame Paula Rego and Jamie Shovlin, as well as a one-off Tod's D-bag specially customised by artist Ian Davenport) to get the party spirit going.