Mick Jagger, Sarah Jessica Parker and Ewan McGregor were three of the stars spotted last night at the annual Serpentine Gallery fundraiser in London’s Hyde Park.
Celebrities way outnumbered artists at the event, sponsored by fashion designer L’Wren Scott, Jagger’s partner in life. Jagger arrived through a back door at nightfall and settled under a tree, surrounded by friends and bouncers. Wearing a blue suit jacket and running shoes, he paid little attention to the young live acts, Findlay and Jake Bugg.
The evening’s other superstar couple arrived in full view of the paparazzi. Sarah Jessica Parker sashayed past the cameras in a gold lame flapper dress worthy of “The Great Gatsby.” Awaiting her at the door was husband Matthew Broderick, looking like a 1950s stockbroker in thick frames and a steel-gray suit.
The party was held in and around a grid-like pavilion designed by Japanese architect Sou Fujimoto. The Serpentine commissions an architect every year to design a structure for its summer party; past architects include Pritzker Prize winners Zaha Hadid (who was there last night) and Frank Gehry (2008).
“It’s the peak moment of the London calendar,” said British artist Gavin Turk, who wore a purple suit and a T-shirt with an egg on it (his emblem). “It’s about profile raising, it’s about getting funding, it’s about being an exciting place.”
“There’s a small smattering of artists that get invited to add a bit of creative energy into the process,” said Turk. “You can’t just have a party with some rich people at it, you need some artists as well!”
Other artists at the party were Damien Hirst, looking somber in a black suit and shirt; Marc Quinn, in a white baseball cap; and Mark Wallinger, who was unusually dapper. Tracey Emin appeared in a ruffled blouse and trousers.
Author Zadie Smith, her hair wrapped in a tall red bandana, confessed that she had come as someone’s guest and was “really ignorant of this architectural creation,” meaning the pavilion. Asked if she was enjoying the party, Smith -- who lives in New York -- said, “I am. It could be warmer.”
Inside the gallery, an exhibition of U.S.-born artist Elaine Sturtevant, who’s in her 80s, featured videos and owl-themed wallpaper. The Paris-based artist, also at the party, shunned champagne and watermelon martinis for red wine.
Billionaire Lakshmi Mittal, chairman of the world’s steelmaker ArcelorMittal -- who bought last year’s pavilion -- conversed with artist Isaac Julien.
Photographers were kept busy: the guest list also included models Kate Moss and Naomi Campbell; James Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s brother; and Princess Beatrice, a granddaughter of Queen Elizabeth II.
A couple of movie stars tried and failed to go unnoticed. McGregor sported a fedora, rolled up jeans, and dusty ankle boots. James Franco lurked by the door in a baseball cap and sunglasses.
As at every Serpentine party, there were some odd sights. A man walked through the door hiding a poodle under his jacket. A young woman wore two large imitation cherries over her hair. And there were plenty of examples of plastic surgery gone wrong.
The evening was hosted by Serpentine Director Julia Peyton-Jones -- who wore a Roman-style white-and-gold L’Wren Scott long dress -- and co-director Hans Ulrich Obrist.
Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn on the art market, Warwick Thompson on U.K. theater, Farah Nayeri on Scene in London, Jason Harper on cars, Rich Jaroslovsky on technology and Lance Esplund on art.