I’m sitting in a room with half a dozen large round tables, a couple of sofas, a plasma TV and a groaning buffet table. In one corner is Annie Lennox chatting; At the next table are The Pet Shop Boys drinking coffee; George Michael is at the next table with friends; Timothy Spall is chatting with Suggs; Russel Brand is standing behind me with a few people; One Direction are at the buffet table getting their lunch; the Spice Girls walk through and Mel C stops to hug David Barton and VB stops to say hello to Lucinda Chambers (FD of Vogue), Sam McKnight, Val Garland and I; Kaiser Chiefs, Brian May and Fatboy Slim are strolling around. Where am I?
Answer: lunchtime at the Olympics 2012 Closing Ceremony in the ‘headliners’ area completely star struck and feeling surreal.
This adventure started a couple of months ago when I worked in a studio with the team mentioned and, photographer, Nick Knight, for an Olympic fashion story for British Vogue. We were all sworn to secrecy and spent 2 days with 9 super models and some creations from some of the best British fashion has to offer. The first public result of this was a series of images in the September issue of Vogue all with a gold theme. http://www.vogue.co.uk/news/2012/08/03/vogue-olympic-fashion-shoot—closing-ceremony/gallery
The second result involved a high security visit to the Olympic Park with all the team, extra assistants and the 9 models. All of this was to prepare them in the same look as in Vogue for their part in ‘the greatest show on earth’ aka the Closing Ceremony where they shared the Union Jack stage with Olympians, performers, music legends and younger ‘big names’ from the music, dance and performance industries.
Our kits had been collected and delivered to the Olympic Park a few days earlier for security reasons and we were all collected in a fancy coach from central London and transported east. My kit was packed with my usual Roo equipment plus some gold Minx’s and polishes that I had used on the shoot (CND, Chanel, Nails Inc, Ciate) and my ever present Sisley Hand Cream.
As soon as we arrived we were shown to a fabulous prep area and ‘green room’ that had red, white and blue sofas, a table tennis table, a Wii, games, cards and giant Union Jack bean bags. We were sharing a smart 3 story secure prefabricated house with all the headline acts! Bags dumped and working areas ‘bagged’ we went to the posh restaurant for lunch and that is where this story starts!!
I had enlisted the help of David Barton and Shephanie Staunton and we spent the afternoon wandering about, star spotting and watching the rehearsals. The stadium was awe inspiring and the organisation of 10,000 who were taking part phenominal! I watched Jessie J, Queen and the Spice Girls rehearse. We had about 8 hours before the models had to be ready so there was plenty of time for everything! Even Stephanie ‘dancing’ on the Wii (to the amusement of Taio Cruz!), her giving David Gandy a quick game of Mario Cart and David giving him a game of ping pong!! Oh the glamour!
It was soon time to start getting the girls and boy ready for their ‘moment’. Naomi Campbell, Kate Moss, Karen Elson, Georgia May Jagger, Stella Tennant, Jourdan Dunn, Lilly Donaldson, Lilly Cole and David Gandy were given the necessary attention while they had beautiful make up applied by Val Garland and her team and gorgeous hair created by Sam McKnight and his team.
For the ‘nail people’, Naomi had a nude colour on her fingers and gold Minx on toes (covering a red Shellac!); Kate had a Ciate gold on fingers and toes; Georgia May had a CND bronze; Karen had Chanel Goldfingers; Jourdan had gold Minx on her fingers; Lilly D NI nude with gold glitter; Lilly C had Chanel; Stella a Lumos Top Coat and David had a buff!
There was still time for dinner so we sat with, my friend, Ben Canares, who was dressing the Spice Girls on behalf of Cathy Casterine after standing alongside Brian May to choose what to have! There was then a very busy time for Lucinda and her team getting the models dressed and Sam and Val doing touch ups. This was followed by loads of pictures and lots of “Ahhhh’s” as they all looked so beautiful. When they were ready to go, I went down to watch the show with the wonderful Gareth Pugh and his partner, Carson where the bar had now opened!
The show was spectacular and made even better by most of the headliners coming straight back to watch too! Too surreal again. We went up to the roof to watch the fireworks and then it was over. Really quite sad.
We collected our kits ready to get on the coach again and had some last minute delights: a hug from Darcy Bussell (who I’ve met before) and a “Hi” from Brian May who was passing by with his wife, Anita Dobson. Then on the coach were 2 coach loads squashed into 1 along with some champagne and singing to go off into the night after one of the most amazing experiences of my career.
Thank you David and Stephanie for helping me. Thank you Nick Knight for always including me in your team. Thank you Lucinda Chambers for inviting me. And, of course, thank you to Val Garland and Sam McKnight for being a great team where everyone works so well together.
The ‘golden tribe’ played a small part of an extravaganza that showed the world the best of British!
Posh travel with some of the hair and make up team
Brian May rehearsing
Gareth Pugh and Carson MacCall (with Del Boy’s Robin before it got blown up!)
David Barton and me by the ‘cauldron’
Jourdan Dunn looking divine (in Jonathan Saunders) with Minxy fingers
They are ready!